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Little Busters! Refrain, Episode 05: Soooo Uncomfortable

One thing we know about Riki is this – he’s kinder, smarter, more loyal, and more level-headed that probably most, or all of us, are.  Thus it’s no surprise when he ultimately makes a good decision in episode five of Little Busters! Refrain after making a gut-decision that was less wise.

Rin has been offer the opportunity to be an exchange student, but turning to Riki for guidance, she goes along with his selfish desire to refuse the honor.   However, Riki later makes things right by showing his girlfriend tough love and pushing the opposite stance.

Riki and Rin

Art by つかこ (Pixiv ID 39325974)

Rin’s immediate response to the request was the same as Riki’s – she told her principal “no” immediately, though she was asked to take time and reconsider.  While the episode strongly points out to the viewers that Rin has changed after making friends outside of the original Little Busters, she’s still shy at heart, and moving to a place where she has no friends is going to be a challenge.  It’s going to make her very uncomfortable.

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Kokoro Connect: What Would You Tell Your 6/11/14-Year Old Self?

Kokoro Connect continues to amaze me.

Episode 11 marked the beginning of the third arc.  After the painful, but deep “unleashed desires” arc, I was surprised at how much this episode engaged me.  I expected a denouement, perhaps, but instead saw the start of an arc that appears to be a little less painful, a little funnier, and little more Aoki and Kiriyama packed, and equally interesting.

As the members of the Cultural Research Club regress into miniature, younger versions of themselves and then return to their normal age, they are bringing with them the pains of their past.  And along with those pains, perhaps they’re bringing regrets as well.

Kokoro Connect

Do you have any regrets? (Art by いな)

So I’ll ask you all – what would you tell your younger self if you had the chance?  Is is something about being fearful, as with Inaba?  Does it have to do with a relationship, as with Aoba?  Or is it about finding yourself, like with Nagase?  Or might it have to do with an activity you used to participate in or a promise you made, as with Kiriyama?  Or would it be something else entirely?

If you could give a piece of advice to your six-year-old self,  your-eleven-year old self, or your fourteen-year-old self, what would you say?

Kokoro Connect 08: The Growing is the Hardest Part

I have a family member who might be like someone you know (or might even be like you).  I think his main goal is life is to not offend people – he goes with the flow and tries his best to never rock the boat.  He wants to avoid conflict at all cost.  And while this attitude just plain fits well with his personality, I think the overriding motive behind it is just that he doesn’t want to see his loved ones get hurt.

This is the strategy that Inaba and, through the course of episode eight of Kokoro Connect, Taichi take.  To avoid hurting their friends (and implied through several arguments between character, for selfish reasons), Taichi and Inaba become distant from them.  But by the episode’s end, Fujishima’s words (directly) and Iori’s (written) reveal something to our knight in shining armor – some things are worth the pain.  While hurt can cause us to regress, as with Yui, it can also push us to grow.

Personal Growth

When faced with difficulties, sometimes extreme, we can respond by meeting the challenge.  Iori, filled with pain centered on her lack of identity, grows past it and at this point in the series seems to be the character, ironically, most in touch with her emotions.  Yui and Inaba, too, seemed to be coming out of the pain, before recent setbacks.

It’s often said that God will do what He needs to, including letting you be hurt, to push you to grow closer to Him.  Call it divine tough love.  I know for me, I spent years “growing” in my spiritual walk, unchallenged by any major setbacks.  But when I had children, and life became very difficult (it’s definitely hard to be a good parent!) and even painful, I was pushed out my comfort zone.  Read the rest of this entry

Kokoro Connect 05: Hurt Me Bad (in a Real Good Way)

A while back, I had difficulty getting my son to close his eyes while I washed his face in the shower.  I’d have to tell him multiple times to close his eyelids in the same shower session.  One day, I just let him do what he wanted, and to his discomfort, soap ran into his eyes.  He had a miserable time.  But now, I never have to ask him to shut his eyes – he does it without any encouragement on my part.

Kokoro Connect demonstrated the same principle this week.  At the close of the episode, Heartseed lets the gang know that he presented this awful situation to them as a way of pushing them forward – of making them do the things they needed.  The pain opened them up and caused them to do what was necessary.

Art by 五歳

This push reminded me of these lyrics*:

Oh but you move me
Out of myself and into the fire
You move me
Now I’m burning with love
And with hope and desire
How you move me

These actions reminded me of God and his relationship with  us.  While I can’t relate Heartseed’s dishonesty or manipulation to God, a basic similarity arises.  A message, oft repeated in evangelical circles (and said much more eloquently by others than I’ll paraphrase here), is this: God doesn’t mind hurting you if it helps youTemporary pain might be necessary for eternal growth. Read the rest of this entry