Machines: Dependency and Expendability

Momotaro’s Sea Eagle and Astro Boy are both films that incorporated humans, animals, and machines in unique relationships.  These relationships highlight the dependence and reliance people and animals have with machines.  The people and animals of the films religiously use machines to accomplish their respective goals in their everyday lifestyles and without the use of machinery; their careers and lives would be completely different.  Both films show a tremendous dependency with machinery, but in Astro Boy, the machines are treated as expendable and replaceable.

In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, the animals utilize airplanes to go to and devastate Demon Island.

In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, the animal troops’ lives and careers are intertwined and connected to machinery.  The very existence of these animals revolves around machinery – they operate, maintain, and live on machines.  For instance, the animals do not live in their natural habitats (unless, of course, rabbits are supposed to live on the seas).  These animals live on a giant strip of sophisticated machinery, an aircraft carrier.  In the film, their primary objective is to go to Demon Island and kill its inhabitants and to do so, the animals must use airplanes.  Basically, without the use of machinery, the animals would not only be unable to travel and destroy Demon Island, but they would also cease to exist for they would have no home and no purpose.

In Astro Boy, Astor is artificially made with various technological advancements to replace the scientist’s deceased son.

Like Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, the people in Astro Boy depend heavily on machines in their normal lifestyles.   Dr. Astor is constantly working with machines for his scientific experiments.  He also extensively uses machinery to construct his artificial son, Astor.  The people of the film drive around in automated cars, not requiring any manual control, thus depending largely on machines and robots.  However, on the flip side, the people of Astro Boy, view machines and, in some circumstances, people, replaceable.  When Dr. Astor loses his biological son, he quickly replaces his son with a robot that looks just like his deceased son.  Also, when Astor becomes a circus robot, he discovers the depository of “garbage” robots, which actually still do function, but lack enough energy to function.  Instead of maintaining and fixing the robots, the circus owners dump the robots into a corner and forget all about them, thus bringing to light the attitude the people had towards technology.

The two films both illustrate the need and importance of machines in life in both scenarios.  However, in Astro Boy, the setting is more advanced and therefore the output of new machines is high, which makes older robots become obsolete and expendable.  In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, each piece of machinery is valued and is used to its fullest potential.  Every plane with the exception of one eventually flies home back safely.  It is evident that the two films are similar as they know the importance of machines and robots, but they differ tremendously in the way they value and treat the machines.

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