Monday, February 20, 2017

Aim for the Ace! / Shin Ace o Nerae! (1979)

I first saw the Aim for the Ace! (Aim for the Best! as it might be called) movie when I was a freshman in college. It was Valentine’s Day, and the Japanese club thought it would be nice to play an ironic, so-called “avant-garde” film in the afternoon.

I was good friends with this blue-haired, Chinese-American girl named Sarah. She only dyed her hair blue because, well, that’s what all the white girls did. She would rely solely on me for homework help. We had something going on. The fact that I was the only role model in the room made it seem like I would be a good white boyfriend. I was exactly the type she would gravitate towards. The alt-right would probably call this archetype, “the orbital, beta-male cuck.”

I remember having lunch by myself as a hermit. And then she saw me. She waved, smiled, and came over to talk, as if she was a good friend I had known for a long time. 

She said something like, “Do you want to see this really cool anime from the 1970s called Aim for the Ace?”

I remember saying something back, like “That sounds awesome!”

She sounded like some groovy mod-girl from the 1960s.

Young people love to play on this funky lingo to express their personalities. A fine mix of ignorance, naiveté, immaturity, confusion, and social pressure.

Sarah was a cutie. I would have considered her my girlfriend at the time. Often she would flirt with me by saying, “…I need you as a boyfriend today!” I really didn’t know what she meant by that, other than she just wanted to have fun.

Being so young, I was too “autistic” to figure out her cues. Or even brave enough to ask her on a date. I could not distinguish between a friend and a potential lover. I would say “yes” to all her petty commands. I believed I was naturally meaningful to her.

Young people always seek others to do something for them. Sarah was that type. If there was any possible accusation that I was her boyfriend, she would outright deny it. I was too afraid to put our relationship in jeopardy.

Sarah, although Chinese, associated with anime and Japanese culture for the sake of belonging to an ambiguous “Asian” culture. A culture obviously made up by white people to categorize what they like. If she was to be a “normie,” then she had to be a white one. That also meant picking up all the sarcastic, ironic, and typical hipster things young white people do.

And of course, she pretended to be an anime character as a way to attract white boys, like me.

We went to the movie together. Not hand in hand, but side by side.

I was sitting with her in a dark theater, a matinee show, about to watch a vintage anime about tennis.

You could say it was a date. She didn’t have the words to express this. Maybe because she was too afraid to actually consider it one.

This movie was from 1979, and it was a very moving experience for me. It was just me and the picture show in the room together. I forgot about Sarah and the thirty other students. I was amazed at the watercolor-esque pictures and that old synthesizer soundtrack.

…And I thought it would be some kind of trashy emo stuff made in the last 10 years. I was wrong.

“Oka Hiromi, 15 years old,” I clearly remember reading on the screen.

Hiromi is a high school student who balances her life as a student and as a tennis player. She and her friend Maki enjoy growing up together. Unfortunately, Hiromi is taught by a brutal coach, who secretly loves her. This love is very similar to what Sylvia Plath once said, “every woman adores a fascist.”

This movie is about Hiromi’s transition from childhood to a future career. It is that typical “coming-of-age” film, but also a snapshot of life in Japan during the late 1970s.

Yuiko Mishima died in 1970. Mishima warned that a decade later, Japan would succumb to the Western powers of decadence and Stuff-White-People-Like culture. Japan must either defend itself or perish.

I believe anime in the 1990s was fully exploited. An apex of white interests finally took notice of Japanese culture. However, white people were never interested in Japanese pop art prior to the 1980s. Aim for the Ace! came right at the end of a forgotten decade.

The film is filled with technological things of the past. Arcades, movie theaters, bad glasses, the synth soundtrack, bad art decor… Things of the decaying 1970s and the rise of the 1980s.

Brandon Adamson over at fantasizes about a white America that could return to a space-age culture. Not much of an actual ideology, but the word “alt-left” is rather a classification of an artistic lifestyle. Aim for the Ace! could be compared as a Japanese, alt-left aesthetic piece of art. 

I remember Sarah looking at me while I turned my head in different directions, trying to understand what was really going on. She thought it was just a cute movie to bond over. But I was serious about it.

The interaction between Hiromi and Maki is some of the best Japanese dialogue I have watched. Constantly, the film portrays the characters in social situations talking about everyday drama. The cutest part of the film is when both are off from work. The two naturally bond together in post-fascist Japan. We don’t learn about them as characters, but rather, we learn about the current society of Japan.

…The bustling train, the old architecture, the strangers walking by. …I was paying close attention to all the details, not the plot, of the film.

My Japanese is very elementary. I can pick up words like a kid and can understand simple concepts. If you don’t know the language, however, it’s better to turn off the subtitles and watch the movie without it. The best art can be understood through a simple, universal, and ignorant language.

The movie was obviously made for young girls. Often kiddie excitement is attached to it, abandoning adults to enjoy the film (depending if this only applies to Japanese adults).

The life of these young Japanese is post-fascist. Day after day, test after test, obtaining all the knowledge of the world, and then using their bodies for competition. It’s not an attitude based upon, “individual work effort,” but a discipline among the Japanese people. Hiromi and Maki are happy with their lives, even though a normie white person might call their lifestyle, “national socialism.”

To make things worse, there is even a classic love/hate relationship with the fascist coach, who rules over an entire tennis team of young girls.

It’s domination. It’s cruelty. …It’s fifty shades of grey!

Every woman adores a fascist.”

And Hiromi slowly falls for the fascist coach! This is through sadomasochistic torture and by violent means. Not from her own consent, but by force. It reads like a classical tale by Mishima. This is exactly what disturbs the average white viewer: the thought that the Japanese are violent, innate fascist.

The film is unapologetic about discipline and work. Again, the reality of race between whites and Japanese. Aim for The Ace! is about traditional roles and society. It is the love of the Japanese spirit through tennis. No one is ever worthy, but the one who wins in the struggle.

I remember squinting my eyes taking every English subtitle as significant. I didn’t laugh or show any emotion. The movie caught my attention at every second.

A good artsy movie exploits the camera. The characters in the film act like real people. I saw the film as a documentary instead. The plot is totally ambiguous. One scene could be about gossip, and then the next could have no purpose at all. Don’t watch the movie for the story, just watch it as a moving art piece. It’s an aesthetic and an emotion brought upon the viewer.

It is the perfect “stoner” movie, you could argue.

When the movie was over, I remember Sarah telling me to stand up with her. I didn’t want to. I was still in my seat waiting for the movie to leave my consciousness. I didn’t want to come back to reality.

Me and Sarah went out to eat after the film. All I remember was her saying, “it was cute.” I disagreed.

The day after, I remember finding the film online and watching it again in my bed. I wanted to feel those deep neglected, emotions again (“feels” you might call them).

Four years later, I still remember the perfect Valentine’s Day watching of Aim for the Ace! Life is aesthetically perfect in that film.