Today, I want to talk a little more about a show I mentioned in my last post about anime in general.
“Say I Love You.”
This story is about two people, Mei and Yamato, who run into each other at highschool and somehow end up kissing and starting a relationship (it makes more sense in context).
It was a cute first few episodes.
Then the show does what anime does, and adds drama. Drama, drama, drama. Cue the AJR song.
Yamato is one of the better male anime leads I’ve seen, in that, he comes off as a real person, not one of those bland, too perfect anime boys who has a harem for some reason.
Often anime boys, for the sake of plot, are spineless and pathetically uncolorful. They just aren’t human.
Or you get your Naruto’s, bright, sunny, very human, but selfish and self absorbed to the point where they can never learn from their mistakes.
Yamato is just the right mix of traits to where he was painfully believable as a character. I’m sure some of the girls watching the show knew guys like this, I am sure I’ve met them but never been close enough to know that about them.
Yamato is insecure, easily jealous, and a push over to the point where he sleeps with a girl out of pity because she manipulates his need to be needed. (Which is something often that girls do for guys, but it was odd to see it on the other side, yet I’m sure it happens more than people acknowledge.)
Yamato has a classic White Knight complex, not the Nice Guy Syndrome one, or the cute chivalrous one, but the “he can’t say no if anyone starts acting needy and he just had to be the hero” one.
Mei, on the other hand, is the kind of girl who is afraid to trust anyone. She got used by people as a scapegoat in her past, and she is now very defensive, but also shy and quiet. She has a caring heart, she loves helping wounded animals, and later she learned to like helping people too, but she pulls back from intimacy a lot. She is also so realistic, it hurts to watch.
Mei and Yamato seem like a good match in a way. Mei never tries to use him and exploit his weakness to manipulation. Yamato tries to take care of her and make himself trustworthy, not blaming her for anything, and appreciating her softer side. They even like some of the same things, like cats, it’s pretty cute.
The anime took an interesting approach to their issues, because time and time again, the real problem wasn’t actually ticking each other off, but that the other people in their lives kept getting in the way, and Yamato could never say no, and Mei would not stand up for herself.
They learn a little eventually, but like many anime, the ending is not that good at showing that they truly learned why they are the way they are.
They apologize for their mistakes, but it never occurs to Yamato what his real problem is. It never occurs to Mei why she needs to confront him on that. Even though her friends tell her she should, she chickens out of really telling him all of it.
While the anime did convince me their relationship was not a terrible idea, it didn’t convince me it would ever end up very strong, because they just couldn’t say what was really wrong.
The point of the title is that Mei needs to learn to trust enough to “say ‘I love you'” to Yamato. And she does, at the very end, sort of (it was a little hard to tell if she was thinking it or saying it.)
The hard thing is that, what they really need to say is the truth.
Mei and Yamato are an all too real depiction of how people get into a relationship, and some of them, with the best of intentions, think they will be able to heal the other person.
Yamato thinks that, but we find out, he thinks that about everyone. He feels it’s his job to make all the pain better, we do learn that this is because he had a habit of not helping people in the past, and he feels guilty about that.
It’s beautiful when your significant other really wants to help you heal, instead of just wanting you to heal them, I hope I can have that attitude with my husband.
But it’s never enough.
Mei and Yamato hit that roadblock and the show ends because, it just doesn’t have anywhere else to go. I heard the Manga went further, but I doubt it really changed a lot, it was too much of a pattern. I learned from Naruto the hard way that if something starts off not finishing it’s character development, it tends to end that way too.
I’ve been rereading John and Stasi Eldredge’s “Love and War” book about marriage (’cause if you ain’t got it, you read about it, as Family Matters put it) and it describes the problem with fictional relationships to a tee.
In fact, I notice that the best fictional relationships are often ones that ignore something.
I love the ones where the two people understand each other so well that they aren’t bothered by the other person’s temper, because they know exactly what they mean by it, they never get offended by something that’s said because they’ve come to understand them so well, and they know just what to say to make them feel better — #goals.
Yeah… but, it’s not real.
Even friendship is portrayed that way on anime and kids shows a lot, and while I think it’s okay to aspire to be that kind of friend, you really can’t expect people to never get offended.
In a perfect world, we would understand each other that well. We’d never need to worry about offending anyone because everyone would be whole and confident, and impossible to offend.
I’m not too easy to offend with just words, I like kids, so I have to have a sense of humor about what people say to me, it’s easier with kids, because we don’t see them as the verdict on us, so if they insult us, we don’t take it seriously. At least, good childcare workers don’t.
But people are broken, they are a hot mess, and we can’t help but get hurt by what others say and do, it’s infuriating when we know better, we know this person would not try to hurt us, yet we get hurt anyway, and get mad at them. We can’t seem to help it.
I had the story of living with someone who actually did want to hurt me on purpose, which has given me a sense of insecurity about really being sure that other people never want to hurt me on purpose. I feel that they could become spiteful at any moment if I push them far enough.
Add to that that I am a naturally bold person who likes to start conflict if it’s for a good reason, and I end up creating situations for myself that would bring out people’s spiteful/defensive side if they had one.
I’d rather just know the truth.
The reason for that is, the person I lived with who spitefully hurt me on purpose, would lie about loving me, say it was out of love, and say they would not do it again, anthing to get out of the hot seat.
I developed a real hatred for bullcrap (real or imagined), and now I like to make people reveal their “true” colors, and prove they are only being fake with me.
I’m catching onto this habit more and more lately, and trying to control it, but I know perfectly well that I will not be able to every time. I will get triggered. I will react poorly.
I want to get healed enough so that that will be a rare occurrence, and I’ll realize it quickly and repent when it does happen,
but it turns out my biggest obstacle is no realizing I’m wrong, but accepting that I need help, and I need love, despite being wrong.
My dad put me on a very destructive cycle. He set me up to fail (and if I gave you details, you’d see just how very openly he did it) and then blamed me for failing when I could never have won. Giving me both self worth issues, and issues with giving people a fair chance, issues that feed into each other in such a perfectly evil way, that it is only by God’s grace that I am not swallowed by them.
The thing is, I am not my issues. I have them, and the trip me up, but it’s popular now to let them define you.
They don’t have to.
You can know you have a problem with Self Pity, but not live your life defined by self pity parties. You can actually be a sympathetic person, and still know self pity is a weakness of yours, it may have just turned into you strength.
You can know you have a temper, but let that make you more self controlled and slow to anger so that it doesn’t dominate your life.
And you have other traits. I may have issues with self worth, but I do not treat myself like I have no worth. I have tried hard to share my desires with people, to show I respect myself by how I dress, how I act, how I talk about myself. You won’t hear me use self deprecating humor too often. People may think I don’t talk bad about myself because my parents were super supportive, that would be a lie.
My mom had a rule about now saying negative things about yourself, but I know people who had a similar rule, but still lapsed into that whenever they weren’t around their parents.
My parents did not praise me that much, and often when they did, it was manipulation, which adds to the sense of worthlessness.
It’s been a choice not to fall into talking about myself like I’m worthless. Or thinking about myself that way, you know, that Inner Critic that gets all over your case.
I still have it, but I shut it down pretty quickly when it pipes up.
This is what I mean, I am not free from insecurities, but I am not nothing but insecurities. It’s a mistake to see yourself that way, but it’s encouraged by our culture, in some parts of the world, not being that way is seen as arrogant.
But the Bible would not say so. David said “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” and praised God for making him skilled in battle so that he could “bend a bow of bronze” (unless that was the other psalmist, but I think the point still stands).
The Bible is not into self deprecation.
In summary , we are messed up, we can’t fix each other, but that’s no reason to hate ourselves.
Until next time–Natasha.
And if you want to check out a different kind of my writing, I have an anime fanfic story on WattPad that has lots of relationships, and some adventure/sci-fi stuff too: