Sanrio Boys (Sanrio Danshi) is an anime series based on the manga of the same name about a group of high school boys who are into the cuteness of Sanrio products. We’ve got Kouta all into Pompompurin. We’ve got Yuu who loves My Melody. Shunsuke who’s a huge Hello Kitty fan. Seiichiro who’s in love with Cinnamoroll (just like my 6 year old daughter!). And we have Ryo who loves Little Twin Stars.The characters struggle at times with the fact that their personal fandom and passion are considered by others to be…well, weird. It’s called gross, effeminate, awful, or just plain strange by others to their faces. When Kouta was a child he had a plush Pompompurin his grandmother gave him. He was mocked by his friends as he got older for clinging to the plushie. When it was damaged and his grandmother offered to repair it, he lashed out and said some awful things to her about how he hated it. He lived with that regret as that was some of the last things he said to his grandmother. He retained a resentment of the toy and Sanrio products after this moment for a long while.
Ryo is much the same way when we first meet him. He sees Kouta, Yuu, and Shunsuke speaking boldly and publicly about their love of Sanrio items. He spits insult after insult at them. He’s furious they would be so bold as to talk about enjoying Sanrio products. He is furious. Ryo has been teased for a long time for being a pretty boy with feminine features. He hates being called cute and the teasing he constantly receives from others, including his older sisters. It created a hatred in him for all things cute, including Sanrio, within him.
In both cases, the resentment of cute objects turned into a hatred of self, as Kouta and Ryo hated the fact that they liked cute things. This was not a hatred of bad behavior, nor of the fact that they were doing illegal things. This was not even a hatred of past cruel actions to others. This was mere hatred of the true self, the self that accepts what their interests are and are open to acknowledging them.
Self-loathing is unhealthy and dangerous. It can lead to depression, outbursts, bitterness, and numerous other issues in life. It makes it harder for us to open up with others and psychologically speaking, can prevent us from ever being happy or content.Self-hatred is also very bad from a theological perspective. While the Bible warns about boasting, it also tells us we are each uniquely created in the image of God. Often we can remember that when it comes to loving others like our family, friends, and neighbors. We sometimes like to chastise others using this same mentality to get them to be more loving to their enemies, yet we sometimes forget that this piece of information is also true about us.
You are made in the image of God. I am too. We are image bearers of the Lord. We should respect and love that image. Should we embrace when we do wrong? Of course not. But if we find ourselves happening to enjoy media others find weird—who cares? In the end, as long as it is not sinful or harmful to others, to love something that others find silly is irrelevant. Admit it to yourself and you will find a world of strength you did not expect.
Being firm and knowing who you are is a huge thing. In the Bible we see examples of Stefan, who embraced his faith even in the face of death. We see it in the form of David who knew that the Lord was on his side, even when he was up against unspeakable odds. We also see those who wavered and were uncertain about themselves, including Moses and Elijah, who each doubted their own strengths and at certain points asked God to let them die because they could no longer handle their lives. They persevered by embracing themselves and the roles the Lord had for them.
I strive to do the same myself. I try to be as bold as I can about who I am not shying in the face of it even if embracing what I enjoy makes me look silly. So I will now in this moment of admitting to what we like say that I enjoy the Kilala Princess manga. Kilala Princess is a shojo manga about a young girl who finds herself pulled into different Disney world settings to help a lost prince find a missing princess. That princess is clearly her. I originally checked it out from the library with my kids thinking my daughters would like it. I mean, I have three daughters who love them some Disney princesses. No interest. So, I read it. And then checked out volume two from the library to read myself soon thereafter. It’s aimed at children, it’s simplistic, and every plot point is super obvious and cliche. I still am enjoying it. I don’t care if it makes me seem silly or trite.
Kouta and Ryo take some time to come around and embrace themselves. It takes his old Pompompurin being thrown out for Kouta to finally realize who he is and embrace his love of Sanrio products. It takes a a lot of conversation and realization of his mistakes for Ryo to embrace it too. It is hard and societal gender roles tend to downplay male enjoyment of cute things. Yet, who cares what others think? The Sanrio Boys finally stopped caring and embraced the truth about themselves. What about you?
Sanrio Boys (Sanrio Danshi) is available for streaming at Crunchyroll.
Kilala Princess is published by TokyoPop.