Specials, or OVAs, are great for a number of reasons. First, they can work as a means to promote a story or series to encourage viewers, or as a way to conclude a series and offer proper closure with an unsatisfied audience, if any. Second, they may hint on a possible continuation of a series. And third, it always works as an excuse for catering. Whether it be fanservice, or that much requested manga chapter that didn’t make it to the “big screen” – there is always room for catering. Or ultimately, as a means to make more money. But let’s put aside these realities for a bit for the sake of this post.
The Sunday Without God Special recently streamed, this past week. The special promotes a total of three “mini episodes” which, all together, make it episode 13. So in order to understand the episode, you should probably watch the anime beforehand.
In the spirit of all things great about Specials and OVAs, episode 13’s first “mini episode” offered a lot of fanservice, for the simple sake of fanservice – taking place around the third arc of the anime. Segment two and three catered to an audience who enjoys a little more development. Also taking place in the third arc of the series, it captures Alice recalling an encounter with Hampnie, while the third segment focused on Hampnie’s memory of how he met Hana – most probably taking place during the first arc of the anime.
I don’t know why they decided to break the special into three different side stories, but they all offer a piece of insight into past occurrences of the series that I think are relevent to the story. Especially the third segment. It is the only segment that hints towards a continuation of the series, so I’d like to talk a little more about that segment.
Could they continue the series? Of course they can. Assuming the anime was a complete success and the manga and light novel it’s based on had plenty of material left to work with, then yes. But they can also discontinue the anime all-together, considering the special ended on a good note. Almost conclusively so, in my opinion. But I don’t want to spoil you non-viewers of the special out there, so if you could scroll past this next paragraph . . . you’re welcome.
Third Segment Impressions:
Hampnie’s segment was sincerely touching. I really appreciated the anime and I really appreciated his character. Despite his small role in the anime, in a way, he played a big role as Ai’s father. And witnessing his newly “enlightened” thoughts via his love for Hana captured, perfectly, the reason and ideal behind God’s followers. It was a faithful moment. A hopeful moment. A lazy moment that refuses to delve any deeper into the God aspect of the anime, but one of the reasons I continued to watch the anime, nonetheless. Faith. It almost made me wish for a second season. One that included their own love story. It almost made me want to read the novel and continue the story myself. Almost. But I can always appreciate an optimistic ending.
Acknowledging the good from something bad that happens to you – that always holds a certain amount of value. Whether or not you believe that had always been God’s ultimate plan . . .
The hopeful ending has always been my favorite kind of ending. Especially when it concerns a story with an ambiguous subject, such as, God. I say ambiguous because I find that God and religion always contradicts with other Gods and religions. So whatever their beliefs, it can’t be a truth that applies to everyone; taking into account the variety of determined people willing to interpret religion in their own way. Which lead, to my realization of Atheism.
On Being an Atheist:
I’m an Atheist, for those of you who may be wondering. I think it’s important to reveal where I stand on the subject of religion, mainly because I’d like to address some issues Atheists face among the general public.
So, why am I an Atheist? There is simply no viable evidence that proves “there is a God.” I’m not an Atheist because I don’t believe in God. I’m an Atheist because I simply don’t know whether he exists. And we could argue that “oh, well, maybe you’re Agnostic.” But then, aren’t we all Agnostic? If I asked you, “Do you believe the sun will rise tomorrow?” You may say “yes” but you don’t know with 100% certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow. For all we know, we can be hit by an asteroid. End of life as we know it.
That’s not to say I can’t enjoy a story that has anything to do with God. I just won’t proclaim it as real without any objective truths. For some reason, Atheists are seen quite negatively among the general public, or rather among a small “vocal, religious” public, as if it is socially acceptable to distrust Atheists. It’s a conclusion based on numerous statistics and a set of personal experiences from Atheists themselves. If you find out someone is an Atheist, based on your beliefs, do you automatically assume that person has no morals because he/she refuses to accept a higher power or deity, based on a lack of evidence? I certainly don’t think of myself without any morals and such. They’re basic ethics. In fact, religion played a big role in my life, once upon a time. A time in my life I don’t regret. It was an opportunity for me to learn something new.
At the end of the day, we all have the ability to question and think for ourselves. And that’s the beauty about living in a free country. Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of beliefs. It would be boring otherwise…at least, I’d like to think.
I, like anyone, like wondering about our world and about our purpose in life. What is our purpose in life? But, like Ai, I’d like to venture out and explore those wonders. Are they really real? Help others, if I can. But at the same time, I am fine without knowing. As the late astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.” I prefer to see the universe as it is, rather than as I wish it to be.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Regardless of your beliefs, what are your favorite “religious” anime?
For my full review on the anime, click here.