Hello! Otaku Warriors for Liberty & Self-Respect (OWLS) are now on our 10th blog tour. This month, we are discussing the topic “Dreamers”. If you haven’t done so yet, please check out Takuto’s tour post “Death Parade: That’s Just the Name of the Game” on his Anime Cafe.
“Dreamers” October Blog Tour
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?”
Due to recent events that happened in September, this month’s OWLS topic will be on “Dreamers.” Every individual has a goal or ambition that they devote their whole life to with passion and courage—whether it’s landing your dream job, traveling, or finding the love of your life. However, there are those who spent their whole life working towards a dream but it was cut short due to an unexpected occurrence. Those people are left only to dream and wonder about the possibility.
This month’s topic will be dedicated to these characters in pop culture entertainment. We are not going to focus on the individuals that achieved their aspirations but instead, we will focus on characters that weren’t able to. We will explore what happens to characters who had their wings forcefully cut off as well as those who gave up before they even started their journey. We will also discuss what it means for “a dream to be deferred.”
My tour post will be a little different because I will discuss a character who doesn’t have a dream. Hachiken Yuugo is the protagonist of Silver Spoon (銀の匙 / Gin no Saji) by Arakawa Hiromu (荒川 弘).
The Boy Who Failed
Hachiken Yuugo grew up in a stifling environment where he was pressured to constantly strive for academic excellence. His strict father made him feel that he was only worth something if he always got high marks. As a small child, he enjoyed studying. He felt happy whenever he received high marks. Eventually, however, this morphed into an obsessive competitiveness to please his father and to validate himself. Getting good grades wasn’t enough anymore. The problem is that he always found himself on the bottom half of the ranking list no matter how hard he studied because he entered a school with a high academic level. As a result, he began to spend more and more time by himself studying to the point of becoming an anti-social loner.
This downward spiral plus the pressure of trying to fulfill his father’s high expectations left no time for Hachiken to dream. All he’s concerned about was passing the entrance exam of his top choice high school which was another one with high academic level.
Then he failed the entrance exam. Any confidence and self-worth that he might have were crushed, turning him into a flimsy shell of depression and hopelessness.
The Lost Boy Among Those Filled With Purpose
Hachiken could no longer handle the sense of inferiority he feels whenever he’s with his father, so he chooses a high school far away from home. He enrolls in Ooezo Agricultural High School in a rural area. In this alien place, he meets energetic people filled with purpose; his total opposite. Almost all of his schoolmates are children of farming families, and they entered the school with the intention of taking over their family farms or working in fields related to agriculture.
As someone who failed before and someone who doesn’t have a dream, he feels out of place in this kind of purposeful environment. Too soon, however, he doesn’t have time to dwell in depression because the school keeps him and everyone else busy toiling the fields, milking cows, harvesting chicken eggs, and what feels like a million other things to do.
A loner in his previous school, this agricultural school forces Hachiken to work together with others on a regular basis whether he likes it or not. He has no choice but to face the stark contrast between himself and everyone else. He, a dreamless failure, against the others who seem to know what they want and how to achieve them.
The Lost Boy Who Leads
As Hachiken gets used to his new school, it’s ironic that for someone like him who has no dream, he ends up becoming the de facto leader for special projects. Because of his timidity, he always agree to requests. He doesn’t know how to say no. But more than this, he has a great logical and systematical mind. He’s also a good problem solver and people trust him because he’s hardworking. Whether he notices it himself or not, he is a natural leader.
He opens up more, even becoming popular in the school because of the success of the special projects he leads and (finally) as the top of the ranking list. He learns from his new friends and they, in turn, learn from him.
The Boy Who is Starting to Find His Way
Hachiken gradually blossoms in his new school among peers who he can finally call friends in every sense of the word. He still doesn’t have a dream, but motivated and inspired by his friends, he enjoys school life to the fullest, and hopes to find a dream in the process that he can pursue with all his might.
In the manga, he starts a business, albeit still a vague one. But he works hard into making it more concrete and applying everything he has learned from school, his special projects, friends and acquaintances. It’s still too early to call his business a “dream”, but it is without a doubt, a proof that Hachiken finally found a new purpose in life. He now has something to work towards and hope for success. It’s also thanks to this business that his relationship with his father improves. At first, he asks his father to loan him money to start his business. Later on, however, he decides to keep trying to persuade him to become an investor to his business instead.
Hachiken is no longer a lost boy. He has grown into a young man with a new sense of purpose.
It’s Okay Not to Be a “Dreamer”
Some of us may have similar experiences like Hachiken. Some of us may have strict parents who pressure us to do well in school, go to a good college, graduate and work a respectable job with good salary. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this. After all, most parents only want the best for their children. The problem starts when the pressure intended to motivate becomes discouraging to their children instead, like what happened between Hachiken and his father.
We dream, work towards it and succeed. This is the ideal scenario which, I’m sure, will make our parents proud. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Some of us dream, work towards it yet still fail. Some of us, like Hachiken, have no dreams at the beginning but still work hard gathering skills that may come in handy when we finally find, even if not exactly a “dream” per se, but at least a “purpose” which we can feel passionate about in pursuing.
Hachiken is certainly not a “dreamer”. On the contrary, he’s a realist. Dreamer or realist? Who says one is superior than the other? As long as we have a purpose that we’re passionate about and gives us fulfillment in life, then that’s what matters.
Recommended Post: Why You Should Watch “Silver Spoon”
Thank you for reading my tour post. After me is Stephanie Clarke (Anime Girls NYC) with her post “Durarara – The City Life! Not so Exciting?!”. I also invite you to check out all the other participants of this blog tour. For the full schedule of our October “Dreamers” Blog Tour, click 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)
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