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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Anime: Beauty Easier To See?

Hello everyone!

I am back to writing on Anime Thermos because with the acquisition of more time and inspiration I am ready to get back to doing more of what I love!

                                                     An Image To Symbolize Renewal

In recent times I've been facing a variety of struggles. In trying to finish up school while also seeking meaningful employment, I have found that the two problems exacerbate one another and so on top of the problems each one gives independently, they together produce further challenges in tandem that they would not produce if contended with separately. But upon looking at a beautiful clear sky for the purpose of spacing out and relieving my mind of daily struggles I came to a realization. A realization of how hard it is to see the greatness, epicness, and heroism of ourselves especially in our most dire straits.

Notice the wheelchair;notice the greatness and beauty.
Notice how special this image is.

I often watch anime with a sense that I am watching something that expresses my deepest and most beloved ideals, dreams, and aspirations. Like someone reached into my heart, took all of my best materials and started making the great collection of entertainment called Anime. 

The thing about anime is that the artistry of the animation, the intelligence of the script writing, and the emotional power of the story telling give us a sensation of grandness and awe as we witness the characters live out their adventurous lives. I've noticed to myself that when I watch anime I often see parallels between what the characters are going through and what I know real people like myself experience on a day to day basis. And yet...the feeling often seems to be very different. When a character struggles with his or her weaknesses and failures and resolves to push forward it feels inspiring and looks awesome. They're heroes for the way they face adversity like that! 

One anime I love is Habun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora, it's a lesser known anime consisting of only six episodes...or so I remember. It's about a boy and a girl who meet in a hospital together and fall in love. Let me tell you, for a six episode show about two sick kids in a hospital it is a pretty great story. There isn't even any magical power or science fiction crap in it. It's a pure romance story. Yuichi is hospitalized for having a fairly serious yet totally treatable condition and comes across Rika, a girl with an illness that will in all liklihood cause her to die very soon...the way it killed her father before her. 

I understand the feelings that go along with this fear of imminent death. Not long ago I had a bad cancer scare with my mother sitting in the waiting room...waiting for the surgery to be over...waiting for the doctor to tell us...was it nothing? Or was it the worst possible thing? Will she be okay?

When facing such a challenge as the reality of my mother's mortality I could have been compared to an anime character like Yuichi or Rika. But if you would have made such a comparison out loud to me I probably would've been gravely offended. I was in no mood for making light of such a situation like that!

And yet when I watched this anime I was drawn in and inspired. Feeling like: "Yes, this is how you face adversity...this is how you rise to the occasion against all odds! Go Yuichi! Go Rika! Pursue your love! Support each other even though you known Rika may not have much time at all!"

I love anime for giving me this kind of inspiration. And yet so very often when my adventures come to face me. And whenever I have a challenge to test me...I don't treat it like my own anime adventure. I don't treat it like an anime heroes chance to shine. I treat it like a burden instead. I treat my adversity like I just think that life is kicking me around for no good reason at all.

Because very often that's exactly what I think. It's so easy to cheer on a fictional hero who manga writers have trained us to count on when it comes to pulling a victory out of their asses. Using sheer will power!

But when we look at life through our own eyes and see our own trouble, our feelings get the better of us so that we often forget what we hoped for and what we believed in at the start. Sobered up by the ugly truths of life. We're really not so very different from anime um supernatural powers notwithstanding of course. We just think differently watching a show or reading manga then we do when we're shall I say it...our business of life. Work, school, surprises, etc. etc.

Anime and manga forces you to think differently. The way it focuses all attention on a single character's life and experience. Nobody's doing that for you in real life. Look at this pic for example: 

Hell, look at any of the pics on this post and really admire them. Now tell me, is there any reason why real people couldn't recreate the scenes in the pics I'm using in their normal lives? I'd wager that the average person could totally do any of the things the above characters are doing here. But how many of you, while working as a waiter or waitress could feel like you're beaming and shining the way Kaoru Tanamachi is? How many of you could stand under a beautiful night sky overlooking a city and feel like there is elegance and meaning in your lives while facing a life threatening illness? How many mothers can push around a crippled young daughter and smile and laugh with her like life is going to be ten times better in the future despite her disability. 

Waitressing is a hard job, a crippled daughter with her mother makes for a harder life, and a lover with a deadly illness makes for one of the most difficult lives and deaths of all...but these are things many of us go through. Those of us that haven't may be in for a shock later because you never know what might happen. I mean just yesterday as of this writing there was an active shooting at a mall near my house!  A mall I've been to many times!

We love our anime heroes and cheer them on. We want them to persist and even when they fail we still love them. Yet we count ourselves out far too easily when we face the same storms they did. We let our positive and strong anime minds revert back to our negative and weak "realistic minds". 

I wanted to share these thoughts with you because, for one I think many people feel the same way. And for two I think that this is something we need to be conscious of in order to get better at life. So I'm going to offer some slightly different things in this post than I have in any previous one. I'm going to continue talking about anime and having fun. But I'm also going to try to inject practical and useful stuff in here to try and help all of you who read these posts. Hopefully I can provide tangible and useful support rather than just the typical emotionally sensitive yet vague and lofty support you often get from writings about idyllic lives!

Advice Section 1-Forming Groups

1 Tea Club)There are a number of realistic ideas for forming social groups that I've learned about from anime.
From Amagami SS I was quite fond of the Rihoko arc due in large part to the inclusion of Rihoko's tea club and it's two interesting and funny upperclassmen Manaka and Ruriko. As simple as the premise was the presence of interesting characters that could always provide an entertaining afternoon actually got me pretty well on board with the idea of a tea club. Now I know legitimate Tea Clubs in Japan do a lot of highly skilled mixing of serious tea brews and have a lot of rules about specific ceremonies. If you have the discipline for that then more power to you! But you could also just make up your own ceremonies or games you could play. But the important thing is to build your group identity around a common bond so that the group becomes passionate about what they do and thus will build trust, loyalty, and group customs. In fact if you invented your own ceremonies that would make the bond all the stronger as it would be something unique to your gang!

2-Lost Arts Club) Anime often depicts ancient Japanese styles of combat, ceremonies, mythologies and the like. I've often thought to myself that if would be fantastic to organize a disciplined group around martial arts, especially with respect to the old Bushido code and the honor and trust of samurais. That kind of thing could probable do a lot of good in our world and would make all its members feel proud, strong, and happy.Plus developing skills our world typically doesn't get to see would be incredibly exciting! And for those who are not so physical, you could take on an ambition like one that I still hope to achieve. Once I can afford the resources and learn the techniques I'm going to try to make my own old-style Japanese clothes like Kimono, Hakama, and Yukata. 

Advice Section 2-Self-Improvement

1 Training) I have good news for you! YOU ARE NOT PERFECT! I hope you understand what I'm implying when I say that. There is so much out there for you to learn and do! I personally would have a lot of respect for someone who mastered archery or marksmanship. If your good at sewing clothes I'd appreciate a few pointers. The thing is, your going to have to have faith that you are a great person for diligently working of tedious things. Concentrate on honing your craft and you can go far and live an epic life. Life right now I'm honing both my writing skills and my public relations skills as I post blogs that entertain and hopefully assist people. As for your tedious and hard training think of it like...A Time Skip! Sawyer7mage is an anime enthusiast youtuber of whom I am a casual fan. In one video he's advising about what to do in the face of rejection  and it simplifies his advice by say that you essentially have to go on a time skip. So when your dealing with what you think of as boring and tedious crap, just imagine that this is the part of the anime that you don't see. The time skips and the spans of time between where the scenes are cut together for a great show. These parts may be unseen and not very grand but they are an invaluable part of the whole show. They will set you up for greatness!

The Final Words

2 Look For Beauty) Anime and Manga are designed so you can easily see the beauty of what's happening even during the hard times. But in your own life you have to deliberately look for the beauty in your life. Be thankful for the existence of your life and your loved ones. Admire a starry night sky every once in a while, and take time to savor your meals. You have to appreciate yourself and everything you have, even if you don't have that much. Find something to hold onto and keep going. Find the beauty in your own life and hold on to it!

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