As the protests in the United States spread far and wide and the whole world focuses in on one country via online media, an emergence of the trend #Ican'tBreathe has brought many of us together in the times of distress. What is interesting is that distress in human nature is always existent. Perhaps, that is what ideas in literature are made of. Across time, across lands, across generations, the human tendency of sorrow, regret, despair and then rising out of those negative emotions and embracing joy, gratefulness and hope have always been the pillars of humanity. Maybe, just maybe, we can prove that just like how in history we have resurfaced from the dark, we can do that again today.
Recently, I finished watching the anime series named “Aoi Bungaku”. The literal translation of “Aoi Bungaku” is “Evergreen Literature”, that is to say – stories of literature that live with the world forever because they are a reflection of daily human morals. This anime is divided into six stories by famous Japanese authors, such as, Osamu Dazai, Ango Sakaguchi, Natsume Souseki and Ryuunosuke Akutagawa. Each and every story offers an insight into raw and complex human emotions and how someone reacts in a situation like that. Of course, not everyone will react the way the characters in the stories do, but isn't that the beauty of human nature – one situation can have so many different outcomes.
The stories of Aoi Bungaku are beautiful and suffocating. For instance, the first story, Dazai's Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human) presents the life story of a young man struggling to find an identity for himself and failing continuously. Does he succeed? Is that success happy? Find out as you watch this riveting tale. Similar despair is also portrayed in Akutagawa's Kumo no Ito (The Spider's Thread) about the situation of a thorough criminal. How even a souls as dark as that of a murderer seeks mercy. Ryuunosuke Akutagawa also displays the suffering in the world in Jigoku Hen (Hell Screen) – a story about how pained an artist's life is for he can see the flaming emotions in the world.
While many of these stories are a reminder of how time and again human beings tend to drown in hurt and sadness, much like the cases that prompted such wide spread demonstrations and #ICan'tBreathe, Dazai's Hashire, Melos (Run, Melos) also serves to prove that as people we are capable of rising above every negative emotion. All in all, this is an anime that has brought age-old literature back to life and relates very well to our current world situations, and like the stories, let's pray that the suffocation and peoples' cry of #ICan'tBreathe change to hope and learning.
For Hope is Evergreen and will remain always.
Hopefully, this review generated an interest for all the readers. Please give it a try sometime!