Unohana and Kenpachi: Dying to Live

Few series have frustrated me like Bleach.  Two minutes into the first episode, I was hooked.  One season in, I thought I’d found one of my favorite anime.  Two seasons in, I was still loving it.  But the subsequent Aizen storyline was draining and uninteresting, and the series lost so much of the momentum with which it began.

Now, however, in the final manga arc, it looks as if Bleach may have found its way again.  In the last few chapters, the storyline has been particularly interesting, focusing on Unohana, of all people, and her relationship with Kenpachi.  It’s been hinted at all along that there’s more to Unohana than meets the eye, but her background reveal, her connection to Kenpachi Zaraki, and the way she sacrifices to build Kenny up has been pretty spectacular.

Retsu Unohana
Art by 餅子

Unohana is literally willing to die for Kenpachi’s growth, and for the broader goal of protecting Soul Society.  In our lives, unless we’re policemen, fire fighters, or soldiers, it’s unlikely that we’ll have the same opportunities.  Still, we can learn from Unohana in small situations which can help develop our character.

In my life, I talk a big talk (or at least write that way), but I struggle to overcome selfishness.  I want my time and I want to do things my own way for my own pleasure.  It’s hard for me to overcome this self-pleasing nature – maybe it’s the same with you.

Today, I happened into a situation where I was given this opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.  As I was in my car about to leave Wal-Mart, an elderly lady came up to my window and asked if I might drive her home.

And to my surprise…I said “Sure!”

Yachiru Unohana
Art by クッ@…(_´Д`)ノ

It may not be a big deal for you to do a random act of kindness, but I’m really not a particularly kind person, so this stretched me a little.  It’s part of my growth as a person and as a Christian, as I push myself to be kind to those I don’t know, those who frustrate me, or those about whom I too often have preconceived notions.  In other words, as I struggle to love.

I hope when you have opportunities to love others, you’ll do so, even if it’s at personal cost of time, money, resources, or whatever else – especially if it’s at a personal cost.  You may not be putting life and limb on the line, possibly dying like Unohana, but you’ll still be demonstrating love through sacrifice – and that’s quite a way to live.


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