Mokke ep 03 – things that only you can see.

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With all the ills that go on everyday, maybe even currently in your life, maybe this world really isn’t so great after all.

Sometimes you just know it. Only you can see it and you know it’s real. But people would tell you it’s not.

You can see the problem within what seems perfectly normal, but you’re told by others that you’re just being pessimistic or negative.

You know there are ills inside you, something’s not quite right, but all your friends, your parents and/or siblings ever say is “get over it, grow up, don’t worry about it.” Even when you’re over 30.

In Japan, people may even tell you to accept it. In US, we tell people to move on.

No, I’m not talking self-help or therapy, but looking at this episode makes me reflect on things.

This show is clearly a children’s tale. It certainly does more than older Disney tales where everything is really clearly spelled out and good and bad are really simple. What Mokke tells us is that things really aren’t that simple. But straight up telling or close to straight up telling doesn’t make it an good anime for older people. The oldest audience targeted for this show is probably young teens, because older teens will probably feel that they’re too cool to care. But the issues are still real.

You know, sometimes it’s true. Only you can see these ills floating around in the air, but everyone else just can’t. In this story, all the unhappiness and bad stuff are allegorized as “mokke” – strange, supernatural things that co-habits the world. What we’re told implies that they have just as much right to be here as we do.

That is a very Eastern philosophy, very Japanese, at least, in that supernatural things aren’t necessarily good or bad, and we as human don’t necessarily have the right to get rid of them just for our convenience.

In Western philosophy, especially in the Bible, spirits (which are essentially a type of mokke) that aren’t good are strictly evil. So we have good spirits and then we have evil spirits. It’s all simplified and clear cut.

However, there’s also something in the Bible that explains the ills that people (possibly you and me) that see in this world, and it doesn’t necessarily blame everything on evil spirits, in fact, it’s often the free will of humans that actually helps the progress of evil spirits, and the evil spirits in term, flame the evil desires lies in the hearts of men. This episode of Mokke reflects that. The older brother of Aki, Shizuru’s best friend, has been losing weight and looking sicker and sicker everyday. Shizuru sees a huge mouthed mokke following him, she immediately assumes that the mokke (spirit) decides to follow him because it wants to, and she wants to help. But her grandfather explains that she wants to help mostly because she feels powerless and really don’t want to feel like she’s betraying her friend by not saying something or do something. He however, offers no judgment on the issue.

Here, I wish instead of the grandfather explaining it all, we could see it in character interactions.

Next, when the exorcism is being performed on Aki’s older brother, the grandfather explains to him that it’s really his desire to be better than others and looking down upon them that attracted the spirit. He then goes on to soothe the older brother and tells him it’s all right to want to better oneself but a rest is necessary. Again, the grandfather offers no judgment. The exorcism is performed (even evil spirits know that smoking is bad for the health!), and everything goes back to normal.

However, the desire hidden inside Aki’s older brother isn’t really dealt with. It essentially takes a break with Aki’s brother deciding to have a rest from all the studying. Yes, the evil spirit is gone, but what about the issues inside the older brother’s heart? I suppose that’s not the animators’ problem. But it may just be yours and mine.

Shizuru wonders how she can deal with a world where she can see spirits, some good, some bad, well, in this case, mostly bad ones. But most importantly, how can she deal with people in this world who are unaware of the strange things or the cause for these strange things?

She’s almost like the only one who can see it. You know, sometimes, that’s how I feel too, maybe it’s the same thing with you. There are just things out there that nobody else seem to care, or sees the importance, or sees how bad it is, and worse, these “things” often aren’t just out there, they’re inside us, too.

Perhaps, someone can address the root of the issues directly and help us to deal with it exactly, and not just tell us what is it or simply exorcise the helping spirits away like Shizuru’s grandfather does. But before that can happen, perhaps we all have to accept this world as it is. In any case,

81% recommended for your daily anime diet. This episode suffers the same problem as episode 2, it tells too much and it gives a clear moral and a clear resolution at the end, even though we all know it’s never really that simple.

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