Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Weekly W: Wistful

This year I have seen a lot of big changes in the lives of the people I went to high school with.  Graduating college, changing jobs, having a child, traveling, or getting married, it seems like time is moving quickly forward.  In this week's W, let's explore time and it's passing.

In Digimon: The Movie, time is seen as a challenge in many ways.  The first conflict of the movie occurs as Agumon and Parrotmon begin to fight in the city, causing widespread destruction.  This occurs, of course, in the middle of the night, so only a few people witness the event.  The second conflict with Diaboromon gains a deadline when he takes control of the internet and gains access to devastating missiles in the real world.  The third conflict involves a boy Willis and his corrupted digimon, Kokomon.  The eerie repetition of "Go back ... to the beginning" is the third major reference to time in this movie. 

On top of these major conflicts, the passage of time is a key part of the movie.  The stories are each set 4 years apart, and the characters grow and change a lot in between each of them.  Matt and T.K. at one point end up visiting their elderly relatives in the countryside.  The pace of life there is much slower and old fashioned, and technology is outdated and scarce.  This in combination with the interference of Diaboromon makes communication a challenging and frustrating endeavor.  Digimon: The Movie is a fond childhood memory of mine, and it certainly makes me think a bit about how much has changed since I last saw it. 

There were a couple of other anime movies that dealt with time and the consequences of growing older and growing apart.  A number of these are directed by Makoto Shinkai.  These films include 5 Centimeters per Second, Voices From a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, and Children Who Chase Lost Voices.  These 4 films are all very moving, and the main characters struggle with different aspects of growing up and growing apart. 

5 Centimeters Per Second: A Chain of Short Stories About their Distance
At the beginning of 5 Centimeters per Second, I was slightly skeptical, since it seemed like the standard budding shoujo romance.  And that was when the movie took it's own turn, and the boy moved across the country.  The struggle the characters face as they try to maintain their friendship/romance as they both go on to make new friends and have new experiences is touching.  Voices of a Distant Star is a tale of two friends who are separated by unimaginable distances.  When Mikako becomes a pilot for a giant mecha in a distant space war, Noboru remains on Earth.  Communicating only by email, as the lightyears pass, so does the delay in the messages. 
Voices of a Distant Star

These two movies explore the challenges that time and distance can create in maintaining a relationship.  The other two movies are also fantastic (but I don't remember the plot, just that I really liked them).  What I do remember is that all four of these movies tell the story of someone who is trying to reconcile the future they always thought they would have with the future they are starting to live, and struggling to make it into the future they desire. 

Hope Burns Bright


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