[OWLS Blog Tour: Treasure] Accepting Yourself Is Not Easy (A Silent Voice)

[OWLS Blog Tour: Treasure] Accepting Yourself Is Not Easy (A Silent Voice)

Hello! I’m back for another OWLS blog tour! This month, we’re covering the topic of depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses, so if that’s something that bothers you, be wary. I will be discussing how the characters in this manga grew past it, but I also discuss the dark reality of the things they faced. The topic is “Treasures,” talking about the people in our lives that tell us we are worth something, and that we are something to be treasured.

For those of you unaware, OWLS is a wonderful group accepting all people regardless of age, gender, religion, sexuality, etc. We try to show everyone that they are beautiful and loved no matter what, through different anime and pop culture. If you’re interested in joining, feel free to go to our website and fill out a form! We’re always accepting new members!

OWLS logo

Onto the topic at hand.

If you’ve been reading my posts since the beginning, you may remember my post Best Manga I’ve Ever Read. In that post, I discuss the manga, A Silent Voice. Even though I wrote that nearly a year ago, I still believe it is my favorite manga/comic ever. Unfortunately, I still have been unable to watch the movie adaptation, but will when the Blu Ray comes out in America.

In that manga, there are so many rough topics covered. So that’s why when given this topic, I immediately thought of it.

The story is majorly in the perspective of Shoya Ishida, a third year boy in high school. But much of the focus of the actual story is on a girl, Shoko Nishimiya, who is deaf. Both of these characters are constantly dealing with self-doubt, for different reasons.

So I don’t get a bunch of angry people after me, there WILL BE SPOILERS in this post. If you have not read the manga or watched the movie, I recommend you go and do that before reading this. I must talk about a lot of vital points in order to do this topic justice.

The Deaf Girl and Her Bully

Shoya was a bully in elementary school. He pushed Shoko around, taking advantage of the fact she was deaf. Day after day, he picked on her. He thought that doing this would make him popular, and be accepted by others. And he thought it was working. He stole her hearing aids, and destroyed them. He grabbed the notebook she communicated with and tossed it in a fountain.

Shoko just smiled. She didn’t fight with him, she just pretended like it didn’t phase her. Of course she was mad. But she’s never been good at showing her true emotions. Only once did she lash out at him, right before she transferred to a different school.

knkfight

When Shoko left, Shoya realized that all of the things he did was not helping him gain popularity. When Shoko left, he saw nasty words scrawled on his desk. They all blamed him wholly for what happened to her. He now became the bullied. He now knew how Shoko felt, and started distancing himself from the kids in his class.

The Past is in the Past

Five years pass, and it’s the time the rest of manga will take place. Both Shoya and Shoko are now in their final year of high school.

Shoko still doesn’t have many friends, but attends a sign language regularly, and feeds the fish in the river on Tuesdays.

Shoya has been suffering from his past ever since Shoko left their school. He never tried to mend the wounds he’d caused in other people. They see him and can only remember the bully he was, or they never get to talk to him in the first place. This distance causes him to still hate himself after all these years. He is so harsh on his past self, and won’t let that go to live his last year of high school in happiness. He’s once quoted as saying, “I wish I could kill him,” referring to himself as a sixth-grader. This self-hatred becomes so toxic, brewing inside him for so many years, he completely gives up.

He decides that as his final moment on the earth, he’ll apologize to Shoko for what he’d done. And then he would leave for good. He finds out about her meetings at the bridge on Tuesdays, and talks to her. Well, signs to her, as he’d learned sign language during those five years of not seeing her.

68e67d764a4e711f55968c64ede9538f4378854b_hq

To his surprise, she instantly accepts his apology, and they decide they can become friends. All of his previous plans are completely shot. He finds the new meaning to his life, to focus on being friends with Shoko and mending the broken bond between them.

The Present is a Demon

Shoko, however, moves past what happened back then easily. That’s not her problem. After all those years, people still insult her deafness. Or they just don’t know how to get around it.

People still hate her simply for having a disability. One girl in particular, who was part of the group of students who bullied her along with Shoya when they were younger, is the main one who targets her. Her name is Naoka, and she is a major factor in Shoko’s later attempted suicide. This wasn’t purely Naoka’s doing, as the problems had been happening to Shoko for years.

tumblr_ooov96m3am1tdx76oo1_1280

Naoka practically forces herself into the group of friends that forms throughout the manga. She confronts Shoya, and tells him that they are so similar, but that is not the case at all, and she wiggles her way into the group.

Things Naoka has done include: slapping Shoko, pulling at her hair violently, calling her “a blight” and “self-absorbed,” telling her she hates her, yelling in her face, etc. Shoko, being who she is, says nothing about the abuse Naoka puts her through. She smiles through all of it, acting as though nothing was wrong. As she does any time there is something bothering her. She actually reaches out to Naoka a few times, attempting to be friends even after what Naoka has done.

The event that puts her in the worst state of mind, though, is when the group gets into an argument discussing the past events of elementary school. Some blame Shoya for what had happened, and he retaliates with being so blunt with each of them, it hurts them. There is yelling, and Shoya physically sits away from the others.

07a23ad0820a84332ab1b2fd48510b22-silent-voice-manga-ishida-shouya

Because Shoko sees all of this, she is concerned for her friends. She doesn’t know what happened, since nobody was translating into sign language for her. She was completely confused, and walks away from the scene frazzled.

Yuzuru, her sister, later tells her the entire scene.

The group stays away from each other for the summer, but Shoya and Shoko continue to meet for much of the break. During the meetings, Shoko becomes even more unsettled due to Shoya’s strange behavior. He’s been thinking of what the others said about him, and makes him reconsider things.

Then comes the dreadful moment. During a fireworks display, Shoko leaves early to “study.” Her sister sees through her excuse and sends Shoya after her. He finds her seconds away from plummeting over the edge of their apartment building. He barely saves her, landing himself in the river below in place of her.

For about a week, Shoya was in a coma after this event. Blames were passed around. Who was really responsible for him falling? Answer: Nobody in particular. He did it to save his closest friend from dying.

The Future is what you Make it

The traumatic events of this manga are hard to swallow. I had a hard time reading it at moments, but it is so important to make it to the end. What happens to Shoya and Shoko could very well happen to anyone. Bullying and disabilities are something we must live with as a society. And, accepting them and addressing them is the most important part. Both of these things led to the main characters suffering with some sort of mental disorder, most likely a form of depression or anxiety, but I’m not one to diagnose.

Shoya’s fear over opening up to others crippled him socially. He was unable to accept himself, and believed that others wouldn’t either. He had to learn how to move on from the past that was weighing him down, and not let others get under his skin. He did this through confiding in Shoko and the others, and ignoring the harsh words others said.

Shoko felt like she was responsible for the others fighting. When she learned of what happened, she decided to jump, because she felt she was only causing them problems. Shoya worked hard to heal the relationships they used to have, so when things went badly, she felt she broke what he had built. The group had been working on a movie, but when the topic of bullying Shoko came up, they dismissed the project. She took that as being a nuisance, and the sole reason why they left. She felt this same way back when she was in elementary school. She was hated by people, and she took it all as there being something wrong with her. Even back then, she told Yuzuru that she wanted to die.

a_silent_voice_manga__i_want_to_die__by_holoismywaifu-dalapwh

I think the most important takeaway from this is to never drown in your emotions. Confide in others. Tell them what’s on your mind. Chances are, if they truly care, they’ll do everything in their power to help you back on your feet. If Shoko were to have told Shoya how she felt about the topic, things would have gone differently. He had no idea. Yuzuru was aware of how Shoko felt, and tried helping by taking pictures of dead things. Strange, but, she figured that if Shoko saw how ugly it was to be gone from the world, she’d never commit suicide. Unfortunately, this didn’t work, but it did keep her from doing it earlier.

The ending of the manga was a breath of fresh air compared to the bulk of it. Everything is calm. Shoko reveals her dream to move to Tokyo to Shoya, who reacts negatively. He doesn’t want her to leave him, since he would no longer be able to keep an eye on her to keep her safe. He’d dedicated the life she saved to living for her. He does let her go, but is wary of it still. The others are also pursuing their dreams, many of them also moving to Tokyo.

hqdefault

If Shoko and Shoya never met, I doubt they would still be alive. Definitely not pursuing their dreams. The connection they created through their suffering was what gave them new meaning. As I stated before, it’s important to have someone to lift you up when handling tough situations.

My Experiences

Shortly after I read this manga about two and a half years ago, I began having these strange panic attacks before bed (the attacks weren’t due to the manga, they just so happened to start after I read it, no worries). They went on for a good long while before I could figure out what it was. It was when I had one during the day that my mom figured it out.

For the most part, I kept these hidden from others. I was fearful of what people would say if I told them. They could tell me it was fake, or I was overreacting, or I’ll get over it. Instead, my mom told me I may need to see a therapist or be prescribed medication. This was worse than anything other people could say. When I was told this, I thought there was something horribly wrong with me. It was strange I thought this, since for years my brother had been taking medication for his ADHD, and I never thought much of that.

Since then, I’ve been able to adapt to it, and accept it as part of my life. I know my brain functions in a way that is not the same as others, and I’m okay with that now. I still haven’t gone to a therapist as my mom suggested, though I know I should. Things have died down a lot since that first attack, and I haven’t had a random one in about a year. I still have problems with calling people on the phone, or approaching a stranger in public to ask a question, or calming myself down when my friends don’t answer my texts right away.

I found that telling my friends and family about it did help, since the attacks became fewer and further in between once I told people.

My experience is nowhere near the severity of what occurs in this manga, but I can understand where the mangaka was coming from writing her characters the way she did. Neither felt the need to burden others with their problems, and in the end, it hurt them more than if they would have spoken up.

 

Hope you enjoyed this post! I absolutely adore this manga with all my heart, and felt it needed a mention again. I had to reread most of it again to be able to write this, which I’m totally fine with. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. Even though I spoiled much of the plot in this post, it’s not the same as experiencing what happens. It’s so memorable, and I feel that every person should be able to read it at some point in their life. If you’re not fond of reading backwards comics, the movie should be released in America soon, and hopefully to other parts of the world soon as well. From what I’ve heard, it does a decent job of highlighting the important topics discussed in the manga, and the artwork is just stunning.

Make sure to check out the other OWLS posts this month! Matt-in-the-Hat’s post was before mine, and new member, Miandro’s Side is after me.

Also, OWLS is doing a giveaway! You’d be entering to win a copy of Lighter than my Shadow by Katie Green, a book that highlights some of the disorders focused on in our blog tour this month.  All you have to do is comment on one of the tour posts! To enter, use this link.

See you guys!

Follow me on Twitter: @letstalkanime1

Join OWLS!!!

 

Advertisements

[OWLS Blog Tour: Bloodlines] Familial Bonds in My Hero Academia

[OWLS Blog Tour: Bloodlines] Familial Bonds in My Hero Academia

Hello all! I have returned for a third OWLS tour! I will try to participate in all tours, though there are no promises.

For those of you new to OWLS posts, we are a non-discriminant group of anime loving people. We accept people of all race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. and we show our acceptance by writing a blog post or making a video on the month’s topic, focusing around anime or other pop culture. This month’s theme was on “Bloodlines,” or the family connections we have in our lives.

OWLS logo

When given this topic of family and bloodlines, there were very few ideas I had, and this anime was the one that really stuck out. And I’m so glad I finally get tot talk about My Hero Academia! I had meant to write something but I was struggling with school around that time and never got around to it.

I will be talking about a few different characters separately rather than looking at it overall. Unfortunately, I can’t go without spoiling for this topic, so I will be going in order from oldest episodes to newest and I’ll put a rough estimate as to how far you have to be to read that section. Trust me, I wish I could go spoiler free, but man, season two hits family issues hard.

Izuku Midoriya (Anyone can read)

Can we all agree that Izuku’s mom is the sweetest woman ever? When they discovered that he had no quirk, and would probably never develop one either, she felt awful. She had been hoping that her son would be able to have at least a small bit of power, so he could eventually achieve his goal of becoming a great hero. When hearing the news, she was just as devastated as he was. She felt personally responsible for his lack of power. She apologized to him repeatedly for not being powerful enough to give her son a quirk. He began to cry when he found out, but he seemed more in shock than angry. His mother just loves him so much that she would take all of the blame.

IZUIKI

This kindness carries on into his middle school and high school years. She never stops supporting everything he does. And even though he’s being told by everyone around him that his dream of being a hero is a lost cause, she roots him on. She’s worried about him as well, since having no power causes bullying and constant negative comments, she doesn’t want him to become overwhelmed. She cares so much about him, which really is rare in shonen anime. Most protagonists either have terrible parents or no parents at all. I’m so happy to see that in this show, you don’t have to be from a broken family to be a hero.

His mother is not his only believer. All Might is just impressed by this kid’s sheer will power and determination. When he takes Izuku under his wing to teach him all about being a pro hero, he takes a liking to him. Izuku, from what we know, had a father who is now out of the picture. In a sense, All Might becomes his father figure. He teaches Izuku important lessons and watches over him to make sure he doesn’t overdo things. And I think this is one of my favorite aspects of the show. Izuku’s lifelong idol and inspiration becomes his mentor and father stand in. The kid who would quake in his boots to even see All Might stand near him now goes to All Might for support.

ye boi

Izuku and his mother prove that there is no reason for a parent to lose hope in their child because of a disability. Supporting them and being there for them through everything is the only thing a parent should do. And he and All Might prove that you don’t need to be related to consider each other family.

Ochaco Uraraka (Ep 14)

I really love Ochaco, and have since the beginning of the series. But in this new season, I’ve found more reasons to love her. And that’s simply because of the strong bond she has with her parents. Not many people her age would have the dedication she has to her parents.

In Episode 14, we get a little bit of insight on why Ochaco entered the hero course at UA. While other kids wanted to become a hero for fame, personal accomplishment, wealth, or proving their greatness, Ochaco had a much more selfless goal in mind. She decided that she would give back to her parents, thanking them for raising her the way they did, in providing their income. She explained to Izuku and Tenya that when she was growing up, her parents did everything they could with the money they had to provide for her and give her a fulfilling childhood. She doesn’t want them to live with barely enough anymore. She wants them to have a comfortable, easy rest of their lives.

determine

I nearly teared up listening to her say this. While other students still do have positive, respectable goals, hers was one that really sticks out. I’ve never heard a protagonist have this sort of goal in mind.

She has decided that she will live her life with only her parents in mind. This is the ultimate repayment, and it really proves what a close bond she has with her parents.

This really has gotten me thinking. I don’t have a bad relationship with my parents by any means. I am seventeen as of writing this, and many people say that this is the age that kids fall away from their parents. I have not felt that. I know how much they do for me, and I don’t feel I really appreciate all they do. Like Ochaco, I’ve grown up with not a ton of money. I’m not poor, and for the most part we do alright, but there have been months where my parents had to scrape the barrel just to pay the mortgage, and I had to provide money for groceries from my leftover Christmas money. So I really understand where she’s coming from.

cry ochaco

Would I do what she is doing if our world was flooded with villains and heroes? I don’t think I would have considered it. I’m not as selfless as her, though I wish I was. I have my moments of selfishness, as many people do. Ochaco doesn’t seem to really have these moments, though I don’t think this tarnishes her character.

Shoto Todoroki (Around Ep 23)

I was not a fan of Shoto at first, I felt he was a bit boring and far too powerful to fit in with the rest of the 1-A class. But after hearing the story about his parents, I began to feel sorry for him. His blank expression and avoidance of the other students began to make sense to me.

I am not certain of the exact episode the truth about his mother and father comes out, but it’s about midway through the first arc of season two. And I don’t feel I need to rewatch that episode, even though I watched it months ago. It stuck out prominently.

For all of the first season and majority of season two, Shoto only uses his right side — the side that controls his ice powers. It’s explained that the reason he has two sides of his quirk is that his father had the fire quirk, and his mother had an ice quirk. His father, the pro hero Endeavor, has been envying All Might for his #1 hero spot, while he was in the #2 spot. He determined that if he can’t claim the #1 spot, he should have a child to surpass All Might. To do this, he needed to have a child more powerful than he was. He chose Shoto’s mother, who has a ice quirk, and practically forced her to have children with him, until the perfect child came about. Shoto has three siblings, one sister and two brothers, though only his sister has been prominent.

freaking endeavor

His mother became ashamed of his left side, since every time she looked at her son, it reminded her who his father is. This, in turn, led to Shoto feeling ashamed of his left side. He refused to use it. It would make him feel as if he were listening to his father, and doing just as he wanted. If he were to become a hero, it would simply be because he wants to help others.

It must be awful to be in a situation like this. His parents don’t live together, and don’t seem to have any pure love for each other either. His father pushes him to beat all other students, not exactly encouraging him to have friends or to bond with others. He only cares about his son’s powers being better than all others. In our world, this could equate to a father pushing his son to always be at the top of his class. Not allowing him socializing time, an important part of growing up. This explains why Shoto was so anti-social throughout much of the series. Once he realized that the quirk he has is purely his, and his to use as he wishes, despite what his father says, he became much more open to Izuku, Ochaco, and Tenya.

todoroki

Shoto has grown immensely throughout season two. He confronted his father, announcing that he would not be tied down by what his father has to say. And he has also talked with his mother, who has become more accepting of her son. She knows that being ashamed will bring no good, and only will make Shoto more self-conscious.

I felt that Shoto’s story was shocking. His father is possibly my least favorite character in the entire show. Heck, even some villains are easier to pity. This man is so selfish, and controlling, that he ruined a woman’s life, and has made his children ashamed of their own last name. No person should ever have to live with something like this, and that’s why I think Shoto is a strong character. He has been able to move past these things with the help of others.

Tenya Iida (Ep 24)

In these recent episodes, Tenya has been really been proving himself. And because of this, I’ve been feeling some strong emotions for him. It’s safe to say that he’s climbing up to be one of my favorites. But this isn’t what I really want to talk about.

Early in season two, Tenya mentions his older brother, Tensei, who is the pro hero Ingenium. When he’s going into the sports festival, he says something about wanting to win to make his brother proud. Throughout the arc, his sole purpose for winning is to show his brother how well he’s doing and how he strives to be just like him. He has a great relationship with his brother, and like many younger siblings, wants to be just like his older brother.

bby iida and bro

Near the end of the sports festival arc, around episode 24, Tensei gets into an accident of sorts (keeping it vague for people not caught up) and Tenya doesn’t find out immediately. He had been calling his brother to tell him how he’s doing in the festival, but Tensei wasn’t picking up. This worried Tenya, but he continued on with the festival. Then later his mother calls him to give the news.

He rushes to the hospital to find that Tensei had been horribly injured, to the point that he would not be able to tend to his hero duties. He apologized to Tenya for not being strong, and for not being the person he looks up to. Tenya didn’t think that Tensei had done anything deemed less than admirable. He decided that from now on, he’ll do everything he can to be the best hero he can, to show all that his brother has taught him.

If anything, this accident was a boost for Tenya, and he began to show what he truly can do. He fights to show Tensei that there was nothing to apologize about. He still sees his brother in the highest light, no matter what. And now is more determined than ever to prove himself to the world.

Iida

I admire Tenya for pushing himself, even in the face of danger. He knows what he wants to fight for. He wants to be just like Tensei, and bring pride to the Iida name. If his brother is injured, he’ll take the place for the time being. He’s so sure of himself, something I almost can never say about myself. I’m always second guessing. My passion is writing, both this blog and my own stories. And I always second guess myself. Will they like this post? Does it even make sense? Will people want to read this book? Is that scene too cliche? It’s something that goes through my head constantly. Tenya seems to know exactly what he wants and what he needs to do to get to that point. And his brother is there to encourage and help him.

UA Class 1-A

In a way, all of the 1-A class is like a giant family. Not all of them may get along, but overall, they need to watch each other’s back. At the end of season one, they were attacked by that group of villains. If they were to have tried to take them on alone, they all would have been doomed. Rather than being selfish and going solo, they all worked together. They knew that if each person used their quirk in a certain way, they could defeat the villains.

class 1a

For how competitive this course is, they do work together quite often. They all want the same thing, and all of them have a long way to go before they are fully prepared to take on being a hero in the real world. They know that not all of them will make it. But yet there are many cases where they support each other. It’s something I truly admire about the show. They put the competition aside for a bit, and help their classmates when they most need it.

 

Thank you guys for reading my post! It’s a bit longer than I intended, but there was so much I wanted to cover, and could have continued for much longer.

Make sure you check out the other OWLS blog posts for this month. The one before me was Rai from Rai’s Anime Blog and the one after is Naja from Nice Job Breaking It, Hero. Or you can find the roundup at the end of the month and read them all in one go!

I’ve loved being a part of OWLS in these past months, and hopefully will be able to participate in all of the tours. So, you should see me again next month!

Follow me on Twitter: @letstalkanime1

[OWLS Blog Tour] Self-image in Fruits Basket

[OWLS Blog Tour] Self-image in Fruits Basket

This is my second post with the lovely group, OWLS, and I hope everyone enjoys this as much as they did my last one. If you missed that post, you can view it here.

OWLS logo

 

When given the topic of Mirrors, or self-image, my mind went to a couple of animes. Most were more mainstream and seemed obvious choices, so I thought a bit deeper and reminded myself of the fantastic show, Fruits Basket. Being one of the very first animes I ever watched, before I even had any interest in the anime world, I felt I had to bring it up again. When most people think of nostalgic animes, they think Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, or Naruto. Well, I never grew up watching anime. My friend introduced me to Ouran High School Host Club, Fruits Basket, and Sword Art Online far before I thought I would become a member of the fanbase.

I didn’t think of this show entirely based on its age, though. Being 16 years old now, nearly as old as myself, I’m surprised by the relevancy it still holds. There are two specific episodes I thought of when the topic of self-image was brought up. Episode 5, titled “A Rice Ball in a Fruits Basket” and episode 7, titled “A Plum on the Back.”

If you haven’t watched this show before, this post will spoil certain episodes, so I suggest you watch it first. But, if you don’t care, at least read my review on this show so you have some background, since I won’t be explaining the basic premise at all.

Episode 5

This episode focuses mainly on how Tohru views the way she fits in different groups of people, and really reflects on how she sees herself. She has gone through many things in her life, but manages to stay positive about everything that happens. This doesn’t mean that she always in confident in her actions and her image to others and herself.

There are many points in this episode that people make negative comments toward Tohru about her living with three men. She tries to not let the insults get to her, but these tohrupeople make nasty assumptions about her intentions. But, rather than defending herself and explaining why she is staying with them, she remains silent. This is a huge part of her character that is reflected in this episode. In general, Tohru is a selfless, caring person, but doesn’t think much about her own wellbeing.

So, in this episode, Tohru is called by her grandfather because his house’s renovations are complete and she can move back in with him. She tells him that she’s happy to move back and be with her family, but before leaving, she has some second thoughts. She has enjoyed living with the Sohmas, despite how strange they are, and though she loves her grandfather she is sad to leave her new “family.”

Before she leaves, there is a flashback scene where she remembers the game she played with some other kids when she was younger. This game was called “Fruits Basket.” Each child was given a name of a fruit, and when that fruit was called, they would join and

Screenshot (157)

The lonely rice ball

run with the others (I’m not sure what happens from there). Every kid was given their fruit, and Tohru was given not the name of a fruit, but a rice ball. Something that clearly does not fit in with the other fruits in the basket. She sat there, watching the other kids called by their fruit name, waiting for the rice ball to be called, but it never was.

She moves in with her grandfather no problem, but is immediately met with disgust and annoyance from her family. She is treated like an idiot, her belongings are treated like garbage, and she just generally is ignored. She realizes that she doesn’t feel comfortable with her own family. But, she doesn’t want to hurt her grandfather’s feelings, so she doesn’t say anything about wanting to leave. She lies, and says she is being treated kindly and that she loves living there. But really, she’s still a rice ball in that fruits basket. Screenshot (162)

 

It seems somewhat silly, but I love the symbolism it uses. Tohru sees herself as being a person who does not fit in with a lot of people. She lives with the Sohmas, and she feels out of place, since she is not related to them. When she moves to her grandfather’s, the other family members treat her like a foreigner.

She does end up going back to the Sohmas, and when she does, Kyo tells her that she tokyoneeds to start telling people what she feels. She keeps it hidden, and becomes miserable because she doesn’t want to bother others. He tells her it’s okay to complain sometimes, and that it lets people know what she wants. They’ll never know if she never says anything.

I think this episode was a huge moment of development for her. She becomes much more open to the Sohmas and she is able to trust them much more. She views herself as fitting in with them now, instead of being the oddball of her own family. She found her own family in them.

 

 Episode 7

This episode is probably one of my favorites. It introduces a nice form of symbolism as a plum on the back of the previously stated rice ball symbolism. Though, this episode does not focus on Tohru’s self-image, but Kyo’s and Yuki’s.

Something that is well-known throughout the show is Kyo and Yuki’s constant feud. This was started by their zodiac animals interacting in the past. All of the zodiac animals were oh noinvited to go to a banquet, except for the cat. He was invited by the rat, but was told the wrong date on purpose, so the cat would not be able to go to the banquet with the others. This cursed the cat of the Sohma curse to be even further cursed than the others. They were born to never fit in or be accepted by anyone. The rat is blessed to always be loved by many and to be naturally talented in many aspects.

Thus, they never get along. Though, in this episode it is revealed that both Kyo and Yuki envy the other for various reasons I will explain.

This episode focuses around the school festival, and Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki’s class decides to have a rice ball stand. Kyo and Tohru both add ideas, and Kyo’s is laughed at, but yuki and kyo2Tohru’s is praised and they end up using her idea in the end. This makes Kyo upset, since nobody even considered his idea once. He is constantly being ignored by his classmates and family members, and he feels this is all because of the curse his family is under.

When they return home, Tohru is working on preparing the riceballs for the festival, and Kyo decides to make one of his own. As she watches him, she realizes that he has a natural talent for forming the riceballs. She points it out, but he responds with “that’s not a real talent.” She assures him that it really is talent, and that not all people can do it so perfectly on the first try.

He insists that anything he does cannot be considered admirable or impressive, and that Yuki will always exceed him no matter what. He practices his martial arts skills constantly, but without training Yuki is still better than him. He feels incompetent in every way, and that there is no part of him that is admirable.

Tohru tells him that’s ridiculous. She explains that everyone has worth and admirable kyo!!qualities, but they can’t always see it. She explains it as this: a person is compared to a rice ball. They see themselves as a plain ball of rice, but on the back of the riceball is a plum, a bit of flavor that others can see but they cannot. They are not so plain after all.

At first, Kyo doesn’t think that it’s true, but after thinking about it, he realizes that she may be right. Because there are things that Tohru does that she doesn’t see as admirable but Kyo does. This is a huge turning point for Kyo and how he views himself. He never knew that he could be someone admired or known for anything good. He knew himself as the cat, the outcast and monster of the zodiac. The one that nobody would ever accept because he was born to never belong. But hearing this from Tohru gave him hope and made him realize that maybe he can be something more than only the cat.

Later in the episode, they are at the festival, and the booth is doing well. Some third year yukigirls talk to Yuki and give him a frilly dress as a present. He reluctantly accepts the gift, and must wear it for the remainder of the festival. He gains a lot of attention from girls mainly, and his picture is repeatedly taken. He is uncomfortable and annoyed with the attention. As being the “prince of the school” and having an entire fanclub dedicated to him, he expects these things. But he wishes this didn’t happen to him. He hates the way he looks, and the way girls attach themselves to him. He wants to be more average. He says he wishes he was more like Kyo, so he could be able to stay out of the spotlight. But he was born to be great in every way, so he just won’t be able to achieve that.

Both Yuki and Kyo have traits they view as negative, but the other views as positive. The plum on their back is the exact reason why they don’t like themselves.

I’ve always found this an interesting part of their relationship, since it seemed that they hated each other for no reason, but really they just envied what the other had.

yay

Other people who struggle with self-image are Hatsuharu, Ritsu, and Hiro. Hatsuharu is viewed as being a delinquent, due to his two-toned hair and piercings, but really doesn’t want to hurt others. He really is a kind heart, but people won’t give him a chance to express that before making first judgments on him. Ritsu is often mistaken as a girl, due to the clothing he wears, but still identifies as male. He wears feminine clothing but doesn’t see himself being female. So, this is often a struggle with the way he views himself. Hiro cares deeply for his cousin, Kisa, but doesn’t want to seem weak for having feelings. As a young boy, he struggles between expressing himself and keeping his image.

This show has so many examples of the theme of self-image, it was hard to pick only a few. I have many more I wish I could talk about, but this post would be far longer than it already is.

I think this is how the show has held up after so many years, it has so many meaningful topics that are so very relevant today. I find myself being inspired and more open after watching this show, and I find so much joy in rewatching it. The show deserves so much more attention than it has.

Thank you for reading! I have been so excited to write this post and now it’s finally here!

Make sure to check out the previous OWLS post that Matt-in-the-Hat wrote and the one after me by ARCHI-ANIME. Hope you all enjoy July’s tour!

Follow me on Twitter @letstalkanime1

All photos with the Funimation logo in the corner were screenshots I took. I do pay for the services, I did not steal the photos. All others were found through Google Images. Just thought I’d clarify.

 

[OWLS Blog Tour: “TEAM”] Crona Gorgon: Soul Eater

[OWLS Blog Tour: “TEAM”] Crona Gorgon: Soul Eater

This is my very first OWLS blog post! I’ve been very excited to join this group of wonderful, kind people for a long time, and the time has finally come for me to be a true part of the group.

OWLS logo

When given the topic of the month: “Team” in regards of the LGBT+ community, it took me a while to decide on what I would be talking about. I’m very new to the community, so my spectrum isn’t very large. I can count on one hand the number of shows/comics I’ve read or watching dealing with this community. So, I decided to talk about something that wasn’t very expected.

Soul Eater is a show I hold close to my heart. The characters I hold even closer. In My Top 5 Animes I discussed my favorite characters. Number 3 was Crona. I put this character toward the top of my list of favorite characters, and I always have. I’m that strange fan who loves Crona. I never truly knew why, but in this post, I’m hoping to explore that more.

Analysis

Crona Gorgon is the child of the witch, Medusa, whose goal is to release the kishin on the world. It’s clear from the beginning that Medusa is the villain in this show, and when initially seeing Crona, you expect them to also become a villain. At first, yes, Crona listens to their mother and acts as a weapon. It’s not their choice, though, seeing as Medusa threatens to hurt Crona if they do not cooperate.

Later, after Crona and Maka are involved in an intense battle, Maka decides to befriend Crona and they become a part of the group at the DWMA. Unfortunately, Crona is used as 2a spy by Medusa, so this is short lived. During this time, though, we get to see a lot of Crona’s past and what they truly want. Crona was pretty much abused by Medusa, forcing them into an empty, dark room, with only their weapon, Ragnarok, for company. This was supposed to make Crona a more powerful tool for Medusa to use, but only makes Crona fearful of their mother and more unsure of themselves.

Crona is constantly at war with their mind, part wants to follow their instinct and become good, but the other is in fear of their mother and wants to give up. This internal 4turmoil was what drew me to this character. Honestly, these characters tend to be the most interesting. Give me deeply troubled, conflicted characters to feel bad for and I’m good to go. That sounds terrible, but it’s true. Characters that are happy all the time get old, and though arguably, all characters in Soul Eater have a dark past, Crona’s is one of the most depressing.

The DWMA group

When Crona is first introduced, Soul and Maka are in Italy on an extracurricular lesson. Maka notices there are a bunch of souls in an old church, along with a more abnormal soul. When they get close to the church, though, only one soul remains.

5When they go in, they see Crona there. At first, nobody says anything to each other. Crona is communicating with their mother, Medusa and their weapon, Ragnarok. Maka and Soul only speak to each other about the weird person on the other end of the room.

They meet each other as enemies, because Crona had been raised to become the “ultimate evil” as a kishin, meister, and weapon in one body. Maka and Soul’s job is to kill all of the kishin, so naturally, they fight.

The fight between them is interesting, and Crona is shown to be clearly unstable, due to multiple reasons. One being the weapon inside of them, another being the constant voice of their evil mother in their head, and another being unsure of whether they are good or evil. Crona has never wanted to be evil, hence how they become a part of the team later on.

I love all of the episodes Crona is a part of, especially the one where it shows Crona and Maka as children. I love the friendship Crona and Maka have, even though it’s only shown through a few episodes. Maka is entirely accepting of Crona, even though they are technically on the evil side by default. Crona desperately wants friends and is happy when the team opens up to them. Though, it still takes time for Crona to become used to people acknowledging them.

3Something I truly love is the fact that only once is the question of Crona’s gender brought up, if I remember correctly. I believe Liz said it, though I can’t remember what episode that was in. Nobody really knows what Crona identifies as, because it doesn’t really matter at all. The group welcomes Crona wholeheartedly, and isn’t even angry when Crona lets one of Medusa’s snakes loose. The group knows Crona doesn’t truly mean harm, because the only reason they are listening to Medusa is because their own life is at risk otherwise. The group knows this.

They accept Crona despite the insanity lurking within them, their questionable ethics, and unknown gender. They know Crona needs friends, and they provide.

6

Fanbase

Most people in the Soul Eater fanbase are not as accepting, though. When Crona is brought up, it’s generally not to say how bad they feel for Crona, or how skilled Crona is.

No, it’s always “Oh, what do you think Crona’s gender is?” Poor Crona is always seen as a question, rather than a well-rounded character like they truly are. It’s honestly annoying as a dedicated fan of the show.

I will admit, I used to be one of those people, and I had a preferred way of seeing Crona, but upon looking at it more, I’ve decided it doesn’t matter. I now use “they” as the pronoun, because Crona has never stated one or the other, and I want to respect that there is no solid answer. The creator themselves purposefully made Crona without gender, and I don’t think it was to confuse fans and start a gender war.

It’s a bit ridiculous to see that the first autofill on Google is “gender.” There’s a whole slew

Screenshot (140)

This was my actual search when acquiring photos for this post

of memes and “motivational posters” for it. It makes me so upset to see such an amazingly written character treated this way.

 

As a collective fanbase, I think we should ignore this whole question and accept that Crona has no specific gender. I know this is not an uncommon thing to have a non-specified character.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dialogue in the Manga and Anime

It’s hard to constantly refer to a character as “they.” Just writing this, I’ve had to be aware of how my sentences looked. I had to use “the group” rather than “they” because it could get confusing about who I’m talking about if I used “they” for both Crona and the group. Which is why Crona is referred to as “he” in the manga and anime. This does not mean Crona is male. It was done for convenience, and not confusing the viewers and readers.

I watched the dubbed version by Funimation, and I own the DVD copy. On there, episode seven is commentated by the director, Maka’s voice actor, and Soul’s voice actor. This was the episode Crona was introduced, so there was a lot of talk about Crona. Including nice.pngthe pronouns. In there, it was explained that the writers of the English script had to go back and forth between what they would use as Crona’s pronoun, so they chose “he” since it was just the default. It was not the writers choosing a preferred gender or ignoring the way the character was written, only allowing the actors to understand their lines.

Another example of this is Hanji Zoe from Attack on Titan. From what I’ve seen, Hanji was non-gendered in the manga, but for the anime the creators changed Hanji’s gender. Again, for simplicity. Hanji is not portrayed as feminine in the anime, or masculine for that matter. I can entirely respect this decision since using “they” in a story is a bit confusing when it comes to sentence structure. But if done correctly, it can be used. I’ve seen it.

Summary

Overall, Crona is a great character that should be recognized more throughout the fandom. Not as “that character with the confusing gender,” but the character with internal turmoil and conflicting motives. Crona is probably one of the most troubled characters in all of Soul Eater. They constantly must go between trusting the DWMA group and their own mother. They feel the DWMA will make them happy, but Medusa has the ability to make their life even worse if they defy her. Not to mention, their own weapon will beat them up just to make them feel bad. Crona must have a whole slew of mental issues, which makes them a really interesting character. The pressure they feel is immense, and they’ve gotten to the point where they break down when given even a small task. “I don’t know how to deal with that” is Crona’s phrase. They have been hurt mentally and physically their entire life, so even the simplest thing makes them give up.

I feel for Crona. I want them to be happy, and it’s hard when your mother is an evil witch trying to kill your friends.

SJiWHC

Here’s a happy, smiley Crona 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed my OWLS post! It was a little weird, but this is probably due to my newness to the LGBT+ community, so I’m still a little unsure about things. I just don’t want to offend any of you. It’s the last thing I’d want to do.

But, I recently finished a fabulous webcomic by the name of “Always Human” which deals with a lot of LGBT+ stuff, so I highly recommend you check it out. I found it on LINE Webtoon, but the creator is also on Tumblr @walkingnorth. I wasn’t told to spread the comic I just loved it so much I want to share it. And what better time than during Pride month?

Be sure to check out the other fabulous posts done by the wonderful OWLS group. The one before me by Naja (Nice Job Breaking It, Hero) and the one after me by Lita Kino . The other tour posts are on the OWLS website at OWLS: Otaku Warriors For Liberty and Self-Respect .

I’ll be doing my next OWLS post on July 7th so look for that!