This delicately crafted story is ideal for viewers who want to change themselves for the better but just need to take that daunting first step.

It’s not often that a simple series of pictures and short animated clips has the power to tug at your heartstrings so strongly, but that’s exactly what Sayo and Ko’s Departures manages to do in its short runtime of just three minutes and 17 seconds.

The video was released earlier this week as part of a promotion by Ekispert, a public transportation transfer guide app in Japan, and has since been warming the hearts of Japanese net users with its relatable message about helping people overcome their uncertainties and start a positive self-transformation. The exquisite pictures, which are at times static and at times animated, were drawn by manga artist Eisaku Kubonouchi. The clip also features voiceovers for Sayo and Ko, and is accompanied by piano music from Japanese singer-songwriter Kotringo which suits the bittersweet mood of the story to a tee.

In the story, Sayo is a discouraged high school student who wants to change herself for the better, but doesn’t know how to go about doing so. Her older brother Ko is a university student who lives according to his own principles, and is always chasing after his dreams. Could Ko be the key in helping Sayo become the person she wants to be?

▼ “I keep studying, even though I’ll never use any of this knowledge in my life.”


▼ “I want to be able to join everyone in saying things like, ‘That’s so cute!'”


Ko:Welcome home!”
Sayo: “Huh? Why are you here? What about college?”


Ko: “I quit.”
Sayo: “No way!”
Ko: “Just kidding.”
Sayo: “Can’t you do that outside? You’re so annoying…”


▼ “The world is full of cute girls…”


▼ “I want to think someone’s beneath me just so I can feel better about myself.”


▼ “Everyone keeps telling me to push forward, even though there’s nowhere I want to go.”


▼ “I’m jealous of people who are doing something they love.”


▼ I hate myself.


▼ [Flashback] Ko: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Sayo: “Hm, I dunno. How about you, Ko?”
Ko: “Bubbles!”
Sayo: “Me, too!”


Ko: “Well then, I’m off.”


▼ I’ll leave my current self.


Are you feeling those onions yet?

More information about the short video can be found at Ekispert’s special Sayo and Ko’s Departures homepage. Also, if you download the Ekispert app onto your smartphone and type in “私” (“I/me”) in the “出発地” (“Place of departure”) box, you’ll receive a special illustrated message from Sayo and Ko! Let this be the first step in your own journey to change yourself for the better.

▼ “Place of departure: Me”


Source, images: YouTube/Ekispert
[ Read in Japanese ]