de Old_Anime_Lady, junho 20, 2019

After watching Oguri Shun's Two Homelands, I wanted to write a Currently Watching. And then it became a review. Then I got nervous about posting on this topic at all. I know war isn't a popular topic on MDL but I really felt that I needed to highlight these stories. It kept coming to coming to mind, so I finally decided to make the article into a compilation. The scripts are so well written, and in most cases, the actors knocked their roles out of the park. 

War is a hard topic for a lot of people to watch but having just recently watched Nagasaki: Memories of my Son, with people from Korea, Britain and Italy, we collectively talked about the events we were taught in school. The girl from Korea got half a year on the topic, while I only got a page in my textbook, like yeah they were there too. The differences in education influenced our views. It was a great experience the dialogue I had with them. I learned so much from these stories, different points of view, and the reaffirmation that the human condition is universal. Historical events I had no clue about, brought to life in stories aimed to make sure the next generation never forgets.

These stories highlight resilience and determination without whining or complaining because everyone around them is suffering too. When governments and militaries fight, it's the civilians that pay the price on both sides.

Blackboard - Jidai to Tatakatta Kyoshi Tachi -  Part 1 "Mirai"

Ratings: 8.3/10 from 210 users
# of Watchers: 572

I have to confess I have only seen part one of this three-part special about the growth of education in Japan from WWII to the Modern Era. The story I watched was titled "Mirai" or "future," and is propaganda heavy in the beginning, but the tone shifts when the war ends. The character growth in this story is just amazing, but you have to steel yourself for it. The main character's whole belief structure is turned 180 from start to finish. His journey to recenter himself, and return to being the educator he was born to be, in post-war Japan, is filled with setbacks he never imagined he would ever need to overcome.

Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms 2018

Ratings: 7.8/10 from 11 users
# of Watchers: 55

Right up my alley, as this is a story of genealogy. Remembering ones ancestral past can sometimes ground you in the present and center your world. This showcases the life of a girl before and after the bombs dropped, and how it affected her and her loved ones for generations to come.

Two Homelands

Ratings: 9.0/10 from 18 users
# of Watchers: 153

This special, subbed in four parts, is about a family's two generations on American soil, but still has strong ties to Japan when the war breaks out. It showcases the ethical questions answered differently by each family member and how they shaped their lives. The main character stays true to his principles until the very end.

The Last Recipe

Ratings: 8.4/10 from 177 users
# of Watchers: 420


Takes place in Manchukuo (when Japan occupied Manchuria). This is a story set in the present and the past, revolving around two food perfectionists. One chef is running his restaurant into the ground because of it and gets an invitation to China to join a contest. The other chef gets to serve his country by making the best dishes in the world, but then he finds out how his superiors are treating the people in the area where he is now living. Will he follow his orders? How are the two stories related?

Nagasaki: Memories of My Son

Ratings: 8.6/10 from 138 users
# of Watchers: 356

This story covers the fiancée and mother of a man who died in the bombing of Nagasaki. Survivor's guilt over moving on and letting go is the main focus of this story. A mother starts seeing the ghost of her son and it gives her comfort through the big changes in her life.

Letters from Iwo Jima

Ratings: 8.4/10 from 1,165 users
# of Watchers: 2,134

This is the only title in this article that features actual combat, but I promise you this Clint Eastwood directed movie is the tale of a human, a baker turned reluctant soldier and his quest to just survive despite the enemy, and despite his superiors so he can see his wife and child, the latter whom he has never met. 

Wagaya no Rekishi

Ratings: 7.7/10 from 176 users
# of Watchers: 663

This tells the tale of a family and its struggles after the war. Between 1945 and 1964, the decisions made by each of them helped pull the family out of financial problems. No matter how many mistakes the members make they still have each other to count on.  

I really hope you give at least one of these titles a try. These are stories of resilience and determination meant to remind and inspire.

Have you seen any of these?  
Do you plan to?

*This author is part of the MDL writers' circle (on slack), message them to find out how you can be a part of it too.*