The most impactful moment of the year for me is a speech, which ran more or less continuously for nine minutes. That’s quite a long speech, and something that is easy to mess up, which makes how great it is all the more impactful. The speech in question appears in episode 9 of Maoyu (Maoyu Maou Yusha / Demon King and Hero), which aired this year. “The Red Scholar” spread knowledge and science to better the lives of the hungry poor, which has the political Central Church denounce her as a heretic, and then she gets a chance to make a speech in front of the people, a very moving speech, a defiant speech, about life, and the human spirit. You can and should watch the speech here.
You can watch the speech here, it does omit what others do and say afterwards, but this is the important bit. I heartily recommend this show, which I wrote an editorial about – the speech is good on its own, better after you watch the show, and the show is worth watching. Just how good is this speech? After seeing Armin’s ridiculous speech in Shingeki no Kyojin I had to go and watch this speech to see a speech done right, where the emotions are conveyed by more than just a character shouting.
I didn’t cry hard when I’ve watched this speech, any of the times, as had happened when I had to release some emotions, such as when I’ve rewatched the end of Legend of Korra S1, or when I’ve watched the tachikomas sing at the end of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex’s 2nd Gig, but I teared up, and more each time I’ve watched this sequence, including for the sake of this write-up.
This speech is buoyed by
Koshimizu Ami’s (Holo in Spice and Wolf, Kallen in Code Geass, Ryuko in Kill la Kill, etc.) Tomatsu Haruka (Rukino Saki in Valvrave, Nagi in Kannagi, Morgiana in Magi and others) strong delivery and the very fitting music, but I even sent it to a professor of mine when we discussed the concept of how speeches affect us, via their delivery or their content – I think it’s a rare speech where the content is powerful on its own (although that does require some knowledge of the sort of fantasy-medieval religion and life depicted in it) – all the things around it lend it more power, but it’s quite powerful on its own.
And here is a transcript of the speech, but really, you should watch it:
The Red Scholar: I… as one who has a soul like your own, I have something I must tell you. I was… I was born as a serf. I was the third of seven siblings; my brother broke his arm on the fields, weakened, and was left to die. One night, the land owner summoned my sister and she never returned. On a clear winter morning, my youngest brother went cold, and failed to wake from his slumber. Another sibling caught smallpox. I was powerless. Only my sister and I survived.
And then, while we were on the run, we were given a chance. It always seemed like fate, but something troubled me. For so long, fate was warm and kind to me, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.” But everyone: Nobles! Soldiers! Pioneers! And serfs! I must reject it, even after all it’s done for me. I must reject it because of all it’s done for me. Because I am human. I still doubt myself. “The blood in your veins is that of a filthy serf. You’re just an insect, less than human.” That is why I must declare that I am a human; because I believe the first step to being human is to say you are.
Have you ever felt a warmth in your heart? Like the summer sun on your cheeks, and when you close your eyes, you can still feel its blessings? Do you even find happiness in simply acts of kindness. That is proof that you are human, the Light Spirit’s beloved children.
Messenger: Enough! Heretic!
The Red Scholar: It doesn’t matter whether I’m a heretic. As a human…As one to whom Winter’s Passage Village has given so much…I speak to my brethren. Everyone, you must never stop wishing, hoping, thinking, and working! With her miracles, the Light Sprit brought life to humanity. And with the earth’s blessings, she brought us wealth. And with her soul’s fragments, she brought us freedom! The freedom to do better than you do now. To be better than you are now.
The Spirit did not create us as perfectly good. She gave us the freedom to keep trying to be better, every day. Because that brings us joy. So don’t relinquish that, just to make things easier. The Spirit’s gifts are holy treasures! Not even the King, or the church, can take them from you.
(Another interruption by the Messenger) I am human. I will never surrender those treasures again. I won’t return to being an insect. No matter how much pain they bring, I won’t return to that haze of darkness. Because there is light. Because they were kind to me.
Messenger: Stone this heretic whore! What are you doing? Anyone who refuses to stone her is an enemy of the Church!
The Red Scholar: Throw them if you wish! Perhaps you must, to protect yourself and your family in this cold world. I will not blame you for that. The freedom to choose also belongs to you, as a human. I will shed blood in equal measure to that which is flowing in your heart. But if you would stone me because someone else has ordered it, then you are an insect. You are an insect, without a will of your own, who has given the Spirit’s precious gifts to another, and has ceased to think. No matter how much peace that brings you, anyone who abandons those treasures is an insect. I despise insects. I refuse to become one. I… I am human!
My dear readers, whether you celebrate Christmas, or have any vacation, or even if a new year isn’t beginning for you soon, I’d like to wish you all a pleasant and safe time, to you and yours.