Singapore will be launching the first phase of the new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) on 31 January 2020. Before that, the government will also be holding an open house on 11 January 2020 for the public to take their first official look at the new MRT line.
For that purpose, acclaimed director Makoto Shinkai of Your Name and Weathering With You fame was hired to make a breathtakingly-beautiful anime commercial for the new Singapore MRT line.
Running at only about 30 seconds in length, the brief animated ad follows a young engineer named Ayano, who is hard at work helping to construct the new Singapore MRT line. Because of that, she sends a long text message to her friends back in Japan, apologising for missing a class reunion.
It has a heartwarming tone to it, as Ayano essentially explains to her friends that although she misses their memories together and personally would love to catch up at the reunion, she’ll have to look forward to that next time.
The reason being is that she sincerely believes that the new Singapore MRT line will somehow also “deliver unforgettable memories to everyone”. The ad will either melt your heart or make you cringe as to how corny (and unrealistic) it all is.
Generally, Singaporeans are in the former camp, amazed or amused at how the ad romanticises their beloved nation’s city, while the Japanese are in the latter camp, making a meme out of the ad that went viral on Japanese social media.
Why Is That?
Well, the Japanese find Ayano’s act of only contacting her friends on the day of the reunion itself to apologise and explain her absence really, really weird.
Imagine this; you have a class reunion or family gathering coming up on your schedule, and you only (rather rudely, in fact) inform them that you can’t make it on the very day of the event itself.
This thought was echoed in the Japanese comments underneath the YouTube video. The meme has caused the Japanese to reference or quote the ad when they’re visiting Singapore. This is done by copying the entire script of Ayano’s text message to her friends from the ad almost verbatim and sending it to their friends or over social media.
— 瀬戸弘司 (@eguri89) December 2, 2019
— やしろあずき@月曜日西A-60ab (@yashi09) August 26, 2019
— ごめん、同級会には行けません。いま、シンガポールにいます。bot (@Singapore_bot) December 13, 2019
Though the meme only pretty much went viral amongst the Japanese, it’s nice to see Singapore being the centre of attention. The influx of Japanese interest in the Southeast Asian nation can only be a good thing.
In the meantime, check out my spoiler-free review of Weathering With You here, or head on over here for my spoiler-filled discussion of the movie’s problems. There’s also a live-action adaptation of Weathering With You (sort of), which you can check out here.