Self-love is an interesting concept that I have only recently come to terms with. Even then, I am still learning and evolving as a human. Over the years anime has been a big part of who I am, and I define myself proudly as a bit of a weeb. I have learned many valuable lessons, cried over characters and loved each minute of them. As such, I thought it would be a nice entry into my anime blogging archives to briefly write about the 3 different anime series I have watched in the past that represent self-love.
1. Ancient Magus Bride
The first is a recent anime by the name of “Ancient Magus bride” produced by FUNimation. It details the life of Hatori Chise who has lived a life of abuse. This is due to her being a “Sleigh beggy” who has the ability to see magical creatures and attract spirits both good and bad. Her father, unable to cope leaves her mother & Chise. Unable to cope with raising a gifted child on her own, Chise’s mother attempts to kill Chise. Realising what she has done and in an effort to reconcile her sin, she commits suicide. This leaves Chise emotionally scared, and full of self-loathing. Alone in the world, Chise is passed around from relative to relative. Haunted by spirits and feeling completely alone she lives life in a state of self-loathing until the age of 15 and eventually signs a contract to be auctioned as a slave. From the beginning of the anime, she has little love for herself and no concept of self-worth or preservation. However, she is bought by the magician Elias who proclaims that he will make him her bride. Through a series of encounters with other magical creatures, learning to become a magician herself as an apprentice, she slowly learns that she has a home, and people who love her. She realizes her importance to Elias, and that it is only through her self-love, striving to live that she will be able to stay beside Elias who has given her so much to live for. She learns to preserve herself and live life as normal. Self-preservation is a concept many of us fail to recognize as an important part of Self-love. It is easy to become a chronic people pleaser, such as I have. Desperate for the affirmation of others through sacrifice and hope that everything you do will result in reciprocity and validation of self.
2. A Silent Voice
The second anime of self-love is called “A silent voice”. It is currently being streamed on Netflix. It is a story of friendship, bullying and depression. The story revolves around two classmates in elementary school Shoko and Shota. Shoko is hearing impaired. Though she tries her best to make friends, the other kids in elementary school fail to understand her. Instead, she is teased frequently by Shota and his friends. Her hearing aids are frequently ripped out. As a result of this bullying, the school is consulted. Shota is found to be the culprit, despite him having accomplices. Astonished by being singled out as the main culprit, he attempts to reveal the truth. This earns him the hate of his peers and he is bullied in the stead of Shoko who has transferred schools. Shota grows in life unable to look into people’s faces, constantly atoning for his sin and feeling as though he is not deserving enough of friends. Until one day he encounters Shoko, the girl he once bullied. The two form a bond. Shoko also despises herself. She hates her inability to communicate with people normally. Shoko and Shota learn from each other what it means to build friendships and how they are allowed to live free of self-doubt. They confront their demons in the past, vowing to move forward. This anime represented what it means to love yourself and how others can impact a person’s own self-worth. Self-love is not only having love for oneself but also realising that forming bonds with people is a form of self-acceptance. Accepting you are good enough for others, and knowing when certain behaviours towards you are unacceptable.
3. Paradise Kiss
The third and final anime I feel has a large element of self-love is “Paradise Kiss”. The main character of this anime is Yukari Hayasaka. She is stubborn and only values her importance to her mother on how much academic excellence she can achieve. She is constantly in the shadow of her younger brother. That is until she is discovered by some fashion students. Entranced by her unique look and beauty they decide that she must model for their fashion shows. Despite her initial reluctance she agrees and begins to see herself in a different light and world. Where she is worth more than just her failing academic achievements. Yukari begins to understand these seemingly outrageous fashion students and begins to rebel. She begins to unravel what it means to be her. It is a true story of coming of age. Through our teens, we fail to understand the concept of self-love and acceptance. I know I certainly did. She questions what she really wants and through this self-exploration journeys into unknown territory. An important part of self-love is an exploration of your inner wants and needs. Realising that it is okay to take a step back and reevaluate what it means to be you & whether you are happy.
In each anime, there is an instance of a lack of self-love and the inability to recognize their self-worth. It is through their experiences with people, good and bad that valuable life lessons are learned. Throughout life, we experience trials and tribulations that can only be conquered by overcoming our inner demons and learning to love who we are. They shape who we are, and the love we give & receive.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” — Proverbs 4:23