A life as a martyr to his dream

Episode 10 of Berserk is amongst the finest episodes of anime I’ve ever seen. From the moment Guts kills the boy Adonis, we’re forced to re-evaluate the righteousness of Griffith’s conquest and whether it’s worth its price in blood.

“But there is one other thing more precious to a man beyond all else. Something one pursues for one’s own sake and not for that of any other. A dream. Some dream of ruling the world, dedicating their entire life to forging the perfect sword. While some can be pursued alone, some are like storms, blowing apart hundreds or thousands of other dreams as they go.” –Griffith

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Watching people destroy their happiness in NANA

One of the saddest things about NANA is that its creator Ai Yazawa (who has been fighting against an unspecified illness since 2009) hasn’t been able to finish it. NANA is a story of dreams and ambition, and the characters have struggled too hard and for too long to be left hanging. I hope Yazawa rediscovers her desire to finish it.

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Farewell Satoshi Kon

It’s difficult to express the disappointment I felt when I learnt of Satoshi Kon‘s passing last week. Since then, many heart-felt tributes have been published and half-way through writing this, I started wondering whether it was worth posting at all. Alas, what is blogging if not personal? I liked his films and, at the risk of merely adding to the white noise, I just wanted to bid farewell to Satoshi Kon in my own way; on this blog.

As such, I humbly present these following, short impressions of his 5 films, written and screen-capped after I (re)watched them all last week.

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In which I contemplate One Piece (and nothing less than the meaning of life)

One Piece begins with the execution of the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. His death was intended to symbolize the power of the World Government, but had the opposite effect instead, conceiving the Golden Age of Pirates!

One Piece is full of mythology. What happened in the Void Century, anyway? What about the meaning behind the Poneglyphs? Gol D. Roger plays a massive role in this same mythology and is regarded more as a deity than as the fallible man he actually was. His first mate (Silvers Rayleigh, in episode 400 of the anime) provides us with a differing account of the Pirate King, a perspective not as much concerned with the legend as the man himself.

We learn that Gol D. Roger was dying of an untreatable disease at the time of his execution. He wasn’t caught in the prime of his life, but rather, just wanted to go out with a bang, in the words of Rayleigh, “In the last moment of his life, he (Gol D. Roger) turned his fading “flame of life” into a huge fire that enveloped the world.

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Sora no Woto: apocalypse moé

Sora no Woto: Moe at the end of the world

I’m not an admirer of the moé aesthetic, so my initial response to Sora no Woto was one of indifference; just more moé, I thought; not interested. That’s always my default reaction to a series like this, but the thing is, life’s not that simple.

Genre is a superficial excuse; no single story is the same as another, and despite my misgivings, Sora no Woto was beginning to look more and more interesting with each passing week. Well, inevitably, last night I caved and watched its first three episodes.

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Island manga: an isolated town enclosed by huge, unscalable walls…

An image of the Island

The island is an isolated town enclosed by huge, unscalable walls, where the outside world is a mystery that no-one even has laid eyes on for 400 years. As its culture dies a slow death, the town’s people have forgotten how to read and write, but the children still dream of escaping, wondering what they might see on the other side, where something as vast -and as salty- as the sea seems impossible to imagine, because their town, their world, is so small, but while the children still run and laugh and dream, the adults are altogether more melancholy, long since resigned to living their lives within the shadows of the unscalable walls.

Island is a very short, one-shot manga that spans only 45 pages, yet it has a vivid and brilliant premise. The walls loom large over everything, an unrelenting reminder of what it means to live life within boundaries and without adventure, where it’s easy to slip into a routine, to work year after year at the same place, to sit in the same stupid chair every day, all without question or concern. It’s about having the courage to take that first step, not knowing what you might find on the other side, but going there anyway, because it’s fun and new and exciting.