I love Christmas. It has always been a magical time of the year for me and somehow, I always ended up cheery just because its the Christmas season.
Though, this year was the first for me where not only does it not feel like Christmas, I also haven’t been very cheery at all. I could blame that on many reasons, but that’s not important, really.
Even for the 12 Days posts this year on Beneath the Tangles, I was not very enthusiastic since most of my “fall back” Christmas anime (ones easy to write about like The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya or Toradora for example) were already taken in previous years (by me probably, haaaaaha) and I really didn’t have many other options that I thought would make good posts.
Yet, I chose Shugo Chara, a series I’ve watched and loved and have apparently forgotten since it blind-sided me with its uplifting message. How can is be that I learn more from kids shows as an adult I’ll never know. Regardless, this was something I needed and didn’t even know it.
The Christmas episodes of Shugo Chara (roughly 10-13) only vaguely touched on Christmas imagery.
Yet, the episodes focused on a bigger theme that is definitely a something many associate with Christmas: Hope.
As a crash course for those who haven’t seen Shugo Chara, it’s a magical girl anime about a girl who has “heart eggs” that are her potential selves; what she could become in the future, that she can use to transform and purify other people’s heart eggs if they become tainted.
Purifying is a common theme in most magical girl anime (see: Pretty Cure), but Shugo Chara adds an extra focus on hope for the future, and the potential for change into something wonderful. I wonder, if we all knew the person we could become in the future, what would we do? Seeing all that potential at once would be unnerving for me, personally, and I think it is for the main character of Shugo Chara, Amu as well. She knows she can transform into these potential selves, yet feels distant from them. She even admits they aren’t “her”.
One of the main things I’ve always enjoyed about Shugo Chara is its optimistic feel (I mean, listen to any of the opening and ending themes), even though it deals with serious issues, it always has an upbeat ending. So you imagine my surprise when I had forgotten that episodes 12 and 13 end rather sadly and with little hope. I mean, the bad guys smash a kid’s heart egg! How on earth can we have hope now?
But if there is one thing we have learned from all shounen and magical girl anime that is that as long as the main character doesn’t give up, there is always hope. Luckily, Amu, even while doubting her own abilities, is determined to never give up.
As Christians, it’s fairly easy to be upbeat and hopeful when things are going well and when we are feeling strong and using our talents well. But when the future starts looking uncertain, scary, and not very hopeful at all, sometimes not even the promise of potential selves can help us.
Though, that is where Christ comes in, I suppose; to offer hope to an otherwise dark and hopeless world. To give us a sneak peek into that future full of hope. Heck, to give us hope at all is worth more than anything money can buy.
He is the one thing that will never change and will never give up on us no matter what.
So, hop, step, and jump! There is hope and the Christmas season is a wonderful reminder of it.