Anime Reviews

Is it more painful to wait? Or to keep someone waiting?

Writing, even anime blogging, can be hard. We all have ideas about what makes good writing and that’s why, sometimes, I have trouble doing it for this blog. I want to write posts that are, in their own ways, perfect. I know that’s an unrealistic goal, but I try anyway, and this whole process gradually becomes a huge weight for me to carry. I’m insecure; I’m rarely happy with how any given post turns out, but I keep trying anyway, because I hold out the hope that you will want to read these words, flawed as they may be.

This was all dragged up by the Run, Melos! arc of Aoi Bungaku, two of the loveliest and most emotional episodes of anime I’ve seen.

It was beautifully animated and…

…crafted in a way that’s so artful and exciting, but most of all, I loved its story.

Written by the famous Japanese novelist Osamu Dazai in 1940, it’s about two friends split apart by circumstance; one a playwright, the other an actor. They promised to travel to Tokyo together, but in the end, only the playwright made the trip. 15 years later, his newest play (titled Run, Melos!; a Greek legend) works as a metaphor for their friendship. He slowly composes it as he reminisces. In his mind, fiction, the past and the present day all intertwine; at one point, characters from the play leap forth from the his imagination and onto his desk, running and fighting between half-full ink bottles and stacks of old, dusty books.

It’s the emotional content that captivated me, though. Writing is an emotional thing, after all, and everything I write about, I’m doing for a reason. In an abstract way, just as the playwright crafts his story around his feelings for his friend, the things we choose to watch, read and write can communicate so much about us; he’s reaching out to his friend through his play, just as I’m reaching out to you through this blog.

Most of all, a good friend can inspire you to change your life, to move forwards. The playwright ended up in Tokyo alone, but he went to Tokyo; he may struggle with his writing, but he still writes. Life can be painful, but it’s worth the pain if one can move forwards; I want to believe that as I’m sitting here now and writing this. Blogging to me is communication; it can be a pain sometimes, a chore, but it helps me to express my feelings about the things I care for.

I’m sorry if that all sounded a bit vague, that’s just where I am right now. Run, Melos! reminded me of why I love blogging. Please do watch it, even if you have to skip the rest of Aoi Bungaku, it’s worth the effort


16 replies on “Is it more painful to wait? Or to keep someone waiting?”

Um, everyone, please don’t skip the final episodes of Aoi Bungaku. Trust me.
This story obviously hit you personally. More so than me. I was more fascinated by how the story and the one within interacted with each other to heighten the writer’s emotional state, not to mention the imaginative retelling we get through the anime. The fact that it was directed so well and so drop-dead beautiful to look at … well, like you, I have rarely seen anything in TV anime as good as this.

I don’t really mean to tell people to skip the rest of Aoi Bungaku, it’s just that, as is the nature of these kind of anthologies, some story arcs are better than others. I would really urge people to watch Run, Melos! because it feels that vital to me; the rest is still good, but more of an acquired taste, perhaps? I really enjoyed No Longer Human, felt confused by Sakura… and liked but ultimately wasn’t sure of what to make of Kokoro. Regardless, Aoi Bungaku was an awesome project and a fascinating insight into classic Japanese literature; I’d love to see more of it.

I wouldn’t say a lot, but I’m not going to fade away, either. Watching Run, Melos! just reminded me of why it is that I love writing about anime; I felt like my chest was going to burst, and all that feeling went into this post. I was tempted to not publish it because the writing felt so fragmented, but this is a blog, after all, and I still try to abide by the notion that blogs are personal things, and if start holding back on you all, I wouldn’t be painting a true picture of myself.
Short answer; I hope to be blogging for a long time yet πŸ™‚

I’m reading your blog, and only one other, out of the thousands of anime blogs out there. The biggest reason for that is because you write so well. You insight is also admirable and we have some common interests as far as taste goes, but it was your superb writing that immediately caught my attention. Theres no reason to feel insecure. There’s of course always space for improvement, perfection is an un-achievable goal, but you’re god, never doubt that.
As a fellow writer, I understand the aim for perfection. However, there is no such thing as perfection. Therefore, I seek to constantly improve myself, yet when I finish something, I’m usually either happy or content with the finished text. I’ve learned the value of contentment. I don’t aim for perfection, I aim to be the best I can be. It is almost as un-achievable as perfection, and therefore it drives me to constantly improve myself, but it allows me more satisfaction when I finish working on something. When I see the faults in my works reading them later, I don’t think, “Damn, I failed again”; I think, “Ah, well, I’ll do better next time.”
I hope you’ll understand what I mean by “the value of contentment”, and perhaps learn something from it.

Ugh, I forgot to spell-check before I sent the thing. I’m more used to posting on forums, where you can edit your posts later… -.-‘
“Your insight–”
“–but you’re good–“

Oh, thanks for saying all that, Krozam (I’ll leave a certain typo intact! πŸ˜‰ ) I honestly can’t say I’ve ever been fully content with anything I’ve written, but you’re right, I think if I ever did feel like I’d written something ‘perfect,’ I’d probably lose the desire to keep on trying. Thinking about it in that way, I can feel slightly content πŸ™‚

I know how you feel about that Post Draft Rewrite Hell thing. Something that inspires you to write makes you want to do it justice by writing the best article you can, so the very act of writing about it ironically becomes very difficult. It happens to me all the time, but I still put myself through it every time!
I’ve heard good things about Aoi Bungaku though (one of the arcs was written by the author of Loups Garous and Mouryou no Hako) and it’s sitting on my hard drive…and is nearing the top of my to-watch list. I’ll take it on sometime in the next week or two, so I’ll leave my thoughts there for now.

There’s this one scene in Run, Melos! where the playwright is about to burn a manuscript he’s been working on for weeks, but his actor friend stops him just in time. In a similar way, I’d been holding this post back as a draft since Saturday. I guess, sometimes you just have to be prepared to publish a post even if you’re not convinced of its quality. I like being a blogger, after all πŸ™‚
I… still need to watch all of Mouryou no Hako, too 😐

Ooh, I loved Run, Melos! I think it was my favorite Aoi bungaku story. It was indeed gorgeous to look at, beautifully written and beautifully acted, brimming with drama and emotion – it actually reminded me of old-school shoujo manga. And I loved the creativity with which the creators handled the original story. Moving it into a “story within a story” meta context, giving it the frame of the writer’s relationship with and feelings for his friend was, I think, the most brilliant part of the whole thing.
Off-topic: I liked Aoi bungaku overall, it was a very ambitious and respectable project, though unfortunately not all adaptations were of equal quality. But despite that, my main problem with it was how they used Sakai Masato. I first noticed him as a seiyuu in Yukikaze where he was great, and he was wonderful in in No Longer Human and in Run, Melos!. Unfortunately the quality of his voice and his style of delivery wasn’t ideal for his other roles in the series (especially the bandit in Sakura…), and often felt jarring. Which is a pity because he can do great things with the right characters.

I veered off into off-topic and forgot the non off-topic part… orz
When I read blogs, articles and suchlike, what I want to know is the person’s opinion, his/her thoughts. To paraphrase the character in the anime, I don’t read your blog just because I want to read a nice blog, I read your blog because it’s your blog and I’m curious about your thougths and opinions on stuff. Striving for self-improvement is of course always a good thing, especially when it comes to expressing one’s thoughts (look who’s talking…), but I think offering interesting thoughts, impressions, etc. to your readers is already a kind of quality in itself. (Not that there’s no good writing to be found here, but Krozam has already commented on that. ;D)

Thank you for your kind words of advice, kuromitsu. It’s nice to write something like this every now and then just to keep in touch with everyone, rather than obfuscating myself behind any given critique of anime.

I had no idea that Sakai Masato was also the main host of Aoi Bungaku. I quite liked how he introduced the various works; I realise he’s an actor, but he really seemed passionate about the writers he introduced. I really wish more anime were as fascinating from a Japanese cultural point of view.
RE: the meta narrative, I agree. I loved it so much that I tried to copy it with this post, really πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *