I know most people didn’t manage to get through Grisaia no Kajitsu, and that’s fine since it was a lot worse than I was hoping. Regardless, the sequel has begun, and this is where the overall theme starts coming together. In the first season, in what may appear to be a relatively standard harem, Yuuji saves all the girls from their different problems, giving them reasons to live for the future without being dragged down by their pasts. Some have argued he was depicted as a perfect protagonist – someone who could apparently do anything that was required to help the girls, even in the most absurd situations. And a protagonist with no apparent faults is indeed a common problem in anime. But as Meikyuu reveals and Rakuen will expand on, Yuuji is hardly a perfect protagonist. In fact, he is as broken and hurting as much as the heroines, if not more.
Yuuji was unluckily born as the younger brother of his sister Kazuki, an absolute genius. Always being compared to her, nothing he did was ever approved of, and his parents ignored him in favor of Kazuki. Although Kazuki, who treated him as her precious brother, was his only source of comfort and happiness, she soon dies in an accident, leaving him alone. Because of the expectations in Kazuki to bring them money, his father becomes a violent drunk, and his timid mother does nothing but apologize. Eventually, he runs away together with his mother, and the two build a simple life of solitude away. One day, his father tracks him down and begins to rape the mother, demanding she produce another genius like Kazuki in his madness and greed. In response, Yuuji slams a bottle of alcohol onto his head, killing him. His mother sends him to run away, saying she’ll follow shortly; however, he eventually returns and finds she has committed suicide instead.
Mentally broken, Yuuji is adopted by one of his father’s acquaintances Oslo. It is here that Yuuji’s life truly takes a turn for the worse. Oslo is all kinds of messed up, partly because he is in fact a terrorist. He begins by forcing Yuuji to crossdress like a doll and sexually harasses him. One of Oslo’s men also physically abuses him until eventually Yuuji snaps and kills him. Oslo, however, is pleased to find Yuuji is a killer and enrolls Yuuji in his personal child terrorist training facility. Here, he learns how to be a cold blooded killer and many related skills. Furthermore, the children are all given drugs to “help” their focus on murder. After completion of the training, Yuuji moves on to become a tool of Oslo’s who assassinates people for the sake of financial or political gains. At this point in his life, Yuuji cannot be said to even have his own will. Between feeling he is the cause of his parents’ deaths after seeing his mother’s suicide, being forced into kill or be killed situations, and having no reason to continue living yet no reason to die either, he is merely an empty shell who does as he is dictated.
However, eventually, in a government operation to catch Oslo, a woman named Asako finds Yuuji and rescues him from his current lifestyle. She takes it upon herself to care for and raise him, finding him to be incredibly physically, mentally, and emotionally broken. The act of killing even a harmless fly causes him to have PTSD attacks. Even so, he begins to open up to her as she teaches him how to live life freely, choosing your own interests and path to follow. In the end, Yuuji takes up sniping as a hobby, which he was found to be proficient in during his time in the terrorist training facility. Although it could be considered a bad idea for him to go down another path involving killing, Asako emphasizes the important thing is that he makes the choice himself. She also gives him a speech about repaying her and the government for paying for his current lifestyle: the payment will be saving 5 lives. This declaration of saving 5 lives is perhaps the most important part of Grisaia’s story, but the full reason would include Rakuen spoilers. However, it is clear from season 1 that Yuuji has now repaid this debt: he has saved and redeemed the lives of the 5 girls. He would not have saved them if he had allowed himself to die during any point of his horrific childhood. He would not have enrolled into their school if he had had anywhere close to a normal childhood. Yet, they would not have been saved if he had not enrolled. Yuuji is able to save them not because he is some perfect protagonist who is capable of anything. He can save them because he has been through worse, and somehow made it out. He was saved by Asako, and he in turn saves the girls, having experienced the same thing.
Yuuji’s life and his subsequent redemption of the girls is similar to how God works. Rather than perfection, he uses suffering and pain as a way to help us help others. By understanding the pain of others from a firsthand experience, we can relate to others and more easily show them the love of God. Yuuji can relate to the girls more than what initially seemed, and in a way, he thought up solutions based on his own experiences and past with how Asako saved him. In the same way, we can save others through our own experiences. Christians who once hated the idea of God, ones who suffered addictions, abuse, or depression, all kinds of suffering can be used in turn to better help those who suffer from similar issues. It is not the ones who lived near-perfect lives who save others, but the ones who have actually experienced the horrors of life.
A common response to the question of why one is suffering is that it is all a part of God’s plan. Honestly, I don’t like that line. I do believe it, but I think it’s such a terrible and useless, even detrimental, thing to say to someone in that state. I think it’s really something that should be said in retrospect, when you look back at the things that you were able to accomplish because of that suffering. Yuuji saves 5 people as a result of what he went through. It is only in retrospect that we can see the benefits of his past. Similarly, one day we too may save someone and realize you could only do so because of a past hardship. And it is only then that you can truly appreciate God’s plan. Asako does not help Yuuji by telling him it will get better. She teaches him how to live better, and it is only after he has learned this that she instructs him to save others. I don’t like telling people it’ll be alright because it’s a part of God’s plan because it focuses on the future, but it is the present time which people are struggling with.
But it is also important to remember the state of suffering is hardly black and white. In truth, everyone is always fighting their own battles; it is only that some are struggling more than others. While not yet made clear in the anime, Yuuji is still heavily burdened by his past. Again referencing people calling him Mr. Perfect, he is rather someone who has put up such a skillful facade that only those closest to him would realize just how much pain he is in. In life, everyone does the same, and it is too easy to label others as happy and well-off. As Christians, we must always keep in mind that many people around us are hurting even if they appear to be fine. It is too easy to focus on those who are obviously hurting and feel we are being good neighbors yet not even notice the ones right beside us who are in just as much pain. As humans, we cannot see into the hearts of others, making it near impossible to identify these people, but God sees the hearts of everyone. Rather than relying on our own eyes and discernment, it is necessary to rely on God, even something as simple as who should we pay attention to. Otherwise, you’ll make the same mistake as thinking Yuuji is just a standard protagonist, except in the real world, that means abandoning someone in desperate need of help and God’s love.