Hourou Musuko Episode 04: A Prayer from the Heart

At the end of episode four of Hourou Musuko, a scene occured which took me by surprise (in a good way).  Chiba heads toward a facility – at first, we’re unsure of what it is, but it soon becomes clear that it is some sort of church or cathedral.  There, she bows and prays.

Dear God,
Please bless that idiot Sashio with some brains and the pox
And let Nitori be Juliet.
And instead of Takatsuki,
Let me be Romeo.

Christians often like to say that “God isn’t a genie.”  He doesn’t wait for our prayers so that He can grant our every wish.  Do you remember in Bruce Almighty when Jim Carrey is so overwhelmed by prayers that he just makes “yes” his answer for every one?  It led to unexpected and troubling consequences.

Chiba treats God as a genie in the church scene.  Perhaps this is because she is viewing the Christian God through a Japanese lens.  Japanese religion has been called “practical,” and often involves asking kami or other venerated beings for some sort of wish.  I won’t sit and pretend that the character Chiba was written as a committed Christian – her attitude, age, and apparent avoidance of church seems to indicate otherwise – but there’s something to be said about her method of prayer.

Hourou Musuko Chiba
Courtesy of Pixiv Member #15904074

Chiba comes to God with a sincere heart.  By sincere, I mean that she not only prays exactly what’s on her mind, but doesn’t present a front before God.  She’s absolutely honest in what she says and means.  She doesn’t hide (humorous) disdain for her teacher and presents her selfish wishes (at the detriment of another) to God.

Prayer can be rigid and boring.  But this is not the type of prayer that’s expressed in the Bible.  Prayers in the Bible were passionate (Jeremiah), appealing (Abraham), argumentative (Moses), and personal (Jesus).  Pray-ers sometimes wished harm on others, asked for blessing for themselves, and cried “woe is me.”  The prayers of the Bible were rarely the ones we hear in churches today – they were raw and honest.

And while there’s something to be said about Chiba’s heart motivations, I think God would be proud of the sincerity of her prayer.  And perhaps for those of us who pray with little heart or who are trying to learn more about prayer, we can learn a little something from this moody girl.

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
~ I Samuel 16:7b

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

12 thoughts on “Hourou Musuko Episode 04: A Prayer from the Heart

  1. In the manga, she originally comes to the church out of a certain sense of guilt, though for what exactly isn’t ever 100% clear. Whether’s that more Christian or less, I’ll leave to you. 🙂

    1. Well, I don’t wanna get into how Christian or not she is…I probably shoulda left that out of my post. *remembers to avoid judging people’s personal faith*

      Now I’m even more tempted to jump into the manga. I’ve heard that it starts earlier in the characters’ lives, instead of using flashbacks like the series is doing. Is it worth the read?

      1. I started with the manga, so of course I’m going to recommend it. 😉 But there’s something to be said for the way the anime starts in the middle of things. It feels more real as a benefit from all the stuff it skips.

        1. I was confused after the first episode, but once I got my bearings in episode 2, the “starting in the middle” structure really adds to the nostalgia and anticipation in the series. It’s quite a lovely setup, I think.

  2. I started reading the manga after ep 1 just to help understand who all the characters are and found my self reading all the chapters that are out over 2 days.

    1. Sounds addicting…I plan on checking it out, but I don’t know if I should read the background now, or wait and read it all once the anime is over. 😛

  3. I have added this show to my Crunchyroll list. I had never heard of it before participating on this blog. 🙂

    1. It’s a new one just starting to air this season. To tell you the truth, if I wasn’t blogging and following blogs, I would have no idea which of the new shows might be worth the time to check out.

  4. Now that I’ve finally seen this…

    This particular scene really got to me because it was so full of meaning. And, for me, this scene and what you write about episode 7 are linked, because she does it for what seems like a pretty petty reason- she wants to play opposite the guy she likes in a play. But at the same time, it’s more than that- Chiba has come to God in her time of need, because she has no one else to turn to about this issue.

    It’s no wonder she’s been avoiding Church. She is in love with a boy that likes to cross-dress. In Japan, where gender roles are so strong that women are *strongly* encouraged to leave work- and sometimes shut out of it- because they have children. I honestly don’t think that she would feel comfortable going, and who could blame her? She would probably not say anything out of shame, and if she did, she would probably be shunned to a certain degree, even if she were here in America. It’s easier not going than to have to look people in the eye that wouldn’t accept her loving a transgendered boy..

    And so she comes to the one person who would still accept that, and not look down on her- God. How is it really different from the cancer patient who up and starts praying, though they’ve ‘not done it in years’, or anyone else who is like that? They come because they need someone to listen to their problems, and He is there. Even if it’s asking for something, it still shows how important she feels this issue is, and shows that her faith is still there.

    1. Very well said.

      There’s so much to be said about the faith of a person who goes to God because they’re in need, even if the “need” is something petty (which, further examined, isn’t in Chiba’s case), as opposed to someone going through the motions. It’s really a lesson that all we, who pray often but without faith or heart, should learn.

      It’s funny that you comment on this, because I have another post related to Chiba and church. It was set to go up today, but I’m delaying it until the new year. It is, however, related to the manga instead.

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