Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wanderings NPCs, today I’m bringing you all another super special awesome OWLS post!! If this is your first time here at Nice Job Breaking It Hero, you were probably linked here by Lita Kino, she did a super special awesome Birthday/Blog Tour combo post over on her blog, Lita Kino’s Anime Corner!! If you haven’t read her post yet, I highly suggest you do so, she did a phenomenal job!
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I joined OWLS: Otaku Warriors of Liberty and Self-Respect, but here we are with a few days left in 2017 and I am so glad I became a part of this wonderful group! For those of you that are new here and haven’t heard about OWLS, we are a group of bloggers and vloggers that hope to spread a message of acceptance and understanding through thoughtful community activism!
So, in order to spread our message of self acceptance and tolerance, we’ve decided to hold Monthly Blog Tours! During Blog Tours, we each write individual theme posts on our blogs that promote our group’s values, with a bit of an otaku twist. December’s Blog Tour topic is Warmth!!
It’s the season of joy, thankfulness, and love. This month’s topic is “Warmth.” Whether it is spending time with family members during the holiday season or with that special someone during New Year’s Eve, we will be discussing moments in anime and pop culture media that convey a feeling of happiness in our hearts. During times of struggles, we look towards the things that matter to us as a source of strength, hope, and happiness. We hope you enjoy this round of posts and that you, too, will have a wonderful holiday season!
-December “Warmth” Blog Tour Prompt
Honestly, I couldn’t think of a specific anime for this month’s prompt, and believe me, I tried, so I’m going to do something completely different this time around. Rather than focusing on one anime that I feel perfectly encapsulates the spirit of this month’s prompt, I’m going to look back on a handful of anime series that left an impression on me throughout the year and the lessons they taught me. Now, y’all might recognize some of the titles featured in this post from my previous OWLS posts….
Trust me, this is a total cop out on my part, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a last ditch effort to tug at your heartstrings before we say goodbye to 2017… So, without further ado, my take on the December OWLS Blog Tour topic, Warmth.
Learning the Meaning of True Strength
“When I think of strength, I tend to think of strength in the physical sense, superficial, I know, but it’s not an uncommon outlook. We value physical over abstract, it’s just human nature, but often times the true measure of one’s strength isn’t the number of fights they’ve won or the how many pounds they can bench press, it’s something much more indistinct…”
– Our Imperfections Make Us Stronger- Learning to Accept Your True Colors
We are all born with attributes that set us apart from those around us. For some these attributes give us certain advantages over our peers, but do certain characteristics make some individuals better than others? The politically correct answer is no, different people value different attributes, which in turn dictates how we as individuals define specific traits. This is especially evident when defining strength, for some strength is a measurable attribute dictated by some physical manifestation/display, while others view strength as something completely detached from any physical attributes. But, which viewpoint is the correct one?
In truth it is our actions and not our accolades that make us strong and this is evidenced by both Killer B. from Naruto Shippuden and Makoto from Colorful. Two very different characters that each display an inner strength that transcends any physical measure. On one hand you have Killer B. and all around formidable shinobi, with unparalled strength and power. But does he let this power consume him? No, he remains true to himself despite experiencing several hardships one could argue that his true strength lies not with his jinchuriki powers, but with his ability to persevere in the face of adversity. This is a sentiment that is mirrored by Makoto from the animated film Colorful, while he lacks the physical prowess of Killer B. and the shinobi of Kumogakure, he is still a great example of strength through non traditional means. In fact, Makoto’s strength lies not in anything that he physically does, but more so in his acceptance of his weaknesses. Sometimes strength isn’t about being the best, sometimes it’s about accepting the things about ourselves that aren’t the “best” and through that gaining a better understanding of ourselves. You don’t have to move mountains or train for years with special masters to have true strength, rather true strength is remaining true to yourself despite life’s hardships.
Finding a Place to Belong
Nowadays, families are much more diverse, including not just the people we are related to, but also friends, coworkers, teammates, the barista who makes your latte just the way you like it…. Rather than relying on genetics to determine who we consider to be family, people are now defining their families by the bonds they share with other people, whether they be blood related or not.
–A Place Where I Belong: The Meaning of Family in Wolf Children
Oddly enough, there were two separate Blog Tours that touch upon the importance of finding one’s place in the world: the March “Sanctuary” Blog Tour and the August “Family” Blog Tour. Everyone has a place where they can be themselves without fear of persecution, whether that is a physical place or not is wholly up to the individual. In certain respects the concepts of family and sanctuary aren’t mutually exclusive, yet two sides of the same coin.
Two anime that best showcase this duality are Haikyuu and the anime film Wolf Children. In both, characters define the place where they belong not as a physical space, but in the emotional bonds they share with the people in their lives; their families. For the members of the Karasuno volleyball club, the team operates as both a family unit, and as a place of sanctuary for the individual players, despite not adhering to the traditional definitions of both. The same could be said for the characters in Wolf Children, where home and family is defined as something a person creates for themselves.
Reclaiming What Was Lost
“When your hard work and efforts are met with failure time and time again, it’s not easy to keep pushing forward, it’s not easy to hang on and I guess that’s what really drew me to the series, that underlying message of hope. That despite the odds, even a pork cutlet bowl could take flight and for me, that is the true message of the series, the indomitable strength of the underdog’s dream.”
–We’re All Pork Cutlet Bowls: The Relatability of the Underdog’s Dream in Yuri!!! on Ice
When the world is constantly crashing down around you, it’s easy to lose sight of our dreams. We’ve all been there, maybe you weren’t crying in a bathroom stall like Yuri Kastuki in Yuri!!! On Ice, but we’ve all hit that all time low. But, as anyone who has had to deal with hardships will tell you, it’s not our failures that define us, but, our ability to persevere in the face of adversity. It’s moments like this that force us to look within ourselves and rediscover that “thing” that keeps us going. Perhaps that thing is a desire to live free, like Ash Lynx from the manga Banana Fish. Or maybe like Yuri, you want to rediscover your love of an activity… whatever it is, it’s important to never lose sight of your dreams.
Sometimes it’s okay to break all the rules
“But, by labeling them as such [heroes], viewers miss the point, they aren’t supposed to conform to traditional hero ideology, instead they are meant to serve as a foil to the hero narrative.”
–How the Moral Ambiguity of the Bounty Hunter Disrupts the Hero Narrative of Mainstream Anime
We’ve been taught from a young age to keep our noses clean and our heads down… fall in line and just go with the flow. But, every now and again it’s necessary to just screw the rules, this moral ambiguity is what makes us all undeniably human, so say FU to the status quo and break a few rules. Like the members of the Bebop, people aren’t just black or white, good or evil, we exist in a nebulous middle ground. But, more times than not, the rules and regulations society has in place don’t accommodate this moral middle ground leading many to compromise themselves in order to “fit in”. Does this mean all rules are meant to be broken… no, jail is a real thing, instead I’m talking about those self imposed restrictions we put on ourselves that keep us from reaching our full potential.
In My Hero Academia Izuku Midoriya doesn’t let the fact that he doesn’t have a quirk stop him from striving for UA High, even though there is no way he’ll ever get to be a superhero and yet he does just that. He disrupts the existing status quo, becoming a whole new kind of hero.
So, whether you’re a bounty hunter in space or a quirkless fanboy with superhero dreams, set your own rules and write your own story!
Learning to Communicate
“At it’s core, diplomacy isn’t about swaying others towards your way of thinking, it is about understanding, learning, and adapting from others that may or may not share your ideals. In today’s climate of hatred and persecution, it’s important to remember that we are just one piece of the puzzle, our actions and words, while important only tell one side of the narrative, so it is important to create an open climate of change.”
–Voltron: Legendary Defender- Galactic Emissaries of Diplomacy
Last, but not least, communicate! I cannot stress this enough! Our world is constantly expanding and with our increased reliance on technology as a means of communication, we as a global community are losing sight of what it means to truly communicate with one another. We do a lot of talking at one and not enough talking to one another… but, through my interactions with OWLS I have learned that our words have power. We have a the power to change our circumstances, not through force, but by understanding one another and celebrating our differences.
This month’s blog tour was hard to write for, because there really isn’t one moment or anime that wholeheartedly conveys a feeling of all consuming happiness or warmth there are just so many wonderful anime out there… Over the course of this year, I have learned so much and grown as a blogger and a person, through my interactions with my fellow OWLS team members. So, I decided to write about the moments and blog tours that touched me the most this year!
There are still a few more blog tour stop left in the December Tour, next up is Pink from Pinky’s Palace so definitely be on the look out for that posts on the 25th!! Also if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the Official OWLS Twitter account @OWLSbloggers and the Official OWLS Blog, to stay up to date on all OWLS news and announcements!
If you are interested in becoming a member of the OWLS team, please feel free to fill out the contact form, HERE! So don’t be afraid to reach out to any of us on our blogs, on twitter, or at the contact page to learn more about us!! You just need an open mind and a willingness to have fun!!
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