Assumed Audience: Anyone curious.

Epistemic Status: As confident as I have ever been in someone, even more confident than I am in myself.

Obligatory warning: Anime and manga can be dirty. Be careful. YouTube’s community standards can help here.

I have written about animes twice before.

And though I have watched barely enough animes to count on one hand, I have a new favorite.

But before I tell you my favorite, I want to tell you about one of my favorite characters from the big screen.

When The Greatest Showman burst onto the scene seven years ago, I had been married for less than a year. My wife and I saw it in theaters.

To this day, one of only three movies we have seen in theater.

My favorite character isn’t who you think. It’s Charity, Barnum’s wife.

And while my favorite song from the show is Rewrite the Stars, my close second is Tightrope, Charity’s anthem for her husband.

Which she sings while he travels the country with another woman.

Charity loved her husband. Loved him deeply. More deeply than he understood.

This is depicted so beautifully:

And it was his ignorance of her love that caused him to make that mistake of traveling the country with another woman.

When he realizes that other woman has fallen for him, he “came to himself” and fled home, but not before that other woman publicly kissed him in retaliation for the rejection.

I have never been comfortable being alone with another woman, but that made me positively terrified. I even secretly record audio when I have found myself in that situation. I would have a body cam if I could.

While I may avoid making that mistake, I know I can make the other mistake he made.

Charity leaves. As much as she loves him, she leaves.

Yes, she’s upset about the kiss, but that’s not the important part. She felt like he struck out without her, always searching for more. And while they lost the house that he so wished to give her, the important part is that he lost his vision.

Don’t think so? That scene as filmed is not as powerful as originally written:

BARNUM: Charity…

CHARITY: I don’t want to talk to you.

BARNUM: Come on, Charity. Nothing happened.

As he gets close, she throws the afternoon paper at him.

CHARITY: Oh, something happened. It’s on the front page of every paper in New York.

BARNUM: She orchestrated the photo so she could quit the tour. I’m not in love with her.

CHARITY: Of course you’re not! Not with her! Not with me! Not with anyone! Just you and your show.

Barnum is stung. She turns, eyes brimming with hurt. She gestures to the trunks and suitcases strewn on the lawn.

CHARITY: They evicted us this morning. Just showed up and said our home was no longer ours.

BARNUM: I know. I just came from the bank.

She starts to cry. Barnum is stricken to see her so hurt.

CHARITY: Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you talk to me? Before risking everything?

BARNUM: Charity, I will get the house back–…

CHARITY: No! Please…! No more promises…!

[She] shakes her head.

CHARITY: I married you. Not the house. Not the money. You. You saw the magic in the world. I wanted to live in that world with you…

She looks at him. Her eyes search his.

CHARITY: You used to think you weren’t enough for me. Remember? Now we’re not enough for you. Nothing is.

She turns and enters the house, slams the door. Barnum stares, for once he has nothing to say.

The Greatest Showman script, page 134

Sure, she’s upset about the kiss. But she’s more upset that he abandoned her and their girls to chase the dream he wanted.

So once he realizes what’s important, he goes to find her. She apparently does not want to see him, but his girls, eager to see Mom and Dad back together, snitch on her, and he goes.

The scene as filmed is best:

BARNUM: I have brought hardships on you…and our family. You warned me…and I wouldn’t listen.

She turns to look at him.

BARNUM: I just wanted…I wanted to be more than I was.

CHARITY: I never wanted anything but the man I fell in love with.

And she forgives him.

So why is Charity one of my favorite characters? Because she represents everything wonderful about my wife, Courtney.

Charity chose her husband because she loved him. She chose him despite his status. She chose him despite of his finances. She chose him despite her father’s wishes.

She chose him for love and for his child-like vision of a home.

When I met Courtney, I had a job, but it wasn’t the best. And soon after, I failed in it.

I was a social outcast, to the point that religious leaders tried to intervene in our relationship, at the behest of other guys in the congregation.

And before our marriage, Courtney was also pressured by her parents and extended family to pause, think, and rethink the marriage.

Since we have been married, her extended family and her parents have accepted me and treated me far better than I expected, even if they had accepted me right away.

But she chose me. She chose me for love. She chose me for my vision of Heaven, Zion, and for our future family.

She has chosen to walk this tightrope with me.

And while I would like to be more than I am, I believe God allowed me to see The Greatest Showman early in our marriage to avoid destroying it in pursuit of that false dream.

And that brings me to my favorite anime, and possibly my favorite piece of media of all time: Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie.

The best description of the anime is from a recap:

[Izumi] has the worst luck in life as he is always getting into little accidents….This might be because he seems to have used up all his luck finding a girlfriend, who is the definition of perfection.

Just from the recap, I knew his girlfriend, Miyako Shikimori, would be like my wife, so I purchased a month of Crunchyroll and watched the whole thing.

I was not disappointed.

But let’s talk about Izumi. He is a good guy. He can even cook. He’s actually pretty fast when he cooks. And all of his accidents have made him kind.

It’s the last item that Shikimori falls in love with.

So the anime is about their relationship and how Shikimori’s competence saves Izumi from his bad luck. She always looks cool doing so.

It’s their relationship with their friends and Izumi’s relationship with the other girl who loves him and can’t have him. Even this shows just how loving Shikimori is because once she realizes that this girl loves Izumi, she respects her pain and befriends her.

And when other boys tell Izumi that he doesn’t deserve Shikimori, she defends him.

Unlike Izumi, I don’t have any good points. My wife loves me anyway.

Unlike Izumi, I have zero competence. My wife loves me anyway. And she covers for my incompetence as the breadwinner. And she looks cool doing so; she is razor sharp, and her company loves her.

Unlike Izumi, who makes friends that would take a ball to the face for him, I make no friends. My wife loves me anyway, and anyone that meets her loves her.

And like Izumi, I agree that I don’t deserve my wife. My wife loves me anyway and has defended me from guys who said likewise.

So why am I talking about all this?

Because the world should know more about my lovely, kind wife. The cutie who is my Charity and my Shikimori.