It strikes you right from the get go. Haruki always had this ray of sunshine behind him. Warm, golden, bright. Ugetsu on the other hand, had a backdrop of steel, gray and washed out blue. In a lot of occasions, we meet or are introduced to him when it’s raining.
It’s not just the color and the theme either. The location of their homes are loudly tell a story all on its own.
While Ugetsu lives in a basement devoid of sunlight, Haruki is high up on his apartment exposed to generous sunlight.
The height in this case is a symbolism all on its own. It symbolizes the downfall of Ugetsu’s time and the rise of Haruki.
Not only that but Akihiko’s transition from Ugetsu’s drab and sterile basement room to Haruki’s open spaced apartment tells a separate narrative.
A basement is representative of Akihiko’s suffocation with Ugetsu. It’s not just the music that choked him. He was languishing in a literal cramped, tight space under Ugetsu’s shadow.
This is in stark contrast when he transitions to the open and free apartment that Haruki resides in. It is symbolic of his freedom, much like how a bird is finally allowed to fly free from a cage he never wanted to leave.
But in the end, Akihiko was given that chance, much like how Haruki’s love brought him up, pulled him to climb greater heights not just with his music but his life in general.
This duality is present all throughout the movie. Even the color schemes represented by Ugetsu and Haruki. Blue vs Gold, Moon vs Sun. This symbolism would permeate and persist throughout the entire movie until the infamous breakup scene.
I know a lot of people probably noticed this already but I think it’s fun how another narrative was taking place alongside the main narrative. It’s the backdrop, the music and even the character designs that keep my heart aching and cheering all at the same time.
The more you watch the movie, the more you’ll notice. So I highly recommend that you watch the movie again. Then again the day or the week after. You’ll never know what else you might have missed.