An early 90s nostalgia trip, Hi Score Girl is an anime series about hardcore 2-D fighting game enthusiast, Haruo Yaguchi, and the two girls he meets at the arcades. The first is Akira Oono, who is one of the most popular girls in school. Akira gets top marks in all of her classes and will likely attend an elite high school. To vent her frustrations, she plays 2-D fighting games in secret. Her family does not necessarily approve. Haruo knows about her secret, but few others do. The second girl who forms the core cast is Koharu Idaka, who’s parents own a shop that Haruo would frequent because they had 2-D fighting and beat-em-up arcade machines. The two come to know each other well and Haruo’s passion for fighting games eventually leads to Koharu also taking a liking to them.
Haruo is a passionate gamer. He proclaims the gospel of arcade and home console gaming whenever given the opportunity. He reads up on games and follows all of the recent trends. When you ask him about this hobby, he can talk all day long about games. However, ask him about a different topic and he fumbles. It is not that Haruo is incapable or unintelligent—far from it. In fact, when Haruo dives in and studues, he does much better at school. However, school is not his passion. His geeky passion is gaming.
His proselytizing about gaming is infectious and all those around him slowly begin to grasp his joy of games. From Koharu’s descent into becoming a hardcore fighting game master to Akira’s older sister seeing how games can help her relax and unwind from the busy grind of the day, this realization impacts how the other characters relate to Haruo.
Our geeky passions can come to define us, if we allow them. I have felt this myself. I am a Dad, but I am also a Pokemon, anime, manga, and Nintendo fan. These are things that I am passionate about and so words about them flow easily from me. I can speak at length about the unappreciated Bulbasaur or how The Nameko Families is the pinnacle of anime. When we are passionate about something, it has a tendency to make other people excited for us, which is great—I find that the more that people enjoy my hobbies and weird, geeky passions, the more accessible they become and the more content I get out in the long run!
Joy. Passion. Excitement. These are great and something that I know I need help carrying over from my passion for geeky media to my faith.
I enjoy attending church and reading the Bible, and sharing that with my kids, but it does not always inspire the passion I find myself using when speaking about my favorite anime. Why is that? Honestly, I find it easy to talk about anime or Star Wars. Those are low risk. If my friends do not like the same media as me, who cares? We’re still friends when all is said and done. My wife and I absolutely do not like all of the same things, and that does not diminish our marriage. However, when we talk about faith, we immediately find the road to be much more treacherous.
Some don’t want to talk about faith. Others get immediately offended at the thought of such conversations. Some just find it rude when company is present. These are unsafe topics, and no one wants to offend. Yet, the mere act of having faith at all is going to offend some people. By having a belief or faith, you may inherently also believe the faith of others is incorrect and possibly an affront to God. Christian faith is fairly exclusive—we believe in one God who dwelt among men as Christ, choosing to die on our behalf to cleanse us of our sins. Jesus also said that the only way to the Father is through the Son. While this is exclusive of the faiths of others, it is inclusive in that any and all can be saved by Christ. Holding fast to that belief is offensive to those who do not. It makes my faith a dangerous topic. Yet, I am called to live it out anyway.
Does that make it easy? No. Does that mean I will do it the right way ever time? Absolutely not. Does that mean that I need to broach this unsafe topic eventually with those I love (and even to those I do not)? Yes, and with passion equal to—and hopefully greater than—that which Haruo has for Street Fighter II. After all, faith is more than a game—it’s life itself.
Hi Score Girl can be legally streamed on Netflix.