Tag Archives: Bullying

Final Thoughts: The Golden Sheep Volume Three

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

So…”The Golden Sheep”…huh.

I’ll be completely honest and say that considering how depressing the first volume was this was not how I saw the manga ending. It definitely felt like it was building up to some sort of dramatic climax where pretty much no one was going to be happy, but in the end became much more like her previous work “The Gods Lie.” Still, there was plenty of good, and also some bad. Here are my final thoughts.

Bullying is Bad…or so I thought?

One of the reasons the ending was so surprising was because the message that was implied by the first two volumes was that bullying only leads to everyone involved being miserable. Yuushin spends years bullying Sora as a way to vent about his family life. Asari takes out her frustrations on Tsugu as soon as she returns, and even Tsugu remains oblivious to how her actions affect the others feelings.

Yet, despite all of this, in the final chapter of the series, the four reunite almost as though nothing happened to begin with. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Its an important part of life to be able to forgive and move on. However, it seems as though this aspect was almost entire glossed over. The series definitely could have benefited from at least one more chapter, and likely would have resolved this sudden shift in both pace and message.

Its Okay to be Not be Okay

Despite the initially confusing messaging of the series, one thing that the ending does convey is that having people with whom one can emotional and mental distress is important. Even though there is a lot of tension between the four main characters, by the end of the series they all lay their problems bair.

Tsugu struggles to accept the fact that her dad and mom simply do not want to be together, Sora struggles to admit his feelings to but ultimately comes to terms with it and waits, Asari’s guilt for bullying Tsugu comes crashing down on her, and Yuushin finally stops being an asshole to the people who actively care about him.

The reason the four of them are able to be friends again is because of their shared sense of guilt for how their relationship ended up. They all realized that they were at least in part responsible for how the others feel due their insecurities running unchecked and thus becoming more hostile towards one another.

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The Art? Still Amazing

It would have been generally surprising to see the quality change so abrubtly in such a short series, but that still does not take away from the consistently gorgeous art in “The Golden Sheep.” Just like the other volumes, the final one manages to bring great art, both in the more detailed shots of the city, and in the more character focused shots that make up the majority of the series.

Love Letter

So…”Love Letter”…huh.

This was another curve ball that honestly just served as a nice addition to an already really good series, and while I did say that “The Golden Sheep” could have used another chapter, sacrificing this wonderful short story would be pretty tragic.

The story centers around a spirit who has to decide his earthly role and what to be born as. After seeing a run-away high school girl named Asako, he admires how pretty she is and decides to be born with her as their mother. The story gets sad very quickly as the spirit is neglected by Asako, and dies. However, not experiencing the pain of growing up to hate her, he decides he want to be with her for as long as possible, and so continues to be reborn into almost everything around her.

One thing that stands out is its use of reincarnation as a storytelling mechanic. Generally, in most eastern philosophies, reincarnation is something that happens outside of a person control, and most people who get reincarnated do not get to choose what it is they come back as. Additionally, people are usually reincarnated because they have some worldly thing binding them.

While the latter is true in this story, the first two things are flipped on their head. Even though the spirit acknowledges that he probably would have grown to resent Asako had he lived in his human form, he still want to make sure she is ok, and spends all of their time making sure she gets to live a happy life. It is a very powerful story that I think works well in a one chapter format.


What do you all think of “The Golden Sheep” Let me know in the comments if you’ve read it.

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March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 Episode 4: Hina’s Resolution

It seems as though I might have misnamed last weeks title because this is definitely more the storm. And not just a storm, but more like the child of a hurricane and a tornado. I think it would be fair to say that this episode was the one of the saddest in the series so far, even rivaling episode 11 from season one, when Rei finally had his outburst.

The episode opens from where episode three ended, with Hina reluctantly entering her own home, worn down and ready to give up. As soon as Akari realizes what’s going, she rushes over to comfort Hina as she breaks down into tears. Rei, meanwhile, stands behind them, feeling both anger and powerlessness, as there is nothing he can do. Rei starts explaining that Hina was being bullied.

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The episode goes into further details about the events that lead to Hina being bullied. It started with the groups in Hina’s grade being switched, which lead to Hina’s friend Chiho being mostly alone. A group of girls started bullying her. It continued, and the treatment Chiho got only worsened each day. Eventually, it got so bad that Chiho stopped coming to school, and Hina later found out that Chiho was moving. This hit Hina hard, and there wasn’t a lot she could do about it except say a final goodbye while crying into her friends.

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One day while Hina and her class were in P.E., the teacher asked where Chiho was. The group who bullied her told the teacher Chiho’s situation, and then one of the girls whispered over to another “I wonder what could have happened” in a sarcastic tone. At that moment, something in Hina snapped. All of the pain of losing her childhood friend because of some middle school bullies unloaded, and she tackled the girl who had made the sarcastic comment.

Of course, these actions didn’t come without repercussion. Just as her other classmates had warned her, the girls started coming after, throwing her shoes in the toilet. This is where we come back to the scene at the beginning, with her walking home slowly.

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After trying to pretend that she’s ok, Hina runs out of the house, and Rei responds by following after her. Rei follows Hina down to the river, where she had gone the last time Rei had followed Hina on her late mother’s birthday. Hina trips while running alongside the river and Rei finally catches up. The two find a bench so Hina can sit and cry, and while sitting beside the river, Rei explains just how much Hina has done for him, and that he’ll be there for her no matter what.

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In the second part of the episode, Rei decides to take Hina to the library in an attempt to cheer her up. Rei gets Hina some books on sweets while he looks for information on a specific type of ladybug. It seems, at least for a bit, that his plan is working. She becomes curious as to what he is researching. Rei explains that he was looking for a certain type of ladybug, to which Hina points out the Japanese name is the Heavenly Star Insect. The two end up in the park while the sun is setting, and Hina sees a Ladybug launch from her hand, she realizes why its name is what it is. Hina starts crying again and the episode’s second part ends.

The third part starts with Rei feeling an intense emotional pain. He feels both anger and sadness because he wants to help Hina, but he can’t find the right words. He is stuck with a middle school girl crying and holding onto his arm, but he can’t do anything for her.

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After contemplating what he could do to help Hina, the episode cuts to them heading home for dinner, where Hina’s grandpa is waiting. Before they all start eating, Hina’s Grandpa sits and explains he knows what’s happened and that he thinks she did the right thing. He parades her with compliments about how she is brave and that not many people would have done what she did. Hina is silent until he finishes speaking, barely getting out a thank you through her tears. The five of them sit around the table and enjoy dinner together, with Rei still feeling a lot of regret about not being able to help Hina.

I think my feelings about this episode can be perfectly summed up by something Rei said during the episode:

 

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My emotions were definitely running high during this episode, and they were not good feelings. I think I want to conclude this week a little differently. If any of you are feeling depressed or just generally not good about life, talk to someone about it. No one should have to deal with bullying and suicidal thoughts alone, and taking your life is not the answer. You have so much to live for. I mean, think about all the anime you’ll be missing. If it helps to talk to a total to someone you don’t know, I would be willing to listen as well. You can email me at jackscheibelein@gmail.com


Please be well. Bye for now, Friendos!