The apartment in the anime film, Drifting Home, is the central setting of the events that have happened. It has both literal and metaphorical meanings in the film, and we are here to break them down! This would explain why the apartment is very crucial to the two main protagonists, Kousuke and Natsume.
So, what does the apartment exactly mean? Why is it so important?
Driving Point of the Plot
The apartment drives the story forward. It is the source of conflict, as well as it leads to the resolution. It also provided the characters an opportunity to grow and change. The apartment itself also underwent significant changes. It used to be a residential home with lots of families. It used to be brimming with life, but now it is almost in a dilapidated state. It became desolate and has an eerie vibe, which prompted rumors that it was haunted.
In other words, the apartment is an indication of how change is inevitable, whether we like it or not. Change happens everywhere, and it can be challenging to overcome especially in adolescence stage.
Kousuke and Natsume Grew Up in the Apartment
Literally, the apartment served as a home for both Kousuke and Natsume when they were younger. It is where they first met and became friends. The place held a lot of memories for them. They used to spend their time together with Kousuke’s late grandfather, Grandpa Yasuji.
So, the apartment complex has sentimental value to them. Yet, this apartment is set to be demolished. This is why the both of them are still clinging to it, although Natsume expresses this more. Kousuke, on the other hand, tries to avoid the apartment, but it is quite apparent that he still harbors attachment to it.
The apartment is a place where they were reminded of each other’s friendship. Considering that Natsume and Kousuke are experiencing a strained relationship lately, the apartment can be a source of pain for the both of them. It reminded them of how things used to be… how they used to be the best of friends. Right now, they did not even know where they stand in each other’s lives anymore.
Metaphorically, Grandpa Yasuji represented the apartment. Grandpa Yasuji was the one who looked after Kousuke and Natsume when they were in the apartment. He acted like the bridge between Kousuke and Natsume. He contributed greatly to their friendship, and presumably fixed the two whenever they were fighting.
Notably, when he dying, he demanded Kousuke to apologize to Natsume. This was because Kousuke made an insensitive comment, and Grandpa Yasuji valued their friendship very much.
With the three of them spending time together in the past, it was clear they have a strong familial bond. Grandpa Yasuji was the prominent parental figure Natsume and Kousuke have, hence his strong emotional impact on the two.
However, Grandpa Yasuji passed away due to old age, leaving the two utterly devastated and their relationship filled with tension.
His death paralleled the apartment’s schedule for demolition. It is a sign that Grandpa Yasuji was gone in the world, and that things were never going to be the same. It was like the memories made in the apartment are going away too.
In the entirety of the film, the apartment served as the “home” or the “base” for the group when they were transported in the middle of the ocean. This is the indication of how Grandpa Yasuji served as the home and support for both Kousuke and Natsume, even beyond death. He was someone they can rely on when navigating the uncertainties in life.
The film explores more of Natsume’s grief of losing Grandpa Yasuji. It has been very difficult for her because Grandpa Yasuji provided her the warmth and security that she needed. Natsume grew up in a dysfunctional family, with her parents having a toxic relationship. Her parents’ fights often led to Natsume crying, hence it left mental and emotional scars.
There was no stability in Natsume’s childhood due to her parents. They even fought over trivial maters like which toy they should buy for Natsume. This is why she had a bad memory in the abandoned department store.
Most of all, Natsume’s parents were both busy in their work. The did not get to spend too much time with Natsume. This is why they usually dropped her off to Grandpa Yasuji and Kousuke, in which Natsume was able to experience what it’s like to have a family who is present. Moreover, a family that did not have tension nor negative feelings for one another.
Grandpa Yasuji and Kousuke gave her the attention she needed at that time. An environment she needed amidst her family problems – a stable and healthy home. She was able to witness the love family members should show to each other.
This is why she viewed Grandpa Yasuji as her actual grandfather, which is why she was hurt when Kousuke told her that she does not have biological relations to Grandpa Yasuji. This jumpstarted their strained relationship, alongside Grandpa Yasuji’s death.
In a way, this supports Grandpa Yasuji’s representation as the apartment. He is the solid shelter that housed Natsume in her time of need. This is why Natsume keeps on coming back to the apartment.
Noppo, as the apartment’s manifestation, even felt drawn to Grandpa Yasuji, Kousuke, and Natsume’s relationship. It was that heartwarming.
Moving On From Grandpa Yasuji’s Death
The entire film is symbolical of the grieving process. In the end, Natsume and Kousuke parted ways with the apartment. Therefore, they made peace with the fact that their beloved grandfather died. They realized that being there for each other is what they really needed in a difficult time. They should be looking forward to their future, and strengthening their friendship.
They will always treasure the memories they made with Grandpa Yasuji, but they ought not to stay in the past for too long.
One way to interpret this is that Natsume and Kousuke are ready to grow into a more mature, young adolescents. They said goodbyes to their naive childhood days and to become wiser upon handling their emotions, and relationships.
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