No Painless Lesson

Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa

There are some massive golden nuggets in this piece on The Mary Sue analysing Hiromu Arakawa’s philosophies represented in her popular works, Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon. As stories with very strong messages that can even be heard through inexact adaptations, it’s interesting to see another’s deeper insight into the mind and messages of Hiromu Arakawa.

Although the messages of racism, discrimination and power are clearly understood, there was a single piece of philosophy from her that particularly stood out starkly for me as I felt it was relevant in my own life:

In Silver Spoon, Arakawa tells young people that there is no shame in leaving a situation that negatively effects their emotional health. Hachiken is ashamed for running away from the pressure his family and school put on him rather than forcing himself to endure it, but an adult tells him “Don’t look down on yourself for running away. Make it meaningful by making something out of it. It’s okay to run away in order to live.

Although I’ve shown the quotes in this article to a few others since as a form of encouragement, and am greatly soothed by her message in this paragraph. Understanding what needs to be done and doing it are still two different things - it is hard to take her advice, even when I know that’s what I should do.

It’s not the shame of running away that is the issue, but the feelings that one has an obligation to stay or a connection that shouldn’t be severed no matter what the situation, as well as the enormity of the preparations that are required for such a bold move.

My point of view was that anything can be repaired and compromised in favour of both parties given the situation, but it hinges on whether you want to put in the effort and accept some hard compromises. But compromises are sometimes simply not acceptable. Staying out of obligation or other reasons simply results in the feeling of stagnation, while everyone around you progresses with their lives.

If I were in Trinity Seven, my Thema would be the opposite of Lieselotte’s Stagna, though a term for that hasn’t been named anywhere. I wonder how Arata knew what his Thema and Archive would be just like that without any reference? It truly feels like it would be much easier to live in a fantasy reality on days like this, rather than to face the real world - but I’ve always been an escapist.

But I digress, evidently it’s valuable to take the advice of mangakas’ and the people who analyse them. There’s no such thing as a painless lesson for sure, even though the path of least resistance is always the most favourable one.