You know, suspension (not suspicion, that’s something else entirely ) of disbelief is a funny thing. If there wouldn’t have been that twist with Sumire, yeah, I wouldn’t really have been able to take it seriously, or rather, after listening to the podcast of the first three chapters, I’d fully agree that this is a crapsack world and we can be happy that in our world it isn’t that terrible. Although it’s actually the teacher going along with it what would break it for me. I also don’t feel underwhelmed by the twist as @Karifean did, partly because this story doesn’t seem to question Youkai at all. They are a part of the world, and as such they can be a valid cause of bad things here. What I see Ryukishi accomplishing through that, is basically being able to show just how awful those bad parts in school could be if you were to take them to their extreme. The two messages I took from this chapter specifically were:
- Bullying exists, and it’s terrible.
- Therefore, bullying should be fought, not ignored.
So now I want to ask everyone of you, How do you fight bullying? In the epilogue we saw how it can be fought as a fellow student. But let’s do a little thought experiment, so try to answer the three following questions:
1. Imagine you are a bullied child. What do you do against it?
2. Imagine you are a parent and your child tells you it is bullied in school. What do you do?
3. Imagine you are a teacher at a school and a child comes to you and tells you it is bullied. What do you do?
I think it is important to think about this situation from each perspective, so that’s why I’m asking these questions. Of course, I’m aware it’s difficult to answer such a generic question as every bullying situation is different in the end, but please try regardless. I myself do have answers for these questions, but as my answers have professional background (meaning I asked my mom who is a teacher in a kindergarten), I fear my answers would stop you from thinking.
Now, next in line, this chapter is called Utopia, and indeed, we do see a so-called utopia being build here, and as it often is in both reality and fiction, that utopia is not a true utopia, as someone has to suffer for that utopia to exist. If you’re wondering where this was the case in reality, just look at any part of history where a certain ethnical group was abused for the benefit of others.
Sometimes the best stories are those that imitate reality, and near the end there was certainly a moment that mirrored a part of my mother’s life, however, I’ll wait to talk about that until we got to discuss those questions I asked earlier, as it is one example of how bullying can be fought.
Furthermore, there’s another little experiment I want to do to prove a point, but I want to focus on one topic at a time, so that’ll have to wait a little bit as well.