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

First Date

He would know since he just sprinted up all of them!

Takagi and Nishikata go to the festival, their very first date! I’m so happy that Nishikata finally stopped caring what other people thought, overcame his embarrassment, and ran off boldly in search of Takagi when they got separated in the crowd. But the MVP, of the last episode of Season 2, of Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san / Teasing Master Takagi-san, was Kimura. He’s always been a great friend to Nishikata, and he picks up on subtleties, like the fact his pal was on a date with Takagi and was holding her purse. Kimura also helped Nishikata find Takagi after they were separated. Without him, we might’ve missed the sweetest moment of Season 2! Check it out on Netflix.

When You’re So Happy He Finally Asked You Out, That He Gets All the Drinks

Yup! A cute one, and her name is Takagi-san!

I am watching Season 2 of Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san / Teasing Master Takagi-san on Netflix. They did a great job with the dub. While I usually prefer subtitles, I thought they did well in casting the voices for Takagi-san and Nishikata. I did a Google search earlier, and came across a different dub of the series (not done by Netflix), and I was not feeling it. Since I watched it backwards, I’ll watch Season 1 next, on VRV with subtitles.

Anime to Make You Laugh and Lift Your Spirits (Part II)

This is a continuation of an earlier post, found here: https://empathmeetsanime.com/2020/03/17/anime-to-make-you-laugh-and-lift-your-spirits-part-i/ I’ve watched these anime series on various platforms; VRV, Crunchyroll, Hidive, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and DVDs.

Generally, my favorite anime contain humor, romance, supernatural elements, slice-of-life, or some level of cuteness. During this time of uncertainty, when many of us are stuck in our homes, you may be looking for a happy distraction! In that case look no further. In no particular order, here are some anime that may provide merriment, good humor, and cheer to your hearts!

  • Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san / Teasing Master Takagi-san : At first glance, I thought this anime was pretty slow, but when I viewed it as a story of young love, sprinkled with humor, I got it. There’s something very wholesome and relaxing about this series, especially in these uncertain times, that I find soothing. I like good-natured teasing, so I get where Takagi’s coming from, plus she knows Nishikata so well. I prefer subtitled anime, but the dubbed version of this one is pretty good. https://myanimelist.net/anime/35860/Karakai_Jouzu_no_Takagi-san
  • Special A : Super smart students have their own elite class, called Special A. This anime follows the group of friends as they navigate high school adventures. In addition to always studying to stay at the top of their class, they have to be on alert because there are haters lurking around every corner. Hikari Hanazono, who works incredibly hard and always does her best, is a great character. As skilled and talented as she is, cooking escapes her grasp (much like myself). And her rival is Kei Takishima, who makes everything look easy. Because Hikari is always focused on studying, it seems she’s missed the very obvious signs that Kei is in love with her. His swoon-worthy qualities include sincerity, intelligence, work ethic, dry humor, and kindheartedness. If you’re looking for shoujo anime, check this one out! It’s also got some great comedy. https://myanimelist.net/anime/3470/Special_A
  • Kaichou wa Maid-sama / Maid Sama: Misaki Ayuzawa is class president at a school that used to be males only. She works extremely hard at school and also at her part time job at a maid cafe. Her father abandoned her family leaving a lot of debt, so she helps her mother with the bills, and her younger sister enters a lot of contests to win prizes that help them sustain their living. Misaki means well, but comes off abrasive to most of the male students, and has the nickname Demon President. Despite her temper, or because of it, Takumi Usui is enamored with her and spends as much time as he can at the maid cafe. He genuinely cares for her and helps her overcome some of the hurdles that keep the student body divided. Her strong leadership is better received and the school grows to appreciate her, and how she always stands up for them. Takumi, much like Kei from Special A, is a gentleman, loyal, funny, and authentic. His personality, while different from Misaki’s, compliments her perfectly. In addition to the cute romance, it is a pretty funny series, with some poignant quotes. https://myanimelist.net/anime/7054/Kaichou_wa_Maid-sama

Haha me too guys!

  • Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue / My Roommate is a Cat : If you’re looking for cute and wholesome anime, then you have to check out My Roommate is a Cat. Half of the episode is in the perspective of Subaru Mikazuki, and the other half is from the perspective of Haru, the cat. Mikazuki is a major introvert, who would rather stay at home and write, and is socially awkward. Haru helps him open up more, and to enjoy the world around him. Given the special circumstances of social distancing, it may be interesting for people to see the introverts who generally enjoy spending time at home (granted we also have a need to get out from time to time, but for the good of our country and the good health of all, let’s stay at home until it’s deemed safe to leave). There are moments that this anime tugs at the heart strings. Mikazuki, who lost both of his parents, finds a new family connection with Haru. If this series, albeit cute, becomes too heavy perhaps consider watching of the other recommendations. https://myanimelist.net/anime/38145/Doukyonin_wa_Hiza_Tokidoki_Atama_no_Ue

More recommendations coming soon! Stay safe, healthy, and well my friends!