Understanding the diverse spectrum of love through anime!

Piyush Singh
New Update

Scroll down as we make an attempt to understand the complexities of love through anime characters and themes. 

Remember that episode of "Death Parade," there's a character who tells Chiyuki about the story of Chavvot? According to the story, there was a young boy named Jimmy who admired a girl named Chavvot and wanted to express his feelings to her. Typically, people use words to describe their feelings, but in the story, Chavvot was deaf. The author's choice of portraying Chavvot as a deaf character was intentional, emphasizing how there are many other ways to let someone know that they are admired. But what are these ways? I desperately wanted to know, and they left me hanging with the question. I had hoped they would mention something like, "The boy later learned sign language to communicate with Chavvot," but it didn't happen in the story.

Also Read: Paprika: A surreal representation of trauma and identity crisis through dreams!

When expressing love to someone, it's important to understand "Why do you like them?" or "What is so special about them?". We grew up watching romance stories where the couple fights against the odds for their love, (both metaphorically and literally), feeding the idea to many of us that love isn't easy. To love or be loved is a beautiful thing, and you have to pay an appropriate price for it. In most of these stories, the fights are worth fighting for. Making some choices can be tough, which is why loving someone takes courage. These are the same stories that shaped my understanding of love. As a teenager, I watched films like Howl’s Moving Castle, where Howl, who had been running from a curse all his life, found someone worth protecting. In my mind, loving someone meant taking risks for them, as Howl risked his life to ensure that Sophie lives a safe and happy life. He didn't hesitate to face his lifelong fears for her.

These stories are filled with thrill and their appeal lies in their flashiness. The whole "die for you" trope has been explored in countless stories, and one might think there's nothing new to explore in the romance genre when it comes to sacrificial love. I believed so, but my opinion changed after watching Mikasa’s and Eren’s story in "Attack on Titan" which indeed presented a complex case of sacrifice and love. Eren kills most of the world's population to ensure that Mikasa (along with all the Eldians) lives a life of freedom while Mikasa's decision to ultimately kill Eren, despite her deep love for him, shows the depth of her character and her commitment to the greater good, yet she never loves anyone again and continued to wear the red scarf for the rest of her life, one that Eren had given her.


One can ask, why does love always have to come with pain? Maybe that's a narrow mold to put the concept of love into. While true love rarely comes the easy way, it also makes life worth living. What would be a better example of that than the film, A Silent VoiceShouko hated Shoya because he bullied her in the past while Shoya grew and suffered from isolation, self-loathing behavior, and suicidal tendencies. When he met Shouko again after so many years, he made an effort to apologize. Despite their bitter past, Shouko accepts his apology, gives him a chance, and also helps ignite a will to live in him. In many ways, they both saved each other. According to their story, love is about giving people a second chance. Somewhere, they both understood that the person next to you had their reasons to act in a certain way and they needed help.

This also reminds me of the scene from the film, Princess Mononoke, where San pushes Ashitaka away as she believed that all humans are evil and all of them want to destroy the forests. She even tried to stab him but he responded to it with kindness. Since San was raised by wolves and lived in a forest among wild animals all her life, he knew that she has never been treated gently and her life has been full of hardships, and it's obvious that she hates humans because they are destroying her home. Maybe that urge to understand someone, make them feel seen and heard is how we define love. But why do we only do it for people we deeply admire? And what makes us admire them in the first place? How could someone eagerly face hardships for love? How do the same hardships make us want to live?


Why did Madame Gina love Marco Rossolini even when he turned into a pig? (Porco Rosso) Why did Taki travel back in time to save Mitsuha’s village? Why did Hinata face a villain she knew she could not win against just to save Naruto? (Naruto Shippuden) And why did Okabe go through an emotional turmoil to save Kurisu? (Steins Gate). Perhaps love, in its essence, makes us either foolish or undaunted. Especially when it comes after hardships, we learn to value it and hence, we try our best to protect it. Also, people mostly associate love with romantic relationships, and that's just a lazy way to describe it. 


Millennium Actress is a story of love, loss, and legacy, and while these themes have been explored in many films, this film presents them in the most beautiful way. Have you ever watched a love story where we know nothing about the male lead, not even how he looks? Well, this is it. Chiyoko meets this man only once in her life, she helps him, and he gives her a key. When she asks what this key is for, he says, “To the most important thing there is,” and then we never see him again. Later, Chiyoko becomes a legendary actress. While she would have never stepped out to take the risk to become an actress in a war-torn Japan, she did it to find the man she loves. The film is based on her recollection of memories, and she enthusiastically talks about her favorite roles, places she traveled to, and her films. She describes it in a way that the line between reality and her imagination becomes blurred. She had a great film career even though she could never find the man she was looking for.

It is later revealed to the audience that the man was long dead and no matter how hard she would have tried, there was no end to her wait. On her deathbed, she remembers the man and hopes that she meets him in her next life. She says, “After all, what I really love is the pursuit of him.” Despite never meeting him, there wasn't a single expression of regret on her face implying that she has lived a fulfilling life. Humans are not meant to sit around and live our lives, we need something to run after every day to find meaning. When that man said that the key can open the most important thing there is, was he talking about hope? If it's hope, then love is not a luxury, rather sustenance itself.


Perhaps it's alright that Jimmy never found a way to express his admiration for Chavvot; maybe he simply enjoys the pursuit of her. Maybe the author didn't provide a definitive answer to what Jimmy did to make Chavvot because there is no universal solution to what we can do to make someone feel admired. Regardless of how closely our love stories resemble those of others, they remain unique. If we were in Jimmy's shoes, we would have come up with our own ways to express our love, no?

How do you define love? Tell us in the comments below!

For more entertainment, follow us on @socialketchup

howl's moving castle steins gate your name must watch ghibli movies millenium actress anime couples anime movies to watch Porco rosso Attack in titan