S H R I N E ✦ pt. i

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HI you all! <33 this might feel a bit outta left field for me, but i've been inspired to develop a blog here dedicated to the lessons anime teaches us about love, shame, sexuality and forbidden knowledge! we can't spell shrine without sin, and i really find moments of immense veneration are often tied to extreme challenge. to our thought patterns, beliefs, and ways of knowing and navigating the world. thus, loving contradictions are at the core of my world! anyway, moving on...

today's episode of realization's is from yowapeda's GLORY LINE: EPISODE 14: Heart's Wrapping, Heart's Case! this is an absolutely phenomenal sports anime recommended to me by Nyanja and i highly recommend anyone to see it as soon as they can! don't read any further if you plan on enjoying this show; it's a real ride!

the central tension of this episode revolves around Komari Kishigami's evolution from a repressed child to an unrestrained adolescent. he's the sidekick to our super villain Midousuji, appearing episodes back with the mantra, "I always wash my hands before I ride you." THE BIKE. HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE BIKE. Anyway, the next few scenes we get of this tender cat are of him sneaking feels onto the non-erogenous zones of biker's bodies to feel their muscles. We learn that he actually has quite the basis for this passion starting from this point:

this moment dramatically changed my entire perception of komari. the character who i mentally pictured as comic-relief, "purposefully eccentric character for the point of narrative derision" became a real human with valid problems. what komari says in the above is not creepy, awful, or weird in any way; the best of doctors start off with this passion, this pure love of physiology. it drives them forward to study, to know, to memorize hundreds of muscles and the way they work to power our bodies forward. you need it to be able to dedicate your life to other humans and their motor concerns. even if he doesn't wanna be a doctor, the point is that he loves something. muscles and the human body give him life.

it was hands-down the most body-positive moment i've seen in anime in forever, a true moment dedicated to the way sinews are sewn and the ways we stretch them. there was no fan service here, no phrase that made you side-eye this cat. your heart breaks the next moment though because we learn this too about Komari:

"I want to know, but I must conceal it... I might be on the verge of opening a wrapper that should stay closed!"

"He's beautiful. My heart was pounding that day. I want to touch him. I want to touch him and see if what I'm feeling now is real!"

there's something so beautiful about Midousuji entering his life. it's a turning point rife with tension, and i'd argue not really the sexual kind; there's nothing really sexual here i'd say, it's more about excitement for something that lights a fire in you only that specific, one-thing in the world truly can! midsouji's filled with truth that instantly cuts to komari's core. his force of truth is in such opposition to komari's life of lying that more truth comes out of komari than he can bear, and he indulges midousuji on why he's actually wearing glasses. then we get this gem:

that subtle smile, komari's quick sorry - they're working together here in unbelievably powerful ways! there's a lot happening in this scene, from komari revealing such an intimate part of his life he's had to repress for his whole life to the other riders shaming him in this moment for his desire. meanwhile, midousuji doesn't give a fuck. he becomes more of a senpai than all of hakone s1 third-years put together at this beautiful moment:

"You won't find anything facing the ground and bowing your head all the time."

"If you keep making superficial excuses and trying to fool people, you'll never see the truth. If you're trying to find something, take those ornaments off. Those decorations. If you want the truth, you have to offer up your entire self."

his last line really resonates with something in me - this need to give yourself entirely for the truth within you. this is an ongoing theme with midousuji that i wrote about in a thread somewhere around here; but shortly said, midousuji gives his whole self for the solo victory whereas onoda fuses himself into the team for the communal spirit. midousuji's delving into some fantastically deep and messy concepts about self-knowledge, self-volition, and self-advocacy. he's extraordinarily perceptive, seeing that komari indeed hasn't turned a single page though he's there every day, watching them all silently. knowing something else is going on within the other boy. this is a CRAZY mentor-mentee moment, an act of heroism i thought we'd NEVER see from our main antagonist

he's a FIEND, super villain in the building, fucking jack skellington, nnoitra-looking, illumi-chan WRONG ANIME "IS THIS ONE PIECE??" BOY. one CR reviewer writes, 'when midousuji did the tongue thing i had to change my channel to [something naughty] so i wouldn't have to explain when my mom walked in' typa wild. he is such an incredible force of ground-defying opposition in this show that, to see him take on a senpai role, and to do it in such a way that komari completely changes and embraces himself, was pure genius.

there's so many layers of goodness that continue trickling through this episode about self-identity and discovery. when komari can finally massage midousuji, there are tense lines thrown about suggesting that komari's quest is not yet finished -

midousuji: "Is that enough to satisfy you?"

midou 2: "Fulfillment and satisfaction are different."

the undertones to all of this are so good and complex, i'd be remiss to not discuss them. but briefly, i couldn't believe how so many themes of idol worship, development, discovery, and self-love are tied together so neatly at the tail end of only one episode! komari has finally physically embraced his idol, the muscles he's been dreaming about "for two years"; only to discover that he wants more. he wants to know more, experience more, feel more. this is such a beautiful metaphor for not just sexuality but for developing passion in any and all parts of our lives - simply put, his knowledge will continue to evolve. he's going to continue to change and adapt to new situations and new understandings of muscles through their moving state - movement itself, encompassing knowledge that can only be attained through a present moment. he can no longer look to a past of shame. he doesn't know what's beyond the inter-high he's currently in. that's why he's driving so quickly in the here and now.

it's mindfulness, it's provocative, it's gorgeous -

"I'm just using you, because you happen to be good at giving massages."

it's maddening.

extraordinarily thankful to yowapeda for breaking my heart three times over again and opening me up to new possibilities
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