Category Archives: Anime
As Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) progresses, so, too, do the relationships in the show. Unlike other series, Ao Haru Ride throws five characters together who are fairly new to each other. There is some history there, but none of these people have been in any others’ social group before. We’re getting to see a quick evolution of a group of friends, and for some, a growth into something further.
Much of the continued emphasis in episode nine is on the love triangle between Kou, Futuba, and Yuri. The familiarity between Kou and Futuba remains, and this worries a jealous Yuri, who thinks that Kou might already be in love with his former crush. So in turn, Yuri tries to get closer to Kou, and perhaps does in some way, though both Futuba and the audience is left in suspense as to what (and what did not) occur.
But even with an emphasis on romantic relationships, the friendships are still an important part of the plot in this series. In this episode, Kominato’s deepening friendship with Kou is on full display, as he aggressively defends his friend when some arrogant former classmates of Kou’s harangue him over a perceived lack of intelligence.
Kou is taken aback by Kominato standing up for him (as much as the “stoic” Kou can be). It’s a powerful witness when someone stands up for you, taking on the potential blame, insult, punishment, and pain to help you. We’ve probably all been in a situation where someone has acted in that way on our behalf; how great it feels to have someone else put themselves on the line for us!
It’s a “Series of Miracles” kind of week here on Something More, as Frank, founder of that blog, is responsible for the majority of this week’s short list of links. Not that I’m complaining, as he’s one of my favorite writers in the blogosphere!
Frank again looks to anime childhood relationships as he discusses a Christian’s relationship with God. [A Series of Miracles]
In reviewing episodes 5 and 6 of Hanayamata, Frank points out the responsibility Christians have in representing their faith and how one might share their faith with others. 
Charles Dunbar educates us about clothing and purification in regards to Shinto rituals. [Study of Anime]
As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality. If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included.
The tension in Free! has slowly risen all season long, with the stress involving Makoto’s and Haru’s futures even more pressing than the races the show focuses on. It all came to a head in episode nine as Haru has a meltdown, both in the pool and out, as he literally stops in the middle of the race and stands up in his lane, and then yells at Rin afterward.
Haru apparently has no parents, but he’s still felt pressure about his future all season long. Episode nine emphasizes through both current-day dialogue and dream sequences that almost everyone around Haru is reminding him that scouts are watching his swimming, and that he’d better swim well to impress them and secure his future. Haru doesn’t want any of that (or maybe isn’t sure if he does), and succumbs to the pressure of it all.
The episode made me think about my own children and how I parent them. I never intended to be a typical Asian father, expecting straight A’s (or A+’s, rather) and perfect obedience from my kids, but I’ve had to realize that even at a young age, I’ve put a lot of pressure upon them. And for what reason? Basically so that they can have the world at their fingertips, even though that’s precisely what I don’t want for them.
And so, I’ve tried to change my parenting – to be gracious and kind when they don’t accomplish what I hope they will and to really mean it when I say that their “personal best” is more than enough. Even so, it’s difficult, because my experience has taught me that doing your best in school does matter. And frankly, because I’m selfish and prideful, and it’s hard for me to understand that my feelings and thoughts aren’t necessarily God’s way, the right way.
And so, I’m working on achieving some sort of balance in answering the question, how hard should I push my children to succeed?
But as this entire season has shown, there isn’t always an easy answer to this question, though one thing I know is this: however we parent, we must approach our children with a love that’s focused on them and not on what we want of them.
And who knows? Maybe episodes ten and eleven will surprise me and give me an answer. And if it does, I swear, I’ll start telling people that I “only parent freestyle.”
I was just about ready to give up on Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) – or at least blogging it. But then came along episode eight, hitting me right in the feels. Nicely done.
After getting so down on Futuba the past two weeks for her selfish thoughts (though I count myself as nearer her than a more perfect shoujo heroine), I was glad to see her thoughts this week turn toward Yuuri. Futuba was reminded of how important Yuuri is to her, through personal flashbacks and by Shuko (who in this episode made two big steps out of her shell by spending time with the girls and by sharing her crush with them). Out of respect for their friendship, Futuba tells Yuuri the truth – a hard admission, as Shuko points out.
Yuuri’s response is surprising to Futuba, and was a relief to me (the series has stressed me out the last few weeks), as she takes it relatively in stride. Though she cries in the privacy of a bathroom, Yuuri confirms to her friends that she’ll remain true to her friendship with Futuba, even as the two both pursue Kou.
Though Yuuri’s words are admirable, I’ve found myself dwelling more upon Futuba’s thoughts and actions. The latter has two real conflicting thoughts going through her head – her own desire for what she wants and a more altruistic hope that she won’t hurt a friend. And though more than once, Futuba mentions that she might lose a friend, I don’t think that line of thinking weight on her as heavily as her want to keep Yuuri from pain, as this episode demonstrates how much she really cares for her friend.
I have a tendency to shirk away from challenge. Complacency is a hole I feel I constantly find myself climbing out of. If I can avoid it or procrastinate, I usually do. It’s much easier to shove something into a metaphorical box and go watch Youtube videos then actually work through it.
Spiritually in my life, this is something God will tolerate for only so long. As always, God cares much more about me than I do about myself and wants me to have life in abundance, even if that means significant challenge.
There is one scene in Fruits Basket between Kyo and his master/father figure Kazuma that made me think about how sometimes God’s plan for my life and my desire to not deal with challenge, ever, come to a head.
As the cat of the zodiac, Kyo is the most cursed of all of the Sohmas. As part of his curse, he turns into a horrific beast if he doesn’t wear a set of beads and will be confined to a place on the Sohma estate for the rest of his life after high school. He copes with this situation by focusing all of his hurt and frustration on Yuki the rat, the most privileged of the zodiac that was said to have tricked the cat long ago, and keeping almost everyone is his life at a distance.
Kazuma confronts him about this one night.
Kazuma: Is this the way you intend to go on living for the rest of your days? Ears plugged, eyes closed, hiding behind your hatred for Yuki? Read the rest of this entry
For as long as I can remember, back even to my elementary school days, I recall always desiring to be different or unique. I can even remember my public school teachers all hammering that message into my and my classmates’ collective heads. “Be yourself” seemed to be the key phrase (and considering my years of work in IT for public education, and consequent time spent in public schools, seems to still be the key phrase) tossed around like an inflatable volleyball on the beach, for it floats easily and just seems to fit the setting.
Now before I continue on any further, I must qualify the rest of this article by saying that I do not disagree with this statement in the slightest. While it should perhaps not be taken at face value (some happy medium must exist behind the conservative convention that being oneself gives way to a lack of moral objectivity and consequent slippery slope of moral degradation and the liberal convention that moral subjectivity declares being oneself the path to defining morals themselves), there is redeemable value in those simple words, “be yourself.”
And with that explained, I would like to delve deeper into my personal experience with this concept of individuality.
As I mentioned in sentence one of this article, my personality has always been one governed by popular opinion. Governed not in that I blend in with society’s trends, but rather the opposite, that I purposefully have gravitated toward that which is not popular. This is a part of myself that I have determined through reflecting on past decisions, from decisions as minor as deciding a video game class based on looking up polls on which ones were used, and selecting the least popular, to decisions as major as choosing not to share some of my interests in fear of accidentally making them more popular and thus removing myself from the category of “unique.” This latter example is where I would like to spend the majority of my time today.
After getting so down on Futaba last week, I was really glad to see an entire episode dealing with her dilemma and her real desire to tell Yuuri the truth. But further, episode seven of Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) continue to showed Futaba’s shortcomings, which are the same we all have.
The show opens as episode six left off, with Kou having stepped off the train to be with Futuba, who has come to terms with her “love” for him. He notices the scent of her hair. She falls even more for him and decides she must tell Yuuri that she, too, loves Kou.
But in between, something interesting happens. Futuba runs into her best friend from middle school. If you remember back in episode one, Futuba compared herself to Yuuri, having been ostracized during middle school as Yuuri was during high school. Futuba’s middle school friend had been her only companion, but eventually abandoned her, too, and here we find out it’s because she thought they both liked the same guy. Futuba makes the connection with Yuuri and Kou and becomes more distressed, wondering what effect all of this will have on their relationships.
What Futuba fails to realize is that her lack of honesty is already having ripple effects. Yuuri is worried about Futuba, and so hidden feelings are having an outward impact. And what if Futuba failed to tell Yuuri about her feelings for Kou until they exploded out into the open? What kind of effect would secrets revealed have then?