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Animation recommendations: ‘If Anything Happens I Love You’

Whether sudden or expected, the death of a loved one is something we can never prepare for. Grief is not easy. Imagine you stumble across an old item — a beloved sweatshirt, a collar with a bell on it or a trinket in the back of a cabinet. You start to remember all the good memories associated with them — your uncle’s laugh, the hours spent playing with the family cat, your grandma’s tendency to collect Jesus figurines. For a second, you run through every memory associated with this person, from the minute detail of your first meeting with each other until … you remember why you are remembering them in the first place. They’re gone.

This is what watching “If Anything Happens I Love You” is like. It’s like a punch to the gut.

In this short film by Michael Govier and Will McCormack, we see two parents grieving the loss of their daughter in a school shooting. With a run time of only 12 minutes, it does an amazing job of displaying the grieving process after a traumatic event. For a film about such a sensitive subject, there is actually no violence shown in the whole film. The closest instances of violence are the sounds of gunshots and police sirens. Instead, we are shown the tense interactions the parents have with each other after losing their daughter. They are awkward, distant and unwilling to be around one another, ultimately unable to connect due to overwhelming feelings of grief. It’s heart-wrenching to watch, as the audience knows both parents are hurting but have no idea how to support each other or process what happened. 

The film’s art style is initially simplistic but for good reason. The movie’s black-and-white animation might seem like it came straight from a storyboard, but the art style helps portray how the parents are feeling in their time of vulnerability. It is not until the Mom finds a piece of her daughters’ clothing that this film truly begins to shine. Here, the film bursts into faded watercolor to portray the ghosts of the past: their daughter’s life from family road trips to her first kiss. As the parents bond over the happy memories they made with her, they are finally able to support each other in their devastating moment of grief. 

Did I also mention that not a single word is spoken in this film as well? The movie relies entirely on the expressions of the characters to display their grief, sadness, anger, confusion and overall vulnerability.

This short film does not hold back in delivering its gut-punches. There is no “true” happy ending. No deus ex machina that brings their daughter back to life. Just like real life, the parents must go on. They may not fully recover from what happened. (I mean, could anyone?) 

The film’s whole message is about unexpected tragedy and how we react to it. So while it’s good to mourn, it’s never good to do it by yourself, especially when there are others who might be going through the same thing. Never shut people out, whether they are lending out a helping hand or not, because you both may need each other at the end of the day.

Also, if this film has taught me anything, it’s that life is too dang short. Call your parents, your caregivers, siblings or anyone that cares for you. Just tell them “If Anything Happens I Love You.”

Title: “If Anything Happens I Love You”

Directors: Michael Govier,  Will McCormack

Starring: Lindsay Marcus

Streaming: Netflix

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

Contact Owen at ogannon@nd.edu

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The holy hike never got easier

As those close to me know best, ever since I was 11 years old I wanted to go to Notre Dame. While it was due to watching “Rudy” and falling in love with Notre Dame football, I learned more about the University, its academics and its Catholic tradition. It only led me to fall in love with it more. While I was never the best student, I thought I would be able to attend school there someday. Everyone I knew, from family, friends, teachers, even my dentist, said I was like a modern day Rudy. Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I got my decision letter… denied.

It was heartbreaking to say the least. Less than a week later, I found out I got accepted to Holy Cross College. While my mom was ecstatic that I got into college. I forced a fake smile on my face, which was believable enough that she never knew that I wasn’t happy when I got my letter (I know you’re reading this mom, I’m sorry you found out this way). Instead, my whole mindset was, “OK, work your butt off and transfer over,” so I did. To keep this short, I got denied again and then again my sophomore year. I made a promise to myself to not try my junior year, as I thought only being at Notre Dame for one year would make me feel like I wasn’t truly ever a student. 

Fast forward to senior year. I have taken multiple classes at Notre Dame, work for The Observer and The Shirt committee, all while still being a student at Holy Cross. I have embraced Holy Cross like my second home, and will always continue to represent them with great pride. Saying that though, I can’t admit that it doesn’t hurt taking the “holy hike” all the way to Riley Hall, passing by the Golden Dome and thinking about what could’ve been.

It’s a weird feeling that I have been involved closely with both schools. While some deny it and try to say it isn’t true, we all know that there are people at Notre Dame who look down on those who attend Holy Cross. I’ve never known why and it confuses me everyday. There are people like me who are just as if not more involved with both Notre Dame and Holy Cross, yet they are not given as much respect, only because we proudly represent the Saints instead of the Irish.

I’ve had my fair share of experiences with Notre Dame kids (even those who are/were Gateways), some who are the nicest people I’ve ever met and those who brush me off as soon as I mention that I go to Holy Cross. It sucks that as soon as I cross the street over to Notre Dame — despite being involved in so much — that I still feel like I don’t deserve to be here. I got denied entry, I’ve come to terms with that, but all that I ask is that I get the same respect from people here that I give to them. Is that too much to ask? I thought we were called a tri-campus for a reason.

Contact Gabriel Zarazua at gzarazua@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Animation recommendations: ‘Mob Psycho 100’

“Your life is your own” 

In this world, we are all born with our own special gifts, whether we see them that way or not. Some people are fast, “booksmart”, or good at art. Either way, they are just another characteristic. We must embrace that as part of ourselves and continue to live positively. However, the truth behind one’s charm is kindness. We must simply become good people, that is all. That is what Reigen Arataka teaches Shigeo Kageyama, also known as Mob throughout the show “Mob Psycho 100.” Great words to live by coming straight from the mouth of a con artist.

“Mob Psycho 100” stars the lovable and kind-hearted Shigeo Kageyama, also known as Mob throughout the show. He is an emotionless middle school kid who struggles to figure out who he is and his presence in this world. He may seem weak, but little do those around him know that he is the most powerful esper (immense psychic power) in the show. However, when his emotions overwhelm him, they cause him to lash out and lose control of his powers, forcing him to suppress all his emotions. He finds help learning to control these powers from the self-proclaimed spirit medium Reigen Arataka, though it is revealed from the moment you meet him that is a complete lie, unbeknownst to Mob. Together, they help solve cases and fight demons, as well as other espers, all while Mob tries to figure out his true self and live a normal life.

While the premise seems simple enough, “Mob Psycho 100”  is an example of never judging a book by its cover. The author of the manga, who simply goes by ONE, creates a beautiful story about two characters growing together in their own unique way. It is truly special seeing Mob not wanting to always rely on his psychic powers, but rather wanting to grow and get stronger naturally both physically and mentally. He hates resorting to violence if other espers try to harm him or the ones he loves, and feels immense guilt whenever he is forced to use them. Reigen grows by realizing the potential in Mob and wanting to help him use his powers for good, while also teaching him to become a good person overall. While Reigen does take advantage of Mob’s powers in order to support his esper business, you can see that he genuinely cares about Mob and wants the best for him.

Lastly, while the story is amazing, I have to geek out over the animation. Studio Bones uses every cent of its budget to make one of the most visually pleasing shows I have ever seen. It is displayed best when the action starts and your eyes will be glued to the screen with all the popping colors and fluidity of each frame. Studio Bones even uses very minimal line drawings that help display humor and characters’ reactions and emotions, yet will instantly switch to the most breathtaking frame of animation you will ever see. The opening credits alone convinced me to start the show, as you can see the love and care everyone involved put into it.

If you want a genuinely heartwarming story about a kid learning to figure out his purpose in life, all while having over-the-top action and humor, “Mob Psycho 100” is the show for you. The third and final season is coming out this October. If they can stick the landing and end the show right, this will be a show that has very minimal flaws. While the HBO Max Animation Massacre took this show off, I would say it is worth getting a Crunchyroll account to watch this instead.

Title: “Mob Psycho 100”

Director: Yuzuru Tachikawa

Starring: Setsuo Ito, Takahiro Sakurai

Streaming: Crunchyroll

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

Contact Gabriel Zarazua at gzarazua@nd.edu.

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Animation Recommendation: ‘A Silent Voice’


“Animation is something kids enjoy, and adults have to endure.” 

The 2022 Oscars received major backlash as presenters Halle Bailey, Lily James and Naomi Scott came out to present the award and spoke on how animated movies are “formative experiences” for kids who watch them “over and over.” Many animators throughout Hollywood, including famous director Phil Lord, expressed anger and disappointment as Hollywood does not understand the time and effort it takes to make an animated film. While animation did begin with the idea of reaching out to kids, like anything else in this world…it evolved. Not only is animation for kids, but new animation is being made for adults, with more mature themes that sadly, little to no people know about anymore. Knowing this, I would like to help out in telling people how great animation is and the stories they tell. So, this being my first recommendation, I would like to introduce you to my favorite animated film, “A Silent Voice.”

A Silent Voice, a manga written by Yoshitoki Ōima and a film directed by Naoko Yamada, focuses on the lives and relationships of two kids, Shoko Nishimiya and Shoya Ishida. Nishimiya is a new girl in middle school, who is revealed to have a hearing disability, leading to tension between her and her classmates, especially Ishida. For the first 20 to 23 minutes of the film, we see Nishimiya bullied constantly by Ishida and his friends, eventually leading to her transferring to another school. The aftermath of the bullying, however, leads to Ishida being the scapegoat of the bullying, taking all the punishment with his friends not being punished at all. After this, we flash forward to a 17-year old Ishida. He is anti-social, depressed and hates himself for his actions towards Nishimiya. He has shut himself off from the world to the point where he conplemplates suicide, and comes close to doing so, until he meets Nishimiya again. The rest of the film focuses on Ishida doing his best to make it up to Nishimiya and learning to come to terms with his actions.

This film does an amazing job of not showcasing purely good and purely evil characters. Everyone in this film is a gray character, just regular people who have their redeeming qualities and faults. While the manga fleshes out the supporting characters more and helps us understand them and see their point of view on the events of the film, Yamada does a good job of compressing the character’s arcs enough to where they are still relevant but do not take up a majority of the runtime.

Showcasing regular people though means we get to see all the awkward conversations, heated confrontations and most emotional moments right in front of us. When I say this movie has some of the most emotional moments in film, I mean it. Without giving spoilers, all I will say is: Be prepared for the fireworks. You won’t see them the same way again after you finish this film. The film also showcases Ishida being an outcast in an amazing way. Putting X’s on all the characters’ faces helps show how Ishida does not like being interesting with others and looking them in the eye, doing his best to block them out.

“A Silent Voice” is a must-see, not just for anime fans, but for anyone who has experienced bullying or regret of any kind. While some people may be disappointed, this is not a love story about Nishimiya and Ishida, far from it. It is a story about redemption, one that will leave you sobbing at the very end. “A Silent Voice” is not about a guy falling in love with a girl, it’s about a guy being able to love himself again.

Title: “A Silent Voice”

Director: Naoko Yamada

Starring: Miyu Irino, Saori Hayami

Streaming: Netflix

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

Gabriel Zarazua

Contact Gabriel at gzarazua@nd.edu