2009 in anime: #10 The first tearful moment

by Grungi

(Third post in the “12 days in anime” 2009 project led by Mega Megane Moé. Other participating blogs include Shameful Otaku Secret!, Continuing World, Fighting for Nippon!, We love maids., Bokutachi no BLOG, Anime Profiling, Desu ex Machina, Blogging about Anime, I Will Show You Terror in a Handful of Flans, Pontifus, Open Your Mind, ∑Xce7ion, Ganbatte Forever!, Mikotoism, wat u say, Memories of Eternity, Simplicity, Gabrielino Anime Club, UNMEI KAIHEN, Nigorimasen!, Mainichi Anime Yume and We Remember Love)

Some anime series have a way to associate themselves very strongly with a particular season. On the other hand, some either span such a large timeframe that one isn’t predominant, or really don’t emphasize the months they take place in.

But some which do are best viewed in the same kind of weather they’re set in. Take Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~ as an example. This show was so much better when you watched it in the end of a sunny afternoon… I suppose it would have lost some of its appeal, at least for the first episodes if I waited until winter to watch it. And I’m so glad I didn’t.

But time and again, you’ll come accross a show that is so powerful in its evocation of a given season that it simply doesn’t matter. That you’re no matter what projected in the right mood, barely avoiding putting on shorts and sunglasses while opening wide your windows even if it’s freezing outside. Or getting your Moon Boots out of the closet while the scorching heat menaces to melt everything in the room.

One such show that brought summer into my November was Air.

The first half of the show was nice, with its funny moments, its fairly likeable characters. Its overabundance of girls, too; it is, after all, a visual novel adaptation.

But then episode 6 came, and then I knew Air had me more than I thought.

Granted, it used a cheap trick that is almost guaranteed to work on me : the crying-yet-smiling parting scene.

And as a sadistic torturer, it keeps doing it again and again, until another of those heart-rending endings that Japanese storytellers seem to be so fond of. It has become somewhat of a cliché these days, yet I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get over that nasty mechanism.

There is something so powerful about the mix of feelings this kind of scene evokes in the viewer’s heart that they often make even better tearjerkers than “pure sadeness” scenes. And it just hits me right in my weak spot.

What’s weird with this scene is that for the most part I wasn’t too fond of Minagi. Nor Michiru, for that matter. But episode 6 did a very good job fleshing them out, and slowly building up tension for what comes at the end. Even when you find out the truth about the two, and know for sure they probably will have to part, you think it won’t be so soon, just like that.

But it happens, and right there on that rooftop, as they exchange their last words, you’re in their shoes, in a way. You know it is meant to happen, that it’s the good way to go. Yet it feels sad all the same. And before you’ve decided to either if you’ll be crying or cheering them to look towards the future, the moment is gone. Their story is a thing of the past. And you move on.

This is another strange thing about Air. While it did shake me on several occasions, I usually recovered pretty fast, as opposed to some other shows who left we wrecked for sometimes several weeks (ef, I’m looking at you).

Truth is, if the scene this post is dedicated to is engraved into my memories, the same could be said for the ones related to Kanna’s mother and Kanna herself, and of course for the ending.

I don’t really know what to make of this. Maybe it goes to show how easily I am moved by this kind of scene, regardless of the characters. Maybe it’s because all those characters managed to earn a place in my mind… I don’t know, but all those scenes really proved that I did care more than I tought about what happened to all these characters, after all.

And then, after all is said and done, when all those characters go join all these moments in your mind, they’ll become happy memories. As Michiru says : “Even if you awaken from a dream, the memories will remain”. So partings, especially those that are the inevitable conclusion of a period of happiness, especially if they make you sad and feel miserable, should leave you with a smile on your face. Because goodbyes should not taint all those beautiful memories.