General Cypher, to Kitai Raige
After Earth (2013)
"Whatever the shortcomings the kid has… you love him. You could line up his faults, but that’s not going to change how you feel… right?”
North (aka Santa Claus)
from “Rise of the Guardians” (2012)
"Hello, Goodbye, and Hello," the ending song played as she went out the door.
Hello, goodbye, and hello.
I was stuck for a
moment(scratch that. i am writing this hours after finishing the film, and i am heartbroken still.) until I realized that that was, after all, what the film was about—”hello, goodbye, and hello”, not as separate instances, but as one, single entity.
Hello, goodbye, and hello.
When the credits started rolling, I can’t describe what I felt. For a time I just sat there disbelieving that it’s actually over. What the heck was that about? Makoto Shinkai is one of my top 2 favorite animated film makers, and I can’t bear the disappointment of not having understood the message of his work.
To quote my college professor, "The text reads you."
Several tabs in my web browser are currently opened and at least five are reviews or analyses of “Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below.” I’ll probably read them later after I weave my own interpretation. Perhaps this personal commentary would not suffice for some, but as it is, New Year and all, the present me is read by this film as such:
And probably this analysis is influenced by the arrival of 2014.
Hello, goodbye, and hello. I just can’t get over this single line which greeted me with a surprise. Black screen and all, the subtitle transcribed as the singer spoke, “Hello, goodbye, and hello.” The film has ended.
And in a few hours, the same with this year: Hello, goodbye, and hello.
My viewing was actually interrupted for three days, after my laptop ran out of battery and my charger for some reason chose that very hour to relax and screw up (it was working some moments before, mind you), and so I had to postpone the viewing involuntarily until December 31. And it was probably destiny that that was so.
Hello, goodbye, and hello. forgive me for the repetitiveness. I’m not aiming for drama. I just can’t help wanting to write that line that so infuriatingly easily encapsulates three overwhelmingly immense moments in a person’s life. It could be seen as many things: meeting-parting-advancing, or past-present-future. I just find it so broad it’s irritating. That’s probably the normal response to something we know, and yet know we do not fully know, and however we try we know that we wouldn’t fully know it…
Or probably the more accurate reason why I’m irritated is that hello, goodbye, and hello is not really something we talk about. Or rather, something we do not really want to talk about. And most of the time, we linger in goodbye, or the brief moment before it, choosing not to let go, and eventually not being able to move on.
Goodbyes. We all hate it.
But then (and this just something that came to mind right now), I remember Jesus telling his disciples, “If you love me, you will be glad that I’m going to the Father…”
Goodbyes. We may all hate it, but we can choose to face and accept it.
Hello, goodbye and hello.
Now that I rewrote it for the nth time, that line was actually transcribed with only one comma—after the first “hello,” and none after “goodbye.” And that is probably more correct. With parting must come the advancing. We must not tarry or we’ll be left behind.
Hello, goodbye and hello.
Sigh. I have lingered too much on my own musings.
Hello, goodbye and hello.
Just who are these people? I thought.
[ From this point on, I would have to warn the readers: SPOILER ALERT ]
Who was Shun? Why did he come to the Topdwellers’ place? Was he also a Quartzlcoatl? If not, then why was it that Asuna was able to hear his last dying song? If he died, then how the heck did he come to the surface?
Who was Asuna? She was a defiled blood, wasn’t she? Who was her father? How did he meet her mother?
And Morisaki-sensei, just why and how did he become part of the Arch Angel? Was it to find cure for his wife? Then why a teacher? And just what is this whole Arch Angel company? And after he failed, what is he to do, where will he go? Just travel aimlessly as well?
How about Shin? What makes his brother “better” than him, according to his village elders? How about his sister whose name wasn’t even mentioned? What happened to her? What happens to him, now that he’s “cursed” to journey “aimlessly”? And just why did he not go with Asuna to the surface? Where else is he to go if he’s shunned by his own people?
Just what the… what’s happened? who’s who? why is it… how…
But there are no answers.
Because those aren’t the right questions.
The first animated film by Makoto Shinkai that I watched was Byousoku 5 Centimeter (5 Centimeters Per Second). I cried when I watched that. And until now, I continue to desist from reading the manga version of the film. For one, I was afraid of the potential onslaught of similar heartbreaking emotions I experienced after watching the film. The other reason: I was afraid that the manga would not fulfill my expectations. I tried re-watching the film once. True enough, with time and repetition, there were less tears. My heart hurt less, but it didn’t make me love it less (or so I believe).
I referred it to my best friend. She didn’t like it as much. It made me sad, but there was nothing I could do. We can not have the same views in all things, after all.
My point: the film didn’t have a single response from its audience because the audience didn’t just ask one question.
I consulted the-most-reliable-online-encyclopedia-ever (aka Wikipedia) and it actually provided me with what I consider to be one of the most beautifully quoted opinions on Shinkai’s films
Taken individually, the parts offer nice little vignettes, but taken as a whole they paint a broader picture about the progression of life and love. The ending, which is where this work differs most from Shinkai’s previous efforts, will doubtless be controversial and may leave some fans unsatisfied, as it opens itself to multiple interpretations. Some may feel as if it just ends without resolving anything, but if one considers Takaki’s few lines of narration in part two, how that part ends, and how everything fits together, it becomes clearer that actually resolving things was never the point. Whereas Voices was about trying to maintain a connection and Place Promised was about reestablishing one, Five Centimeters is ultimately about moving on from past connections instead of just living in the past, about finding a way to become happy in the present rather than just pining for what has been lost over time. In that sense Five Centimeters is Shinkai’s most mature and complicated work yet.”
– Theron Martin, Anime News Network
People value things which value what they value.
I have watched all published films by Makoto Shinkai (or at least all those made available through the internet *coughTORRENTcough*), and as I saw it, all the major ones had a message to convey. The message may not be what everyone is seeking, but for those who seek it, the message remains significant, especially with the poignant way with which it is rendered.
So what’s the message I received?
Well, if I should repeat it once more: Hello, Goodbye and Hello.
Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below wasn’t about Agartha. It wasn’t about the fight between Topdwellers and the people from “deep below.” It wasn’t about a magic crystal nor a magical water. It wasn’t about a talented boy who could wield a clavis better. It wasn’t about sibling rivalry. It wasn’t about a love triangle between two brothers and a girl from a foreign land, nor was it another Romeo and Juliet between a boy and a girl, enemies from rival lands.
Come to think of it, it’s a very transcendent theme, and a wonderfully executed one at that. Change the characters, change the setting with all its fantastic elements, but do not change the central plot. Do not remove the meeting, the parting and the moving forward.
More than the characters and the setting, Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below is about the plot, densely summarized by the single lyrical line: Hello, Goodbye, and Hello.
It was about the absentee father who died and left the mother who then had to face a new life raising a kid on her own.
It was about a daughter, growing up orphaned by her father at such a young age, raised by a semi-absentee working mother, and having to deal with her own brand of loneliness, in a way isolated from her peers, in her uniquely brewed circumstance.
It was about a boy and a girl whose meeting didn’t last for more than a day before forever parting, and the girl is left to face the loneliness and recurring image in the person of the brother.
It was about a boy who was orphaned with both parents, left by his brother, and who had to leave his sister to go on a mission for the same village that used and abandoned him for their own sake, and is left to face the future wandering aimlessly with no home to return to.
It was about a husband, left by his wife with death, and left again, to search for his own happiness apart from her.
Hello, Goodbye and Hello.
It was a hello and goodbye to loneliness… a hello and goodbye to friendship… a hello and goodbye to kinship, among many other hello’s and goodbye’s and the moving onward from the partings and endings.
And maybe, just maybe, a goodbye only for a while.
It was fascinating ending (although still vexing what with the abruptness of it):
Asuna looks out the window to the cliff she shared with both Shun and Shin. Her mother calls from the first floor, hurrying her to not be late for graduation. As she leaves, she bids her mother, "Ittekimasu!" (literally: “I go and return.”)
A temporary parting, maybe?
Honestly, I was
disappointed(well, not really), or heartbroken, rather, that Shun died so early. Who was he and what was his connection with Asuna, if there really was any? Why did he die so young, and why was he entranced with the surface land? How was it that they came to have such strong bond (or was it mere infatuation), after such a brief moment together? And what happened between them when Asuna was forced into the realm of the dead, what did they talk about?
So many questions. But the silence all the more emphasizes the real theme of the story.
And the one left has to go forward to meet the new world without the beloved.
Hello, Goodbye and Hello.
It may be a painful parting, but in the end, it could simply be a blessing.
marudelcastillo / 01012014
Great Teacher Onizuka
What’s that small thing that’s deceitfully clouding up your vision?