OWLS December “Holiday” Post: Toradora and Loneliness
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
The holiday season is here, and with it comes a whole lot of celebration, which is why the OWLS theme for this month is “Holiday:”
We are at the end of the year! YAY! For this month’s topic, we will be discussing what the holidays mean to us. Some of us have a religious perspective on Christmas, while some of us see Christmas as a celebration of family. For this prompt, we will be exploring how the holidays are celebrated around the world using various pop culture media. We will also describe what the holidays mean to us. Happy Holidays! – OWLS Team
This month is a little less busy for the OWLS team, as many members have opted to take a bit of a well deserved break, but you should still check out Crimson and Karandi‘s posts as well. With that being said, here is mine.
Does anyone remember episode 19 of Toradora? You know, the one where the emotional power of the show cranks up to 11? Toradora is one of those anime that most people bring up when talking about good romance anime, and I think a lot of the reason for that comes from this episode in particular.
For those who do not know, Toradora is an anime about about Taiga and Ryuuji, two high school students with almost polar opposite personalities. The two meet one day, only to discover that they each have a crush on each other’s best friend. So, in classic ROM-COM fashion, the two decide to help each other out, growing much closer in the process. Episode 19 focuses on Taiga’s attempt to get her best friend Minori to come to a Christmas party so that her and Ryuuji can get closer. After a little while, Taiga leaves the party, worrying Ryuuji, and causing him to come check on her, knowing that she will be alone. After coming to see her, Taiga feels much better, but insists that Ryuuji should go back to the party. Soon after, Taiga is alone in her apartment, alone and sad. It becomes even more obvious before that the feelings Taiga has are not for Yuusaku, but rather Ryuuji himself. Her unwillingness to admit these feelings in a moment when she could have caused her to be lonely on Christmas Eve.
This kind of loneliness, while emotional jarring to watch for fictional characters, is something that impacts real people as well. Though the research on this relatively recent, doctors and other health professionals have made great strides in finding out the mental and physical health impacts of loneliness on people.
Despite there still be a lot left to discover about the impacts of loneliness on health, one thing that has been demonstrated repeatedly is that being physically isolated and being lonely are not the same thing. As a report from the Administration on Aging notes, it is entirely possible and also fairly common for people to be socially isolated and also not feel lonely. Conversely, people can be surrounded by good friends and family and still be prone to loneliness.
Still, both of these things can have major impacts on health. On the mental side of things, loneliness and social isolation are linked to increased likelihood of depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s Disease. One might not think Loneliness would affect physical health, but it can hurt that too. This can include higher blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.
It is also worth noting that there is a growing body of research that suggests that loneliness is at least in part genetically inherited. For example, previous studies have found a heritability rate for loneliness of anywhere between 37 and 55 percent. This would suggest that there are people who are significantly more likely to experience loneliness than others.
If there was ever a time to bring awareness to the epidemic that is loneliness, it would be during the holidays, when people are supposed to feel a sense of fulfillment and togetherness. It is also important to recognize that just because someone looks ok, it does not mean that they are. These are the times that people should be doing the most to make sure others do not feel lonely.
Since this will be out on the 27th, how have your holiday’s been? Let me know in comments.
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