A fellow blogger I respect, Medieval Otaku, wrote a post on an anime called Chain Chronicle. He mentioned to me that I may enjoy it, since it has fantasy and is based on a game (and everyone knows I’m a gamer!).
The main character, Yuri, was an interesting fellow. He’s a typical hero who wants to save the day, along with his faithful band of travelers. Just like most good vs. evil anime, his plan is to stop the darkness from spreading and overcoming the world. To do this, he must fight powerful foes, including his own self.
Well, I was able to complete the series and overall it wasn’t that bad and enjoyable, just not memorable. Yuri though, had an experience that was interesting since I rarely see it happen in a plot. He turned evil! It’s not every day you see the main character go rogue and indeed, kill his own teammates.
Yuri is poisoned by the darkness that is growing throughout the land, and he is having a hard time keeping his mind straight. He sees a dark persona of himself, which tries to convince him that there’s no way the team can win. Of course, as the hero he is, he refuses and gives a brave speech on how hope and light will overcome. It’s a good rebuttal, but he soon starts to crack and break down. In most anime, this is the part where the main character defeats the bad guy and the sun shines upon the battle as it ends.
But not in Chain Chronicle.
Yuri is tricked into killing one of his own friends, who he thinks is his evil alter-ego. After giving into the darkness, he starts battling his teammates, then disappears. I was pretty surprised at this turn of events, but it got me thinking about the reason why it happened. What would turn a hero to the “dark side”? His will and bravado to save the world was wiped out, so were his reasons to do so strong enough? I don’t think they were, and quite frankly, I have failed and given in too. I don’t concern myself with my failures though, I like to focus on the good instead. I do not have horror stories of regrets or pain that I have languished on others, but the sins I have done are forgiven through Christ and are forgotten.
Yuri fought for a better world with his friends, giving it their all, but they didn’t win. Yet he still tried, and again, he failed. His hope was in himself, and unfortunately, in real life that isn’t enough sometimes. In popular anime like Naruto, One Piece, Sword Art Online and others, viewers get inspired by the hero! Life isn’t always like that though, and it can get rough. I would never say we cannot find strength in ourselves, but I guarantee it will run out on you one day.
To share a personal example, I made the mistake of going to the wrong university. I believed I could make it at this large, research school here in Miami, FL. Though I was a mostly A and B student, I wasn’t ready for the amount of work that the professors gave me. Transitioning from high school to college was a big shock for me, as I had to figure everything out on my own and I didn’t have any friends to help me in that school either. So, after a year of failing several classes (first time in my life, and never happened again!) I transferred to the large community college. Doing that was wisdom from God, because my GPA was under a 2.0 and if it continued to drop I would have lost financial aid, thus losing my opportunity to go to college and eventually, get my Bachelor’s in Special Education.
I thought I was smart enough to make it in that school, which was difficult for me. In my mind, community college was for “slackers” who didn’t study and had bad grades. A lesson of humility came my way through F’s in class, even though I hit the books hard every day! I knew that God had not led me to make that decision.
Instead of gambling on how strong-willed I am, I needed to rely on someone who is stronger than me! My spouse, family, friends, children or even pastor are great sources for that, but God is the One that gives me strength when I am weak.
2 Corinthians 12:10
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I have been tempted to give into times of distress, because life can really kick you around. For me, it’s been not having enough money for something (like bills), issues in my relationships, not having strong connections with my own family, or struggling to be the husband and leader of my home when I have never had one modeled for me. These are just a few I can think of, but I have learned over the years to not wait for things to get bad then pray to God. I spend time with Him as much as I can, throughout the week and not just Sunday, so when life doesn’t go my way I have my faith anchored in Christ.
Yuri eventually does beat the evil inside of him and goes back to normal, and that’s great, but it’s an anime. Real life is much different, and there will be times when people fail us and aren’t there when we need them. It’s those times, especially before they happen, to put our faith in Christ and ask Him for help.
Chain Chronicle is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.