We are all travelers. Each of us stroll along a unique path that many simply call “Life.” We aren’t sure where we are going, or who we’re going to meet along the way. Some of these instances bring us joy and serenity, while others bring us grief and regret. Some of the people we meet will become our most important companions, while others will become our greatest enemies. And yet, all of these instances fade in time, as our very impressions of our world change with each perspective we gain.
For this series, Life is a journey, filled with meetings, interactions, and eventually goodbyes. But even though we may grow asunder from those we love, it is the memories we have of spending even a moment’s time with them that last along our travels.
Tabimachi Lateshow is an animated short series that tells four dialogues that happen in a moment’s time. Although short in presentation (roughly 8 minutes for each one), the characters involved are familiar with each other, and we get a sense that they are on the same journey in this moment. But like life, these instances can be unpredictable. And with each goodbye, the ending may not come as you might expect!
The stories themselves are very subtle in delivery. Each dialogue draws our attention not to action or setting, but to people. The series is animated like a moving picture book, reminiscent of kamishibai paper dramas. While this style may not be as flashy or exciting as some of the more popular anime, it does hold a wealth of sentiment we have for people we see in our everyday lives.
Whether we like it or not, many of us have identified with or have met people who are like the characters presented in these four dialogues. We meet at some point along our journey, and yet our journey together is only temporary.
We often would like to think that every person we meet along the way will bring us positive feelings, where we will feel sad if we ever had to say goodbye to them. But Tabimachi Lateshow doesn’t give in to the fantasies we’d like to have.
I’m somewhat committed to saying that my favorite of the four stories is “Transistor Smart Phone:” a dialogue between two girls, Koizumi and Kumeno, who grow to hate each other. It’s not that I hope all my relationships with people will turn out like this, but the feelings that these two carried with them hit way too close to home in my current situation.
On the surface, these girls seem to come from different worlds. And while one might hope that they will somehow set aside those differences to become friends (presumably again), they actually grow more apart, claiming that one is putting on a mask for the other, and thus not being true to themselves. Some might think that Koizumi and Kumeno brought out the worst in each other, but in its own weird way, they established a true friendship in an extremely short time, by being true to each other.
The two never really see eye-to-eye, even into their adulthood. And yet they both regret how they treated each other in that short moment, wishing that they had spent a little more time together. They may have become enemies, but they both missed each other. Similarly, we may not like every person we meet along our journey, but some of these “enemies” may in fact have the biggest impact on our lives and choices.
In the grand scheme of time, our lives are very short. And while we may wish that the warmest moments of our lives will last longer, all of them eventually come to an end. Our brief moments with one another eventually fade away, whether by physically moving away, with the most subtle or dramatic of feelings, or even in death.
Some want to resist having to let go of the people they cherish the most, to think that we can be with them forever. But to me, I think just knowing that these moments don’t last forever is liberating. Even though these instances don’t last long enough, it lets me enjoy those moments with others, no matter how brief, that much more.
Saying farewell is one of the hardest things people can do. It implies that we will never see that person again. That’s why we often see each other off with phrases in hopes that we may see each other again. When I was younger, I felt like that was a way to avoid possible omens of what may happen to another person, but now I realize that there’s something more to that: saying farewell carries with it a lot of weight.
With every goodbye, we are also letting go of a person, in remembering the time we spent with them, no matter how short it may have been. We are sending them off into a future where we are not bound to each other. We are wishing them well on the journey ahead, with nothing but the memories we had with them, good or bad.
For with each goodbye, our journey with that special person comes to an end, to set us forth on a new beginning.
So if you’re looking for a warm short series about the lives of people like you and me, or need a reminder what it means to say goodbye, watch Tabimachi Lateshow. And with that, I won’t say farewell just yet. I’ll be back next week… maybe.