Isn’t there a rule that says tearjerkers are reserved only for the last episodes of an anime series? Because Chihayafuru isn’t following that rule. Episode 3 hit four or five waterworks moments – a really beautiful episode.
In one of these moments, near the episode’s end, Arata says something to the effect that the three friends will likely never see each other again. We as the audience know this isn’t true. Chihaya and Taichi reunited in the anime’s first episode and we can be certain that Arata will meet up with them as well. But certainly at the time that Arata spoke, his prediction seemed probable.
Though the time in which these friends bonded was short, the impact was certainly long-lasting. Because of the odd nature of the group’s friendships and the forces that suddenly tore them apart, there’s feeling that fate or destiny is in control. For Christians, we might apply the Christianese phrase, “divine appointment,” to the situation. There was a reason why the group came together – it was meant to be.
Anime has no shortage of such “divine appointments.” Some meetings are brief, like the main characters’ time with the baby in Tokyo Godfathers. Other relationships are longer, but no less fateful in their beginnings, like those in Clannad and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Though our lives are never likely to be as interesting as any of those anime, we still all have these moments and periods of time that seem to be divinely presented to us for a reason. I remember, for instance, a girl in third grade that left an indelible mark upon me. She lived on my street and was in my class. Very mature for her age, I remember playing with her frequently, until one day she was gone – without a word, she’d left with her dad, who stopped by and picked her up. Why we were in each others’ lives, I don’t know – but I’m certain there was a reason, and the brush strokes of that season in time remain with me.
In the end, the question may be, why does it all matter? These divine appointments and short-lived relationships often carry nostalgia and a tinge of sadness when recalled. Unfortunately, many carry some sort of regret, as if we didn’t do all we could have done to build those friendships or to advance them into something greater or otherwise sustain them. And so perhaps, the lesson is this – when these opportunities arise again, we should leave our inhibitions behind and do what we feel we are meant to do and not let our limited time go to waste.
And even if the time passes unexpectedly, we can do like Chihaya did, not only letting the relationship(s) leave a mark on us, but to let it forever change us for the better.