Losing the Value of Life

Today I want to write about a phenomenon I’ve been noticing for years, but, somehow, it was just this week I began to draw connections as to why.

First, I want to illustrate what I’m thinking of:

In simple words, this phenomena is “a loss in the value of human life.”

I think, in general, in this country, maybe in this whole world, we humans have lost a sense of value for our own and other’s lives.

I mean, that we no longer feel life is beautiful, worthwhile, or important.

The most prominent examples of this would be, as always, in the media world.

 

Have you noticed yet how many movies (and anime, the other biggest genre in this country), spend a sizable chunk of their time trying to convince the audience that humans are worth saving.

Since I was a kid, I noticed the anti-human rederick in sci-fi cinema.

I bet if I asked you (assuming you’re in an English spelunking country) to name 5 movies off the top of your head where some bad guy from another race, or another planet, says humans are basically petty, garbage that they really don’t see any value in, to which the hero retorts with something brilliant like “Well, I say they are.” And then beats the crap out of the villain, who is still unconvinced… you could do it right. 

Watch me I’ll do it now:

Wonder Woman ( Ares vs Diana)

Captain America (Red Skull vs Cap)

Justice League Animated movie: Crisis on Two Earths (Owlman vs Batman)

Avengers Age of Ultron (Ultron versus the Avengers)

The Matrix (Agent Smith versus Neo, pick a movie for that one, all three do it).

 

There’s more, but that’s just 4 popular, and one more obscure example.

I’d say this rend must have started in the 60-70s, but took off more in the 80s-90s, and is now a staple of pretty much every superhero movie we have.

And Anime has it in almost every arc, if it’s a shonen anime. 

Makes me wonder what humans ever did to all the machines and aliens, it’s rarely other humans who are making this judgment call.

I mean, why do screenwriters feel so implicitly that other races would loathe and despise us on such short acquaintance?

Usually, i’ts because we’re “destroying our planet.” And agenda that is only held by some members of our population. Try pitching that idea in an African tribe sometime, they’ll give you blank looks. Those of us “destroying” our eco system, are usually the ones reaping the most benefits from doing so. Maybe we are in the West, but, that’s not a global reality.

And because we’re cruel, petty, and afraid. 

Like, usually the aliens in question, and AI things, are not any less cruel or petty than we are. But they look down on humans like some self righteous snobs.

And then we get the protagonist speech. Like “I”m going to save humanity anyway, because… reasons.”

Like, the hero really can’t disagree with it.

Ever notice how tired our modern day heroes are?

You’d nee see that in the 50s-60s, heroes reveled in being heroes the way ballerinas revel in ballet, and artists revel in painting, and actors revel in acting. There was not this weariness to them.

Even Spiderman, perhaps the most iconically troubled superhero of the last century, spent most of this time enjoying his job. He thought it was important.

In my mind, it’s a disgrace to our culture that we can have a movie where Superman spends most of his time wondering why he’s even bothering to save humans. (Dawn of Justice.)

Like, heroes used to not take humanity as a whole and say “you all suck, so why should I save anyone.”

It was about saving the ordinary, decent people who need help, and sometimes, the not so decent people, because they were still people.

 

I’m not here to talk just about superhero cinema. But it’s one place you can almost always find this. Even my favorites from the last 10 years, that’s true. Some of the older movies, it’s not there in.

I now some of you are gong to be thinking “But humans do suck. They’re just telling the truth.”

That’s what my Dad would say, I know. I can still hear his voice in my head even after nearly two years of absence.

I have to admit, my dad is one of the main reasons I’m tempted to be down on humanity myself.

Though, I question what the point of having aliens and machines criticize us in our movies is, when, those things are not real, at least not yet, and really have no place judging us.

Shessh.

I mean, what are we going or replace humans with? We are what we got to work with. What’s the use of having alien critics? Thanks for the social commentary, Hollywood… the people who actually promote a sinful lifestyle so much you’re directly responsible for the increase in a lot for the very things you’re calling us out for.

Yeah, sure, it’s all the general populations fault.

Like, was it the 90s kids fault that the examples we subjected them too were so sacred up that they now have very little idea of how to behave? Or did we remove their chance to know what right really was?

But I digress.

Another place you can find this attitude is in pretty much every leftist work out there. I’m sorry if that’s offensive, it’s just something I’ve observed. Their books, movies, talks hows, always bashing on how bad humans are, and how we’ve ruined everything.

The level of disgust I’ve noticed since a kid with humans.

Why it’s int he flipping Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series, come to think of it. Maybe that’s where I encountered it first, even.

Whihc is liberal, byt he way.

Humans… we just cant’ cathc ab reak.

I guess it makes snes, we projet abetter personana onto ficiaotna l things, giving them what we wich we had more of as a race. Wsidoem, jsutice, Mercy, Intellignce., Bravery.

But often, what we create is so cold, and bitter, and disillusioned with anthhign in life that might give it pleasure.

Then we wonder why peopel are so depresed these days. Thsi is what they grow up having funneled into their brians bye ey balviale media outlet.

The hatred for humanity.

So, of course, our vlaue for human life drops.

Someitmes, I almsot feel gald when humans die in movies. And then I Catch myself feeling that way, and I think “Am I atually gald? am I actually happy?”

But, I’m an emopath, I pck up on the meotoians and intentons of people. I feel them like they ar emy own until I learn to distuirgns between what they are bradcasting and what I am actuallyt hinking.

IT’s aeasy for me to assume what I get form toehrs is just how things are.

But,I don’t actually like it when peopel die.

Coud it just be, that, when I watch the movie, I catch what they pople writign it were really feeling? What the characrtes are meant to emobidy.

OF course it woudn’t be accpetalbe to make our hero actually asupport gneoicde…but, if you give the vaillinst herse really convicng speeches bout how much humasn desre death or contol, and give the hro nkothing but burte strenght to anwer it with, aren’t you sbulimally letting the vilalin viepoitn win out? IT was never defeated, just silnced.

Why are peopel sypamthaizign with villains so much now?

And anien is even worse int his area than WEster Cinema. At least we give lip service to our ideals wevn eh we give nothing to back it up, but naime often falis to eve do that. The heors jsut save th day becaue they have a stonrg passion for thier firends.

It’s to the point where people have acknowledged that saving the world doesn’t feel like important stakes anymore

Saving the flipping world! Not important!

We can’t get invested int that, because, to us, the world just means the greed and selfishness driven masses that we are shown on tv. Not the individuals whose lives we might actually care about. We can get invested int hose, but not the rest.

That’s why superheroes always save their love interest, you care about that, you don’t care about a crowd of people, do you?

I remember that back in the day, in Westerns, just doing justice was enough, it didn’t have to be to save anyone. You cared because it was justice. It didn’t need a face. The hero wanting it was face enough.

But what hit me this week about the trend I’ve noticed for years and years, is why.

Why do we all feel humans are just the worse, and that human life is no longer valuable.

My theory is, it’s a deep psychological side effect of the choice we’ve made as culture since the 60s.

Let’s start with the biggest two:

Since the 60s we’ve taken parer out of schools, and tried to shut religions out of education, despite much evidenced to the contrary that it’s even a good idea to do so, and so education became more secular.

Depression rates soared after that, by the way. So did teen pregnancies. So did abortions.

Another change made around that time. Abortion became legal.

And now they say we abort 5,000 babies every minute, if I remember right, that may be an old statistic.

This even become legal is, frankly, and atrocity of the highest degree. We have the evidence now to know we are killing a baby, but we’re still doing it and the left will keep saying it’s a Women’s Right’s issue until that excuse stops working.

‘Cause we all know, Women make babies by themselves, and men nave nothing to do with it, so why should the man get a say in it if his baby is killed. (And while some jacks do pressure women to get abortions, many men have not wanted that choice and have been ignored.)

I’m tired of tiptoeing around this, if someone can’t see abortion is wrong, they are more delusional than a man who believes he’s a dog, and there’s just no use apologizing for that anymore.

I hate, by the way, how that issue is barely even talked about now. I heard almost nothing about it at the last elections. It’s not even at the top of our priorities list. We spend more time arguing about the rights of people who enter this country illegally than we do about unborn babies.

But how did abortion become legal? How did this happen? How did we get to this point? Is it not because we began devaluing human life?

I mean, at first, it didn’t work that way. They convinced us the fetus wasn’t human. But, now that we know it is, we’re still not worked up about it.

We just don’t really care, do we?

Even Pro Life people, have hard time getting as emotional over it as we used to, and we’re told not to.

We’re told not to get emotional about a baby being murdered. Like, that’s not something that deserves some emotion….Wow….

We’ve lost our minds, that’s for sure.

But we’ve also lost our value for life.

I almost wonder if it’s a judgement in some sense. Not that God made us do it, but more like karma. Like, we killed our own children in their country, so now our sense of value in even our own lives is dying away.

You ever notice once you start treating someone a certain way, you began to feel that way. And what you do to one person, you’ll do to another. A person who bullies one person will probably bullied another. A person who rapes one person will probably rape another.

A person who lies to you will lie to someone else, and likely to themselves too.

Cross one line with one person, you’ll cross it with all.

Maybe that’s why James said “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

Because that’s the truth. There is not “one time Sin”. There is only a sin that you do in one form at one time, and maybe don’t do it again, bu you’ll do something similar.

Of course if you repent that maybe not happen, but most people dont’ repent of that, they just think it’s not important anymore, it’s in the past right?

In the rape case, it’s doubtful that a rapist usually ever realizes what they did was wrong. If you can dehumanize a woman or man enough to take that from them, how can you go back? It wouldn’t be easy.

Interesting how signs of violation are sometime harder to let go of that sins like murder and violence.

I mean, many a person has murdered and then been horrified that they did it, and not enjoyed it. But how many people realize even as soon as they’ve done it that rape or molestation was an evil they should never have done. It’s like they block it out.

As the signs get worse and we become more immune to them, we come to care less and less if people die.

Thank to the news most to us feel people are dying all the time, all day long and we can do nothing about it.

Maybe our goal is to try to numb ourselves to the horror by watching horror. Watching gory stuff, and dulling the pain of feeling helpless by doing that. There’s reasons people consider horror a kind of escapism.

But Horror movies and shows and stories are not really an escape, because so many of them can occur in real life, and we’re only increasing the likelihood of it by popularizing it.

You know, I wouldn’t know how to shoot up a drug if I didn’t watch movies. I’ve never done it, and I never intend to, but I know at least theoretically how it works, I’ve seen it. Why are we so stupid?

We are still responsible for our own choice, it’s true, but, we really can’t keep denying that choosing to consume this stuff is changing how we feel about things..

C. S. Lewis thought that being taught how to feel was one of the most important parts of learning. He explains this in The Abolition of Man.

We live in a culture that is post Abolition of Man. We are trying to abolish gender, human rights for anyone we deem a problem (like babies), and any sense of guilt or shame over hurting each other over petty issues.

Do people feel guilty for rioting and becoming violent over the last year? Or are they proud of it?

Should we be proud that people died or got hurt over something that, bad as it was, didn’t have to affect that many people that way.

And of course, someone will say “Well, it should have. All these issues should affect all of us, all the time.”

I miss the days when people thought not everyone needed to be burdened with everyone else’s problems.

I mean, what are we all supposed to do about it?

It’s all just anger, that’s all it is. We can get angry, then what? Did it make us kinder? Smarter? Better people?

Or did we sell our integrity just a little bit more in order to make a statement.

Man, I think the media must just love how easily manipulated we are. It keeps them in business.

And valuing human life is just not even poplar anymore.

Almost everyone is struggling with depression now. I don’t think it’s just because we feel we have no right to live. I think we are wondering if anyone does.

I know that was a big part of my depression, and still is, when it comes back. I can’t find any pat of humanity I like when I think of what I’m shown all day long, every day, by media.

If I can’t value human life, I can’t value my life.

I want to value both.

It’s heartbreaking that we don’t.

According to the Word, God loved the world so much, He gave His Son for it. (John 3:16)

Jesus loved us so much, He died for us.

And what has humanity ever done form God?

Yet he loves us.

Do we understand that?

Many people express the doubt that God could really love such a messed up race as ours.

Well, we don’t deserve it.

But since when was Love based on desert?

You can’t find that idea anymore in the world. Once upon a time, we could. Frozen is the last movie I can think of, and Wonder Woman, that even broached the subject.

Why do our lives have value?

Because, God made us. Why he did, why he puts us here, when it’s such a mess, is hard to say, for us humans. But God knows best. Humans are the only tool he has ever used to mend the world with other than himself.

The Bible says we are partners with God in his Works. That is why we are still here.

I wonder, if we made more stories around that idea, if people would start to feel differently about it.

It’s not so hard.

I can get down in the dumps when I realize all this crap is going on, and that the barbarians of our world are the ones running things.

But, the world is temporary.

People are not.

I think that, turning back from this point of despair, is actually not as difficult as we think.

People who complain about their mental health usually are taking no steps at all to improve it beyond therapy and medication.

But what I found to be much more helpful was changing my influences.

I put some happier examples before me. I went back to books I loved.

I give this advice to other people now.

We need to rediscover what makes people worthwhile.

It’s hard with the constant influx of negativity.

We all talk bout it, but very few of us try to shut it out. I think we need space to just, think. Get in touch with Nature, with Beauty. With Goodness.

If we all did that, the media would have very little sway over us. I think they want us afraid to go outside.

You know, at least right now, people have as much power over you as you give them, provided you’re in a normal position.

I try to explain to my cousin how we don’t all need to think the same way as what’s in vogue.

Wokeness is just… ugh…

It’s come to a pretty pass when the people villainized in their country are ones defending the lives of babies.

Yeah, just stop and think about that sentence.

I mean, shoot, even if you think women have a right to abortion…why on earth would you hate someone for defending a baby? Isn’t that psychotic?

And the self satisfied attitude of the people…

But do we value each other anymore?

If we ever did. My knowledge of history makes me question if any but a predominantly Christian society has ever had anything like a real value for human life. We take it for granted here, we don’t realize how quickly it’s slipping away.

Or if we do, we don’t know how to stop it.

It’s hard, it should be intrinsic, not something we have to learn.

I’m still working on it myself, but I do believe that Beauty and Goodness are the best places to start.

As Paul wrote “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

We really don’t do that anymore, do we. And so we’ve lost our value for all the things that are valuable.

But, be enoucred, friends. Even if our culture is dying, Jesus is not going to die He’s beent ere done that. God is not goidn anywehre.

All Nations fall, and all peoples corrupt, but God is incorruptible. He will stay the same.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

In a world where nothign huamn is cerating excpet sin, peopel turn to God as a certianty.

We must hang onto that if we’re gong to not lose heart, it’s so easy to do that.

David wrote;

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
” (Psalms 27: 13-14)

Notice, he says the “goodness of the lord” not man.

I’ve been thinking of that, because this year, I really want to see the goodness of the Lord…but I think, I keep looking for the goodness of man. And that’s hit and miss.

I’ll leave you with that, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Anime Therapy with Momo Yaoyerozu

I had to include the full name because there are so many Momos in anime😄😂

Well, I revamped my Bakugo post again, if you want to check it out– Anime Therapy with Bakugo.

I am still finding my level with how to write these posts, this one would be harder to do in second person form.

Ah well, just like before, this was partly inspired by CeCe’s Therapy at UA series, though she only has one Momo video.

Gathering Intel

CeCe’s analysis isn’t very extensive, just that Momo is one of the most over-powered characters so she should have more confidence, and that the heroes Momo thinks are stronger than her are “self sacrificial idiots” (which is true, most of the time, except for Todoroki probably).

I will have to expound on it myself, since, actually, I haven’t seen anyone else give the real skinny on what makes Momo an interesting character, especially through the lens of her issues. Though this will be less therapy oriented, and more an analysis of her character that includes her psychology and how it could change, but I don’t know if a therapist would give you this advice, since they are more focused on helping you accept yourself and be the best you you could be, not so much on transformation of who you are, that’s where being a Christian with a message comes in.

And if by chance you are one of the people, or know one, who thinks she’s boring and overrated, allow me the chance to change your mind, let’s go:

Momo has no real personality disorders like most of the boys do. She doesn’t overcompensate, she has no complex, and she isn’t mean or prideful, without being weak. She’s that anime girl we all love, the Classy Queen archetype. The Mom friend. The brainiac with a heart of gold.

So, naturally she’s my favorite, along with Bakugo. But she’s not perfect, and over time I picked out what I believe are her main issues and struggles that never get talked about.

Momo’s lack of confidence is not actually her biggest problem, when it comes to fighting itself. That’s easy to overcome, she just needed to succeed a few times, she’s already pretty well over it. And many might say that concludes her arc. But there’s way more to Momo’s place in the story than just her fighting ability.

Momo has been, from the start, highlighted by the story for her exceptional intelligence, perception, and use of her quirk. She’s the perfect student. A natural leader. She’s essentially, what Bakugo tries to be. To the point where even in season 1, when Bakugo is at his most prideful, he admits he agrees with her assessment of his actions (a little detail most Bakugo haters miss when they say he’s never humble, btw.) Since Bakugo never agrees with anyone, ever, about his actions, that’s noteworthy in of itself. Momo’s analysis is clearly superior if it can’t be argued with.

Yet, Momo often finds herself unsure what to do. It’s like, having all the talent and skill that most heroes dream of at such an early stage makes her even more uncertain how to apply it.

It’s been pointed out that, if she were a villain, the heroes would basically be doomed. Momo couldn’t be beaten if she were evil, she just couldn’t. Not by the students anyway.

And that’s interesting, because misusing her power as a hero is one of Momo’s chief concerns as the show progresses. It’s rather surprising that in the Bakugo rescue arc, it’s Momo who makes up the singular girl on the squad, instead of Uraraka, who’s loyalty to Deku and Iida you might expect to be more of a factor.

Momo’s reason is to keep them in line. She says she doesn’t think they should break the rules and use their quirks, but she “Understands how they feel” and will “Stand by her classmates”. This is an interesting point.

Momo and Iida share a lot of similarities, they are top students who value the rules, and can follow them with ease due to their status and gifting. They both veer more towards order and submitting to authority. You’d expect her to side with Iida on this issue. While she expresses agreement with him, notably her actions indicate more sympathy with the rule breakers. She understands how they feel more than she wants to avoid trouble. When it comes to the point, Momo doesn’t make any move to stop them from taking action.

What intrigues me further is that the MHA movies “Two Heroes” actually revisits this same issue, though I think it’s set before that arc, so you could also say it preludes it. In that movie, there’s a time in an elevator when the students all debate whether they should help or not, and Iida again says they shouldn’t, and Momo begins to agree, but Todoroki ask s “Is it right to just do nothing?” and Momo hesitates and says she’s not sure, “It’s complicated.” (Which, by the way, is one of the ways I ship them, their contrasting views have a lot to teach each other).

In the end, Momo still chooses to help, even to fight once it comes to the point. As, of course, they all do.

I have to love her, but all this wouldn’t have given me insight into her character if I hadn’t had someone else to compare her to, and that person is Bakugo.

At first, they seem nothing alike. But, as I talked about in my Bakugo post, it’s been pointed out by the fandom that he is “crushed by expectations.” That the pressure society puts on him is part of why he is the way he is.

But, look at it more closely. Bakugo is smart, talented, and has a great quirk. His strategy isn’t bad when he actually employs it, and he almost always wins. All that is true of Momo also, though, as girl on a shonen, she doesn’t win as often, but that she beats male characters at all is rather surprising (good for her and Mina, destroying sexism in shonen one small step at a time, right?) It’s not a stretch to say Momo is under the exact same pressures as Bakugo. She is able to please people more– so nartually that it’s too important to her.

The real problem Momo has is not her lack of confidence in her ability, it’s her lack of confidence in herself. She doesn’t believe she knows the right thing to do. She will yield to the judgement of teachers, and other students before she’ll trust her own. It’s brought to light in her episode with Todoroki where she worries that she has not done the “right thing” in the exam, but that could speak for her attitude toward life. Momo is constantly torn between what her heart tells her, and what her head believes because she’s heard it her whole life.

I some ways she stands to be more of a victim of her culture than the boys do. The very fact that she can fit the mold of what makes a perfect hero so well is not a good sign.

To fit any mold completely is to lose any individuality you have to pleasing others. It’s losing your spark that makes you human, not a Barbie Doll of an icon.

It was writing fan fic with Momo in it that made this clear to me. Confronting someone like her with ideas that question the whole foundation of society, you hit a huge wall. Can you picture Momo defying society? Can you picture her doing it, believing it was entirely the right thing to do?

See, not every hero needs to defy society to be considered a hero, but every hero needs to be willing to.

Society is just another word for what the Bible calls “The World” and warns us not to love it, “for the World passes away”. When the Bible warns us not to love the world, it doesn’t mean the world full of people, we’re told God loves the world in John 3:16, The World, in this sense, means all the sins and evils that are brought out by Mass Mentality, or a Mob Mindset, if you will. Peer Pressure, corruption of a whole country, glorifying evil as a whole. That’s the World. The World changes in what it holds up as the alternative to God, but, it never points us back to God. It will never be encouraging true Goodness, because the World doesn’t have any standard of it.

In the words of Switchfoot’s Rise Above It:

“Just because you’re running doesn’t mean that you’re scared, just because it’s law don’t mean that it’s fair. Never let another tell your soul what to fear. Here we go again, give it one more try, don’t believe the system’s on your side. Just another lover turned enemy fight…”

The Hero World, as the name says, is obsessed with Heroes as the alternative to any Divine Direction. Heroes are asked to be more than human. Never to be afraid, never to waver, never to make mistakes. And if they do, instead of it being written off as one person making a mistake, the whole society of heroes is called into question.

Really, it’s just asking for the League of Villains to knock down its scarecrow.

How does Momo fit into this?

Only too well, that’s the issue, as I said. She can be the ideal hero. There’s not one hero in a thousand that’s likely to have all she’s got going for her, on top of her natural talent, she’s kind and has major cash to back up whatever she wants to do. The girl doesn’t even need an agency, she could be her own Agency.

But, Momo is not just some ideal. She’s a kid, with fears and feelings of her own. Which her classmates understand, though it can’t be said many other people do. Aizawa even observes with a tinge of pity that she’s still got the emotional maturity of a 15 year old girl, like that’s somehow a problem. You could call it Pyrrha Nikos syndrome, as Pyrrha was the first character to introduce me to it

But, it’s a bigger problem if Momo becomes unshakable. Someone like her, firmly fixed in the ideals of society, with no filter to measure them though, is dangerous. She becomes a tool of that same society so easily. Much more than Bakugo is ever likely to, she can promote the ideal of perfection in heroes…until she snaps under the weight of it.

Momo’s greatest flaw is her lack of confidence, but curing that simply outwardly by giving her confidence in her hero skills, will actually be more likely to cement the deep issue she has of not following her own morality.

You can’t be a truly good person and spend your whole life doing what others tell you. Read that sentence again.

There’s a quote that’s gone around the feminist circles a lot, but it bears repeating here “Well behaved Women rarely make history.” –Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (You know that originally, it wasn’t “rarely”, it’s “seldom” but that’s another story, sorry, English class is kicking in)

It’s notable that anime preaches conformity, but fills its shows with characters who cannot conform. Whether because they are outcasts, monsters, or idiots. Any reason will do. The one reason you will almost never see is a rational, normal, intelligent person who simply decided the rules were stupid, and chose to rebel. (If you have a counterexample, please comment it below, I’d like to watch it for myself.)

Finally, Momo has one more issue that’s linked to all this, but is more of a microcosm.

Due to her exceptional ability, and her great levels of kindness and compassion, Momo tens to feel it’s her responsibility to fix problems win the class, even between other students.

She’s the Mom character. she wants to take care of everyone. I love her for that. It’s a good thing a lot of the time, goodness knows, it’s hard to care about other people sometimes, having a natural inclination to do that is a gift.

We see it when she encourages Iida in the festival, tells Bakugo and Todoroki to stop fighting in the Jump Fest OVA from season one, and tells the others not to pressure Jiro into playing in public. Momo is always trying to make people feel better.

But it is to the point at times where she feels responsible too much. Sometimes people should be pushed. Kaminari maybe understood better that Jiro really wanted to be valued for her musical talent, and Momo didn’t. Because Momo always wants there to be peace. But, peace is not always an option until issues are resolved.

Momo avoids conflict and confrontation. Because she is a people pleaser herself, and it’s easy for her, she assumes that it’s best for everyone to be that way. To not make waves. She gives way to others, even when it’s not a moral issue, but a matter of preference. She’s almost too giving.

She starts of in the class with this problem not being so developed. She’s willing to criticize and correct. She’s even a little sassy in the USJ incident. But what changes in her is I believe is the result of the trauma of people being hurt so often.

Momo can’t stop it, she can’t be in control and have a plan to keep everyone safe, and she copes with that by worrying even more about them constantly. Momo will treat every small problem like a crisis, even if it’s just someone getting minorly uncomfortable. She will downplay all her own accomplishments because it’s just not enough for her.

Momo might not have had this problem so badly, since she seems to come from a fairly stable background, if not for the UA trauma, but that’s kicked her to be in crisis mode almost all the time. It’s not that difficult to figure out psychologically.

I think it kicked in in the festival, but why did she take losing to Tokayami so hard? Because she felt helpless. When you’ve been in a life or death situation, any failure in training is going to feel like it’s endangering the life of you and people around you.

Even if in the actual crisis she always does something useful, in her mind that’s never good enough, because she couldn’t’ prevent it and handle it all perfectly.

Now that I’ve detailed the reasons behind her problems, what’s the actual therapy?

Believe it or not, this hits home for me too.

I’m not a hero, but I grew up in church, raised to believe there was one right way to behave. I still believe that, but I believe now that you can’t depend on one person to always tell you that. Or one system. There is no man, or man made thing, that will not make you into a villain if you listen to it exclusively. Just as C. S. Lewis pointed, there is nothing in human love that will prevent if from becoming devilish if you let it go unchecked as the Best Love, without moderation.

I don’t personally relate to Momo’s perfectionism. I was tempted to it sometimes as a teenager, but my personality makes it impossible for me to people please, I could never dedicate myself enough to destroying who I am to pull it off, and I’m not easy naturally. But, I do have a sister who’s a lot like Momo in that way. And after listening to her for years, I think I have an idea what it’s like. I also have a mom who’s much more like that.

It won’t be easy for Momo to let go. I think out of all our human failings, letting go of the need to control must be the absolute hardest things for us to do. Even people who embrace a chaotic lifestyle need to feel in content, notice how they usually flip their crap if you suggest any kind of order. To them control is not being controlled.

Other people love order so much it’s like an addiction, those people freak me out, but I imagine I’d freak them out too if they saw my room… yeah…

My sister had to work for a long time on it. She still prefers order more than I do, but she’s become less uptight about some of it. It took a lot of encouragement from us to get her to start loosening up on herself, not hyper scheduling everything, not having a checklist of things to do for every hour of every day.

She wasn’t happy that way, but there was a sort of satisfaction in it, there usually is.

But she’s much happier now, and less anxiety driven.

Another thing she had to do was learn to express if she wasn’t okay. For a long time, she couldn’t even form those words in a coherent way, she was so used to shoving it all aside to make my dad happy, or the rest of us.

I had to rag it out of her a lot of the time. And from what I’ve read, sometimes that’s what you have to do, push and push and push until someone tells you what’s wrong.

Just the thing Momo will never suggest doing, but she might need it done for herself.

I know a lot of people have probably been told that if someone doesn’t want to talk about something, you shouldn’t push them.

There are cases that’s true, but if you notice these warning signs, you might need to actually push them until they snap at you, and get some feeling out

  1. They never, ever, ever talk about how they feel.
  2. They always make it about your feelings, so you feel great, but its been years, and you still don’t know anything about what goes on in their heads.
  3. They constantly apologize if you do anything for them, and never ask you for help unless they’ve run out of every other option, and even then they feel guilty (I can relate to this one, though.)

If they do one or all of these things, you need to make them realize you seriously want to hear about em. They may start with just one, very vague negative feeling, but be understanding about that, and they may start to relax.

It’s important that they now it’s okay to feel that way, at least around you. Sometimes all someone needs is one person who they can be vulnerable with.

About people pleasing:

Again, I’ve never done it. I’ve tried to not offend people, that’s the most I can pull off–and usually I fail at that.

What I notice when other people do it though is that they never show me anger, or criticize me. They agree with whatever I say, and they make my happiness the verdict on how a conversation went, or how their personality is, or if they are succeed in life.

Yes, I definitely see Momo in this.

The only way to fix this is to work long and hard at figuring out what you want out of life. And then, choosing to tell yourself it’s okay to have it.

You won’t feel like that at first, if anything, you’ll feel like a bad person.

It’s then you have to choose to trust the people in your life, and the wisdom of many therapists, philosophers and even theologians that say it’s good for you to have dreams and desires of your own, and it’s good to show how you really feel.

Reach out for a hug sometimes. Other people aren’t mind readers. Try not to change the subject if someone asks how you are. Little steps, built up over time, will do wonders.

The deeper heart issues have to be resolved by feeling yourself different stuff. If you are around people who put you down, you need to look for better friend. It’s true, people who see you as a target will gravitate toward you, it just happens.

Even the best human will take advantage of someone they know will give in, I’ve done it. I try not to as much.

It’s okay to do that in a normal friendship, every so often, that’s just love. it’s not okay if it ‘s only ever you who’s giving something to them. Even if you are comfortable that way, remember, other people need to feel good for being unselfish too, it’s actually doing them a massive favor to make them feel needed. It’s critical to our psyche.

Read books that encourage you to see value in yourself.

In my case and my sister’s. it was getting closer to God, who values all of us enough to die for us. And choosing to believe hat, and t recognizing what our dad taught us was a pack of lies, and bullcrap.

I think the most fun thing you can do to get over this is simply choose to enjoy yourself.

My sister has started taking time purposely to hang out with people she likes, and do things she enjoys. It’s great therapy.

Some of you (I don’t think Momo is this far gone though) may be so damage you don’t even know what you like to do. I’ve been close to that place myself.

Then just experiment. Try stuff that sounds interesting, or at least different, try everything, like the song says. If you gravitate toward something, make it a hobby.

You will probably find friends doing that who will build you up because you enjoy the seam things. That’s the best way to become a real person, enjoying yourself. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.

Once you build up some confidence, don’t be hard to confront people to. Make boundaries. I would try to do with with the help of people you do trust first, my sister found that useful, even I find it useful, though I don’t need it.

Have good people back you up, especially if you are been abused or bullied, never try to confront that person alone. Have a witness. Record it if necessary. Police evidence might come in handy.

If it’s a decent person who’s just never been stood up to by you before, expect them to be surprised and to have a hard time adjusting to it, they never knew you had likes and dislikes.If they really care, then they will accept it once you explain why you never told them before, and forgive you (because eyes, it was unfair to them, but they’ll understand if they love you).

And that’s what I can tell you for now. That’s all a great place to start.

And I hope to see Momo grow in these areas, but, hey, if not, I’ll just write it that way myself.😉

By the way if you are interested in checking out my fan fictions, here is a link to my MHA story, I have two currently, and they are actually getting a lot of view right now. One’s only been up for 2 months we’re already at 600+ so not bad. Plus I have my own fan art that people made for me included.

MHA: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/195185530-my-hero-academia-mystery-from-another-world

MHA Fantasy AU: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/262518284-mha-fantasy-quest-for-the-sol

Hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful or insightful in some ways, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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Rediscovering Intimacy: Darling in the Franxx

Whew! I have been looking forward to writing this one!

Darling in the Franxx - Wikipedia

Let’s talk about this anime: Darling in the Franxx.

I heard about this from an AMV of all things, and someone in the comments gave me the title, so I looked it up, liked the reviews, and decided to check it out. Then my sister, who I convinced to join me, told me “Oh, I heard this whole show is one big metaphor for sex.” I was surprised since the review I watched never mentioned this (nor most of the plot) just the ending. But I said the reviews were so positive, I was sure it couldn’t be just sex jokes, people said it was deep and moving. So, both my sisters agreed to try out one episode.

Spoiler Warning now, I will be talking about the end and all major plot points:

So, episode one did confirm all my sisters thought, and I was kind of grossed out. They refused to watch any more, but I was still convinced it had to get better if so many people who weren’t even anime fans liked it. So, weeks later, I finally picked it back up, and within about a week, I both finished it and convinced them to watch the end with me, my younger sister actually got more interested because I watched a back story episode and she paid attention and decided it was interesting.

By the end, we all liked it, and actually had no complaint about the ending, which was a rare opinion among the fans, I already knew.

I tend to run long with reviews, so I decided not to bother giving a full synopsis of the show’s plot here, trust me, the plot is the weakest element, and the end was all over the place.

But what is worth talking about is the themes, pacing, and characters themselves.

Fun fact, this show is not based on a manga like most anime, it’s actually original.

One of the best epidsoes is the backstory of MC Hiro and 2nd MC Zero 2, it’s the first anime epsidose I’ve seen with a split narrative throughout the whole thing and it was very skillfully done even by my American standards (as it’s far more common here).

The characters

So, the characters of this show, who I will not be able to spell all the names of, sadly, are a cast of kids who pilot special mechs that are designed after weird bug monsters, typical anime stuff. The mechs need a male and female pairing to operate, and the teens are basically organized into different types of ships. We have

Goro and Ichigo– the competent pairing (you’ve seen it plenty of times in anime)

24 Goro x Ichigo ideas | darling in the franxx, zero two, anime

Miku and Zorome–the old married couple, who bicker constantly and are often immature but would rather do that with each other than get along with anyone else.

8 Zorome (Darling in the FranXX) HD Wallpapers | Background Images -  Wallpaper Abyss

Eventually after some partner swapping, we also have Kokoro and Mitsuru

Mitsuru and Kokoro – The Best Part of Darling in the Franxx – Objection  Network

And we have Ikuno and Futoshi, who are the only non-ship partners (she’s supposed to be gay, he gets married to someone else later.)

Darling in the FranXX (Ikuno, Futoshi (Darling In The Franxx)) - Minitokyo

Lastly, of course, we have Hiro and Zero 2, who I think the show believes are the pervy couple, but they really aren’t.

Darling In The Franxx Wallpapers - Wallpaper Cave

The whole confusion kicks off after Hiro fails to be able to pair with his old partner, Naomi, and she’s taken away from their home, she comes back later though.

Naomi | DARLING in the FRANXX Wiki | Fandom
Naomi

So, these are the pairings we have to work with and analyze, like most multi-ship animes, the show uses the different personalities and dynamics to show different ideas of romantic or friendship love. Over time as they develop emotions and affection for each other, the friendships get stronger, though feelings get more complicated, and they become more of a family than a plantoon (squad? What’s a ten person soldier group called?)

We see the kids mature, and resolve conflicts that arise form having emotions. They start to realize people aren’t perfect if they have feelings, which is why the Adults on the show have chosen to shut down all their feelings, but by the end the kids understand that to not have feelings is really not to be living at all, it’s not to be human at all.

This anime offends me less in the “not having answers to its own problems” complaint I usually have, because the kids are starting from the ground up, and have no resources to teach them morals or philosophy, you wouldn’t expect Socratic answers from them, just gong off feelings and their own logic is all they can do, and their logic isn’t so bad considering.

What makes Hiro different, we are told, is that he asks questions, what attracts him to 02 is that she also fights the system of cruelty and apathy that he hates so much but doesn’t understand how to leave. He’s just a kid when they meet, but they promise to be together forever. Which the show appropriately acknowledges as marriage.

02 is embittered by eyars of mistreatment as a living experiment from a very sick doctor (who is still somehow not the villain) and being told she’s a monster. She starts off as a very uncaring, sometimes psychotic seeming character. While she clearly is drawn to Hiro, she doesn’t realize who he is, and tries to use him to get her goal.

She had the most complex character, I would say. While we don’t approve her behavior, we see how ears of being told you’re a monster, and forced to act like one by being sued a s a weapon, and given men to literally drain the life out of, without anyone seeming to care about it, would twist someone pretty bad. She shows signs of guilt, but is unable to change just because the team calls her a monster. It takes Hiro thinking that for her to realize what she’s done, but she still doesn’t stop because she thinks she’s lost it all already.

Hiro then realizes he has to be with 02, even if she’s done some bad things, because she is still a person who he loves, and he wants. So, he forgives her, and she finally accepts his love. Then the 2nd half of the story begins.

Along the way, we deal with Ichigo having feelings for Hiro, and having to accept he won’t be hers, which is hard when she’s never had love before, and doesn’t see other options, though Goro loves her. And Mitsuru and Kokoro begin to develop a relationship also. Culminating in them getting married, torn apart by the Adults, and then eventually getting back together and having a baby.

The characters are not extrmeely intersting in of themselves, but they are human and likable. I didn’t expect a whole lot since there was so many, but they all did what they needed to for the plot, and it’s not a long enough show to spend as much time as MHA or Naruto on developing personality ad backstory for everyone, the pint it the expereinces they share, and what they do with them. Sci-fi anime tends to focus more on that then on individusla, form what I’ve seen.

Themes

Okay, this is the strongest aspect of the show, and I want to try to stay on track here, there’s a lot I could talk about.

First, the elephant in the room: Sex, is the show really about sex?

Yes, and no.

I would not show any kids this show, the innuendo isn’t really the problem because it’s mostly non visual, but there are scary, gory elements I didn’t have an easy time with myself.

That said, if you’re a parent looking this review up to see if it’s okay for kids, just watch it yourself first and decide if your kids can handle it.

I’d say young teenagers are more at risk of missing the deeper themes and just watching it for the sexual innuendo, and probably young adults too, to be honest.

I mostly don’t get turned on by animation, it’s just not real enough for me to be effected, it bothers me more in live action movies, I try to avoid highly sexual ones. But a 2D character? They don’t look like a real person. So, I can watch most anime and only be grossed out by the idea of it, not tempted to actually look. But this is a specific trait of mine and I am cautious recommending anime to other people who may have more of an issue, as clearly plenty of otakus don’t have any difficult sexualizing 2D characters (ew).

So, if you do have a problem with it, this may not be the show for you, at least int eh first 3 episodes, it gets better after that.

The show is about sex. It’s like one long Sex Ed class, there’s metaphors for infertility, deep intimacy, compatibility, DNA, and possibly STDs, though it was unclear. A lot of the language has double meanings.

However, on the other hand, none of what it says about Sex is really wrong. The show is not promoting immorality, or promiscuity, or perverseness. The topics are broached lightly, but the mature route is taken by the kids. They talk honestly about how they should treat each other with respect, and forgive each other for having a little trouble occasionally with ogling, as it is hard to never do that if you like someone (and if you are married, wouldn’t even be natural.)

Kissing is talked about, and Hiro decides it is something you should only do with the one person you love, you should kiss around, basically. Partner swaps are taken seriously.

Though riding in the Franxx mechs is a metaphor for sex, the show remembers it is just a metaphor, and doesn’t treat changing partners as cheating, more like realizing you’re not right for your bf or gf and not forcing yourself to stay with them. Though Kokorp does break a promise, it’s not literally marriage, since the show later has actual marriage, so you don’t have to feel it’s the icky affair divorce and infidelity would be.

Also the Franxx are a metaphor for emotional intimacy, the kids literally connect their minds and feelings inside them, and while sex is one way to do that, it’s not the only purpose of the metaphor. People who are not sexually attracted to each other can still pilot together, if they have mutual trust and are willing to try, because it is also about relational intimacy. The lesbian and the reaming guy can still work together because they are friends, not as effective as the others maybe, but it’s not a sexual thing for them.

Some fans probably saw this as inconsistent, but I saw it as wisdom on the writer’s part not to take their own metaphor too far, that always cause major plot issues in a story, you need to remember no metaphor is perfect.

The idea that you should find the right person and stick with them forever is actually stressed constantly by the show. And you could say it leaves room for arranged marriage, at least two of the couples are put together by the Adults without getting a say in it, but they eventually grow close and make it work, while the other get to choose their own partners eventually, and they make that work. The point is if you are willing to try and you have a decent person, you can learn to get along.

Then there’s 02, she, I eventually realized, is sort of in the role of a slut/prostitute, if you follow the metaphor. She lets herself be used, and devours other people, which of course is a sexual term, one found in the Bible also. Used specifically for harlots and cheaters. like most lusts, 02 does this because she has no self respect and feels it is all she is good for, and she hates the men she is given the same way most sinners hate the ones they sin against, she calls them “fodder” because that is what the system is giving them to her to be, and she hates it but feels stuck.

As with many whores, though, 02 secretly dreams of love and trust just like ordinary people can have. She met Hiro years ago and wants to find him again and be with him, no matter who she has to kill and what she has to do. As her conscience grows, she gets more desperate and unhinged, then feels ashamed once she finds out the truth.

I thought it was one of the most powerful thematic moments when it hit her that her lifestyle of debauchery in order to find love was exactly what made her unable to have it once she did find it. A major reality check you could say.

Then, in a Hosea like move, Hiro forgives her and accepts her anyway, and she confesses “I am a monster” but he’s already told her he doesn’t care.

Let’s unpack that.

Should you actually be with someone like that? People like 02 have very deep issues, and often will do what she did, try to suck your life out in order to fill their own void, like with her, it may not even be something she always does on purpose, it just happens. Then they may start doing it on purpose as a way to cope.

The show stresses that 02 is a monster in some ways. That her actions made her that way, even if her DNA didn’t. But believing she was a monster is what caused her to do that. Hiro was the first person who made her feel human and she wanted to be human so she could be with him.

I believe the “monster” metaphor is meant to represent how people do have ugly parts to them, and you have to accept that.

I was reminded of Fruits Basket, which I am also currently re-watching, in episode 23, I believe, when Kyo laments his mother covering up his ugly form. he says he knew it was monstrous, and he wish she would just face that with him together, instead of pretending he was not what he was.

People are not literally bests or monsters, but it’s a metaphor, so we can’t take it too literally. The point is that we all have ugly sides to us.

I don’t hold with calling that a good thing, it’s not. But neither of these shows seems to be falling into that error. 02 is clearly not a monster for her horns and pink hair, bur for her actions. Kyo had damage and a curse that makes him have an ugly side, but it is not who he is truly, he transforms back to a human when Tohru accepts that about him.

I was reminded of myself. I spent many years worried about being a monster, I used to think it was just me, I later learned it’s almost everyone, at some level, whether we all use that word or not. I struggle even today with wondering if anyone will ever love me enough to get past that.

Most people would not describe me as someone with confidence issues, or as a bad person. I have gotten much better at loving myself than I use to be, but it doesn’t rear its’ ugly head at times.

I know that I will always, in this life, have moments of insecurity. Maybe not about this, but about some things, to be human is to sometimes have fear. But you don’t have to live in torment of it.

My family does accept me, much more than ever before, and I have healed, but an abusive past is a detriment to many people when they consider who they want to spend their life with. Though I do not believe I will repeat my dad’s mistakes, some people don’t think that way. And I know that the trust issues I have are likely to flare up in a romantic relationship, all the therapy in the world will not take it away, it just gives you a way to work it out. Something many people don’t understand.

Hiro chooses to see 02 as beautiful despite her differences, and at first she rejects that as much as any broken person would, but when she realizes he loved her from the beginning, she melts.

The relationship is not one side though. Hiro teaches 02 how to accept love, but she teaches him what passion and emotion are, she brings him to life.

It’s very much how I’ve read the male-female relationship is meant to work. Man gives strength and care to woman, she gives it back to him in life and beauty and enriching his existence, you need both.

Goro and Ichigo have a more typical anime type relationship where Goro had to be in it for the long game, and Ichigo doesn’t love him at first, but eventually he does win her over, though we don’t get to see it own screen. The point is he never becomes bitter because she likes someone else, and she learns to be mature about it, and let Hiro go. I was surprised at the illogical hate fans had for her, when I didn’t really see any other way she would have handled it, knowing nothing and with 02 being a anything but healthy at first.

It’s a tough call too, some broken people should not be in a romantic relationship, and if your friends are warning you about that, you should take it seriously. Other times, a broken person can be healed through a romantic relationships.

I am no expert in this field, but the best clues I can guess at are look very carefully at what kind of broken they are, the reason behind it, and if they seem at all willing to change. 02 wants to become human so much that once she realizes what that means, she changes very quickly, not without road-bumps along the way, but still, Hiro’s trust in her proves justified. If she didn’t want that, it would be an entirely different thing, and some anime do go there, some of Western shows go there (actually way too many now) and that is very toxic.

Final Themes

All right, the final themes I want to talk about are the idea of what makes us human, what it means to bring life into the world, and the surprising take on what sex is really about.

Some feelings make us human. But pure lust doesn’t. The doctor character lusts after a creature on the show, but that makes him a monster, very Claude Frollo like. 02 understand lust in a weird, twisted, way, but not love. Hatred doesn’t make us human.

But the alternative the show’s villains offer, that of only purely spiritual feelings, is also not human. They don’t quite go so far as killing god, thanks goodness, but the idea of becoming gods is actually voiced, to my surprise. The Doctor says repeatedly “I’m an atheist.”

He might be, but is the show? Not really. Prayer is actually part of the solution to the final battle. Not prayer to any specific god, but still. Spirituality is not actually discouraged, but the idea of disassociating it with being human, and leaving behind humanity to be “spiritual” is what is denounced.

C. S. Lewis warned that Spiritual pride and Spiritual sins are the worst kind. The most dehumanizing. In the end, a witch becomes little better than a pure beast, because their value for anything good will be eaten away by their darkness, this is quite literally in “The Silver Chair” where the witch is literally a serpent. not human at all.

Now, the Bible teaches us that our mortal bodies do house sin, and we will be rid of them. But we will be given new bodies, not be disembodied spirits. Jesus is described as having a body.

The point is not to think of it as choosing between a body and a soul, but it becoming a new kind of being, never before seen, that is someone both at the same time. That is what the Bible says Jesus is, and that is is till now unheard of.

And, to my astonsihment, DITF actaully went to that conclusion.

Darling in the FranXX Windows 10 Theme - themepack.me

At the very end, 02 and Hiro combine their bodies, minds, and spirit, to become something that is both a physical and spiritual entity. Hard to explain with any scientific logic, but if you are following the metaphor, it makes perfect sense. True perfection is the melding of those two or three things.

Not many people even in church know this, but the sexual act is supposed to represent in a very small way, the connection between Christ and the Church.

In the best sex, between a man and wife, you experience the other person. You become one with them, while remaining yourself.

The show describes this as “I can’t tell where you begin and I end” and going deeper inside that person.

While you could see that as crass, it only happens when the show is putting empathsis on the spiritual connection, not just the physical act of sex. Yes, the physical components do mirror the emotional ones in that way, I’m a virgin and I can understand that. The whole sexual design is a living metaphor for connection between people.

Which is why it’s been degraded so much by the culture. We sexualize everything, because we have no ability to understand spiritual intimacy anymore. Sex is the closest experience to that the average person has, so many people bring it into everything.

But, it is about so much more than that.

The show is far from being vulgar. It keeps it within the context of a husband and wife, and explores what it really means.

It deviates a little from just sex, as they share memories too, but the point is it’s a deep connection. When it goes from 02 using him to her doing it out of love, they become a whole new person, in a very literal sense.

The show ends with them saying they are ONE. Not like that weird alien creeps are all one, uni-formally, but ONE because they joined together two very different creatures, but embrace that fully.

I realize I can’t write this without it sounding like innuendo, darn it show!

But there is a reason we use those terms about sex too, it is true. When it’s between people who have that real relationship out of the bedroom it will be expressed in the bedroom too.

I don’t feel embarrassed talking about it, though I’ve never experienced it, because I see it as beautiful. God-ordained, and I see no reason to treat it like a shameful thing.

I was surprised that the show used the terminology is did. It sounded like the Bible. Saying the two became One. Hiro literally leaves his Papa to become joined to 02 (though in this case, he wasn’t leaving anything worth having, as PAPA was just the villain.)

The Bible has the unique idea, among religions, that becoming one doesn’t take away your individuality. That God is 3 in 1, all 3 being different, but being 1. That husband and wife show this to us on a smaller scale.

It’s like if you fit puzzle pieces together, the only way they can fit is if they are different, yet made to fit together. Men and women quite literally are made to fit together. If we were more alike, we couldn’t do that.

In the most poignant part of the metaphor, Hiro and 02 even look alike, and have exchanged DNA (not like that), they have fully merged, yet remain separate in a way.

Not everyone knows this, but your DNA in sex does get imprinted ont eh toher person, in a strange way. Even if it’s just one time and a one night stand. I’ve heard that it’s harmful in every ocntext but marriage.

Married people start to look and act alike after awhile, and sound alike. My mom’s sense of humor a=changed after marrying my dad.

Actually, if that’s not happening, it’s a sign of dysfunction.

Finally, the theme of life, and legacy. Not much to say on, but I really liked that the show depicted having a baby as something to value, and the beauty of new life. When Mitsuru cried at his daughter being born, I got emotional, something is very precious about seeing babies valued in media.

In Conclusion

There are more themes in the show, micro themes like what to do with unplanned pregnancy, and if you don’t remember something are you still responsible, and I liked the show’s way of handling them all, but I can’t go into them here, I covered the most important stuff.

So, I hope this was enough to convince you to check this show out, but even if you don’t, I hope you got something out of this post.

I have to admit, I better be careful who I admit having watched this too, since I think its reputation is skewed by the people who only watched it for the sex thrills. They were probably disappointed ultimately in its mature take on all that. I loved it though.

It’s not the anime I enjoyed the most, and it may not be on my top 5 list of ones I’ll re-watch, it’s not really that kind of story. But it is beautiful, and poignant, and worth seeing at least once. It’s also one of the first ones I’ve seen that I honestly can’t disagree with the conclusion of, and that is remarkable.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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Pride, Prejudice, and anime.

I was reading Pride and Prejudice, like I do usually twice a year, at least, and I started drawing some comparisons between the Regency Period and Anime.

If that sounds like a stretch, you haven’t been familiar with both materials, I’m sure anyone who was would know exactly where I’m going right now.

It’s funny how your background can influence your perception of something so much. Even just what country you are born in. It’s not a new idea to me, but many people don’t even think of their country as influencing their points of view. They think everyone thinks that way, if they are smart or normal people.

For instance, the odd blend of respect and disrespect in Asian cultures toward teacher figures, I’ve found it to be somewhat true. They allow for a lot of teasing and humor about certain things, but you absolutely never question others without severe punishment. Which can be the same here in the West, just usually over different stuff.

Free thinking is rare anywhere, even America, and I’m well aware of that as a citizen.

The difference is America puts more stress on free thinking being a good thing than many countries do.

I won’t pretend to be an expert on the intricacies of other cultures, I will have to go on what I’ve read and watched and heard form people who’ve been there about it, but even so, there’s some interesting things you could note.

My strange fan fic story

While I’ve been working on my now 3000 page long, year’s wroth of effort, fan fiction, I’ve delved into Japanese culture at a very deep level. People who don’t study anime deeply don’t realize how much you can know about a real place from the fiction it produces. I’ve written before about how Anime kills God (Killing God With the Power of Friendship: an anime conundrum. ), and doesn’t fix the problems it raises in its stories (Anime won’t Fix-it!), there have a been a couple exceptions, very rare, that I’ve seen so far. Usually, it doesn’t extend to the whole anime, just one part in it.

When I wrote my Naruto fan fic (I do plan to publish it, if anyone’s interested, I’ll probably link it to this blog eventually) I constructed a narrative about how the country would receive Christianity, all on my own, without doing research into Japan’s history with Christianity, and I didn’t really plan to make any statement on Japan itself, since I didn’t know about it.

But in my history class, we briwfly covered that very topic, and then my sister filled me in more from a documentary she watched, there’s also a movie called “The Silence” that I’m planning to watch.

My narrative was that if someone like Christian Missionaries came to the Naruto world (i. e. basically Japan), they would be feared and hated, and people would try to kick them out. I based this on the Bible and other accounts of missionary work not any history of Japan, I didn’t know about it, as I said.

But to my shock, I learned that my fictional idea was almost exactly what happened. And I had written the motives and reasoning in much the same way without prior knowledge.

Japan has a lot of missionaries at one point, but when new powers rose up, they felt threatened but Christianity’s freer way of thinking and thought it would encourage people not to follow their new ways, so they kicked them out as a while, and to this day, Japan has a very small christian population. And treats religious items and icons as the enemy in most of its anime.

Coincidence? I can’t believe it.

(That joke wan’t planed, but then I saw it and couldn’t pass it up 🙂

I had taken characters of Naruto and explored their reaction to the ideas, just like I do on this blog with media, and I got the same result. Fear of challenging the status quo, fear of a loss of control… it was scary (for more if my ideas on Naruto, check out this series: Naruto: 5 months of frustration-pt 1.)

I got the idea that Japan must be terrified of God after seeing so much anime, and I got some confirmation from a fellow blogger who lives there that this may be closer to the truth than I thought.

I probably sound like I’m bragging here, but I don’t think I figured it out because I’m just smart, in fact, some might still argue that I’m even right, but I do think fiction tells you an immense amount about its culture.

You have to have an eye for it, I’ve had years of training in critical thinking, writing tropes, and artistic style recognition, I spot this stuff very naturally. But most people could if they studied it.

I will say the most helpful advice about reading or watching the ideology of any art from a different background is this: Look for what isn’t there.

Are there things characters never say that you would expect them to say?

Are there events that never happen that seem like they would happen?

Are there events that do happen, but for unexplained reasons that contradict the set up?

In American media this happens quite often too, but anime is almost unilaterally this way. It’s called “anime logic” by the fans.

Other examples:

I notice it in French stuff too, as I’ve watched quite a bit for French class. And, I also notice it in ASL media.

Some things will never be said.

In French stuff, you will never hear that love is unimportant, I would be very surprised to be given a counter example of it. Tragic love is more popular than here, but love in some form is part of pretty much all their stories. They have a reputation for a reason.

In Deaf media, the opinion that Deaf people should try to become part of the hearing world more is not going to b supported by the media, whatever private opinions the actual members of the culture have. It’s not allowed.

If I watched more I’d probably notice other stuff, I could say French media considers feelings more important than logic in writing, but I haven’t seen enough to be sure.

In British writing, which I have read more of, logic and reality are much more central to any story, even a children’s story. The question of what is real will come up in most stories, and logic is far more likely to guide the hero’s actions than passion. If passion does take over, it will be pointed out as unusual, not seen as the most natural thing. The English always seem half ashamed of being ruled by passion, when they are, though that maybe a development more of the last few centuries. Shakespeare doesn’t have the same feel, though logic and wit are the main attractions of his writing too.

All this to say, I do this with everything, and I’ve also become more acquainted with my own countries stories.

We value freedom, independence, and discovery. All our original stories usually focus on that. Growing up, moving on, and become your own person is one of our favorite themes, both form the start of our nation to present day.

Our disregard for the opinions of authority figures is often seen as disrespect and cheek by other countries.

But after studying their media more myself, I have come to be exceedingly grateful that I was born in America, if I had my personality and was born somewhere else, I’d be miserable, probably. Or I’d never have developed my skills to the point I have (I’m aware that there are free thinkers in other countries, but there’s not such a rich support for it as here).

I’m a Xenophile, but I far prefer American idealism to any other.

America sees no reason to treat royalty, nobility, or gentry with any particular deference, we tend to see everyone as equally valuable int heir rights. One an’s opinion may be right or wrong depending on their character, not their station.

To my Western audience, that no doubt sounded obvious.

But, it really isn’t.

Authority in other cultures

In English books you will find great preference given to the opions of anyone higher ranking, whatever their character is known to be. From morality to clothing to food, they are just assumed to know better.

Like in “Fiddler on The Roof” when Rev Tevya says “If you’re rich they think you really know.”

There’s some reason for this, rich people are generally more educated, and therefore might really know more, but as Pride and Prejudice so eloquently shows, that doesn’t guarantee they understand any better than a common beggar the real problems of life, or how to treat people well.

Anime takes a very similar view to the British though, it tends to show that teachers and leaders may not always know best, but must be followed anyway. That rebellion is justified only when unspeakable atrocities have happened and the world is about to end, and even then, it’s 50-50 whether the system will actually be overthrown.

The idea of contradicting a teacher/leader is almost unheard of, I’ve seen a couple exceptions, but notably, even then you rarely criticize the leader themselves, just say they are mistaken.
Oh, the times I’ve longed to see one of those sick tyrants get punched and told “You are a monster with a god complex!”

Instead it usually boils down to “Our feelings just make us not want to be mindless robots, so sorry, but we’ll take you down, but please don’t take it too hard, you’re probably right, people suck, but we like being alive so...”

I’m all for being alive, but after the villains deliver their indictment against humanity, it feels like a hero needs more than “feelings” to come back with (literally every Fairy Tail arc ever.)

These are the good ones though, far worse anime have a compromise with evil that would be truly disgusting if we believed it was real. Like accepting a demon half, or something :-[

But, since they cannot defeat the monster, they befriend it.

Music Notes HD Stock Images | Shutterstock
“I’m friends with the monster under my bed…”

This attitude doesn’t surprise me too much if I think of how Asian countries tend to move from one dictatorship to another, some more subtle, others blatant, and even now the same ideas permeate their culture even if the legal system has relaxed in some.

I doubt many people there would even argue that point with me, if I put it to them in different words. What we call limited thinking is usually called tradition and family ties.

I’m not against tradition of family ties either if they are good, but Americans reserve the right to distinguish between good and bad traditions and family responsibility, while many cultures see no difference in duty, whether you have cruel or kind traditions or family. You show respect either way.

America promotes the idea of earning respect, for leaders as well as peers, while you will not find that idea in most countries, leaders get respect based solely on position.

Someone might wonder, though, if I disagree with this, since the Bible teaches it.

My answer is no, I don’t think you get to disrespect a leader just based on not liking them. But I do think that you should not obey them if they are leading you to folly or evil. And that line just seems to disappear in many countries.

Of course, people are diverse, I can’t make blanket statements without knowing I am ignoring the exceptions. So, yes, exceptions exist, whole groups of them no doubt. I am talking about the ideas generally promoted, not what I think every single inhabitant of a foreign country will act like. I feel I shouldn’t need to state that, but I’ve seen enough comment sections and review to know people will not give me credit of taking that into consideration unless I say I am.

Being american also informed my view on my abusive father. I will probably never forget in this life him screaming at me multiple times “You WILL respect me! I am your farther!”

My life coach laughed about it, like “why would I respect you when you don’t act worthy of it?”

The Bible does not say to respect your parents, it says to Honor them.

Honor is not respect. I realizing. You can honor the position they are in, acknowledge it, and be kinder to them because of it, without respecting who they are.

I don’t respect my dad at all. He is, in my opinion, an almost 60 year old child, but he is still my Dad, and I will honor him as far as I safely can, which is not very far, and not as far as he wants.

The man doesn’t know what respect is himself. To him it means blind obedience, never arguing with him, never questioning his words. Even when I pointed out that he was okay with my questioning other authorities, he said “but I’m your dad, that’s different.” How is it different? I wondered.

I think his idea is that if I loved him, I would not question him. I would just do what he says. I would ignore my better judgment.

But, I think being an american, I found it easier interpret the Bible as promoting independence in this case.

The Bible could make the case either for dependence or independence on rulers, it’s all in how you want to read it, the truth of the matter is, the Real Message is telling us to use wisdom and discretion, and follow God first, than figure out how leaders factor into it. Some of the old saints rebelled or stuck out on their own, others did their best to live in peace with authority. You have to seek God for what to do in your situation.

And I am against any ideology that doesn’t allow for that. My complaint against anime isn’t that it promotes respecting leaders, but that it promotes it against all else. And the alternative is your own judgement based on feelings. Never turning to God and asking, what should I do?

Even though in real life, that is what people fall back on, whatever the media says.

There is no standard of morality in anime, unlike in British stories. The similarity to the British empire lies in this: that the British acknowledge God, but ignore the bible in how they treat the poor, lower class with less respect than the upper class, rich. There are most certainly exceptions, Elizabeth is an example of it, but the general attitudes is of that.

(Actually, it’s funny, anime and Korean media both make rich people out to be quire decent human beings, who don’t really care about money or status, at leas if they are a hot love interest, while American’s tend to write all rich people as spoiled snobs. I find both portrayals equally stereotypical.)

The real crux of moral issues in anime is: who is stronger?

It seems like it’s promoting the underdog, don’t shows like MHA do that?

Not really… I wish they did, but anime can’t commit to that message, no matter what.

Fairy Tail bases power off feelings, and morality is based off feelings.

But the logical point to be made is that, everyone has feelings, the bad guys do too, and there’s might be very strong, so how does the power of feelings, or friendship, fix anything?

Anime won’t go so far as to say evil should win, but the reason for good winning is pretty flimsy. What if some day, a villain has stronger feelings that a hero?

Actually, MHA stands out again as an interesting example here. When the hero killer Stain is cornered by the heroes, the strength of his feelings and convictions freezes all of them, and they cannot resist him. Deku recounts it in an awed, scared tone, recognizing he was so intense they couldn’t make a move. Stain then collapses from injuries, and straining himself, not from any of them.

Here is a startling case of a villain truly having more passion than the heroes and the show rather uncomfortably moves on from the subject, but damage is done. Stain’s influence still affects the villains and heroes to the current point in the story. Gran Torino points out only All Might has a passion strong enough to oppose Stain, it can’t be said that Deku is there yet.

If anything, Bakugo is far closer, but not close enough.

Conviction is dangerous in anime but irresistible, they admit. To many people who want to see change. The heroes are not offering them change. One wonders who the real villains of the story are. The villains do evil, and that’s not excusable, but if they didn’t do evil, if they simply held the same view and rebelled in less reprehensible ways, would it change anything? Or would the heroes still look down on them?

When I watched it, I found Stain intimidating, but I didn’t believe I would have backed down there, and I couldn’t understand why the heroes did. Now I do, they lack conviction. I have conviction. Of something else, I believe in more than Stain.

It’s true I don’t know how I would be if my life was truly in danger, but I would attribute that to cowardice, not that I had no alternative perspective. I hope I would be brave.

MHA is truly interesting more for what it dares to acknowledge than anything else, at times. Like Bakugo’s trauma after being kidnapped.

If stronger feelings determine who wins, might still makes right, it’s just a different kind of might. All Might has all the strong feelings, do you see where this is going?

It’s the same on every shonen, and every shoujo. The persistent, strongly emotional person wins, or the highly intelligent one (Dr. Stone, among other examples).

I don’t take issue with strength, just if that’s the only reason. If the villains were stronger than the heroes, they would win, and there would be no moral reason to resist if everyone else was too weak to do so.

It should be first and foremost about what is right.

The idea can be worked in that right is what makes the MC powerful, but it is not focused on enough to ever be certain that that’s the real point, and the answer to all failures is to try harder, work harder, and do better.

Never just that your outlook and approach is wrong.

I am sure I ticked off several weeaboos if they read this, but I don’t really care…

I think I’ll wrap up this post here for now, do you have any other thoughts about this subject? Feel free to comment and discuss, I always read comments.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Exploring the importance of truth with the Purple Hyacinth

Well, I have big news: I finally upgraded my blog to a paid plan. Woohoo!

I now have my own domain, so it’s more like a website now. As far as I know, this just means higher search priority and the ability to earn money off my site, but it’s good to upgrade anyway. After 4 years or so of building this site up for free, it seemed like the next logical step.

So, thank you all for being a part of it, and hopefully I can add some new features soon, maybe build a community.

For now, I thought I’d continue with my analysis about Purple Hyacinth.

Not that I want to review it per sec, but I want to use it as a framing device for one of the ideas it made me think of after reading. I think that analysis is easier to swallow with as story setting.

I found one comment under Purple Hyacinth (PH) that struck me as quite profound.

“This Webtoon tells us that even though that person is telling the truth, the truth is not enough to gain someone’s trust.” (It’s under episode 76, if you want to know).

I got to thinking about PH, and how it really does a good job of making you think about truth.

Haven’t you ever wished you could tell if people were lying to you? But what if you actually could? Would it really make your life easier?

I mean, Lauren can’t exactly convince everyone to believe her, can she? Other people don’t believe that she wouldn’t lie to them, or isn’t just crazy (which is what her boss thinks), or might use her if they did believe her (#plottwist, if the Leader ever finds out about her.)

It’s in this way I relate most to Lauren, and I don’t use the word “relate” to apply to most characters, even ones I like, so I have an especial reason to say I can see myself a little in her determination.

Supposedly, empaths like me are able to tell when people lie. But I tend to be a little naive, being raised in a Christian home where lying was off the table, I tend to take people at their word. Even if I can feel something is off, it tends to be unconscious, until I look back on it.

I think if I were the suspicious type and tried to use my ability actively, I could probably tell if someone was lying. I usually am more comfortable naturally around people who are honest with me, even before I’ve seen them put to the test. I can read what people want very easily, so if their focus is elsewhere why we’re talking, I can feel that they are only pretending to listen to me. That’s something man people are able to do.

Writers especially tend to notice this stuff about others, and their books tend to be more interesting, but also exhausting. If you’ve ever read an author with a style that goes like “The look in their eyes said…” or “Their tone just seemed to say…” you may be reading one with empathetic abilities. Anime often employs such tropes in how it shows emotions.

I can’t say whether that means people in Japan pay more attention to facial expressions and tone, or whether they just exaggerate it in anime because they don’t catch it in real life.

It can be a lot of emotions to handle, but I get very drawn in by writers like that, you feel for the characters.

Lauren’s ability is a bit like that, catching a tone of voice like most people detect sarcasm. But since she doesn’t know the actual truth, she is playing the elimination game. Which makes it far more complex to read about, but also brings up a lot more questions. It makes sense that she became a detective.

I found Lauren’s problem with losing it when she hears lies about the mystery she’s been trying to solve for 10 years to be very relatable.

All of us with a hero complex, whether because of toxic family dynamics, or as a response to trauma, or both, would find it maddening to know someone is lying, but not be able to get the truth out of them. Then to be stopped by others from even trying.

Lauren has massive survivor’s guilt because she knew something was off, the day the tragedy happened, but she couldn’t do anything about it. Regular survivor’s guilt is bad enough, even when you’re aware it’s irrational, but imagine if you did know, but couldn’t do anything with that knowledge.

The ability to detect lies sounds God-like, but it makes her no more able to know the actual truth. Turns out people can still deceive you without lying, by just selectively telling the truth.

It’s intriguing, Christians believe that truth is essential, and powerful. The word says “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

But does the truth set Lauren free?

Thanks to Kieren and Sandman, she learns the truth about the mole in her district, about her parents, and herself, in a way. She learns she is a hypocrite.

In one telling scene, she admits to Kieren that knowing the truth about the mole makes her not even care that much that he died anymore. In a way, Lauren is very selective in her compassion and seeing value in human life. She claims she wouldn’t hesitate to kill a murderer like the PH, or any other assassin, and she seems to have no pity for them.

And why should she?

Why should any of us?

Well, Lauren can’t afford to pity them because her whole life is about stopping htem and avenging her friend. And perhaps, alleviating her own guilt.

Learning the truth presents a challenge for her, if she is not in the position she thought, if the Phantom Scythe wasn’t what she thought, if the people around her aren’t what she thought… then can she keep living her life this way?

It’s too early to tell what the story will do with it, but for me, it’s intriguing enough that it even comes up.

I mean, the truth really upsets Lauren every time she learns it, for someone who pursues it so avidly, it’s rarely happy or easier for her. And she tends to ignore the truths that might soften the blow, like that Kieren is capable of actual remorse or honor.

Still, she chooses to tell the truth.

It all got me thinking about what is the value of truth?

I mean, when Will finds out the truth about his brother, it doesn’t make him happier.

I think most of us have the mistaken idea that knowing the truth will always make us happier or satisfied.

When C. S. Lewis became convinced of the truth of Christianity, he wrote in Surprised by Joy that he was perhaps “the most reluctant convert” in his time and country, if I remember right. He was not happy, he though it would mean a lot of unpleasant work.

To be sure, there are many unpleasant things in Christianity. If you’ve never head a Christian say as much, they are faking it.

Any genuine religion, that even claims to be the truth, will admit it has unpleasant parts. Islamists don’t all imagine that the extreme parts of their creed are supposed to be fun, that is the point.

It’s stuff like New Age, that claims to be all about serenity and peace and that crap. Nothing that is real is always pleasant.

You might argue, if you are a philosopher, that pleasure is real and always pleasant.

But that is not strictly true is it? Guilty pleasures are addictive, but there is an unpleasantness in it, isn’t there? Some junkies hate the drug or alcohol even as they consume it and get rush, I have been addicted to the much less harmful coffee and even I had moments of hating that I needed it.

One of the reasons I believe in the doctrine of hell is because there must be things I do not like about any Real fact of life. No one gets life to suit their fancy.

And in ,fact, when we talk about the truth making us free, do we always mean the truth is pleasant? I don’t know where that idea came from.

Probably, in the church at least, because Jesus is the truth, and knowing Jesus will certainly make you happier. That is true…but it will not necessarily make you happier immediately. Some people, like me, get a rush of joy when they first become saved, others, like my sister, don’t. And like Lewis too, incidentally.

It really has nothing to do with how you convert. People who convert in the middle of an evangelical movement sometimes feel nothing, while I read a story of a man who had an intellectual based conversion, and immediately felt peace. God seems to care more for what the individual needs than the setting and method of conversion.

Suppose you feel ill and think it is a minor thing, and then find out it was cancer. Did the truth make you happier?

No, but if that truth means you seek treatment before it is too late, and recover, the truth did indeed set you free. Ignorance is not bliss for people who actually want to improve. It is only bliss for people who want to stay the same. Which is, unfortunately, a lot of people.

What interests me in PH is that the truth may make Lauren unhappy, but for all I can see, it is setting her free, little by little. She will only be free of guilt once she knows the truth, and free of anger.

I rather think, in cases like hers, the “not knowing” it what causes bitterness, and if she knew what happened, she would not be bitter anymore.

Spoiler alert:

AS evidenced in the most recent episode, where we learn she once saved the life of someone she didn’t like who had previously lied to her, and possibly helped kill her friend and family. Lauren may hate the guy, but she hates mostly out of frustration, not true malice or vengeance.

To me, it made her a more likable character to see that difference, and it reminds me more of how I deal with truth.

Honestly, I resented my dad and loathed him for years when I was confused about what was right and what was wrong in our house. But the mores I realize the truth was it was mostly him the whole time, I don’t hate him.

I don’t like him, but I have no malice really.

Some of you may have experience this too, does’t most of our hatred happen because we doubt ourselves and feel guilty? Only a small percentage of it is truly about the other person’s actions. In fact, honestly, if we hated people more what what they did being wrong than for our own insecurities about it, we might be better people.

The Word says God hates wickedness, and David said in Psalms 139 that he hated God’s enemies with “perfect hatred”, and he’s not talking about hating because they did bad things to him.

This does not mean we are supposed to hate nonbelievers, David is talking about hating evil and that people do evil, and not pitying that they must be stopped.

This sort of ties into what I said earlier about Lauren not pitying assassins, yet it’s very easy for us as the readers to pity Kieren, being privy to more of his life. And he himself display more pity, oddly enough, than Lauren does. He knows what it’s like to be chewed up and spit out by society or the people around you.

Lauren may not realize she’s had rather a fortunate life, from status standpoint,and so doesn’t know how people are tempted by desperation to do terrible things.

I say “tempted,” most people say “driven.” But I don’t believe desperation can truly force someone to do do something they know they shouldn’t do, and it is not an excuse. It makes them more sympathetic, perhaps not truly evil, but many a person who starts off by being desperate never stops doing evil, and in the end, does it because they want to. That’s why it’s a poor excuse, and a dangerous one, to do anything.

But, if the truth is, Lauren has done some shady things out of her desperation to find answers, then the truth is, she is also not above falling into that trap. And do it justice, the story has her pay for that sorely.

Just as we all will, sooner or later, if we take that route.

The relationship of truth to desperation is probably too complex for me to get into at the tail end of a post, but suffice it to say for now that in my studies, the truth seems to be the only thing that ever puts an end to desperation. One way or another. Good or bad.

Now, how does all this affect us?

It’s an interesting story, and lesson, but does it matter in everyday life?

I’d say of course it does.

Something as small as a phone call can turn on whether you choose the truth or the lie. We lie for convenience. I tend to not lie, but I do make excuses that are only part of the reason I don’t want to do something.

I’ve had people tell me I was BS-ing them when I was being completely serious, just because it is what they would have been doing if they were the one saying it, I imagine.

So, truth is an unavoidable part of our day to day interactions and decisions, as you all are well aware, and I think PH points out something quite profound in showing that even a small lie has the power to throw everything off. We may not always be able to trace from the effect back to the cause, but it’s there. It could be possible if we had all the facts to prove that lying really only complicates our lives further.

Actually, the old VeggieTales about “The Fib from Outer Space” comes to mind here. But kids’ lies are at least easy to figure out, adults are often not.

Still, like Lauren, I can be frustrated by knowing that just because I point out to you readers the benefits of honesty, doesn’t mean you’ll listen or walk away from this post with anything changed in your lives. I may just be writing this to myself.

I’m not really blaming you all though, I don’t usually do what random people on the internet tell me, why would I expect any different?

Why do we blog then? Why do we feel the need to put our ideas out there as truth, hoping that someone somewhere will like it?

We humans can’t help it. Sharing truth is the most basic service we render each other, and heroes and villains alike perform it. Chesterton wrote that “to preach anything is to give it away.” To have the faint hope, in other words, that it will better the person you preach it to.

A truly evil man is the one who no longer preaches, is just a pure tyrant who does whatever they will and doesn’t bother to give a reason.

One, who the same author says, “believes in himself.”

Not wanting to pursue truth is really becoming inhuman. Which is why Lewis calls the indoctrination of the youth against truth “the abolition of man.”

But that’s all a story for another time. For now, it’s just nice to get a story that reintroduces us to the need for truth. Whether I will always enjoy the story or not, I am always glad to be redirected to what matters.

And I guess that’s what I hope for this blog too, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Brought to you by Webtoon

I had a view from Israel today, my people! (not that they were necessarily Hebrew just because they were in Israel, but the odds are in my favor, right?)

I have to wonder how translate would do with English to Hebrew…? Ah well.

I have been wanting to talk about this, though I run the risk of exposing yet again how big of a geek I am. I mean, surely, only people with no life read Webtoon?

Just kidding. It actually took months for me to be convinced to try this app. Last January a friend recommended it, and I didn’t start reading it till like 7 or 8 months later. I didn’t really think I’d like it…well, now I’m hooked. I have daily updates on my subscriptions.

However, this doesn’t mean I spend all day reading it, the beauty of it is you can go through a few different episodes in 10 minutes, so it’s not an all consuming passion, though I did spend all day going through Lore Olympus to get caught up… and then regretted it because I had to wait a whole week.

I was kind of embarrassed by liking it so much, since I don’t usually read comics, and Spiderman and Mr. Miracle were the only ones that I felt really could be considered higher reading (both of those are very thought provoking, but Spiderman is superior, no offense to any DC fans, just from a written perspective, though Mr. Miracle has the more interesting concept. It just goes to show that any idea can be brilliant if you work it the right way.)

Not all Webtoons are really worth reading, a lot of them are translated from other languages, and the grammar can be sloppy. I still find them cute though, and the best thing is when the values of the story come across even with a language barrier. I read one called “Shoes For Cinderella” that is much like that.

Also, what I think draws (haha) the readers is getting to experience the author’s personality through their art. since Webtoon allows for more interaction between the creator and fans than in older serial comics. Of course, it’s also harder to get paid for Webtoon, but it’s free to use, so it’s a trade off.

I’d write on it myself if I could draw, but I can’t do art for crap, and I don’t do scripted stories well, I am literature all the way. I do enjoy them however.

So, I wanted to talk about a few of my favorites. I will say, most Webtoons are completely predictable, and trite, most of the time. Which is what fans complain about. The average Webtoon is written likes it’s fanfic for an anime. Most artists like anime now, since is does feature some of the best mainstream art available (the art in anime is far better than the script most of the time). However, I will give them credit, I usually find it less disappointing than anime. The stories do progress, don’t always rely as much on tropes to solve their problems, and the art can be more diverse too, if that’s you main concern, it’s not for me.

The ones I like the best are the most like stories, and my top favorite is one that I think actually is just too good as a comic to be translated well into a book or show, and that is the highest worth of praise.

The first one I read was, of course, Lore Olympus.

Lore Olympus Returns for a Glorious and Dramatic Second Season

I read it because my fellow mythology buff friend and sister recommended it, and I liked the development, (the color palette was little hard on my eyes though) and I love a good retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth.

I am not crazy about Persephone, as I find her a little hard to figure out, but Hades is cool, and the retelling is quite creative.

This comic has raised some controversy actually, because of the age gap between the two leads, and the sexualization of it. Some have critiqued it because a rape scenario was thrown in there just so the “hot guy to the rescue trope” could happen.

To be fair, those critiques were earlier on, and were based on what people projected would happen, and I would have had the same concern, but I read it later, so the story-line had already gone somewhere.

What made me stick with the comic was the portrayal of abuse, domestic and otherwise, and trauma, and how it affects you. I could relate to it, as could many people, and to the people trying to help the others out of it. I play therapist quite often myself, as well as ask other people for help.

I do like that girls in the story support each other, though I think more of the men could be better, some are also quite good. More on the topic of abuse later.

I started reading other toons after that. I read one called WindRose that was adorable, then I just kept sampling a bunch. As of now, I still try new ones on a weekly basis.

Not all of them are really worth discussing, but the ones that are unique even for stories are what I thought I’d talk about.

My favorite is Purple Hyacinth, it took a while to convince me to try it, (my sister also recommended) but then I realize it was perhaps the best comic on the app. It’s just a work of art how they draw, do dialogue, and use music and sound to enhance the experience.

Petition · Let's get an animated series of Purple Hyacinth- · Change.org
Kieren and Lauren

But you all know me by now, I’m here for the message, and anyone who isn’t, is lying. Seriously, no one actually is okay with a story having no point (I don’t want to meet them if they are, they sound scary).

Speaking of lying, the hook I absolutely love in this story is that the MC can hear when people lie. Not to give too much away, I won’t explain how or why (we don’t even really know yet) but that in itself was genius. Can you imagine, if you knew when people lied?

The catch is, if the person believes they are telling the truth, she won’t hear it. And it doesn’t give her the magic ability to know the truth, she has to lay the elimination game, so, naturally, she became a detective.

Lauren (the MC) is a great character. I wouldn’t consider her a role model, but it’s easy to understand why she makes the choices she does, ad to want to see more of them. Most Webtoons have very annoying MCs, even if I like the story, but Lauren isn’t one. She’s the right amount of independent, but not invincible, so she needs to get bailed out by her partner, but also can handle herself, by turns.

Kieren, the other MC, is a complex antihero, who seems to regret what he’s become, but is willing to sacrifice his own conscience in order to take down the final Boss in the story. Again, I don’t want to spoil too much, this is really worth reading if you are able to understand English (I know people do translate pages like this, so I can’t assume for sure you can read English). Despite how that sounds, he is neither Deadpool, nor the tragic stoic weirdo that girls think is hot but we all find kind of bland after awhile. Kieran owns every scene he’s in, even in panels. He almost outshines Lauren, but she holds her own. Their interactions are definitely the best part of the story.

Then we have Will and Kym, the side couple, who got more attention than I expected, and I love every minute of it. Kym can actually be my favorite character. She’s basically the definition of chaotic good, and Will is a good foil for her, though e’s the most boring out of the main four. Every group like this needs a straight-man to be balanced.

The Webtoon Community — webtoon: NEW LAUNCH 🚓 PURPLE HYACINTH Her...

Kym is actually the most consistent source of strong morality in the story, which is why she does more than the typical best friend character in a comic. She is the most loyal to her team, the most shaken up when a person ear her dies, and the most compassionate and forgiving despite her boisterous, often provocative personality. She’s a solid character, and I find my self agreeing more with her world view than any of the others.

Pin by Otaku & Gⓐmer on faceclaim | Hyacinth, Webtoon, Purple

So with a such a great premise, and such good charctes, this comic seems destined for success. Id on’t know for sure, since stories ofen drop the ball after a certain point, if they drag onto to long, but not a sinlge scene is theis coic is wasted, so i ahve hope sthey will finish strong.

A little writing tip for any new authors: The best way to pace your story is for every scene to have a purpose. When I write, the comic relief is put in between important dialogue in each scene so that the scene has a purpose, ad when i write action, the only exucse to cut away is to provide more info on wha’t happening that the audience needs to know beofore the fight can commence or continue. Otherwise, it’s just ogont ot ake t hreader out of the story. Hpwever, only pracitce and experience with hone your abilty to spot useless scenes.

An example would be, any scene devoted just to one charcter thinkng about how hot the other is and how they might like them, is a waste. I work that into the middel or end of scenes that actually build the relationship first, and the best comics and other stories i’ve read do the same thing.

There’s other examples, but that might be the msot common.

Anyway, since most of the comic Ir ead are not finished yet, I can’t talk about the enitre thing. But I do think it merits attention when they do something well. The use of red ink to desginati when soemoen is lying in Purle hyacinth, it’s clever. The use of eye color changes in other stories, when it’s sublte, is also clver. Whend one right, it becomes a whoel other experiene than a typical story.

When done wrong, it’s just more exhausting than a book emotionally, with less brain work to shaprne your skills.

I guess it’s sounds like I’m debating the merits of reading comics in general. It wasn’t something I did a lot of growing up, and i don’t consider them to be literature.

The best way to look at a good comic is a hybrid between a book and art, it’s not literature, it’s not just pictures, it’s both. So, it neither had the benefits of reading a true book, nor the same drawbacks of relying just on art to learn. Because, to be real, pictures only will not work for every scenario. But a comic can fit almost any subject.

I have found the comics enlightening in another way though.

Many of them deal with mental health, insecurities, problems with relation to people, and abuse and trauma. One I just found that’s been really good for this is Socializing 101.

They are a little too good to be true, usually. I’ve never had friends who talk to me the way people talk to each other in this, and I can’t talk that way myself. Often, it sounds like reading off the script in a therapist’s office. I suppose because so many people go to counseling and therapy now, it’s becoming part of our vernacular, which is good, because some people who won’t go to therapy may still here some of the same advice.

Still, wish fulfillment is part of most fiction, and there’s worse ways than solid relationship advice.

I had heard most of it already, and I don’t think all of it is actually that helpful in real life, it won’t fix your problem to follow those steps, but it can get you through some difficult moments at least. If you’re a novice, you certainly would benefit from following the advice, such as talking to people about your problem, and taking it easier on yourself, believing you are worth spending time on, and worth listening to.

Some comics put a lot of focus on finding out the truth, handling situations with maturity, and learning to overcome your personal flaws, like a hot temper, usually. And how to be patient with people like that and try to understand them.

And how to choose to date people who treat you right.

this helped me to start getting my head on straight about crushing on people who show no interest in my existence. I think I have always done that because I am more comfortable with no attention, after getting mostly negative attention growing up, and then neglected when I wasn’t being abused directly.

I don’t expect people to like me or want to be around me, but seeing myself in the Webtoon characters, it helped me question it more than just hearing about it had in the past. Seeing these people get talked to , it’s easier to think “maybe someone could see me the same way, maybe people don’t all hate me as much as I think they do. Maybe it is a misunderstanding.”

While it’s not a solution, often the first step is recognizing your perception could be off. And being open to being proven wrong. You got to lose the pride in your own opinion of yourself (and yes, people do take a sort of sick satisfaction in depreciating themselves, it’s very sad.)

I feel that my outlook has gotten a little better. It can be frustrating to read about happiness you don’t have, but the best ones make you realize that you need to believe you can have it, and will have it, if you seek it.

C. S. Lewis wrote that “all get what they want.” All of us, in the end, will get what we want. Whether in this life, or the next. We should be careful to want the right things.

Wanting a healthy relationship is a good start, but many people, honestly, don’t. They like what is familiar.

You see, you think you want someone to really love you, but then you spook as soon as someone shows they might actually love you. I had this experience myself quite recently.

Changing what you want is a step by step process, and can be ungraceful, people who stick with you through it are your real friends.

So, that was what was brought to you by WebToon, hope you enjoyed, I will see if I can link the comics I mentioned in the post, until next time, stay honest–Natasha