Once, while alone in my room, I may have pantomimed a figure skating routine along with Sayo Yamamoto’s Endless Night.
Also, it may have been more than once.
Figure skating was something I put away come junior high school, along with many other things. Unlike stuffed animals (too childish), or a shell collection (too uncool), I left figure skating because there are only two choices when one reaches a certain age – either put all effort into figure skating, or leave it entirely. Soccer, the thought of playing a sport with my friends, and making an attempt at that whole “fitting in thing” overrode any sort of affinity I had cultivated for figure skating.
However, a bit later in junior high, I fell very ill and spent months at home. During this time, I ended up watching a lot of figure skating competitions, and would occasionally try to recreate or mimic their movements as I watched – partially out of boredom or feverish delusion, and partially due to missing it a bit.
Endless Night, a short by Sayo Yamamoto (Michiko to Hatchin and Lupin III: A Woman Called Fujiko Mine) for Animator Expo, portrays a figure skater growing up watching another skater on television. All he thinks about is skating, shown in the near-five minutes of constant, non-stop figure skating animation – 30 seconds longer than a long program – throughout. He skates in front of the television, he skates to school, in class, on the train. Through a series of seamless transitions, we watch as he grows older and hones his craft until the final scene, where he completes a professional program at the highest level.
Since Endless Night‘s debut, when I’m feeling particularly exhausted, sick, or stressed, I sometimes put it on and get lost for five minutes. I don’t want to be a professional figure skater, and I certainly cannot execute even half of what I was taught properly, yet Endless Night is oddly comforting to me, like watching an old movie or television series.