We’re Comrades, Not Friends (Eizouken Analysis)

There’s one particular quirk that comes up whenever a character ask if the members of the Eizouken are friends in Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! 

When someone ask that, both Asakusa and Kanamori answered by saying that they are actually comrades, rather than friends. The reason for this particular quirk was only revealed during the flashback that explores the origin of Asakusa and Kanamori’s ‘partnership’.

Upon learning about their backstory, and after thinking about it for a while, it really confirmed something to me.

We have a very sentimental attachment toward the notion of friendship.

When we think of friends, we often thought about certain someone who always be there for us out of sheer sense of altruism and no self-serving motivation.

But, as Kanamori demonstrates during the flashback sequence, there is really no such thing as altruistic friendship. Every social interaction is about give and take, what each party can gain from one another.

There are social transaction where the gain is overt in the form of monetary goods or services. However, this gain can also be in the form of happiness or pleasure that we get from simply interacting with our peers.

On the flip side of the coin, if we feel like we don’t gain the benefit that we want to have, or if there’s a negative impact that outweights that benefit, then it is only fair for us to break off a relationship. If we’re friends with someone who share our interest, but they display a toxic characteristic, then it’s within our rights to end that relationship.

This sounds like a very cold unsentimental logic, because it kind of is. But in our day-to-day lives, it really ultimately doesn’t matter. After all, as long as both parties are satisfied with the social arrangement, regardless of how ‘mechanical’ it all seems, then nobody really loses in the end.

The problem of not seeing this fact is to insist that, when it comes social interaction, there is only a dichotomy of exploitation and genuine bond, an enemy and a friend.

For instance, I kept thinking about the New York Times profile of Donald Glover, where I see a description of a man who seems to think there are only people who wants something out of him and there are people who actually cares for him. ‘

It may not seem much, but this sort of dualistic thinking is, I believe, is something that can be de-humanizing toward someone who do not live up to our expectation of what ‘genuine’ companion is.

In the end, everybody takes advantage of one another.

What we really should be thinking is how to foster a relationship wherein the benefit that we glean outweights the loss.

The way Kanamori and Asakusa in Eizouken refer their relationship as something of a comradery, rather than friendship, is ultimately a tacit acknowledgement that social interaction is based on this cold paradigm.

Which is why, they are comrades.

Not friends.

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The eternal student.

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