Finding the Self in Selfless Love

5cm-per-second-kanae-surfing-ftw

I enjoy writing about characters, and I’ m always looking for ways to do it differently. Here’s a post format I started doing in Oi Hayaku, where I get to engage the subject characters myself.

5cm-per-second-rocket-launch

Here in Tanegashima, I can hear the sea. Despite growing up and living in an archipelago, I never learned to swim. I love the sea anyway. I’ve been watching this girl surf all day. It would appear that despite her young age, she’s not going to school. Perhaps only for today.

Yesterday a rocket went up to space. I had just missed it. I’ve heard that the space station here has been very busy, and rockets uncouple themselves from the Earth’s gravity on pretty regular intervals.

I come here seeking some answers. Watching anime takes me back in time, even when I travel to the future. It may be because as an older man I witness the stories of my youth. While I’m not really doing a Takemoto bike ride across the Japanese countryside, I feel drawn to his story. What is it about unrequited love that moves me so?

5cm-per-second-kanae-surfing-van

I realize quickly that I’m in the wrong Japan, or in the wrong time. The surfer girl makes her way towards me. She seems cheerful and friendly. She sticks her board in the sand by the edge of the grass.

“Smoking those things will kill you, old man.”

That’s quite rude, young lady. I’m not that old.

“Sorry. Not a lot of people come here at this hour, but you seem okay.”

You look sad, young lady. Did too much saltwater get in your eyes?

“Now you’re being the rude one. My name is Kanae, and I’m not sad!”

Well, I am. Melancholy anyway. I missed the rocket launch.

“You’re lying, but not about being sad.”

I put out my cigarette. I just started thinking about this girl I used to like when I was just a little older than you.

“Did she die?”

No. I did.

5cm-per-second-kanae-secrets-of-the-universe

I tell her about this girl who I had thought was perfect. I’ve moved on since and found a most satisfying romance, but today is a day of remembering love.

“Did you confess to her?”

Yes. And she loved me too for a short while.

“Good for you. Maybe you’re not so sad after all.”

No, not really. But something tells me you are.

“Yes, but I won’t stay this way. Unlike you, I didn’t confess. But that doesn’t make me a coward.”

Did someone call you that?

“I don’t know. But sometimes I see myself in the water and my own eyes look at me accusingly.”

 

5cm-per-second-kanae-resolute

She then tells me about this boy, Takaki. Whose eyes were forever looking away, whose fingers were always typing messages to someone, and whose kindness was overpowering and sad.

“I can’t compete with a memory.”

That’s all they are, Kanae. I had thought I’d never forget. I was a fool for five years nurturing my sorrow, so I’ve no right to counsel you. However, I gave it up without losing it.

“What does that even mean? To give up without losing?”

Tell me about how you exactly felt when you chose not to tell him how you felt.

“I thought I felt defeated. I could never make him happy so I had no right to ask him to forget. But, but then I thought about my own happiness. Could he ever make me happy? Can he ever give up this memory? She’s not even here?”

5cm-per-second-kanae-walking-to-beach

I didn’t respond. I looked at her surfboard, muddying the sand around it, and lit another cigarette.

“Why are you smiling? Aren’t you going to say anything?”

When is the next rocket launch? I would especially like to see it.

“Three mornings from now, I’ll be watching it from the waves.”

5cm-per-second-kanae-surfing-worms-eye-view

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in Dialogues, fanboy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Finding the Self in Selfless Love

  1. didn’t you make this post already? Or shit, maybe it was in the OH posts to be made and it never happened? I remember reading this.

    Anyway, it’s relevant to me having just rewatched 5cmps on Shinkai day. Great post, even if it’s kind of… I don’t know, more about you than the character this time, haha. Still, as a fellow survivor of this catastrophe, I feel emotionally tied to ya.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Nah, not really about me. I just felt I needed to give a little to get her to talk. She asked me to clear things up for her, in the end I didn’t think I wanted to.

  2. Martin says:

    I’m not sure if this is a tribute to 5cm per Second or the quintessential Haruki Murakami Hero…or is it both, or even neither? I like what you did here, whether it was intentional or not. Most unusual but a really good read. A refreshing change. Are you planning on doing more posts in a similar vein?

    • ghostlightning says:

      I’ve started this ‘template’ some time ago in Oi Hayaku, referencing Gurren Lagann, and then Macross Frontier/Ah! My Goddess.

      I’ve been told about the Murakami similarity, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read him. My modern Japanese fiction literacy is limited to Kawabata, Mishima (short fiction), and Yoshimoto.

      I do intend to do more posts using this template, as it’s quite fun to write. When writing fof OH! I only intended to use this when given a free hand.

      I took this format further in Superfanicom, where I admittedly I just went as far as I could towards nerdotic obscurity. Fun times anyway: I did one one Itazura na Kiss, then another on Lucky Star/Ikkitousen. I flavored both posts with Kon Satoshi’s Paprika, and I hope you find as much fun reading these as much as I had in the writing.

  3. otou-san says:

    “I can’t compete with a memory.”

    I think this was my favorite segment of 5cm because of that theme right there. It makes my heart lurch to think about.

    • ghostlightning says:

      It’s my favorite too. The first was all set-up, and the third was just a serrated knife plunged rudely up my bowels to carve up my unsuspecting heart.

  4. itsubun says:

    This is a very interesting format that you’re working with. It feels like you’re interrupting the tragedy by having the character arrive at her own revelation that was never stated in the original anime, thereby taking away the edge of sorrow to her story and allowing her [and perhaps yourself] to achieve closure.

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