Love is War.

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Sorry it’s been so long, but I had the craziest week you can imagine. I’m not sure I’ll go all into it until it’s over, but it’s quite a story.

Keeping up with my quest to finish MLP, and to watch new animes was the most fun part of a very difficult week.

I checked out Fruits Basket, Konosuba, and there’s more to go.

Konosuba is really stupid, by the way, not recommending that one.

But one my sister and I finished was called Kaguya-Sama: Love is War.

Love is War was really good. It reminded me a bit of a book I read called Love And War.

Of course the latter is a reference to that saying “All is fair in love and war.”

I think as a kid that saying always bothered me, like that should justify everything. But as an adult, I do not think that saying means that love and war can never have moments where you need to be fair, or that there are no principles to either.

On the contrary, the saying means that both love and war create circumstances where what is normally fair just won’t work. It would be suicide in war to give up one’s advantage, and it would be foolish in love to always demand fairness.

But some of you might also agree with the statement Love is war.

On the anime the opening premise is that love is a war between the lovers. That relationships are ruled by one person. And that the two people both want to be the head of the relationship.

Rather than assume it should be the man, as is traditional, the show demonstrates how the woman can still dominate even if the man has to do the asking and take the outward leadership role. We all know married couples, or unmarried ones, where the woman clearly is in charge.

I mean, ladies, we let men think they’re in charge, right? But…

I’ll get back to that in a second.

However, the show also allows that the man may end up leading in actuality also. It is a battle of wills.

Our two lovers start out bullheaded and proud. I found it somewhat funny, but they were both kind of scary to watch, and their friends even thought so. Two highly intelligent, prideful people, duking it out over love is easily a nightmare.

But then the writer of this anime began to demonstrate an unprecedented amount of wisdom. This plot would have been so easy to make cliche, the set up was there, and people would have loved it regardless. Nothing like two feuding lovers to make people watch episode after episode of something.

Instead, the anime went a different direction. Both characters began to grow. We get to see them learn to appreciate their other friends, both of them having been rather lonely beforehand, especially the girl, Kaguya.

Interestingly, Kaguya is the name of a character in Japanese mythology who was divinely sent to a childless couple, and when she grew up had many would be lovers, all of whom she drove away with impossible tasks. One, an emperor, she remained friends with, and he actually cared for her as a person.

At the end of the story Kaguya is revealed to be from the moon, and she ditched earth to go back to it, forgetting all her ties to the people there. Making the emperor sad.

The significance on this anime is not that Kaguya is like the myth, but that the people in her life seem to be trying to force her to be. She’s actually quite affectionate and caring in her own way, but she has a family and servants who try to keep her isolated and cold. Her only real friend at her home is a rather questionable influence in my mind.

Kaguya’s pride, we learn towards the end of the season, is really a mask for massive insecurity. She won’t admit it, but she desperately wants love, but feels she cannot be upfront about it, because it is beneath her. In reality, she is really just afraid to put herself out there because no one else seems to give a rip how she feels. Certainly not her cold and distant father.

Shinogane, the male lead, actually comes to admit that the reason he won’t confess how he feels is because he’s afraid. It’s a little easier for him to admit this because he has a family and understands emotions a little better.

Even once he realizes he is afraid, he still has trouble overcoming it. Well, he’s only human.

But here’s where it got really profound.

In the last few episodes, a situation arises where Kaguya feels like what she wants is impossible. Like she can never escape her life of loneliness. She tries to put on a brave face, and focus on the future, but ends up finally breaking down and shedding some long-reserved tears over it.

After all, it is rather unfair to her.

But then, just when she’s given up (and to me it was interesting that her words here were first to pray to God, and then to despair and think “Right…there is no God”) Shinogane finds her.

The show ends with her finally chasing him to try to thank him, which means she finally humbled herself to show gratitude.

It was interesting to see the pattern throughout the show was that Kaguya’s scheming never got her what she wanted. But every time she or Shinogane put aside their wants to help other people, they got what they wanted too.

It made a strong case for these two belonging together, but needing to mature into it. They are closer by the end of the season to being ready.

And, what I concluded was that you could take the show’s hook a very different way.

Love is war. But it is not war between two lovers. It is war against the odds. Against the problems we face. Against all the obstacles to hinder love from happening.

As I mentioned earlier, women and men’s power struggle can often be complex. Women like to say we let men think they are in charge.

However, one might ask what the difference is between letting men lead and letting them think we do. Leaders are the face of the group that follows them, but they represent what the whole group wants. If they are good leaders.

A man in leadership has to represent what his wife or family wants in the same way. It would be fair to say women guide men in how to guide them.

And if the positions were or are reversed, the same would apply to women. If we are not thinking of what our man wants, we don’t deserve to lead either.

Unfortunately, women actually can have more of a tenancy to lead men for their own gain, in certain situations, than men do. It depends on the person.

I’ve listened to jokes from men about being “trained” by their wives. It always bothered me.

Leadership is not simply training, it is guidance.

The Bible says, speaking of marriage, as well as the church, that we are to submit to one another.

What that means is that each of us is in our way a follower, and each of us is also a leader.

In relationships, a follower may have more control overall, because they can cause the leader to rethink what they decide to do.

In the most ideal of relationships, you would hardly be able to tell which it was. Two people of good judgment, character, and humility can lead each other by turns without making it super obvious.

Though the Bible gives headship to the man, it allows for plenty of times when a woman has to take the initiative.

I don’t really need to discuss gender roles here. I think that any time we try to narrow those down to specific things, we end up making idiots of ourselves. You cannot sum up every situation in one rule.

I think the real thing to focus on is fighting each other’s battles, helping each other, trying to make each other happy or better; not to fight each other over who does what.

I mean this to apply to the practical things of course, in moral issues, there clearly does have to be a standard.

Anyway, check out the anime, and until next time–Natasha.

 

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