March Comes in Like a Lion continues to move forward with its bullying arc, which has been presented so vividly in the way we’d expect of Shinbo and Shaft. The length of this arc is significant—the bullying isn’t quickly resolved in one or two episodes. It’s slow and spreading, a complex organism that isn’t easily tamed or destroyed. Four or five episodes in, we’re also four or five weeks in, further reflecting how bullying in real life lasts a long time—weeks, months, years.
The writing itself has also been on point. Rei and Akari, like parents, feel dread and helplessness regarding the situation, the earlier because he’s been through similar and is inspired to help, though he’s not sure quite how, and the latter because she feels she has failed Hina and is worried about how to approach the role of mom should the bullying continue to escalate. These are real responses which, again, point to how difficult and messy bullying is. It’s like getting bubblegum stuck in your hair—it’s not easily extracted, there is no one solution, and every bit you cut out affects everything else.
Like Rei, I’m reminded of my childhood. I was the victim of some bullying that had to do with racism, and although my experiences were relatively minor, they continue to impact me. They still have an notable effect on who I am today. Thankfully, too, my experiences were intermittent and not with people I regularly interacted with, thus, the “bullying” usually resolved itself immediately, unlike Hina’s situation in March Comes in Like a Lion. She endures a more methodical bullying. I’m ashamed to say that I was generally more on the bullying side of the equation when I was a middle schooler, particularly picking on one “friend.” That situation ended when he became more confident and I became kinder. As Hayashida tells his student, “All you can do is what you can do, one step at a time”—perhaps that’s the only consistent advice that can be applied.
I’d like to hear about your experiences with bullying, if you’d like to share. And most particularly, I’d love to hear how your situations were resolved—was it clean and simple or was it more complicated, like in Hina’s case? Is it still on-going?
Please share with us in the comments below.