The purpose of the First Church of Hayao Miyazaki is to show people that the "virtues" peddled by the vast majority of street preachers (who seem to use religion either as a crutch to prop themselves up in place of previous chemical addictions or as justification for their own ignorant prejudices against women and homosexuals) in our fair city can be found if you look around at other sources with an open mind. In our case, Japanese animation (AKA "anime" and "Japanimation," although we hate the latter term), in conjunction with discussion with other fans, locally and internationally, has shown us many strengths and truths. Also, we just love to wind up the more obnoxious street preachers by any means necessary.
THE FATHER: The late OSAMU TEZUKA revolutionized manga (the Japanese word for "comics") during his lifetime, and his influence on manga continues to this day. In fact, in Japan, he is frequently cited as "Manga no Kami" ("The god of comics"). His most famous creations were "Tetsuwan Atom" (known in north America as "Astroboy") and "Jungle Taitei" ("Kimba the White Lion"). The animated movie Metropolis (released in Japan in 2001, and currently circulating in North America) is based upon one of his manga titles, and his character designs. And, for those who think that anime and manga is Godless, I might point out that the last project that Tezuka worked on in his lifetime was In the Beginning, a set of OVAs (Original Video Animation, or direct-to-home-video releases) based on classic Bible stories. These have been released domestically (25 episodes; one per dub VHS only; sorry!) and are available from the online store The Right Stuf International, Inc. Bilingual Region 2 Japanese DVDs (North America is Region 1, so, unless you have a player equipped for region 2, you won't be able to watch these) containing 2-3 episodes each have been released by Toshiba in Japan. I have found this review of one of these discs, but no listings yet in any online stores that I know of.
THE SON: HAYAO MIYAZAKI, artist and director, co-founded Studio Ghibli in Japan and produced and released various films that have broken box office records in Japan and have large, devoted followings in North America, including Tonari no Totoro ("My Neighbor Totoro," available from Fox Video), Mononoke Hime ("Princess Mononoke,") and Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushii ("Spirited Away," both available from Buena Vista, among other well-loved titles). Because of the atmosphere his films create, which touch both child and adult equally well, and the themes which feature prominently throughout his body of work--love of children and their open, joyous spirit; the importance of friendship and a kind and supportive family structure; respect for the environment--we decided to dedicate our cause to him.THE DAUGHTER (we need one, since women are important to us all): YUU WATASE is probably the most prominent shoujo manga (comics marketed to girls; this doesn't mean males can't enjoy them, however) artist today. Her blends of action, romance, comedic touches and a distinctive art style have won her many fans on both sides of the ocean. Her best-known work, Fushigi Yuugi ("The Mysterious Play") is available as an animated series from Pioneer Animation and an English-translated comic from Viz Comics. Her most recent anime series, Ayashi no Ceres ("Ceres: Celestial Legend") is now available from Viz, who are also releasing the manga, as well as one of her most recent manga series, Alice 19th.
THE HOLY SPIRIT? Well, if you love, like, or at least can appreciate anime, the Holy Spirit of Anime is easily found within your own self. However, we do wish to acknowledge the lasting influence of four spiritual sisters from the Holy Land who operate under the name CLAMP (Magic Knight Rayearth, Card Captor Sakura (accept no imitations, dilutions or mutilations) and X the Movie, to name but a few of their creations), and their divinity unto anime fans worldwide, so “The Holy Spirit” in our trinity will henceforth be known as “The Holy CLAMP.”
DO YOU REGARD ANIME ON NORTH AMERICAN TELEVISION, LIKE SAILOR MOON, POKEMON, CARDCAPTORS AND MEW MEW POWER TO BE SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES? It's a matter of opinion, really. We personally find it to be horribly dubbed edited-to-oblivion-for-broadcast dilutions of its former self, but it you can still find the spirit of anime within these, then we won't deny or belittle your feelings.
HOW CAN YOU PEOPLE DARE TO DO SOMETHING SO UTTERLY SILLY AND MAKE FOOLS OF YOURSELVES? Well, we were bored out of our trees, and it seemed like a good idea (especially since some of the stuff that bored people customarily get into is frankly pretty scary). If you think that what we're doing is silly, good. I hope you enjoy it, and we really don't mind if you laugh at us for doing this. We're laughing at this ourselves more than anybody else.
THE FRONT PAGE USED TO BE CALLED "THE FIRST CHURCH OF MIYAZAKI." WHY DID YOU ADD HIS FIRST NAME? We really wanted to keep the name short and snappy, but another Miyazaki, given name Tsutomu, tainted the name in Japan by molesting and/or murdering four girls in Japan (he is not related to the good one in any way we know of). We wish to make it absolutely clear that the Miyazaki we praise is Hayao of Studio Ghibli, who has brought love and joy to people with his art, and that Tsutomu (a name which seems to be designed to be spat out) is to be regarded with nothing less than all the scorn and reprehension he has earned. The newsgroup rec.arts.anime.misc has had some people confuse the two names, but thankfully, the more knowledgeable posters there set them right immediately when this happens.
Due to Brother Koutoku's untimely passing, the E-mail address he was handling is now closed. When I finally establish another account, I will give it out here and on the index page.
Live, love, laugh, loaf, and watch more anime.
for THE FIRST CHURCH OF HAYAO MIYAZAKI.