012_sparksea.jpgWhile I was watching some of the Karin episodes on YouTube, I remembered an anime I saw back in the early eighties called The Sea Prince and The Fire Child.  As luck would have it, numerous bits of it were available on the YouTube experience.  I’d forgotten the details, so it was nice to renew my contact with this rare gem.

In a nutshell, Brother Water (a kind of Poseidon-sea horse dude) and Sister Fire (winged faerie sun fire Goddess) were close friends until Evil Brother Air (a giant octopus) put bad blood between them.  Fire created a magical fire that as long as it burned would keep water and fire separate and at peace (and the air octopus dude in limbo).

Enter the Sea Prince (son of Brother Water) and the Fire Child (daughter of Sister Fire).  They meet each other and fall in love despite the historic enmity between their two parents.

Spoiler alert: Ahrrooo!!

It’s a Romeo and Juliet kind of story, with the two lovebirds dying horribly (in other words, it’s a tragic anime) — fire and water destroy each other, but the two siblings kind of make up so that water and fire can be one again in the reflection of water, even if they can’t be as close as they were again.  The two lovers get to shine as a star in the sky as an inspiration to all other suckers who think crossing the line will end well.

The movie is a beautiful piece of animation, and at times extremely poignant.  There are parts that don’t hold up so well, because the premise assumes nobody figured out evil brother air was responsible and he ought to be the sole one punished.  Of course, where is evil brother air’s earth sister counterpart – wouldn’t he be much better served if he were given a date?  The two siblings could have caused a lot more righteous havoc had they conspired to get the octopus in touch with his own bad blood self.

The movie carries an important message – how much we are in thrall to forces beyond our command, and how much nature moves us against and for each other.  If it’s a tragedy, it’s an acknowledgment of how limited we are and how the only thing moving us forward is the (vain?) hope that things will get better, or that the sacrifices of the past will improve the horrors of the present.

How much of the differences between us are manufactured, with vital clues left out for some personal image of what we want?  The parent-child relationship can turn dangerously wrong and damage people beyond repair.  If only we thought more about the consequences of our actions to our descendants.

And perhaps we should consider what might happen when we project upon others our own inner turmoil.  Much harm, I think, has been done when we let loose our own energies upon the world without care or thought to the effects.  A difficult thing it is to reclaim our own problems and acknowledge that the fault lies with us.