In episode two of Sora no Method (Celestial Method), Nonoka starts school, but the episode isn’t centered around her class – it quickly focuses on a new friendship she develops with Yuzuki, a loud and spunky classmate who enlists Nonoka in her plan to get rid of the saucer that hovers over the island in which they live.
Throughout the episode, as Yuzuki drags Nonoka to different locations in executing her plans, you can see how uncomfortable Nonoka feels. She does not want to be a part of all this, and is embarrassed by Yuzuki’s unabashed pronouncements over and over again. And yet, Nonoka continues to follow along. Certainly, she doesn’t want to hurt her new friend, but even the patient Nonoka is brought to a tipping point. But strangely enough, it’s when she refuses to go with her friend to the island directly under the saucer, and after the two fall into a lake shortly after deciding to split, that Nonoka is able to have a real conversation with her spastic friend.
We get to learn a lot about Nonoka’s character in this episode. Though letting herself being taken along on this crazed journey could be chalked up to a number of things, Nonoka’s kindness at the end of their day’s sojourn can only be the result of a kind heart. Despite suffering because of Yuzuki, Nonoka remains patient and loving as she listens to her friend.
If last week the tables were turned, in episode six of Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror), the players are now hurtling in opposite directions. Nine and Twelve are racing into traps to disable bombs while the authorities, controlled by Five and the FBI, have the upper hand.
This episode deals a lot with set-up and the reactions of three different groups. Five and her FBI handler are now in fact the terrorists (if they couldn’t already be called that after last week’s events). Five arranges a bomb in an airport and sends out a riddle, pretending that all of this from Sphinx. Her intent is to draw Nine and Twelve into a trap, where she can play an airport-wide game of chess with them. The boys have no choice but to abide if they want to avoid being blamed for possibly hundreds of deaths, though Lisa now appears to be the Ace up their sleeve. And Shibazaki, no longer a “lone wolf,” is joined by his comrades as they decide to go to the airport, even though they’ve been ordered to stay put.
Each of these three groups is lead by outcasts – those that don’t belong. They’ve all been forced into their situations, or otherwise ostracized in a way that’s led them to become dangerous in their own rights. Terror in Resonance very accurately shows what can happen when we treat others as outcasts – they can become angry, bitter, crazed, and/or violent. While Nine and Twelve are attempting to do something just (though neither is entirely stable), Five has become a would-be mass murderer. Meanwhile, Lisa seems willing to join in on terrorist schemes, still under the assumption, it seems, that Nine and Twelve are trying to hurt people. SHE’S OKAY WITH THAT, as long as it means she has a place she belongs.
It’s your kindness, Lord
That leads us to repentance
Your favor Lord, is our desire
It’s your beauty, Lord
That makes us stand in silence
Is better than life
“Kindness” (Chris Tomlin)
As we continue with our Fruits of the Spirit series, this week I get to ruminate on what is perhaps the most easily understood fruit – kindness. We’re all intimate with this action, through our demonstration of it, through reception of it, and sometimes through lack of experiencing it.
When we act in kindness, we’re showing love to another. But the word carries an additional connotation; it seems to be intertwined with the idea of grace. Kindness is loving another, whether or not they deserve it. In fact, kindness is so moving, sometimes, because it’s unexpected.
There are many anime characters that demonstrate kindness, but one stands above the rest. In a harsh world whose violence resembles the wild west as much as the garb of it’s citizens, lives one who is unnaturally kind. The man in red, Vash the Stampede, first appeals to us through his goofy humor and superhuman abilities. But as Trigun wears on, we come to love the show’s hero because, without fail, he always tries to act for the good of others.
Vash’s kindness is unusually strong. This defining characteristic becomes ingrained in him because of a model in his youth. Rem, the older sister figure in his young life, taught him by example to love without borders, without regard for how others treat you, and in fact, to show kindness in all circumstances – even in the face of death. Read the rest of this entry