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

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

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

Some thoughts about Self Love

Sorry for the wait, and welcome to my new followers, thanks to you guys I am almost at 170 and I didn’t even post for like a week.

Let’s talk about something that’s been catching my eye recently.

A lot of people in this culture, specifically Western culture, are now promoting the idea that you are enough for yourself.

Perhaps one of the most recent, famous examples is in the sequel to the iconic Frozen, as some of you know, my personal favorite movie.

Now the first movie is awesome, and I will dab on them haters over that, no one talks me out of liking a good movie just because it was over hyped (blame marketing analysts for that), and I finally, after forestalling for a year, watched Frozen 2.

I’ve heard about 50-50 good/bad opinions on this film, some people liked it, some hated it, pretty much everyone agrees it can’t compare to the original, standard sequel stuff, unless you’re STAR WARS.

But if you care at all about Disney, you probably already knew that, so I’ll cut to the chase:

The conclusion of this movie, despite some excellent ideas int he middle and beginning, is abominable. Elsa is told by her mom (by the way, how was her mom even there? It’s never explained if she was magic, or if Elsa was just remembering her, or whatever) that she is all she needs. She’s the answer she’s been looking for.

I, up till that point, might have been anticipating the answer to Elsa’s search, but at that point, I’m thinking “Bullcrap.”

Elsa starts this movie with a relatable problem just like int he first, she feels she’s not what she’s meant to be, and she feels the call of something more, something beyond herself. So she goes to look for it, and discovers a lot of truths about her world she didn’t know before…and the answer is, HERSELF? Talk about being disappointed.

I mean, put yourself in her place, you go off expecting to find someone, this voice calling you, and then you’re told “no, the voice was just you the whole time”…aren’t you doing to be disappointed?

Look, if I wanted to find myself, I wouldn’t have left home chasing someone else’s voice.

If it comes to it, how can she be hearing her own voice call her? If she’s the spirit…ugh, it just doesn’t make sense.

But it strikes me that it’s a product of our culture. I’m sure I’m not the first person to say so, but I haven’t seen anyone else talking about it yet, so I’ll give my take.

It’s known as the message of Self Love, usually. I don’t need anyone else’s approval, if I’m okay with who I am, etc. Accept yourself, love yourself, and so on and so forth.

In a world where we are addicted to screens, and spend hours alone in our rooms, even if we’re chatting online, physically we’re alone, perhaps it makes sense that we are feeding ourselves the lie that we are all we need.

I know many people, particularly women, embrace that lie, after failed relationships, and being hurt by their fathers, or mothers, and hearing the whole feminist speel, we want to feel empowered. I am my own answer, etc. Self Help,here we come

I used to think that way too. If you’ve been following my journey on this blood of this year and my life falling in on me, you probably noticed how much I’ve talked about how I can’t do this alone.

Yeah, being alone trying to love myself is what got me into this, along with my dad’s abuse, and my family’s neglect.

Actually, people like me are terrible at self care. I’m programmed to feel guilty if I ever prioritize myself. You take a church background, and add to it two parents who don’t model self care or healthy expressions of feelings, needs, or wants, and you get a child who is afraid to feel, want, or need anything. Feelings are scary.

But I read it in books as I searched for answers as a young teen, that I need to affirm myself. And my therapist told me the same thing. Other people have told me that too.

Crap, if that was enough, I’d be fine.

Contrary to what’s usual for victims of abuse, I don’t actually treat myself badly or think I’m rubbish. I have confidence in my intelligence, appearance, and kindness as a person. I don’t think I’m terrible. Not consciously anyway. I’m satisifeid with myslef on an averge day when it comes to the outer things, the thigns we want people to see us for.

I never have been one to hate on myself openly. I was a feisty little girl, and still am. I didn’t take crap frome people or my dad as a kid, I still don’t.

And that is why I can tell ouuo form the depths of my heart, that that was not enough.

i respected myself, I stood up for myself, I did everything I could to excape my situation: And I have lived through a year of hellish emotional issues and physical issues. STress, panic attacks, anxiwet , depression, suidical thoughts, self hatered. tension with my family, PLUS COVID!

If anyone should know that Self Love is not enough, it should be me. We cannot heal ourselves. We cannot even begin to do it. I loathe it when I hear peopel tell hurting people that they need to love themselves more. IT will never, ever, set them free.

(Before I move on, I wan to say I am not putting down Self Love it self. Of course it’s important, the Bible teaches that, but it’s important for other reasons than to give healing and meaning to our lives, we’re told to care for ourselves because we recognize our body and our life is a gift form God, created to be loved and to love Him, and we accept that, and love ourselves. It’s not a solution to our problems, just a return to what’s natural and right.)

One reason self love does not work is because we do ont see ourselves very clearly aat any itme,. Maybe you’ve heard teh analogy that we see hundreds of faces every day and the face we see the least is our own. Even when we do, it’s only through a mirror. You cannot look yourself int he face without help. SOme see this as a picture of how little we know ourselves, and how we need help to even know what we know.

And it’s true, if you can’t look at yourself clearly, how can you really know enough to say you love yourself?

G. K. Chestron worte in “Orthodoxy” that a manw ho believes fully in himslef is insane. He is compeltely convicned o f his own idea, he might think he was a poached egg, and beleive fully in his own judgment, so he believea in himslef…but he’s crazy.

Hitler bleieved in himself, you might say. HE certaily didn’t believe in God.

And in your own life, the people who believe the most int hemselve are not often your favorite peopel, are they? Narcissists cannot be questiong, ethey are always rigth, they believe that…and nobody likes them. They are insufferable prigs.

People with BDP often (unless they are trying to overcome it) beleive fully that they are alwasy the victim, and cannot be convicnec otherwise.

Really, who doesn’t prefer a little insecurity to the idea that we don’t need anyone.

We all like to say “I don’t need anyone” but when we are around someone who broadcasts that message to us, are we not completely uncomfortable? I know I am. I mean, why do they even need me to be around them.

Even basic companionship is a need we have, even if it’s expressed more as a desire. What we want and what we need are often the same thing, so if you say “I need no one but myself” you are essentially saying “I want no one but myself around me” and who wants to be around someone who hates people? (Am I making any social recluses uncomfortable yet? Hey, I’m not judging, I’m hardly antisocial but I get tired of people often).

C. S. Lewis also cautions us against the dangers of not caring what other people think of us in “Mere Christianity” when he write his chapter about Pride. He points out that if we truly cease to care what people think it is usually because we see them all as below us. You’ll hear this quite often now, “Who cares what those morons think? F— them!” “I don’t need anyone’s approval!” “To he– with your opinion”

And is it often the nicest, kindest people who spout this nonsense? Or is it not the rude, arrogant, selfish, self-obsessed ones who just want to do whatever they want without any obligation to anyone.

Usually I hear it from angry, or disrespectful people, often women, sad to say, in this culture.

Back when I also tried this, I thought it was my only escape from how my cruel father painted images of me to myself and my family and anyone who would listen.

My father would humiliate me to total strangers if I went to work with him by bad mouthing me to them and telling them things I’d say to him in private. Usually in a whiny condescending voice (you know the type people use to mock you). It happened more times than I can even remember, it happened with family friends, with family members, over and over. It happens to this day, I’m sure, as I know he calls my extended family to gripe about us cutting him off.

My father would nudge me in church whenever the pastor mentioned children respecting parents, and say, loud enough for half the congregation to hear “You hear that, insert-my-name?” My mom? Does nothing to stop him… well, okay, she would sometimes, but he wouldn’t’ listen to her and she wasn’t’ always there, other times he allowed it.

Not to mention the constant degrading things he would say to me. If I asked how I looked, not even talking to him, he’d say “hideous.” I remember maybe one time he said something nice to me about my looks, in 20 years, one time. Maybe two. He made fun of it when I got acne, when I got braces, when I became a woman, you name it.

When my writing endeavors took off, he deliberately criticized it unfairly, and encouraged my sisters to do the same.

All this to say, my dad set me up to be a real piece of work. And my only fallback, since my other family members were silent on this point, was to decide I liked myself, or believed I was in the right.

I have pages and pages of journals filled with outrage and the desperate attempt to convince myself I was not a terrible person. And I live with that doubt now.

As shocking as it is to me, I may actually have been angelic by most people’s standards, under the circumstances. Considering how my dad treated me ever since I can remember, I was surprisingly forgiving, even as a kid. And I was affectionate. It was never enough for him, but for a better parent, it would have been quite touching. At least I know I melt if kids treat me the way I treated my parents.

It wasn’t Self Love that got me to see I might not be so bad, it was a lot of help from others, and God. I still remember as an early teen when I first started getting told I was nice, cute, or pretty by people, and how much it shocked me. That was what got me to first question how my parents had taught me to see myself.

And just to expose the self love thing more, I remember two times I tried it. Once was telling my dad I didn’t wear make up because I didn’t need it (project confidence, you know) his response? In a rather evaluating tone he told me it wouldn’t hurt me to use make-up, and style my hair. (Now I don’t upload photos, but everyone loves my hair, and says I have a good face, even without make up. I do wear it, but not every time I’m in public, I like to go with my mood, so my dad was straight up blind or lying, or both.) Another time, I admired myself in a mirror, daring to think I looked a little bit pretty, and my mom called me “as vain as peacock.” Just for looking at myself. I didn’t eve say anything. If I ever asked if I looked good, she’d say I was “digging for a compliment.” This woman never praised me, ever, of her own free will, for as long as I can remember.

So, you see, both my parents crushed my attempts at self love with an almost savagely accurate cruelty. My mom is as least sorry and has come to see it was wrong. My father probably will deny it ever happened once enough time passes. He’s denied stuff before.

Even so, I kept trying to believe in myself. But my only real comfort in those dark years was knowing God loved me and saw good in me even if no one else did. It often seemed no one else did. I was in trouble at home every week, family friends (who I now know were toxic busybodies) criticized me to my parents, and people at church (also a toxic environment, remember my dad controlled all this) did the same.

Meanwhile, I was learning to write. Reading as mush theology and fiction as I could, and finding out what my interests are. I could have gone very wrong. But luckily, my parents did have good theology around, even if they didn’t demonstrate it, and I took it to heart.

Frozen actualy came out about a ear after I became a ture believer, and it was at the time I frist read “Captiviating” b John and Stasi eldege, that book coupel with that movie changed my life, not exaggeration.

It introduced me to deep inner healing, to God filling the void left by parents, and to the idea that I could say my father’s actions were wrong. The book is not about self love, but about learning to be loved.

That’s the real secret, ladies and gentlemen, you have to learn to be loved.

If you look closely at Frozen, you’ll notice that that is what that movie is actually about. Elsa is taught to hate herself by her shortsighted parents, and develops a bunch of toxic styles of relating to people and herself. Then when trouble comes, she snaps and runs away, like we all do. Then she has a breakthrough of relaxing those expectations on her were wrong, and harmful, and she throws them off. People think Let It Go is negative, but it’s actually a very important step in the journey to freedom to realize that the lies you lived under are wrong “conceal don’t feel” is terrible advice.

But recognizing the lies doesn’t free her, it just opens her up to realize the truth. When Anna finds her, she is able to express actual concern for her, but reverts back to fear once she feels guilty again. Of course wounding Anna in the process. Later Elsa becomes a captive, literally and figuratively to her fear and Hans, and runs away after giving up on helping. Finally, she is crushed by the idea that she killed her sister, and has no heart event o run and save herself anymore.

It’s significant that Elsa gives up trying to save herself at her lowest point. And that’s when Anna swoops in and save her life. Elsa can recognize it then because she stopped trying to run. That’s what makes that moment to powerful. Elsa finally receives Anna’s love by hugging her, and then it sets her free to heal Arendelle, and become the queen she’s meant to be. No longer alone.

Love is the answer. You have to learn to be loved. I was 14 or 15 when I first saw this movie, I am 22 now, it’s been near 8 years, and I am still learning to be loved, I only just realized what the movie is really about. That why the symbolism of doors is used so often. The door is like the consent to be loved. It’s never about Elsa refusing to love Anna, she always loved her, but she didn’t open the door to Anna’s love until she had nothing left t lose by doing it. Much like what happened to me. You have to open the door.

God can do many things, but I have never seen evidence that He can make us receive His love, it is always a choice to open up, even if opening up is just collapsing in defeat at His feet. I’ve done it many times.

Contrast that to the 2nd movie, and you notice they totally for got their own point. The writers did not really realize what they had with Frozen, so often that’s the case.

Frozen hit us hard because we so desperately need to hear this, that we can learn to be loved, and that will heal us. That’s all healing really is.

I stayed open to my parents love for a long time, long after I gave up expecting it. Most victims of abuse are like that. We keep hoping for the abuser to change, but with every other relationship we’re in, we find it uncomfortable to be loved, even if we crave it.

In my case, I still am not super at ease with being loved. I am only to the point where I don’t directly fight it all the time. I’ll accept the hug, I’ll ask for encouragement, I will let people give a little to me; I still feel guilty about it, but I try to ignore the guilt and remind myself that I have to be willing to accept this.

I wish I cold tell you it’s easy to do this, that I never doubt whether I’m doing the right thing. But I’ve doubted just today whether I’m worth all this, if I’m a good person, if I am on the right path.

I know that recovery is going to take a lot longer than one year.

It’s actually quite frustrating to realize how much I hate being loved, I find it irritating to be treated nicely quite often. though I also hate being treated badly. I am thrown off by kindness. People have told me I don’t take praise or encouragement really well.

I want so answer them “I’m broken. I can’t take it like a normal person… and you made me this way.”

What do you expect really? I grew up mocked, degraded, or given dead silence about y good points. Of course I find it uncomfortable.

I bet some of you reading this have the same problem. I’d love to hear if anyone has figured out how to solve it yet.

I don’t know what my process will be, but I know that God is the only one who can get me there. I know that people do get out of it. It takes time.

I know it is scary to need other people, my need for it has kept me up at night in agony becuae I felt so angry and misarable and alone.

I still get annoyed, but I now have made steps to acknowledge my need for people and to reach out.

It’s true I could get hurt again, and I will, but I don’t think that’s a reason to shut down.

I’ve had my time of using every negaitve expereince to justify my beleif that people always treat me badly, but I learned that I will be drawn to those people naturally due to my past if I don’t actively try to seek out better. Evetually, being drawn to healthy people will become the norm for me.

Anyway, I think this post is probably long enough to be an essay, so I should wrap it up.

In summary, all this is why I believe Self Love is a very dangerous band-aid to put on a gaping wound, but I do believe that being healed will enable us to love ourselves how we should.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Fruits Basket: So far

Sorry, it’s been a while, I tried to write, didn’t end up finishing anything.

But today the final episode of Fruits Basket season 2 aired for non premium users, so I assume I can now talk about this show with no fear of spoiling it for anyone who was invested enough to care, and for anyone who’s not into anime, but reads my posts anyway out of curiousity, welcome.

I won’t bother with a full review of all the good and bad elements of the show, writing, and art. I do really like the art style, and I will commend it for how well they do facial expressions, particularity the eyes, since it contributes to how one reads the show, but other than that I don’t want to get into all those logistics.

We’re all here for the in depth hot take right?

Well, I probably couldn’t’ make any observations about the depth that hundreds of other people haven’t made and microscoped far more than I have time or energy to do, plus I think the show speaks for itself character wise, and doesn’t need a lot of dissecting.

But I want to talk about the themes of the show, that’s what makes it most interesting for me, though I do love the MC Kyo (best boi), Momiji, Haru, and the two best friends of Tohru, (the main main character,) Arisa and Hana

So if you don’t know, here’s my short synoposis of the important stuff:

Tohru Honda is an orphan, homeless girl who lives in the woods because she’s got a complex about being a burden to people and her granddad wasn’t ready to take her in yet, she gets found by one of he classmates, Yuki Sohma, and his cousin (sort of) Shigure, turns out she’s on their property. After her tent gets buried in a landslide, they insist she stays with them until her granddad can take her in.

Just as you think you see what kind of anime this is going to be, andother family member, Kyo, crashes in the window, and accidentally Torhu bumps into his chest, he turns into an orange cat, then the other two try to help and turn into a rat and a dog.

First Impressions - Fruits Basket (2019) - Lost in Anime

Turns out the Sohma family is cursed, 12 members of their family are possesses by the spirits of the Zodiac, 13, as it turns out later there is also a god character.

Tohru is surprisingly okay with this, like any true Disney Princess type would be, and agrees to keep the secret. A lot of hi-jinks ensue, she meets all the other zodiac members, including the psychotic Akito, and the… strange but lovable Ayame, Haru, Rin, Kisa, and all the others I can’t remember the names of, plus Kagura who is kind of likable at times and not at other times.

With time we learn more about the backstories of all the Sohmas, most o them are tragic, a few had happier lives but were burdened with knowing how bad it was for the tohers, and knowing that evenutally Akito would want all of them to come live with her. This same Akito who tries to flat out murder one of them, and beats up and mentally and verbally abuses the others.

Akito is strangely isolated, depsite supposedly being in charge. I hated her at first, and then I started to pity her over time. At this point, the only thing I really couldn’t get past was the attmepted murder, it feels too unreal…or too real, not sure.

I didn’t know when I started the show that it was written to be an in depth metaphor for abuse and family sins, I saw an ad for it, but no one I knew had watched it so I went in pretty blind.

Something that still boggles my mind about it is that the week my sisters and I watched it, was the week my dad was gone ballistic and we were trying to come up with a plan to get him out of the house, and then he did move out. Needless to say, Fruits Basket could be triggering for me, for both of us, but it was also a bit cathartic to see it enacted out and see other characters mirror our own feelings.

And yeah, I’ll get this out of the way now. Yes, Akito does remind me of my dad. The temper tantrums, the mood swings, the long speeches telling people how much they suck, the manipulation, the promise of love that everyone, even the recipient knows is bullcrap.

I don’t know that I really see myself in the other characters too much, because the striking difference is that most of them don’t talk about it being “wrong” for Akito to act the way she does. They are still in the cycle where you just can’t question it, it’s just normal, but they imply it. Most of them are more apt to blame their parents or themselves for being monsters.

Akito uses the word “monster” a lot too. It’s notable because that’s what victims of abuse often feel like they are made into, a monster. I felt that way. My father felt that way. Turns out when you are not loved properly, or worse, when out of love you are told that these terrible things are true about you.

But the way the Sohma family curse is handled is perhaps the most spectacular aspect of the show and manga.

My expectations kept getting subverted, in a good way, watching. AS a Christian, I know a lot about curse, especially family ones, what most people call inherited traits, if they have a name for it, addictions being the most easily recognizable one medically speaking (that’s self inflicted) I don’t know that the name really matters much, but I find Curse the most appropriate term.

Like FB states, the curse is a bond. Shown by the woven cords anime likes to use to symbolize an eternal connection. A bond that Yuki (I think) tells Tohru was initially meant to be a good thing, but somehow overtime it became a loss of freedom and choice for the cursed members, and became toxic for the whole family. We later find out that when the animals meet Akito, they cry and feel both an attraction and a revulsion, “beloved” “Hated” they think, “Come closer” “get away.” Etc…

Very much true to real life, with abuse. There’s a sickening sort of attraction. I still sometimes feel it thinking of my dad. I got to where I loathed the sight, sound, smell, feel of him and anything that reminded me of him, but I would still be drawn to be around him and want his approval. Over time apart my revulsion has died down more, but if I try to picture being around him it often comes back, I am still healing.

Interestingly, I was told I cried whenever my dad held me as a baby, somehow I picked up on the unrest in my house hold, babies can sense stress even in the womb, it’s proven. But I yearned for closeness with him as I got older. Drawn, and repulsed, as long as I can remember it was like that. He was always very rough, he’d hug a little too tight, too long, something I found out was symptom of BPD, who knew?

It was strange, the hug thing, like it was purposefully too tight, like the intention was to cause pain, even while gratifying himself, I know because I used to do it to, on purpose, I’ve become gentler, I wasn’t always that way, I think I picked up the habit from him.

“I still taste you on my lips, lovely bitter water. Terrible fire and fuel to burn is honey on my tongue, and I know I shouldn’t love you, but I do”-The Oh Hellos

The Sohma family bond was forged to keep them from being alone,just like God created family in order so man wouldn’t be alone, but as man corrupted, so did family. We aren’t told why (so far) but clearly the same thing happened to the Sohmas.

It’s a truth that we humans are too messed up to stay bonded generation after generation and not corrupt, it’s why we have to leave our family, we have to explore. Ever wonder why evil empires almost always have a primary family in charge? It’s not that family is evil, it’s that when you inbreed, and try to keep a family the same, not letting the members forge new families like God said “to leave father and mother and cleave” to your husband or wife, then the same sins become out of control.

Staying connected, but not staying so close you can’t breathe, that’s the key.

So, FB is quite accurate. But it goes even further. Characters struggle with love, being able to love freely, or love at all, and we learn more about the curse.

The Curse primarily affects love, there seem to be physical effects also, some member get sick easily, some get abused by their parents just because they are cursed, both in some cases. And of course, animals follow them around…some of them. Let’s hope a tiger doesn’t show up some time around Kisa… though that might solve her bullying problem (also apparently int he Japanese Zodiac a tiger is different from a cat, even though they’re the same type of animal…? I guess they both get picked on a lot.)

But all the Cursed members either can’t love properly, or they fall in love and it goes wrong. Usually because of Akito, but it seems to go wrong even without her help too, there’s often something too desperate about it, as you would expect.

Being emotionally unbalanced is a part of the curse too. It also seems to effect only some people, Haru goes dark and destructive, Kagura had moods swings and destroys stuff, the monkey, whatever his name was, is way, way too insecure… I mean sheesh.

In Season 2, Tohru decides she wants to break the curse, but no one knows how. She decides to join forces with Rin, who is also desperate to break the curse, but neither of them have a clue, they are just trying not to despair.

Tohru has of course, fallen for Kyo, the cat, and gotten close to Yuki (rat) in a more platonic way, as well as the other younger members, and Hatori, the doctor/seahorse.

It’s basically Beauty and the Beast with abuse instead of pride as the big shadow over the family.

Then in the final episode today, we find out that one member has already been freed of his curse, but not told anyone till Shigure called him on it. Kureno, the former Rooster.

Kureno is not my favorite, I don’t get him, and I’m puzzled by his role in the story, plus he’s shipped with a 17-18 year old and he’s like 27. Age gaps don’t bug m too much, but the guy is weird and he’s Akito’s sex toy, so I’m not sure how to feel about that. He needs therapy.

But his role in the curse is interesting. He got freed one day of being an animal, but he doesn’t know why or how, he remembers nothing significant about it it would seem, but Akito flipped out and got so hysterical he promised never to leave her anyway… which as Tohru points out, is basically just the curse without the animal side effect, but that’s family soul ties for you.

Kureno feels guilty for being freed while the others are not, so he keeps it to himself. Contributing to the cycle. roving he is not in fact free.

I was puzzled at first, I got this spoiled for me when I looked up info about the show, but I didn’t know exactly when or how it would happen, so I forgot about it. I thought the curse would be broken with love, but Kureno seems not to need love to break it.

But then I thought, maybe this twist is good. I’m not going to be that girl who justifies everything just to keep liking the show, but there is a way this could be better.

Since we’re not clear on what the curse is, we can assume it affects everyone differently, perhaps if just needing to love someone else truly was the answer, it would have been discovered long ago, after all, all the Sohmas have fallen in love, right? Or most of them have.

The only hint from Kureno’s story is that is might be some kind of revelation. Whether that comes form love, or from some other source, who knows.

In real life, though, sometimes the moment when you are freed from your family really is hard to pinpoint. I’ve had times of relief, where a cloud just lifted off my mind, but I know that I built up to it over time with prayer and consideration and better choices. I know people who’ve not had that moment yet. I haven’t had the ultimate one where I realize I’m over the damage.

I understand Kureno’s survivor’s guilt. I get it too. While his life isn’t easy, he feels it could be easier for him to leave, to be free. But the very knowledge keeps him bound up.

It proves the curse is in their minds just as much as their bodies. In a way, his freedom made him more bound than ever. Which, I can attest to, without God, freedom is just another form of bondage because you have no skills to be free, most freed people just end up slaves again in another relationship.

Why the curse is accurate in another way is that death doesn’t stop it, it reincarnates. While I mostly think that’s a stupid idea, it works excellently to show generational sins. Death cannot be he answer for the Sohmas, but life seems not worth living for them, most of them sink into a kind of resignation.

Which is quite dangerous. It’s giving up. It may not make you into a psycho, (though it usually does eventually), but it makes you like a robot.

Kureno was the most resigned of all because he chose to remain chained when he could have been free, recognizing Akito’s hold on him didn’t just have to be the curse, it could be through pity also.

But Akito really hates all the people she loves, she knows she will never have complete security, she fears the breaking of the curse because it would leave her alone, and her mind is the most wrapped up in it. It makes sense, all the others are just bound to her, but she is bond to all of them, making her even more stretched between two worlds, two feelings, two desires. Freedom is something she seemed to give up on a long time ago.

I won’t ever justify abuse, but I do understand it. I understand it because I see the same profane love in myself as in an abuser. I don’t believe there’s a single human who never hast hat temptation. My favorite book is “Till We Have Faces” which is C. S. Lewis fictional exploration of Profane love vs Holy love. Most of us call it Unconditional.

Parents say they love unconditionally, and bless them, some of them really do. I love those parents.

Some, however, mean that it don’t matter how bad you screw up they will love you…as long as you don’t leave them, don’t stop loving them.

True love is love even when there is no love in return, it’s giving whether or not you get anything, but it’s not the desire to not get loved in return, it’s the constant hope that you will be, and even if you aren’t, you recognize love is the Right State of Being, and you will not come out of it for anything so petty as demands.

But a True Lover can receive love better than anyone else also, because they know it’s worth, they will not scorn it, because they know it can’t be bought, they will not worry about deserving it. That’s why to understand True Love is to be emotionally healthy in every way, and none of us are,

But the closer I get to Real Love, the closer I get to being whole. I at least now know what not to want.

FB does not present this kind of love as a whole through the main characters, it presents parts of it. We see it the strongest in Tohru’s mom, her best friends, and in Momiji, (the rabbit and also one of the best people on the show).

That's a Secret | Fruits Basket Wiki | Fandom

People who both give and receive love much more freely than even Tohru. Tohru is loving, but she sucks at receiving it. What’s great about Momiji is he’s so open. He hugs Tohru even if it changes him into a rabbit because what does he care? Hugs are more important than curses, right?

Breaking the curse would be simple enough if it was just the animal things. A Christian could do it in two minutes.

But breaking abuse just isn’t done in minutes, or days, or weeks. As long as the curse is tied tot hat, it will be a process. Even if the beast part goes away, they will have to heal.

I think that is the real point of the show: Healing is a process, and if you don’t give up hope, if you stay open to love and face your demons, you can get there. And those who give up, draw back, and embrace their darkness will become worse than they were before.

I look forward to Season 3, I will probably refer back to this show again when I write more about abuse and recovery and anime, but for now this seems like a good place to stop.

If you watch it, what did you think of the ending? What do you think will happen (no SPOILERS) and who do you relate to the most?

Until next time–Natasha.