Newman’s Nook: You. Me. Same.

Sarazanmai continues to tackle complicated issues of desire and lust with gorgeous visuals, kappas, and of course, butts. In my first piece on the series, I spoke about secret revelations. This time I want to speak about two of our leads—Kazuki and Toi. Warning: Spoilers from the first five episodes will follow.

Kazuki gives the appearance of a good kid with a good life. He comes from a loving, two-parent household with a little brother who adores him. However, there’s a darkness within Kazuki. I already spoke of his secrets previously (pretending to be an idol, stealing a cat). As the series progresses, we learned that his actions are to keep his family happy. Kazuki feels out of place in his family and believes those feelings are because he was adopted; to find a sense of belonging, Kazuki meets with his biological mother. His younger brother, Haruka, follows him during one of these visits; this simple act inadvertently leads to the injury which causes Haruka to become permanently wheelchair bound. Kazuki blames himself for Haruka’s injury, feeling as though he is the true reason for all of his family’s problems. He carries an internal burden to make it right and keep them happy, hoping that he will finally deserve to belong.

Toi gives the appearance of a bad kid with a tough life. He secretly grows and sells marijuana (note: drug crimes are more controversial in Japan than they are in the United States), and his parents are dead. After their parents died, Toi’s older brother turned to a life of crime, and eventually Toi is dragged into this life, partly by accident and partly by choice. To protect himself, his home, and his brother, Toi murdered a man. His brother took the fall and covered it up, leaving Toi with hidden guilt. He strives to make his brother happy and uphold the wishes of his deceased parents, and carrying this internal burden to support his brother, just as his brother protected and supported him, drags Toi down dark and dangerous paths.

Following the defeat of a kappa zombie and more Kazuki secrets revealed in Episode 2, Toi threatens Kazuki to get the magical plate he received from Keppi (long story). With his gun pointed at Kazuki, Toi proclaims, “You and I aren’t very different. We’ll do anything to take what we want.” He was not wrong.

While the boys may appear to be opposites, beneath the surface, they are more similar than they are different. Both have a strong desire to belong; both have a need to please their families; both would do whatever it takes to reach those goals. And for both boys, this means turning to crime. The biggest difference between them is that Toi is up front about his sinful nature; Kazuki hides behind a presentable face.

Every person on the planet is unique and different. What tempts you may not tempt me. What I desire may be something you find abhorrent. Yet, in so many ways each of us are the same.

We all have secrets.

We all have internal, personal struggles.

We all need saving.

The Bible reminds us time and again that all have sinned and fallen short of the Lord (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8). Not some or many, but all. Therefore, Kazuki, Toi, me, and every single person reading this post are all sinners. Yes, I lust, become jealous, lash out in anger, act imperfectly as a husband, and waste time when I have responsibilities. In short, I fall woefully short of perfection. Yet, the story of the Bible does not end with the revelation of our weakness—it provides us with a message of hope in that despite our sinful nature, the Lord gladly laid down His life for us (Romans 6:23). Accepting this free gift of salvation frees us from our sins. Does it mean Christians are somehow sinless and perfect after accepting Jesus? Of course not. We are still flawed, fallen humans trying to survive on this broken planet. However, we as Christians believe in a Savior who helps, supports, and remakes us in His image.

Kazuki and Toi look to themselves to fix their problems. They try to repair their broken relationships, family, and emotions alone. The problem is that they can’t. They need help. They need support. So do I.

I am thankful for a Savior who helps.

I am also thankful for the community of believers around me. Without fellow Christians and their support, I would falter far more than I do. Kazuki and Toi are slowly seeing their need for each other. Friendship can be family and their desire for family is universal. My hope is that as the show continues, Kazuki, Toi, and Enta grow closer as friends and as family, to rely upon one another, to support one another, to defend one another. Because, in the end, each member of this trio of kappa boys needs one another more than they possibly know.

Sarazanmai can be streamed at Crunchyroll. A warning—there are a lot of mature themes in this series, so viewer discretion is advised.


5 thoughts on “Newman’s Nook: You. Me. Same.

  1. That was a nice article. Thank you for that, Mathew.

    Fiona, would you ever like to chat about it on Discord with us some time? We’re always glad to talk about stuff like that if it might be helpful to you.

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