Hello! Arria here for my turn in this month’s blog tour. Thank you so much for supporting our monthly OWLS blog tours. For this September, we are keeping the conversation alive about the serious issues of mental illness, depression, and suicide. Don’t forget to check out “Themes of PTSD and Psychosis in School-Live!” by Rai (Rai’s Anime Blog).
There are moments in our lives where we lose our sense of self-worth and value and as a result, we find ourselves deep in darkness or drowning in the ocean. However, every person in this world is a treasure—we treasure ourselves or we are treasured by others—and at times, we may need to be reminded of that.
For this month’s topic, we will be exploring pop culture characters who have suffered from mental illnesses, depression, and/or suicide. We will be discussing how these individuals cope with these issues, the reasons for their emotions, and how they handled the situations they are in.
Kare Kano (彼氏彼女の事情 / Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou / His and Her Circumstances) is a shoujo manga series by Tsuda Masami (津田 雅美). An anime adaptation aired from 1998 to 1999.
The Perfect Guy
Arima Souichirou, the male lead, is a model student: handsome, smart, athletic, and popular. He even becomes a national champion in kendo. To many, Souichirou is a perfect guy.
The Terrified Child Underneath
Beneath his seeming perfection lies a dark and hurt being. A childhood trauma warps his love for Yukino (the female lead). He’s extremely possessive and jealous of Yukino’s other friends and acquaintances. He wants to be her everything.
Souichirou’s childhood trauma originates from being abused by his own mother. His mother is a gold digger and social climber, only bearing him because Souichirou’s father is a son of a wealthy family. When she discovers that Souichirou’s father is only an illegitimate son and therefore could not inherit, she takes her anger on their child. She physically, verbally and emotionally abuses her own son. His father eventually finds him in a near-death state and rescues him. His aunt and uncle raise him like their own son instead. Because of his uncle and aunt’s kindness and generosity, he is grateful to them and wants to repay them by fulfilling all of their expectations of him. Even so, he is still ostracized by their other relatives because he is the son of the family’s disgrace—the illegitimate son and the gold digger.
The Dark Side
This trauma surfaces in his insecurity of his place in Yukino’s heart and life. He’s frightened that she would someday abandon him like his irresponsible biological parents. His needy love, not to mention the fear of turning out “bad” like his parents and ostracized because of it, leads him into a destructive path. His dark side manifests. He becomes cold and cruel when angry, even vengeful.
His dark side becomes the most extreme when he becomes furious with Yukino. He grabs her and have sex with her at the school library. Of course, Yukino is frightened by Souichirou’s fury and intensity, but she doesn’t fight him. Afterwards, however, Souichirou believes that he raped her and plunges into despair.
Yukino insists that Souichirou didn’t rape her, that she was a consenting participant in the act. His guilt does not only consist of the “rape” itself, but also the realization that his dark past is affecting, even destroying, his relationship with Yukino. He wants to change himself and to become a better lover to Yukino, but he lacks confidence in himself. He is full of fear and insecurities.
Treasured and Healed by Love
Eventually, Yukino persuades him to believe in the strength of her love for him. Even if he can’t trust in himself, he can trust in her. He gradually accepts his dark past as part of himself. It’s something that he can never change, but can prevent from controlling his present self and his relationships, especially with Yukino. In time, he is able to manage his “dark side” and stop being so unreasonably jealous and possessive.
Both Souichirou and Yukino find sanctuary in each other’s love. Yukino’s love gives him the power to heal the festering wounds of his childhood trauma. Her love turns these wounds into scars which remind him of the past, but would no longer have the power to hurt him. They treasure each other, accepting and loving each other for who they are, including their ugly and dark sides.
Don’t Let the Past Rule You
The past is a vital part of us, whether we like it or not. It contains our best and happiest memories that we treasure for the rest of our lives. On the other hand, it also contains some of our darkest secrets and most frightening trauma. As demonstrated in Kare Kano, it is not easy to liberate ourselves from bad memories, especially if they’re in the same or greater magnitude as Souichirou’s abuse by his mother, but it can be done.
Kare Kano demonstrates that we can never erase the past, but we can learn how to live in the present without being chained and controlled by it. Souichirou overcomes his childhood trauma and its resulting insecurities with the help of Yukino’s love. I’m sure that if we just open our eyes, we can find our own Yukino whom we can trust and who will love and accept us for who we are.
Child abuse, trauma, and depression are some of the issues Kare Kano tackles. All of these are very serious issues that are actually happening in our society. Let’s keep the conversation going and spread the love. You never know. Your open ear and kind words might help someone someday.
Thank you for reading my tour post. Moonid (Random Garage) is coming up next this Monday, so please tune in. I also invite you to check out all the other participants of this blog tour. For the full schedule of our September “Treasure” Blog Tour, click here.
We are giving away a copy of the book Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green, a graphic memoir of eating disorders, abuse & recovery. Enter our give-away content and win a copy HERE!!!
If you have any questions about our group Otaku Warriors for Liberty & Self-Respect (OWLS) or are interested in joining us as a member, please visit our official blog. You can also find us onTwitter and Facebook. We welcome new, committed members.
Free to be ME,
Arria (OWLS Secretary)
Support Fujinsei by using the following affiliate links whenever you shop online with these websites:
Fujinsei is also a WordAds member, so if you would be so kind as to turn off your ad blocker when using this site, that would be greatly appreciated.
Read Disclosure Policy for more information about how this site uses affiliate links and ads. Thank you very much for your support!