Bubbles and Bullying in the "March Comes in Like a Lion" Anime

"Throughout the school bullying subplot, Hinata Kawamoto has been the target of pernicious harassment"


March comes in like a lion concludes its school bullying subplot with a conversation between a substitute teacher and a class bully. The teacher asks why the bully did it. The bully describes feeling alienated by modern Japanese society. She feels that the working world is a dog-eat-dog one. Her ruthless behavior as a bully was just the logical conclusion to her bleak observations. She’s not responsible for her actions, really. Society is to blame. She would presumably apply that ruthless mindset to everything outside of school once she becomes an adult. The teacher says that a callous world doesn’t justify her malicious actions toward people who’ve done no previous wrong toward her. She responds by saying that neither her teachers nor her family understand. He replies that he’s hear because he wants try to, if only she’s willing to talk. As an educator, he feels that it’s his job.



Societies expect different things from children than they do from adults. You could say that they always have. Children are smaller and weaker. They’re less worldly and experienced, so they’ve traditionally been assigned less dangerous and laborious tasks. In modern society, we don’t expect kids to go to work. We expect them to go to school. Children will grow into adults on their own physiologically. Schools teach children how to be adults mentally. Schools help them understand how to take care of themselves and support their families and communities once they’ve grown up.


Until children are prepared to be independent, schools surround them in a bubble. Shielded from the full penalties of screwing up in the adult work world, children stumble and learn from their mistakes in their safer school environment. They develop and refine their academic skills with their studies, and create and maintain healthy relationships with each other. In modern society, kids being educated are supposed to have a three-pillared support network. That support network is meant to encourage or correct children when they fall behind and do something wrong. Those pillars are:


(1) their teachers,

(2) their families, and

(3) their friends.



Throughout the school bullying subplot, Hinata Kawamoto has been the target of pernicious harassment. The harassment campaign started when Hina publicly defended her childhood friend from bullies. Her friend would later drop out of school. Her friend’s bullies would later turn their attentions toward Hina. Hina’s classmates witnessed this bullying silently, fearful they may be targeted next if they spoke out. Hina’s homeroom teacher stood by as well, aware of the bullying convinced that it would be more trouble to intervene. Already, one pillar of Hina’s support network as a child has failed her: her teacher. Half of another pillar, the friends in her class, have been cowed from helping her.



Left on her own without any supports to lean on, Hina may have dropped out of school too. However that other half pillar, friends like Rei, provided her company and distracted her from her woes. The final pillar, family like Akari, was steadfast in its support of her problems: comforting her, standing up with her, assuring her that she did nothing wrong.



The parts of her support network that were working as intended gave her the courage to continue going to school, being a kind and considerate person, and engaging with other people. The bullies eventually began targeting Hina’s homeroom teacher. The teacher cracked mentally, dropping out of school herself and resigning herself to a shut-in life.



The substitute teacher almost immediately filled in the gap of Hina’s support left behind by her broken pillar of a homeroom teacher. He called parent-teacher meetings with Hina’s guardians and the chief bully’s parents. He noted the ruthless and callous qualities that the bully’s mother also possessed while letting Hina know that he was on her side. He separated the bullies from the rest of the class, giving Hina’s classmates the peace they’d need to talk openly about the bullying going on. Some of Hina’s classmates would later come to Hina and apologize to her, tearfully, for not coming to her aid out of fear.

 

March comes in like a lion concludes its school bullying subplot with a conversation between a substitute teacher and a class bully. Fast forward to the first paragraph.



For March comes in like a lion, the goal of education is not only to create workers. The aim of education is also to teach people how to navigate relationships. School days are a microcosm of adult living. People who are misfits in school will likely stay maladjusted out of it if left alone. People who are bullies in school will likely carry their predatory habits into adulthood if nothing’s done. Adults can’t expect the same kinds of safety nets children are entitled to, and the idea of society being a dog-eat-dog world becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Schools are meant to prevent children from becoming shut-ins and predators, and failing that, schools and teachers have failed their roles as educational institutions. Hina’s homeroom teacher either lacked that support or convinced herself that she lacked it, causing her to abandon her career for her home. However, there’s much less of a bubble living independently. She’s going to need to return to work one day to pay for her living expenses, regardless of her anxiety. Hina’s childhood friend continued to have the support of her parents even as she dropped out of school. She’s rehabilitating at a therapy center with supportive teachers. She and her supportive friend, Hina, continue to correspond through letters.



The chief instigator of the class bullying has no sympathetic parents to turn to. She probably doesn’t consider anyone to be her real friends, but for now, she at least has a teacher willing to listen to her. As for Hina, she overcame her bullying problems and continued to engage with the world because she had a robust support network. Some of Hina’s classmates would later come to Hina and apologize to her, tearfully, for not coming to her aid out of fear. They invite her into their social group to make amends. A well-adjusted and loved Hina happily accepts.



Watch March comes in like a lion Now on Crunchyroll!


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A social scientist and history buff who dabbles in creative writing and anime analysis every now and again. If you’d like to get in touch with him or are interested in reading more of his works, ZeroReq011 has a Twitter you can follow and runs a Blog called Therefore It Is.

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