A Studio Ghibli Otaku’s Frightening Depression Borne Out of Two Days of Engrossing In 5 Studio Ghibli Stories, Back to Back) (Otaku=Obsession (おたく/オタク)

Written by Nilanjana Haldar
Yes! We Are Addicts too!
(I withdraw and the Knife Buries Deep Into My Heart)

(Reader Discretion is Advised)

This depression I am about to write about is probably beyond every reader’s grasp (save only the few in my country whose lives have been claimed by Studio Ghibli). This depression is probably best understood by my pages. I won’t create a job out of this prose, I won’t make any money out of it, and it will probably be a discard material for anybody who makes it to this webpage where it will be published, and yet a depression is what it is, it really is depression, and trust me, I have cried and still am, as I type the word ‘type’, right now. So, it is to you my blog page that I write this—only you I can entitle as a spectator to this heartache. Let’s begin!

So, after tremendous persuation, my mother and father finally gave up on me. I stood rock solid in my decision to not steer off to the Boxer’s jungle they were headed for on a double-day trip. This decision was unchallenged by their pleas and I guiltlessly blocked any remorse whatsoever. I didn’t budge, strangely enough. They surrendered with sadness in their hearts and went away, and as they did, my mind danced with an idea it had cast aside for many days—an idea that necessitated a privacy that shielded my mind from reality influences which could disturb this trance that I sought. The idea had to do with the series of Studio Ghibli movies that I had discovered layered in enticing squares at one corner of Netflix in our new 46-inch Television (home-theatre-styled). This is helplessly terrifying as it is blissful, the dilemma grazed against, after 24 hours of uninterrupted Ghibli permission into the blood, and voice of your brains. That blood that souped the Ghibli colours from the emptiness that filled the space between my eyes and the television screen, that blood painted stars, trees, winds and vast lands that the darkness inside my tissues had never seen. But having devoured this paint in glugs rhythmic with every pump of my heart washed away almost everything I sought in life, for this pleasure of a world that could only exist in the linear space that began from, as I already mentioned, the television screen, the emptiness between it and the collective front formed by my ears and eyes, followed by my brain and body, labouring tirelessly to paint the darkness of my tissues in Ghibli. This linear space is the only place where this world exists!

So, when I began watching ‘In this Corner of the World’ directed by Sunao Katabuchi, and stood glancing at the white rabbits that leapt in the sea under the Hiroshima war skies, I didn’t see a Nilanjana exist anymore, I no longer knew a three-dimensional world exists. I only knew this linear space and a certain me (a nameless me) experiencing it, feeling it against a skinless skin. I simply experienced it. A bodiless body experiencing this space. The colours of Suzu’s paintings I felt rise through my bodiless body (for I was in this linear space) to breathe through a nose I didn’t know was breathing then. I presume I ate as I watched through the timelessness of the linear dimension, which was otherwise lunch hours in the human world (the tangible world). The colours of Suzu’s painted skies I came to touch—liquid colour in the northeast Japan side felt a lot more lucid that the ones I touched the other day I painted the Northern Lights. I tripped over the towering Okobo in the Kure city. I, the nameless me, existed dually as a visitor in Suzu’s home as well as Suzu herself. And when the delayed detonation of the bomb in that earthy hole by the cliff, I felt, eat away both my arm and Hirumi’s little body, the slice through my limbs and mind were painless, and yet vacantly painful. And believe me, I saw myself mouthing Suzu’s screams in anger flung at the world that had robbed her of her painting-arm, her sister’s life, forced her into a marriage, severed her from her parents. People in Japan are no different from… me …. Oh but wait! Who is this me? Am I not Suzu! No, I am a bodiless body, a nameless voice, a skinless skin, one end of a linear space (which I will discover only in retrospect)

I assure you, dear whiteness underneath these letters, Arrietty was stolen from my mind’s nascency periods. Arrietty is this little human, at least a 100 times smaller in size than the usual human size. What Arrietty and her dwarfy mother and father stole from me were extensions of my juvenile lucid dreams that explored living in a doll’s house, so yeah, the linear space made this unexpected distinction of reminding me of a familiarity from the past. The blast from the past did ring a bell! Arrietty’s friend, the usual human had a heart that was decaying to death. His name is Shō. Shō had no family. I believe his loneliness had reproduced another familiarity from the 3D world I always knew—my real life loneliness, something I have come to cherish. This familiarity I recognise a lot more deeply than the forgotten juvenile fantasies. Because despite the linear dimension I was in, it was never really lost on me that I was lonely in this route—which I fathom even as I write this, re-reading what I write every minute believing somewhere an understanding-real-life-reader is reading it as well, or perhaps that you, the whiteness underneath these letters is another such. Because I

know, in insane delight, that these aren’t anything more than my mind’s ever-increasing attempts to construe an audience that I know will never come.

The first thing that I tasted in this linear space for ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ directed by Hayao Miyazaki, came in two—the fresh bread and cakes that Osono’s husband prided himself with, and the warmth of the admix of sunlight and high-up winds that slapped my face as I flew through the skies, over Kiki’s broomstick. I felt it. I did. I did. I swear I did. I wasn’t just tearing up at places where my experiences hurt, or giggling where the experiences were ridiculous, I genuinely tasted the sweet bread and the windy sunlight. How come! So, the linear world exists! Maybe stepping into the tangible world (one where I type over my laptop now) inclines to fool me into believing the linear space is non-existent. But is a three-dimensional-tangible-reality enough evidence for the sole existence of what we know as real-world?! How come I experienced being held by the space of the skies and high-altitude winds that accommodated my motions in Koriko’s skies, back in that linear space?

I ask again, is THIS-WORLD—THE SKIN-TANGIBLE-REALITY— proof enough for the nonexistence of a linear dimension that feels everything except in a bodiless body, a nameless name and a skinless skin?

‘Only Yesterday’ directed by Isao Takahata I watched only yesterday. Why is this ‘only-yesterday’ time-frame (the second one mentioned in the previous line) a matter of distinction, but otherwise, a continuous stream of experiences when I re-enter the linear space on the second day of my parents’ absence—a stream continuous from my entrance into it, a day before (in the time-frame of the world I am typing in, right now, the undesired 3D world).

Taeko Okajima carried a storage of memories that connected her to a childhood in which she was ill-fitted with the rest in the family or friends. I don’t know if that really was me? But I, in the intangible world, am ill-fitted in my own family. And while in the peace of the countryside, Taeko is consistently urged (by the elderly woman) to get married, that she begins questioning the release that the days in the countryside provided her, that I couldn’t really tell me from her; or her from me; the the scattered senses of the tangible world were unable to keep my mind from saturating with the mergence of me, an unidentified entity, into a bodiless body, a skinless skin and a voiceless voice, to experience a reality that REALLY EXISTS ;that otherwise provided me clues that I was, at that point, walking in a linear space.

Or was it an aerial view of me in Taeko’s dresses, otherwise wrought in experiences that matched those from my parents’ world?

When Porco Rosso directed by Hayao Miyazaki I came to experience in this linear world, it succeeded in reproducing another familiarity from the tangible world—-a version of me that I took three years to build that refused to mince with the submissive traits I had been compelled to identify with all of my earlier life. Fio was ready to submit herself in marriage to the enemy just so she could cut a deal with him to protect the honor of Porco, someone (a human-turned-pig, a valiant hero otherwise) she had come to adore. My hunger for so unapologetic a persona had lied rotten for decades and claiming them after clamouring through mountains that I had to cross, was a story that was tattoed inside my heart too deep to not be fathomed even inside this bodiless body. So, I knew Fio, the girl who adored Porco Rosso was me. Standing against men that threatened to disgrace her body or degrade her character, reflected me from the tangible world. Let me tell you, dear whiteness over which these letters are being typed, that the more I identified pieces of a forgotten me inside this bodiless body, this nameless name, this voiceless voice; the more I secured the truth this linear dimension is real. Afterall, the proof that the tangible world is all that exists has no evidence to justify the so-called proof? Nothing is written in time! So the LINEAR DIMENSION DOES EXIST!

And today my parents returned back and the living room once again stands to be disturbed relentlessly, either by their entrance, departures or voices from corner rooms. And I knew the linear world had to turn into a memory. This is pain that deserved expression and I didn’t know I would have so much to say, so I cried the whole time upon their arrival. The tangible world had taken over but I have to tell you, the LINEAR DIMENSION IS REALITY. I’m glad writing is relieving me slowly and steadily.

How could a treasure like this exist in a city full of people who only work in jobs, where people only speak of working, eating, making money, and partying! How could a treasure like this exist in a linear space, that my parents couldn’t know no matter how much I placed them in that space! How could a treasure exist in a mundane city jostling with rickshaw-walas fighting with each other for survival, friends escaping their counterparts out of jealousy, and women silently teaching their children careers to take… How could nobody ever know this treasure exists or how could the ones who had Netflix never open up to this treasure or open it and not be tranced by it?! How could people so rooted in the trees of a ‘normally abnormal world’ never have the capacity to grasp the possibility of a linear-dimensional world that is so within the reach of many of the richer, priviledged in this city’s communities?! How could I help people know this? How could I?!!!! I demand to know, understand and peel away to the source of reasons! Tell me, dear whiteness that I am writing over, relieve me of this pain of not being understood!

How could I carry this treasure alone?!

As I glance in retrospect, I am unable to measure how a linear dimension converted my full-big body into a linear entity that stayed in that space, falling asleep at intervals when the gap between my eyes ached or when this entity fed itself from bowls and plates of food somewhere out of the tangible world that I had abandoned, while seated in this linear space of the Ghibli.

I know you read it, and if you did, dear reader, I apologise if you understood nothing. This wasn’t supposed to be understood anyways!

This wasn’t written to be read; this was just written! Nobody needed to read it. It is supposed to be that way! But if you barely scratched the surface of comprehension, I believe you will feel my pain—it really is pain! And I am not going to joke, because this pain is as intense as the pain of being alone.

And sadly, my poor, caring mind, creates and recreates characters, people, reviewers, readers, spectators etc in an insanity that could at least be that only thing that will recognise not just this prose, but the TRUTH—THAT THIS LINEAR DIMESNSION IS A REALITY IN ITSELF, AND YES! IT IS TANGIBLE, IN ITS OWN DIMESIONS! Because in that dimesnsion I am a bodiless body, a nameless name, a skinless skin!

Why, just why, just why can this world not exist?!

I can’t believe I have to somehow fit back into this “normal world” again! I can’t! It suffocates me! I breathe and yet I find it tremendously difficult to!

Writing keeps me alive!

Did Studio Ghibli just provide me salvation and then rob me of it?! I wonder!

PS- Nobody needs to read my post! You won’t understand anyway! (I should put this Post-Script at the top, but whatever!)

I feel relieved,

Signing off,

Nilanjana

(I apologise, dear best friend, for seeing you want to comfort me but not understanding a word of what I just said)