family

The Children of Rie Matsumoto: Mary Macbeth and Koto

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When children tell stories, they’re often stymied by an inability to communicate. Adults are frequently too far removed from their own childhood to understand, or the child is unable to make adults comprehend – much like the narrator of The Little Prince who, as a young boy, draws an elephant inside of a snake which is then interpreted as a hat. Additionally, when adults look back on their youth, they look at it from the eyes of an adult, reframing their experiences in a different context.

This makes portraying children in fiction and varying forms of media incredibly difficult. All too often a creator will underestimate a child’s intelligence and show them doing unnecessarily stupid things rather than a more nuanced display of ignorance. It’s remarkable when a director or creator gets children right.

With that being said, I’d like to draw your attention to Rie Matsumoto, director of Kyousogiga and Blood Blockade Battlefront.

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Needing to Know in Kyousogiga

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“I only have a future. I can only keep going if I want to understand anything.”

-Koto, Kyousogiga, episode 7

When Koto breaks into the Shrine sanctuary that houses her mother, she is confident and does not flinch, even in the face of what appears to be a sticky situation. Koto reunites with her mother straightforwardly, with little excess emotion in spite of the fact that she is beaming with excitement. When the two are targeted shortly thereafter, Koto reacts instinctively. She grabs her mother, holding her closely, and proceeds to put personal questions, and feelings, aside in order to safely deliver her mother to her waiting siblings in the Mirror Capital.

The entirety of Koto’s life has been a maze of questions and answers with no context. As a child, Koto learned not to hide her tears, but to move forward following an outburst. She is far from emotionless, and vigorously expresses herself before moving on with her life – shown beautifully in the “rescue” of her mother, Lady Koto – to further seek out her own answers. This is the only way that she knows how to live, and her process of finding these answers is often driven by force. She forces her way because she knows no other and, as a consequence of her ignorance regarding her own personal situation, this leads to inevitable chaos or destruction.

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Lord Help the Mister Who Comes Between Me and My Sister

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Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters,
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir,
I’m there to keep my eye on her
Caring, sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome
She wore the dress, and I stayed home

-“Sisters, Sisters,” by Irving Berlin

Having grown up with only a younger brother, I can only imagine what having a sister (older or younger) would be like. In spite of this, there’s something incredibly resonant about the familial relationships portrayed in Galilei Donna. On the run from the powerful Adni Moon Company, the three Ferrari sisters participate in a plot that is similar to The Da Vinci Code in its convoluted nature, focus on blood descendents, and apparent scientific errors. However, if one can set all that aside – or enjoy it thoroughly in its ridiculousness – Galilei Donna offers its viewer a lovely portrait of three sisters, each struggling to find their individual roles both within their immediate family and in the world beyond it.

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Kyousogiga and the Strength Behind Koto’s Tears

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“We have a secret!”

Somewhere, in the organized clutter of a half-furnished attic, between a box of musty orange life preservers, musical instruments, and yellowed paperbacks, there is a bureau that my parents have with a drawer for each of their children: one for me, and one for my younger brother. Along with our respective awards and achievements, there are various pieces of artwork, photographs, journals, and homemade knick-knacks of little to no consequence – our hand-colored paper Mighty Ducks Monopoly game, for example – and among these are a series of felt badges (similar to what one would find on a Boy Scout uniform or Girl Scout sash) with the name “Braves” on them.

Braves was a club that my brother had the dubious honor of founding – the only two members being myself and him – which was designed to test our strength and willpower.

Basically, we would punch each other until one of us cried. The person who cried first lost.

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