Fruits of the Spirit: The Patience of ARIA’s Alicia Florence

As we continue our series on anime and manga characters that embody the Fruits of the Spirit, Murasaki Lynna writes a post on patience as seen through a young woman who definitely fits that descriptor, from one of the calmest series ever created.

Patience, or long-suffering, comes in different forms. On one end of the spectrum, Patience can refer enduring through hard times with patience, believing that a better time will come again. From a Christian perspective, we can have patience while we wait for God to fulfil his promises to us. In the Old Testament, the Israelites had to wait a long time for things that God had promised would happen to happen: being freed from Egypt, entering the Promise land, returning to Jerusalem, etc. Even though it could sometimes take generations, God would always end up fulfilling his promises (Of course, sometimes the promises were delayed because they disobeyed God, but I digress). Likewise, Christians often have to trust God to take care of them when things get rough. Non-Christians, too, will also have to be patient when things are hard, because hard times are always coming and going.

In anime, this type of patience isn’t uncommon. In order for a plot to keep going, the characters can never completely give up (or if they do, something has to force them to keep going); otherwise, there would be no story. And unless this is a slice-of-life, bad things generally happen.

A good example of this type of patience can be found in Romeo x Juliet, where there are long periods of time where the characters had  to be patient and wait quietly and secretly in order to fulfil their goals, particularly when Romeo and Juliet had to spend so much time apart when they wanted to be together the most. Even though it hurt them, they didn’t give up.

The other side of the spectrum is being patient with other people- not getting angry when they do something wrong, or when they get angry at you. It is also necessary to be patient when others are deliberately being mean- to respond with kindness rather than to be angry. Patience is forgiving, and, well, being patient. We all make mistakes, we all are slow at times, we all have trouble understanding each other, and unfortunately, many people (myself included) have trouble waiting and being kind to others during their daily setbacks.

Patience in everyday life is sometimes the hardest- it’s so easy to snap at someone, to complain about their slowness, and to point out their mistakes, without even realizing that we’re not being patient, or even potentially doing harm to others. In the anime/ manga world, there is no better example for Patience I can think of than Alicia Florence from ARIA.

Art by NTAKE

As Akari’s only senior in ARIA company, Alicia had many things to do. She had to train Akari, spend long hours working, and rarely had time to spend with her friends. But even with all this hanging over her, she never snapped, never got angry. She was kind, helpful, and understanding in everything she did. She tried her very best to help Akari and her friends see the good in their lives, and to help them learn and grow.   Because of her patience and graciousness, she is greatly admired.

In one omake side-chapter, her patience struck me especially. In this chapter, Akari’s friend Alice notices Alicia’s lack of frustration and anger whenever they make a mistake. She watches her carefully, waiting to see if she’ll get angry, and when she doesn’t, she asks Alicia why.

Alicia doesn’t answer directly at first (which is unsurprising by now). Instead, she sends the cat, President ARIA, on a mission to deliver a candy to a little girl nearby. He does so, but it takes him a very long time, and he gets distracted before giving the candy. Instead of pointing out his mistakes, Alicia praises him for his work. She then gave him another candy to be delivered to a nearby little boy, and that time he was much faster. When he returned, she praised him even more.

After the demonstration, she explains to Alice that if she had lost her patience, it may not have done any good, but because she was patient with President ARIA, he was encouraged, and improved.

Often we forget how important it is to be patient.  It’s always tempting to lash out at someone who is in the wrong, or scold them for making a mistake. But although it may seem like the best thing to do at the time, it really isn’t the most helpful or kindest way to act. When we are Patient, we show our love for others, especially when that love is being tested. Patience is not only helpful to others, but it enables us to remain calm in times of trouble, to forgive others who have wronged us, and to be emotionally strong. It may seem like such a small, ordinary quality, but it does a lot more that we think.

Other Posts in the Fruits of the Spirit Series:

Love: Honda Tohru (Fruits Basket)
Joy: Sasami Jurai (Tenchi Muyo!)
Peace: Ashitaka (Princess Mononoke)

Murasaki Lynna

14 thoughts on “Fruits of the Spirit: The Patience of ARIA’s Alicia Florence

  1. I absolutely adore Alicia Florence and found her patience, particularly as it is portrayed in the episode you describe, awe inspiring. I’ve improved a lot with age, but at heart, I’m still a pretty impatient person. I often have to actively bite my tongue and force myself to stay still when all I went is for something or someone to just hurry up! Watching Alicia’s guidance of both Akari and Aria-shachou reminded me that not everyone responds the same, or even with the most potential, to just one method. Beautiful comparison.

    1. I agree with that. “Aria” actually shows this pretty well. We see the different methods each Prima takes with their respective Pair or Singles. Akira and Aika’s relationship is different than Athena and Alice’s relationship, but both prove completely effective! That’s what makes this series enjoyable to watch and thats also why Episode 7 “Doing That Wonderful Job …” from “Aria: The Animation” is my least favorite of the entire series.

    2. At least you try! I completely forget most of the time.
      And yes, Alicia is a very inspiring 🙂

  2. “You know… if President Aria were trying to split a watermelon blindfolded, I wouldn’t shout “Not that way! Not that way!”. I’d keep shouting “This way! This way!”
    If I kept saying “not that way”, President Aria would become afraid of making mistakes. Eventually, I don’t think he’d be able to move.
    That’s my way of doing things.”

    Alicia is a person we should look up to, especially in today’s stressed society.

    I believe I am rather calm myself, but there are still times when I can get pretty annoyed at people. It mostly depends on how they act. If I don’t feel they’re trying, I become more annoyed compared to if they really tried to do their best.

    1. That was indeed an awesome quote 🙂
      It really is hard to stay calm, these days. Luckily, reading ARIA generally helps me from time to time 🙂

  3. I hadn’t really thought of it that way before, but I suppose I, too, admire Alicia precisely because she embodies the patience that I know I myself lack. Even when I specifically tried to train myself to become more patient, I found that other people around me didn’t get it. They started getting angry at ME and tried to push me into being less patient. This of course lead me to lose my patience with them. It certainly is a challenging goal to set for one’s self.

    1. Its interesting that they would be angry with you for being patient. I suppose it depends on the situation. I think Patience really is something everyone struggles with. Keep working at it!

  4. This is a very insightful post. You did a very good job. Choosing to be patient is very difficult, but you are completely right, it shows love to those who you are being patient towards. This post has really given me a lot to think about, thank you.

    I am excited about the opportunity to be blogging with you.

    1. Thank You! I’m glad it made you think- I had to do quite a bit of thinking to write it. I’m excited about blogging with you too 😀

  5. Wonderful post, Lynna. 😉

    Patience has ALWAYS been a struggle for me. In fact, I used to think it was my biggest struggle, but when I’m truthful with myself, I find that I’m lacking in all the fruits, meaning that I must not be living a Spirit-filled life. My hospitalization has been a blessing for sure, though, as I see myself making progress in this area. I do believe that I’m trying to obedient to God and I genuinely feel the Spirit working in me, particularly in the area of patience.

    On an off note, I had an opportunity to meet and maybe interview the director of the ARIA anime series last month. Unfortunately, the con hosting him wasn’t giving press passes and I wasn’t willing to pay for admission. Remembering your previous ARIA post, I kept thinking, “I bet Lynna would be interested in this interview!’

    1. Wow! Too bad it didn’t work out! I would have loved to see an interview by him-even though I haven’t watched too much of the anime yet, I know that the animators worked really hard on it.

  6. Awesome post! Alicia is one of the most patient and caring characters I’ve ever come across in anime. [keep in mind this is coming from the biggest “Aria” fanboy this side of Louisiana] I recall the episode in question that you referenced above, and I thought it was very profound how Alicia explained her teaching methods. I am interested in hearing your thoughts about Alicia’s trainee, Akari. I think a lot can be said regarding her and spirituality. Honestly I prefer her over Tohru from “Fruits Basket”.

    You would’ve liked meeting Jun’ichi Sato. He is a very humble and nice person! You know his wife actually worked as the Sound Director for all three “Aria” Series.

    1. If you search through the index, I actually wrote a little about Akari in a post called ARIA: Finding Joy. She really is a wonderful character, as are all of the characters in ARIA. I think I’ll probably do more on them in the future.
      I’m not sure who I would pick between Akari and Tohru-they’re both wonderful in their own ways.

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