If you’re going to be here [at church], I guess I’ll come every week, too.
– Fumiya Ninomiya to Chiba Saori
Hourou Musuko is one of my favorite anime series (I liked it so much that I ranked it number one among those that came out last year). As such, I decided to begin reading the manga and see the story I’ve missed leading up to the series.
Among the many storylines I wanted to read about was Chiba’s involvement in church. The anime mentions that she doesn’t go much, though when she does, she prays fervently (if for something a bit trivial). Why did she start going? Why did she stop?
Chapter seven of the manga gives the answer to the first part of that question. Chiba feels terrible about a gift she gave Nitori (at this point, I’m unsure if she felt guilty about the gift itself or for her actions after he returned it to her). She prays:
Please forgive me somehow! Please! After doing that horrible thing to Nitori, there’s no way I can face him again. Dear God, I’m a bad girl.
Chiba begins to attend church, where she meets Fumiya, a boy about her age who takes a liking to her. I know Fumiya – I’ve gone to church with many guys like him. During adolescence, it’s certainly typical for many to attend church for reasons other than a want to worship. And I knew guys that, like Fumiya, were there for the ladies. When I attended college, this didn’t change much; it only changed how smoothly these guys operated. And I’ve known a number of guys who at my age still attend to try to find a woman.
I imagine that Fumiya, who comes across as slimy and smart, will be a model student in the sisters’ classes. He’ll impress with how quickly he learns scripture and extrabiblical material. His outward appearance will be that of a model Christian.
But God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
And that’s why I feel God would be infinitely more please with Chiba than with Fumiya. Chiba may be a bit misguided, but here as well as later, she comes to God with an honest, open heart. And in that way, she’s like Elijah, Job, and Jonah, heroes of the Bible who were sometimes surprisingly blunt with God. But God loves people who are able to pour their hearts out before him. And I believe He’ll take an honest sinner any day over a self-righteous hypocrite. And it’s this lesson that I hope we all (and maybe evangelical Christians like myself most of all) learn.
8 thoughts on “Hourou Musuko, Chapter 7: Church is the Best Place to Pick Up Girls”
“A sacrifice to God is broken spirit; A broken and humbled heart God will not despise.” Of course, I’m acting just like Fumiya now, aren’t I? It seems, at least to some degree, that anime/manga is understanding Christianity more than just slapping on Catholic imagery. Always something nice to see.
Definitely, though in Hourou Musuko’s case, I think the genuine bits of truth regarding the faith are in there unintentionally. Still, much nicer to see that Christian symbols, words, or practices just for reasons of atmosphere.
lol @ picking up girls! xD All my friends who go complain because there’s so many girls than guys our age, and the guys that remain single are single because… well, they’re creeps of various colors.
But Chiba really shines in how she’s open and honest, and really shows the spirit of Christianity in how she comes talking to God, no matter how trivial the matter is (and even when she’s avoiding it because she’s ashamed- who hasn’t been in that position? It feels even worse than admitting you did something wrong to your parents!). I find myself growing fonder of her, the more I get into the story.
It’s interesting how the anime and manga each unravel her character. In the manga, she starts out very sweet and slowly transforms into a bitter young lady and in the anime, we see her jealous and angry side from the get go. But in each case, as we get to know her more deeply, we grow more fondly of her.
Is this the case (girl:guy ratio) in evangelicalism (I’m assuming that’s what you are — my apologies if wrong!)? Because I’ll tell you, it’s heavily male dominated in Eastern Orthodoxy.
I’m not anything, really (non-denominational, have only visited about 5 churches in my lifetime), but my friends come from all different denominations…. except Eastern Orthodoxy. I don’t have any friends in that particular denomination, and it’s a little rare in my part of the state.
Reading the title of this post gave me a knee-jerk reaction of, “NO!!” During my transition away from Christianity I attempted several times, unsuccessfully to ask out girls that I liked but didn’t know much about. Many of them would not give me the time of day until I attended church with them. At the time I still believed in god, but I’d decided the church was too stifling for me. In every instance this explanation was met not only with a rejection of my invitation to go on a date, but an end to our friendship. So much for, “love your neighbor,” right? To this day I still can never see myself dating a woman of faith but these reactions only helped reinforce to me that believers will believe what they want, scripture be damned (which of course told me that a good number of Christians are hypocrites and hypocrisy is one of my biggest pet peeves). I don’t know if this comment relates well to the content of the post, but this is my take on it. =P (Please don’t think that this is some justification for making broad generalizations about Christians; I know there must be kind, tolerant people in a group this big, but I can only speak of my own experience).
Thanks for sharing. I obviously don’t know about your specific situations, but maybe you can chalk that up for immaturity? For instance, college-aged people usually THINK they know everything and they’re just dangerous enough to get away with it, but their simple lack of experience with the world, with people, and with all facets outside of their own circles prevents them from really seeing the bigger picture.
That said, I hope you’ll think about stepping into a church again one day. While hypocrisy is a major reason that people flee from Christianity, it’s also a sign of this: we’re all imperfect, we’re all sinner, and not one of us is better or more deserving than the others. This is how Christians should think and live.