Maria Kawai’s Amazing Grace – Part II
Laura of Heart of Manga concludes her guest posts on the Christian heroine of the manga, A Devil and Her Love Song.
Maria Kawai is the heroine from A Devil and Her Love Song. Her actions in the series profess an inner grace that she has gained through her attendance at a Catholic school. While she struggles with her faith daily, she still strives to believe in the goodness of others and the belief that even she who seems to be hurtful to others can be loved.
While singing to console herself on the first day of school, her beautiful voice attracts the attention of the two most popular boys in her class. This in turn just fuels the anger of the other girls in her class who have been bullying her. They set up an elaborate scheme to try to make it look like Maria is hurting another student. They invite her to a karaoke place after school as a welcome party. They manipulate another girl from class, Tomoyo, to play the victim to frame her and bring Maria to the party. After observing the girls call Tomoyo by an unwanted nickname, Maria confronts the girl to find out why she tolerates it. Not wanting to consider the social stigma of going against the flow, the girl panics and reactively pushes Maria down the stairs. Maria falls and sprains her ankle.
After tolerating the hatred of my classmates, I personally would have been fed up at this point. After being rejected so, I would have gone home and wallowed in self-pity. But Maria shows the patience of Christ. She turns the other cheek, and gives the girls another chance. Knowing they are probably up to no good, she decides to go to the party anyway, swollen ankle and all, and try to be friendly with the girls. Remembering that the nuns taught her not to doubt others before she gets to know them. Deciding to show grace instead of retaliating.
When Tomoyo doesn’t show, the girls have to change their agenda. They decide to order tons of food and stick Maria with the huge bill. Unaware of the girls’ plans, Maria joins them to talk and sing. They try to put her on the spot by asking her to sing. Having been in the Catholic school, the only music Maria knows is hymns and children’s songs. The girls pick a children’s song that would sound silly in order to embarrass her. However, with Maria’s voice, it sounds beautiful. When Tomoyo shows up with popular Yusuke, the gig is up. The girls finally give up their fake premise and confront Maria with their hatred. They don’t understand how she can continue to socialize with them and not get their vicious undercurrent. Her response floored me.
The girls chastise her for her “blind faith” in them. She points out that having blind faith is better than having no faith at all. “Without faith you won’t see anything.” Even if her faith in the girls was wrong, how could she have known for sure if she didn’t at least give them a chance? Her attitude impacts all of the girls, but Tomoyo most significantly. Extending faith and love to those who are most undeserving is the testimony of Christ himself. Watching a character in a manga emulate that – that’s a powerful message.
Thank you so much to Laura for graciously writing these posts!
If you aren’t already following Laura’s site, please check it out. It’s one of the very best manga sites in the blogosphere. To get you started, here are some of my favorite posts from Heart of Manga: