Is watching anime a sin?

Is watching anime with violence, such as Bleach, Naruto, Dragonball, One Piece, etc. a sin?

What about other television shows with violence, such as Law & Order, CSI, Criminal Minds, etc?

What about movies with violence?

What about movies and shows with magic, such as Harry Potter, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc?


By the way, I am indeed quite scrupulous, but you may have already realized that.

No it isn’t.

after rolling my eyes, i remember hearing a deacon once give a homily for some reason on Harry Potter, he went on a rant about how the book or movie(s) was the work of satan an that we shouldn’t let our children watch it or pretend to perform magic as seen in the movie.

i found it a bit over the top, could have easily said make sure your children know the difference between a movie, witchcraft, and reality and as Catholics that we are to never engage in magic/witchcraft, and been done with it.

Dragonball was bloody awesome loved that series until DBZ came around,

It shows.:rolleyes:

If it is an occasion of sin, then yes. If not, then no.

The same goes for anything. You just have to think: will this cause me to sin? Will it cause me to support scandalous things? Will it cause scandal among others?

An example of this is a card game called “Magic: The Gathering”. There’s nothing inherently wrong about it. BUT it can be an occasion of sin in all the three ways I’ve mentioned:

  1. Some people are very interested in the occult. This would be an occasion of sin for them because it would cause them to fantasise about casting spells and using “magick”.

It’s been far more likely, however, that people will be addicted to not only playing the game and wasting their time, but buying cards and packs of them for their decks and wasting their money inordinately on cards. (Not such a problem for me, as I have some friends who have thousands of cards. :eek: IKR?)

  1. The aforementioned sins can be an occasion for scandal, if you support them or say nothing is wrong with it.

  2. Some Catholics and Protestants think Magic cards are windows into the occult. (Women of Grace on EWTN has said before they are occultic, though there is no evidence or proof they have been or can be used for magick or the occult.) It would scandalise them if they knew you used them or played with them or even carried them. Scandal is a sin (as was the case of eating meat from idols, which Paul talked about in ! Corinthians IIRC). In such a case, it would be best to get rid of your Magic cards, or at least stop bringing them among “weak” Catholics.

This is just an example that I am familiar with, but I think you could use it as a template for anything you watch.

Anime in and of itself is not sinful. Certain animes may be an occasion to sin (for example a harem/ecchi anime could lead someone toward perverse or lustful thoughts, so it should be avoided by people weak in those areas). As for violence it once again depends on the occasion to sin. If you are like me and seeing violence does not make you violent then you are fine, but if watching a violent anime makes you a bully or a violent person then it should be avoided.

What about the anime “One Piece”?

In it, there is something called the “Devil Fruit”, and when someone eats one, it gives them special powers. Also, in an episode, the “Devil Fruits” were placed in the shape of a cross. It could have just been a coincidence, but I doubt it.

There’s nothing satanic about the show. The show is aimed towards children and teens.

And in the anime “Dragon Ball Z”, there is a character called “Mr. Satan”, and his car has Satan’s number on it. He is not a demonic character. In fact, he is a comic relief character.

Japanese animation is notorious for using western/european symbolism and beliefs, such as the cross, religion, and other imagery, words, names, etc, and perverting it in some fashion for the sake of story telling. They might claim they are completely removing any meaning to these objects, but to us, it may be offensive and should be avoided if it’s use is scandalous or given to scandal.

The good news (which is really bad news) is that the japanese tend to make a fetish out of pretty much anything, so you will know visually when something is immoral or presented to you for that purpose because the object may not be bad, but it’s clear they’re abusing it.

We can more or less predict when we will run into sinful material in our anime watching too, since we are more than likely searching for shows by using tags or specific search options, so we are making an active, intentional choice to search for specific things that excite us, and if those specific things always turn out to be sexual or violent, for example, then maybe that says something about the viewer, a sort of self revelation. A change in genre might be in order.

We’re Christians, so we’re called to a higher standard in this area, so I believe that while anime is not a sin in itself, and a show is not necessarily immoral just because it has some fanservice, we have the choice to avoid sinful material when it is present; if we do not, then its a matter of whether the content was grave matter or not; if it was, you would need to confess it, and even if it wasn’t, you might want to confess it anyways if you felt bad about it.

Remember, you can always skip that episode, skip that scene, or fast forward, etc, if you know it disturbs the peace of your soul and conscience. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’d have to stop watching the show alltogether. However, if occasions of sin for you keep coming up with the show, it might be an indication that you need to choose a different show. I’ll admit, it’s not always easy giving up on an otherwise good show for spiritual, moral, and religious reasons, but you feel good about doing the right thing afterwards.

Anime, like many other forms of entertainment, can desensitize you to the immorality and sinful content within it. Just because something doesn’t make you feel “turned on” in the case of ecchi or harem type shows, for example, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you to watch it anyways, or overly bloody, gory, type shows just because it doesn’t make you crave violence. While there may not be a physical stirring in the body that causes sin, consider that the mind is at work subconsciously and that spiritually we may become weaker by choosing to predispose ourselves to such content.

If you’re watching a show for the first time, I would say analyze the general themes and if you see a repeating pattern of immorality, then you’re probably watching something you shouldn’t.

Incidentally, shows like Bleach, Naruto, etc, are so generalized in the genres they cater to that they don’t overextend in any one thing, and this generally makes them safe to watch, because they’re not devoting large sums of time to something perverted, overly violent, etc. Alot of these sleeper hits that hit the summer, fall, and winter seasons are the ones to look out for, as they are usually ripe with immorality of some kind.

In the end, it’s a judgment call that requires prudence and discernment if you plan to watch the show. After a few episodes you should pretty much be able to tell what they’re trying to sell you. You’ve got to just take it from there. I hope this helps. God bless.


So do you think it’s alright to watch something like One Piece and Dragon Ball Z?

The more I think about it, the more scrupulous it seems, because if watching those shows with those names is a sin, then eating devil’s food cake or deviled eggs would be a sin too. So would buying a “Dirt Devil” vacuum and watching “The Tasmanian Devil” on Looney Toons.

I’m sorry, but I cannot comment on those two shows as I’ve never watched either. This is one reason I avoided answering your questions earlier, since I don’t have enough knowledge of these shows to weigh in even a subjective opinion.

From what I understand, DBZ is about tournament fighting, and if this is true, there is moral room for a story of this nature, just as it is not immoral to watch a movie about boxing (like the Rocky films) just because people are getting beat up. With Rocky, for example, you have a movie about a man’s journey from nothing to being on top. The violence in the film series is just a given of the nature of boxing, and for them to depict it as realistically as possible is not a sin, either. The boxing matches in the films are part of the story telling and have a legitimate purpose being there.

Similarly, if DBZ uses the fighting to tell a story that is moral or the fighting serves a higher purpose, to end war, etc, bring peace etc, then it wouldn’t be morally illicit to watch shows of this nature, unless the violent scenes are purposely overdone for the sake of violence in itself, to glorify it. If the battle scenes glorify the violence as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end, then it hardly seems wholesome.

No, buying a vacuum cleaner because it has the word devil in it is not a sin, and watching Taz is not a sin because the animal he is based on is called a tasmanian devil. They call the vaccum and the animal a ‘devil’ to demonstrate it’s ferocity in either picking up dirt or it’s temeprament; it is not a reference to the demonic itself . Eating devil’s food cake is not a sin, because the food is not demonic, it is a term associated with a type of gourmet food and doesn’t have spiritual significance. They use the term ‘devil’ here because eating sweets and sugar rich foods is often times considered a guilty pleasure one might indulge in, and that’s where the ‘devil’ comes from.

In an earlier post, you used the example of the Mr. Satan character and that his ride has the devil’s number on it. That would be an example of something illicit and unnecessary. Even if the character is a gag or comic relief, the fact they put it out there like that in a cartoon is intentional, and I find it suspicious. Does it make the show sinful to watch? Probably not, if the character doesn’t appear often enough for it to be a real problem. As I said, you can just fast forward, skip that part, etc., so you don’t have to scruple about it.

Remember that the animators come from a pagan nation steeped is mysticism and superstition, so when they use these terms and things, they don’t realize the weight of what they’re doing, and if they do, they don’t care, which is why they’ve had no problem showing priests shooting people, and nuns wearing sexually suggestive attire, or else having them act in a way that is not Christian (which would make it scandalous for non-christians and offensive to us). As I said earlier, you’ll KNOW when something is obvious and intentional and when to avoid it because anime is becoming more and more gratuitous in the way it handles the themes and subject matter. This is actually a good thing for people looking to discern whether to watch a show, because these shows will set off red flags right away. And for those that are scrupulous, it removes all doubt the worse the programming gets.

Come to think of it, I think Mr. Satan’s car doesn’t appear in the show itself. I think it only appears in either the opening or closing credits.

I would say that’s irrelevant if it’s in the programming and it airs on a network that way. But, if it is in the opening or closing, that makes it easier to avoid, since most people only watch the opening and endings to a show once or twice and then skip them to save time.

When the anime came on TV, they changed Mr. Satan’s name to “Hercule” and they probably edited his car as well. I remember a friend of mine had a toy of “Hercule’s” car and the number was changed to “686” or something.

And by the way, your name is “The Otaku” and you haven’t seen One Piece or Dragon Ball!?!?! :eek:

I am going to argue that you are being a bit scrupulous with the Mr. Satan comments. As you mentioned Japan is a mainly heathen (Shinto) country which has a different perspective on religion and especially Western Christianity. They are not trying to promote satanism or anything like that they are just trying to have a laugh. They do not have proper weight because it is comedy. On your line of argument something like Catholic Memes would be boarder line sinful because it does not give proper weight either. When watching anime I think it is important to look at the intention behind characters, actions, scenes, etc. to see if it is sinful or not. So for example an anime like A Certain Magical Index has a very inaccurate understanding of Christianity’s relationship with Magic and witchcraft, but it still uses Christianity as a force of good against science and magic that use people. I would say this is not sinful because it is driving a story and trying to establish characters within it. Although inaccurate the author’s intention appears to be good. If on the other hand you have a “sexy nun” character who is there purely for fanservice, then the author’s intention was to create some kind of arousal, so it is not a good intention and is probably sinful to watch.

In the case of editing, then this a good thing and you should feel relieved. People often complain about dubbing or when America edits the originals, but these are instances where it’s a good thing if the censorship is not too severe; though the American companies probably only do so for legal reasons, not that they have a moral issue with it personally.

Actually, my screen name here on CAF is somewhat of a personal joke, since while I do like anime, I wouldn’t consider myself an otaku in the sense that I’m hardcore or zealous. I’ve never even been to an anime convention or those types of events. I don’t cosplay, either. I am an artist though, so I contribute to the fandoms, etc, that way.

Comedy is often a veil or vehicle to introduce an idea which itself is not wholesome to our Christian morality, and the comedy is meant to disarm you to the idea of what they are suggesting so that you might become well disposed to it for the sake of consumption. If you are entertained, you are in a more agreeable state of mind, and while this is typical conditioning in our secular world, Christians are called to be stronger than that and endure. I am not saying any particular show does this, as it would be a case by case basis, nor am I saying all shows that have done this are sinful. You’re right to point out that some shows try to be neutral, but this is merely a token service, and not an expression of true respect and intent to honor or do good by the real-world meaning behind the imagery/symbolism; these are merely templates for their plot devices, which is what enables them to misused to begin with.

Indeed, intent is very important, but often times this is overshadowed by mixed messages and imagery, and this contradiction can confuse people (to the point of sin even) and the intent is lost in translation. The thread starter asked a serious question, and I gave a serious answer.

I think you are reading into this a great deal more than is necessary, to the point of scrupulousness. For example your entire attack so to speak on comedy. Comedy is not evil and most comedy is not meant to disarm a person in order to make them more agreeable to an idea it is done for fun and laughter. Sure there are some comedies that are philosophical and ideological at heart and are meant to “convert” the viewer to a view point that may be sinful, but within anime that I have seen I have seen this only once in Humanity has Declined which is absurdest and uses very cynical humour to try to convey that life is meaningless. Even though this philosophy is wrong, I would not say that watching the anime is sinful in itself, if you are deep enough in your faith to see through it it will not cause you to fall. Besides this anime most comedy comes from either slap stick or plays off of anime tropes (the smart/serious character, the weird/bubbly character, the otaku/recluse etc.). Which is all harmless fun. As for using Christian symbols as plot devices, once again if you are firm in your faith you will know what a Cross for example actually means and that it does not have magical powers etc. and yes it can confuse some people, but still it is not sinful for a Catholic to watch this if they know the truth. I would agree that perhaps it is better for someone who is unfamiliar with Christianity to avoid such animes and to learn the teachings, beliefs, symbols etc. of the faith from Christians rather than from anime. Better yet we as anime fans should meet non-catholic anime fans on the level of anime and teach them the truth of the symbolism and the misconceptions that anime often gives. I see it as a springboard to evangelization rather than something to be condemned in and of itself. After all many people come to the Church through less pure means by entering a protestant church for example and then slowly working their way back to the true Church through a search for the Truth. For example a person may first learn of Christ from a Baptist, then move to the Anglican church in an attempt to find something more in line with the Church fathers they heard about. This could eventually bring them into the Catholic Church. I think that as misinformed as Christian symbolism often is in anime, it could at the very least spark an interest in Christianity which could lead to conversion. As for your comments on the symbolism being a token service I would disagree. There is no doubt that most anime is wrong about Christianity, but I would say this has less to do with a direct attack on or a mockery of the faith and more to do with ignorance. I think the Japanese often believe they are respecting Christianity by treating it in a similar way to Shintoism in anime without knowing that it is actually offensive to Christians. Rather than condemn this I think it is better to meet them at this level and raise them up to the Truth. After all as much as they get wrong there is still some truth lingering (Christianity as a force of good being a very common one). I think it is excellent that since anime so often shows religion, it can act as an ice-breaker when talking to irreligious people. Something very useful in the new evangelization.

I’m not attacking comedy in general; I’m not ‘attacking’ anything. Those are your words. I do not think you are being very charitable in your responses, which I did not provoke; I was speaking to the thread starter. Rather than say you just disagree with me, you call me scrupulous (twice now) and that is not a judgement call for you to make about a complete stranger on an online forum. If you don’t agree with me, fine, but please don’t label other people in order to dismiss them; it’s rude and condescending.

Citing anime you think proves your point is irrelevant to what I am saying; I am referring to shows where it is a problem and how these are identified and what can be done to avoid them. My advice is sound and logical, and more importantly, it is not directed at you.

I already said I was not referring to all anime and that it would be a case by case basis. You seem insistent to believe that I am implying more than I actually am, and most of your post is unnecessary and is reaching for a conclusion that is not there. I do not need to be lectured with examples of how people can come to Christ through anime, etc. I am not ignorant or short sighted. I’m well aware that to a strong Christian, especially a strong Catholic, most of what anime bombards you with is not going to affect you if your viewing is done in moderation, your prayer life is strong, and you frequent the sacraments often. This does not change the issue at hand, however, or the reality that anime is in moral decline in many areas. We’re not here to defend the merits of anime, we’re here to answer specific questions about it, which I did, but your responses to me are detracting away from that, and that is energy I’d rather spend helping the thread starter than debating with you.

Thanks, but no thanks.