What manga can teach you about life

I know that this one's for girls in their tweens...but I unabashedly love CCS to pieces!!
I know that this one’s for girls in their tweens…but I unabashedly love CCS to pieces!!
And I’m completely willing to admit it!

Was flipping through one of my favourite manga again the other day, when I came across something that really made me reflect on the role that manga (and anime) writers often play in society, especially if their protagonists are school aged children. Of course, I’m only writing this up now because it has great relevance for Chihaya too.

** WARNING ** SPOILERS for CCS and Chihayafuru AHEAD **

The manga in question was Cardcaptor Sakura, within which we find our 12-year old protagonist and title character reflecting in the final volume on her relationship with one of the people closest to her, Shaoran. Two major things happen in this volume: first, Shaoran confesses that he likes her; shortly afterwards, as she’s trying to work out what he means to her, she finds out that he has to leave Japan to return to Hong Kong.

It was always obvious what answer Sakura was going to arrive at, but what I actually found most interesting were the other things she realised and learned through the experience.

CCS_ch311 CCS_ch310
Here, she realises that Shaoran had fallen in love with her by the time of this flashback,
which occurred in volume 10 (IIRC). (NB: read from right to left)

Having realised that she unintentionally hurt him by what she said (“I’m sure the person you like likes you too! Go for it!”) because he knew fully well that she had liked someone else back then, she asks one of her other close friends what she does when she says something mean to her boyfriend…

CCS_ch318 CCS_ch317
And this is how her friend answers… (again, read from right to left)

What struck me most about this scene was that Sakura realised that she needed to apologise to Shaoran for hurting him even though she didn’t know it at the time. As Chiharu points out, sometimes, she just doen’t know that what she says to her boyfriend, Yamazaki, is hurtful. But when she realises what she has done, she apologises, because she loves him. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships – I personally have had such experiences with people close to me, and what Chiharu says here reflects what I’ve learned to do through these experiences. To bring this back to CCS, at this point, Sakura doesn’t even know that she’s actually in love with Shaoran herself, but she resolves to apologise because he is a dear friend whom she has hurt.

Turning now to the recent developments in Chihayafuru, I wrote this post to help illustrate why I want Chihaya to realise how she has hurt Taichi. It’s not because I think she has deliberately done something wrong. She simply didn’t notice his feelings, largely because she has always been chasing after someone else. However, because she didn’t notice, and reacted without really thinking about the whole situation, she hurt Taichi very badly. And that is what I would like to see her apologise to Taichi about, because he is a dear friend that she cares deeply about. Needless to say, I think that Taichi has some things that he also needs to apologise to her about…but unlike this point I keep reiterating about Chihaya, that should be quite uncontroversial, non?

I honestly did not plan this post in conjunction with what has been happening in Chihayafuru. I quite literally picked up volume 12 of CCS to flip through again just this past Monday, and it showed me that this theme has been around for a very long time. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, given the great relevance it has to real human relationships. I know that Cardcaptor Sakura isn’t very realistic – in fact, none of CLAMP’s works ever are, really. I would even say that what happened here was that Chiharu and Yamazaki-kun’s relationship was written specifically for this particular development in Sakura’s character. But even though it is idealistic, the message remains incredibly real and relevant today. So if anyone ever questions me about the literary and/or societal value of ‘comics, cartoons and games’, here’s another piece if evidence that I will happily bring to their attention.

Well...yes, you could say this is my OTP!!
Well…yes, you could say this is my favourite OTP!!

p.s.: After Macross Frontier, I resolved never to get involved in any shipping debates again, ever (though admittedly, I was never a rabid shipper in the first place). But if someone asked me to name my favourite ACG couple ever, Sakura and Shaoran would be right up there with Araragi and Hitagi. As for my favourite fictional couple of all time…they’re from a Jane Austen novel…(^^)

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

10 Responses to What manga can teach you about life

  1. eers says:

    macross frontier was pretty poor quality shipping though, the mains were all pretty ass, Alto especially (like wtf is the appeal of his character), and raika was very typical shoujo fluff, Sheryl had some depth but only the movies dealt with it far better.

    Also I’m still on the life raft of HSS Taichi! don’t sink us yet!

    Like

    • karice says:

      Er…I personally didn’t really ship in Macross Frontier, other than wanting Sheryl to be happy. It’s the way that other viewers shipped that drove me crazy…

      Also I’m still on the life raft of HSS Taichi! don’t sink us yet!

      …I’m not the one holding the nail!!

      Like

  2. biribiri_chan says:

    Karice, that was a really really lovely post! Chihayafuru and cardcaptor sakura are two of my favourite manga/anime of all times, so it was really nice to read a write up that connected the two, and showed how mangas can contain very relevant messages despite being idealistic (a point I have to argue with other people all the time).

    As for saying sorry, once you realize how you may have unconsciously hurt another person – I 100% agree. A point that I’ve been trying to argue in the forums is: what a person thinks in his or her mind might not really reflect reality. So once you become aware of the facts, despite not having any ill intentions when you hurt the person, its always a good decision to say sorry to repair any hurt feelings.

    Again, brilliant post! It made my day!

    P.S – I think Syaoran and Sakura may be my OTP too 🙂

    Like

    • karice says:

      Thanks! It seriously hit me like a thunderbolt, like “I need to write this!” And I really had fun writing it in the end. Personally, I don’t know if Chihayafuru will join my list of “favourites of all times,” for at 26 volumes and counting, it’s already a bit too long. I also find Chihaya’s naïveté and cluelessness a bit forced, even if I love her for it. Ah well, only time will tell!

      A point that I’ve been trying to argue in the forums is: what a person thinks in his or her mind might not really reflect reality. So once you become aware of the facts, despite not having any ill intentions when you hurt the person, its always a good decision to say sorry to repair any hurt feelings.

      Precisely!! And, to be frank, I’d prefer not to see Suetsugu spell it out like CLAMP did. The target audiences and styles of these two manga are very different, so I’d prefer if Chihayafuru presents it in a way that reflects its more mature and realistic style!

      Like

  3. epikish says:

    I recently stumbled upon your blog and I love reading all your thoughts about Chihayafuru. I feel like I’ve missed all the subtleties when I go back to read your analysis and summaries.

    Anyways, I have a few questions. Do you know how long the manga will be? Who is the most popular character and couple among the Japanese fandom?
    I’m curious about what Japanese people think of this great manga. I love the use of poetry, I wish I could read Japanese so I didn’t have to miss out on all the little things that don’t get lost in translation.

    Like

    • karice says:

      Thank you for your really kind comments! I honestly don’t think I pick up on everything, but I try my best, so it’s really encouraging to receive comments like yours. ^^

      Re: length of the story
      I’m not sure. In terms of the series timeframe, we’ve probably got another year to go, so perhaps 10-15 more volumes?

      There have been a few polls, and I think Chihaya has always been favourite character, whilst Chihaya and Arata are the favourite couple.

      I don’t really know how to answer your last point about how Japanese people think about it, because I don’t really follow the Japanese fandom that much, apart from looking for spoilers when the chapters come out. It’s similar to the English fandom in that there are Arata and Taichi fans who often diss the other guy…but there are also people who love them both, and people who focus mostly on the karuta aspect of the series, leaving the love triangle to the shippers…

      I agree that the poetry’s aspect is really important – actually, I really rely on Japanese bloggers to point out their significance, and it’s often really informative because they’ve really looked it up!!

      Like

      • epikish says:

        Thanks for the quick reply.

        I think it’s impossible to pick up everything in the story. But over analyzing everything isn’t that fun anyway.

        I feel like this manga could go on forever, but I would really love to see a good resolution to everything.

        I actually thought the shippers would be split 50/50 over there in Japan. It’s strange how different cultures view things quite differently. Especially what you said about Chihaya being the exact opposite of a yamato nadeshiko.

        Like

      • karice says:

        I think it’s impossible to pick up everything in the story. But over analyzing everything isn’t that fun anyway.

        Good point. Missing something leaves more room for discussion too, which is always a good thing!

        I actually thought the shippers would be split 50/50 over there in Japan. It’s strange how different cultures view things quite differently. Especially what you said about Chihaya being the exact opposite of a yamato nadeshiko.

        Well, I’m only reporting what I know, which is that Arata x Chihaya were voted as the “best couple” in a recent Yahoo poll. It doesn’t say anything about how many votes they got in relation to Taichi x Chihaya, nor does the vote count say anything about how many fans each pair has, because fans were allowed to vote multiple times!

        Hm…so is there another country where Chihaya being really loud, obnoxious and pushy, sleeping with her mouth open and the whites of her eyes showing etc etc, would be considered attractive…? (・_・?)

        Like

  4. Pingback: Looking back on 2014, part 4: | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

  5. Pingback: For the record: かるたしょっさ | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: