As we all know, movies should be experienced in theatre, not on small screens or laptops, except only those really crappy ones. Some good movies are even worth risking contact with airborne diseases from people sitting next to you in the cinema. This is also the case for anime.
I have recently posted my review on Doraemon: Nobita and the New Steel Troops. I did not tell you that I watched that movie on the big screen. So now, I am writing about one of those rare occasions in which I got the chance to watch an anime in theater. And though the movie was not exactly what I expected it to be, the whole experience was nothing less than magical.
In addition to frequent flood, occasional earthquake, a few tsunamis, political turmoil and human rights problems, Thailand has always been plagued by ‘anime ignorance’ crisis. In my entire living memory, I had seen only a handful of Doraemon movies getting released nationwide, few Studio Ghibli films getting limited release (the most recent being Arrietty) and only one Macross movie. Anime is for kids with attention span less than 30 minutes and deserves no more than the time slot right after morning news on weekends. So for me, anime was almost equivalent to laptop screening in my dim lamp-lit room at 1.00 am in the morning. You just can’t imagine my delight when I found out that the latest Doraemon movie hit local cinema, the digital one for that matter!
Despite my work-related exhaustion, I rush to the theater the very next day. I bought a ticket at the box-office and almost failed to notice the strange looks the box-office staff gave me (I knew I should have brought some random kids with me). The theater was, to my surprise, half filled. More than half of the audiences were kids and the rest were probably the kids’ parents or older siblings. I must admit that I spent too much time observing these people during the movie. Doraemon was simple and delivered clear emotions and messages. I heard the children’s laughter every time the anime tried to be funny and felt deep silence whenever the sad part emerged.
The most emotional moment of the event was at the anime’s climatic scene. I was not only because the anime was poignant (It really was) but also because I was moved by the audience as well. The silence in the audience was absolute when Lilulu said goodbye to Shisuka. I saw the woman sitting beside me raised her hand and wiped tears from her eyes. At that moment, a large clump of emotion surged up inside me. I felt my skin getting Goosebumps and my eyes became watery. At first I didn’t understand the feeling I was experiencing. I already knew this ending by heart so it should not have such emotional impact on me. It took me at least a few hours after I came back home to understand my own feeling.
When I saw that woman wiped her tears, I knew I was not alone. I was not the only one in the world covering in my dark room in the deep of the night watching some anime that no one cared about. At that moment in that theater, we were all in it together. We were watching anime at its best form. We were moved and we were impressed, together. Anime, if done right, could reach to all of us just like everything else. I was shaken by the movie, by my love of anime, by the memory and above all, I was moved by the people around me. The magic cannot be made by only the film but the people must help making it together.
My passion had been revitalized somewhat by that event. I think watching anime from your laptop can be tiring after a few years. Watching it with other people will certainly help and going to the cinema is an irreplaceable experience. Now the only problem that remains is that I have no idea when another anime will be released in theater around here. (sigh)