One of the things that I worry about (quite needlessly, really) is what I’m leaving behind when I graduate from college. Above all else, I will miss the comfort zone I felt like I spend a hard four years trying to solidly establish. It’s funny how change comes quickly, but compared to how I was when I started college, I feel more like I’m more ready to accept it. Surprisingly to me, most of this new calm feeling comes from finishing up Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! and seeing them go through the same thing in a much shorter time than I have. 😛
It was great seeing how the main quintet assembled and how they worked hard to achieve Manabi’s original goal of making school more fun for everyone. Over time, the aspiration to create a school festival became a collective end point, and seeing so much “heart” applied to achieving that was inspiring. And in working together, we as viewers could see a comfort zone developing with our protagonists.
It makes sense, considering that when you put enough time and effort into something as part of the group, bonds should develop between the group, no matter how insignificant the new connections may seem. They occur explicitly and implicitly; the former when the understanding occurs that getting the school festival together can’t be done alone and without faith in others (which Manabi knows from the start), and the latter when just doing “random” things like hanging out. As a whole, the experiences create a friendship that seems as if it can last forever and beyond, despite what strange things may happen in the future. We can still have the comfort zone we want, even when we’re not in our comfort zone, one could say (meeting new people of different backgrounds who also like anime, e.g.). In my case, I can feel comfortable with moving on from college, because the familiarity I know will always be there in some way, allowing me to move on with my life and try new things. 🙂
While it might sound cheesy, I also felt a connection with the main characters in while going through Manabi Straight! It’s kind of hard not to have one; Manabi’s so infectiously earnest with her vision, and people believe in it because of her sincerity. We find that Mei’s the tsundere mover and shaker, Mutsuki’s the rational caretaker/enforcer, Momo’s the positive X-factor, and Mikan’s the right hand man. I liked all of the characters and had fun learning about them as I watched the show. How they felt, how they’ve changed (some not so much at first glance, others noticeably come of age) for the better, how they became more than friends. I might have finished watching their adventures for now (lol OVA), but I can go on knowing that I can just rewatch if I ever need that extra boost. 😛
Obviously, I’ve really enjoyed Manabi Straight!, enough to where it’s definitely one of my all-time anime faves. Ufotable did it for me again with their interesting ways of storytelling (episodes 4, 7 and 12 come to mind at the moment), dynamic characters and character interactions, and powerful moments (subtle and displayed) that got me involved with the characters, among other things. It could just really be a story of how one person brought a school together with her indomitable spirit, and it may not be what we thought it would be from the PVs (lol ufotable misdirection). But I feel like I can go straight forward to achieve what I want to do in a positive, happy manner.
MASSUGU GO! Manabi Banzai.