Human Interaction, Expression, and Empathy

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I heard of the anime Violet Evergarden, but I had the impression watching it would make me cry buckets of tears. I heard there would be a lost love. There would be heartbreaking moments. But, after hearing that the movie had a happy ending, I thought I could give the anime a shot. I watched on Netflix. The artwork of Kyoto Animation is breathtakingly beautiful and detailed. The scenes and music convey the feelings and tone of the story elegantly. The show addresses a wide range of human emotion, and how humans contradict themselves. And there can be inconsistencies with words and body language. Love, can be in various forms, not just romantic. Violet, who does not possess emotional intelligence, works towards understanding and empathizing with others through her work as a composer, who writes letters on the behalf of other people. Below are some of my thoughts while viewing the series;

-“One day” wishes, should be “today” realities, when possible.

-Our quick evaluations and judgements of others may be wrong.

-Authenticity and genuine relationships require honesty and vulnerability.

-Trying to translate emotions into words can be a challenge.

-It’s more than okay for women not to fit gender stereotypes. The same for men.

-It takes a lot of courage to confess one’s feelings.

-Letters are a lost art. And I want a wax seal!

-Deciding who is worthy of your social circles, based on meaningless assumptions, status, and money, will have you surrounded by people of a similar mindset. Perceived status, based on material items, may be short lived. A person of moral character and integrity will stand the test of time.

-Everyone has scars. Even the happiest person you know, or the funniest person you know, has a wound. Extend patience and compassion when you can.

-Be present. One thing the pandemic has taught me, is the importance of being fully aware and present in our interactions with others and with ourselves.

-Violet is trying to learn what “I love you” means. Without referring to a dictionary, or trying to find a scholarly definition, what IS it? What does it mean to you? Why does it seem different in various forms? Does love ever go away?

-Survivor’s Guilt is real, and affects many people.

-Suicide and the importance of mental health in healing.

-Art can be therapeutic.

-Self care is important and required.

-Addiction to hide pain, just gives you additional problems.

-When faced with our own mortality, our focus turns to who, and what, really matter. Why don’t we live with this focus normally?

-Our pain can provide support to others with similar heartache.

-The letters the mother wrote for her daughter’s future birthdays, was a beautiful and thoughtful idea. The mother knew she did not have long to live and wanted her love for her daughter, Ann, to carry on through her letters. Violet’s tears at the shop shocked her friends. She is a very reserved person, so her sudden onset of tears was unusual.

When I was camping for a week, I left auto-delivery e-cards for a friend for each day I was gone. I wonder if there are sites that do that for future years? Similar idea to the letters Violet helped the mom write for Ann.

-Although seen as cold and unfeeling initially, the comfort and warmth Violet provided Aiden as he passed provided him peace. Knowing that his feelings would reach his parents and his love Maria, were also comforting to him.

-Aiden says, if his parents were to reincarnate, and marry each other, he would want to be their son again. Would you feel the same, if given the option?

-Violet learns to connect to others and builds empathy, but how do people do this in real life? Learned as children? From birth? Through life experience? Reading?

Assisting Roland with mail delivery, and helping with Spencer’s request to write a letter for his sister Luculia, gave Violet the strength to leave her room. She was devastated upon hearing of Major Gilbert’s potential demise and had locked herself away. Her coworkers checked on her and wrote a letter which helped lift her spirits.

Violet, and the viewers, get to reflect upon the ways she’s helped others during the series. As episode 9 concludes, we get to see the Prince and Princess she helped unite, volunteering to help children. The play her client worked on was just released, and it honored his daughter that died. Violet was uplifted seeing how well everyone was doing, and how she played a role in helping them.

Episode 13 of the series, had an air show. The planes would drop letters. People wrote to sons they lost in the war, loved ones who had died, those missing, lost loves, their future selves, and people who they wanted their feelings to reach.

I think that’s a beautiful concept. To be able to make our feelings known. Energetically, I think it’s beneficial to release that emotion and hope the message is received. Cattleya convinces Violet to write a letter to Major Gilbert. The letter Claudia wrote his future daughter was loving and thoughtful.

While this show did bring a lot of tears, it also had poignant and uplifting moments. It had a slower slice of life pace, with beautiful artwork. It certainly had heartbreak and sorrow. But if you’re looking for an insightful series, give Violet Evergarden a chance.

Looking forward to the movie. I hope it’s a happy ending, because I could really use one of those.

https://myanimelist.net/anime/37987/Violet_Evergarden_Movie

I was reminded of an email I received from a friend’s mother after he passed. This was many years ago. I wrote him, knowing he wouldn’t see it, but wanting to express my regret in not meeting him. Hoping that my feelings would reach him. I was having a period of low self-esteem and unworthiness, and cancelled our date, because I felt I didn’t match the positive description he was given of me (we had exchanged numerous emails but hadn’t met in person). It was not long after graduation and I was feeling lost and unsure of my future path. Which doesn’t excuse my behavior, but just to explain my frame of mind. I wrote apologizing, and hoping somewhere, Adam would hear my words. I was shocked to find an email from his mother, writing me from his account. Her letter moved me to tears. As I read her letter, I cried. I still cry looking at it now. I decided that, while open to growth, and learning from mistakes, I wouldn’t feel the need to hide myself like that again. So I am forever grateful to Adam and to his mother. Below is the message. For privacy I edited my name and removed Adam’s last name. Perhaps her words, and Adam’s memory, will help others like they helped me.

Sweetheart,

If there is ANYTHING you may be able to take away from Adam’s death – PLEASE let it be that you are not only good enough – you most certainly measure up – you are worthy of being with the nicest, sweetest, best people who walk this earth.  Adam spent most of his life feeling “less” than he was, and it was only in the last few years that he began to find in himself the incredible man he had become.  Please don’t waste another moment of your life feeling not worthy of anyone – no matter who or what they may be.

Ema, there will ALWAYS be someone prettier, taller, thinner, richer, funnier, smarter, etc… than you or I.  That does not however, diminish who you and I are or the gifts we have to bring to others.  One thing I noticed in Adam over the last two years was the “comfort” he developed within himself.  He had quit dwelling on what he did not have (or what he THOUGHT he did not have) and instead simply began to focus on others.  It is hard to explain, but if you had known him five years ago and then knew him today – the difference was just absolutely phenomenal.  He grew into this quietly confident young man who all of the sudden (actually it took a long, long time) became a wise soul.    Adam did not become richer, taller, funnier, smarter, etc… He simply learned to like himself.

I doubt your good friends feel they have to make up things about you to “sell” you – they obviously see these things for themselves or they would not be hanging with you in the first place.   The next time someone speaks highly of you – believe it.  Say thank you – and believe it.  Accept it, believe it, and then go on with your life feeling good about who you are and all you have to give to others.

Take care of yourself, Ema.  Life is way too short to hold on to regrets.
Barbara

Noblesse: Saving Your Friends

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I just watched episode five, of Noblesse on VRV/Crunchyroll. It was the best episode so far! If you’ve been watching, you know it was a suspense filled episode. Tashiro, Kase, and Regis have been kidnapped. Regis is in special restraints and unable to use his power. Tashiro and Kase are shocked to see their new friends on the side of the bad guys! And M-21, in an effort to protect the students, acts like they don’t matter to him.

The spirit of M-24, who ironically died saving Tashiro, Kase, and another student, makes his presence known to M-21. Understanding the motive behind his friend’s actions, M-21 decides to sacrifice himself to save the kids. Not knowing his back story, Regis is confused by M-21’s behavior. The students are even more confused. As you may recall, Kase and Tashiro’s memories were wiped after the first incident, so they don’t have déjà vu, or recall anything, at this very similar scenario.

I mean, Regis is clearly complaining to M-21 about something in this scene, but I guess it is peaceful compared to their current circumstance. At least M-21 seems to be having a chuckle about it.

Seira knows something is up with Regis, so she’s searching for him. Rai and Frankenstein know about Regis and Seira’s true identity (or at least their abilities), but haven’t revealed their cards yet. So Rai and Frankenstein search for the kids on their own.

Eventually they all end up at the same facility, but each are engaged in their own battle. Meanwhile, M-21 and Regis are taking quite a beating from Shark and Crans.

What is it about confronting injustice that makes people hesitate? Is it because we face the unknown, or possible repercussions? Are we fearful that we’ll be the next target? As Gloria Steinem said, “Whenever one person stands up and says, ‘wait a minute, this is wrong’, it helps other people to do the same.” This is evident when Tao (who Kase calls “Boss”) and Takeo (who Seira and Tashiro met while shopping), each try to protect the kids from being hurt. Unfortunately, Crans didn’t want to leave the kids alive, and Shark was too happy to oblige.

I was on the edge of my seat this entire episode. I couldn’t wait for Regis and Seira to realize who Rai really is. I wanted shock and awe. I wanted to see Crans take on The Final Boss.

And for all the build up, and all the suspense, it looks like we’ll have to wait until next week to see Rai bring Crans to justice! Is this what it’s like having blue balls? Ah well, guess we’ll find out next Wednesday.

Get Involved

I’m watching Kuroko’s Basketball / Kuroko no Basket on VRV / Crunchyroll. I have a Haikyuu void and wanted to watch a sports anime that was uplifting. I attempted to watch Battery on Amazon Prime, but then I started getting the vibe that was not going the direction I was hoping. I may give it another chance down the road. So far Kuroko’s Basketball is exactly what I was looking for.

Tetsuya Kuroko, one of the esteemed members of the Generation of Miracles (a group of elite players from Teiko Junior High) is now attending Seirin High. He was on a team that always won, but he’s looking for something more. In this aspect, he reminds me of Haiji Kiyose from Run with the Wind / Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru. Kiyose was looking for the an answer essentially to the question, “what is running?” I think Kuroko is looking for what is basketball. In episode five, of season one, Kuroko has a conversation with his former teammate, who was also a member of the Generation of Miracles, Ryouta Kise. Kuroko thinks there’s more to basketball than just winning, and he wants to find out what that is.

Kise really wanted Kuroko to attend the same high school as him, so they could continue playing together. Kise views Kuroko as a friend and enjoys being around him, and sees him as a valuable teammate. So he was disappointed that Kuroko rejected him. It reminded me of Haikyuu’s Ushijima telling Oikawa, “you should’ve come to Shiratorizawa” (with slightly less intensity).

He must have abs of steel with balance like that.

At Seirin High School, Kuroko meets an impressive player named Taiga Kagami. Together, they’re a fearsome duo on the basketball court. Kuroko, with his seemingly lack of presence, and Kagami with his impressive build and abilities, help Seirin win their first practice match against Kaijou High (Kise’s school). Initially people are dismissive of Kuroko, until they see him in action. He is the linchpin for Seirin’s basketball team. His stealthy maneuvers, and misdirection, contribute to the effectiveness of their plays.

One phenomenal skill Kuroko has is being aware of his surroundings and reading people and their intentions. It might seem trivial, because in sports often athleticism prevails, but it is vital. It helps him play as an instrumental member of the Seirin team (especially since he is considered weak in other aspects). This ability is also helpful in day-to-day life. Being aware of his surroundings, means he noticed what was happening behind him on the basketball court, and ran over to help before Kise and Kagami even noticed. Demonstrating his strength of character and integrity, Kuroko ran over to intervene on behalf of the bullied students without hesitation.

It’s one thing to notice an injustice, but it takes a certain level of strength, character, and integrity to stand up against it (especially if you’re alone). The students didn’t ask for his help, but I’m sure they appreciated Kuroko’s intervention. In real life, cases of bullies and injustice, may call for action that isn’t direct. But sometimes direct is the right approach.

I’m glad there are still guys like that these days, especially in real life. We need them more now than ever.

Just in time, Kagami and Kise show up to help. Despite being opponents during the practice game, Kise and Kagami join forces to support Kuroko when he stands up to the bullies. The trio take on the entire group of bullies, and emerge victorious. The students are in awe.

After their stand against the bullies, Kagami lectures Kuroko about being aware of the consequences of one’s actions and safety. Kuroko’s response provokes Kagami’s ire, but Kise chuckles and commends Kuroko for being amazing. I have to agree with him. Not a lot of people would get involved to help others, especially strangers, but Kuroko did without hesitation.

Seeing how happy Kise is after their brief game against the bullies, shows how much he enjoys playing with Kuroko. Plus he admires the strength of character he has, and who Kuroko is as a person.

I’m enjoying Kuroko’s Basketball / Kuroko no Basket. Hopefully the rest of the series will be just as enjoyable. Give it a shot and see see what you think.

Regular Sized Is Just Fine!

Regular sized is just fine! I’ll even make do with fun sized!”

“Such low-class company for such a high-class place.”

Between that, and her nosebleeds, what will he do with her?

I stumbled upon this on YouTube, and it made me laugh. I may watch Assassination Classroom. Debating because I heard the ending of the anime would make me cry. I already cry from shows very easily.

When we used to go to movie theaters, even trailers would make me sob. I got teased more than once for that. But the funniest time, was when I was sobbing over a movie trailer about a dog being reunited with Dennis Quaid, and the guy behind me was crying too. His friends were just laughing it up. It felt nice that I wasn’t alone in crying at a movie trailer. No, I did not ask for his number, but maybe I should’ve! That’s why I tend to gravitate towards comedy, slice-of-life, supernatural, and romance genres for anime. Sometimes shows will catch me off guard with a heart-breaking, or heart-warming, scene that will make me cry. I try to avoid upsetting shows if possible. Real life is stressful enough, so I prefer a blissful escape when it comes to entertainment.

Much like when we read books, or watch shows, even if the story is fictional, the feeling is real. As best explained by Nathan W. Pyle’s comic below. You can see more of his work, and check out his merchandise, on his website https://www.nathanwpyle.art/

Quarantine Watch List

I suggested anime that might make you laugh and lift your spirits in earlier posts, and I plan to share more later. This post I’ll just update as I’m watching shows during the quarantine. During this time of uncertainty and stress, anime has been a wonderful distraction that has positively impacted my mindset, and mood. It has brought concepts like teamwork, perseverance, young love, and humor to my daily life in quarantine. I am reminded how much our interactions with others and relationships can bring meaning to our lives. If I need an energy shift for myself, watching one of the shows below, or ones I’ve mentioned before like Tamako Market, can lift my spirits.

During this time, and always, I pray may everyone be safe, healthy, and well. I’ve been doing distance Reiki regularly. Prayers, and good energy always help. Very grateful and appreciative for those keeping us running; first responders, medical staff, cleaning crews, sanitation workers, truck drivers, grocery employees, delivery workers, and all the others.

If you find yourself at home and want to watch along, here’s what I’ve been watching (the ones marked with * I really enjoyed);

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san / Teasing Master Takagi-san Season 2*

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san / Teasing Master Takagi-san

(yes I watched the second season first lol)

Haikyu / Haikyuu! Season 1*

Haikyu / Haikyuu! Season 2*

Haikyu / Haikyuu! Season 3

Natsume Yuujinchou / Natsume’s Book of Friends Season 1*

My Sweet Tyrant / Akkun to Kanojo*

Arte

Hozuki’s Coolheadedness / Hoozuki no Reitetsu Season 1*

Gakuen Babysitters / School Babysitters*

Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun / Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun *

Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin / Midnight Occult Civil Servants

Miira no Kaikata / How to Keep a Mummy

Momokuri*

Hozuki’s Coolheadedness Season 2 / Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2nd Season*

A Silent Voice / Koe no Katachi*

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou / Daily Lives of High School Boys*

Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou / Kare Kano / His and Her Circumstances*

Usagi Drop / Bunny Drop*

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run with the Wind*

Isshuukan Friends / One Week Friends

Gingitsune*

Days*

Prince of Stride: Alternative

Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life*

Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life Season 2*

Gakuen Alice*

Nijiiro Days / Rainbow Days

Sukitte Ii na yo / Say I Love You

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club – Season 1

Free! Eternal Summer – Season 2*

Free! Dive to the Future – Season 3