Recently started seeing Bleach, the cartoon series after seeing like three or four movies length version of the anime whilst still in school. I was impressed by what I saw and the story of Ichigo Kurosaki and Rukia Byakuya finally began to carry weight and make sense.
I tried sharing the experience with a couple of friends and they all thought I was weird for seeing cartoon/animations claiming that cartoons are for kids, and that I should see movies instead, as those are more mature. So I started thinking about the import of the anime and what value it was adding to me and everyone who had either seen it, or would be seeing it in the nearest future.
Ichigo was an abnormal fifteen year old who could see and interact with ghosts. Apparently everyone in his family had such gifts, with the exception of his youngest sister whose talents hadn’t yet formed. Anyways, whilst interacting with ghosts as usual, he came in contact with a shinigami (Japanese death god) whose job it was to guide lost souls into the afterlife before they became hollows(demonic spirits) which she had to kill.
They met in his room and whilst fighting a hollow she got mortally injured and in a desperate moment, a plan to save not only his family and himself, but the shinigami also, saw him get stabbed with the girl’s sword and a substitute shinigami was born. That’s basically how Ichigo got a power he didn’t realize he had on the inside of him.
Thinking about the importance of the animation made me realize, it wasn’t all about the bankai techniques, the drawings or the slapstick humor of the writers, it was all about soul. The connection man must make with his internal being and the infinite power that lies on the inside of him that man is too scared to explore.
Then the movie ‘Akeelah and the bee’ popped into my consciousness, I could literally see the part where she recited Marrianne Williamson’s quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”, Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3]). So I kept on watching…
With time, and every challenge/battle he got involved in, Ichigo had to dig deep into himself to find that infinite strength he needed to tackle that obstacle and help his friends and loved ones. Suddenly like a gusty wind, it hit me. Most of the movies, tv series and cartoons that I love have always had the same theme; becoming a better man.
I remember the Harry Potter Classics, Superman, the X-men movies, The Vampire Diaries, the twilight zone movies and such likes… though all those movies may have come across after a cursory view as mostly demonic or mundane, they had taken time to elaborate on the human soul and it’s inability to be limited by anything. The creators and us just missed an integral ingredient, the soul is not dark that has been turned over to God for His absolute use and leading.
It became apparent to me then, that the problem is not the limitations that we see or that seem endless in our environment. We’ll always have traffic, competition and strife will always be a part of our history. Maybe NEPA/PHCN/or whatever name it gets in the nearest future will actually start behaving like a power company and give value for money and stop billing people for darkness, supplying power to all and sundry without bias. Still in order to achieve, the onus still rests squarely on the individual and not the environment.
Ichigo stumbled on the shinigami powers, and within the shortest time, he became the very best. Wolverine (my favorite superhero) extends mettalic blades from his knuckles when faced with Challenges. Clark Kent needed only to get to the nearest phone booth or elevator and Superman emerged. Bruce Wayne, though not gifted with any superpower, still had his array of technological weapons and incendiaries that when Gotham was in trouble he employed to combat crime and bring peace to the city he loved.
All these guys are your regular Joes, but when challenges arose, they connected with the power within them, the X-factor and develop superhuman abilities to tackle and overcome all hindrances and help out the people that they love. It crystallized then, I didn’t just love Bleach for the fights alone, I love the anime for the fact that it stimulates my inner being, showing me in graphic terms the things that I know intellectually but have yet to translate into material terms…
Bleach therefore, is more than a cartoon, as Silverbird used to advertise back when, it’s all about perception; we all look, but see differently. Make up your mind to see the infinite possibilities you are capable of, connect with your creator again. And in this Christmas season, let Christ rule your everything. As you do, you will find, that the X-factor you need for greatness lies within you, all that’s needed is the stirring by the Almighty. Allow Him work, and greatness awaits…