Bleach (The Anime) & Exams
Bleach is one of my first forays into anime. It was a great anime and I have watched it till the very end. Bleach follows the protagonist, Kurosaki Ichigo’s thrust into the world of Shinigami. The anime follows how he gradually went from a mere underdog to one of the strongest Shinigami. That’s the gist of it, but one of the things that I love about the anime is not what happened in the end, but the process of Kurosaki’s growth, much like exams.
Do you remember the first time you sat for your exams? I did, it was fun, until I received my results for my Chinese paper. I got a B and yes, it was unacceptable to my teacher. For such poor performance, I was punished. That started my fear of exams. I felt like the protagonist of Bleach, striving towards a goal that seemed endless and impossible.
Shikai & Bankai
The Shikai and Bankai is how each Shinigami unlocks their sword’s innate ability. Shikai is akin to the first level and Bankai is where the Shinigami unlocks his sword’s full power. The journey towards unlocking both of these levels are arduous. It requires much concentration, training and mastery.
The Shikai and the Bankai are like the three national exams that we have to take. The first national exam is at the end of one’s primary school year. The second national exam is in the third year of one’s secondary school year and the final one is at the end of one’s secondary school stint.
Each national exam, of course, is much harder than the next and requires one to learn… I mean memorize a huge amount of facts. Just like the training of Kurosaki Ichigo to achieve both Shikai and Bankai, the journey is difficult and at the of it all, he managed to defeat his enemies through his hard work. Similarly, if one were to train as hard as he, it would not be difficult to conquer all these exams. That is until you realize that the exams of life are similar to the antagonists of Bleach.
The Antagonists of Bleach & The Journey
The antagonists of Bleach are strong to the extent that it boggles the mind. Each enemy becomes stronger and stronger to the extent that you wonder how the protagonists are ever going to defeat them. This is especially the case for the final arc of the series.
The similarity here is in exams. At the end of my high school year, I thought that I have conquered it all until I went to university and completed my first degree and then my second. At this point in time, as I am facing my Ph.D. examination, I feel like the protagonists of Bleach, facing off the final boss. And he is unbelievably strong.
Villains of Bleach (image source)
This, I’m sure is something that you can relate to, but the point that I want to put forth is this, no matter what happens, life will continually to throw harder and harder exams at you. In other words, the only easy challenge was yesterday’s and as it gets tougher and tougher, we have a choice, to make. We could give up and throw in the towel, or we can learn from the main character in Bleach, Kurosaki Ichigo.
That lesson is to continue to fight on no matter how daunting the challenge may be. Sure, you will get bruised and defeated along the way, but just like him, you just may acquire new skills and mature over time. That is because ultimately, the exams are not as important as the process or the journey one goes to in striving to do well in said exams.
So, no matter what your challenge may be, fight on and never give up.