ANA Training Airfield, Shitaji Island, Okinawa, 1999. A jet plane takes off and soars into the air through the clouds and into the sunlight. We see a boyish Shinkai training. His excitement amuses his trainers as he crows with delight.
The tutor in the co-pilot seat tells him not to get so excited, since once he has passed his exams he would be able to see it any number of times. "Yes, but it's completely different from flying in a propeller plane," Shinkai answers, with shining eyes.
He adds "It's so close!" and presses his hand against the glass. In a child-like fashion he holds up his hand and watches the interplay of sunlight through his splayed fingers.
The camera pans in on an unconscious Shinkai. Makoto and Ryoji arrive at the hospital. They find Koda and Togashi there.
Koda explains that Shinkai was injured trying to save him and apologises as supervisor of the drill. Ryoji replies that it is only right that one try to save a colleague.
Shinkai is wheeled out of the surgery on a gurney still under anaesthetic. The doctor tells Ryoji that Shinkai is concussed but that is in no danger. The doctor advises Ryoji and Koda that although Shinkai’s fractured bone will knit together eventually - because of nerve damage it will never be the same again. Accordingly, although Shinkai will recover and walk again – he will probably never fly a plane again. The doctor looks extremely troubled. Either because his words have just spelled the end of a promising young pilot's career ..... or he has just realised that he is surrounded by some fantastic actors and is hopelessly outclassed....
Ogawa rides through the night to the hospital. Togashi and Koda are just about to leave when they see her. Togashi glances at Koda and walks towards her.
Shinkai is still asleep when Makoto comes in with the pilot's uniform the nurse has returned. As he puts it on a shelf, Ryoji tells him to go home as he has school the next day. Makoto is protesting when a hand thumps him. Shinkai has woken up. Removing the oxygen mask he asks why his foot hurts. Ryoji gives Makoto a 10,000 yen bill and tells him to go and get something to drink.
After Makoto has reluctantly left the room, Ryoji tells Shinkai that he had fell in a twisted posture, trying to protect his head, and fractured his ankle. The broken bits of the bone sliced through a nerve.
"You mean I can't walk anymore?" Shinkai asks, and gives a sigh of relief when he is told that with physiotherapy he should be able to walk fine. Ryoji then adds, "But you'll limp a bit." Shinkai realises in an instant what this means. Ryoji continues: "They tell me pilots mustn't even limp. I suppose there's no point in hiding things so -- basically you can walk again but will have to retire as a pilot. But you were lucky to have survived with your life, after falling from a height of 6 metres."
He asks if Shinkai wants anything, and is asked to leave him alone for a while. Ryoji leaves the room and finds Makoto outside - crying.
Shinkai tries to bite back his tears, then laughs at the sheer irony of the situation. His father and brother, about to move away, hear the sound.
Ogawa comes running up to them, but Ryoji tells her apologetically that Shinkai does not want to see anyone.
Alone in his room Shinkai notices the uniform folded neatly on the shelf. "Honestly... It can't be true... Why?" he mutters and covers his wet face with the bed sheet, crying in a heartbroken fashion. Takuya Kimura is amazing in this scene …. He cries so well. *sniffle*
Two weeks later, Ogawa, walking with her team past the parking lot sees a "Please Remove this Vehicle" notice on the windshield of Shinkai's car.
Abe reaches over and tears it off, saying "He'll be back.
Ota and Koda see the manager of staff who is recommending that Shinkai become a flight attendant since he will never be a pilot again. Ota knows Shinkai would not like this job even though it would mean that he could still fly.
Three weeks later, Ayumi passes the parking lot and sees two notices demanding that the car be removed.
She tears them off. I do not know why she doesn't go to visit him but anyway, on with the summary.
Koda finally decides to visit Shinkai in hospital – after urging from Togashi although does not go in when he hears Shinkai arguing with his father. Shinkai who has been undergoing physiotherapy is still on crutches and has been told that a complete recovery is impossible. When his father urges him to become a ship captain instead and surrender his dreams of being a pilot, Shinkai is devastated and the two quarrel fiercely.
Both are devastated by the encounter.
A month later Ogawa stops dead at the parking lot to find Hajime's car gone. Again, I have no idea why she didn’t visit him.
A month later, Shinkai is about to leave on his crutches. Makoto has come to carry his bags for him. The doctor tells him not to push things - as he is not wholly cured yet. He looks like he want to say something - but then he changes his mind. Can I say that the guy who plays the doctor is a really bad actor……
As they pass through the hospital lobby, Makoto tells Shinkai that a friend has collected his car from the airport, and wonders why Ogawa has not come. Shinkai grimly ignores the questions. I’m also wondering why Ogawa has not come! [In the Chinese version, Shinkai asks after his car which was parked at Narita, Makoto tells him the car has been taken and wonders why he asks after the car and not Ogawa and that Ogawa should have visited him].
They return to Shinkai’s flat and Shinkai hastily tries to get into his flat before the crazy Mee Sook arrives. “What does she call you?” Shinkai asks his young brother curiously. “Paul”. Makoto tells him with a grin.
Before they can get inside, Mee Sook comes rushing out. “Takeshi!” she exclaims, staring at Paul. “You’re Takeshi.” Shinkai tells his brother reprovingly.
“Sho-chan, where've you been!" she exclaims and notices the cast on Hajime's foot. "Daisuke did this, didn't he?" she says furiously, ignoring Shinkai’s protestations that the mysterious Daisuke did not have anything to do with the matter.
The look on Shinkai's face during this whole scene is absolutely hysterical. He assures her very solemnly (while clearly thinking she is cRaZy) that Daisuke had nothing to do with it.
The Crazy neighbour returns to her flat swearing to punish Daisuke – leaving Makoto in hysterics. "What are you laughing at?" Shinkai demands of his brother, although you can tell Kimura is having a hard time keeping a straight face during this scene.
The brothers quickly get into the apartment. Shinkai places all of his flying manuals onto the shelf and is clearly extremely upset, even more so when he sees the captain's epaulette given to him by Captain Mizushima and bites his lip.
The doorbell rings. The brothers panic thinking that it is Mee Sook again.
“You answer it.” Shinkai tells his brother.
“What if it’s Daisuke???” Makoto demands but obediently goes to answer it.
“Don’t open it!” Shinkai tells his brother but it’s too late, Makoto has already opened the door. He peeks out and finds Ogawa looking back at him.
Shinkai is surprised and invites her in. Shinkai sits in a seat by the window and she sits cross-legged on the floor on a cushion, staring up at him with wide-eyed serenity. As she sits down, Shinkai tells Makoto to get some food and hands him a 10.000 yen note. Makoto takes the hint, returns the money, and leaves, complaining of family resemblance. Shinkai looks happy to see her but then looks at her quite sorrowfully.
“You know …. I didn’t think we’d ever see each other again?” he tells her.
“I just figured.”
She looks very serene, her hair falling down her back, her large dark eyes studying him gravely. I think this is the first time Shinkai has seen Ogawa with her hair unbound.
“I guess I’m upset. You know right?” She stares at him. “I can’t be a pilot anymore”. He gives her a wry smile, bitterness tempered with hurt and grief.
“I didn’t know that” she says evenly, feeling his anguish. I'm not sure if she's lying or not.
He turns and looks at her.
“Don’t be upset”. she tells him calmly. “Remember your promise?” she reminds him.
“What promise?” he asks, not looking at her
“You forgot?” she questions him. He turns and looks at her. “You said you’d fly me somewhere. And show me how beautiful the sky is”. She speaks decisively.
“Yeah”. He says nothing and stares at the ground for a long second. “Well I can’t. But don’t worry Koda or Jane or one of the other pilots will take you.”
“It has to be you”. She tells him, her eyes not moving from his face. “It was you who promised.”
“What am I supposed to do?” he demands furiously, hitting the table.
They stare at one another. She does not look away and he looks at her furious in a furious and distraught fashion.
“Why are you getting like this? Why are you doing this? I was finally coming to terms with this.” he says looking away. “And now you’re saying all this.” His voice is filled with hurt and fury. Kiimura is really good here and Ogawa is so brave for not running away in the face of such emotion!
He looks at her accusingly / furiously and she stares fiercely right back at him, not backing down even when he tells her to go away. Her eyes are bright with unshed tears but she still does not back down but continues to stare at him stubbornly.
“Just leave / go home.” he tells her harshly.
She doesn’t move but continues sitting there staring at him. He stares out at the sunlight and appears to be thinking of many things. When he turns slowly, he realises that she is still sitting there, watching him, her dark eyes huge and sad.
As the sun shines brightly behind him and lights up Ogawa's face, something in him changes and he rises as if to walk away from her.
We then see that Ogawa is driving Shinkai's car. Shinkai sits sullenly, not moving or speaking. Ogawa glances at him from time to time to check but neither speaks.
At the beach, he makes his way along the beach on his crutches, studying the sunlight, Ogawa following behind him at a short distance. He stands by the water and watches the planes go by, squinting up at the sky.
“It’s been a while since I saw a real plane” he tells her with a sad sweet smile.
He studies the sun, holding up his hand and watching the sunlight glimmering through his fingers.
His face twists and he chokes back a sob. Ogawa, standing behind him holds back her own tears
“The sun just doesn’t look the same from down here”, he tells her in a choked voice. In the Chinese version he also says: "It's just too bad / so unfortunate".
He wipes the tears away from his cheeks. “I just remembered something”. He tells her. There are also tears trickling down her cheeks.
“Flying a jet for the first time during training”. He tells her, remembering his days in Okinawa.
“I’ll give this a try”. He turns and nods emphatically. “I’ll get better enough to fly again”. She nods back at him but doesn’t speak.
“Everyone keeps telling me it’s impossible - but it’s my leg. I’m not supposed to give up.” he tells her her. “And I want to fly you somewhere.”
She smiles tearfully at him.
“No matter what happens I want to fly you somewhere. We’ll fly right through those clouds. I’ll show you what the sun really looks like”. he tells her fiercely.
“I’m going to do this”. He tells her. “I have to.” He wipes away his tears and she stares at him silently.
“I promised you.” he tells her. She watches in worry as he tosses his crutches to the side.
He smiles at her reassuringly as he tries to place his weight on his injured leg.
When he stumbles, she jumps forward and catches him immediately, staggering a little beneath his full weight.
“Sorry”, he tells her, holding her tight in his arms.
He raises his hands and strokes the hair from her face.
He starts to lower his face to hers and she turns her face up to his, waiting for the touch of his mouth. Suddenly he draws back.
“Let’s put this moment on hold.” He tells her. “Until I fly again”. He touches her lip with his fingertip and Ogawa scowls at him in a familiar manner. "[Chinese version: Let's save our first kiss until that time].我們的初吻就留到那時吧值到我們飛上天空時]
“Idiot.” she tells him and he pulls her to him, kissing her hair while she holds him tight and he holds her back just as tight. I think he kisses her hair. I like this moment. It's right that only Ogawa can pull him out of his depression and make him face up to his love of flying. It's righ tthat only she isn't scared to face him while he is in such a mood. It's also interesting that she is the only one who doesn't give up on him.
A day or so later, Koda lands in Narita with Azumi as co-pilot. Fukaura and Miwako having also been onboard the same flight walk into the airline office, discussing how tired they are. Miwako wonders if Shinkai is ever returning. Fukaura spots him. He asks where the personnel head's office is and swiftly hops on his crutches through the crowd of CAs. When he enters the office, he requests long leave in order to undergo physiotherapy.
"It'll take a bit of time, but I'm determined to mend this leg and pass the pilot tests again."
The head of personnel groans, "On the one hand I have a pilot who refuses to quit even though he's injured, and on the other hand, I have a captain with great skill who still insists on quitting!" Shinkai is shocked to learn that Koda has tendered his resignation and is “taking responsibility” for Shinkai’s accident. Shinkai demands to know where Koda is, seizes the resignation letter and runs out of the room.
In the office building Shinkai hurtles and hops through the rooms at a rather remarkably speed for someone on crutches. Shinkai arrives at a window where he can see the plane through a window. Inside the cockpit he sees Koda getting up and putting on his jacket, then bowing deeply to the controls just before he leaves. He mutters something along the lines of: “No way, you’ve got to be kidding” and dashes off again.
Koda, on his way out of the airport, hears someone call his name. He turns around but there is no one in sight. He resumes walking, but his name is called again, this time more distinctly. He turns and sees Shinkai barrelling towards him at a furious pace on crutches. When Shinkai arrives before him, he’s out of breath but very irate. He waves the resignation letter at Koda and demands to know what Koda means by "taking responsibility". Koda apologises to him for having caused the accident.
Shinkai tells him that he regrets nothing and would have regretted it more if he had stood by and done nothing. Koda says in a very noble, drama queeny way that this is his only option.
"You haven't changed at all! Don't make me laugh!" Shinkai demands. "Are you telling me you've given up on me, that I'll never get back up there again? Where does that leave me, still believing that I'm going to make it someday? Don't you give up on me without so much as a by-your-leave! I can't leave the sky yet."
"Then YOU fly. I'll follow through with my decision." Koda tells him.
Shinkai prevents him from passing by sticking out one of his crutches. "If you really want to be responsible, be here when I come back and train me! I want YOU to teach me."
When Koda asks why, Shinkai replies that it is not something he can ask for unless he is sure that that person really loves the sky. In a very humble gesture he begs Koda to help him and bows his head low. No one says onegai shimasu like Kimura .... *chills*
In a dramatic moment (dramatic music wells up) – the two pilots stare at an overhead plane. Koda’s eyes look bright with tears.
He takes the resignation letter and tears it up.
We then enter the Rocky Training Session of the series when intense physiotherapy begins for Shinkai. Time passes with the theme song in the background.
Then unbelievably, one day when Shinkai is on the roof of the hospital, the doctor who cannot act (let’s call him DWCA) approaches him.Shinkai jokes that the doctor's expression is scaring him. That or the doctor's acting.....
"I still can't act." the doctor says says sadly.
"Yeah I've known that all along." Shinkai tells him understandingly.
Actually none of that happened. The doctor asks Shinkai whether he has considered surgery. Such an operation involves taking apart the tibia and the heel bone that have fused together at an angle, and reconnecting them to make them straight. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" Shinkai demands . "Yeah!" shouts Koala. "Or were you doing the whole dramatic tension thing like Koda with the refuelling at Chitose thing, huh, huh??????".
The DWCA tells him that it means severing a nerve and reconnecting that.
If the operation is unsuccessful he will never walk again – the probability of success is ten to one, and nine out of ten surgeons would not recommend it.
Shinkai looks at the DWCA, then at the sun and wordlessly holds out his hand.
"If I can learn to walk again - you can learn to act."
Fortunately for us, Kimura CAN act.
On the day of the surgery, as he is wheeled to the operating theatre, Shinkai tells Makoto who is at his side that he ought to be at school and he’s just using brotherly love as an excuse to cut class.
Just outside the doors of the operating theatre they discover a solitary Ogawa standing there waiting looking concerned. Shinkai looks startled - but delighted to see Ogawa there.
The nurses wheel the gurney past her but just before the doors close Shinkai twists around, raises himself up on one elbow and looks at her. She looks back at him gravely.
Seeing her serious face, he points a finger at her, a huge grin on his face as if to say: “You’re mine – don’t go anywhere, I’m coming back.”
Ogawa smiles in spite of herself – as he intended - and the doors close.
In a flashback scene, we see a young Shinkai telling his instructor how it has always been his dream to hold the controls of an aeroplane in his hands. The instructor laughs and tells him never to forget that dream.
We then jump three months into the future – it’s a television programme so you can do that. Besides, we already had the Rocky Training Sequence (see above) so we can't repeat that.
Shinkai is at the beach near the airport still using crutches. Although his right foot is no longer in a cast, it sticks out stiffly. He drops his crutches and takes a few steps forward, the right foot being able to take some weight but not much.
He tumbles to the ground and looks up at the underside of a flying aircraft in frustration. When he sees the sun, he stabs a finger at the sun, grins and says challengingly,”You just wait."
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