Long time no see! This month we OWLS are looking at the impact that teachers, whether it be academic or in skill, have on people. I was the one who requested this topic, and it seems that everyone has been enjoying it thus far!
Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.
Majority of anime characters have a sort of mentor, or teacher, in their life, so picking an anime to focus on for this month was hard. So many choices! I initially wanted to focus on The Ancient Magus’ Bride, but someone beat me to it. Though I finally snagged Haikyuu after wanting to write on it for so many months!
When the Student Surpasses the Teacher
The first dynamic I thought of when looking at this prompt was between Oikawa and Kageyama. I always found the way they interacted interesting. They have this ongoing competition throughout the series, just between the two of them. There have been times that they ignored what was going on with the rest of their teammates just to focus on beating each other.
In middle school, Oikawa and Kageyama were on the same team for one year. Oikawa was clearly very talented, and Kageyama would watch in awe as he improved his serves as the year went on. Kageyama wanted to learn from Oikawa, but he was already so talented, to the point where he could be considered a prodigy, that Oikawa was jealous and didn’t want to teach Kageyama anything. Still, Kageyama would watch and learn from Oikawa, until he became so talented as a setter that he could easily surpass Oikawa.
Without having Oikawa as an example for Kageyama, he may never have become the powerful “king of the court” that he is.
The Impressive Middle Blocker Never had a Mentor?
Looking in the opposite direction of this topic, what happens when someone with raw talent never has someone to improve their skills?
Hinata easily was the most passionate and talented kid in his middle school when it came to volleyball. But there was hardly a team, let alone a coach who could teach the team to improve on their skills. Hinata had to find people outside of his age group to play with, and had to practically teach himself all he knows about the sport.
When he entered Karasuno, he was subpar compared to the others, having never played on a real team and didn’t know how to work with the others. He fumbled a lot in the beginning, but in the end, I think it was Kageyama that helped him through it. When they began working together as the “freak duo” and taught themselves their special quick, Hinata began to understand the sport better.
Though he still never had the mentor the others did, he still had the talent to get him through the rough patches at first.
Training Camp! Training Camp!
I couldn’t talk about improving through those better than you without mentioning the training camp arc in season two, my favorite part in the whole series.
In this arc, characters from three different teams learn from each other to improve their skills. Karasuno, Nekoma, and Fukurodani members played against each other to see where their strengths and weaknesses were, so then the teams could improve on those certain areas before the big tournament in the spring.
Our main characters who wanted to get better were Hinata, Lev, and Tsukishima, who were learning from Kuroo, Bokuto, and Akaashi.
Hinata had a falling out with Kageyama after their team lost to Seijoh in the previous tournament, and he blamed himself for the team’s loss. Since then, they hadn’t been able to work together to do their special quick, and the team had been suffering in every game they played. Hinata and Kageyama decided to split up for the time being and train on their own to recuperate, and then come back together to improve on their quick when their focus was back.
Lev was a new team member, who was assumed to be a great addition to Nekoma due to his height, but he had little to no experience and fumbled through all of the motions of their games. By attending these smaller training sessions with the captain of his team and members of the famous Fukurodani, he was able to get a better grasp on the game and what his part in it is.
Tsukishima had been questioning why he even decided to join volleyball, and participated in these little sessions to see if he could find that reason. Bokuto told him that there was always a special moment for everyone that gave them a sense of adrenaline and made them realize why this sport was great. Tsukishima’s change didn’t occur until season three during the game with Shiratorizawa, when he finally had the moment that Bokuto had mentioned. Without going through the training, he would have never found purpose in playing volleyball, and likely would have quit.
Real Life Experience
I’ve never played in a sport, but I did take dance when I was young. Even now, seven years after my last dance lesson, I still have much of the knowledge my instructor taught me, and I can somewhat choreograph routines (though I don’t know if they’re very good). Teachers are a vital part of our lives, whether they are someone who has been trained to teach a skill or if they just have a lot of experience in that area. Without people who already are knowledgeable in a skill we want to improve, we’d all have a hard time getting anything done.
Funny thing, I found out that today is Oikawa’s birthday! I didn’t even plan that, but I guess it all worked out that I decided on this anime to discuss on this day.
If anyone missed it, I wrote a little blog update yesterday to explain the status of my blog as it is now. I will still be doing an OWLS post every month, unless a topic truly stumps me.
Hope you enjoyed my stop on this tour, I kind of wish I took this one more seriously and went more in depth, since this was my topic, but oh well. Cosplay has been taking up a lot of my time recently.