My favorite and most poignant speech about dreams and creativity comes from a harem anime con artist of all things.

Kaiki Deishuu: No matter who I talked to……none of them had any information that you had a hobby of [drawing manga]. That is how you obstinately hid those embarrassing creations out of our knowledge. You didn’t tell anyone. In other words, that’s because it’s what you consider to be your true dream, right? Your real wish isn’t something you tell others. Not even to god. You must be happy now that you’re a god. You must be having fun. But it’s not that you wanted to become a god, right?…… Not like you wanted to become happy. You wanted to become a manga artist, right? Then why don’t you become one?

Nadeko Sengoku: Are you an idiot? They’re just scribbles. I didn’t want people to see them because they were unskillful, embarrassing drawings. My dream? Don’t be telling me such foolish things. They’re all trash! I wanted to throw them out, but I was too embarrassed. Of course, that’s the reason I hid them there!

Kaiki Deishuu: Don’t talk about what you created like that, Sengoku. Creation is an embarrassing process, and dreams are embarrassing as well. You can’t help that. That’s something very common. But, at the least, it’s not something that you should belittle yourself over. Besides, they were pretty good. Maybe you have that thing called talent.

Nadeko Sengoku: There’s no way that I would. Besides, it’s not something I can become just by thinking I can be one, right?

Kaiki Deishuu: But, if you don’t think about becoming one, you’ll never become one. Unlike becoming a god or a happy person. Besides, that’s something you can’t become if you’re a god. You have to be human to become one……For now, use the money I gave you to go buy professional art tools or something.

Nadeko Sengoku: I’m telling you…I never really thought about becoming a manga artist. Not even once. And it’s true that I didn’t want to be the one when I became one…but I think it would be a waste to toss aside being a god, as I had the fortune of becoming one. But…there were people who were called gods by drawing manga, right?

Substitute “becoming a god” with any traditional notion of success, and “becoming a manga artist” with “achieving my deepest dreams.” This dialogue hits home hard to anyone who’s dreamed of being something that people tell you you can’t. When everyone else idolizes you just because you’re a god, you feel stupid and naive to want to do something else so sluggish like drawing manga.

That’s how dreams are, isn’t it? Dreams feel so immature, only permitted to children. It’s quite beautiful that Nadeko Sengoku is the anime’s youngest character, and Kaiki Deishuu the oldest. Sengoku has a dream, and at the end of this episode, she decides to try out being this manga artist thing. How many in your life has the fortitude to do the same? Perhaps Kaiki Deishuu should be talking to the adults among us, not Nadeko. Adults who are too good at being adults and chasing a god that we forgot about our childish dreams.

Is it dumb to not be able to let go of my long-held dream of becoming a scientist? Am I too late, a university sophomore that hasn’t even passed my freshmen courses? Am I a lost cause, someone who should just give up and chase normal goals like employment and money? It feels embarrassing just typing this out. Kaiki surely was spot-on about that.

I also like how Kaiki says that following your dreams is not the same thing as being happy. In other words, what are you willing to be unhappy for? If something pops into your mind, do it. Now’s a great opportunity to invest in yourself while at home.