Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

January 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

Personally I’m not too sure about the meaning of Ecclesiastes 11:1, but it does bear an uncanny resemblance to how the suitcase got to Kotomi, so there.

…Yeah, I suppose I’m overdue for a “Theology in Animé” post. Bear with me as I proselytize, preach and otherwise annoy committed atheists, agnostics, people of other religions, and probably more than my fair share of Neo-Puritans with my gross misinterpretation and “cherrypicking” of select verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes. For those of you who are not wanting me to die in a fire, be stood on trial for heresy, blasphemy and something else or think of me asan idiot for finding meaning in something as shallow as this, please, read on.

I’m all too aware of the situation of religion in Japan.  For a long time, the Japanese were deeply religious, going so far as to invite Jesuit priests in the 15th century to learn about Christianity. And it took root, garnering a whole gaggle of converts, even a shogun believed. However, the Jesuit priests were chased out, Shinto and emperor worship was reinstated, and then came World War 2 and the atom bomb.

After that came rapid modernization, and Japan threw away it’s deep reverence for religion in order to succeed in the global economy. Today, most Japanese pay only lip service to Shinto, Buddhism, and many other religions, because they have replaced their deep reverence for religion with a love for money. The Japanese have become, almost overnight, a shallow and self-gratifying nation with little attention paid to religion.

Which is why I was pleasantly surprised (and rather suspicious) when I saw Kotomi’s parents allude to God for the beauty of this world, and to stretch it, String Theory and M-theory (I’m quite aware that they were quantum physicists, and yes I do have a copy of Stephen Hawking’s The Universe In A Nutshell. I’m also aware that the harps are an allusion to String Theory.).

And if that wasn’t crazy enough, what we have here is probably the only instance of an animé character praying. You heard me right, Christian Prayer, in animé. It’s a shocking development, I have to admit. I could go on and on about Christianity in animé, but this is about Kotomi and Clannad, not a general treatise about religion and Japan. I’m still mildly shocked.

If you asked me which scenes were the most moving in Kotomi’s story (as presented in animated form), there’s quite a few. For starters, the bus crash. We originally see Kotomi as a relatively happy, if mildly socially inept, young woman. Except for a few pieces of foreshadowing, we wouldn’t have noticed her crying. The bus crash, however changes our perceptions of her almost instantly. Instead of the happy young woman we see 2 episodes past, we see an emotional wreck. Helpless. Unable to act. Someone perpetually trapped in a never ending nightmare. Old wounds gashed anew as a gruesome sight resurfaces repressed memories. Indeed, the memories we don’t remember are the most dangerous ones of all.

It’s a different, emotionally distraught Kotomi we see here. Tormented by the demons of her past, she loses all sense of control. The vulnerability we noticed right from the start transforms into reality as she remembers the past she has worked so hard to suppress. Her anguished screams, her yearning for her parents, her incoherent mumblings of promises, it’s a most depressing sight. Just writing about it almost makes me want to burst into tears.

And then we come to the room scene. Here it is revealed just how much Kotomi misses her parents. Her yearning for parental love causes her to develop an obsessive compulsive disorder, cutting out articles with her parents’ names on it.
It shows a much darker side to Kotomi, and impresses on us just how much she misses her parents. Alone, in that room, she weeps, shutting herself away from her friends, keeping her sorrows to herself. It’s tragic. It’s depressing. It makes me want to cry.

It still puzzles me as to Kotomi’s change of heart when she goes to kiss Tomoya. Did she secretly watch from the window , just how much her friends cared for her, even though all they did was gardening? Or was it the sight of Tomoya slogging it out alone that made her change her ways? Surely it was hinted at, but it still puzzles me. How could someone steeped in depression and guilt finally could find the courage to smile? Not that it doesn’t make sense in real life, but this is fiction we’re talking about here.

And then, the teddy. The final scene that made us all cry our hearts out. It’s the apotheosis, the change. An emotional tearjerker of an ending. It represents the final change in Kotomi’s development, her finally realizing that her parents really and truly loved her. But is it truly her parents’ unconditional love that finally moved her, or was it something else? Actually it was a double helping. Remeber how hard Kotomi prayed when she realized she would never see her parents again? I tell you this, this was her prayer, answered. The teddy bear, the symbol of love from her parents, lost to time when the plane crashed. It passed through many hands, all of them wishing for the suitcase to be returned to it’s rightful place. Indeed, I could again blame it on the writers as a cheap trick to garner more tears from people, but who am I to mask the beauty of God’s love for his children? He hath made every thing beautiful in his time, and the most beautiful thing of all is His love. Whither should I mar something He hath made beautiful? It would be a heinous sin to do so.

I really, really love Kotomi (even though Kyou should deserve more love, her heart is being set up for heartbreak). Partly because she is so vulnerable. Underneath her quiet beauty lies a broken little girl. She needs the warm love of her friends, her family, even God, but in her sorrow, she rejects them all. How could one love someone so broken as her? I don’t know. I’ve always fallen for the broken and destitute in animé. It’s not a personal preference, I admit. To be honest, I’d rather have Tomoyo or Ryou/Kyou over Kotomi, but something in my heart overrules my logic. Am I a sick, perverted young man who wants an easier lay? Maybe. It’s quite possible my compassion may be a mask to hide my true intentions. I’m still broken inside too, just differently. (One could also argue that by falling for 2D females, Im pretty screwed anyway, so there. It’s easier to love an image than a real woman.)

I suppose I’ve rambled on too much. I really should plan out these posts. But to round it off: Kotomi is love, she does not suffer from Asperger’s, and episodes 10-14 were some of the most beautiful episodes I’ve ever seen. I think I shed a tear at the last part.

Also, next up: Nagisa! Hinano must be going nuts with joy.

Entry filed under: Anime, Christianity and Anime, Clannad.

Russian Discovers Sick Loli Shugo Chara Rape Doujins, Throws A Hissy Fit Because copping out is fun (no thanks to Owen and kur0gane :P)

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And the prophet spake, saying: "Frak this, for my faith is a shield proof against your blandishments!"

- Alem Mahat, The Book of Cain, Chapter IV, Verse XXI

Email: DrmChsr0atgmaildotcom (at=@, dot=.)


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