Funimation. We Are Watching

How does our world treat strong Christians? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently for my wife and I with our condition, I blogged about Christopher Sabat, an anime voice actor, and a statement about autistic fans. A lot of this has come about due to a controversy involving another voice actor, Vic Mignogna, someone my wife and I have met who is a strong Christian. More material has come out that has put Vic’s Christian faith right at the center of a lot of what is going on. It involves the anime studio Funimation that Vic worked for and produces such anime series as Dragonball Z.

The big event was a video that got leaked of a lot of Dragonball Z voice actors making jokes. What’s so bad about that? These jokes involved homosexual and incestual relationships. One of the main terms picked out of this by fans is a reference to “sacred ointment.” This video also used music from the series which we have no word that the composer would want to have done with his music. Also, it was done on Funimation equipment at their workplace. The video is available on the net for anyone wanting to find it. I find it so repugnant I don’t want to directly link to it.

It’s not escaping a lot of peoples’ notice that Vic got fired because there were allegations that he had made a joke of a sexual nature that seemed inappropriate, but this video gets leaked and absolutely nothing happens. The hypocrisy is stunning. At this, one has to ask why does Vic get special treatment like this?

Things have gone from bad to watch for Funimation. Another voice actor, Chuck Huber, released an affidavit about what goes on behind the scenes at Funimation. This included references to what has been called a casting couch even. Something specifically pointed out was Vic’s strong Christian faith and a number of times it is said that is why he is being targeted.

My wife cares deeply about this issue and we have been keeping up. I think it’s relevant also to show how Christians have been treated and the problems I see with the MeToo movement. The MeToo movement I would hope started with good intentions, but now it has reached the point where too often an allegation is enough to put someone’s entire life on the line.

Yet here we have a situation where one actor, a strong Christian, gets flimsy charges put against him that don’t match up with the evidence, and he is raked across the coals. Then we have an affidavit that shows up talking about a casting couch and numerous off-color sexual jokes in a leaked video and nothing happens. The crucial dividing factor in all of this is that one of the people involved does not keep his Christian faith a secret.

Even if the case against Vic was found to be airtight, it would be a pyrrhic victory for Funimation as this leaked video has put them in the crosshairs and it’s quite likely the headquarters that own franchises such as Dragonball in Japan are not happy about this. The Japanese can be very conservative in many ways and want their characters treated with honor. Those who went after Vic are now in the crosshairs.

If the allegations are correct that this is because Vic is a Christian, and I think they are, then it can give us a reminder of how our world today still sees Christianity. In reality, we should expect this. Christians are going to be marginalized. The very first Christians were accused of being cannibals and having incestual orgies at their love feasts.

What a shock also that the charges raised are moral accusations. I think of Daniel and how when the other officials wanted to charge him with something, they knew it had to be about his worship of his God. Thus, they had a law promptly made up that the king agreed to that they knew Daniel would never submit to.

Time will tell how all of this plays out, but Christians should note this is how we are going to be treated in society. While I do oppose sexual harassment, I cannot support the way the MeToo movement is being used. Investigate allegations, but don’t act on them without hard evidence.

And one more thing for Funimation. We have decided to follow your slogan.

We are watching.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Chris Sabat and Autistic Fans

How should the term autistic be used? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife has always been a big fan of anime. I watched a few growing up. Pokemon, Digimon, Sailor Moon some, and Cardcaptors. Those are the only ones I can recall at the time. Her favorite series was one called Dragonball and one of the voice actors on there was Christopher Sabat who voiced the character Vegeta.

He has also been a part of a lawsuit against another voice actor named Vic Mignogna, a devout Christian with a large fan base. Vic is alleged to be a sexual predator. For those wanting the reply to this, I recommend the videos at Unreal Network.

Apparently a fan asked Sabat if he was going somewhere a convention. Sabat said he doesn’t want to make any announcements because Vic’s autistic fans are slandering the cast of Dragonball and want to watch the world burn instead of admitting Vic is a jerk. (He said something else allegedly, but I don’t speak that way.) A tweet about this appears to have been deleted, but there doesn’t seem to be denial that this happened.

My wife and I hold to the innocence of Vic, but that is neither here nor there at this point. Vic could be what his opponents think him to be and that would not change this post. I want to write about the idea instead of how the term autistic is used.

Faithful readers know that my wife and I are both on the spectrum. Because of that, I take claims like this seriously. At the same time, I want to stress that I am not offended. I think it’s cheap and despicable, but I don’t get angry about it really. It takes a lot to get me riled up.

To refer to autism as an insult really is a negative way of speaking of a wonderful community of people. There are all degrees of autism. There are people out there who are pretty much non-verbal, except for perhaps with animals. Then, there are people like myself who are public speakers and debaters.

It is true that we are not always aware of what is going on around us socially, but that does not mean we are stupid in any sense of the word. Our condition should not be used as an insult. To use it that way is not just to insult Vic’s fans, but to insult people who have no connection whatsoever to Vic and to paint a stigma on autistic people.

This is also in a day and age where mental illness has a stigma attached to it. Turn on the news and hear about a mass shooting. What’s one of the first targets immediately? Mental illness. It never can be that people are just evil and do evil things. No. The only way someone does such great evil is they have to be mentally ill.

For my own wife and I, if you came into our home, you might never know you’re in the home of two people on the spectrum. She would say I am further along on the spectrum than she is in that I have more characteristics. That’s probably true. I also don’t mind it. I like being on the spectrum. I enjoy the way my mind works. I think it gives me advantages.

So if Chris Sabat wants to continue his little crusade against Vic, well it’s a free country. He can do that. I can freely respond as I see fit. If he wants to insult people on the spectrum, he can also do that, but I would encourage him to keep in mind that there are several of us out here leading happy lives and are thankful to be alive. Maybe he should go out and meet some of us and see what we’re like before using our condition as a term of slander against other people.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

AWA 2016

What were some observations I made at AWA 2016? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last weekend, I was with my wife Allie at Anime Weekend Atlanta. Anime for those who don’t know is a style of Japanese cartoon, usually based on their form of comic books called Manga. At these conventions, you’ll find many people of all ages. Many of them are dressed in costumes as their favorite characters called Cosplay.

A lot of the Christian world looks down on this form of entertainment. To be sure, not all of it is good. There are pornographic animes and ones with heavy occult themes. That’s the same with our cartoons over here. I am not going to say everything in the anime world is good, but I am not going to say it’s all evil either.

What I will say is that there are plenty of people in this world who don’t care about the occult or anything like that, but just like to enjoy a good story of good vs evil and other such material. Since my wife likes it so much, we will often sit on the couch and pull up YouTube on the TV and watch an episode together. I prefer usually one episode at a time of a series. I really don’t care for binge watching.

I’m also thankful that there are Christians in the field. You can find an excellent interview with voice actor Vic Mignogna on this. (Incidentally, Allie and I enjoyed meeting him this week and I also enjoyed meeting Johnny Yong Bosch, the second black power ranger in the series and yes, he did say for me “It’s morphin time!”) Vic points out what it’s been like interacting with people at these conventions and he’ll even have worship services there. He also has defended them before street preachers, which you can see here.

There are of course non-Christians. One actor at an event told about getting started in the acting field by doing a job where they played as a gypsy giving fake readings at a business meeting for fun. Later on, she talks about getting into Tarot Cards and giving readings and about thanking the universe and how your thoughts attract things to you. I was trying to be respectful, but it sure was difficult sitting there hearing this and Allie and I just looked at each other and we knew what each other was thinking. If I could have asked something it would have been “What were the Jews thinking about that led to the holocaust?” Of course, I didn’t. I still admire their work, but not their worldview.

Something else revealing was a panel that we went to called Ask An Anime Character. There’s a screen upfront and listed on it are fifteen anime characters. Their voice actors are off to the side and you get to ask them questions and then they’ll be a lot of interaction after that. It’s quite humorous, but there was something that happened that showed me what was going on.

A lot of people, notably women, would ask a question like “Would you go to prom with me?” or “Would you tell me I’m beautiful?” or “Could you call me your Princess today?” I told Allie that I thought it was awfully sad, but at the same time I wonder if these girls are asking for this because they have been rejected by so many. They just want someone to publicly tell them they’re beautiful.

That’s something you see at these conventions. A lot of people are there who to others are rejected and not accepted. At an anime convention, they’re more free to be themselves. My own wife even was happier at the convention. I wonder why these people don’t feel as free and safe in a church? Now of course, the church should be a place where people who are living sinful lives won’t be coddled, but look at Jesus. How many times were sinners afraid to come to Him? He never coddled them either. He never said sin was no big deal. He spoke the strongest words against it of all, but He had the greatest love for the sinners. If Jesus visited AWA (And people knew it was Him and not a cosplay) would they be scared of Him or would they actually want to be around Him?

It’s my sincere hope the church will find ways to interact with people everywhere. If Paul can go to Mars Hill, can’t we reach people here? We should also celebrate Christians in the field and hope that they can reach many more people. People at these conventions are people who also need Jesus after all. Who will bring Him to them?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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