Hayasaka vs MC Miyuki

“If you don’t put on an act, you won’t be loved” 

Ai Hayasaka

“Fuck it, I’m acting out the ideal me!”

MC Miyuki

Yeow, Foolish Bubbul here. I really enjoyed the rap battle episode in season 3 of Love is War. Chika teaching Miyuki anything is always hilarious, the animation for the battle was creative and unique, the story finally addressed Hayasaka’s mental state and let her have a cathartic explosion with Kaguya, and the rap itself along with the stances of each character became thought provoking for me. I’ll just try to organize some of my thoughts and hopefully arrive at some kind of conclusion at the end.

Let’s first examine Hayasaka’s statement that started the whole shenanigan, “If you don’t put on an act, you won’t be loved”. It reveals a nihilistic worldview, not only implying that staying true to yourself is not a feasible way to get people to love you, but also that the love you get from people is never for you, but for the act that you put on in their presence. My gut reaction to these depressing statements has always been refutation (which I am sure is what Shirogane Miyuki was scheming for 2 episodes), but at first glance the statement seems to hold water.

The human motivation to find love and acceptance from others is universal. Babies act in a way to secure their parents love at home, elementary schoolers change their actions to be accepted by their peers, high schoolers stress over social standing and fitting in, college students worry about dressing nice for parties and dates… What’s interesting to notice is that the quest for love and acceptance drops in importance as people grow older, which is in accordance to the development of their self identity, the decrease of neuro-plasticity in the brain and the inability to drastically modify our behaviors that comes with it. All this links love from others with our behavior in front of them, which is not necessarily constant in all settings. In fact, many of us can probably relate to acting in different ways in different friend groups; after all not many jocks care about math problems, and most band kids don’t want to discuss anime all the time. Even Miyuki is guilty of this: his entire backstory is changing himself into the kind of man “that can stand next to her (Kaguya)”, and the source of most of his insecurities come from conjuring and protecting that image of himself.

However, a presupposition that her statement rests upon is the existence of a “true” self, separate from the self that you put in the presence of other people. First of all, how does one define a self? Many answers to this has been given in the history of philosophy like the snapshot of all atoms that make a person, all past memories of crucial experiences this person possesses, or the forcible manipulation of the environment that this person expresses. In spite of all that, humor me for a bit that I may jump in with my take on this as well, constructing a definition that is more convenient for a response to Hayasaka. Being creatures with self awareness, we all possess an internal understanding of ourself. In addition, when you interact with someone else, they unconsciously construct a model of you as well. The self is such an abstract concept that I think defining it as the collection of these models that you and other people have of you makes the most sense. Important to note that being of things that reside in the mind, none of these perceptions necessarily correspond with reality. When other people love you they are applying their standards of love on the model that they have of you, but it is also true that the model they have of you is constructed with their own life experience and your appearance, speech, and actions in front of them. If your behavior is a factor in this, why should that be less “true” than the other selves?

The reality is that we are always acting. There should be no lamentations over suppressing your true self for the approval of others because first of all, that act is part of yourself by definition, and secondly, you made that decision to act that way for those people. Naturally there should be a limit to the acts we do, the number of people we care enough to put up an act for them, since it is tiring work and at some point we don’t have the energy to maintain a self that we have grown out of, or reinvent a self whenever we meet a new group of people. Ideally we get to a point where there is at least no contradiction of values between the different acts that we put up with other people. 

I like to believe that Miyuki thought about similar things when he responds with “Fuck it, I’m acting out the ideal me!” in his rap for Hayasaka. Acknowledging that we all  put up acts in front of people we care about, Miyuki decides to work towards completely owning the act he puts out (in front of Kaguya) instead of worrying about the slightly more nihilistic worldview that Hayasaka puts forth. The self becomes an extremely flexible concept under the definition above, so it doesn’t make sense not to work your self towards the ideal self in your imagination. As for the medium of freestyle rap, I believe it symbolizes being vulnerable, confident, and true to yourself.

Anyways, enough rambling. Those are my edited thoughts after watching that episode that at the time of viewing I thought was very profound. I think part of the reason why it took so long to jot down was because when I put these thoughts into writing it seems a lot less cooler than when it seemed in my head haha. Till next post, which is coming in soon (next week?) to make up for lost time.

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