I’ve been watching Kokoro Connect in anticipation each week to see what happens next in Inaba’s journey. What stuck out this week was the idea, again, of loving yourself versus loving others, and the sacrifice it takes to do the latter over the former. The same message was conveyed in episode seven of Sword Art Online – and that’s where I want to start first.
Lizbeth the blacksmith does something we often see in anime – although interested in a guy, she puts aside her feelings because a girlfriend is also interested in the same dude. But I felt a stronger connection with Liz’s character than most, perhaps because she actually revealed her feelings before later retracting them for Asuna’s sake.
Maybe many of us can relate. In high school, I had a quasi-relationship with a friend that was broken when she and my best friend revealed to me that they had decided to date. I wasn’t in love with her, so it didn’t carry the same weight as Lizbeth/Asuna/Kirito, but still, it’s applicable in that I did encourage my friends in their relationship.
Maybe you had another similar situation, though not involving romance. Or perhaps some of you have a more relevant experience, where you let someone go for the sake of another – someone whom you really loved.
In Kokoro Connect, Inaba is, in fact, doing the same thing. As was made graphically clear in last week’s episode, if it wasn’t obvious already, Inaba is really, really into Taichi. And yet, she is doing her best to withhold her desires and to let Nagase and him develop their relationship.
It’s ironic, then, that Taichi scolds her in episode seven, calling her a bad friend. He is the typical thick-headed male lead, and doesn’t understand how Inaba feels about him (not at a guttural level), and thus he misses just how much she’s sacrificing. Though really, I don’t think Inaba, herself, realizes the depths of her sacrifice – she feels she’s “not good enough,” as if she truly believes always chooses herself above her friends. It isn’t registering to Inaba that she is sacrificing for the sake of Nagase.
It’s not easy to love like Inaba and Lizbeth – and I’m not talking about them falling in love with their respective show leads. I mean in loving their friends by giving something up which is very significant to them.
When I give to the homeless or doing something for a friend, it’s usually of little sacrifice or none at all. It doesn’t take a whole lot of love to do these actions. But when times get hard, life gets busy, and we don’t have the time, energy, or resources to help – that’s when we find out how much we really love others.
And for all the rhetoric in the world, it’s our actions that show how much we care. Even if that action is inaction, where the hardest part is to stand by and do nothing at all.