Leiji Matsumoto and the eternal journey into the cosmos

Leiji Matsumoto and the eternal journey into the cosmos

Let's not say he's dead, please. Partly to give us that moment of inevitable rejection of loss, which inevitably hits hard those who have based their imagination on the adventurous futures created by the Japanese artist, partly because it is more poetic to bask in the illusion that Leiji Matsumoto has embarked on a journey , his latest adventure among those stars that have marked his work so much.

Because travel is an essential part of Matsumoto's imagination. You will hardly find someone who in remembering Leiji Matsumoto does not mention Space Battleship Yamato (or Starblazers , as it was known outside Japan), Galaxy Express 999 or Captain Harlock , the most famous works of an author who in his prolific career has been able to build a verse and own universe, vital and exciting, in which to pour the thousand nuances of life. In each of his works you can find not only protagonists to recognize yourself in, but a series of adventure companions with whom to empathize, whether it's a drunken doctor with a heart of gold or a boy lost among the stars. Passionate and vital figures, united by a vision of the cosmos as a harbinger not only of great adventures, but above all the ideal scenario of one of the themes dear to the master Matsumoto: the journey.

Leiji Matsumoto, travel and the cosmos: how space becomes the mirror of our soul

Whether it's the cosmic crossing of the Yamato towards Iskandaar or the pirate exploits of Harlock and Queen Emeraldas , the stars have not only been the scene of a travel story in the works of Leji Matsumoto, but have become privileged witnesses of an interiority in the making, of which the journey was a sublime metaphor. Matsumoto's delicacy was his narrative strength, knowing how to offer an all in all traditional narrative concept, evolving it into an exciting story made up of tragic passages and painful stages, in which triumphs and victories were always veiled by the melancholy presence of losses and renunciations. Matsumoto's characters are always characterized by a powerful inner gravitas, whether they are lost brothers or forgotten homelands, wounds never healed that only a continuous inertia among the stars in search of new hope seems to be able to heal.

Leiji Matsumoto A recurring theme, but never banal or repetitive. If in Space Battleship Yamato the narrative purpose of the journey was the salvation of a condemned humanity, for Harlock the cosmic pilgrimage was an affirmation of freedom in a galaxy that seemed to suffocate this affirmation of personality. Son of a Japan returning from the nuclear nightmare of the Second World War and from the post-war foreign presence, Matsumoto translates into the journey a search for his own artistic and human identity, giving his characters his own voice and sensations, finding a key unmistakable emotion that remains throughout his production. A universality that has allowed his works, from manga to animated transpositions, to be epidermally perceived by teenagers (and not only) from different countries, speaking with an emotional dialectic that goes beyond any cultural limit, addressing the readers' hearts directly . And there could not be a more universal language than the fascination of the cosmos, of the stars as guides of an eternal adventure in which the journey is the mirror of a search for the inner self. Light years traveled to discover sides of oneself, to grow through triumphs and defeats, towards a destination that is never a goal, but yet another stage of our most authentic and priceless adventure: life.

While I deeply love Yamato's exploits, I can't help but remember how Harlock is the best interpreter of this immense and priceless journey that has given by Leji Matsumoto. If the young Susumu Kodai in Space Battleship Yamato discovered a universe full of life by abandoning a dying Earth, a subtle metaphor of a desire not to surrender to the ugliness of a conflict still so vivid in Japanese daily life, it is the most famous of the space pirates that we must look at to see the most authentic expression of Matsumoto's poetics:

His skull is a flag that means freedom,

he flies to the boarding but he has a big heart

He doesn't it is astonishing that a figure like Harlock has become even more of a symbol than his pirate flag. Rebellious, subversive, a breaking figure in a future society that appears all too similar to post-war Japan, in a period of strong cultural transition. Seen as a criminal with an unfair power who would like to exterminate free thought, in his crusade among the stars Harlock becomes a new Robin Hood, feared by villains and praised by ordinary citizens, admired and considered the last hope of a defeated humanity. Again, Matsumoto creates an immortal character, a mirror not only of a historical moment but the immortal voice of an authentic humanity, never tamed. This is the cultural legacy of Leiji Matsumoto, having offered more than one generation of readers and spectators a cosmos teeming with life and emotions, speaking of universality and humanity, of freedom and heroism, prompting us to dream and imagine incredible adventures .

Leiji Matsumoto is not dead, don't say it. Let's allow a dreamer who taught us to dream in turn to embark on one last, infinite journey into the cosmos he so loved, once again singing Harlock's anthem:

Let me have an adventure Captain

where I am the hero who fights next to you,

let me fly Captain without a destination

among the unknown planets to steal from those who have more

Yoi taibiwo, sainchō Leiji

Powered by Blogger.