Jan. 4th, 2017

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I'm not doing the Snowflake challenge, but I've seen this prompt from it come up in my circle:

In your own space, share a book/song/movie/tv show/fanwork/etc that changed your life. Something that impacted on your consciousness in a way that left its mark on your soul.

For me, the obvious answer is Rurouni Kenshin (TV anime, through the end of the Kyoto arc). Whether it was the first time or just the time that brought it home, the stubborn compassion of this show really made a mark on me. This is a story where the opponents (or the best opponents) aren't evil people but have reasons for what they do, whether they've been wounded by trauma or have some kind of nobility in their own worldview. And it presented this not in the context of some gritty political story, but in a fun, engaging shonen sword-fight melodrama that met me where I was at the time. (In hindsight, it might be that the standard shonen formula was only really going to work on me once, and if so damn was I lucky this was my once). Now, there are villains in this who are just incorrigibly nasty and you can shamelessly cheer to see them go down, but even so, the show doesn't want them to die. And even with the opponents who are most deeply sympathetic, it doesn't mean you don't fight with all your strength to keep them from doing the hurtful things they intend to do.

But after this show I knew in a deep way that, in fiction and more importantly in real life, there was a healthier and more satisfying narrative to look for than "these are the bad guys, enjoy it when they get punished" --- that victory may be necessary, but healing and reconciliation are the true ideal. That's still a quality that I find compelling in fiction, and it still has a major effect on my moral and political outlook.

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