I have spent some time as of late studying some children’s programming, in particular Japanese anime, that has been appearing on tv. I noticed a common theme among many of them. They all share heavily of the Occult, or Spiritual beliefs of religions and occultism. Perhaps the most innocent of these is the world of Pokemon.
Pokemon has single handedly managed to attract thousands of kids, teenagers, and young adults into its unique paradigm. What is it about the show and video game that make it so popular? As many people know the name of the anime means pocket monster. This is our first allusion to the some deeper meanings into its creation. If one watches some of the episodes one will see a recurring theme. The theme is of animal/monster like creatures creating bonds or sharing the world with humans. While most of the pokemon bare a purely fictitious existence. The idea of people paying respect to these creatures is somewhat reminiscent of the religious practice of Shintoism. More specifically it relates to the type of Shinto known as Folk Shinto. Folk shinto is comprised of numerous folk legends and beliefs based upon divination, and spirit worship.
Some pokemon are taken directly from Japanese myth and legend and incorporated into the show. The few that truly embody this are
Magikarp Magikarp is a fish type pokemon, modeled after the carp. In china there is a legend that when the carp is able to swim to the top of the waterfall it will turn into a dragon after its its difficult struggle. The Magikarp also evolves into a Gyrados which is a dragon type Pokemon.
Ninetales is another pokemon that references a chinese legend of a nine-tailed fox spirit and also the Japanese legend of Kitsune. Kitsune is a fox spirit which is able to transform and take shape of a human. This very legend of a Kitsune was actually used in an episode of pokemon. The gist of the episode was that a 200 year old nine-tales attempted to seduce one of the male characters on pokemon. The reason it attempted to seduce him was because it was lonely.
Spiritomb known as the forbidden pokemon because it is made of a 108 wicked souls. The souls were sealed in an odd keystone because of their unholy acts. This is of interest because in Buddhism a bell is rung 108 times on New Year’s Eve to correspond to the 108 wicked thoughts. Also a mala or buddhist prayer beads will typically have 108 beads for repetitions.
These are just 3 of over 480 pokemon, each one has its own unique abilities and history to it. Yes the storyline and game do encourage people to learn about strategy, respect, and basic social interaction; but it is curious to know the possible origins of the Pokemon universe. It is also easy to understand now how some people have attributed Pokemon to devil worship.
Another popular daytime cartoon that is seemingly steeped in magic and the Occult is Yu-Gi-Oh!. The premise of Yu-Gi-Oh! is a boy and his friends use a card game of skill and strategy to battle each other and their friends. Yu-Gi-Oh the protagonist receives an pendant from his grandfather. The pendant called the millennium necklace was found on an archaeological excavation in Egypt. The story continues and we find that Yu-Gi-Oh’s necklace contains the spirit of an ancient pharaoh. The pharaoh himself used to battle against the “evil” wizards, in a similar way to the card game Yu-Gi-Oh plays. In fact one learns that the duel monster battles the pharaoh had have been brought back in the card game Yu-Gi-Oh plays. So anytime during the show one will see this ancient Pharaoh taking possession over the young Yugioh fighting his battles for him.
The show eventually goes on to reveal different demons and monsters in the cards. Many of these entities have surely been based upon our own mythological demons and monsters. The most interesting correlation I have found with Yu-Gi-Oh; is that it closely resembles Aleister Crowley’s dealings with spirits when he went to Egypt. Crowley wrote a book while in Egypt called The Book of Law or Liber AL. The book was said to have be divined to him by his Holy Guardian Angel or the ancient spirit Aiwass in a series of trance visions. If one watches Yu-Gi-Oh long enough one will see for themselves the numerous pentagrams, seals. One may even see the unicursal hexagram which Crowley adapted while in the Golden Dawn. Now is this just a product of extremely good research or did the writers have a much more intense purpose in mind. One could even theorize that the story line in Yugioh actually mirrors the same purpose with the creation of the real cards. A point which Yugioh numerously refers to as the spirit of the cards. There is no chance with him, only a matter of faith.
These aren’t the only two shows that have ties to religion or the occult. In fact there are several more. The point of interest is that those who practice these things either help influence modern media or are influenced by the Occult. As I said earlier it is really no surprise that some devout religious persons would get worked up about these shows. If for no other reason than they may actually be correct in their assumptions. This does not dignify their zealotry but rather provides a point for one to contemplate.