When I was a kid, I loved two anime series on TV, they were Isao Takahata’s Marco: 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (From the Apennines to the Andes) and Hayao Miyazaki’s Future Boy Conan, only back then I didn’t know who the directors were, something that I discovered many years later. Of the two, I loved Marco most, in the evening, it was a treat to watch, it was my favorite then and still is. I was so crazy about Marco, I even cut my hair like his, I wanted to be like Marco, the little Italian boy from Genoa who travel the world to find his mother, beside his fearless ambition, what attracted me to Marco was his lack of selfishness, little Marco only lived for others, a character much bigger that life, one rarely find the likes of him in real life.
I went back to watching Marco again, brought back all the nostalgia. The story of Marco who’s Mom leave Italy for Argentina to work, leaving Marco behind, and little Marco, he goes out searching for her, all the way from Italy to Argentina, he is the most loveable anime character ever created, and I wanted to be like him, I would cut my hair like him, I would talk like him, when I said “Yes”, I would shake my head like him, saying , “E hem”. And every evening, my desire for that day, was to watch Marco, and boy, I cried over that show, because as a kid, we are still innocent faced with real emotion, and to me, Marco was real, not an anime character, his emotions were real: When Marco’s mom leave him, or when his Donkey dies in the middle of nowhere in Argentina, or when at the end he meet his mom, I cried like hell, at times sobbing that night over it. Because I took it literary to be true.
I re-watched the whole 52 episode recently, and I discovered, despite knowing that it was only an animation, knowing the whole trick behind it, I still got moved when those scenes appeared again, every time Marco would leave one of the characters, knowing he will never see them again, or when he is on the train back to Buenos Aires, as he get to the towns of his friends, Pablo and Juana, he wait by the window, predicting to see them, and he is right, they are on the grass waiting for the train to pass by, there they are, Pablo and Juana, they have waited on that spot every week, for days to see if Marco would be on the train, just to wave to him a goodbye for a split second, knowing very well, that they will never see each other again, for he is going back to Italy, they are staying, but they cherish those few seconds with laughter, only 15 second of a train passing by, so emotional those little scenes in which the series is full of it (Yasujiro Ozu moments!): “I knew Marco will find her Mother, I’m so happy for her”, shout Pablo, “But we will never see him again”, whisper little Juana as she waves goodbye to the train, “Don’t worry, Marco will come back”, Pablo tab her on the head, smiling with tears in his eyes, knowing pretty will, that he is deceiving her.
When we are a child, we feel more emotionally to the lose of those that are dear to us: Such as knowing a person for a while, or visiting a place, getting attached to something, and then separating from it.
In Marco, what is left to cherish is always the wish for the best for others, knowing that your wish for the happiness is not just for oneself but those of whom you love, it is truly the greatest feeling one can have in life, for in Marco, one’s happiness is not always the aim. Little Marco, so pure, so good, and so simple, only children are like that, and that is why Marco will always be innocent.
Here is to little Marco: