Describing how much a story like AIR’s means to me is no small task, and I have taken the entirety of the bookclub to elaborate on it. To even begin, I have to speak about the responsibility that rests on both my mother’s shoulders and my own. I love my mother very, very much. She is the only person on this Earth that I feel truly understands me. She has felt my hardship and more through her own childhood experiences, which I will not go into detail here. But thanks to her experience, her faith, and her strength, she has helped shape me into the young man I am today. Most people, including myself, have taken mothers for granted at least once in their lifetimes. They’re not perfect individuals, and neither are we. AIR is only one of the many reminders I have had throughout my life that my mother is one of the most important individuals I know and will ever know. I’m sure I will receive many more as the years pass.
As for myself, AIR has also told me that the responsibility of caring for others is vital to the development of our fellowmen. As the eldest of four children, I acknowledge that my role as an example and guardian of my younger siblings is both something I have neglected and something I deeply cherish now. Every day, I think of my siblings, especially my younger brother, who’s going through very tough trials himself. It is my hope that I will make enough of an impact on him and my two sisters so that they will remember me for the happy memories and not for the sad ones.
Finally, AIR has helped me realize one last thing: the decision to change and do the right thing lies with me, and no one else. Minagi realized that if she wanted her life to be better, she needed to loose her chains and break free from past regrets. Yukito realized that if he wanted to help Misuzu, he needed to face the problem head on rather than flee from it. Uraha realized that if she and Ryuuya wanted to save Kanna, they had to take the first step and start the cycle that would eventually lead to a future generation solving the problem. And Haruko realized that her conflicting feelings about Misuzu, and Misuzu’s conflicted opinion of her, would not resolve themselves unless she took on the responsibility of caring for her during her final days. Through all that, they gained the strength and the reasoning to continue on with life, despite the trials ahead, because they had something they needed to protect, something they needed to learn.
My final opinion on AIR is this: It is a literary masterpiece, not for being the most logically sound, or the most ambitious, but for being one of the most meaningful, heartfelt stories I have experienced. The amount of heart put into this story by the writers, especially Maeda, whom I am certain really loves his mother, moves us to recognize that we should not forget those who are influential to us, and remember that there is always a chance to acknowledge our faults, take up our neglected responsibilities, and take the first step to changing ourselves for the better. Thank you for hearing me out, and I hope you enjoyed AIR as much as I did.
Since I hate to waste perfectly good recordings, here is my reading of the above words: https://www.dropbox.com/s/30ovaqa48apanwd/AIR%20-%20Final%20Thoughts.mp3?dl=0