Right from the beginning, it was obvious that The Day I Became a God was going to be a bittersweet tale of fleeting relationships and lost youth. Although, based on the events of the first episodes and the title itself, even I couldn’t have imagined the direction this series would have taken in the final few episodes.
And I’m not sure how I feel about it.
The premise of The Day I Became a God follows Yota; a listless high schooler whose biggest drive in his life seems to be his one-sided crush on his enigmatic childhood friend Kyoko. His life turns upside down at the beginning of his final summer break as a high schooler when an energetic young girl in a strange outfit shows up before him claiming to be a God, being able to prove it with near-omnipotent knowledge of everything.
While Yota is more interested in studying to get into the same college as Kyoko, the girl (Hina) tells him that it’s pointless, as the world is due to end with the final day of summer and that the two should enjoy the time left instead. There are some beautifully animated moments in these first handful of episodes, with Yota going out and using Hina’s knowledge to try and help the people around him.
The whole subplot of the world ending seems like an obvious metaphor for the final summer before “adulthood”, which is this strange concept in anime I see a lot, where people seem to act like, once you’re an adult, you can’t have fun anymore. Which means you need to make the most of your high school years. But for the most part, it seems like it is just a sub plot, as the idea of the world ending doesn’t seem to garner much attention from the characters.
Instead, we get a series of events of Yota and Hina working together to improve the lives of those around them. It seems like pretty standard fare for this kind of show, with the message seemingly being for Yota to stop living for himself and start living for others. It’s at the point where things change when that message takes on a whole new, and more serious meaning.
Towards the end of the series, we learn the truth behind Hina; that she isn’t a God. Rather, she was suffering from a rare (and fictional) neurodegenerative disorder. One her grandfather managed to cure by implanting a microchip in her brain. One that allowed her to function normally as any other young girl, but also gave her impossible knowledge of everything and everyone in the world.
The result being that shady government suits show up to take Hina away and remove the chip because her knowledge could destabilize world governments, finances and bring everything to ruin. And while any other series might have these people lock her up and use her knowledge for their own personal gain, they instead make the more “moral” judgement that the knowledge is too dangerous. And so they plan to remove the chip from Hina and destroy it.
It all culminates in this moment where, at the prospect of losing her, Yota makes a confession of love to Hina. A moment whose tone I wasn’t sure I understood the series was going for. It was treated as some huge moment between the two, but I never got a hint of a romantic relationship between the two at all before now.
Their relationship always felt like more of a long lost brother/sister dynamic to me, which might have been the dynamic the show was going for. But the whole approach to the scene seemed to treating it like some huge romantic moment, which would add further tragedy to what would follow as Yota would be powerless to stop the men from taking her away.
Maybe it was all meant to be a sibling relationship dynamic between the two, as none of the events of lead up to it or follow really hint at anything more than familial love. But the ending of this episode was built up to this confession that felt like it was being treated as this doomed romance, one with a tone that had so little build-up that I couldn’t help but feel distracted by it.
The issue really is, the series spent so much time building up this community of characters around both Yota and Hina and showing why they would go out of their way to support the pair of them, but failed to really invest any time in the two of them themselves and their relationship with one another. Which I feel should have been important for this moment to actually pay off.
Which would have made the following episodes, where the tone shifts dramatically feel more powerful. When Yota is reunited with Hina, she has had the chip removed and succumbed back to the effects of her illness. She is fragile, mostly bedridden and uncommunicative. Seeing her so different than she was before, Yota has difficulty reconnecting with her. Mostly because their relationship never felt like it got any real depth.
The rest of the series follows Yota breaking through his own mental barriers as much as hers, coming to understand and accept Hina for the person she is now compared to what she was like when he first met her and spent that summer with her. Which he eventually does, and shows just how deeply the pair love one another.
It’s a very bittersweet story, but not in the way I was expecting at all. While the world never did end, Yota’s childhood did. Which was my whole assumption about the series to begin with. Although, while I had initially displayed confusion as to why anime had this obsession with “youth” and it being a finite resource, this series makes a very stamp in the distinction between being a kid and being an adult: Responsibility.
And why that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Through meeting him, Hina undoubtedly gave Yota’s life purpose where there was none before. As the series ends, Yota is determined to both dedicate his life to caring for Hina and coming to understand her illness, going to college to study it in hopes of contributing to its treatment as a medical researcher.
The whole beginning of the series paints the end of youth as some kind of doomed time, as if it really were the last part of your life where you can truly enjoy yourself. Yet, by the time the series is over it doesn’t exactly make a strong case to argue otherwise. While both Yota and Hina might be happy, with Yota’s life having a renewed purpose, where there was none before. There’s no doubt hat what happened to Hina was tragic, and wasn’t something that had to happen, as much as the series half-heartedly tried to argue otherwise.
It ends up making it so the show has a very strange message to promote. Yota’s desire to stay with and continue loving Hina is a beautiful one (even if I feel like the show could have spent more time with them before the turn), but it feels like the whole point of the show it saying that “being an adult comes with a lot of baggage, and it’s going to be difficult, but in the end, it’ll probably be worth it”.
I guess it was just a lot more stark and real than I was ever expecting compared to when I started this series. I have no doubt both Yota and Hina would go on to live long and happy lives together, even if no breakthroughs for Hina’s illness are ever found. But for a series whose message seems to revolve around responsibility being a good thing, it really does lay it on heavy.
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