Sorry, all! Moving…happened. Aggressively. A lot.
While I was at Otakon I got a chance to see some neat things, including a screening of the Hiroshima-focused In This Corner of the World. I’ve got write-ups for you all on my overall experience and on the film specifically (feelings were had).
This marks my second-ever convention visit, and the first that was both as huge and anime-focused as Otakon. My feet still hurt. It was a great time, but what I came away with was a profound sense of the gap between the fan and professional elements.
Walking around the con was an amazing experience—I saw cosplayers of all body types, races, and gender expressions (and in three days, only heard one person being kind of an asshole about it), overheard meet-ups the con had made possible, and was generally super impressed with the positive atmosphere helpfully facilitated by the size of the new convention center. Artist’s Alley also wound up being way more appealing than the Dealer’s Room; it was great to be able to support talented, passionate artists on an individual scale, even if the whole affair is arguably of dubious legality.
I came away from In This Corner of the World feeling like something of a monster—while a good chunk of the team was shaken or in tears, I was contemplating its film techniques and also possibly dinner. I very much enjoyed the film, mind. But it’s a quiet, melancholy affair. While Grave of the Fireflies and Barefoot Gen struck me as raw, angry expressions of their authors’ experiences, In This Corner of the World engages more cerebrally (despite having some harrowing brutality on par with those films).
The separation is somewhat natural—Akiyuki Nosaka (Fireflies) and Keiji Nakazawa (Gen) were both survivors dramatizing their firsthand experience (and Nakazawa turned an extremely critical eye on the government), while manga artist Kōno wasn’t born until 1968. That absolutely doesn’t preclude her from writing about the war or the atrocities suffered by her hometown of Hiroshima, but time inevitably means distance, and the produced works will serve different purposes.