“Do you want to fly through the sky? Isn’t that painful? Do you want to go together? …Hey the world is pretty isn’t it? But there’s something I can’t accept – that someday you’ll find your true other half. Please stay by my side forever.”
These few lines are everything “uttered” silently during the one and a half minute this short lasts. It’s one of the first, if not the first, work by Makoto Shinkai, the same person who’s become famous for Your Name. It’s simple and poignant, precursor to the now almost forgotten Voices of a Distant Star and 5 centimeters per second. His latest works and his early days hold very little in common besides the cloud and scenery porn, and a fundamental yearning for a significant other. I love eye candy as much as your next person, but it’s not enough for my soul to feed on. And that’s why Other Worlds is something I keep returning to, even though it’s not as grandiose as his recent films. It’s honestly just bones, but I can find myself in it.
It’s the weekend. Time to throw worries out of the window and unwind. To breathe some air and dip the toes in the sea.
From point A to point B there’s too much noise still. Leaning on his shoulder has the magical effect of silencing everything around her, apart from the music of their bodies. When he’s swallowing down, she can hear his Adam’s apple bobbing. A sinful melody and even more delicious image to stare at. This feature of his is a fixation of hers. With her eyes closed, she pictures it along with the air escaping the lips she loves so much. She gives him a kiss and returns to the nest of his neck.
He moves slightly to place his arm around her, his palm on her hair, patting and caressing her idly. If she were a cat, she would purr. Such a small gesture, yet so powerful. “My little one” he calls her often in a cute, playful tone and she surrenders in the tenderness, feeling protected. Like birds chirping under the light filtered between the leaves -this moment is warm and joyful. She nuzzles him in response and although she knows these words have chapped skin by now, she says them anyways:
“I love you”.
This photo was taken in Sydney in 2019 and I wrote an accompanying piece for it on my IG back in May of that year. I just felt the need to modify it and post it here, too, as a good luck spell for the upcoming year. And to you, who holds my heart, please be gentle with it…
They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn By fools in old-style hats and coats, Who half the time were soppy-stern And half at one another’s throats.[…]
Philip Larkin, “This Be the Verse” from Collected Poems
Since the holidays make us ponder a lot about family, and the latter stirs such deep and complex emotions, a further examination would be helpful. And there’s no other anime that spells “family trauma” so profoundly besides Fruits Basket. It’s amusing to think that once upon a time, I found it overrated (mostly due to its protagonist and her conveniently ever-present mother), but once I watched recently all three seasons of the 2019 adaptation, I was left sobbing and nodding in agreement.
It’s the season of scars and of wounds in the heart Of feeling the full weight of our burdens It’s the season of bowing our heads in the wind And knowing we are not alone in fear Not alone in the dark
Vienna Teng, An Atheist Christmas Carol, from the album Warm Strangers
Holiday season is sweet or dreadful, depending who you ask. Christmas, in particular, with its framing as a joyous event for the bigger part of the Western World, adds a lot of stress or sorrow for people who feel lonely, who are not well off, and especially those of us who have been othered by society, and family isn’t a warm hug.
2013 has been a turning point for great Boys’ Love manga to get published. The fruits of that labour are just recently being collected, since the titles we’re about to delve into have been turning into anime 6-10 years after their debut. I can’t say the same for Girls’ Love stories, unfortunately, but here’s to hoping (CITRUS feeds on old fanservicey tropes and I find Blooming into You problematic here and there). But let’s be grateful for what we’ve been blessed so far. We’re making such huge progress~ These are stories of teens and young adults who venture into gay relationships, they mess things up then stand up again to attain happiness with their special person.
Suicide is an act that, one way or another, is heavily charged emotionally, to the point that until recently people were using the word “commit” to accompany it rather than “die by”. You know, like saying “commit a crime”. Since anime is art, and art reflects and is inspired by life, it was unavoidable that at some point this hot potato would tumble from our screens and burn us. There have been several attempts so far to address this topic, but almost all of them are superficial, condescending, manipulative and sensational. Granted how this act is entangled with morality, religion and the fabric of society, this isn’t really a surprise, but it doesn’t get a free pass either.