[2] Eriri Spencer Sawamura Got Me to Do What No Other Anime Character Could

“Inspiration” seems too weak a word.

Saekano 9-1.jpg

This is the eleventh of my entries into 2017’s rendition of the 12 Days of Anime aniblogger project. For more about the project, read appropriant’s introductory post. Please also check out the spreadsheet containing the work of all the bloggers participating!

Who You Are, What You Create

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to create things. While I have few memories of many things from my life as a child, many of the stories I wrote—etched out in a pre-teen’s handwriting on lined notebook paper—are still with me. I haven’t forgotten those characters, those clumsy attempts to iterate on the plots of video games I’d played or books I’d read. And the core impulse, while one that has since developed to desire expressions of originality or inspiration rather than imitation, has remained with me my entire life. To create.

After I finished Saekano♭, I spent the next two weeks with what felt like a fire in my stomach. It was hard to focus on things that weren’t creating (or practicing so I could create), and I dropped off on other hobbies to spend more time on my art.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how we make these sorts of connections with fictional characters in fictional worlds? By superficial estimations, Saekano was nothing more than another run-of-the-mill harem show (it’s at least at times a little more than that), and Eriri Spencer Sawamura just another in a long line of tsundere childhood friend haremettes. Perhaps this is the hidden redemption of harem anime, that as their effectiveness as fantasy girlfriend parades fades, what may emerge are characters who can stand on their own and offer the value of their own interior realities for us to admire and be inspired by.

Saekano Flat

I can barely articulate this. An in-depth analysis of Eriri’s character seems too ponderous, too detached. To describe my attachment to her on a personal level feels like an exercise in futility, a cheapening of the feeling through my own inability to express. So maybe it’s enough to describe the effects of watching Eriri staring out into the snow, Eriri arrogantly apologizing, Eriri burned out in the wake of her artistic heroism, Eriri furious at her humiliation at Akane Kousaka’s hands, Eriri blossoming before Utaha’s eyes, and exploding out of her constricting history. It’s not really about Eriri’s relationship with Tomoya, but with her coming to terms with her own ferocious talent and the insatiable demand to create that burns inside her. In the end, she finally understands. She understands her own need to create, not for someone else, but for herself. As for me…

… the fire of Saekano♭‘s immediate aftermath diminished in time, but the embers never went out. I’m preparing to go back to school to start an art degree and pursue in earnest the dream of creation that has followed me for so long. I intend to take myself and my own creative impulses seriously. It strikes me that saying so here on this blog is somewhat ironic, because these 12 Days of Anime posts may very well be the last I write as I commit to doing this for real. I detest hyperbole in describing the effects media have on our lives, so I won’t say my life has been changed. But it may very well be that one day I look back at Saekano♭ and realize how much began with this show. I don’t know what will happen, but I hope it might be something like that.

Saekano Flat 14

In the final episode of Saekano♭, Eriri says something to Utaha that more gracefully sums up a lot of what I’ve been trying to say. She says:

We’ve sacrificed too much not to take this seriously.

Invert this idea and you get, “To take something seriously means to make sacrifices.” Of course, the idea that artists must give up on financial security, personal relationships, and good health to truly do art is an insidious one (and one that that Saekano♭ toys with in Eriri’s second arc), but in general this idea isn’t wrong. Whether it’s time, money, or simply opportunities passed by, to commit to something means to give up on other things. Eriri represents all of this at once: The pain of sacrifice and the rewards of what’s gained in exchange.

I would like to do that as well. So I’m going to try.

Saekano Flat

Even after so much effort expended in trying to express my thoughts here, I still feel I’ve failed in my description. Oh well. Failure is part of all this as well.

7 thoughts on “[2] Eriri Spencer Sawamura Got Me to Do What No Other Anime Character Could

  1. While the show obviously centers around Megumi for eternity, it is undeniable that Eriri is such an underrated Tsundere!
    People (and admittedly myself) are quick to dismiss her as just a childhood blondie (The very same shitty trope for Chitoge of Nisekoi) until near the end of the series where at least I for one, got to witness Eriri’s true loss because of her hesitation. Quite a few times Saekano does remind us how Eriri’s choice of action was mostly affected by her love for Tomoya and it hurts watching her character suffer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a big jump Bless, but ya gotta follow your bliss! I wish you the best of luck!

    A bit of unsolicited advice after watching friends pursue art degrees: Do your due diligence. There’s a lot of shady pseudo schools and diploma mills in that particular field.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If I’m willing to be a bit honest with myself right now, I feel a little like Aoba Suzukaze watching Kou Yagami depart for new adventures far away haha.. it’s hard to believe it was only a year and a half ago when I first read some of your thoughts on anime; I was still only about a year removed from when anime first became a hobby, a passion of mine, and yet even then as my thoughts on anime were still taking shape I knew I had found someone whose words would carry so much weight in my life. I had found someone who, although our opinions on anime and other media may not have aligned perfectly, approached it with a mindset and worldview aligned so well, and that gave your words the power to cut far deeper into me even when I hadn’t seen the show you were writing about.

    So even though I was never quite inspired to dive headlong into aniblogging (save for a few writeups every now and again), there’s a part of me that feels that same selfishness, that same pain that Aoba carried as Kou prepared to fly away. I don’t want this to be the last I see of your writing; I don’t want to lose what has honestly been a major source of joy and encouragement for me this past year and a half. And yet, BECAUSE you and your writing mean so much to me, I want to see you go off and pursue your dreams, to share the feelings you’ve imbued in your writing all this time in a new way. Even if it’s hard to admit that to myself, that’s what I truly want for you, and I know that one day I’ll get to embrace those feelings you’ve shared once more. That’s what I’m choosing to believe, and I know that you sharing your heart in doing something that you love will make it that much more beautiful than before.

    So thank you Bless, and best of luck with wherever this new adventure leads you. Wherever you go, we’ll always be here to support you along the way~

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh, now here’s a surprise! Good luck with your plans, and make sure not to sacrifice your health. “Art” in “art degree” means drawing/painting, right? Otherwise it would be a more general “arts degree” which includes stuff like literary citicism and sometimes even the humanities. (Non-native speaker asking for clarification.)

    First thing I noticed about Eriri in season 1 is that she’s comfortable in casual wear around her friends. Not that strange a trait for a person, but an anime that admits this takes its characters seriously, no?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, art as in drawing, specifically. I already got a fine arts degree in writing.

      As to whether or not Saekano takes its character seriously—maybe something like 75%/25%. I can’t give too much credit to a show with a camera as leery as Saekano‘s.

      Like

      • Ah, good, you’ve got a good eye for visuals (as far as I can tell, which isn’t far, because I don’t have a very good eye for visuals).

        Ah, well, yes the camera. I repressed the memory (and episode 0 doesn’t exist).

        Like

        • Well, having a good eye for visuals isn’t quite the same as being able to make them! But I’m trying to learn!

          And yeah… there are enough good things that I don’t have to remember it, but yeah.

          Like

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