I’m far from the first person to point out how badly the Catholic church needs new members, and I certainly won’t be the last with how things are currently going. For decades, The Youths™ have been leaving in droves to pursue things like secularism, party drugs, esports, and stock trading. If we’re going to continue as the dominant branch of Christianity, then something needs to change, and fast. After all, what would happen if we were no longer the most widespread religion on the planet? No more arbitrary hierarchies or traditions that are wildly out of touch with modern values? I can’t even entertain the thought! But alas, we’re living in a rapidly evolving era… how can the church possibly keep up with every little trend or capitalize on areas of interest that we have no experience in? Well, dear reader, what if I told you that the church already has a hand in one of the largest pop culture phenomena of this generation? You wouldn’t happen to be a fan of anime, would you? Because if so, I’ve got some glorious news! Anime is the perfect medium with which to spread the word of God. Not explicitly, of course. People can’t know that we’re directly involved in entertainment that would otherwise be considered blasphemous. But we’ve been pulling the strings since the very beginning, sowing the seeds of faith in the brain of every child who grew up watching Toonami. If you’re having a hard time believing me, then allow me to provide some examples.

An obvious example is “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” Firstly, it’s in the name. The book of Genesis is the first book in the Old Testament, and the word “evangelion” relates directly to the gospel, meaning “good news” in Greek. But who cares about etymology? Our intent in influencing Hideaki Anno when he created “Neon Genesis Evangelion” was to make a modernized version of the Bible that apathetic teenagers would be much more receptive to. Kids nowadays don’t care about the twelve apostles; they care about Asuka Langley. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus doesn’t hit the same anymore; we needed a revitalization of that tragic, homoerotic relationship that people could really get invested in, and we did that with Shinji and Kaworu. Many people now consider the Bible to be obsolete and find it difficult to follow — and truthfully, who can blame them? I may be speaking out of turn here but come on, Leviticus 19:19 forbids people from wearing clothing made from blended fabric. Where can you find clothing that isn’t made from blended fabric these days?! Leviticus 20:18 also forbids people from having sex on their periods. Now that I think about it, perhaps Leviticus is just a particularly strange book of the Bible, but I digress. I believe that through anime, we’re slowly changing the mentality that the Bible is too out of touch to connect with. Anytime you see someone with a “Kaworu died for your sins” bumper sticker on their car, that’s our influence working through them, repairing the damage that Leviticus did. God damn you, Leviticus.

Another example is “Puella Magi Madoka Magica,” an anime about young girls that have their wishes granted in exchange for becoming magical heroines who hunt witches. Not too far removed from your average magical girl anime, until you look a little deeper. See, every faith needs a prophet. Not only that, but a prophet needs to be trustworthy and compelling, someone you can really vibe with. That prophet is Madoka Kaname. She’s kind, earnest, and down to earth — a true friend to all! And at the end of her quest to liberate magical girls from their plight, she ascends to the heavens to have her wish granted, making it so that no more magical girls must suffer and die. Sound familiar? Jesus pioneered this strategy, which we in the business call Christ-maxing. Tangentially, we’ve started using gamer-speak so that young people have an easier time integrating into our faith.

Although I could go on indefinitely, our final example is one of the most relevant since it recently got a reboot. The “Trigun” series isn’t subtle in its usage of Catholic imagery, which may seem obvious since one of its most iconic characters is a priest who wields an impractically large machine gun shaped like a cross. Enter Nicholas D. Wolfwood, who albeit isn’t the most ideal representation of the faith, seeing as he… well… kills people for a living and all. However, his faith in God is unwavering! Sort of…! As long as you don’t read the manga or watch the reboot! In the 1998 animated version of  “Trigun,” Wolfwood sticks to his guns (literally) as a traveling preacher looking to spread the word of the Lord. The fact that he occasionally shoots people is of no concern to us, we don’t know any of them. Wolfwood embodies Christian values such as humility, compassion, and courage. His counterpart, Vash the Stampede, takes on an almost Christ-like role with his insistence on minimizing the suffering of others as much as possible, even if it’s to his own detriment. All three of Vash’s companions — Nicholas D. Wolfwood, Meryl Stryfe, and Milly Thompson — are akin to disciples in the way they follow Vash on his travels and learn lessons alongside him. The character arc of Vash’s twin brother, Millions Knives, is even comparable to Lucifer and his fall from grace in the book of Isaiah.

Notice any patterns here? Anime is just the Bible with some flourish! For every example mentioned here, there are ten more examples that I couldn’t fit in. Anime is our last shot at getting church attendance numbers up, and although it’s a bit of a long game, I think that we still have a chance to turn things around for the better. If you approach anyone under the age of 25, then there’s a decent chance that they’re a fan of anime or are at least somewhat familiar with it. This is good! It means that our subliminal messaging has a higher chance of reaching them and drawing them into the faith! The battle doesn’t end there, though. We can’t simply rest on our laurels and presume that this will be enough to revitalize Catholicism as a whole. No, we need to continue shoehorning God’s word into everything we possibly can. This brings me to my ultimate proposal: a mobile gacha game where all the playable characters are saints. I don’t mean making the characters into anime girls who are based on saints, I mean I want a realistic rendition of Teresa of Avila except she’s got a sword and a magical familiar this time. Additionally, the primary benefit of developing a game with in-game purchases is that we can use that money to fund the Vatican. I know that Vatican City alone generates more wealth than the pope could ever need, but we could generate more, I think. I’m open to criticism on this idea, as long as none of those criticisms disagree with me or suggest that the pope doesn’t need any more money. The pope needs all the money, and to suggest otherwise is heresy. Either way, I look forward to hearing everyone’s feedback and continued investment in our Catholicism revitalization project. Blessings be upon you and your Crunchyroll account!