Sunday, January 27, 2019

Spite as Motivation in A Place Further than the Universe and Hanebado!

Nothing pushes you towards your goals like getting back at someone!

It is not uncommon to find myself pacing around thinking about anime. A few weeks ago, I was thinking about Hanebado! and how it went from being one of the best sports anime to one of the strangest anime, and it's all because of one character: Ayano Hanesaki. She really could have went the path of a serial killer if the series was in the horror genre instead of the sports genre. 

As soon as she got that one look in her eyes, Ayano dominated on the badminton court and pushed away anyone who tried to be her friend, but it wasn't because she was obsessed with badminton or loved sports. While she had skills and natural talent, Ayano did not compete and play badminton for fun, but because she wanted to prove her abilities to the mother that abandoned her. She planned that after winning, her mother would come back with open arms, and then Ayano could push her away and say, "I don't need you anymore". 

Ayano played so fiercely just to get back at her mother for leaving. Spite is what motivates her, that drive reminded me of A Place Further than the Universe. Sure, Hanebado! and A Place Further than the Universe are completely different anime. One is a sports drama and another is an uplifting adventure. But what I found these two anime have in common is how spite is used as motivation.

In A Place Further than the Universe, Shirase Kobuchizawa is determined to get to Antarctica where her mother went missing during an expedition. Shirase becomes a social outcast and her peers think that she's strange and foolish. Part of what drives her toward her goals is that ridicule because when she does get to Antarctica, Shirase wants to be able to say "In your face!" and get back at everyone who doubted her.

Ayano from Hanebado! and Shirase from A Place Further than the Universe want to achieve their goals to spite those who didn't believe in them. But in Hanebado!, Ayano is depicted as something like a monster and has to learn to give up her anger, while in A Place Further than the Universe, Shirase is encouraged to shout "In your face!" with her friends as soon as they set foot on the ice of Antarctica. 

So why is pursuing goals to spite others seen as wrong in Hanebado! but a positive motivator in A Place Further than the Universe? First off, these two series come from different creators and production teams that might have different values but are also trying to tell different stories with different characters. 

More importantly, Spite is Ayano's sole motivation in playing badminton and because of that she ends up hurting her friends and pushing away anyone who wants to get close to her. While Shirase wants to get back at some of her classmates, she also wants to go to Antarctica to find closure with the death of her mother and is also helped along the way by friends who have their own dreams.

What I took from looking at these two series is that pursuing goals for toxic reasons will lead to hurting friends and loved ones. Part of the reason I became an English major and am working towards becoming a writer is because I want to get back at those who thought that I would fail. At the same time, I want to be a writer because I genuinely have a passion for writing and storytelling. 

Spite is not my only motivation. Love and passion is what is driving me towards my dreams like it drove Shirase and her friends to Antarctica. So the lesson I've taken from these two anime, that I hope others can take as well, is that love and passion is a better motivator than spite and bitterness.

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