World's Greatest First Love

Sekaiichi Hatsukoi Merry Christmas by Shungiku Nakamura

For all that Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is a fairly typical yaoi manga in many ways and there are certain elements I would see as cause for concern in a real world environment, sometimes it's interesting to see a manga echo some of your own conversations and thoughts.

This series brings its charm through humour and quirky reactions of characters, and though admittedly, there could be a little more variation in characterisation, my favourite pairing of this series is the main one, Onodera and Takano, perhaps in part because our situations are a little similar.

As quoted from a more recent chapter:

Onodera: Even if it only helps a little... I wanted to catch up to you, Takano-san.
Takano: (contemplative silence)
Onodera: (embarrassed silence)
Takano: How stupid. Think about it. There's a huge gap between our levels of [manga] editing experience. It took me years to get to where I am now anyway. You haven't even been in the manga business for a whole year yet. You think you can bridge that gap in a few months? There's no way you can make up for years' worth of experience that quickly.
Onodera: I know that! You don't have to explain that to me.

(a few pages later)

Takano: You aren't me you know. So there's no real reason for you to try and be like me. You can do things your own way. You don't have to stress out. I'm not going anywhere.

Physically that's true, but for Onodera (and perhaps me), who just want to 'catch up', it's an unattainable target, because he will only ever go up and further up. A goal that constantly evolves could be the same as no goal at all.

Being told that you can't make up for years' worth of experience is like telling me not to try at all because you will never catch up. Perhaps it's an extreme reaction. I took offence a few months ago, when a job advertisement stated 'you would have started early', pointing the finger at the applicant — it's your fault you didn't start getting into IT early and attain the necessary experience.

Some people simply weren't presented the opportunity.

Regardless, all you can ever do is work hard and try hard to achieve what you want. It's okay to ask for help, to learn from others, to slow down, even. Because you'll probably get there in the end. You're never the smartest person, but you're doing better than some others too.

That's the message to take away, and I think I shall be thinking this over in the coming few months, just as Onodera has much to sort out also. We're standing in around about the same shoes though — our world's greatest first love — so perhaps another chapter will give me more food for thought?