I’ve been watching an anime called One Piece lately. There’s like 1,000 episodes, but I’ve only seen what’s on Netflix and I really enjoy it. It’s about this young pirate captain who builds a crew to chase their dreams. The crew ends up having these incredible adventures and they become more than just a crew, they’re best friends with unquestionable loyalty to each other despite all the times they might not get along. That’s probably my favorite thing about the show.
Fast forward to several adventures later and the crew docks on a small island. While they’re sleeping, a creature on the island steals their memories. The only one not affected is the Bookworm who chose to stay up late and read a book instead (morale of the story: stay up late reading books and your memories won’t be taken). By the time morning comes none of them, besides the Bookworm, remember that they’re best friends. They revert back to who they were before they met each other. The Bookworm tries to explain, but as expected, she’s met with a lot of resistance. My favorite character in the show wakes up last. When the others realize he’s there, some of them freak out, because even though they don’t remember each other, they recognize his name. They know him as a pirate hunter, a renowned bounty hunter, and the most skilled swordsman of the East Blue. They’re wary of him. Before the Bookworm can explain again, the Swordsman bails. He goes overboard and swims to shore.
And no one stops him.
They all let him go, and breathe easier that he’s gone. In fact, throughout the plot they don’t go after him. Though the Bookworm brings it up, the others say he’s too scary, too dangerous, and too much of a jerk to be bothered with.
I watched that episode a while ago and it still bugs me. My favorite character, the one who showed the most loyalty to the crew throughout their adventures got brushed off by the others because he was too scary to get to know. It made me think about the sequence of the story. The Swordsman was the first person to join the Captain’s crew–the very first recruit–so when the others came along, they didn’t have a choice but to accept that he was a part of their crew. Had he not been the first recruited, would the others still have accepted him? He’s a standoffish character, honorable, and tough. He holds himself to high standards and doesn’t give a lick what other people think about him, so it makes him hard to get to know. The best way to get to know him is to let his actions speak instead, the only way to do that is to spend time with him. Time for different scenarios to see those actions. From what I’ve seen of the anime, no one would get past his hardened demeanor to give him a chance.
Now in the plotline of the missing memories, everything works out. The crew finds the creature stealing their memories and with every fight against it, they get their memories back and all returns to normal. The Swordsman rejoins the crew.
It makes me wonder of how many incredible and unique people do we miss out on knowing just because they’re too standoffish, quiet, distant, or just plain hard to get to know? Can you think of someone in your life? If you took a minute to get past their walled exterior what kind of person would you discover beneath? The Swordsman from the anime has a terrible sense of direction. When he isn’t training or defending his friends, he can be a bit of sloth, choosing to sleep a lot. He takes his commitments very seriously, and holds others to them as well. Nothing is fake or pretend with him, and as long as someone apologizes for their wrong, he’ll forgive them, and he gives them plenty of chances to apologize.
People aren’t always what you see on the exterior. You may see someone as quiet, standoffish, or reserved, but someone who got to know them might see someone passionate, kind, or even goofy. What you see from someone depends on how much you’re willing to get to know them. Maybe they’re like the Swordsman and don’t want to open up to start, but from my experience, a little patience and kindness can go a long way.
Featured Image snipped from the actual One Piece episode on Netflix.