Exploring Loss, Love, and Growth in Yesterday wo Utatte (Sing "Yesterday" for Me)

Another thoughtful Doga Kobo adaptation, Sing "Yesterday" for Me has been a real treat for many this season thanks in part to its refined and expressive animation, a more mature and realistic cast, setting, and story, and interesting character dynamics. Sing “Yesterday" for Me’s narrative also explores and ties together the universal themes of loss, love, and growth in interesting ways which is what we’re focusing on today. Without further ado, let’s get started! Spoilers ahead so proceed with caution!

Meandering Loss

While the most prominent and obvious example of loss in Sing "Yesterday" for Me is certainly found in Shinako, who is still in love with her childhood friend Hayakawa Yu who passed away years ago, the entire cast has been affected by loss in one way or another. Rikuo feels that he lost his chance with Shinako along with his motivation and sense of normalcy and direction after graduating university and Haru similarly loses her way in life after dropping out of high school and moving out of her parents’ home. There’s also Rou, of course, Yu’s younger brother, who has processed the loss of Yu very differently as someone who always felt like he was living in his brother’s shadow as he desperately tries to hold onto the memories of the past as a way to stay close to and prove himself to Shinako. All of this has put these people into various unfulfilling holding patterns that they’re trying to break out of but don’t quite know how.

Pushed by Love

Cheesy as it may sound, love, or at least attraction, is the driving force for causing change in each characters’ lives. Although it’s also a hangup, especially in Shinako’s case, love is ultimately what pushes Rikuo into thinking more seriously about his life and future. Initially spurred on by Haru’s advances and conversations into thinking more deeply about his own feelings and desires, and a little later his recommitment to pursuing Shinako, he is able to start turning his life around, albeit slowly. Haru’s rivalry for Rikuo’s affection is also shown to be a huge drive for her, although arguably dipping into an unhealthy side of one-sided love. Rou’s case is similarly partially unhealthy, using his nostalgic past connections to Shinako as a substitute for real emotional intimacy in the present but nevertheless has helped guide him forward as well, notably in art school.

Stumbling into Growth

Although Yesterday wo Utatte is definitely a slow-paced show, we have recently seen the results of love and attraction pushing our characters into better situations and more mature relationships, especially in Rikou and Shinako. With Rikou joining and largely succeeding in a serious career at the photo studio, Shinako working through her complicated feelings about Yu and opening herself up to the idea of multiple kinds of love, and the two finally becoming a couple, albeit a bit of an awkward one, things feel like they are finally progressing. It’s hard to tell how long this will last, and what exactly this will mean for Haru and Rou, but even if this relationship ends up getting tested and ultimately ends, the personal growth of each character will still be there, ultimately showing that perhaps love is more important as a catalyst for individual change than the typical storybook coupling we’re often left to expect.

Final Thoughts

Altogether, Yesterday wo Utatte has so far been a bit of an unconventional anime this season that has grown itself from a melancholic take on lost or seemingly impossible romance focused on longing to something more intimate while still being true to its awkward, inexperienced characters in a way that feels quite genuine. With the tension rising in recent episodes, all we can say is that we can’t wait to see what’s next. Will "Yesterday" be sung? In any case, we hope you enjoyed this article! Please let us know your own thoughts in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey’s for more of all things anime! Until next time… see ya~!

Yesterday-wo-Utatte-wallpaper-2-1-617x500 Exploring Loss, Love, and Growth in Yesterday wo Utatte (Sing "Yesterday" for Me)


Author: Oskar O.K. Strom

Call me Oskar or OkiOkiPanic or other things depending on how whimsical you're feeling. I'm an artist and game designer currently working in the indie scene. In true otaku fashion I'm also interested in anime/manga, collecting figures, building robot models, idols, denpa music, retro games and electronics, etc. Judging by the company I keep I figure it's only a matter of time until I'm obsessed with wrestling and mahjong.

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