The anime is called – March comes in like a Lion. It’s about a professional shogi play with no social skills. He is befriended by a family who help take care of him.
The middle school girl of this family gets bullied. Or rather – she stands up for a girl who is being bullied and become ostracized herself.
She had gone to the teachers and got no help.
Our hero – the shogi player – decides he wants to help her – so he goes to his teacher/mentor and asks for help.
This is in season 2 episode 5. Bullies and Feelings episodes..
What the teacher tells him – is one of the best segments on how to handle bullying I’ve ever seen and it’s in an anime and takes maybe 3 minutes.
Basically – he says – there are over 8 million web pages about this. Discussions about who is to blame. Accusations going back and forth. The reality is – there is no standard advice on what to do because each situation is unique to the individuals – meaning what exactly Is happening – is different.
The teacher also talks about the different perspectives. The target, the bully, the teachers, the parents of kids being targeted and parents of kids who are accused of bullying. Everyone’s experience is unique.
However, he said – there are 2 things you can do.
1) Don’t do anything the target doesn’t want you to do. This is their situation. They should be given control over how the situation is responded to.
2) Something that is effective is to simply say “stop it’ as a statement. This can be extremely effective – but not every kid has the courage to say it. And again – it’s up to the target how they want to respond.
The teacher’s advice to people supporting someone through bullying is to ask them questions and get them talking and don’t judge them so they know they aren’t alone.
There is another aspect of this episode – may have been season 2 episode 4. Where she comes home crying. The grandfather sits her down and tells her – he is proud of her because she did the right thing protecting her friend even though it is costing her – it showed she had great courage.
Later – the grandfather and the older sister discuss this – and how they both wish she had kept her head down. The grandfather says – there is a part of me that feels that way too. But – at the end of the day – she did the right thing and she feels horrible about it – and we should not be making her feel worse. We should be congratulating her for doing the right thing when the right thing wasn’t easy to do. Asking her why she did that – would just make her feel worse.
It’s this bit that I think is hardest. When a kid reports being bullied – we ask them – what they did to cause it. They may have done nothing wrong. They may have done everything right. So – let’s focus on that and help encourage them to think of themselves as people of courage. This will go a long way to help them to get the courage to tell the bullies, “stop it.”
This is on Netflix and I highly recommend watching it.
The point is – there is no easy answer and what will work – will take time to work. But the teacher’s advice – is spot on and consistent with what behavioral science tells us will work.
The topic is dealt with again in episode 12. This episode deals with the teacher – who didn’t handle the bullying problem out of fear– and allowed it to get bad – by not intervening. The head teacher – takes control. It’s a really emotional episode as it deals with the responsibility of adults – and the problem of “proof” in what is – honestly – often a he said, she said situation. The head teacher gets this right. Most kids – will not say anything for fear of becoming a victim. The ones who speak out – are heros and should be congratulated on their courage and supported.
I really liked it. The advice is consistent with what the science tells us works and what I teach on this website. To learn more – explore the website. I have free videos, lessons and advice.