Sometimes you forsake depth for having a breadth of characters. Through eight episodes, that’s been the case with Oreshura, where we have a number of girls vying for Eita’s affections, though we only know a few key points about any of the characters.
Paralleling that, the characters also seem to know little about each other. In episode eight, Chiwa and Ai demonstrate how little they know of each other as they shout their overly enthusiastic encouragement toward characters on the movie screen. Chiwa has no idea about Ai’s background with Eita (this is apparently going the Love Hina route) or that she likes him at all, while Ai just moments previous had found out that Chiwa was Eita’s childhood friend (the most important part of her character for this series). And yet, the two are battling tooth and nail – this after they’ve already judged each other as enemies.
Their feelings are so intense, and this without having all the information. But even if they did, could they truly understand what the other feels and thinks? Different experiences help shape us, not to mention how we’re hardwired.
Here’s another example regarding Oreshura. Alexander of Ashita no Anime and I had a discussion about the series. He didn’t connect with Eita, whom he felt was going way overboard in worrying about his secret being leaked. On the other hand, I felt his reaction made perfect sense. Our reactions to Eita had much to do with how we experienced high school. While Alexander wouldn’t have minded such a secret to be loosed, I was so afraid of being embarrassed and so focused (even if I wouldn’t admit it) on what others thought of me, that I’d be terrified if someone knew of my chuunibyou fantasies.
But even though we bring our personalities and experiences with us when we watch anime, we still generally find it easy to relate to anime characters, even if they differ from us. I don’t have a “childhood friend” that I pined away after, but I can still identify with Chiwa. Even in a complex anime series (which Oreshura is not), the characters and their motivations are fairly simple and easy to relate to.
In real life, it’s not so.
I remember that whenever we had meetings during my college ministry and people had to name some trait they liked about themselves, the girls would consistently say they were “empathetic.” On the other hand, I’m possibly the least empathetic person I know. I find it hard to relate to what others are going through and find it extremely easy to judge.
But when I forget that others are different than me (…duh!), I lose sight of both the love I want to develop for others and the love God has for me. For despite what I’ve done, God offers me grace, a great equalizer.
On this blog, I hope that there’s less of me and more of God; there’s less judgment, and more understanding; there’s less condemnation, and more love. And I hope that both here on this site and in the bigger world, we can try our best to empathize just a little more and try to understand where others are coming from. And maybe we can further revise the saying in this post title to something a little more loving:
Don’t judge me: walk a mile in my shoes and then walk another mile with me.