Mari Okada Knows Emotions

Frozen in time thought provoking piece I watched not long ago

Sorry for no posts the past couple of weeks, studying time took priority and in that time realised I ran out of pre- scheduled posts, announcing beginning of the year I had up until June. Something went wrong there ahaha. Guess from here on out will be whatever is current in my thoughts and one that I’ve been wanting to mention my first Mari Okada film I watched three weeks ago: Maboroshi. 

Mari has scripted and created some amazing pieces, Nagi No Asukara is a early glimpse for me into the themes Mari likes to delve into and the deep origin of where she likes to go with her idea, I resonate highly with. She has done a lot of shows I love and had to check out her latest work debuting on netflix not that long ago. Times freezes still for a small town, a mass explosion causes change in the sky and atmosphere, the towns people repeat the same day over and over, a cold winter. Emotional levels plummet and people grow weary Masamune thinks bigger and becomes caught up with classmate Mutsumi and a wild child girl whose presence makes n0 sense  to the present situation. Core likes for others is banned within this freeze frame, intense emotions are elevated leaving many feeling trapped. 

I can’t imagine being stuck in a cube like these characters were in and the slightest hint of unravelling feelings, you no longer come to exist. This isolation focus Mari went for forces the characters to acknowledge feelings they have tried to put at bay and replays for us the after confrontation of putting off what is important to sort through and come to realisations. All to avoid unnecessary mind games which everyone in the town does on repeat. In the close confines this movie portrays realisations and deep thought provoking actions had my mind in a buzz for the one constant message that eventually comes to light: What do you live for?

In the normal present most of us feel we are in survival mode 24/7 and this path is just of existing and not truly grabbing the gift life is. Each person in a barricaded town is left to confront many big aspirations that seem like a candle that could go out at any moment. Decaying hopelessness all anyone is left to feel but there is the young of youth which glimmers some hope not anything is lost. Masamune is the messenger towards this sentiment, he never accepts the circumstances even when it may seem he does. Defying what is in front is a gradual process for all the characters to work through considering they become dust, the slightest flair on intense emotion. Love, like or any emotion is off limits and The love Masamune begins to feel for Mutsumi titters on the edge of danger. 

The reflective intensity of powerful emotions and swimming thoughts are encompassed so well with the worlds animation. An atmosphere among a wintery sun setting gives bleakness but bright hope at the same time, speaking volumes for the wound up locked away feelings everyone is forced to hide and when they explode it’s a swimming pool of pressuring intense release or frustration. My favourite scene from this move where Masamune and Mutsumi lay on the cold snow looking at each other (I won’t spoil the scene) god that scene is perfection, the animation is never on more point for me than at that moment. Mari’s amazing control and thought provoking ways towards how emotions are handled in the movie is my favourite thing about this work. It’s amazing work and brilliant direction, would you expect anything less?


What spoiled me giving this a 10/10 was the forced exposure of Itsumi infatuation for Masamune, come on really. Thereafter what is relieved makes you feel a little uncomfortable for when the ending comes around. An unnecessary thing towards this thought-provoking piece. This part of miscalculation has the main message of the movie drowning a bit, spoiling the achieving affect. Mutsumi shitty, nutty father was a good character for hating on, his ludicrous nature was quite the amusement. Maboroshi I enjoyed more than I thought I was going too, my headspace at the time synced really well to the movies message of “What do we live for?”. A question explored upon the main characters and through their journey are given a glimpse into what decisions they make that won’t lead to a happy life possibly. The freeze element representing to me being in the moment that there is no way other to live, future and past worries hinder us, freeze us ultimately. They are things we can think about but at the end of the day they don’t truly matter of what is at stake day in day out. Missing out on your day to day. 


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