Catholics in Anime: Shibata Maria in Angelic Layer

I don’t watch or read a lot of CLAMP’s anime or manga, but I’m pretty fond of Angelic Layer, their unusually clean answer to Pokemon and other “partner” tournament fighting animes. In this case, it’s the near future, and the partner is a tiny electronically-animated doll with movements controlled by its owner’s thoughts as channeled through an electronic helmet. Like the better-known and more tedious Cardcaptor Sakura, the main characters are mostly female, but Angelic Layer‘s are a lot easier to relate to.

Anyway, the team of CLAMP creators seem to have a weird aesthetic fixation with Catholic-like private schools in their work, but I don’t know if there’s any biographical reason for that. This character is unusually realistic, however.

In episode 7 of Angelic Layer, the main character is matched against Shibata Maria, a Japanese Catholic with a lot of anger issues. She resents her name, because she doesn’t want to be meek. She resents her parents’ constant insistence that their athletic daughter stay inside and take care of her sickly brother (because they both work in an office, which in Japan means “work late”), which doesn’t let her spend time with friends outside of school. Eventually she lost friends because of this. (And the parents don’t even show up to watch Maria at the all-Tokyo tournament, so it would seem she has reasons for her anger.) But she’s also angry at people who push around her little brother, whom she does love. Needless to say, she dresses and acts like a tough in her rare free time at the tournament, and fights hard.

You can watch English-dubbed episodes of Angelic Layer free at The WB, including episode 7. The dub voices are a bit annoying, but it’s still quite watchable.

Shibata seems to be the real life family name of quite a few Japanese Catholics. That’s probably because the town of Shibata in Niigata has a fairly old Catholic community. Here’s a picture of their modern parish church. Here’s the obituary of Mr. Shibata Yukinori.

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One response to “Catholics in Anime: Shibata Maria in Angelic Layer

  1. Pingback: Something More: Evil Religion in Shin Sekai Yori, Catholic Context in Angelic Layer, and My Seven Little Deadly Sins «

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