[7] -arata naru sekai: loneliness-

Just one of a thousand things I want to say about one of the best things I watched this year.

Arata naru Sekai

This post is the sixth of my entries into 2016’s rendition of the 12 Days of Anime aniblogger project. For more about the project, read appropriant’s introductory post. For a spreadsheet containing the work of all the bloggers participating, go here. For my previous 12 Days posts, go here.

Have you ever watched something that is just so full that, even though you want to say a thousand different things about it, you can’t manage even a word? This year, for me, that thing was the 2012 OVA Arata naru Sekai: World’s Start/Load/End. But I want to try.

In superficial terms, Arata naru Sekai is the tale of four girls sent to a long-distant future to search for a way to save a version of humanity that is currently repeating the same apocalypse day over and over again as it desperately looks for a solution. However, in execution, the OVA is more about the feelings the quartet experience during the travels through the future they’ve come to, which is devoid of all human life.

Loneliness.

All this may sound dramatic, hysterical even. But what characterizes the OVA most, what makes it so softly compelling, is the quiet melancholy of it all. The girls’ coping mechanisms—sarcasm, light-hearted black humor, nonchalance—are all acted out without ceremony or even much emotion.

The feelings of isolation and abandonment—these girls are, after all, a shot in the dark fired by a race too blind to attempt to avoid annihilation until the last possible second—runs deeper than the simple fact of being the only four humans alive on the planet. Deeper, yes. There’s the sense of betrayal Yasuka voices over the adults’ pushing her and her companions into this, and the separation from her boyfriend across time. Her only remembrance of him are the text messages still stored on her cellphone, the only item she was allowed to bring  with her from her time… and the cellphone is roaming.

Yasuka way be accompanied by her three fellow time adventurers, but she remains alone inside her thoughts. Alone with her memories.

I want to say more, but like Yasuka, I find my words dwarfed by the small yet insistent voice of loneliness. Loneliness, I think, is a dense feeling rather than a large one. It is a feeling compacted into the smallest possible area, like a lump of metal squeezed to the size of a marble. Small, but heavy. Easily tossed from hand to hand when the mind drifts from it, impossible to lift when dwelt upon. For almost the full duration of its run, Arata naru Sekai places that ball into the audience’s hand, to be held and pondered. It is the wistfulness of the searchers, the desperation of humanity, the fear of futility, the anger of being used. All this dwells together in the single orb called “loneliness.”

Arata naru Sekai does not end in loneliness, but the time spent lingering in the future world offers a sip of loneliness so potent and so subtle that the taste remains even after the bright conclusion to the story. It is impossible not to remember.

Arata naru Sekaiarata-naru-sekai-ova-25arata-naru-sekai-ova-47Arata naru Sekai

6 thoughts on “[7] -arata naru sekai: loneliness-

  1. Oooh, I remember this one. 2012 was a great year for OVAs. Kyousogiga would later get a TV series. This one? Still waiting. The OVA we have is pretty self-contained, though, especially when it comes to mood.

    Also, I think Arata Naru Sekai set a benchmark for me, and this was part of why I found Coppelion so disappointing. Maybe I wanted more of Arata instead, and I ended up being unfair to Coppelion? Hmm…

    I don’t remember details, but I remember being able to feel all those absent people in the settings, and the way they’d talk to each other just to escape the silence. (Excellent screenshot choices, too. It’s all coming back. Maybe I’ll rewatch it some time soon. Thanks for reminding me.)

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    • Yeah, it is self-contained on its own, and it’s also just one part of a multimedia franchise (a novel and a manga round out the other two parts of the story), so I doubt we’ll ever see a full length TV series. Which, honestly? I’m fine with that, I think it’s the better for not being quite explicit about everything that’s going on.

      Hard not to get good screenshots with this OVA, honestly. It’s beautiful throughout (directed by the same guy who did Death Parade and Mob Psycho 100).

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  2. Adding to my must watch list right now. I’ve never even heard of this before, but it sounds terrific.

    Did you ever watch Pale Cocoon? That was another short with lonely, isolated characters, albeit explored from a somewhat different angle. Its one of my personal favorites.

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    • It really is! It also has this cinematic quality to it (in that it almost feels like a short film more than an OVA that’s part of a larger story) that is just phenomenal. Hope you like it when you try it out!

      And I haven’t seen that, I’ll be sure to look it up!

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