In the 10th mini-episode of the short form series Nameko Families, we really get to see “Bad Nameko” in action. What action? Doing the right thing even as no one seems to notice it. He gets up early in the morning to water all of his mother’s plants. When his brother destroys the deck, he fixes it himself while his brother sleeps. When others get in trouble at school, he ends up taking the blame and accepts the punishment. Toward the end of the episode we see him at a convenience store eying up some candy cigarettes. What he does next is very telling of his character.
He sees three bully teens blocking the entrance from a woman and her infant child. He walks outside, tries to scare them, when that doesn’t work – he calls them over and lets them beat him up so the woman and her child can get to the store. After all this, Bad Nameko returns home and despite being badly beat up and finally having the opportunity to enjoy his candy, he shares it with his family gladly.
As a Christian, we are called to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31, Matthew 22:39). Christ also reminded us that our neighbor does not merely mean our family and close friends, it can also mean an enemy (Luke 10:25-37). Bad Nameko’s love was on display throughout this episode. He showed love to his Mother, love to his brother, love to his school mates, love to a stranger, and love to his siblings. In each case, he gave of himself. He gave more of himself than what was expected and more than he was getting in return. He loved sacrificially.
He sacrificed his sleep. He sacrificed his time and strength. He sacrificed his body, allowing himself to be beaten for others. While he did not give his actual life for a friend (John 15:13), he laid it down and gladly took a beating for a woman and her child. That’s sacrificial love. Much as Christ gave Himself for us, His undeserving enemies, Bad Nameko gave his body freely to a woman he did not know (Romans 5:8). He was willing to sacrifice himself, just like the Sega Hard Girls, for the joy of others. The love he shows reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
- Love is patient – Bad Nameko takes a punishment he does not deserve in school on behalf of other students, patiently waiting until it is over.
- Love is kind – Bad Nameko shares his snack at the end, even when he is tired and just wants to rest and be home.
- Is not boastful, is not conceited – When Bad Nameko returns home, he is asked how he got hurt. He tells his family that he fell off his motorcycle, never boasting in the fact that he took punishment on behalf of another. He also could have boasted in watering all the plants and the great mushroom crop his Mother saw in the morning. He does not.
- Does not act improperly – He could have walked away and no one in the world would blame him, instead he acted upright and helped the woman in need.
- Is not selfish – He shared when he could have horded his earthly possessions.
- Is not provoked and does not keep a record of wrongs – Did Bad Nameko lash out against the students who falsely accused him at school? No. Even though he had the right to, he took the punishment, moved on, and appeared to forgive them.
I could continue, but the point is valid. As I continue to watch this short form anime, I am taken aback by how much this family shows love, respect, and cares for the traditional values we as Christians hold dear. Bad Nameko continues to exemplify that with his good nature, despite his name.
One of my teachers growing up said that “Character is doing the right thing even when nobody’s looking.” Bad Nameko does that the entire episode. Bad Nameko has character and that character reflects the love of Christ. As believers who have the Holy Spirit, we should be reflecting it as well.