Wandering Son Episode 02: Graceful Takatsuki

As many of us suspected, Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko) is turning out to be something quite special indeed.

Episode 2 of the series could be summed up in one word: forgiveness.

Chiba and Takatsuki’s relationship probably connects deeply to many of us.  While we may not have been in such a difficult love triangle, where strong friendships are torn apart, we can all understand the deep divide that can develop in friendships when one or both parties refuses to forgive.

Wandering Son Chiba Saori
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The saying goes that when a person refuses to forgive, the only one that’s hurt is him or herself.  This is true to some extent – how many times do we fume, for instance, when a person cuts us off in traffic, when it’s likely that the offender has already forgotten about us?  We become angry and fall into a bad mood, while the awful driver hums along on his way.

But the saying isn’t entirely true, especially when the two parties are close to one another.  Typically, both friends get hurt, and as time goes by, bitterness usually increases.

But not only do the two involved in the argument get hurt – sometimes other parties are hurt, as with Sasa in this episode.  Relationships are dynamic and fluid; they don’t occur in a bubble.  We’re all connected to others, and if a bridge between two people is broken, other trails leading to those bridges will forever be altered as well.

But all (or most) broken relationships can usually be fixed.  It takes one simple action.  It takes forgiveness.

The act of forgiveness in a situation like the one between Takatsuki and Chiba isn’t an easy one.  Both sides share the blame, even if it’s not 50/50.  Because of pride and other issues, neither side wants to budge.  The Bible, however, makes a clear reason why one should budge (Matthew 7).  Jesus is abundantly clear on the issue – don’t judge others too harshly, for you’ll also be judged in a similar way.  He uses the example of one who points out a speck in another’s eye, when that person has a plank in her own.  Only in our minds are we usually spotless.

Even if we’re only 5% to blame, we’re still to blame.  We’ve still added to the problem.  We, too, still need forgiveness.

And so, Takatsuki offers forgiveness in a beautiful way – she tells Chiba that she will skip practice to stand by her friend and walk her home, in case she needs protection.  A true signpost of friendship is when one stands by their friends, even at the detriment of their her interests – in this case, the possibility of physical pain.

Takatsuki demonstrates the power of grace.  Despite having a good case against Chiba, she puts everything aside and makes a risky move – after all, she could again be rejected, or she could get embarrassed.  But the power of grace –  giving love to the undeserved – is in motion here.  Her bold move tells Chiba that she knows she may not receive forgiveness (her overtures were rejected just the day before), but even so, she will forgive.  She’ll put it all on the line to say that “I forgive you,” or that she at least wants to be on that road.

As a number of characters in the series say – Takatsuki is, indeed, awesome.

Have you ever been in such a situation?  Were you the first to offer forgiveness, or was it the other way around?  Did grace transform your broken relationship?

4 thoughts on “Wandering Son Episode 02: Graceful Takatsuki

  1. I have never heard of this anime, but forgiveness is right up there with repentance in terms of must-see topics for me.

    To your questions, yes, I have been in situations both recently and not-so-recently where I knew I was required to forgive. I take forgiveness to mean that I will not hold the other party responsible for doing me harm. No doubt it means more than that, but unless I’m missing something, it surely cannot mean less than that. It is no easy thing to do, and it is all too easy to stop doing after doing it for a while.

    An even harder thing I’ve learned from experience is that I must forgive a party who has hurt me even if they have not asked for forgiveness, or do not think they have done something that needs to be forgiven, or do not even conceive of forgiveness the way I do. This is now getting into Twilight Zone stuff, where Christians must look completely insane.

    But it gets harder still. C.S. Lewis mentions that we are not offered forgiveness ourselves on any other terms than that we forgive others. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” It is a solemn and serious business, a bit scary even, and I don’t claim to have anything close to a complete understanding of the issue. But I think it is dangerous to close one’s eyes to these things.

    As I said, I don’t claim to understand these things fully, and goodness knows I am far from perfect in living them out. But if there is any show, animated or otherwise, that touches on such topics, then I will have to put it in the category of Stuff I Haven’t Seen Yet But Had Better Do So Already. You know, like “Haibane Renmei.” 🙂 (Which don’t worry, I will be borrowing it from someone this week.)

    And we now return you to your previously scheduled more cheerful broadcast in progress. 🙂

  2. I think this is a very beautiful explanation of the virtue found in this series, and yet it is extremely troubling to me that you seem to have missed a very important detail about this series. Hourou Musuko is a series about two transsexual children trying to grow and survive in the world against adversity, and while it seems you have a deep understanding of the Christian values that appear you fail to acknowledge that Takatsuki is a boy. This entire manga is about how Nitori is a girl and Takatsuki is a boy, it is not so readily apparent in the anime which seems to erase the LGBT theme from the work, but when one reads the manga it is obvious that the two protagonists are experiencing gender dysphoria. Even the summary of the work calls them trans in the Japanese standard of explanation (girl who wants to be a boy, boy who wants to be a girl). In order to more accurately reflect the nature of the work you write about, it is necessary that you call Takatsuki “him” and “he”. Chiba let Takatsuki back into her life even though she rejected his transition and she overcame her prejudice so that she could be a good friend and support him. This is a difficult feat and her compassion isn’t shown in your otherwise very good analysis.

    1. Thanks for the information. Truth be told, I know almost nothing of the transgenderism and the transgender community, including the proper way to address individuals who belong to it. You’ve encouraged me to do some research.

      On the topic of Chiba, though, I will say this post was written after the second episode of the series aired and thus, is only in consideration of what had been shown up until that episode. I’ve read a bit of the manga, but hadn’t read any at the time of this posting.

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