Just Because shows it to be (maybe if I had grown up someplace where there was a little more snow), but the series does depict at least one thing accurately (in addition to the complexity and authenticity of relationships)—how events and people and could be’s and might become’s that will all likely be relatively minor footnotes for the characters in their lives mean everything to them right now. I was the same at their age. Maybe you were, too.
In episode seven, Komiya exhibits this kind of naive desperation as she explains to Izumi why the photography club is so important to her. According to Komiya, it’s all she has. And though that sounds like an exaggeration, I kind of understand where she’s coming from. Komiya has a passion and a talent, and perhaps her skill with photography is also the only thing she feels she excels at, the only thing that brings her happiness. Spoken like a true 16-year-old who doesn’t understand that life can be so much fuller, and likely will be, as she grows and learns more about the world, more about herself.
Natsume is more put together than Komiya, at least on the outside, but that “end of the world” mentality also affects her. I think for Natsume, though, she overthinks every situation. Precisely because of that, she’s taken so much time in making her feelings to Soma known, and she’s likewise been slow in unraveling her thoughts about Izumi, though the events at the end of episode seven force her make a decision. Likewise, the heavy snow on the day of the national exam weighs on her and begins to make her frantic, when experience or a clearer head, like Izumi’s, might have made her consider that since everyone is behind, the exam, too, will be delayed.
And I think that’s key for Natsume and Komiya—experience. When I was their age, I felt my view of the world, both at large and personally, were absolutely right. I was sure that I knew what was of consequence and what was true. I’ve now lived as many years outside after high school than I did from birth up to graduation, and I realize that back then, I knew nothing. I was limited by so many things, not least of all my prideful self and a lack of maturity.
I realize these things now, that I was immature as a teen, but I also now realize this: though I might find the concerns of many adolescents immediately to be small, they are not. Their worries are important because they themselves are important. When I begin to dismiss others because I find their worries, their passions, their prayer requests (this is a big one for youth and college small groups) to be petty or short-sighted, or feel the urge to look down upon them as children, I need to remind myself that I’m no different, not really. I’m just older, with more responsibility, but with the same sense that everything revolves around me.
But the limited view I have of the world (and that others have as well) doesn’t make my worries any less significant. Though my concerns are sometimes just as exaggerated or naive as a teenager’s, they, too, are important, because they’re important to me, and because of who I am. For no matter how big, no matter how small, what concerns you and me is meaningful and significant, just because of who we are.
Just Because! can currently be streamed on Anime Strike.