Being a psuedo-student of Catholic theology back in college (I say psuedo-student because perusing a minor undergraduate concentration doesn’t make you a full student), one of courses I decided to take senior year was a course on “Death and Dying”. The course was taught by the theology department chair and he certainly expected plenty from us in the course. What I liked about the class was the comprehensive nature of the course content. We covered things like the psychology of the death and the study of death in a comparative religion aspect. And while we did end up covering death in a Christian context, it was the comprehensive nature of the course that kept me interested. It was one of the few courses outside my major where I still remember most of the concepts off the top of my head. Unfortunately, it was also during that semester where I learned the most about death outside of class.
On April 7th, 2007 (Holy Saturday 2007), my cousin committed suicide. His mother found him on that day hanging from the ceiling. One of those images vividly stick out in my head. I can clearly remember seeing the cold body of cousin laying there in the emergency room on that day. That week was one of the hardest weeks in my life as I came to the realization that someone of my age close to me is no longer here. This weekend I revisited those memories as my family gathers for the 1 year memorial.
I truly hold the belief that “knowledge is power” and “with great power comes great responsibility”. What was tough week became one of the toughest months in my life. Along with semester finals and commencement exercises approaching, I was faced with answering the questions that come with being a fairly enlightened religious person. Everyone wanted answers to their questions and it was hard telling them that sometimes there were no answers. And while questions came from every direction in every form, not only did others want the answers, I also wanted to know them for myself. This was one of the largest tests of faith I had to endure.
To relate this back to anime, I am an academic just as much as I am an engineer by occupation and psuedo-theologian. I love learning and I value any opportunity to learn something new. Anime has grown to not only be a form of entertainment but a solid medium for the exploration of thought. I sincerely believe that most anime become great when they teach you something new about the world.
So I’m asking today for some suggestions on anime that reflect on life and/or death. I already have a show lined up when I have the free time and that show is Bokurano. I’m not being picky in what is suggested just as long as it reflects somewhat on one of those two ideas and possibly provides me with another way to view them.
I’ll end off with this: About a week before commencement, I had the opportunity to sit down with theology department head in his office and talked to him about various things including the events of that week. And out of that interesting discussion was a reminder about the core theme of his “Death and Dying” course: “To think about death is to think more about life.” After reflecting on these events, I would like to believe that I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the life. I hope that you, the reader, take this reflection and gain a greater appreciation for life as well.