THE GREAT PASSAGE: It’s not always a race. Sometimes, it’s a journey.

Fune wo Amu
Fall 2016
Length: 11 episodes
Genre: Slice of Life, Drama

Since around a couple of years things have been rough for me. I’ve been feeling low and I’ve realized it’s hard to stay self motivated at times. I didn’t really feel inspired by anything or anyone. So I did the bare minimum and binged a bunch of Animes.. I was feeling overwhelmed just by the thought of opening my laptop and typing out even a line. I didn’t even want to check out my MAL for what anime to watch next, because a long anime list that used to excite me at some point now felt like a chore and a burden and it was very overwhelming to even start. I was down, mentally exhausted, burned out and anxious. So during some retail therapy window shopping on Amazon, ‘The Great Passage’ flashed under my recommended shows list. It said Slice of Life, Drama, Romance. I thought, ‘Well might as well add loneliness to the list of feelings I’m feeling’. So I went Eh.. and pressed play. 

How?? How do Animes do that? How does it take something as mundane as a dictionary and turn it into an Anime with so much feels? I mean it’s an anime about making a dictionary for crying out loud! And yet, here I am after the end of the anime writing this with such a warm heart and a weird smile on my face. 

This Slice of Life drama is about the journey and struggles of a Dictionary editorial team while they create a new kind of dictionary “Daitokai”. I know, couldn’t sound more boring, right? Yes this anime is slow, very slow, but there is not one moment where I wasn’t present for it. Words, word, words, It’s filled with words that touch your heart. It’s created for all the logophiles out there. This dictionary is compared to a ship that’s being built to help people of all kinds to cross the ocean of words. To find a way to communicate and express their feelings. To bring one another closer. Never to this date had I related a dictionary to actually have such a beautiful purpose. 

“A dictionary is a ship that navigates an ocean of words. Without words you cannot express your thoughts or be able to have any sort of deep understanding of others. People board the ship we call dictionaries and find the perfect words to gather the small lights floating to the top of the dark waters. Words are Lights. But in the ever changing world , unable to find words, there are those who lead troubled lives caged with their own trapped feelings. We need a ship people like that can feel safe boarding. That is the dictionary we are trying to create.“

Tomosuke Matsumoto.

For a guy like Majime, Mitsuya (Voiced by Takahiro, Sakurai) who is a logophile, he always seemed bad at communication. His love for words seems overwhelming to him, lost in the dark sea of so many words. Getting hired in this department seemed to be the ray of hope that changes his life. The dedication that everyone has on this small team is enormous. Every thought, every emotion that goes into making something is expressed in such a beautiful way. The visual representation of him being trapped in the sea of words is depicted wonderfully.

Passion comes in all forms, for all kinds of things. And when you’re passionate about something it changes the way you look at the world. You want to dedicate everything you have for that thing, or person. The word used for that in this anime was [“Gou”: (n.) actions of the heart that ignores all reason.] which could also be read as “waza”  which means one’s living or work. But some could call it higher calling.] I personally like the idea about working for something you are so passionate about that it seems like a higher calling. How fulfilling must that be!

“Perhaps dedicating your life to something frees you from the world somehow” 

-Mitsuya Majime

Though I’ll admit I would have liked to see some romantic moments between the awkward Mitsuya and his partner, Kaguya since the genre said romance but still nothing seemed amiss. Then again it was about his journey to confessing his feelings. He couldn’t come up with the right words to confess, so he wrote down every word he could think of in his long, long confession letter to her. Which ended up being so long that she couldn’t figure out that it was a confession letter.

I suggest you don’t expect this to be a high stakes, action packed, fast paced anime. Because it’s not. Absolutely not. But for what I was feeling before the show, it seemed just right. A slow paced journey where they reach their destination through patience that lasts for over a decade. I began to realize that one of the reasons I was feeling overwhelmed was because there was a sense of Instant gratification that I needed for my work. Also the lock down and quarantine at the time did not only seem to slow down everything, but at times, it literally just stopped everything. But instead of worrying about what’s gonna happen next, and how was I going to reach my goals and achieve my dream and overthink at every chance I get; I guess I just needed to take one step at a time and be consistent. Because, all I can do is all that I can do. I do try to give my best for the things I do, but I guess it’s ok if there are days when I just can’t. 

It’s ok to remind myself that I can rest and take things slow at times. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have an epiphany that got me up on my feet and inspired me to crash through my anxious barriers and get back to my daily grind after this show, but I did feel a sense of calm knowing that sometimes the best things take time. That Rome wasn’t built in a day,  And that slow and steady does win the race. All those cliches. Weirdly it was enough for me to smile and bask in this calm feeling for at least that one night.

“And however perfectionist you tried to be, in the end words were alive, in constant flux. No dictionary could ever achieve true completion.”

– Shion Miura

It’s a wonderfully calming show for moments you feel like you have too much going on. Have too much to do with too little time, when it’s not always the case. 

Ferris wheels are similar to cooking, no matter how delicious the meal you make is, it’s not  the end, but actually the beginning. There’s no such thing as the perfect meal.or an idea of actually being finished. I still want to do it. I want to keep cooking. The frustration of not moving forward. Or getting it exactly how you want it. But you still want to do it. The dictionary will forever be incomplete. Words are alive and their meaning keeps changing through time.”

– Kaguya Hayashi

Neeno Noona

Published by Neeno Noodle

My new found love for Animes and Kdramas made me start this blog.

3 thoughts on “THE GREAT PASSAGE: It’s not always a race. Sometimes, it’s a journey.

  1. “Without words you cannot express your thoughts or be able to have any sort of deep understanding of others.”

    Short, simple, and just beautiful. Most often, we didn’t realize that it’s us, ourselves, that set our own pace in life. And we do this, by comparing ourselves to our peers; it gives us motivation and pressure but at the same time, it can be overwhelming. I’ve always believed that as long as our goal is clear, and our steps to reach it are well-defined, then we can control our pace and enjoy the journey to it—just like what you had realized. Nicely done. Well written thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember this show!, it’s definitely a slow burner. And a hidden gem too. Like yourself, I like the pacing of it, it was slow, calm. Not for everyone. I didn’t like the 10 yr time skip (if I recall). The two main couldn’t be more different, yet they had great chemistry.


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