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12 days of anime #2 – Why the caged bird sings [Kaguya-hime no monogatari]


Kaguya - moon

Why a princess builds fake meadows and mountains to fool around.

Also why an employee writes irrelevant blog entries after working hours.

Why a caged bird sings.

I remember I gave a lame name for my blog when I created it and how I had been so obsessed with that concept since a child. In a fantasy world of my own which has never been revealed to another living soul, I also named it Freedom, though as time went by my visits to the imaginary place became less and less frequent. The nostalgia grew stronger when I realised my time as a student was almost over. I remember having listened again and again to Puff the Magic Dragon at the time when I was supposed to leave school.

2015 was such an uneventful year. The most thrilling I could think of was that around the new year holidays I cried like a baby one night after finishing an anime and having my own “something-all-along” moment shortly afterwards. I didn’t always cry that much (emphasizing didn’t) so perhaps it was memorable. My year later on was influenced by the combination of powerful emotions from that day.

I’m sorry if I shall not discuss the movie much. Although it was a remake of an old Japanese folktale, Takahata Isao managed to blend so much insight to the story that it’s impossible to watch the movie without comparing its parental and social constraints to those of today. It sent me to my reflective mode as I drew parallels between the regrets of Kaguya-hime and modern people bound by ridiculous aristocratic formalities. Rules impose order, yes, but the strained and fake feelings that follow are pitiful. People become snobbish and they judge each other in a way relative to their snobbishness. When certain measurable criteria are weighed, they don’t bother getting to know the person behind those surfaces.

Kaguya - another place

Kaguya was treated like a commodity. Her naming ceremony was turned into a festive for drunkards. Men that risked their life for her hand in marriage hadn’t even seen her face or held a lengthy enough conversation. There’s also that unforgivable jerk who toyed with her heart by promising her the exact things she had ever longed for, sounding humbly and sincerely while his sole purpose was to have a beautiful wife, a new spoil, something to brag about. I was angered beyond words I broke into tears. She didn’t descend to earth for such fake living. From her home of the moon, she was attracted to the earth because she craved for freedom to enjoy nature to her heart’s content. What is the point of being courteous, talented and mannered if all it leads Kaguya to is prolonged endurance and being surrounded by more such snobs?

The world promised by higher achievement and efforts is disappointing if it enforces more constraints, especially the constraints that demands you to live up to the status and the luxuries entail. I am sick of luxuries, festivities, formalities and the like. One New Year day I realised even the firework in the sky was so underwhelming.

… Aaannnd somehow I went a little bit too far and couldn’t get to the point I initially wanted to make. Ironically, my time for this post is already up, for I have another day of work some hours ahead. I do lament this short “song” I’ve just performed, considering that it costs me a whole Christmas evening; talk about how inefficient I am. To wrap up, at least I share quite a similar sentiment to Kaguya hime in this fake blogging world of mine – the blogging world that is unlikely to amount to anything, although I can’t help filling it up with new blog posts.

Kaguya - caged bird

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