Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei: Letting our inner moths out of Tatami Galaxy
July 3, 2010
Moths are pitiful creatures. They are nocturnal, yet require light to navigate. They flutter their wings gracefully under moonlight, but sometimes that beautiful luminance seems so far and out of reach. And the night is cold and dark. They will flock instead to closer source of man-made light, even at the consequence of meeting their inevitable demise, sharing the same tragic fate of Icarus.
People too can be pitiful sometimes. When life gets tough and one starts losing his rose-tinted visions of life, he blinds himself from the truth and begins to see what he only wants to see: that the reality sucks, rosy university campus life can never exist in real life, especially if you are forced to associate yourself with failures like Ozu, free-loading bums like Higuchi, perverts like Jougasaki and drunkards like Hanuki! So he shuts himself, alone appreciating the comfort of his fixated 4.5 Tatami room.
The real beauty of tatami mats is that they can be arranged differently to form various spatial qualities, like how people have numerous dimensions to them. If only Watashi approached Ozu from different angle and understood his motivations, and later empathise with how lively his campus life has been, or just how damn far he would go to achieve all this instead of lamenting about reality by himself…then maybe he could have spent 2 years of his campus life with his best friend. If only he chose to grab that opportunity dangling right in front of his nose, maybe he could have had 2 years of rose-tinted romance with Akashi instead of exchanging fake letters. Instead, he was blinded by the delusional comfort this exchange of fake letters offered him and chose to fall deeper and deeper to its allure, like a moth’s destructive flight towards the flame.
So why not take your first step and grab that thread of opportunity, which has always been dangling in front of you? Find the courage and turn off the light that has pulling you towards deeper despair. Do not beg for the hands of time to turn back so you can put your life back on right track, because no matter how many times, how many parallel worlds, nothing’s going to change if you remain blind to the comfort and allure of your enclosed world. Draw your most honest and suppressed feelings out and scream to your heart’s content. Run towards those that are important to you like you’ve never ran before and embrace it to your heart’s content.
As I followed Watashi’s running before he passionately leaped towards what was most important to him, the anime showed a glimpse of a swan taking flight. It was majestic and beautiful. The vice that has been squeezing my heart from following Watashi’s depressing tatami galaxy was lifted, and my tears were flowing at surrendering myself to what was one of the most powerfully cathartic climax in cinema. A most satisfying ending to a brilliantly crafted series. Masaki Yuasa the Chameleon has yet again dramatically transformed his style of direction to present us with a work of more humour, velocity, and (as always) unique visual aesthetics. But beneath the stylistic skin lies the same Yuasa that captivated us in his previous works, the kind of force powerful enough to make you cry for repulsive characters like Vanilla (Kaiba) and Ozu. Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei is an honest look at a part of human nature through the introspective character study of Watashi, prompting us to let our inner moths burst forward, not hovering around the yojo-han shinwa taikei we trap ourselves into. Because the possibility of arranging our tatami mats is endless and beautiful.