“The night is in its darkest just before dawn. But keep your eyes open. If you avert your eyes from the dark, you’ll be blinded by the rays of a new day. So keep your eyes open, no matter how dark the night ahead may be.” → happy birthday, lelou!
honestly though my favorite thing about gintama is the way that sorachi illustrates that it is absolutely fine to rely on other people and accept their help and support while also emphasizing the importance of self-love and self-respect. like there’s no gross “i’d be nothing without you” or “you’re my whole world” aspect to the relationships, it’s about what makes them happiest, not what makes them “whole”
it’s shinpachi, gin, tae, etc who make life on earth so great for kagura, but when she chooses to stay instead of going home with her father, it’s not for them, it’s for her, because she’s happier there. shinpachi is a kind and helpful person by nature and tends to baby gin and kagura at times, but he never lets them use him as a doormat, no matter how much he loves them. tae originally agreed to marry kyuubei but in the end, she chose to go home because she wouldn’t be happy leaving her family behind, and even after everything she kept up her friendship with kyuubei, not because she felt that she owed them anything, but because she loved them so so much. it was gin’s forgiveness and support that gave sakamoto the strength to leave the war behind, but it was still ultimately sakamoto’s choice for his own sake. sakamoto gave mutsu an opportunity to build a better life for herself but it was still her who decided that the change needed to happen at all. shinpachi and kagura want to protect gin not because they couldn’t live without them, but because they don’t want to. they’re happier with him in their lives. i could go on, man.
i just think that there’s this kind of idea going around that without our loved ones, we aren’t whole, and that’s a dangerous idea. no matter how many people come and go in our lives, it doesn’t change our value as individuals or our ability to live fulfilling lives. is it important to have a good support system and surround ourselves with people who have a positive influence on our lives? absolutely yes. but when we go through lonelier parts of our lives when it seems like there’s just nobody around, does that mean that we’re somehow incomplete? fuck that, man.
gin doesn’t replace ken or hajime for shinpachi. toushi and kondo don’t replace mitsuba for sougo. eli doesn’t replace zura’s old joui family. shinpachi and kagura and otose don’t replace shouyou for gin. losing someone doesn’t leave a void for someone else to fill.
the thing that makes the relationships in gintama so great is that they don’t complete one another so much as they help each other put the pieces of their own lives back together. they offer guidance and support and love and encouragement but in the end, the person they’re supporting comes to love themselves for themselves and do what they feel will make them happiest for their own sake. and that’s how it should be, really.
Nothing could have prepared me to see Takasugi’s other expressions fully animated like this. It’s all new again, all beautiful to see. I could talk your ears off over how beautiful Takasugi is (as I tend to in my tags now and then), but I won’t - just know that I’m extremely, incredibly, indescribably happy over these scenes.