Accepting Change

Change either drifts into your life like a morning breeze – rustling the grass and leaves at your feet – or sweeps in like a relentless typhoon. Destroying everything in its path, leaving you in the midst of hapless desolation to find some semblance of starting anew. We can’t escape change; neither can we control how it unfolds. It lingers at the fringes of our conscious: we know it can happen at any moment, we just don’t know when. And when it does happen, we can either accept its shuffling of the order we once knew or heartily reject its intrusion like Kun in Mirai no Mirai.  

Mirai no Mirai is a 2018 Japanese animated film exploring the dilemmas of domestic life and the disruptive changes of having a baby sister, as seen through the eyes of a four-year-old boy. Kun is the embodiment of pure childlike innocence, energy and unbridled emotion, with a fascination for trains and stories about a red-faced wicked old hag. On his parents’ return home, he goes around barking like a happy puppy, eager for their arrival and his new baby sister.

At first, he was intrigued by her tiny, fragile form and was excited to do all sorts of things with her – taking her outside to teach her bug names and what clouds look like – but that slowly flared into jealousy and hatred when his parents kept giving her all the attention. His mother only fussed about the baby and his father was always too tired to play with him. He had to become a big brother very quickly but didn’t understand the new responsibility being carelessly thrust upon him.

The film unraveled in bursts of raw, juvenile emotion and domestic chaos. Kun acted every part of what I’d call spoilt, petulant and bratty. And that was his way of expressing discontent with being pushed to the side as his baby sister unwittingly stole all the attention from him. Though I’m the last child in my family and never had to deal with such things like sibling jealousy or rivalry, I could still relate to Kun’s bruised feelings and sense of betrayal. He’d been ready to accept his little sister, but nothing went the way he wanted and throwing a tantrum didn’t hold sway as it once did.

Kun transforming into Yukko, the family dog, during one of his phantasmal experiences.

As is often special with many Japanese animated movies, fantasy elements decorated the film, illustrating Kun’s limitless imagination in breath-taking sequences. It was through these series of charming and emotional phantasms that Kun learned important life lessons: adapting to change, looking forward, learning to do things on his own and accepting his new role as a reliable big brother.

There were many heart-warming moments and sage gems throughout the film, showing the overarching unity of family through clumsy discord and how each choice we make are the fragments falling into the bigger picture of how our lives unfold.  

Whether we accept it or not, change comes in our lives with either a negative or positive impact. Perspective is the defining aspect of how we choose to make those changes factor into our future paths.

I didn’t reveal too much about Mirai no Mirai because it’s something you should experience completely for yourself. Perhaps your takeaway message may be different from mine.

The important thing is that we learn to embrace change and accept life as it happens. That’s how the magic unfolds.