Tokyo Cosmo and Using Your Imagination

Tokyo Cosmo is an animated short by Takahiro Miyauchi and Takuya Okada and it doesn't happen often where I fall in love with something that I just randomly found on the Internet. I don't really know how to describe it. It can be said that it's about a woman who lives alone, or the power of imagination, or flying stuffed pigs. But it's so much more than that.

Miyauchi and Okada gave the Internet art when they released this short. It's almost five minutes in length but -- to me -- it packs a powerful punch. The way they choose to tell the story is the most important thing here. You should check out the full short above but if you're on the train or somewhere you shouldn't be watching videos, you can just skip ahead to my analysis.

The story isn't told through dialogue or subtitles (which I'm kind of grateful for since I don't have any grasp of the Japanese language) but it's told through the environment. Between short glimpses of our main character and her moving throughout the space, we get shots of what is around her.

We can see the way she decorates her room, what she eats, and who is important to her. And the shot above does this perfectly. This happens before she starts falling into the world of her imagination, and it acts as a little bit of foreshadowing. We can already see that she has some affection towards pigs before it's revealed that she's typing on the computer with a stuffed one on her lap. The picture she has up of her and a loved one (whether she's family or friend, it doesn't matter) lets us know that she doesn't get to see this person often.

The shot above is probably the most important because it allows us to enter her mind for a moment. The frame even goes black for a moment to mimic the feeling of blinking. This allows the audience to accept that they are now inside the mind of the protagonist. Which is very important for the more fantastical parts that end the short.

Satashi Kon's Ohayo

Even though the sound design is subpar, it's still very important for the distinction between our protagonist's reality and fantasy. The scenes we see of her in her apartment are quiet, or filled with the white noise of a television no one is watching. We get the sad almost penetrating hum of her appliances. We really get a sense of how mundane her life is on a daily basis. But when she enters her mind and forgets the world around her, our ears are filled with a magical score along with visual moments that one could only smile at.

Tokyo Cosmo really nails that feeling down. That day-to-day feeling one has after working the same job for a while. The short also perfectly depicts the way we get lost in our own thoughts and make our banal tasks (like killing a bug in your apartment) more "fun" or intriguing. It's an undeniably human trait to use your imagination to see past the boring nature of daily tasks.

And it's moments -- moments where we use our imagination or find fantasy in our day-to-day lives -- like this that make life a little easier.

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