I had a really great conversation today with an exchange student at the university I attended, which is nearby my work. We talked a lot about how one person can have a powerful impact on others just by loving them. Our lives profoundly impacts other lives as we intersect in our relationships. We may not see the fruit these relationships bear – but sometimes, our words and deeds can move people.
Genshiken showed me a similar lesson this week. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest Genshiken Nidaime fan, even if I was reading the manga religiously until recently. I am, however, a huge fan of some of the characters from the original season, including Madarame and Kasukabe, so naturally, I was super excited about seeing the scene between these two in animation form. I was excited for it, and I wasn’t let down.
I remembered the confession scene pretty well from the manga, but one portion I’d forgotten until it aired was Kasukabe’s tearful relief at finally letting go of the pretense that she didn’t know about Madarame’s feelings. Even if her answer would always be “no,” she’d been holding back for long for someone she cared about, that it was a great relief for her for things to finally get settled.
Imagine if Madarame had not said anything? Imagine if he had done what he had always done and given in to the mentality that he had no chance? Not only would he be affected – but so, too, would Kasukabe, having to continue with the strain of holding back.
It’s strange…perhaps anime fans, more than many, think little of ourselves. While we might be puffed full of pride in various areas (as all humans are), we often have little confidence, just like Madarame. And it may be hard for us to imagine that, indeed, others are thinking about us. As we interact with people, we leave them not only with impressions, but as we spend more and more time with other, also with significant pieces of ourselves.
Our lives are significant for a variety of reasons – but partially because we leave a sometimes invisible, but remarkable, impact on people we know. No matter how selfishly we live, unless we truly are hermits, we’ll affect others. We’re made to be in relationships – we’re made to be involved with others.
But what will we do with this opportunity? Because that’s what it is – it’s an opportunity to love and encourage. We only need to be like that most unlikely of characters, Madarame, and act.