Just got done watching Garden of Words. The animation in that film is absolutely stunning. It is a visual masterpiece. Thought about doing a review of it, but I figured that I haven’t written anything of substance on this page in a while. Honestly haven’t had much that inspires me to write about. I could write about Trump’s latest idiocy, but that’s done by the entire fucking media. To be fair, he doesn’t make it hard. How are people saying that America didn’t elect its first female President? Sure looks that way to me. We elected an oversized teenage girl into the Presidency. The glass ceiling has been broken!
But back to the film, it may have been a visual masterpiece, but I kind of hate it. Hear me out – it all comes down to the ending. There’s no resolution! You have this scene where the underage kid reveals to the woman who he has bonded with when he finally figures out who she is that he’s in love with her. She totally shoots him down. It’s a harsh scene. I felt so hard for that kid. Throwing your heart out and then getting it thrown in your face is hard. Then the adult woman who he admitted his feelings for realizes that she has feelings for him too and goes after the kid. It’s a truly fantastic scene when they meet and the kid is all sad and angry and rails on her, only for her to run into his arms. I love that scene. It’s some truly amazing payoff and the voice acting is phenomenal. It’s a testament to the people who made it.
Then she leaves! The two are apart and that’s it. Come on! Now, I get that this would be a little weird, considering the fact that she’s 27 years old and he’s 15. But better films have made this work. Why have her leave? Maybe have the two admitting how they feel but also acknowledging that they can’t be together because of the age gap and have them realizing that they will have to wait a little bit. That’s an acknowledgement of reality while still having them looking to keep their feelings alive. It would have been much more fulfilling if the film ended with her finding a life close to the person she loves, and having him giving her the shoes he had been making the whole film to her at the end. Like a kind of promise. Wouldn’t that have been more fulfilling?
See, here’s the thing about me – I’m a hardcore closet romantic. When I watch FLCL, I feel a genuine tinge for the kid when he is falling for an older woman. It’s funny, American media bitches about how the idea of a younger man dating an older woman is so frowned upon. Japan certainly doesn’t shy away from an age difference with boys and women. What’s more, they also make it respectable. Sure, there is plenty of fan service for busty older women that young horny boys are into, but in both Garden of Words and FLCL, they play it as these women being genuine people with the boys discovering their romantic identity with them. In both cases, it makes for some great scenes. But while FLCL played it off that the kid falling for the older girl was a metaphor for him growing up and accepting who he is, Garden of Words played the romantic angle straight. Which makes it that much more frustrating when the film ends on a sour note for no good fucking reason.
I really am bad about it. When I watch the scene in Stein’s Gate when Christina and Okarin admit their feelings for each other, I judge that scene harshly as well. It’s a great scene, but it could have been better. For starters, the music in there is terrible. It’s distractingly bad. The scene would have been better served if there was no music at all. Would have added to the emotional gravity as well, considering the fact that Okarin was about to let the woman he just admitted that he loves die. Genuinely would have loved that scene more. Also, get rid of the narration by Christina. It added nothing. Just quiet. Have the rain be the biggest sound, with a few seconds for the audience to take in the cruel irony of what was happening with these two characters.
Anytime I see romantic scenes in stuff I like, I typically get all butterflies, while secretly seeing ways the scene could be better and really make me all warm and buttery about it. Am I the only one? No joke, someone in the comments, tell me if I am fucking crazy here. So many great romantic scenes in movies are ruined because of bad details. Used a lot of anime references. What can I say, they tend to play romance a lot better than sappy love stories in American cinema. That’s not to say that it isn’t done well in other mediums. In the French film Blue is the Warmest Color, I feel genuine heartbreak as Adele is first introduced to the truth about her sexuality with a classmate, only for her feelings to be totally crushed when she realizes it was just a one-off thing and not a sign of true attraction. The tears on her face seemed genuine.
I guess it’s a sign of me getting older. As the years on my birthday cake grow, and my time having been single grows, I feel more and more of it. But no one who sees me in person will know that. My cynicism is well-known to those who speak to me. Groj knows, I’ve made no secret of it here. Deep down, though, there is that part of me that secretly longs to have that moment where I meet a girl at a place I regularly go and then strike up a conversation and something grows between us. A man can dream, right? Granted, everyone goes to bars to meet people these days. I go to bookstores and walks around my home. Not a lot of places for romance. But hey, it can happen, right?
What about all of you? What romantic scenes from stuff (I swear, if someone says The Notebook I’m gonna virtually smack you. That movie is fucking terrible) have made you all warm and buttery inside? Let me know in the Comments.
Until next time, a quote,
“I love you. I can’t help it. Yukino, I think I’ve fallen in love with you.” – Takao Akizuki, The Garden of Words