This season’s anime have been pretty good in my opinion. I’m following Orange and Sweetness and Lightning as well as watching various other anime on top of that. I defiantly have been settling for much lighter anime this season, no fighting or blood or guts pouring out of people. And when the story has adorable characters like Tsumugi, an intriguing plot with time travel, and a somber tone that keeps me entertained, I’m alright with putting away the fight scenes for a little while.
Maybe I like Orange so much because it is similar to Erased, one of my favorites animes, ever actually. Both utilize time travel to drive the plot but don’t make it flashy like other stories about time travel. I appreciate this. The execution of the theme of time travel matches the slower more serious tone for both shows. There is much adventure and high stakes, but still the shows keeps calm and serious, delivering on-the-edge-of-your seat entertainment like thick butter spread evenly over a piece of French bread.
One of the driving themes in both anime is regret and guilt. This is why both shows speak so closely to our gushing hearts. Every human has regret in their lives, something they’d rather not think about. I’m sure anyone would take the chance to change their past if it were offered to them. That’s why we watch these kinds of shows, because they represent that part deep inside us that wishes we could have done it better. We live vicariously through these characters giving us a taste of the kind of redemption rewriting our past could bring us.
Why is the feeling of regret such a strong emotion? Why does it lead humans to do crazy things? For Satoru the regret of not doing anything in his past, defending his friend, saving his classmates, inspired him to put every part of his will into bettering the lives of his comrades. What I love about Satoru is that his regret isn’t selfish. He isn’t going back in time to ease his conscious, he’s going back because it’s the right thing to do. How many people do you know use regret in that way?
Regret is such a tricky emotion. It makes it very, very easy to sin. Regret is the cousin of selfishness, and the feeling of entitlement. Often when someone feels regret, they work hard to cancel it out with other good deeds as to cover up the uncomfortable feelings. We feel regret when we don’t have forgiveness. In order to break through our regret, we need to be forgiven, or forgive ourselves. Sometimes it’s impossible for us to forgive ourselves. We can’t let go of the guilt we have about our pasts. We need someone to come along side us and tell us that we are forgiven or we can’t move on. We need someone to take our guilt and replace it with forgiveness. You can only live with one of these feelings in your life. But how can we find true forgiveness? For Naho, that’s going back in time to write over the guilt with her wisdom. Sounds tricky.
Naho is a character I feel represents more of the general public. There are small things in her life that she held onto that caused her a lot of grief. High school Naho receives strange letters and figures out that all these little mistakes she made lead up to the biggest mistake of all, failing at her friendship with Kakeru which resulted in the ending of his life. At first Naho is writing these letters to ease her guilt and make her high school life more enjoyable, but perhaps she feels like she is responsible for the death of her friend, and that is not something anyone can live with. Even if she’s acting more on the selfish side, trying to ease her guilt for her own benefit, no one can blame her for what she’s doing.
Many times the mistakes we make feel like death. Actually, they are like death because sin makes us dirty, unworthy, despicable. We deserve to feel the guilt we have, let alone eternal separation from all things good and holy, things like paradise with God. When we’re not perfect, we do deserve the death we feel in our guts. For Satoru and Naho the only way to be perfect again, to earn a way out of this death is time travel, a second chance!
Time travel used in these shows reminds me of the sacrifices the Israelites of the Bible would use to cover up their sins. We can see in Orange and Erased that there is a thing called sin in the world. Children get beat, murdered, friends use harsh words and let their classmates down. Bad things happen, everyone knows that. So what do we do to make up for it? To cover it up or cancel it out?
Well, there really much to do, those feelings just live inside us until time erodes it away, we find forgiveness, or we find a way to send letters with instructions to out past selves. Otherwise we have to learn to deal with the weight of out sin. There is no escape. That’s why it’s so appealing, almost comforting to watch someone else in a story rewire their past. These characters create their own forgiveness artificially, but there is a much easier way to forgiveness that some might say is too easy…
It’s true that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves from the wrongs we’ve done. There is no time travel to go back and fix things once we becomes a little wiser on right and wrong. The Israelites had something fairly close, the animal sacrifice, an animal physically blameless that could take the punishment that the people deserved themselves. These lambs had to be the firstborn. During the feast of Passover, the lambs were inspected for four days. They couldn’t have any blemishes, or broken bones. But every day there was a animal sacrifise to cover their sins. They had to keep killing a lamb over and over and over again to keep up, it wasn’t very efficient.
As you can see, the Israelites took these animal sacrifices very seriously, because it was a pretty serious issue. These animal sacrifices were kind of their way of going back in time and fixing their mistakes, a way to erase their regret and shame. They created their own temporary forgiveness, but it wasn’t ever really forgiveness because it couldn’t replace their guilt, it could only cover it up.
It wasn’t perfect, in fact, it was incomplete. These animal sacrifices didn’t make the sin go away, it only covered it up temporarily so that they would see they needed something, or someone who could take all their sin and forgive them forever. Yes, these animal sacrifices were just the dress rehearsal to the very cool, very real, time travel, anime-esc event that our hero Jesus went through.
Time travel does exist, but it’s not us who will be doing the time travel to erase our sins. Have you heard of this guy names Jesus? Forget everything you’ve heard about him. Think of him more as older Satoru or Naho figure who gains the ability to go back and fix all the problems. How does Jesus do this? It’s actually pretty cool. Jesus saw that there was no way we could pay off our own sins, or wiggle our way out of judgment we deserve. Only someone perfect like the sinless Son of God, the blemish-less lamb, could be the sacrifice that was enough to cover all our sin. This is the real forgiveness that we’ve been looking for. It’s solid and more real then anything man can do.
The time travel part is how this act of dying in our place can travel through time to every single wrong we’ve every done and make them right again. And Jesus also sends us letters giving us warning of how not to make our same mistakes again like Naho did. The Bible isn’t a book of rules, it’s encouraging letters to give us strength and guidance to avoid that awful feeling of regret/guilt forever. we will still make mistakes, but since we’re dealing with a guy who has time travel at his disposal, all our faults past, present, and future can be forgiven.
I can’t promise you that the feeling of regret will go away immediately when you receive the gift of complete forgiveness and redemption from the real sacrificial lamb. Regret is part of what it means to be human and it’s hard to let go of it and allow forgiveness from this Jesus guy who we don’t really know come into our loves and replace our guilt. It’s a learning process, but I tell you, the relief is worth it. Just as Satoru can now have more happy days with his old classmates, and how Niho is fighting to save a troubled friend, Jesus traveled through time so we could have a relationship with him. Jesus has saved us from certain death like we were just as helpless to save ourselves like Hinazuke was. So be glad! You do not have to live witht the guilt you’re feeling anymore. It can be taken away from you, you can be made perfect if we allow Jesus to come into our lives and save us with his time travel powers. All you have to do is accept him.
Here’s a song by MercyMe that may be able to explain this to you in a different way 🙂