The new year has already turned out to be even more challenging than the last, which is certainly not what I expected, but perhaps it all leads to a more meaningful path, both for me and those close to me. None of that is really appropriate to this blog, so I won’t go further, but it’s in my nature to be optimistic, so that’s what I’m running on right now.
Something I’ve done to distract myself from deep thoughts the past couple of days, is to reacquaint myself with Hikaru no Go, specifically the manga. I’d watched the anime somewhat recently, but I hadn’t gone back to the manga, especially the final arc which is not included in the anime, since my first whirlwind through it. This time, I started with the final arc, which actually disappointed me a bit the first time through, but worked much better for me on the second read. Something that I was struck with immediately was just how skillfully crafted this story is. What rich characters! What a compelling plot! What delightful artwork! Jason Thompson refers to Hikaru no Go, in his book, Manga: The Complete Guide, as “…one of the few all-ages manga that can truly be enjoyed by all ages,” and though I personally have not read enough all-ages manga to make such a statement, I can absolutely vouch for Hikaru no Go. It was the first manga I read, and the thing that dragged me into this crazy world of Japanese comics and animation, and I don’t truly know if anything else could have done the job so thoroughly. I’ve since fallen deeper in love with other worlds (Fullmetal Alchemist, Kino’s Journey), but nothing takes the shine off of Hikaru no Go. There is something really pure about it. I have tried reading some of the other boys’ competitive sports-type manga, and have been unable to get into any of them, after being spoiled by Hikaru no Go. It really is one of a kind.
I actually intended to talk more about this here, but I have at least one friend who is still working her way through the series, and I am loathe to spoil her.
I also re-watched some favorite anime episodes (including episodes 63 & 74 of Hikaru no Go), and also episode 8 of Kino’s Journey, which I had originally slept through, so it really wasn’t so much a re-watch as a watch. Oh, episode 8. I have wanted to fly and dreamed of flying my entire life, so there was a lot there for me, and I ended up then re-watching that episode seven or eight times more. It was an interesting one for me, too, in that I typically identify with Kino, but in this particular episode, I found myself identifying more strongly with Nimya, which let me view Kino from a different perspective. I suppose the fact that the episode is from Nimya’s POV helped that along as well, but it was not only that. In any case, the episode was completely enthralling, and exactly what I needed at the time. I also re-watched the first Kino’s Journey movie, “Life Goes On,” and the first chapter of 5 Centimeters Per Second. These are my comfort food, and I indulged myself heavily.
I’m appreciating the extra day, and steeling myself for the return to work tomorrow. I wish I had something profound to offer for Martin Luther King Day, but there are others offering much more than I could all over the internet. Here is an article about some Michigan students celebrating his legacy that I found quite moving.