"It seems that the world over, the accepted films featuring the
handicapped would be best called the 'triumph story': the overcoming of
great odds to achieve even greater goals. The reason for these films
appears to be catharsis. Specifically, the audience watches them to feel
better about their own lives ("There but for the grace of God go I…"),
draw inspiration to live a better life ("If they can do it, so can I."),
and, to some extent, feel generally swell about themselves and the way
they spent two hours watching something 'socially responsible'.
Fortunately this style of filmmaking appeared both absurd and
disingenuous to both Shibata and Sumida, and in response they created a
film that was truly the opposite."