Lesson Nine: Sometimes Our Best Friends Are Just Assholes

Lately I’ve been feeling like this blog is getting a little too personal but then I remembered it’s named, “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Anime” not “Everything You Need to Know, You Can Learn From Anime.”  So anyway, as the title of this post might lead you to believe, my best friend is an asshole.  It’s an issue I’ve been struggling with for quite some time, but more lately than ever.

I was talking about this post idea with my brother and we had “Cowboy Bebop” on the brain, so we were talking about the Spike/Vicious friends-turned-enemies dynamic; the Gren/Vicious relationship and the “Do you have a comrade?” quote at the end of that arc; even the Jet/Fad buddy-turned-betrayer episode.  Thinking of these examples, I wondered if perhaps the post should be titled, “Sometimes Our Best Friends Are Just Assholes…Which is Why We Have to Kill Them.”  Believe me, it was tempting.

Instead, I thought of “Gungrave.”  This anime really drew me in when I started it; the two guys, Harry and Brandon, pals for life, watching each other’s backs, kicking ass, working their way up through the underworld, making it to the big time.  I thought of how Harry used Brandon for his own ends, looking out for number one and all of that.  And, of course, how when Brandon couldn’t bring himself to kill his best friend, his best friend killed him.  The story continues with Brandon’s resurrection and path for revenge, to take out Harry like he should have long ago…only to once again, not pull the trigger.  Watching it, I was extremely frustrated.  Kill him, already!  He’s not the friend you once knew, he killed you for crying out loud!  Twenty-six episodes of heartbreak and betrayal and no revenge?!

I told Brother that to this day, I’m conflicted about that ending.  He said to me, “I think that’s supposed to represent how, even though things had changed, they both just wanted to go back to the way things were in the good ol’ days.”  For a moment, I was speechless.  Dumbfounded, because I felt like an idiot that it was so obvious and I hadn’t seen it.  All this time I had been putting up with my asshole best friend because I was trying so hard to go back to the way things were.

…So I guess the question now is: Am I Brandon and forgive him, going out in a blaze of glory and futility together?  Or am I Spike and pull the trigger?

Figuratively speaking about the trigger.

Maybe.

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