Wednesday, April 9

Anime and Japan symbiotic relationship of technology

Like Tezuka’s original Astro Boy , a lot of Japanese anim´e portrays robotics in an incredibly strong light, acting as a medium between technology and man. Conversely, like much Western popular culture, many treatments look at the destructive potential technology holds. The distinguishing point though lies in that no matter the perspective within a particular anim´e , its treatment is always mature and multi-faceted.

For example, Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shin Seiki Ibangerion, see Figure 3) centres around a young boy, Shinji, in a time where the world has witnessed an apocalyptic event, the Second Impact. The Second Impact occurs within the Arctic Circle and the force of the explosion causes a massive rise in sea levels. Twenty years on, and Earth is invaded by massive aliens called ’Angels’: giant, seemingly indestructible beasts with highly destructive weaponry. The only way Earth can fight back is by using experimental robots called the ’Evangelion’. These robots are powered in part by thought-control and as such require young, teenage minds. Shinji is the second child to be brought into the project to pilot EVA Unit 01, the first operational Evangelion.

As the series progresses, the viewer learns of Shinji’s dislike for the technology he pilots counterbalanced by the strong link he feels toward Unit 01 through the mind control. Toward the end of the series, the viewer starts to learn that the Evangelion units are very similar to the aliens they are fighting; organic beings that are harnessed by robotic technology and piloted by humans.

The Neon Genesis Evangelion episodes (and concluding films) make an interesting casestudy, since technology is explored through the mind of a young teenage boy—torn apart by an unloving father, and a reluctant hero in an inexplicable war against an unknown enemy. While the Evangelion units are Earth’s only hope, the dark and sinister projects behind the technology are portrayed as immoral. Technology as a necessary evil.

(Matthews, 2003)

This dissertation talks about relationship of Japan and technology thru cultural expression.

The PDF is here

Very intersting read.

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