How humans value technology ——Different concerns revealed from Momotaro’s Sea Eagle and Astro Boy

The past century has witnessed the most surprisingly development in scientific and technological progress, which starts long before the peaceful decades of post-world war era. Faced to astonishing power technology presents to modify the world, people’s believes are deeply influenced. Some take it very serious and believe in that it can change everything and realize any past fantasy; however, others throw doubt on the blind technological worship, which might be imperfect per se or cause more serious troubles.

Momotaro’s Sea Eagle and Astro Boy are two influential animations in early-modernized Japan, which are released in sequence. Nonetheless, they discuss contrasting concerns about the technology by means of highlighting the relation between human with animals and human with machines in different context.

In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle,the belief of trusting modern technology and knowledge penetrates throughout the whole story. From the beginning, the way that Momotaro calls all the soldiers together and enhances troop morale reveals the distant relationship between the captain and the soldiers, which is the relation between the human and the animals. To some extent, their relation is cold and fit to the modernized military regulation and military strategy, which is the core product of the modern military technology. Besides, all the tools and weapons that they use to conquer the enemy are all from modern technology, as well as how to direct the battle where the movie gives a close-up shot about Momotaro uses the ruler to draw something in the map, solitarily standing inside his office. In the original story, the talent and the success of the attack of Momotaro seems to come from nowhere, or to say, from the god helps. Rather than friends or servants in old times, to Momotaro, nowadays, animals are pure his soldiers and their functions are serving to obey the command from their captain, which caters to the trend of division of labor in society after the technology has largely emerged. Moreover, the new version takes the advantage of the animation genre to include a historical folklore hero into the story to promote, which highlights the idea that even the old hero shall depend on the modern technology to succeed in the modern time.

Compared to blind worship to the modern technology, in the story of Astro Boy, the change of the relation between Astro Boy and his father reveals that people begin to throw doubt on the ultimately potential ability of modern technology and the moral issues it causes. At the beginning of the Astro Boy, his father wants to rely on the power of technology to bring his dead son back to life, so he creates Astro Boy and treats him as his real son. After all, Astro Boy is not a real kid and he cannot grow up in terms of human standards. Finally, his father finds out this unbearable fact and kicks him out. On the one hand, it demonstrates the imperfection of technology. On the other hand, the fact, that Astro Boy has built up emotional connection with his father and all the robots appearing later are so emotional connected that they rescue people from the fire, leads people in society start to deliberate about the moral consequence of the too fast and superior development of technology. It is the animation genre that is right to adopt to put the hypothetical situation into public eyes by imaging a future world, questioning whether human being is responsible to take care the entire “life” of those robots and to provide them rights to continue living, not simply creating them and abandoning them whenever they like.


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