「命かけて僕は生きたいんです」 (Inochi Kakete Boku wa Ikitain Desu)
“I Want to Put My Life on the Line to Live”
Holy shit. DAYS has won me over. Did not see this coming.
Last week I complained about how DAYS wasn’t providing much of any substantial character development. Now, at the prospect of introducing yet another character, I was really worried that the issue would be exacerbated, as the cast is further and further expanded with little done to flesh out their personalities. Oh ho boy was I wrong. This week’s more focused episode managed to wonderfully develop not only the freshest addition to our main cast, but also grant Tsukamoto the likability and depth he was very much in need of.
Episode four explores and expands on the series’ thus far most prominent theme: hard work pays off. Here, though, much of that is cast into doubt. Enter Ubukata, a jaded young girl who’s given up on her dreams—on her passion. As her past has taught you, you can’t always get what you want just by working your ass off for it. More often than not, there are inherent distinctions which separate most from the talented—which keeps us from achieving at the level that they do. No amount of diligence, perseverance, or passion can get you over this genetic hurdle. You just weren’t born to live your dreams. In which, why even bother? Why be so tortured and miserable at your failure and lack of ability when you can just forget it all and live a life of ignorance and bliss? It’s so easy, just let it go. Abandon your passions.
That’s why Tsukamoto is so special. In past episodes, the guy’s enthusiasm—while charming and likable—failed to garner any real sense of empathy because of how little of it was explained. This, episode, we finally get some insight into what keeps the guy going. He’s not an idiot, he knows he’s not the most athletic, or the most bright, or the most competent—really the most anything. He’s self-aware of his incompetence. He knows Ubukata’s right—that he’ll probably never be as good at soccer as Kazama.
But like he gives a shit.
All that matters to Tsukamoto is that he’s engaging in what makes him passionate—in what lights the ember in his chest, in what gives him purpose and meaning. He could give a flying fuck about the fact that he sucks at it, so long as he’s partaking in the thing which fulfills him deep within—in what makes him feel the most himself— he is content. This is a message that not only resonates in Ubukata, but I think a lot of people in general. Don’t be discouraged by the external circumstances in partaking in your passion. Though it’s important to be aware of them like Tsukamoto, it proves detrimental to be overly weighed down by it. Cast all that away and realize that what’s truly important is your own internal sense of fulfillment. If participating in this thing is imbuing you with life and meaning, then is it not most logical to continue doing so? Running away from this because you suck at it is counterproductive to your own internal progress. You can’t grow unless you come against obstacles bigger than you. Don’t turn your head away in ignorance, like Ubukata did. Face it head on, abandoning any sense of excessive thought.
Also just a quick shout out, I suggest checking out one of my favorite songs “Never Let it Die” by Watsky which addresses this very same topic with, I think, masterful lyricism. Give it a listen.
This wonderful theme enriches the episode’s primary characters, and grants them this really intimate, emotional dichotomy that does wonders for their relationship as characters. I’m really excited that Ubukata has been added to the main cast, as she’s arguably the best developed at this point. I look forward to the potential of maybe a burgeoning romance between the two? MmmMmmMmaybe? Idk just suggesting the possibility ;^)
I hope that DAYS continues to deliver on this phenomenal character development for the rest of the cast, and in tandem for some hopefully spectacular, adrenaline-pumping soccer matches. Inter-high is always when things blow up. I can’t wait.