Ah, Valentine’s Day. Or Singles’ Awareness Day. Or EAT ALL THE THINGS Day. Whichever one you celebrated (or tried your best to ignore), hearts were all over and, according to salesmen eying your wallet, love is in the air. And speaking of love, let’s see some sharp contrasts on conditional and unconditional types, shall we? Because, let’s be honest here. The media is just hilarious when it comes to love and often for all the wrong reasons. Of course, the last few decades have given rise to a growing demand for “I love you for you” sentiment (the concepts been around forever, but, like all story elements, goes through phases in how strongly it’s used). Which is hilarious to watch played out in popular media as it’s often done in the most contradictory way possible.
In Maid-sama, despite the slightly annoying habit the heroine has to thank the male lead for everything (even when he doesn’t really do anything), the main relationship actually is rather accepting. But one particular character in Maid-sama is given a deal on being accepted by his family if he can do x, y and z. Now this type of conditional love is pretty common in shows. So common, in fact, that it’s pretty acceptable. As if doing things for respect and love is totally okay. But the truth of the matter is: that’s not real love. Conditional love isn’t love so much as a deal. I’ll do this only if you do that. How many heroines in romance shows are under similar pressures? They’re only acceptable after becoming more feminine or soft spoken or popular. This is not to say personal change and growth shouldn’t occur. By all means, it should. If you’re a prideful person that just isn’t healthy for you or those around you, romantic relationships existing in your life or not. But often these stories do not focus on truly important changes, but superficial ones. Like proving you’re a “real man” through a sport in order to be allowed to wear what you feel most comfortable with.
Although I’d love to see more shows break away from this horrible issue, it sadly happens to be a major misconception in most societies and I see it so often played out in life itself that I doubt any big changes will be taking place with this anytime soon. Making the few shows out there that get stuff like this right all the more precious. They’re defiantly a minority. I mean, would you love and forever stay by the side of a girl when it turns out she’s really just a duck or save and love a girl who nearly killed you and others for her own desires (*cough*PrincessTutu*cough*)? Unconditional love is scary and rarely seen, but it’s sad that the power it holds graces so few tales. Because it’s easy to “love” someone who never does wrong and is what you want them to be. But loving someone who is so opposite of you, so different, perhaps someone who doesn’t even love you back… Now that takes some serious guts.