Disclaimer: Includes spoilers for Houseki no Kuni, I highly recommend you watch it if you haven’t already. Even if not for the sake of not getting spoiled, I think it is quite worth a watch.
In this anime titled “Houseki no Kuni” or in English, “Land of the Lustrous”, the story focuses on a main character that is far weaker and spoiled compared to those around her. Her name is, Pho, short for Phosphophyllite. She always speaks her mind to those around her while escaping from whatever tasks she is told to do by others.
She is the embodiment of what people would call a failure in our society. Both unable as well as unwilling to work, she constantly causes trouble for those around her. Fortunately enough for her, those around her always end up covering for all her mistakes… even if it results in certain sacrifices.
Aside from the trouble she causes, caught up in her emotions, she promises to the isolated Cinnabar, who has a body which constantly releases a poison that harms those around her, that she would find her a better, more useful job that only she can do.
While it may have been an amazing promise if she could keep it, it isn’t right to give someone false hope without the determination to see it through.
Contrary to all the bad things I’ve said about Pho, she did her best to find another job for Cinnabar. Along the way, she learnt that she could communicate to different species. While to a viewer like myself, it seemed like an advantageous skill to have, it was simply seen as a ridiculous act by Pho to the others. Talking to other species was just unbelievable.
In the end, while it did not actually bring much merit and was seen to have disastrous immediate effects, everything worked out for the better… twice.
While it may have been a coincidence, or fate or whatever, everything bad that happened helped Pho to change into a “better” person. Well, at least in terms of how much she can contribute to the “society” she lives in. (not much of a society since there are only like 20+ of them)
There were 3 major changes.
First, it was when she obtained stronger legs that allowed her to move faster. In a sense, it would be the same as increasing someone’s efficiency at work. However, in Pho’s case, she couldn’t control her speed very well and always travels further than she intended to. Again, looking at reality, rushing ahead with everything is never a good option. We need to learn to take a step back and slow down every once in a while.
Second, it was when she had used an alloy of gold and platinum to replace her arms and strengthen her body. The malleability of the gold and platinum alloy gained her newfound adaptability to various situations. This is evidently something else that can be relevant in our society.
Third happened together with the second but instead of a physical change, it was a mental change. After experiencing the loss of a fellow friend who had worried with her and helped her over the course of a few months, she took it upon herself to become a responsible person like the one who was lost.
Looking past anime for a moment and into reality, many of us probably have been like Pho at some point in our lives, in fact, I’m pretty much like Pho this very moment. Not wanting to do work, wanting to laze around and talking back to anyone who tells us otherwise… no matter how you look at it, it’s the typical rebellious phase that anime parents always dread that their children are/will go through (when anime characters actually have parents that is).
However, as Pho had to change through the series, we too need to change. Not just in terms of competency, but in terms of mentality as well. We need not simply be efficient and adaptable. These are definitely important qualities for us to have in the workplace. However, what is important is that we have a sense of duty and responsibility over whatever we do. We need to do our work with the mentality that, “if no one else does it, I have to do it.” It’s no longer about personal wants and desires but whether society as a whole would be able to function if everyone just selfishly decided to laze around (like me).
This drastic change was seen in Pho and let’s just hope that we don’t need to experience the same sense of loss that Pho did to understand that we can’t go through life remaining the spoiled brats some of us were when we were younger.
This was all I could take away from the anime but honestly, while I think that it is important for us to learn to be responsible and do our jobs well in the future, I don’t think that we should sacrifice who we once were entirely. Pho didn’t change entirely either, while she became more responsible, you can see in the way she behaves that she was still Pho. Not sure if that makes much sense. Anyways, how to strike the balance between your work and your hobbies (assuming your work isn’t your hobby) is not something I would know since I’ve never worked before.
How about you?
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