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He’s All Heart

The world of Tegami Bachi seems at first to be a deeply strange one. A land where no sun shines, and thus no natural day/night cycle exists, but there shines an artificial sun. It shines all the time over the capital city, its light is partially cast over the 2nd class suburbs, but no light at all falls over those on the outskirts of society. Travel betwixt the three regions is difficult due to fierce regulation and the presence of metallic monsters that seem to live on human emotion. Human emotion isn’t just a commodity for the monsters; the emotions of human beings are pour into objects that surround them and shared one human to another in the forms of letters. Those tasked with the delivery of this emotion, the letter bees, themselves pour out their own hearts to defeat the heart eating monsters and to see that the letters arrive unharmed.

Lag Seeing pours his heart into his work

Letter Bees have the ability to crystallize their emotional lives, but when they do the bee is diminished somewhat. Thus, every bee is in danger of losing their heart to their job either by having it eaten by a monster or by pouring it out a little at a time. Of course human beings are filling their hearts up all the time, by making new emotional connections and memories, so that risk is a slightly ameliorated. The newest bee, Lag Seeing, seems to have a hard time hold back his heart the way his seniors have instructed him to do. In the second half of the second season new revelations are being shared about Lag including one scene where Lag’s entire being seems to become a heart crystal (making him shine almost like a tiny artificial sun). The costs of being all heart are obvious when Lag collapses just a little while later. The professor notes that the meter shows that Lag’s heart is still full, but the cost of pouring out so much heart is still obvious.

The notion of a job that would allow you to harm yourself by pouring out too much of your heart felt very real world analogous to me. In our world there is a situation known as compassion fatigue where caregivers or caring professionals have given too much of themselves away leaving too little for the maintenance of an individual’s emotional health. The symptoms of fatigue are not as dramatic as they are in Tegami Bachi but they can be as destructive. Interestingly enough, however the solution for the real world is almost the same as is shown in the anime: deep relationships where heart connects with heart. These relationships should have an equity about them where one person isn’t only giving and another only receiving, but with just a bit of work they become a source life giving energy that many of us need to replenish from time to time.

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