Friday, November 7, 2014

Encouragement of Climb, S2 Ep. 15: Walking With You

This will be a relatively short post regarding episode 15 of the second season of Encouragement of Climb. There will be mild spoilers, so I'll add in the jump as usual.

Episode 15 of Encouragement of Climb takes a break from the plotline centering around Aoi's climbing exploits to look at some of Kaede's past. Kaede is definitely a wonderful character, as I've already talked about in my previous posts on this show; her experience with mountain climbing allows her to provide a mentoring and supportive role, something that a novice climber like Aoi desperately needs, especially when the climbs don't go as well as they would like.

However, as we find out, Kaede wasn't always a team climber, as in the past she would go climbing all by herself. She considered that a very freeing experience, as she can do whatever she wants, without having to worry about other climbers. This, however, worries her non-climbing friend Yuuka, who is scared that she would suffer a dangerous climbing injury; when Kaede sprains her ankle during a climb, Yuuka seems particularly hurt that Kaede did not listen to her.

After the two of them make up, Kaede realizes that, as much of a freeing experience climbing alone is, it is also a lonely experience. Sure, to have someone else be "climbing" with you (even if they are not actually climbing, like Yuuka), means she cannot just make decisions and charge forward on her own; she has to consider the worries of others, and if she gets too far ahead, she has to stop and let those behind her catch up. There isn't as much freedom, but in exchange, she no longer has to worry about ending up alone. She then takes this attitude as she helps out Aoi and crew, willing to keep a slower pace for her sake during climbs to help her out.

As I've mentioned before, there's a definite temptation in the Christian walk to try to go at it alone, or more accurately, "just me and God". By distorting the idea that God will provide for all our needs, we can sometimes decide that we do not need to involve others in our walk of faith. However, among other things, this is ultimately a very selfish thing for us to do; after all, even if we claim that we are having God guide us, by having no other people involved in our consideration, it is very easy to just do whatever we want. By having to consider the needs and worries of others, we learn how to be more loving.

That is why a continual theme among my posts has been how Christianity is a team effort, and the value of having good Christian friends by your side. It is why, if you do try to go at Christianity alone, you will probably still feel the pains of loneliness, even when you think God is all the companionship you need; those pains are a sign that God has given us a need for human companionship so that we can learn to be loving people.  And it is why stories in anime like in this show about people learning to walk with each other continue to resonate strongly with me season after season.

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