Toradora, Clannad, and a Different Kind of Generational Curse

Life is funny sometimes.  Of my two children, it’s not the boy who takes after dad, it’s the girl.  This morning, I found a huge frog in our backyard and, the boy at heart I am, I grabbed it and showed it to the kids.  My son was concerned about the frog “eating his strawberries” and about it peeing on my hand (they always do this, poor, scared little guys), but my normally very feminine daughter came right up to me and wanted to play with the frog (“Oooooooooh”).

Anime Frog
The frog was NOT this cute (Art by 安倍羅)

We all pass traits and other parts of ourselves down to future generations.  I know it’s a way far off kinda topic for most readers, but it’s something to think about now, and I’ll tell you why a little further down.

The Old Testament talks to us about generational curses.  I’m no theologian and I know little about this topic, so I won’t go into that type of generational curse.  But another kind is one we pass on to our kids, not in a direct spiritual way, necessarily, but by our actions, words, and sometimes, genes.

Take Toradora, for example.  Within the first five minutes of the opening episode, the audience separates Ryuuji from the gaggle of similar male leads in romantic comedies by two obsessions he has – that with cleaning and that with his eyes.  One of the reasons he hates his father is because he cursed him genetically with evil-looking eyes which lead his fellow students into labeling him as a dangerous gangster.

While perhaps there’s little we can do about our genes, we can certainly focus on the other aspects I mentioned – our words and deeds.  We all know that what we say and do is picked up by our kids.  Back to my daughter – not only has she picked up my love for gross-looking things in our yard (also snails and lizards), she also has my impatience and anger.  She learned to be like this from watching dad.

Other habits, just as bad or worse, are often picked up from parents.  Note that in Clannad After Story (spoilers ahead), while Tomoya doesn’t become an abusive alcoholic like his dad, he does withdraw from family and society after a similar loss.  Where did he learn to deal with loss in that way?

Good ol’ dad.

Clannad father and son
Art by 神樂

This is why it’s so important to drop vices in our life – if not for us, then for those that we love the most (and I almost guarantee that you’ll be like me and love your children to an extent you didn’t think possible).  Pick your sin – pornography, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, explosive anger, overeating – one or more of these items will be picked up by your children.  And now is the time to make the change, because when  you have kids, life gets really difficult, complex, and busy; it’s hard enough to just get your kids fed, much less defeat a lifelong addiction.

I’m writing this from one who has plenty of vices to deal with and who wished he’d cut them out long ago.  Trust me, what you do now will make you a better person from here on out and one day bless, rather than curse, those you’ll love the most.

If you’re willing to share, are there any “curses” your parents handed down to you?  Are there any vices which you hope you won’t pass down to your children?


7 thoughts on “Toradora, Clannad, and a Different Kind of Generational Curse

  1. What you see as curses…are they really curses? If you look at Tomoya’s father, you could argue that he is unable to deal with loss, but you could also argue that he has a deep attachment to those he loves. Your daughter’s impatience could be seen also as a constant ambition to see new things, maybe learn new things. Likewise, anger could be seen as an emotional investment in her actions or an ability to express one’s feelings (which many take for granted). I’d agree about dropping addictions or violent tendencies or indecent activities, but I think that the way you think always comes with good and bad.

    1. I can see what you’re saying, though I don’t necessarily agree. For instance, there’s obviously a healthy way of dealing with loss and then there’s a way that’s both self-destructive and destructive to those around you – for whatever reason (lack of support, the way he was raised, etc.), Tomoya’s dad falls into the latter. This is all Tomoyo has ever known, and follows along a similar pattern, though certainly not his dad’s extent.

      Also, I definitely see what you say about my daughter. I guess it’s difficult, though, to really communicate about an individual unless you’re there…for instance, there’s a time for anger and then there’s a time to hold back. I’m not so good with the latter, and I think that’s something to improve on. My daughter could do with this, too. Another example is this – while my daughter likes to experience new things, so does my son (even more so perhaps), but without the impatience.

      Thanks for the comments – I appreciate them!

  2. I thought that this was a great blog post. It was really neat how you tied in anime to a real life situation. I believe that anime and other forms of media can help us better understand ourselves and how to live our lives. This blog post was an example of just that. If only more people could see what I’m trying to explain. Anyone agree?

    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      I definitely get ya. No matter how distant anime can seem, in form, culture, type, etc., there are connecting points in so many series that offer lessons in how we might live and in suggesting we should contemplate how we do live.

    2. I completely agree, well said. I think Anime in particular shows honest real life, generally, outside of any fantastic elements but it shows in the end just how people are. These views of how people are vary from a wide spectrum but all of them are true in some ways.

      1. A huge part of the magic of anime is capturing emotions that are real to life while also creating such fantastical elements that also help us escape!

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