With a plethora of new shows on my plate this season, and in the middle of The World God Only Knows, Witch Hunter Robin, and Ookiku Furikabutte, you’d think I’d have plenty to watch if I was in the mood for anime. And so, which of these did I pick last night?
I started a new one, of course. 😉
Someday’s Dreamers is one of those shows I’ve long wanted to watch, despite knowing little of the premise. The title of the show is about as nostalgic as it can get. It makes me think there’ll be lots of grassy hills, blue skies, forlorn looks, and school friendships in the story (I’m always looking for a tone emulating that of The Place Promised in Our Early Years).
Unfortunately, I accidentally started watching the second anime series instead of the first. Woops. Not the first time I’ve done that.
One episode in, I’m encouraged by the possibilities of this story (and will eagerly anticipate returning to it). But more than that, I’ve quickly connected with the protagonist, Sora. She is both very much still a kid (in ways, reminding my of one of my very favorite characters, Shizuku of Whisper of the Heart), while achieving a level of maturity that most adults don’t have (perhaps because of a wonderful mother and probably similar father). Her maturity is best expressed not so much through words, but by actions which reveal her character. We might get caught up in the plot of the first episode, but the real purpose behind it is not to present a major plot point (though it certainly provides context for the series), but to show us just who Sora is.
As the episode begins, Sora learns the location of her mage school assignment. It’s a major moment in life, akin to learning which college one will go to. Sora is ecstatic as she bowls over her mother, who is equally excited. She then shares the news with her best friend, Michiru, who while happy for her friend, has bigger things going on. Yes, she has a crush on a boy who is about to leave.
Still, the episode doesn’t treat the teenage crush like it’s any less of a life moment, and this is because we’re seeing this “tragic” event through Sora’s eyes. She treats it like it’s significant and of utmost importance. It dwarfs her news – something she’s been awaiting and which will help determine the very outcome of the rest of her life.
And so, the rest of the episode follows the two as Sora pushes her friend to confess. She does, and with Sora magically creating a snowy scene inside a greenhouse during summer (spring?), helps to create a wonderful moment for Michiru. She puts aside her mother’s gentle admonitions to get packed (she’s leaving tomorrow and I assume she doesn’t get home from the confession until late that night). And for what reason?
Because her friend is more important.
We all struggle to place others first consistently. It’s human nature (and animal nature?) to put ourselves first – not only for survival, but because of pleasure. A few weeks ago, I asked a question on Formspring something to the effect of, “When was the last time you sacrificed for someone without expecting anything in return?”, I wasn’t surprised to find that many who answered said that they’d rarely done so or couldn’t remember such a moment in the recent past. For some, giving without thought is a way of life, but for most of us, it’s the rare exception to the rule of self.
I’m reminded, as usual, of Jesus Christ. While His sacrifice on the cross is the most obvious and powerful symbol of putting others above oneself, a strong secondary example is of Christ washing the feet of His disciples (John 13: 1-17). In 1st century Judah, individuals worse sandals everywhere, dirtying their feet on sandy, animal-trodden roads. When entering as a guest in a household, the homeowner’s servant might wash the feet of the guest as a gesture of welcome. It was a dirty task – one suitable for a servant.
Yet, it was Jesus who stripped down and washed His disciple’s feet. In an almost heartbreaking scene, Peter timidly asks, “LORD, are you going to wash my feet?” After a quick conversation in which impetuous Peter again reveals his colors, Jesus finishes and gives his disciples this lesson:
You call me “Teacher” and “Lord,” and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
A teacher loves his student. And Jesus was a servant-king, who lead by sacrificially giving. The washing of feet was a powerful moment at the time, and it still carries some weight today. A former small group leader of mine did the same for me at a meeting, and had us members do washing as well – it was awkward at first, but became a powerful moment and one I’ll remember for years. And similarly, I was moved to read of Korean fathers, who are famously prideful, stubborn, and selfish, who washed the feet of their very surprised wives.
Sora doesn’t wash her friend’s feet literally, but she might as well have. Her last night at home was spent showering love through sacrifice on her best friend. Who wouldn’t want a best friend like that – one who would give it all just to see you smile.
I think I’m going to enjoy this series. Now, to watch the first season. 😉
When was the last time you loved others in a sacrificial way? Is that your way of life? Do you want it to be?