Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Dipping My Toes in Anime: Grave of the Fireflies and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
It seems that y'all love anime. I don't try to pay attention to such things, but waking up to (a record, I'm sure) 18 comments that were put in overnight was quite a pleasant surprise. However, there's a downside to that: you all recommended some great films, but there's no way I can dip my toes in all of them. All's not that bad, though: in the future, I'll be able to get my feet wet with anime (ba dum psh). Anyway, here's the other four films that I'm going to check out before the end of this month: Spirited Away, Millenium Actress, Akira and Paprika. If you're favourite is not in there, I'm sorry, but those are the four I want to see the most. Now, onto Grave of the Fireflies and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time...
When I watched Toy Story 3 for the first time, people wondered why I cried so much. How could a teenage girl cry during an animated film? Because even animated films have the capacity to get the waterworks going. Which sounds like an understatement when applied to Grave of the Fireflies. Basically, the film follows Setsuko and his little sister Seita who are in the midst of World War II. When their mother is killed in an air raid, they are sent to live with some relatives, but they do not get along with each other. The two decide to move out on their own, and seek residence at an abandoned bomb shelter. While they're free and have the ability to do whatever they want, they also have to keep food in their bellies and learn how to survive on their own accord. Being two young kids who have probably not spent that much time alone, they have a lot to learn - unfortunately, their current condition isn't the best time to be learning that sort of stuff.
This is possibly one of the most beautiful, yet totally sad stories ever committed to film. When Setsuko and Seita first go to the bomb shelter, we feel sure that they'll be able to make their own way. However, that's just the way we'd think: we have probably all been living in the security of older, much more able people who have the means to look after and protect us. Even though I'm on the precipice of leaving home and making my way out of that security, while I'd relish in the freedom, I can't imagine being on my own. That's what I found so heart-breaking about Grave of the Fireflies - Setsuko and Seita wanted to prove everyone wrong, but they just weren't ready for full-blown independence. And it only gets worse: there's a war going on. Sure, we have our Saving Private Ryan's and the like to show us all the horrors of the war, but Grave of the Fireflies is definitely one of the most effective. No, Setsuko and Seita aren't fighting in the war - they're fighting the effects of the war. And that's something that we rarely see in films that tackle the war, yet something that I find just as horrifying. If you haven't seen Grave of the Fireflies yet, then what else can I say? Grab some tissues and witness one of the most beautiful animated films ever made.
Time. It is simultaneously the best and worst invention ever. I don't have enough of it. It runs away so fast. I can never go back to the times that I most want to revisit. Well, young Makoto doesn't have that problem. After a fall at school, she discovers a new power inside her: she can leap through time. No longer does she have problems with running out of time to do her school work, failing her tests or rushing to school because she's slept in: leaping will do everything for her. Basically, she's living my dream. But with all these too-good-to-be-true stories, there has to be some consequences. And that's when this film becomes a story of how we should appreciate time, with all it's greatness and flaws.
Despite the fact that I really enjoyed this film, I admit that I'm drawing a blank as to what I can say about it. It is a fun, spirited ride, but also a thought-provoking one. The only thing that annoyed me was how spastic Makoto appeared sometimes. There were several times when I thought she'd had to many energy drinks, but I don't know if they have those in anime-land. Do I want to leap through time after seeing this? Well, I'd like to, especially with all the homework that I have to do, but it seems like more trouble than it's worth.
What do you think of these films? Did you cry during Grave of the Fireflies? Would you leap through time?