As Celestial Method (Sora no Method) continues, it seems more and more obvious that for, at least the first half, the cast of characters are going to find redemption through Nonoka’s kindness. In episode six, we get the conclusion of Yuzuki’s redemptive tale after her sudden conversion, to use religious terminology, in episode five. Now seeing with unclouded eyes and understanding the wrong she’s committed, Yuzuki spends the episode trying to break through her embarrassment and fear in an attempt to make atonement.
The idea of atoning for one’s sins is present in almost every culture and religion. The thread certainly runs deep in Japanese culture – we can see this in many anime (not that we should be looking to anime for all our Japanese cultural cues!). Rurouni Kenshin reminds me most of this theme, as it features a protagonist who spends almost his entire adult life trying to atone for the sins of his youth (and finding, actually, that he really can’t).
Christians, too, can find themselves in this mode, even though we’re saved simply by God’s mercy. In fact, part of the reason that Christianity spread so rapidly in the first few centuries of the church was that it appealed to people of all cultures and backgrounds, creating an equality by our shared sinfulness.
Nonoka , when asked by Yuzuki to slap her, could have done so. It would have let Yuzuki atone for her sins. It might have made Nonoka feel better. And it would certainly fit the bill of justice in “eye for an eye” style. Of course, Nonoka has none of that, giving Yuzuki a touch that could hardly be called a slap, and reminding Yuzuki that she accepts her fully as she is, warts and all, past and present.
God does the same for us. He endured our slaps, like Nonoka did Yuzuki’s – the slaps of the Pharisees and the beatings that Christ endured are analogous to this. And when we realize what we’ve done, how we’ve erred while God has only shown us love, and we turn to Him for forgiveness, we receive it fully, just as Nonoka did from Yuzuki. No strings attached. No eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. No need for atonement.
And with Nonoka’s forgiveness, Yuzuki is brought into a relationship with her once-friend and now-again-friend, and she’s restored with her brother and Koharu. She has community and a measure of happiness we haven’t seen from her yet in the series.
Now, it’s onto a certain headphones-wearing girl who is lacking community and friendship. We’ll wait to see how her walls will be broken down by the only things that can break a stubborn heart – grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness.