A harsh, yet beautiful piece of script from William Shakespeare, the “Hollow Crown” speech, encapsulates much of the human condition, from choosing executors, and talking of wills, to sitting upon the ground, and telling sad stories of the death of those greater than ourselves.
The mortal coil, ultimately, is a fragile thing. We can all agree that to persist is not an eternal process for the individual, and that all things eventually pass, given time; the sand in the hourglass must always drop, must always exact an inevitable toll upon flesh.
Loss of life, reported on in a statistical, emotionally remote and empirical basis, or otherwise, doesn’t change the fact that it is tragic. As faceless as statistics can make us, people we still are, and when one or more of us goes, there’s usually someone, or someone’s, who acknowledges that passing, no matter how important or unimportant we happen to be. We give a damn, for death is truly ours.
But so is life.
The fact that we have a length of time to endure, to become, and perceive in spite of feats and flaws given each of us, it is incontrovertible that we must be before we must cease to be. To exist is ours as well. And to die is an indignity we have spent the rise and fall of civilizations immemorial to stave off. We seem to live to survive. We want to see through to tomorrow, the next day, and the day after. As Hesiod’s Theogony has told us about Pandora, when all the woes escaped the box, she and the rest of us were left with an incurable malady remaining at the bottom.
It’s no prize, but the human race clings to it as if it were. Hope is a precious mental crutch we don’t want to let go of, keeping some of us aloft and moving forward in the face of the worrisome, and the depressing. We mustn’t lose it. And we must look forward to the New Year, holding to the little things, the simple distractions, that make us happy, and keep us going.
For all its faults and fine points of late, George Lucas’ materials are seeing a coming blitz next year thanks in part to the critical acclaim, and fanbase appeal of ‘The Mandalorian’. Thank you Disney?
Anime is getting a sizable blitz too in 2021, not to mention the talented Mamoru Hosoda of ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’ and ‘Mirai’ fame getting back into the director’s chair with Studio Chizu to make Belle, a film set in a virtual world. Not new grounds to tread by any means, especially for Hosoda who has tread such premises already with Summer Wars, and Digimon on a whole (regard the bottom end of his director credits). We come back to Hosoda because he can visit the same material with success again and again, as well as catch us off guard with something more touching than we expected (Wolf Children, anyone?).
Crunchyroll hasn’t robbed a monthly fee out of me yet, but they got me to download their app so I could watch the anime adaptation of Ace Attorney, and give one of their originals, the gory, Aztec tale Onyx Equinox a look. On the manga end, Sweat and Soap (which I did an article on a short while back) will be receiving a fifth volume, and Gal Gohan (Spoiler alert: forthcoming article in the works) a sixth come Jan 5 2021.
Web comics have also caught my eye this year as Penlab.ink introduced me to the Filipino brand. Then there is tapas.io, which threatens to nickle and dime me for the advanced chapters of its growing library of titles, but it was a happy discovery this year for me, and one I’ll explore further into the next year.
Plenty of fun distractions to call my own, and I’m sure you all have some too!
Returning back to the bottom of the box, hope is easily the most cherished thing right now. It is tried and true, having seen us all through what has come before, and whatever dreadful that is to come next. But why let it standalone when we can pair it with the things we are enthusiastic about?
So, have a Happy New Years everyone. Have some hope for 2021, and maybe, just maybe a bit of escapism too while you’re at it!