The Junk Collector {Part 1}

The Junk Collector {Part 1}

Disclaimer: This is a start of a mini, blog-run series I decided to go with. My special treat I’ve been contemplating laying on you guys, as at least partial compensation for not blogging as much as I’ve promised. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, but was rather unsure of the audience’s response, and if the series itself would be any good, since I only had a vague idea in mind, a handful of relatively colorful characters, and lack of good, detailed scenes– since the story and idea in mind are both relatively, well, excuse the pun– novel. I was told by my wonderful, awe-inspiring Writing professor, Dr. Dan Williams, never to criticize my own work, but we artists tend to excel at being our own worst critics; I like to think that that treatment (albeit self-torture) often steels me for anything negative someone has to say about my writing, what can be improved, etc. If you like this, please state as much, and I will gladly continue the mini series. If not, then, that’s alright, too.

So, without “much ado about nothing” (excuse the secondary pun, if you dare)… I present to you my short story mini-series, “The Junk Collector.”

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Rain.

Cold, heartless, dreary rain, plummeting the ground beneath them, around them, and into them, as though beating them. Nipping at them. Stinging their bare skin and making it almost impossible to see the well-worn dirt road in front of the truck. Nearly opaque, in fact. The torrential downpour had begun almost the instant they entered Blank County. There was no turning back now.

Kodi sat hunched over next to Guy in the truck bed, clad in a bright yellow poncho, scowling at the rain as if that would make it evaporate instantly. His “waterproof” armor tightly clung to his coco skin as he clutched his knapsack, trying to uselessly shelter it from the merciless weather. Guy could still spy tips of pencils and the ends of paintbrushes sticking out from pocket crevices; bulks of camera equipment pushing out against the bag’s sides.

“Hey,” he said gently to Kodi, “Why didn’t you put away your gear inside the truck cabin before we left?” As soon as he said it, he instantly regretted it. Kodi set his glare into him, sticking out a pale pink tongue. “If I wanted my most precious possessions to get tossed, torn, and smashed to bits, yeah, I would’ve,” he said, “but unlike you, I don’t just chuck things in the back of some old truck to be tied down and–”

“So you’d rather they be soaked through and ruined?” At this, Kodi immediately stuffed his bag under his poncho, lower lip sticking out like a small, fat little worm. “Look, I know you’re upset about the move. We’d all prefer it if things could’ve remained the same, but…”

“But Dad made the decision for us,” finished Kodi, not making eye contact. “The least he could’ve done was let us have a vote or something.”  He huffed angrily.

“C’mon, kiddo, you know it was gonna happen eventually,” said Guy. “It was either move or lose his job. And with Mom outta the picture…” His throat suddenly dried, despite all the wetness surrounding them. He couldn’t say anything more.

They were silent for a while. Guy closed his eyes, almost leaning back against the truck bed walls, absorbing the shakes, the rattles, the sudden jerks and bumps accompanying their unpleasant journey. He was thankful for the physical pain of the bullet-rain– it helped him to concentrate on it rather than the emotional pain. He felt grateful too, that he hadn’t bothered pulling on a jacket over his gray tank before they left; he might’ve have been tempted to pull up a hood once the darkened clouds gave way. The rain helped disguise the tears. And Guy would’ve rather been shot than let anyone, even Kodi, see him cry.

******

“Well, guys, we’re here,” announced Dad as he parked in the mudded-out driveway. “Let’s get out and have ourselves a look at the place, shall we?” Kodi’s shoulders were hunched over even more, head lowered, small wet dreads dangling. “No.”

“C’mon, Kodi,” said Guy, giving his all to sound more upbeat. Even if it was just an act for Kodi. Kodi sluggishly got to his feet, walking around the behemoth, tarp-covered pile of belongings as if in slow motion. Uh oh. Kodi only slowed down purposely when he was exceptionally angry– which rarely happened, but when it did, he was a small ball of fire to be reckoned with. Guy leaped out of the truck bed, turning and looking up at Kodi’s emotionless face. He still tightly grasped his knapsack with one arm, the other dangling loosely by his side. “Kodi?”

Kodi flew off the truck bed right at Guy, fist raised. Guy’s eyes widened, startled, but he managed to halt the fist before it was buried into its intended target. “You can’t tell me what to do,” Kodi said in a low tone, panting slightly. “Kodi, just… just calm down,” said Guy, fighting the instinct to flinch. Kodi, glowering still, lowered his gaze, and, thankfully, his fist as well. He straightened, eyeing the two-story farmhouse for the first time. “So this dump, this hovel… this is our new, so-called “home”?”

“Knock it off,” warned Dad, “or you’re grounded for a month.”

The young boy shrugged. “So? See if I care.”

Guy exhaled. This wasn’t going to be easy. “Looky here, Kodi,” he said, trying to sound reasonable, “I know we’ve all been through a lot– especially you. But think of this as a new chapter in our lives. A chapter that’s character building and can help all of us grow. We can make new friends while still keeping in touch with the old ones–”

“”We?”” repeated Kodi. “Or,  I think you actually mean, “Dad and I”.” He kicked at the ground disgustedly, splashing mud and water. “It’s one thing after another with you people. First you take away my memories of when I actually HAD a real family, then you uproot all the memories I make after that by just deciding to move and–”

“Kodi, stop it. You know we had nothing to do with that. You know that that’s just how we found you, passed out in the middle of the woods, without any memory of who you were or what you were doing there, who your family was. We clothed you, helped you, raised you. We were the family you couldn’t remember. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t that something to be grateful for?” Dad asked.

Something to be grateful for? Wrong choice of words, thought Guy grimly. Kodi spun around to face Dad, mini dreads flying out around him, cracking like little whips. “You know NOTHING about me, old man. Do you hear me? NOTHING!” Kodi spun on his heel, in a singular move that would’ve caused Guy to get faceplanted into the muddy soil had HE attempted it, and sprinted towards the farmhouse, poncho flying behind him like a sail. Guy moved to follow, but Dad put his hand on his shoulder. “Don’t. He just needs some time to adjust a bit, even if it’s only to sulk in his room.”

******

Two days later, the situation hadn’t changed much. They were adapting to their new environment, as Guy’s new biology teacher liked to joke, all of them except Kodi. Kodi had practically locked himself in his room twenty-four-seven, save for school. He ate in his room, tinkered with his camera, painted and drew instead of doing homework. The third day, he allowed Guy to enter. “Have you seen her?” he casually asked Guy, brush strokes moving in elegant swishes across paper.

“Is your camera broken?” said Guy, noticing for the first time that Kodi’s new camera lay untouched on a shelf nearby. “Yes, but it doesn’t matter. I won’t be needing it.” Kodi sideswiped another angle of paper. “You know that better than anyone.” Guy couldn’t help a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. After they’d found Kodi alone and unconscious in the woods one day, when Guy himself was no older than 13, they’d taken him in and patched him up– but the cruel irony of the situation was that, despite being amnesiac, Kodi had a wonderful photographic memory. It was this that led them to nickname him, “Kodi”. Short for “Kodiac,” aka a kodiac camera. Guy couldn’t help feeling a pang of jealousy at Kodi’s ability.”I guess you’re right,” admitted Guy,  plopping down on the edge of Kodi’s bed, “but still, that’s no reason to trash it. I mean, photography’s one of your hobbies, your passions. You shouldn’t give up something you love just because–”

“I can store images in my memory bank perfectly,” said Kodi calmly, “and transfer those images to paper whenever I so please. Why would I need the expense of a camera to bother with that?” Guy stared at him. What’s with the kid?  On the other hand, the camera aside, he was at least staying away from the sour topic that had permeated the air inside the farmhouse the past few days. Maybe a blessing in disguise?

“And besides, you didn’t answer my question,” said Kodi, turning to Guy, and backing away from the painting he’d been so tediously pouring his soul over, “Have you seen this girl?”

Guy stared at the painting. It almost looked like a photograph of one of the freshmen. She was small, delicately built, with plain, mousy brown hair tied up into a loose ponytail. Kodi had depicted her in her everyday garb: a hoodie, boot-cut jeans, tenner shoes, backpack, and a small, angular face with warm hazelnut eyes. If she hadn’t been just another face in a tidal wave of people at school, he would have called her at least somewhat attractive. “Yeah, I’ve seen her around, once or twice,” he said. “What about her?”

“You haven’t heard what people have been saying about her?”

“No… What have they been saying about her?”

“There’s rumors flying around even my school, that she’s some kind of kid wizard or witch or whatever. They say that she mysteriously lost her two best friends a few years back, gone without a trace– and that she’s never been the same way since.”

Guy’s brow furrowed. “So they think she had something to do with her own friends’ disappearance? Why? Do they think she cast a spell on them or something?”

“No clue. But I don’t think she was behind their disappearances, just maybe knew what happened to them.”

“Oh? And why’s that?”

Kodi sighed. “Good grief. For being the older one, you really are clueless. I thought the older people got, the smarter and more observant they became, not denser and more oblivious.” Guy snorted. “Well, sah-ree,” he returned. Kodi rolled his eyes, got up and pushed aside some drawings, holding up two posters for his brother to see. They both read, “MISSING,” in huge red lettering; underneath the word were pictures of the respective girls, along with names, where they were last sighted, dates last seen, and who to contact. One girl, Charlotte Smithe, had shoulder-length red hair, a strong-looking jaw and cat green eyes; the other, Phoebe Cole, was almost cherub-like: short, curly blonde hair like Shirley Temple, huge, baby blue eyes surrounded by what were clearly mascara’d eyelashes. “That girl,” Kodi said, “has been putting these up everywhere– and I mean EVERYWHERE– since their disappearances. If she was really behind all this, I don’t think she’d be doing that, would you?”

“Maybe not, but that’s none of our business. We’re new to the area anyways, we can just let the authorities handle–”

Kodi slapped the posters down on the desktop, making Guy jump. “If you want to help me feel more at home here, if you want to do something right for a change, stop thinking only of yourself. She goes to YOUR high school, for crying out loud! Haven’t you picked up on anything odd?”

Guy could feel his face reddening. He hated conflict. Absolutely hated it. And he didn’t like the idea of getting involved in a mess that the authorities were probably still investigating. But if it was one thing he hated more, it was seeing the helpless getting hurt and being nearly unable to defend themselves. “You’re right,” he said quietly. “I’m sorry. I noticed her, once or twice, in the big sea of faces. Most people seem to leave her alone; she often eats lunch by herself, save for sometimes a taunter or two– I’ll go talk to her then, see if there’s anything we can do. At the very least, she probably needs a friend.” Don’t we all.

“Good,” said Kodi, and Guy thought he saw the boy sneak a grin for the first time in weeks. “Now, get outta here. I need to finish this before school tomorrow,” Kodi said as he playfully shoved Guy out the door, “And remember– you promised.

Late that night, Guy lay awake, staring up at the skylight in the ceiling, wondering about just what in the world he’d gotten himself into.

To Be Continued….

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Image Credit: http://vultus.stblogs.org/2012/07/praying-for-rain-in-oklahoma.html

 

 

 

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To Suppress Or To Cave In?

To Suppress Or To Cave In?

Lately, I’ve almost been having what you might call a “Me Crisis”. Not quite there, but almost. It’s one of those fights that you fight with yourself, with half of you wanting to do something, really wanting to do it, and the other half obstinately resisting that desire.

The fight is almost like those little characters in the Disney-Pixar movie Inside Out, only, instead of being named after individual emotions, they are named for my particular personality traits, or rather, they encompass certain aspects of myself. If something conflicting, confusing, or desirable comes up, they basically play tug-of-war until someone wins. Allow me to introduce the key players that are now permanently stuck inside my brain, being the way I’ve coped with the world since I couldn’t write/vent as much as I used to be able to:

Emoti, aka Emotional Side of Me. She is my ditz. My impulsive ditz. My impulsive, romantic, immature, irrational, loud-mouthed and often bratty ditz. She is my high-functioning autism on steroids, and I often have a challenge in controlling her; however, she is also responsible for any joy, excitement, and passion I feel (cough… fangirling… cough…), so she isn’t a TOTAL brat 100% of the time. (This is probably why she hasn’t been locked up, like a certain someone else inside my head… but I’ll get to that one later.)I often picture her as a smaller, giddier, more excitable, entirely blossom pink version of me inside there.

Sensi, aka Sensible Side of Me. She is my conscience, my mother hen when my folks aren’t around, whatever you wanna call her. She’s the one who usually prevents me from doing stupid things, or berates me when I do do them, and also keeps a tight leash on both Emoti and the other certain someone inside my noggin. She is my intelligence, my logic, my maturity (yes, when I try I can be mature thanks to her), my realism, my common sense (when I choose to use it), my big, caring heart (and any selflessness I might have within me), my altruism, and sometimes, my courage. She is more the embodiment of my Christian beliefs and virtues than the other two. I picture her as me with a ponytail, a hooded sweatshirt and jeans, calmer and more collected, and with a golden-ish yellow hue around her.

Certain Someone Else Inside My Head– aka My Subconscious. Probably the most dangerous part of me, this part is always kept under lock and key, and strict surveillance, by Sensi. She is basically Emoti’s worst qualities times 10, is inconsiderate, selfish, immoral, lustful, cruel, has no control over herself whatsoever, etc, etc, etc. I don’t wanna say it, but she’s kinda pretty much the “deeper, evil, sinful” part of me, aside from Emoti, who only embodies it on a smaller scale. Minus the horns and the pitchfork. (LOL) She has wild hair, leery eyes, and a emerald-greenish hue around her, and is almost always locked inside my small mental cage, and buried deep, deep within the recesses of my brain, where I hope and pray with all my might that she never, ever escapes. Unfortunately, sometimes her influence will seep out and either a., affect Emoti and tempt her to unleash Subconscious, or b., affect me directly and tempt me to do something completely out of line, whether it be immoral, weird, cruel, or something you would not at all do in a social situation. To my knowledge, there are only two known ways of unlocking her, and I’m really not big on either idea (but, knowing MY luck, there’re probably MORE ways…). Think of her as Yakumo Kurama from Naruto’s  “Ido,” if you will. Not the best influence, and someone you definitely want to steer clear of.

…. Now, you’re probably wondering, why am I bringing all this up? Well, recently I’ve been reading a semi-popular fictional series known as “The Grisha Trilogy” by Leigh Bardugo– just finished the first installment, “Shadow and Bone,” in fact. (Spoiler Alert, if you haven’t read it yet– if you don’t want to be spoiled, then turn and run away while you still can!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!) One of this story’s main theme’s, other than literal darkness, to my surprise, was that the protagonist, Alina, was like me. Not just in persona, but in have inward struggles with her own version of MY Subconscious. And, not gonna lie here, it was SCARY similar.

To understand all this, I’ll give you a brief summary of the plot (hence, the major spoiler warning beforehand): Alina Starkov and her friend/ childhood crush Mal are orphans and are drafted into their country’s military, Mal as a soldier for the King’s First Army, and Alina, as a cartographer. They attempt to cross the Fold, aka the Unsea, created by the Black Heretic many, many years ago to separate them from the regular sea and is filled with horrific monsters called volcra. They are attempting to cross the Unsea for resources on the other side while aided by the mysterious Grisha, magicians of sorts that can manipulate matter to their will while making it look like magic. They are attacked viciously by volcra, and, in an attempt to save Mal, Alina unintentionally wards off a volcra by using a power unknown to her: she can summon and create light. When she wakes up she is taken to the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha/ Second Army (which, his name should puh-ritty much divulge ALL you need to know about the guy… Mark my words, NEVER trust someone w/ an obviously dark title/name, a pretty boy face, and chock-full of power.); the latter investigates to see what she really is, and, upon provocation, manages to force her into exposing herself by cutting her, the light coming out as a defense mechanism. She is then taken to the Little Palace, where the Grisha stay in the kingdom of Ravka, and is trained in the way of the Grisha Summoners, since she is a special and unique Sun Summoner, of the likes that no one else has ever seen. The Darkling in particular pays special attention to her on at least a couple different occasions (much to some of the other female Grishas’ jealousy), telling her his supposed goals and wishes for the future, strongly desiring her to help him achieve such goals. On two of these conversations, he kisses her, and very nearly manages to seduce her in the second. Shortly after the second, she is confronted by Baghra, the Darkling’s mother and Alina’s personal tutor, who is heavy-set on Alina fleeing due to the Darkling being the Black Heretic and lying to Alina all this time, only wanting her power for his own selfish gain– to take over the country.

….Imma stop there before I give too much else away, and because I stopped close to making my point. When the Darkling seduced Alina, while a part of her was confused about she wanted and mildly resisted, a part of her also strongly desired it (thankfully, the description the author gave didn’t go past almost- intimate caressing or I would’ve a REAL bone to pick with her… If you’ll excuse the pun.). And I’m pretty sure you can guess which part of me was secretly dancing and even swooning for the ever-good-looking-yet-lying-and-manipulative Darkling all that time.

Later on, Alina, like me, realizes that though that desire is a part of her, choosing to resist and rebel against it and against the Darkling’s future advances in the first book (much to Subconscious’s disappointment and Sensi’s relief.) is the wiser, better option. But the book opened my eyes to something: how our Subconsciouses, our “Ids,” as Wikipedia calls them, can manipulate dangerous, sinful desires of our fallen hearts into actuality if we aren’t careful. And though, thankfully, I’ve NEVER experienced what Alina experienced with Mr. Creepy (I instantly got an “Orochimaru/Chase Young” vibe when I first read about him, I’ll put it that way. And that, no matter HOW many people swoon over the dude and wish him and Alina in a relationship, his actions speak infinitely louder than his words– cutting a man in half in front of Alina’s eyes, slitting a beautiful stag’s throat without hesitation or remorse, oh yeah, and when he’s not caressing, cooing to and making out with Alina he’s threatening to kill her and Mal. Yeeeeeppp, sounds like a real lover-boy… Not. More like lust-boy.), it’s good to know my struggles aren’t just mine, and I can and will resist those wicked, subconscious desires buried deep within me.

I’ll close with a quote from both Mother Gothel from “Tangled” and the Darkling himself (they’re amazingly similar.):

“You want me to be the bad guy?  FINE! Now I’m the bad guy!”– Mother Gothel to Rapunzel, “Tangled”

“Fine, make me your villain.”– The Darkling to Alina, after she thoroughly resists him.

Yes, you are the villains. Glad we’ve made that clear to everyone.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, but the evil I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Romans 7: 15-24, NIV

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21, NIV

Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/142637513175976173/

 

Blogging Update

Blogging Update

Sooooo…. It’s been quite a while. I haven’t stepped up my game on blogging and even writing in general, and I dutifully apologize for it; Summer Lazy Syndrome currently has me tightly in its vile clutches. Yes, the same syndrome that makes you just want to stay in the nice, cool, air-conditioned house Netflixing or gaming the day away, instead of doing something mildly productive like writing, reading, filling out scholarships, getting a jump on a very extensive Shakespeare reading list for the fall, or doing this-and-that for your driver’s exam (yes, shamefully, I am one of those that needs to retake it. WIM.). But, since I’ve only about 5 more weeks until I get started on those intimidating eighteen credits that’ll be piled up quite heavily on my plate, so I figured, might as well not waste any more time (“Took you long enough!” some of you might be thinking. And yes, you’d be right. Unfortunately.). Here’s a quick update on what you can probably expect from the likes of me the next few months or so:

  1. At least 3-4 new articles next month. It’s not as many as I’d like, but oh well.
  2. Multiple references to certain media and even pop culture. It’s in my nature to usually address these things once in a while.
  3. Expect an occasional article in the fall. Probably mostly reviews, as both Pokemon Sun and Moon, and S.W. Rebels: Season 3 are coming out, but since I’ll genuinely be constantly burning the midnight oil trying to get everything school-wise done, it’ll be highly unlikely I’ll have any real time for leisure writing… :/ (All the more reason to do it now, I suppose…)
  4. Some of the things I blog about will actually not always be in this blog, although I dearly love this one (due to picture and editing purposes. And all my faithful followers– you guys are da bomb! ^.^ ). I’ve started blogging for “The Odyssey,” since early July and have written quite a few articles for them, although most don’t get shared a ton. I was quite shocked when I saw my second-to-most recent get 31 shares, actually! O.O
  5. I’ll try to blog more during breaks and holidays, but no promises…. Professors have this tendency to schedule a LOT of homework over break (especially FALL break), so 50-50 chance that I’ll be blogging.

Again, apologies for lagging so far behind in blogging; I’ve been a mega lazy bones this summer… I hope y’all are having a terrific summer nonetheless, whether it’s chilling at the beach, or having a family barbecue! 🙂

Image credit: http://lunarthunderstorm.deviantart.com/art/Shiny-Zorua-361837319

Faith

Faith

By myself:

Seemingly only accompanied

By naught but my

Shadow; this world

Screams at me,

“No One Is There!

You should stop acting like

That Someone cares!”

Gentle sunshine glazes my whole

Body; the wind is a caress to

My skin.

I lift my eyes heavenward

Gazing upon a sky so blue

The birds soaring, straight and true,

And then I know as I smile

Not just to myself…

How wrong they are.

 

Naruto–My Take On One Popular Anime

Naruto–My Take On One Popular Anime

When I was a kid, I used to watch bits and pieces of Naruto– not the whole thing, understand, just whatever happened to be on Cartoon Network at the time. Today, I’m right glad that I didn’t stick with it, because… cough… Orochimaru…. cough… would’ve freaked me out and given me nightmares for sure, as a kid (trust me, I almost had nightmares about bloodbending after seeing that “Puppetmaster” ep of ATLA. ). But a couple of my closest, anime-nutty friends recently got hooked on the series, and I decided, why not do the same, since most or all of Season 1 was on Netflix? So I restarted watching, and boy, did the memories come rolling back to me (I specifically remember Gaara when he was a mega-Creep and had the basic serial killer mindset, him transforming and threatening to suffocate Sakura, and also the sparring match between Hinata– love that name, BTW– and Neji Hyuga.). I noticed a lot of things I don’t think I would’ve easily picked up on as a child, as far as the series goes:

  1. The Music. “Naruto” is special in the fact that it conveys a large range of different themes for different scenes. There’s training music, the ever determined, “I can do it!” music, the laid-back and chill music, the creepy music (usually used with bad guy scenes, or with something/someone creepy. Made with wind chimes and a few other instruments.), and the villain’s (Orochimaru’s) personal theme (which is a creepily played organ, somewhat similar to the music in “Revenge of the Sith,” when Yoda and Darth Hideous– sorry, Sideous– are battling in the Senate room.). It is impressive and gives you all the right vibes.
  2. The Characters. These characters are all portrayed realistically, personality-wise (aside from all that junk about Chakra, powers, etc.). There is genuine character growth, and while some confrontations are shiver-inducing or nail-biting, others make me literally LOL, or, in the cases of Sakura and Sasuke, or Shikamaru and Temari, squeal softly, “I ship it!”
  3. Me Talking aloud to characters on-screen. No, I am not crazy. It takes a lot for me to become like one of my kid brothers, talking, yapping, scolding, and squealing at the screen. “Naruto” is one of the rarities that has actually succeeded in getting me to do it. I cheer characters on when they fight opponents/baddies, softly yell and want to wring their sorry necks when they do something really stupid (‘I’m sorry, Sasuke, I really, really don’t think it’s a good idea to go looking for the same sadistically evil snake guy who tried killing you and your teammates, who now vampirized you in a way and wants to take over your body. ‘*Sasuke goes anyways* ‘Annnnndddd, he’s officially lost it, ladies and gents.’), get slightly choked up if something really, really sad happens, squeal if there’s an obvious shipping scene, and, the rarest reaction of them all, the “I CALLED IT!” reaction (when you knew something good/important was gonna happen, i.e., Sakura feeling like a burden because she’s not a good fighter, so she seeks to become a medical ninja instead. Totally called it.).
  4. The Villians. Other than yelping, “CREEPER ALERT!” when Orochimaru, the primary antagonist, enters the scene, I recently noticed something about him(aside from the fact that he’s genuinely very creepy, likes mocking and using people, and generally should be avoided at all costs.). He has a lot– I mean a LOT– in common with both Voldemort from “Harry Potter” and Satan himself: They all have some kind of fondness/connection to snakes; all mark their followers with some sinister mark; both Voldemort and Orochimaru are white-skinned and have snake-like eyes; both Voldemort and Orochimaru go by “lord” in their inner circles (Satan probably does too, BUT since his henchgoons are also selfish, some of em probably use it somewhat sarcastically. LOL); the list goes on. They are all very fond of just using people for their own devious, nefarious purposes, even if that means lying with a persuasive tongue, and think nothing of killing of letting their most loyal followers be killed if it means fruition of their goals or if said followers become a “hindrance” somehow; Orochimaru and Satan openly applaud the latter behavior in others as well, in fact. Also, I learned how much it really, really gets on my nerves if a villain calls a female protagonist, “honey,” sweetie,” “sweetheart,” or any other “pet names”. Especially “my dear” (which, might I add, Orochimaru said to Sakura openly not once but thrice in the dub, while mocking her and talking about his right-hand man “putting her out of her misery”– ironically, when she told him to wait as he turned to go– so she could ask about Sasuke– he got that LOOK in his eye, the same look that he had when Sasuke came to call, the look that goes like, “Oh goody, we may just have a volunteer for a new baddie.” *gags and shivers simultaneously*). I am not YOUR anything, ya creep, and if you so much as come within a 200 mile radius of me, I will kick your sorry heinie so fast you’ll think you were in a time warp!!!! (Thank you, “Calvin and Hobbes”) …. It might be worth mentioning that pet names by random, real-life strangers also creep me out, and should be avoided at all costs. You are not my boyfriend. Deal with it.
  5. A Too-Neat Blend of Godly Virtues and Morals, and Less Than Godly Virtues. They’re sometimes a bit subtle, but if you pay attention, you’ll know which ones don’t “feel” right, the ones God would probably stamp an “X” on. An example would be Rock Lee trying to achieve it all simply through hard work, which breaks my heart. Of course, I keep in mind that it’s a secular anime, but still. Hard work, without God, can only get you so far, as Lee realizes repeatedly (while he’s very powerful, he often ends up looking to friends for additional help, or gets his rear badly whooped.). On the other hand, it also emphasizes some Godly virtues, such as loving others and befriending/looking out for those who have no one(“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.” Exodus 22:22-23, NIV.), as well as going all-out to save your friends, even at the risk of your own life (“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13, NIV.). Shikamaru even states, at the beginning of their Sasuke Retrieval Mission, that although he didn’t really care for Sasuke as a person, he is still a comrade, nonetheless, and Shikmaru will gladly lay his life down for him– another Biblical virtue. However, the anime still carelessly approaches topics such as fate, predestination, free will, etc, and I personally feel Christians should not turn their brains completely off while watching animes like this, and should use good discernment while viewing.

All this being said, if you can withstand some parts (Jiraiya’s “research,” some blood and violence, ungodly virtues, technical demon possession– keep in mind to the makers of “Naruto” and other animes that the term, “demon” is different from our definition, unfortunately; to them it’s more like “spirit”–and creepy bad guys with persuasive tongues) and use good judgement, I think it’s a very good anime. I can’t wait to see Naruto and Hinata’s, Sakura and Sasuke’s, and even Orochimaru’s kids in a future season (ironically, I’m told from the Naruto Wiki that Mitsuki, Orochimaru’s “kid” and Boruto, Naruto and Hinata’s kid, are BFFs How’s that for a paradox?).

Have you watched “Naruto” yet? What did you make of it? 

 

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