Looking back on our good ol’ childhood days, we have the same memory starter packs, just with some differences: our first trip to the dentist, most embarrassing moments, or even our seventh birthday with loads of lumpia on the table. Those events deserve to be hung like a painting—not only to gloss over for serotonin, but also to become life lessons today.
One classic anime drama that gives us a closer look at the heartaches of growing up and learning in real-life adolescence mode is “Flavors of Youth (Shikioriori).” In this 2018 triptych film, the adventures of independent and grown-up characters Xiao Ming (“The Rice Noodles”), Yi Lin (“A Little Fashion Show”), and Li Mo (“Love in Shanghai”), all point to one big, scary place: adulthood.
Are you still processing the bittersweet reality of being thrown into the water? Us, too. Because of that, we’ve compiled eight truths from the movie that might come in handy right now—whether you’re dealing with loss, change, or the future.
As the leads say, “From the standstill of yesterday, guiding our spirits towards the future, the footsteps of today will resonate and reach tomorrow.”
There’s no such thing as permanent
“Some things never change, and some things will change…”
To Xiao Ming, nothing feels better than a bowl of his go-to San Xian noodles—especially when shared every morning with his grandmother. Mouthwatering and familiar, the noodles’ ingredients clearly represent Xiao Ming’s memoirs. One day, the shop halts operations, leaving a different taste of San Xian noodles on Xiao Ming’s tongue. The homey feeling of the meal gets shoved off in a snap. Years later, Xiao Ming’s grandmother dies.
Longing for the taste of San Xian noodles, he revisits a noodle house in his town. “The warmth still lingers today from the comfort that left me yesterday,” Xiao Ming says. Through the noodles, he starts seeing opportunities ahead for his future. “It was like a lonely, pale morning, but also a morning blushed with hope,” he adds. Life is dynamic, and so is tomorrow.
Acknowledge everyone’s worth before it’s too late
“I always realize the value of things after I lose them.”
Full-time fashion icon/part-time sister Yi Lin reminds us to see the value of things before it’s too late. Yi Lin is a successful supermodel who loved dolling herself up and playing with clothes with her sister. But as they grew up, Yi Lin realized that they could no longer exchange clothes and hated being tall. Little did she know that the physique she inherited from her parents would make her a breadwinner. Now, she could never thank them as her parents already left the world.
You have the right to leave unhealthy relationships
“dOn’t tHiNk yOu’rE AlWaYs gOiNg tO Be oN ThE ToP.”
When Yi Lin’s rival—a.k.a Shui Jing—approaches her for modeling pointers, Yi Lin’s partner tells Shui Jing that she’ll soon become a star. On top of that, the boyfriend reminds Yi Lin that her shine will fade eventually. People who gaslight us into questioning our capabilities? We don’t want that energy in this house.
Take your friends’ advice seriously
Red flags can look tricky from our own eyes. Luckily, we’ll always have that friend who will never get tired of reminding us of our worth. Sure, it’s our life, but it won’t hurt to listen.
Being scared is normal, but so is making mistakes
“Honestly, I’m scared of failing.”
When people tell us “shoot your shot,” the easiest default response is to back out. True enough, we’re not actually scared of trying; we’re scared of failing. But when we have the privilege to try, acknowledging that mistakes are normal can make things a little less frightening. Besides, we’ll never learn unless we fail.
Cut yourself some slack, too
“Do you know what it takes behind the scenes?”
Actions weigh more than words for Yi Lin, and that’s why she tends to push herself to the core when she’s motivated. But one day, her body gives up in the middle of a fashion show after sacrificing her health to become more attractive over hate and competition. Even if it’s harsh, growing up means acknowledging our limits. Sometimes, we need to cut ourselves some slack, breathe, and try again. Rest can also mean focusing on our strengths and finding ways to develop them.
“Studying is important, but so is rest.”
Another story is from Li Mo, a young boy who’s consistent when it comes to keeping promises. That’s why he does everything to get into the elite university—a pass to prove his worth to his parents and Xiao Yu a.k.a, his first love. While he clings to the thought of validation, he exceeds his limits in unhealthy ways.
Don’t make decisions when you’re emotionally unwell
“Has too much time passed?”
Grown-up Li Mo—still an impulsive soul—surprisingly finds a tape in his stuff. Clueless that it was from Xiao Yu, he discovers that she failed the entrance exam for him years ago. Li Mo’s character wants us to realize that we should never make decisions when we’re mad or else we could regret it for the rest of our lives.
Stills from “Flavors of Youth”