My Mom loves The Ancient Magus’ Bride / Mahoutsukai no Yome. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I gave it a chance, and I’m so glad I did. It has elements of magic, mystery, and the supernatural. I’m only on episode three, but it was my favorite episode (so far!).
Chise, through life circumstances, finds herself with Elias. He makes her his apprentice, and she learns about magic, and more about herself. What felt like a curse, is becoming a strength, as she’s now with people who support and nurture her abilities. Before living with Elias, the Magus, Chise felt isolated, depressed, and unloved. As I’m only episode three, we haven’t learned much about her, but most of what we’ve seen has been painful. While working on Mage matters with Elias, Chise meets a dragon named Nevin. We only know him a brief time, but the anime does a wonderful job of connecting us to him. As a being who has lived hundreds of years, Nevin gives us guidance to reflect upon. Chise’s vulnerability, and the inadvertent sharing of her pain, make Nevin’s words even more poignant. Because we don’t get the hundreds of years Nevin does, it makes our human lives that much more precious. His final dream, which he shares with Chise and us, is beautiful, and a reminder of how wonderful the world can be.
What makes life worthwhile? How does one build resilience and perseverance for the challenging times? Or the ability to overcome pain? I have regret, and pain I’ve inflicted upon others I wish I could take back. Hopefully those sides of ourselves can find peace and healing, as well as those we may’ve hurt (intentional or not). Why do the important parts of life get buried in the day to day affairs? How do we stay present, so we don’t miss the good stuff, the stuff that truly matters? If the ultimate goal of a happy life is to give love abundantly, and to be open to receiving it in return, why does it seem like a challenge in some ways and easy in others? And why is it sometimes difficult to show that love to ourselves? Not the materialistic status symbols many people chase after, but the authentic, and healthy, uplifting connection to oneself (and others).
I’m watching The Ancient Magus’ Bride on VRV / Crunchyroll. If you decide to watch this episode, it may be a good idea to have some tissues on hand.
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.
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.
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
One of the funniest animes I’ve ever watched is Hoozuki no Reitetsu / Hozuki’s Coolheadedness. I’m currently watching season two on VRV, but it’s another show that Sentai had on sale for $4.99 on Black Friday. It’s a workplace comedy with a jaunty opening song, but it doesn’t take place in a traditional office setting, it takes place in hell. Hozuki, the Chief of Staff that supports King Enma, is an ogre who is always calm under pressure and is an excellent manager. And all the ladies love him. I’d love to get my hands on one of his goldfish plants! And him. But I don’t want to go to hell so I guess that relationship isn’t going to work out.
I also started watching Welcome to the NHK.
While Hozuki could be described as dark humor, it is hell after all (but it’s primarily a workplace comedy), NHK is not a comedy and has a heavy feel to it. Topics like unhealthy relationships, mental health, caring for one self, responsibilities, and suicide are some of the important topics it addresses. Although I watched a few episodes this weekend, it is not a show I would binge watch. It gives the viewer a lot to think about and reflect upon. I am usually drawn to comedy, romance, and slice-of-life animes but being a psychology major there are elements of NHK I am drawn to. I’m only on episode five, but I hope if anyone feels the way the characters on the show feels, and needs help, that they will speak to a counselor or therapist. Every life has value and there are people who can help if you’re in pain or need someone to talk to. I’m leaving this very important number here, if anyone needs it:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
People enjoy anime for a variety of reasons. My main reason is to laugh and de-stress. Even if that isn’t the main vibe of NHK, it does have some moments of levity. But if you’re looking for a good laugh, and to see how an organized hell would run, check out Hoozuki no Reitetsu!