April 21, 2016

She and Her Cat—Everything Flows


She and Her Cat is a rough short by Makoto Shinkai that can be found on the Voices of a Distant Star DVD. She and Her Cat—Everything Flows is directed by Kyoto Animation veteran Kazuya Sakamoto, who does an excellent job capturing Shinkai's sense of mood and atmosphere.

She and Her Cat—Everything Flows consists of four eight-minute episodes that tell a complete story. If you know how long cats live, and that we meet Daru (the cat) when she is in elementary school, the story of a life. Except it doesn't quite end like that.

But, well, it does.

As I've noted previously, mono no a'wa're is Shinkai's specialty, referring to the classical Japanese aesthetic concept of the sublime found in the ephemeral nature of things, of the beauty found in loss. Or as Jung phrased it, "In the shadow is the gold."

Kazuya Sakamoto tells a surprisingly upbeat story about what is too often a tediously downbeat subject. Death and estrangement haunt these scant thirty minutes without being mentioned. But so do rebirth and reunion. (A cat as the narrative point-of-view doesn't hurt either.)

A'wa're isn't about gloom or nihilism. It's the simple recognition that nothing lasts forever. Meaning the bad things in life don't last forever either. Cats have nine lives, after all, which makes them at least as long-lived as humans. The things that are no longer here aren't really gone.

They've simply come around again in a different form, including a cat like Daru.

She and Her Cat—Everything Flows can be viewed in its entirety on Crunchyroll.

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