Newman’s Nook: The Martyrdom of Mabu

In my last Newman’s Nook column, I thought I was done talking about Sarazanmai. I was wrong. There are two more characters that merit attention—Reo and Mabu.

Reo and Mabu appear to be the show’s antagonists. The duo are serving the otters by creating kappa-zombies when introduced in the series. Through flashbacks, forced reveals, and explanations from Keppi, their history is given. Reo and Mabu were lovers and premier kappa soldiers. They served Keppi during a historic war with the otters. Something happened that caused them to disappear from the timeline. They reappeared, seemingly resurrected by the otters to serve them.

While working for the otters, Reo notices that Mabu appears off and thinks to himself that he is no longer the man he fell in love with. There is distance between them that Reo cannot explain. This distance drives a wedge in both their personal and professional relationships. Mabu always appears to remain cordial with Reo; however, he is never warm. This coldness toward Reo never made much sense. Then, secrets are revealed.

We discover that when Mabu’s body was restored, the otters replaced his heart with a new one. The new heart would explode if he were to so show his love of Reo. So, Mabu has a choice—he can serve the otters and keep Reo in his life, but be forced to be toward him or he could die, never seeing Reo again. He chooses to survive. Mabu chooses a romance-less life with Reo over permanent death apart from him. However, as we’ve seen throughout this series, secrets of love cannot remain hidden forever.

After being restored following the climactic moment of Episode 10, Mabu declares his love for Reo. His heart subsequently explodes. Mabu chooses death over lying about his love of Reo. Mabu dies a martyr for his love.

The history of Christianity is filled with martyrs who died for their faith. The specifics varied throughout history, but one fact remains—martyrs refused to give up their love of Christ. They could be beaten, tortured, disfigured, or even murdered; however, they stood firm. These men and women of history refused to renounce their love of the Lord. Their love of Christ shone through them in words and deeds. They did not falter or hide the truth when confronted. In the end, Mabu did the same.

This boldness of proclaiming ones love can be hard. I know it’s easy to hide our feelings about Christ in a world that is further and further from Him. In societies around the world, outwardly displaying your love of Christ can be dangerous to life and limb. There are still people being murdered for the Gospel daily. It is less dangerous in modern, Western society. Being a vocal Christian can be a negative to some, creating awkwardness and, in some scenarios, a loss in friendship. We are called to vocally love Christ anyway.

While loving Christ at home or work will not cause my heart to literally explode, I still find myself in scenarios where the opportunity arises to proclaim his name and I fall silent. I often find myself like Mabu—awkward and cold instead of bold and loving. Christians are called to never deny the Lord. If we do so with our words or actions, we are failing Him. When we deny our love, we deny our God.

This is my fourth piece in an accidental series on Sarazanmai (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Sarazanmai can be streamed at Crunchyroll. A warning—there are a lot of mature themes in this series, so viewer discretion is advised.


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