WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONTENT, AND MENTIONS INSTANCES OF RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, AND CHILD ABUSE.
Greetings, fabulous people of the Internet! Hanime on Anime here, and welcome to the monthly tradition that is Character of the Month! With the content warning above, I know that this looks like it will be another rough post like last Sunday’s review on Now and Then, Here and There. But honestly, I didn’t plan on going too in-depth with any controversial subject matter. Even so, I want to be sensitive to readers who have gone through this kind of trauma and give them a heads up. That’s because this Month’s pick deals with this head-on. But if it makes any of you in a healing situation feel any better, a lot of why I chose this character deals more with how she overcomes it. This will be an interesting post today, so let’s not waste any time here and talk about July’s Character of the Month, Sara Ringwalt from Now and Then, Here and There.
Though serving as a secondary character in the show, Sara plays a huge part in the overall plot. Much like the lead character Shu, Sara is kidnapped by the soldiers of Hellywood after being mistaken for the mysterious girl Lala-Ru. Eventually, it’s quickly realized that Sara is not, in fact, Lala-Ru. But sadly, that’s not where things end for Sara.
Rather than return her home, she’s instead turned into a concubine for the soldiers of Hellywood and is raped repeatedly. She’s able to escape after killing one of the soldiers and sneaking off of the ship but is severely scarred mentally as a result. What’s worse, her mental state continues to deteriorate after finding out that she’s pregnant by one of the rapes.
Yeah. Sara’s story is unbelievably dark. But she does have something of a happy ending when she not only decides to keep her baby but also to raise the orphans who were once under the care of Sis.
Believe it or not, Sara was my favorite character from Now and Then, Here and There. I found her to be a genuinely interesting and likable character who didn’t get on my nerves. And knowing what she goes through throughout the show had me concerned for her. There would be times in the show where I would honestly wonder what was happening to her and how she was doing. I almost wouldn’t have minded her being the main character. But this would be some pretty rough stuff for a main character to go through, so keeping her as a secondary main character was appropriate.
What also makes Sara such a great character is that she doesn’t act like a cocky, headstrong female character who acts obnoxiously by griping and whining all the time. She acts like a scared girl. Suppose you were (I’m assuming her age here) between the ages of 14 and 17. This is how you’d likely act if you were suddenly taken from your home because your captors mistook you for someone they were after and then sexually assaulted on a regular basis. Even her almost knee-jerk reaction to attempt suicide and even try to abort her pregnancy after learning she’s pregnant is understandable. Again, this is a 14-17-year-old girl kidnapped, horrifically abused, and subsequently pregnant and traumatized. How would you react if you were in that same situation?
Bottom line, Sara reacts to all that’s realistically happening to her.
Granted, her way of overcoming all the trauma she’s suffered is a bit rushed, but it also plays into another part of her character that I absolutely love.
As I mentioned earlier, when Hellywood is defeated, Sara ultimately decides not to return home and take care of the children who were being looked after by Sis and raise her baby. The decision to stay behind felt odd to me. But if nothing else, at least she shows that she wants to make a genuine attempt to play the cards she’s been dealt. This was such a powerful moment because it shows the audience what a full circle she makes as a character. In other words, she becomes a fully developed character that audiences can admire. And to give the show some credit, it does symbolically wash away (some pun intended if you’ve seen the whole show) her past and put her in a better place.
So overall, Sara is a traumatized character who’s been through hell and back. But it’s an uplifting sight to see her overcome her past and make a better future for herself. So keep on going, Sara Ringwalt, cause your Hanime on Anime’s Character of the Month of July!
Next week literally starts the month of August off. And although I hate to continue the darker subject matter here, I’ll be covering another dark show next Sunday. But if it makes you feel any better, it’s an all-around favorite for everyone, myself included. Till next time, bye!
-Hanime on Anime