“Leave everything to your big sister!” –Mocha/Cocoa
Family has always been a major factor of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu-ka? Rabbit House is run by a grandfather, father, and daughter. Cocoa dubs herself Chino’s big sister and quickly does the same with Chino’s grade school friends upon meeting them the first time. And now in this second season we get to meet Hoto Mocha, Cocoa’s big sister. The relation is immediately clear upon meeting her—Mocha exudes a sisterly care for everyone around her, particularly cute girls, and gives off a vibrant love for life. Like Cocoa, Mocha’s eyes light up with stars when she spots a special something warm to the heart.
From a drink point-of-view, cocoa drinks and mochas are near one and the same. Both blend various types of chocolate, syrup or powder, with milk. The type of chocolate and milk used greatly affect the texture and richness of the beverage. Mocha goes even further by adding espresso. The Cocoa and Mocha of GochiUsa stand at similar positions of the table. The relationship is clear, as is the maturity in Mocha’s attitude and outlook on life. Cocoa will certainly gain knowledge and wisdom over the years, but she’ll never be able to change her role as the younger sister of her family. Continually looking up to her role model manifested itself later on in her desire to care for others.
“This feeling…like the warmth a mother gives.” –Chino
As an only child, I’ve always envied friends with siblings. Sure, there were hand-me-downs, bickering, fighting, and obligations, but along with those came an unbreakable bond forged with blood, experiences, and the awareness of someone always watching your back. I realize this image is an idealistic one that frequently doesn’t come true, but it is the possibility that I desire. My feelings must have been apparent to my parents—we hosted three exchange students during the course of my high school and college years: two Japanese students and one from Australia, all girls. While I only fully bonded with one of them, I still maintain affection and loyalty for all three. Their foreign cultures and beliefs taught me to open my eyes and really look around at my surroundings.
Now that I’m preparing for my own wedding, choosing my bridesmaids weighs heavily on my mind. I don’t have sisters or close cousins to automatically fill the slots, and I’ve never been one to hold tightly to my connections over the years as I moved from place to place. It didn’t really bother me until now when I realized I have no idea who I want to stand by my side. I was initially planning on asking my Japanese sister whom I visited just last summer, but she has hopes for pregnancy that may make travel next year difficult.
Watching Cocoa with her sister and friends, I’m filled with pangs of loss and a bit of regret. While many relationships are bound to naturally end with distance and time, it’s important to put in work to keep some of them alive. The single year of separation between Cocoa and Mocha may not seem like much on the page, but in reality, that’s a whole year filled with days of fleeting moments and emotions. We all have the beauty of adaptation. It can take a surprisingly little amount of time to change into someone almost unrecognizable. Like Mocha, I need to take the opportunities as they arise to re-connect with those dear to my heart no matter the distance between us. Like Cocoa, I should cherish the close people who presently surround me. Hugs! Hugs all around!