Ok so this has been driving me nuts but I’ve been thinking about the Hanahaki Disease trope.
If you’re unfamiliar with the trope, the premise is that it is a disease that causes the victim to uncontrollably cough up flowers, eventually leading to death by suffocation. It is contracted by intense feelings of unrequited love. The only cure is reciprocation of that love, or a surgery to remove the disease, but in doing so also removes the host’s feelings for the subject of the unrequited love.
The mysterious thing about this trope is that it seems like it just popped up one day? Just appeared out of the nether, people were really taken with the idea and spread through various fandoms like a disease (lol).
So I got curious where exactly this trope spawned from so I did a bit of Googling and it seems like it came from a 2008 manga by the title of Hanahaki Otome.
Now, uh, background established, I’ve been pondering this trope. I think fictional diseases are rad (I mean, look at my love for gembond yo). There is just one thing that I really take issue with with Hanahaki. The whole fixation on romantic love. Technically, I don’t believe there’s anything that explicitly states that the love felt must be romantic, but if you base it on one-sided platonic love that requires reciprocation? Either the situation falls flat or becomes mildly incestuous in portrayal (though I will say that the removal of feelings by surgery aspect seems all the more tragic).
Anyways, what I’m getting at is that as someone who is looking at this through an aromantic lense, the sense of tragedy is rather lacking. If under this disease, why wouldn’t you just go through with the surgery and remove these pesky feelings that are giving you such grief? Why die for such an unnecessary reason for someone who obviously doesn’t feel the same? (Of course, stories featuring these tend to be focused around some miscommunication but boy do I not have that kind of patience or tolerance when a life is at stake.) It all seems rather blown out of proportion is what I’m saying.
So I propose a different version of Hanahaki, a more aro-friendly version. Instead of the point of contraction being unreciprocated love, I think it would be more meaningful if it was regret. A deep regret that consumes the soul (which is a bit more open ended so hey, you can spin this romantically if you want, but it doesn’t have to be!). You can cure this by either finding a resolution to the regret (fulfilling what was not fulfilled or making peace with it), or by surgery in which case you would lose all motivation for the subject of the regret. A clean slate in both ways so-to-speak, but no passion, no (platonic or romantic) love, no emotional baggage.
raphael openly following simon on twitter just to post cryptic things about betrayal and heart simon’s tweets even tho it’s nothing but boring shit like a picture of a cat he passed in an alley or bits of original lyrics