The stage is set at near future. Okamura Aya, also known as "Aachan", started to live by herself as she started a new job after graduation. Her mother needed to go overseas to work as a doctor, so now only her father and a cat, Mii-san, live in a Proud apartment. Since Aachan moved out, her father has been trying to reach out to her but somehow there is an awkward gap between the two. And the cat Mii-san, which Aachan has kept since she was a child, is getting old... One night, Aachan came back from a tiring day and threw herself on the bed. She closed her eyes and remembered the happy days she spent with her parents and when Mii-san came to comfort her when she got lonely after her mother left.... And then the phone rang...
"An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of friendship."
There have probably been cases in all of our lives in which we took our families for granted. When I look back on my life I realize I was a selfish, greedy kid. Growing up in a suburb of the United States will make you that way. You want to fit in with the 'now' and want to be socially acceptable so you aren't judged by others. I've bought material things to impress people I don't know, shown off the newest fashion or technology to friends to feel an ounce of vanity, and gone
out of my way to do something because a 'friend' asked me to; I valued my friends more than my family at several points in my life.
There comes a point in life, however, when you might just come to realize something. Friends aren't always there for you like your family is. Friends come and go; their affections are usually conditional and demanding. This isn't always the case, as there are exceptions to this. Some friends display an immense, unwavering loyalty, and some family members couldn't give less than a shit about us. However, in most cases, your family will always love you unconditionally; they took care of you when you were sick, fed you, clothed you, gave you an education, and put a roof over your head. They've worked hard for us and shouldn't be taken for granted or forgotten. In an animated short film of about six minutes, all this is admirably depicted.
Dareka no Manazashi follows a young girl, who has moved out of her parents' place and has sought an independent life in the work force. Though things are tough for her and she struggles to make a living, she lies to her father about how her life truly is. Both she and her father struggle with loneliness since their family has lost the close-knit bond that they once had. Despite how distant they have become, this animated short shows that it's never too late to reform those bonds.
What's really strong about the story is how realistic it is for something of a short slice of life drama. In only a few minutes Dareka no Manazashi presents a clear, heartfelt message to their audience. The way it is presented, however, is not perfect. Personally, I didn't enjoy the flow of the story as much as other comparable animated short films like Rain Town or Tsumiki no Ie. Some parts of Dareka no Manazashi felt random and too quick to bounce around. While the overall message was great, the execution of how the story was told was only fair.
The art/animation of Dareka no Manazashi was marvelous. Everything looks simply stunning and I couldn't ask for more. The soundtrack was good overall. There is the classic piano tingle for the soul, and an actual song near the middle of the series. I enjoyed the aesthetics and soundtrack that Dareka no Manazashi had to offer.
The characters that are the prime focus are the daughter and the father. You can't help but empathize for both of these characters because they are so human. In the span of just a few minutes I grew attached to this family and wanted to see them attain happiness.
After watching Dareka no Manazashi one can't help but think about the past. Somewhere along the line we've lost our innocence and love for the simple things in life. We've lost that little bit of bliss that stems from our ignorance. Maybe we've outgrown all the things that we once loved. But who knows? Maybe it's not too late to fall in love with those things once more.
7 minutes. It doesn’t ask for any more of your precious time. Amidst all the troubles in life, if you decide and manage to invest that amount of time in watching this ultra short film, what you get is something that will undoubtedly stay with you for a long time.
Dareka no Manazashi awes with its simplicity. It portrays a certain phase of human life, i.e., the growing up phase and the changes that come along with it in one’s life, that almost every person experiences. It is about how we tend to put up facades in public just for the sake of presenting ourselves as
intellectual grown-ups. It is also about how during this process, we end up losing our child-like innocence and the ability to be brazenly honest about our true feelings.
Humans are a strange lot. As children, we possess such noble virtues of honesty and good-will but as we grow up and enter adulthood, we try our best to discard them, largely because of the fear of being ridiculed and not being taken seriously in the harsh world of adults. This film expresses just that. What is really appreciable about the film is that it does not try to pass a judgement. It doesn’t advise us on whether it’s the right thing to do or not. It does not tell us whether it’s the right way or not. It just puts forth a stark reality of human life before us and tries to be optimistic about the happening of it all.
The film shows the advent of the transition phase in a girl’s life, her gradual years of growing up from a child to a self-sustaining adult, and how it affects her relations with her father and family.
Aya Okamura, the girl and lady in question, lived happily with her father and mother in a typical nuclear family. She had a certain sense of freeness as a child, always happy and joyous in the presence of her doting parents. But gradually, as life takes certain turns, she starts to feel ashamed of her parents, making jokes about them in front of friends and also develops an independent streak which makes her live on her own away from them. But in reality, she feels guilty of it all and tries to make amends. This is something most of us experience in life and it is the films very close connect with reality that makes it a good watch.
Even if we stay away from our parents, we always crave for them, consciously or sub-consciously. Sometimes we are unable to admit it in fear of sounding weak or just feel ashamed. But we do, at all times, feel the pangs of separation from our parents when we live apart from them. The child in us always craves for those two special people. No matter how much we may deny it, the one thing that supports us in life and which is the pillar of our existence in the world is our family. This is the core message Dareka no Manazashi tries to convey.
The world is a tough place to survive in and more so, when one is alone. We realize how we have been protected and cared for by our parents only when we separate from them. It is then that our heart cries for them. It is then that we want them to shield us from the harshness of the world over again. Aya’s beautiful relation with her father is heart-warming. The mutual love they have for each other is undeniably great though they do not express it openly at any point of time. It’s her family that matters to her the most, is what the narrator hopes Aya to realize. And us as well.
The animation is beautiful and fitting. It complements the atmosphere built up wonderfully with some neat artwork. The background song that starts playing towards the end is soulful and heart-felt and connects deeply with the message that the film tries to convey.
In overall, the film is a great watch. Not only does it manage to bring tears to your eyes in such a short period of time but also it enriches you with a certain realization. It does not obfuscate but rather presents some everyday events that occur in almost every human’s life in a simplified manner. And therein lies its charm because as they say, in simplicity lies greatness.
Every director has the same main goal: touch the emotions of the audience. I wouldn´t say that there aren´t many who can actually achieve this, but there are definetly very few who can pull it off in less than seven minutes. 6 minutes and 40 seconds of screentime is all that Makoto Shinkai needs to tell the bittersweet story that is Dareka no Manazashi.
In this little story about family values, it is impressive how Shinkai manages to use the seven minutes he has here... we learn just enough about the characters and their background to care about them, making the film quite
a tearjerker if you tend to weep easily. Despite the runtime, nothing seems rushed and the show is surprisingly slow paced.
The animation is, like the story, beautiful. However i could´t help but think i´m watching Garden of Words again, a film from the exact same writer, animated by the exact same studio in the exact same year. Those two just look a little too similar for my taste, a bit of originality would´ve been nice here.
The theme song is not for me, but i can´t say that it doesn´t fit the overall feel of the show...so what we have here is a lovely piece of art that should not be missed by anyone (like all of Shinkai´s works in my opinion). Come on people...it´s seven minutes of your time!
Dareka no Manazashi (DnM for short) is a short film directed by Makoto Shinkai - if you're an anime fan in any capacity, you're probably familiar with some of the titles he's directed, such as Byousoku 5 Centimeter and the much more recent Kimi no Na wa. His films are often described as bittersweet and sentimental, and this is also the case with DnM. However, its short length and the consequential underdevelopent of the many plot points the film presents left me feeling underwhelmed - like this was something that had the potential to be emotionally touching, if given more time.
DnM is visually stunning, featuring
vibrant colors, attractive character designs and skilled use of lighting to match the story's emotional shifts. However, the "near future" setting adds nothing to the overall story - it could have just as easily taken place in the present.
The voice actors portrayed their characters with conviction and heart. The music was soft piano for the bulk of the film and a piano ballad at the end, which fit the mood of the story well. All aspects of sound featured in DnM were pleasing but nothing spectacular.
The story of DnM centers around Aya Okamura and the evolution of her relationship with her family, and many focal points of this relationship are shown, past and present, ups and downs. The common thread between these plot points is that very little time is spent on any of them, preventing the viewer from establishing much of a meaningful connection with the plot or the characters portrayed in the story. Speaking of the characters, they've got a surprising amount of personality for the short time they're shown, but because we don't get to see that much of them it's hard to find yourself caring about their lives, day-to-day troubles, or relationships with one another. The themes of the story, in addition, are underexplored due to the film's brevity and quick switches from scene to scene.
I do have one gripe about a potential "plothole", which is strange for a film that isn't even seven minutes long - it has no impact on the events of the story, but left me slightly puzzled. Near the end of the film, it's heavily implied that the narrator is one of the characters from the story. However, this narrator describes events as if they were there from before their character was actually introduced in the story, which raises questions. Whether this was an oversight or just Shinkai taking creative liberties with the narration, I found it a bit odd.
Overall, DnM is a good example of an adequate film that could have been much better given more time to grow and develop. There's a lot here with potential that is never met, which is a shame, but the framework for a more solid film is present.