Rumiko Takahashi


 

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Tomorrow Will Certainly Be Splendid

Taken from Neppuu Magazine June 2010
Translation by: Harley & Dylan Acres
Note: Neppuu (Hot Wind) is a magazine that discusses the works of Studio Ghibli. While "Akage no Anne" (Anne of Green Gables) was created in 1979, years before the founding of Studio Ghibli both Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki both worked on the series.


"Tomorrow Certainly Will Be Splendid"
A Discussion of “Those Who Lived”
Rumiko Takahashi

When asked "Why do you like Anne of Green Gables?" I can only respond "Because it is facinating."

The story called "Anne of Green Gables" conveys so much knowledge. Its release was a major event that raised awareness. Its story was relateable to everyone. It was a drama that focused on everyday experience. Even so, why did make our hearts race?

Perhaps the reason was that Anne was such a remarkably sensitive girl.

Anne is an orphan. As a child she is charged with helping to care for three sets of twins at the orphanage. As a young girl she is sent from the orphanage to live with the unmarried siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. From here, the situation becomes considerably more dramatic.

For the first time Anne lives in a house of her own, and you begin to see the "daily life of a normal child."

Her life consists of praying in church, playing with her friend, commuting to school, going on a picnic, you can even taste the ice-cream that she eats.......Every day is a new experience, and Anne takes life seriously. Anne has as splendid sensitivity, and is deeply impressed one moment and despairs exaggeratedly the next. Every day has its own climax.

Humans are not born with "experience". If you think about it from babies to infancy, and then as children we continually experience new surprises in our lives. As children, even if we were sensative, we couldn't express ourselves like Anne.

"Ordinary" is something that comes later in our childhood, and watching Anne jabber away makes you realize that everyday life is exciting too.

And when Anne gets incredibly upset over the most trivial things and hopelessly cries. And yet it's understandable.

As children we make dull, uninteresting mistakes (because life is messy) and brood over them.

As Anne begins to stop crying she turns around to the squelch of a bagpipe playing as the background music, and Marilla and I both burst into laughter at the same time.

You rejoice and grieve with Anne, Marilla and Matthew, loving them all deeply.

Marilla is unsociable though, and has a hard time dealing with the chatty, enthusiasctic Anne. When she gets upset with Anne and tries to get her to be quiet, you feel the vividness of her anger. Although its very telling that Marilla becomes the one to whom Anne talks to the most.

Anne is deeply loved by the bashful Matthew. My favorite episode is the story where Matthew buys Anne a fashionable new dress with puffy sleeves. Because he is shy Matthew doesn't know how to talk to women about fashion and ends up going into the first store he comes across. Thankfully the store clerk must have had a young daughter. Anne's first new set of clothes becomes a dramatic and heartwarming story in itself. When Anne tries on the dress I remember how cute she was.

Anne steadily becomes more lovely. At first its seems unlikely that Anne, the unkempt 11 year old who arrives at Avonlea station will ever be tidy and neat. But with time she grows more lovely and secure. Through hardwork, love, and joy Anne becomes more polished. The suprise and joy flows not just from life, but from Anne herself into the lives of Marilla and Matthew. The mutual lacking in all their lives drives them to each other.

The funny girl grows into the beautiful and wise 15 year old maiden. When I look at Anne at 15 I see her as having assimilated the beliefs of Marilla and internalizing her thirst for knowledge. It is delightful.

In the story, dreams pass and reality sets in. The Anne of Green Gables that we had grown so used to becomes harsh and we must experience this as well.

The death of Matthew...when the episode begins the usual music isn't played, the episode is titled "The Reaper Whose Name is Death". Seeing that has frozen in my memory.

This moment is the heart of "Red-Haired Anne" and what makes it a masterpiece. The death of a loved one is so painful I do not know how the animators were able to finish drawing it. More than just a production, Takahata and Miyazaki's own feelings of lament and love are shown. Although she is sad, Anne cannot cry. Her throat ached, it was harsh. And when Anne finally cried our tears overflowed together.

With the anime of "Red-Haired Anne" Anne's main goal becomes Marilla's goal as well- to love life. Perhaps this empathy will be repeated for the rest of their lives. Love exists as long as "the one's who live" are alive. As for the part of the story I most liked...

Anne is taking a walk. She explains her childhood failures to Marilla that evening, and when discussing her dream -- she straightens her back, extends her chin and stands tall, staring at the sky as she walks forward. That is the attitude of Anne which lives on.

Tomorrow certainly will be splendid.

Stand tall girls, and remember that you can't survive unless you love life.

Rumiko Takahashi, manga artist




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