Let me guess—for those of you who have seen How to Keep a Mummy, you probably looked at this title and thought WHAT? After all, how is it exactly that an anime that is so cute be anything even remotely close to tragic? Well, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but still, stick with me. Because despite the fact that Tazuki & Sora are such great friends, there actually is something a bit tragically beautiful about the friendship between them, and let me get into why I think so.
First off, what do I mean by tragic? Well, I simply mean that it’s something that’s super sad. Which probably just makes you wonder even more why this is being applied to such an adorable friendship and such adorable characters. See, Tazuki & Sora have been friends since hey were in grade school, and despite all that time—despite how close they seem to be, there has always been a rift between them caused by things that they can’t communicate.
See, Tazuki has a secret that he’s been holding for many years. It’s something that he promised, no he swore, he’d never tell Sora in order to protect him. Of course in doing so, Tazuki began lying to Sora—nothing big of course, but still lying. Instead of being excited about the creatures that Sora enjoyed playing with and helping, Tazuki would be vehemently against it.
In his eyes, he had to stay away from the world of the mystical where his secret originated from, or else he was afraid he’d end up telling Sora what he swore never to. This alone, is pretty tragic; having something that you can’t say lest you hurt the person closest to you. Tazuki, like many typical anime characters, sees this as a form of protection in order to remain by Sora’s side. Because for him if he wasn’t lying about how he wasn’t interested in the mystical, then the only other way to keep his secret was to simply vanish from Sora’s life, and that was something Tazuki just couldn’t bear to do. His reasons for not telling Sora everything are…kind of sweet. Kind of. But also incredibly selfish.
And it’s that selfishness that actually ends up hurting Sora anyway. See, ever since Tazuki started distancing himself from the world of the mystical, Sora thought Tazuki was distancing himself from him.
Sora is a character that has been left by people all throughout his life—by people who thought he was weird for seeing those creatures, by people who thought it was scary, by his own father who was always on trips. So the minute he saw Tazuki pulling back, he associated this with him distancing himself. It was a clear sign to Sora, that his friend wouldn’t always be at his side, one day…Tazuki would be gone entirely. So in turn, Sora began to prepare himself for his friend leaving him. He didn’t know when or how, but he knew he’d wake up one day and Tazuki would be gone like everyone else. So he too began to start reacting and saying things as if their friendship wouldn’t last. This resulted in him being self-sacrificing (or rather not valuing himself), and talking flippantly about how it was a shame that he and his friends would fall out of touch after graduation. Which only made Tazuki hurt more because the person he was trying so hard to remain beside, was acting like it didn’t matter to him whether they stayed together or not.
This is what makes their friendship so tragic to me. Neither Tazuki nor Sora want to separate from each other. But both of them are unintentionally distancing themselves in the eyes of the other, and the way they each handle it is drastically different. Tazuki reacts in anger at Sora’s seeming lack of caring, but Sora sees Tazuki’s anger with acceptance—like it was bound to happen eventually and was just a step further away from him. While their friendship from afar looks super close, they’re actually quite far away from each other—both hiding aspects of themselves for the other. One to protect the other, the other to protect himself from when his cherished person is gone. It’s…fucking tragic. Of course they eventually talk things out and let their feelings about each other air, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’ve both been hurting each other practically this whole time, and only now, when they’re in high school, are they beginning to understand one another.
So who is in the wrong here in their friendship?
I have to ask because I know people will take sides. The anime definitely hints that Sora is a little more at fault than Tazuki as it is Sora who even believes their fight to be ‘his fault’. While yes it is his inability to rely on someone else and do everything himself that starts their argument this time, we have to remember that it was Tazuki’s past actions that made him hesitant. So of course, in my opinion, they’ve both done wrong to the same degree, and they both need to change to make it work. Sora needs to rely on Tazuki more and start believing him when he says he isn’t going anywhere, and Tazuki needs to calm down and stop taking out his frustration in the form of anger towards his best friend. Only when they both change can they stop hurting one another and their tragically beautiful friendship can turn into something wholly beautiful.
Which let’s be honest, these two definitely deserve that. They are both kind of broken characters disguised within the candy coating that is a fluffy comic/anime. They need each other, and they need Mii-kun and Connie to show them things about themselves that they need to come to terms with to help their friendship and their lives (Mii-kun teaches Sora how much he needs the people who need him, and Connie teaches Tazuki how his attitude can push people he cares about away).
That’s pretty much all I have to say for now on the friendship of Tazuki and Sora. They’re one of my favorite pairs to watch interact, and they’re just one more reason that this hella cute show is so good. If you’ve never seen How to Keep a Mummy I 10/10 recommend! I promise that it’s only like 10% drama and about 90% absolute adorableness in the form of an oni, a baku, a dragon, and, of course, a mummy.
Til next time!