And Yet the Town Moves (Soremachi) follows the misadventures of a would-be maid cafe called Maid Seaside Cafe. It’s your basic slice of life anime that goes into the lives of the odd people who work in and happen upon the cafe. My absolute favorite character from the series is the neurotic, obsessive, overly logical math teacher Natsuhiko Moriaki.
Let me tell you a little about Moriaki and why he is my favorite. At first, he doesn’t seem very likable what with his blunt, rude observations, rigid adherence to ridiculous rules and being an educator of my all-time least favorite subject, but he grows on you. As I watched him, I started seeing traits I appreciated and honestly wished I saw more of in the current Christian culture.
Trait #1: Moriaki’s unrelenting pursuit of truth.
Morkiaki has an obsessive need to understand and know what is true, moral and otherwise ‘correct.’ He yearns for a complete and total understanding and an absolutely satisfying answer. Even when he was a second grader learning division, he was bothered by the remainder that occurs when a number can no longer be divided because it felt ‘unfinished’ to him.
When he is learning about something, he tries his best to understand it completely and questions when something sounds off to him, even if the teacher says it’s true.
Now, even if someone studied scripture their entire life, they would never come to a full understanding of all of God’s truths. At most, they would touch the very tip of the iceberg within that lifetime. However; this doesn’t excuse us from trying to understand to the best of our ability. We shouldn’t blindly accept what society had deemed as religious, but study and understand these things for ourselves. Are the things you hear truly biblical or are they a product of the more conservative members of your culture. There is a huge difference at times between biblical Christianity and religious Christianity.
In another scene, Moriaki is literally disgusted when he is grading his student Hotori’s paper and sees where she simply gave up trying to figure out the problem and just put a random answer.
To many times when I’ve gone to fellow Christians with a struggle or difficult question, instead of listening to and actually thinking about the question, they pull out their Rolodex ‘O Verses or Quotes and quickly try to explain it away. I’m not saying God’s word isn’t the answer, but I’d appreciate a response that is more than Question – “Something Happens” – Jesus. There are some very difficult questions out there and deep wounds that can go along with those questions. Deeply consider that pain and that search instead of trying to make it go away with a few sentences. And if you can’t find and answer… be honest. That’s OK. Don’t disrespect the person coming to you by giving a clichéd answer.
Trait #2: Moriaki is not afraid to consider another’s viewpoint.
In one episode, Moriaki comes to the cafe to speak to Hotori about some paintings left by his late grandfather. He could not understand the paintings and wanted Hotori’s opinion. Even though he thinks very little of Hotori’s intelligence in most areas, even calling her an idiot in one detention session, he realizes she sees the world in a very different way from himself and wants to consider her opinion.
What’s important in Christianity is putting complete trust in Jesus and living a life that honors God and shows his glory. Unfortunately, importance has been expanded to things like how you dress when you worship or otherwise, what music you listen to while worshiping, whether you drink, whether you dunk or sprinkle baptize, whether you are the ‘correct’ denomination, whether you are the ‘correct’ political party and on and on and on. The group that is ‘properly’ following Jesus gets smaller and smaller as personal and cultural convictions are, at times, used to determine the health of someones spiritual life and even the validity of their salvation.
I have my own personal convictions, but I’m not afraid to listen to the reasoning behind another Christian’s convictions. I’ve even grown from listening to that reasoning and have been able to let go of some of my more legalistic tendencies. Even if I don’t end up agreeing with the viewpoint, it has always been beneficial to understand the reason behind that viewpoint. I also think it’s beneficial to understand viewpoints from those with different faiths or no faith. I want to understand where they are coming from and what made them choose their current path. I wouldn’t listen to someone who refused to consider my viewpoints and I certainly can’t expect that from someone else. I also don’t want to be afraid of questions from someone of another faith or no faith even if I can’t find an answer for them. No question or argument is going to hurt my beliefs. If a question from another person can destroy my faith then, honestly, it was never real in the first place.
Trait #3: When Moriaki finds something to be truth, he holds onto it no matter the consequence.
During one semester, a female student confessed her love to Moriaki in a letter. He had many different options at his disposal, but he chose to respond to her with a simple equation.
Nothing, not this student’s affection nor the fuss that followed her receiving the equation that eventually reached the principal, was going to make him change his mind. He didn’t care what the students thought about it. He didn’t care what the teachers or other staff thought about it, although the principal ended up being so touched by the formula that he framed it and put it in his office. He knew that equation was truth and nothing was going to take that away from him. I really admire that and I find that strength of conviction inspiring.
So, despite his insensitive tendencies and general overly logical way of thinking, Moriaki’s love for and pursuit of truth makes him my favorite character.
Happy searching Moriaki!