Anime and the Loneliness of the Beach

So, this is yet another post that I just had in my head recently and just had to write about it for good or for bad. I’m writing this one on the fly….so lets see where this goes. This is the danger of having more free time. You can write about the strange things that just come to your mind and hope they work out.

Anyway, I have been watching too many anime lately. I mean, that isn’t a surprise right. But for this post, I want to talk about some very particular ones. Those being Future Boy Conan that I am still in the middle of watching, finished watching Lagrange the Flower of Rin-ne that I will discuss more about at a later date, Evangelion, and JoJo Part 6‘s ed. This is a small discussion about characters alone on a beach shore just watching the waves. Sorry that I am not discussing episodes of anime where we get to see best boys and girls in less clothing then usual. There are some connections that my mind makes about things which may or may not connect as well with other people in some regards.

Lonely characters looking at the sea and waves of the ocean is such modern anime imagery that is all over the place. Water imagery in itself where characters drown in depression and feelings through this visual metaphor is also some great way of attaching personification to something that just exists. There have been some great blogs about this concept which dig deeper into it. The beach is also treated like that. Anime does the same thing with beaches by giving that since of loneliness to characters like they just washed up on a shore away from the rest of the world. Evangelion feels like the anime that made that imagery as present and viable. Yet another example of how that show shaped the modern landscape of so many.

What makes that more interesting is how Evangelion 3.0+1.0 and the staff that produced it is so aware of this fact that they created this beach imagery. There was that moment in the end of the film where Shinji was watching the waves of an ocean as the ocean of the anime itself started to completely disappear. Shinji was here waiting alone from the rest of the universe and it could have ended there. Then of course, Mari shows up and brings him back to the real world of 3.0+1.0’s aftermath. Shinji is no longer alone and he can live his life happily because of this woman who broke the mold of Evangelion itself. There is some outside help and comfort for him.

The beach imagery is still heavily prevalent in today’s media as well. Something like Lagrange the Flowers of Rin-ne From 2011 and 2012 used it heavily.. Without saying too much, the Rin-ne is a special zone that inhabits a lot of power. Some characters can tap into it for good or for bad. It is also possible for characters to just live in that zone and isolate themselves from the rest of the universe because of something they did or want to hide. It is a sad place to be and a place no one should stay.

I also feel like the waves and Stone Ocean’s ED Distant Dreamer are there to create a huge sense of loneliness and isolation from the rest of the world. (At this point I’ve only watched up to episode 3 so please don’t spoil. I’m taking my time.) Probably has something to do with Jolyene and her own sense of loss and isolation from a world that really doesn’t want her to exist. The sad waters of waves can be applicable to so many situations and ideas. I don’t even know yet and I feel sad about it. Those are only a couple examples of a lot of minor things. Every anime borrows and uses tropes from the past to create and reaffirm a meaning.

Then there are some older anime and I am going to be honest…older anime before Evangelion does use imagery of the beach at all. I say this now because I haven’t seen it as often in my own watching and research. But, I did see it in Future Boy Conan ,one of the most influential anime series of all time as far as I’m concerned. Episode 9 had Lana and Conan cast away onto a beach and it wasn’t just an imagery thing because it was just apart of a story. But they were alone together on a beach and were away from all of their friends. At the same time, I can’t help but conjecture that it might have been an influence in some way because of how many series borrowed from Future Boy Conan then one would think.

Water has strong imagery associated with it. It is the most universal thing of the whole human experience. Every single person on this planet has a relationship with water because its one of the key things people need to survive. From drinking it to washing in it to possibly drowning in the ocean waves at the beach, there is stark imagery in water that is easily put together and relatable. The Waves of the Ocean on a beach representing characters washing on a shore you have never been away from everything else is a great way to showcase that character’s isolation from the rest of the world. I think I saw where it started in Future Boy Conan , but I could be wrong.

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  1. Very interesting post. You’re right, staring at the sea has really shown up in a lot of anime. And now it has gotten so iconic that if you see a character just sitting near water the viewer automatically knows that they are feeling lonely or depressed. Like, though a beach wasn’t included, in Kageki Shojo when Ai was having problems with her “Stalker” and wanted to get away from everyone, she went to a park with a view of the harbor. Even just having a view of water was enough to express that she was feeling lonely.

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