There are moments in our lives where we lose our sense of self-worth and value and as a result, we find ourselves deep in darkness or drowning in the ocean. However, every person in this world is a treasure—we treasure ourselves or we are treasured by others—and at times, we may need to be reminded of that. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring pop culture characters who have suffered from mental illnesses, depression, and/or suicide. We will be discussing how these individuals cope with these issues, the reasons for their emotions, and how they handled the situations they are in.
***Mental illness, suicide, and depression are pretty serious topics and we hope that our OWLS post will give you some solace.
(I will keep the spoilers a minimum. If not, it will have spoilers!)
Lost and Stolen Treasure
Depression is a serious matter for all mankind. Depression not only sucks the life of happy people but it could also steal the life of those who we hold dear. Depression can come in like a thief and steal the “treasure” of someone and make them suffer. Those who have their “treasure” go forth and set out to reclaim they lost. Some find it and return to their normal life, but there are others who still looking for their stolen treasure. Unfortunately, there are others who have given up on searching their treasures and forfeit their lives. These lost hunters are suicide victims and they are those can not feel happy at all and just give up. Some of these people can even be people who may not expect to die so soon. Celebrities and singers are unfortunately the victims in most cases. In August 14, 2014, Robin William committed suicide; Robin Williams was a comedian actor who played roles in well-known movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, and he even voiced cartoon characters such as Genie from Aladdin, Fender from Robots, and Batty from Ferngully. Recently, lead singer of Linkin Park Chester Bennington, committed suicide in July 20th 2017. These men had wonderful fans after what happened to them, every fan mourned because their hero has fallen. These men had a treasure and they shared it to everyone; they had love for us. Now with their treasure gone forever, it’s up to us to protect our treasures.
Even today, there are many people out there search for their treasure. Some might even be looking for it in years. In this post, I will be discussing about man who lost it for 50 years and almost lost his life. That man is Samurai Jack.
Who is the Samurai?
If some reason this video is not able to be played, I will tell you about Samurai Jack. Samurai Jack is a cartoon series created by Genndy Tartaovsky, an animator, director, producer and screenwriter for varies cartoons. His notable works include Dexter’s Laboratory, Sym-Bionic Titan, his own version of Star Wars: Clone Wars and directer to Hotel Transylvania.
Samurai Jack tells the story of a Samurai nicknamed Jack who gets sent to the far future after fighting the evil shapeshifter sorcerer Aku. In the future, Aku is alive and rules the world and he has opened many portals where aliens, robots and others species rule over the human world. Now trapped in the future, Samurai Jack must find a way back home to his past and stop Aku from ruining the future and past.
The show started in August 10, 2001 and ran through Cartoon Network all the way to September 25, 2004. Back then, the show ran for a total of four seasons until it got halted and discontinued the series. However, the series creator and voice actors announced that Samurai Jack will return for season five and will conclude the series but it won’t be on Cartoon Network and it will be on Adult Swim. Season five premiered on March 11th, 2017 and concluded the series in May 20th, 2017.
With this brief information stated, I would like to focus on the blog tour topic by using the fifth (last) season of Samurai Jack as my example due to the fact that this particular series is known for his dark content and graphic details on harsh reality.
Season Five: 50 Years has passed…
In this final season, Jack has been trapped in the dark future for 50 years. Revealed in this intro and first episode, Jack stopped aging and he lost his magical, ancient sword. To make matters worse, it is also revealed that all the time portals are destroyed and that Jack can no longer return home. Now feeling trapped under Aku’s law, Jack will do anything to survive and fight no only Aku’s top assassins and strange beasts, but also his inner demons.
You Failed us!
I won’t be spoiling much but I will mention some important aspects. While watching the season, Jack displays some personal struggles as his inner self starts tormenting him and feeds with dark feelings. In the first episode, Jack fears comes to life when he begins to hallucinate and sees his people from Japan become the undead spirits and hears his father and mother calling him a failure. To more to the flame, while fighting an assassin, Jack talks to himself and thinks he is talking to children after finding out he failed to protect them during the battle.
Death before Honor?
Not his guilt consumes him, but his own inner past self starts torment him and insisting that death is the way to freedom. In the second episode, after being surrounded and overwhelmed by seven mysterious assassins, his inner self shows up and tells him that he is tired of fighting and tells him he wants peace.
In the next episode, after getting seriously hurt from killing a HUMAN assassin, Jack seeks refuge and suffers an injury that hurts more than the battles he faced in the past. His inner self returns but appear more devilish and creepy. He tells Jack that he is suffering through the fact that he killed a human after all these years of fighting robots. He mocks him by asking him if he either wants to get killed intentionally or fight them in order survive; hence, kill or be killed.
Last and not example is a moment where Jack’s suicide thought is triggered when he believes he killed children. In couple episodes, also sparing an assassin’s life named Ashi, Jack and Ashi encountered a hurt civilian and informs them that someone kidnapped some children. While finding the children, the kidnapper traps Ashi and brainwashes the children and tried to kill by electrocuting their minds. However, after Ashi escapes and kills the kidnapper and causes his technology to overload, Jack is convinced he killed children after seeing them get electrocuted in front of his eyes. Believing he killed the children and seeing himself as a failure, Jack goes with some mysterious ghost samurai and prepare a shocking ritual, seppuku, the art of suicide.
All is not lost
This is not the end of Samurai Jack! Remember I mentioned Ashi? Ashi was one of the seven human assassins that tried to kill Jack, but she gets spared and Jack tried to show her that Aku was evil. After she found out that Jack disappeared, she goes on a journey to find him but she encounters some of the people Jack saved and helped. This causes her to believe that Jack is actually good and Aku is really evil. After finally finding Jack and seeing him trying to kill himself, Ashi goes out of her way to try to stop him and evil fight the ghosts samurai. Ashi tells Jack that he is a good man and that the children from the previous episode are all alive and safe because of him. With the realization, Jack protects Ashi from death and he regains his confidence and decides he must go and continue his quest to kill Aku and go home.
Have you been trapped?
Do you ever feel like you are Jack? Do you feel like you are trapped in a world you don’t belong in? How long have you been trapped? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?
50 years is long time to be trapped in but if you are a person who is or was trapped by depression or mental illness, your life could get feel this way. The definition of trapped could mean be answered by any definition but it most cases, it means being restricted to prevent freedom or constricted and left no where to go. In real life, people who are trapped by these negativity will do anything to avoid being captured. Drugs, sex, or any other form of distractions are sometimes commonly used by people who wants life in their life, however, they are only temporary. Unfortunately, there are those who seek permanent rest and freedom and some people believe suicide is the way to escape.
In my opinion, suicide is not the way to escape life. Life can be hard but you shouldn’t try to escape from it with death. Some people say it’s an escape from harsh life but I say it’s a sign of giving up. By giving up your life, you telling the world life has won and you were unable to win the battle. In the Christian life, suicide is also telling God that you stopped believing in Him and you threw away the gift He has given you. Jesus was willing to die for us on that cross. The nails that pierced His skin didn’t keep Him up there, he stayed there because He loves us. By showing God that you ended your life, you showed Him that you have given up His love and you showed that Satan (also nicknamed the Prince of the Air) has won. Life is hard but you don’t need to fight alone!
Conclusion – You can break me down but you can’t break my spirit!
Life is like a warzone. We are fighters in this dark world. The enemy can be anyone. The enemy could like Aku and try to manipulate you and try to hurt you and steal your the most precious treasure, your life. As fighters, we need to protect out treasure from those who wants to steal it. We need to fight like Samurai Jack and show life that you can trap us as many times you want but in end, we can escape and be number one. The battle can be as long as more than 50 years and sometimes it can leave battle scars. There will be times where you might see someone you know struggling and they will be tempted to end their life in front of you. As a warrior, you never leave partner behind no matter what the circumstance is. They could be drowning, caught under fire, or walking in a thin line between life and death, you need to pick yourself up and show them that there is a way to find hope in life.
I hope you liked this blog tour. Sorry if it was too long to read. Next up is Zoe from Let’s Talk Anime and her post is on Sept 8th.