Visually confused, I go back to the familiar. When confused one searches for the most meaningful thing, no? This is the very thing that I’m holding on to these tales of monsters.
The very first one, that is; is a tale of lightness and weight. I saw a rather striking image of a girl (Senjougahara) falling through a spiral stairwell only to be caught by a traptastic Gundam Meister a fellow student (Araragi) who commented on her weight, or lack thereof. “Ephemeral” the subtitles tell me he says, which does not make sense to describe mass or weight, but perhaps more apt if the idea communicated is how the body seems to be transient and would disappear from this world at any moment.
This post will not make things clearer, but it may get interesting for some.
The catching boy will promise salvation, but the falling girl will destroy him first, but with no success. Both are monsters, but one seems less so.
Is this a story of salvations? I am intrigued, if distracted and confused.
My favorite story book is Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which I have read more times than I’ve watched SDF Macross. The first section of the novel deliciously discusses the idea of lightness and weight. Lightness is likened to freedom, not being weighed down, but also discussed as meaninglessness, that is, to have no point, and no significance in a broader perspective. Weight, being the opposition in the binary may seem like a negative, but is also discussed as meaning itself, significance, importance, value.
He asks what follows from the assumption that man may try only one path. If man cannot try different paths, and weigh them against one another, does that mean that human life is characterized by unbearable lightness or meaninglessness? Is lightness splendid and weight a burden, or does meaning only come from weight? (It is necessary to note that Milan Kundera wrote the novel in the authorial voice, the author is the narrator, talking about his characters and themes the same way I talk about Araragi and Senjougahara in this post).
I have no idea what to make of this anime that seemingly promises of monsters, and seems to me monstrous in itself; showing me image after image with vivid richness and apparent symbolism, as well as long passages of text that is quite impossible to keep track of, along with the monologues and dialogues going on. I want the images to mean something, and I feel like I’m falling into a trap of interpretation that deludes me into thinking my role is to divine the intention of the creator. The creator’s intention often has meaning for us. We use knowledge of authorial intent to settle disputes of interpretation.
This is a trap.
Tha creators’ intention is but one reading among many possible readings. Since I’m less concerned about the craft that went into this show, I just want to hold on to something I can enjoy. Why? I can tell that there is quality here, even if only in the staircases. My goodness these staircases are gorgeous. Anime has gone a long way from the horrid escalators of Evangelion.
Senjougahara wants to gain weight.
She wants to gain 35 kilograms.
A teenage girl wanting to gain weight, the irony is not lost on me. However, what if she need only to find meaning in her near-weightlessness? Or even better, to get that there’s no meaning to her unbearable lightness? That it doesn’t make her a monster?
What if this anime is all about coming to terms with one’s monstrosity?
I could watch a show about that. Oshino Meme feeds Senjougahara the I CAN’T SAVE YOU ONLY YOU CAN SAVE YOURSELF meme. Senjougahara is jaded by swindlers forcing the same meme onto her.
…just as many viewers are forcing STAPLERS as a meme to represent, or to reduce the meaning of, this show.
YOU WANTED A REVIEW? I DON’T REVIEW! But these people do and you may find reading them useful:
Janette is on the fence (Janette 2009/07/10)
Hanners’ attention was grabbed in the right ways (Hanners 2009/07/08)
Panther finds many things to like (Panther 2009/07/05)
Aroduc finds a problem with liking the leading characters of the episode (Aroduc 2009/07/03)
I finished watching episode 2 and it makes a lot more sense to me now. I’m very glad that the lightness and weight connection stands — though less about meaninglessness and meaning in particular, but rather feeling as weight; extended to weight of obligation. I find it interesting how we can read feelings to be more important than ideas. I certainly feel this way, as much as I would like to appear as a follower of logic.
The shows I hold closest to my heart after all, are those that affected me the most emotionally. I’m going to see this show through, given that the 2nd ep did a lot of strong things that made it heavier with meaning, or at least that’s what I’m creating with it in the experience.