Friday, December 23, 2016

5 Times Anime Taught Us the Gift of Giving

With Christmas quite literally around the corner, I began to mentally scroll through my head all those precious scenes in various anime devoted to the trope of buying your loved one that something special. I'm sure the trope is familiar to many of you. Person A needs that extra special something for Person B. Person A wracks their brain, asks all their friends for advice, goes to every store in town, etc., to come up with something that is just right. Hilarity and heartfelt moments to follow.

With that picture in mind, here are 5 Times Anime Taught Us the Gift of Giving.

5. Shiro plays the piano with Hina - Ouran High School Host Club

In a "reverse-harem" anime that takes great joy at mixing heartfelt moments with making fun of itself, we have episode number 6, "The Grade School Host is the Naughty Type!" an episode devoted to the story of a young boy named Shiro.

Shiro is a young boy who is deeply upset over the fact that his crush, Hina, will be moving away soon. In his desperation to show her how much he cares about her, he seeks out one of our main characters, Tamaki, a vain, lady's man who, believe it or not, actually has a heart of gold. It takes the majority of the episode for Tamaki to realize that Shiro's pleas of trying to "woo women" were really just his poor worded attempts at trying to find a way to win the heart of the classmate he adored. Once our slow, but lovable Tamaki realized this, it was easy to discover that all Hina wanted was to play the piano with Shiro again before she had to move, but Shiro was unskilled at the piece Hina had been wanting to play with him. Tamaki, a rather adept piano player himself, then devotes serious attention to teaching Shiro how to play the piece. In the end, Shiro was able to play with Hina before she had to move, thus giving her the only gift she really wanted from him to begin with.


She is ready to be wooed.

The Lesson ~ Nothing is more valuable than quality time.

4. Shingo makes Mika a pig...I mean...a Sailor Moon figurine - Sailor Moon

In this magical girl series, Sailor Moon, aka Usagi, has a little brother to whom this episode, "Shingo's Love: The Grieving Doll", is largely devoted. Her little brother, Shingo, in a moment of insecurity from being picked on, makes a mistake that causes the a doll to shatter to pieces on the floor. It just so happens that this doll was carefully crafted by his friend, and was so precious to her, especially since it had recently won a very renowned reward for its design.

Shingo's heart is immediately broken but he fails to properly apologize for his action. As he's walking home, he remembers to himself how much Mika, his friend, loves Sailor Moon. He decides to use clay to make her a Sailor Moon figurine. He works very hard on it and works up the nerve to bring it to her, in the hopes that it makes it up to her. Unfortunately, a monstrous youma shatters it before it can ever be received, but he was able to help save her life instead, which Mika was, of course, very grateful for.

In the end, Mika ended up making Shingo a Sailor Moon figurine, and isn't that what Christmas is really all about?

The Lesson ~ Sometimes you have to be brave to give to others.

3. Ikaros buys a watermelon...for herself... - Heaven's Lost Property

Heaven's Lost Property is a wonderful mixture of ecchi silliness and science fiction drama. In, "Shoot Out! Fishing At the Jumbo Carnival of Dreams", episode nine of this series, an angeloid named Ikaros is given an allowance by her "master". She is so thankful that, despite him telling her to spend it in whatever way she wants, she asks each of their friends advice on what to get for Tomoki, the one she calls master, to show her appreciation for him.

After a great deal of emotional turmoil over the decision, Ikaros finally buys herself a watermelon, the one thing she loves most, after her master, of course. Tomoki ends up being so pleased that she spends the money on herself, that that ended up being a gift to him in and of itself, in its own strange way.

If you've not seen the series, I promise you're underestimating just how much she loves watermelons.

The Lesson ~ The best gifts think first of what the recipient wants.

2. Trunks and Goten give Videl "cosmetics" - Dragon Ball Super

Dragon Ball Super (if there are even any of you that aren't watching this amazing series right now) extends the story of Dragon Ball into a time period where all is at relative peace and our beloved collection of protagonists have come together to live happy, fulfilled, and interconnected lives.

In episode one of Dragon Ball Super, "The Peace Reward - Who Will Get the 100 Million Zeni?", we're privy to a precious scene where Goten tells Trunks that he wants to get Videl something nice now that she's married to his big brother. They first try the jewelry store and are completely unimpressed by the size of the gems that are available. Next, after some pondering, they try a cosmetics store, but it's all too expensive (as if the jewelry wouldn't be!). At the jewelry store, they overhear an old man talking about the regenerative properties of the springs in his home village. Elated, the boys head off to find it and eventually return to Videl's and Gohan's home with a big glass jug of water they call "cosmetics". Videl's very kind, plays along, and thanks them greatly for the excellent skin care they've given her.

Nothing says "Congratulations on your marriage!" like...water......

The Lesson ~ It's always the thought that counts.

1. Juvia knits Gray a scarf - Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail is an amazing series that combines excellent character development with highly interconnected stories while still taking time to be absolutely, off-the-wall, ridiculous from time to time. It's the story of a wizard guild of closely knit wizards who always have each other's backs. In this world, wizard guilds are sought out for various jobs that need doing, but sometimes the series takes a break to do slice of life, wizard style.

In episode 45, 413 days, a very excitable and cheerful young psychopath woman named Juvia reveals that it's the 413th anniversary of the day she met her dear Gray-sama. Now, to be clear, there is no "official" relationship between Juvia and Gray, but, just try telling Juvia that. She asks everyone advice but everyone is far too eager to say what they'd want instead of being helpful as to what Gray would want, you know, for the 413th anniversary that he doesn't know about. After trying and positively failing to make a cake, Juvia realizes that making her precious Gray-sama a gift doesn't have to be done in a way that she has absolutely zero skill in, and thus, sits down to knitting him a rather handsome, gray scarf. (Get it? It's gray. Hahahaha!)

I love Juvia to death but I have to admit she's just a tad obsessive.

Unfortunately for Juvia, this particular date was also the anniversary of a rather painful memory for Gray, the death of someone who practically raised him. He rebuffs her gift rather coldly and she's left confused until the weight of the date is explained to her.

Fortunately, later in his wandering sorrow, Gray recalls the first time his teacher, Ur, gave him a scarf, well before he learned ice magic and became largely impervious to the cold. In his moment of grief he rushes to where Juvia had given him the scarf, scoops it up, and puts it on, and promptly apologizes to her the next day.

The Lesson ~ Gifts from the heart touch the deepest.


So here, on Christmas Eve's eve, remember that the gifts we give and receive this holiday season come from the heart in the best way we each know how, and cherish them for that reason in and of itself. Anime has taught us so much about training these past few years, but it has so much more to offer us. Merry Christmas, everyone.
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