Archive for February 9th, 2008

Hitohira, Mugi-Choco, and the Mystical Power of Anime to Change One’s Life (or, at least, draw parallels to)

So it’s been well over six months since I finished Hitohira, the best little show that no one watched, and while toiling away at the library today I started thinking about how much I’ve changed in the intervening time. I won’t bore you with the dull, in-depth personal details (this is, after all, an anime blog) but I’ll probably refer to things in passing. Rest assured, this is simply an example of the Mystical Power of Anime to Change People’s Lives and not me pre-empting your normal daily anime-based content to whine about things.

At one point, I distinctly remember drawing comparisons between Hitohira and the dorama of my life at the time, and now, months and months later, I come to the realization that maybe that was a very apt way of putting it. Asai Mugi resonated with me at the time I watched the series, for the simple reason that she was very, very shy, and very, very prone to involved emotional responses. As a result of being shy, she had very few friends–only one at the start of the series, in fact: Kayo. It was kind of similar to my situation at the time–recovering from an extended bout of reduced serotonin levels in my neurochemistry with hardly any friends to help me along. Needless to say, as is usually the case when you’re recovering from serious things, the rug gets jerked out from under you and you’re forced to scramble to keep from returning back to the corner to cower and hide.

It was right about then I was in the process of watching Hitohira (the Event either happened shortly before I started watching, or mid-series) and I was soundly impressed by it, and though that the bit about Kayo towards the end really resonated with my situation in particular. And then, as the Situation played itself out, I found myself getting stronger and stronger as a person. Not necessarily in one smooth process, but I’m pretty confident that I’m a totally different person than I was a year ago at this time, with a different outlook on life and everything.

In more ways than one, then, I’m like my dearly beloved Mugi-Choco. She’s a totally different person by the end of Hitohira anime–much more confident and self-assured. And it only just recently dawned on me that that’s exactly what’s happened to me in roughly the same amount of time as covered by the series–a complete 180 on my personality. I’m still not a social butterfly, of course–that’s never going to happen, ever–but neither do I rely on external sources for confidence.

I’d like to say that this was all a conscious effort on my part to emulate Mugi-Choco, but I think it’s regulated more firmly to an unconscious factor. One of my favorite quotes from Hitohira was in the summer rehearsal beach episode, where an angry Nono throws a fit at a recalcitrant Mugi, throwing her script on the ground and stating “Fine, then, just quit acting, and continue to be the Asai Mugi who can’t do anything forever!” This is, of course, one of the major turning points for Mugi in the series, the other major one being the actual performance itself. And, now that I think about it, I do remember sitting there, thinking about that quote, and thinking to myself “do I really want to remain the way I am now forever?” And I think I took that quote, subconsciously and deeply internalized it, and acted upon it to alter my life in what I consider to be a major way.

“But,” the skeptical reader says, “it’s just a silly light yuri-service anime! How can you draw life lessons from it?” Ah, I reply, but remember, I’m the same person whose deep funk four years ago was shattered in part due to the supremely light and fluffy and totally without “substance” Kokoro Library. I don’t think something has to have five levels of Jungian psychology to affect someone’s life. To rephrase slightly, the author of a work doesn’t necessarily have to have set out from the beginning to create a life-affirming work. People find meaning in arbitrary works; there’s no rhyme or reason to it. I don’t know what the original mangaka of Hitohira was setting out to do with his work, aside from telling a heartwarming story with a touch of yuri. And it may have just been that. Meaning, oftentimes, is best found in works which don’t set out to have a meaning. It’s one reason I can’t abide literary fiction, but that’s beside the point. We all have to draw strength from somewhere; does it really matter where that strength comes from?

In conclusion:

iyaa~ hazukashii~


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

RSS Recent Songs

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

a ridiculously long and only partially organized list of subjects


February 2008