It looks like my in-flight entertainment adventures are becoming a bit of a series. (Does 2 posts in a row – written on 2 flights in a row – count as a series?)
Today, once again, I picked a movie on a whim (the food was a teensy bit better this flight than the last – emphasis on teensy), and liked it enough to write it a review right away while still in the air.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an understatement.
It’s more like I innocently signed up for what I thought would be a sweet, slice-of-life romance with a possible time-traveling twist, and ended up feeling like I was sucker-punched into serving up my heart to these characters on a plate. In a good way.
Here’s what I knew about the movie before I clicked on “Play Movie.”
“Takatoshi (Sota) falls in love with Emi (Komatsu), a girl with an extraordinary ability.”
That’s.. not a lot to go on, for sure. The trailer was unsubbed and therefore I didn’t have a clue what was going on in it, but I decided to watch it because the characters looked likable, and the breezy music suggested that this movie would be light and cute.
Which it was. I mean, until it wasn’t.
THE REVEAL [MAJOR SPOILERS]
Essentially, Emi doesn’t have an extraordinary ability. It’s more like she appears to have the extraordinary ability to know about things before they happen, but that’s only because she comes from a parallel universe where time flows in the opposite direction of this universe.
On top of that, the lovers are only able to meet for 30 days every 5 years, because that’s where the loophole in their time cycles is (I’m paraphrasing, but essentially that’s what we need to know).
After this is revealed to us, the enormity of the implications on our lovers unfolded itself upon my mind in waves, and as I progressed with my watch, I found my heart pinching more and more, with each ripple of realization.
Here are the realizations that hit me the most, along with my general heart reactions:
1. Takatoshi and Emi have no shared context, except for what they purposefully create for themselves. The Emi that Takatoshi meets each day, has no memory of the days prior that they have spent together in his timeline, because she hasn’t experienced them yet. And vice versa, for the Takatoshi that Emi meets each day. This means that literally, the only true shared experiences that they have, are the ones that they are creating together, on that very day. The next day for him – and the next day for her – is shared with a different version of the other person because there are no actual shared memories. And yet, they continue to love each other and make it work.
My heart: Wow. That’s pretty deep, intentional, hardworking love, it feels like.
2. Based on the timelines, Takatoshi and Emi are the same age only once in the entire cycle, when they are twenty. When Takatoshi is 25, Emi is 15. When Takatoshi is 35, Emi is 5. And vice versa. Which means that the only window of time in which they can actually be together as a couple, is right now, when they are twenty. This means their romance can only last for 30 days. No more, and no less.
My heart: Ow. Ow ow ow.
3. Taking that further, this also means that once Takatoshi progresses past age 40, there aren’t even any more opportunities for him to see Emi, because in her timeline, she wouldn’t have been born yet. And vice versa for Emi. Our lovers wouldn’t even be able to visit each other anymore, because the other person wouldn’t exist yet.
My heart: Guh. *blubbers*
I’m pretty sure that if you took the time to dig a little deeper, that there would be other themes and ideas you’d be able to find in this movie; it just feels so thoughtfully conceived and written.
Personally, the ideas and themes that reverberated the strongest with me, were the ones that had to do with this show’s take on love. Specifically, I loved the way this movie made me think about empathy, selflessness, and quality time.
The idea of empathy is a very strong one, as Takatoshi learns to look beyond his own feelings and consider Emi’s feelings and her point of view. In this movie, each of our lovers has to reach deep into themselves and consider the context and feelings of the other person. Before, Takatoshi can only feel overwhelmed at how Emi is just following a play-book on their dates. But later, he realizes how painful it must be for her, when each of his firsts with her, are literally her lasts with him.
Closely linked to the idea of empathy is the idea of selflessness. We see Takatoshi and Emi consistently put the other person’s happiness above their own.
She holds back tears as she chooses to focus on creating happy memories for him, rather than her own sadness as she considers how his first everything with her, is her last everything with him. We then see Takatoshi learn to do the same, as the 30 days draw to a close. He, too, holds back his own sadness at the impending goodbye, for the sake of Emi, who is just starting her 30 days with him.
You can literally see how much it kills each of them, but they forge on and do it anyway, out of love and consideration for the other person.
3. Quality Time
The set-up in this movie literally redefines the meaning of quality time, because our lovers only ever have these 30 days together. I feel like this movie takes the idea that shared time is precious – which reasonably applies to all couples everywhere – and amplifies it to an almost painful degree, simply because our lovers’ time together has a predetermined limit.
It makes all the time they share extra precious, and I feel like I can literally see them cherish each second to its very last drop.
When Show takes these 3 things and magnifies them to such a startling degree, I feel that it makes it easier for us as an audience to more fully appreciate how to love others, and to be more thankful and more giving, in the way that we love.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
As the final credits rolled, I found myself staring at my screen in a daze, while my brain struggled to reconcile the fate of these lovers, and my heart tried to decide whether it was full, or broken, or both.
It’s a fantastical setup to be sure, but the heart of both Takatoshi and Emi, as they struggled through their personal pain to give as much happiness to the other person as they could in the moment, moved me deeply.
I dearly wish they could have had a more explicitly happy ending, but perhaps it is more touching to know that from start to finish, they each loved the other to the fullest of their abilities, and dedicated themselves to making the other person happy, while savoring every moment, because oftentimes, it was literally their last.
There is a line of dialogue that Takatoshi and Emi share a couple of times in the movie; essentially, that their lives are linked by the edges, and as they progress through the cycles of time, they are one, living one life.
Right after we see Takatoshi walk away from 5-year-old Emi after saving her, which basically is the last time he will see her, the scene cuts to 20-year-old Emi, approaching Takatoshi for the first time, to experience those 30 days all over again.
It breaks my heart to think that this pair of lovers share such a deep bond, and yet have such a limited amount of time to be together, in each of their lifetimes. But it also fills my heart to witness their love. The length of time they have together doesn’t determine how deeply nor how enduringly they love each other. They would rather face the odds and grasp tightly onto every opportunity they have to love each other, than not love each other at all.
And that in itself is a lesson in love indeed. <3
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Poignant, thought-provoking and bittersweet.
FINAL GRADE: A
This wasn’t the trailer I watched on the plane. The in-flight trailer was much breezier, whereas this one runs much closer to the actual tone of the movie.