I’m trying something different this time compared to my OWLS posts…and basing my post on a movie.
Welcome, one and all, to this stop on the Space is the Place tour which is a tour through…well,
our anime space, arranged by Scott to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing. If this is your first time here, you can call me “Aria” (pseudonym). I may not have contributed something too significant to this tour, but I did suggest some ideas for bloggers to use, such as that “T minus” thing Scott did at the end of this post.
You are currently on Planet Spellbook. If you can see the banner, this planet is situated on the rightmost side of the left half:
So which anime am I using on this tour and why?
Yakusoku no Nanayamatsuri (which translates to something like “Seven-Night Festival of Promises”), also known on Crunchyroll as Starlight Promises, is a movie about Tanabata, the star festival. That’s how it’s related to space – the folkloric traditions that connect us to the stars metaphorically seem to connect the people of the world like the red string of fate. (It’s that whole “when you look at the stars, you know that I’ll be looking at the same set of stars somewhere else” thing you see in romances a lot.)
Beautiful, isn’t it?
Tanabata is also a bit of a special thing for me, anime-wise. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know one of my early memories going down the anime rabbit hole is watching Detective Conan’s 13th movie – which involves Tanabata as an early plot point – and I did not make any sense of the terrible Engrish subs. They were going on about Cow Herd and Weaver when they were showing beetles on screen…! (More details here if you need to know.) Also, Tanabata already exists properly as “Chinese Valentine’s Day”, while there’s also a similar lunar theme (but different foods and legends) to the Mid-Autumn Festival…hey, what can I say? I’m no folklorist, but I find the connections between China and Japan interesting since I know the languages for both nations in some capacity.
So, what’s all this ranting about folklore have to do with Starlight Promises?
It’s all about loss, tying into the metaphor that space is empty and lonely. Shoma lost his friend Atsushi and Shiori lost her older sister. Shoma and Shiori play the parts of the so-called “Cow Herd and Weaver” (Hikoboshi and Orihime) in a giant technology-expedited reenaction of the legend. Despite the story being about what is ostensibly a romance, it’s not really that romantic for Shoma and Shiori though – they’ve been lumped together for a few days, but exhibit more of a friendship rather than chemistry by the end of the movie (with a hint of ship tease), which is an interesting direction to take things. On the flipside of loss is acceptance, though, and by being able to face the emptiness together, the two find ways to accept who they miss.
Throughout time, there have been different functions for space – as a barrier from the endless vacuum of darkness, as a metaphor for separation (as we’ve got here) and as something to surpass 50 years ago to set foot on that particular hunk of orbiting rock we call the moon. This Apollo landing we’re celebrating is about how we got to the moon and, by extension, got rid of all the ideas we had about space which we formed on earth, but those ideas were just as important to building our concepts of space as we know them now…or else we wouldn’t be naming our planets all sorts of things related to mythology. Even though I’m the one who goes gaga at examining modernity as we know it – the space race included – I haven’t looked at the other side yet and this tour gave me the ability to do so.
There you have it – if you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me. Thanks to Scott for running this tour (sorry for making you worry with my complaints about Crunchyroll buffering!) and thanks to K for making the planets, plus teaching me how to make them. I’ve never seen a non-OWLS tour before, so this was fun!
Fun fact: This sample planet, which I made to experiment with the same software K used for the visuals, is close to what I had in mind when I put in my request (except the stars on the planet should be gold), but due to K’s interpretation of how I described it, Planet Spellbook looks the way it is now.
Do you think my original planet design was a bit ostentatious…?