Ash Ketchum was ten when I was five. He was part of my childhood heroes, embarking on an epic journey I always envied. Now twenty is up for the grab and Ash is still ten, retaining every bit of character he used to be while I’ve been anything but a constant, changing day to day either for the better or the worse.
When Kagome Higurashi started her adventure, she was fifteen, all brave and cool and distant to my eight year old self. I was eighteen by the time I got to the penultimate ending to her story.
It’s quite sad, don’t you think, that years have gone by and time is never by your side? You take a look at something you were fond of and realize just how long has passed.
It’s even easier when you’re dealing with fiction in general. Series are legendary for various quality. Some of them for their length. What they have in common is that when discord happens, it gets harder to do natural progression of age like in real life, especially if you don’t want to change the target age of your series. Welcome to comic book time.
To me, it’s not simply another trope. It signifies phases of my life, marks points of time in ways so different than photographs or journal entries. It acts as the mirror to our old self. I used to think, in that ancient innocent belief that I can do anything, I will have even more awesome adventure to surpass them. However, as real life happened, I was soon drowned in schoolwork, even stopped writing for years.
It’s funny, and a bit disconcerting seeing how my childhood heroes fare (or what remains of them) once I have the time to visit the yellowing pages. For example, Conan (no, not the barbarian) is still chasing after Gin and Vodka, not any closer to his goal.
Sometimes, when I sit down to read or watch these series again, I was reminded of my own feelings once upon a time, the petty problems I mulled over, the dreams I had, and how far removed I’ve been from that little girl. The other times, I felt certain twinge of sadness because the shows have become so different than the images I have in mind. I rewatched Digimon series some times ago but I couldn’t be as excited sifting through the episodes while back then I could barely wait a week.
Because unlike characters trapped in a frozen realm, we keep moving forward, leaving things behind.