Anime

My Thoughts on ‘Yesterday wo Utatte’

The Age of Making Dreams

I took a while to settle into this story that examines the relationships between a quartet of young people. Ah, the irrepressibility of youth. At an age old enough to be their parent, I am already over the hill or as one Chinese song goes: 过了做梦的年龄 (lit. past the age of dreaming).

So what appeals? The animation is beautiful. Look at this gorgeous render of a Sakura tree in full bloom. It looks so much like the real thing I did a double take. And a third.

This and that and because the protagonist is voiced by the very talented Kobayashi Chikahiro who surprises at every turn (Beastar – Legoshi, Golden Kamuy – Sugimoto). Rikuo is really quite a chill guy.

Rikuo vs Legoshi vs Sugimoto.

Reviewers spoke of how this anime mimics life – it worries me. Let realism seep through and it becomes a slow grind that either turns into something too bland or becomes too depressing. Sure enough, ‘Yesterday’ got on with a slow start, taking its time to introduce each character.

Ah, Transient Youth

What can you make of a tale that’s about young people living on their own trying to find their lot in life? Depends on which stage of life you are at I suppose. These are recent college grads mulling over their career options and relationship issues; wannabe rock star-musicians surviving on part-time work, high school kids trying to act precocious to mask the fear of abandonment brought on by divorce, death.

Don’t we all have dreams and ambitions when we were young. The impetus to be respectable, to accomplish something. Yet the sense that you are different from the rest looms, and maybe you are an oddity. Unsure, lost, bewildered, ignored, alone. But the possibilities, they are endless. So are the regrets.

Love, Unrequited

Rikuo works part-time at a convenience store while nursing a nascent passion for photography but not doing much about it so far. He has the hots for Shinako, his college classmate but she prefers to keep things platonic because she still can’t get over her first love (who died).

Meanwhile a high-school drop-out, Haru, has her sights on Rikuo but he’s unable to reciprocate. Haru too has a boy who likes her – ex-high school-classmate Minato but she turns him down so he left to purse a career as a wandering globe-trotting photographer.

Such love triangles/rectangles, the format may work on a manga but can turn out to be a drag for an anime.

And all this while I have an urge to wack Rikuo’s head: get a hold on yourself! Move on, Man!

Then the story gets interesting. Rikuo’s Ex appears – what an carefree but lovably frank lady. Chika seems irresponsible, drifting from man to man but she’s actually just emotionally detached. Observant and thoughtful, she’s like the mother-sister figure to hapless Rikuo. She cooks for him, she looks after him when he got sick. There’s nothing to dislike about her.

I guess I will continue to watch it.

Like A Bird Trapped in a Cage

Of course, the ED, Kago no Naka ni Tori, is also a puller. Some say this is the best ED this season. I can’t dispute that, much as I also like Kitsutsuki Tanteidokoro’s rendition of the timeless Gondola no Uta.

Kago draws you in immediately with its intro: rich, ominous bell-like tolls layered over a distant wavering singing voice. A memorabilia from the past perhaps?

The lyrics expresses perfectly the wretchedness of someone who’s unable to move on. What should you do about it?

How about finding someone else to love?

籠の中に鳥
Kago no Naka ni Tori (Bird in the Cage)

わかりきってた 答えに背いて
wakarikitteta kotae ni somuite (Having understood, I turned away from the truth)
ごまかしていた はずの 傷に 抱かれてる
gomakashiteita hazu no kizu ni dakareteru (Lying, hugging the imaginary wound)
しがみついてた 応えに尋ねても
shigamitsuiteta kotae ni tazunete mo (Persistently, I seek the answer still)
聞き返してた 言葉はもう
kikikaeshiteta kotoba wa mou (Checking those words repeatedly)

何度も繰り返している
nan domo kurikaeshiteiru (Countless times I have circled to)
同じところ 同じ心を
onaji tokoro onaji kokoro wo (The same place, the same heart)
何回だって 夏が ここに 来ようとも
nankai datte natsu ga koko ni koyoutomo (Countless times Spring has arrived here)
私 同じ 季節にいるんだ
watashi onaji kisetsu ni irun da (I am still in the same season)

あぁ どうすれば この身体から
aa dou sureba kono karada kara
あなたを隠す事ができるのか
anata wo kakusu koto ga dekiru no ka (Ah, what should I do to conceal this body from you)
ねぇどうすれば ねぇどうしたら
nee dou sureba nee dou shitara (So, what should I do, so how should I do)
笑って 昨日を 唄ってられるのでしょうか
waratte kinou wo utatte rareru no deshou ka (Shall I laugh and sing ‘Yesterday’)

降り始めた 惰性の雨が
furihajimeta dasei no ame ga (The habitual rain started to fall)
隠しきれない言葉を 誤魔化してる
kakushikirenai kotoba wo gomakashiteru (Unfinished words mislead)
滲んできた 水性の日々が
nijinde kita suisei no hibi ga (Fluid days start to spread)
乾ききった 夢へと 染み付いて
kawakikitta yume e to shimitsuite (Seeping into my parched dreams)

何度も振り返ってる
nan domo furikaetteru (Countless times I have circled to)
同じ場所を 同じ心を
onaji basho wo onaji kokoro wo (The same place, same heart)
何回だって 春 が ここに 来ようとも
nankai datte haru ga koko ni koyoutomo (Countless times Spring has arrived here)
私 1人 言えずにいるんだ
watashi hitori iezu ni irun da (Without saying, I am alone)

あぁ どうすれば この身体から
aa dou sureba kono karada kara
あなたを隠す事ができるのか
anata wo kakusu koto ga dekiru no ka (Ah, what should I do to conceal this body from you)
ねぇどうすれば ねぇどうしたら
nee dou sureba nee dou shitara (So, what should I do, so how should I do)
笑って 昨日を 唄ってられるのでしょうか
waratte kinou wo utatte rareru no deshou ka (Shall I laugh and sing ‘Yesterday’)

春になって 桜が咲いて
haru ni natte sakura ga saite (It’s Spring and the Sakuras are blooming)
いつかが 見えなくなって
itsuka ga mienakunatte (Someday we won’t see them)
「もういいかい?」”mou ii kai?” (Is that ok?)
繰り返し何度も零してしまう
kurikaeshi nan domo koboshite shimau (Endlessly, many times have I silenced the grumbling)

何遍も何遍も何遍も何千通り
nanbenmo nanbenmo nanbenmo nansen doori (How many times, how many times how many times how many thousands of ways)
日々を描いていたのに
hibi wo egaite ita no ni (I was sketching the days but)
明日にならない
asu ni naranai (I will not do tomorrow)

どうすれば この身体から
dou sureba kono karada kara (what should I do with this body)
「心」を隠す事ができるのか
“kokoro” wo kakusu koto ga dekiru no ka (Is it possible to conceal the heart)
ねぇどうすればいぃ?
nee dou sureba ii? (How should I do?)
ねぇどうしたらいいの
nee dou shitara ii no (What should I do?)
笑って 昨日を また 迎えられるには
waratte kinou wo mata mukaerareru ni wa (Shall I laugh for and welcome ‘Yesterday’ again)

あぁ どうすれば この身体から
aa dou sureba kono karada kara
あなたを隠す事ができるのか
anata wo kakusu koto ga dekiru no ka (Ah, what should I do to conceal this body from you)
ねぇ どうすればいぃ ねぇ どうしたら
nee dou sureba ii nee dou shitara (So, how should I do, what should I do)
笑って 昨日を 唄ってられるのでしょうか
waratte kinou wo utatte rareru no deshou ka (Shall I laugh and sing ‘Yesterday’)
こんな私を 叱ってくれるのでしょうか
konna watashi wo shikatte kureru no deshou ka (Won’t you give this ‘Me’ a scolding?)

Is this Rikuo’s voice, or might it be Shinako’s? Or both?

Categories: Anime

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s