Amplifier of Human Hearts: Resonance in Momotaro’s Sea Eagle and The Birth of Astro Boy

A common relationship among humans, animals, and machines is depicted in both Momotaro’s Sea Eagle and The Birth of Astro Boy. Specifically, I will like to acknowledge the relationship between humans or animals and machines in Momotaro’s Sea Eagle and the relationship between humans and machines in The Birth of Astro Boy. Through the plot development of both stories, we observe the common relationship of how machines represent and amplify the ideologies of their users or creators, resonating with them in both anime productions. This relationship occurs through the internal transformation of the machines and results in the conversion from a person-to-tool relationship into a person-to-person relationship.

Shot 1: Close-Up Still Shot of Torpedo Bomber

To begin my analysis, I point to the above screenshot at the beginning scenes of Momotaro’s Sea Eagle. The close-up shot magnifies the weight of the machine, especially taken at an angle from which one person looks above from below. The looming clouds lurking in the background adds further tension to the already present stillness of the atmosphere. The different shades of gray not only depict realism, but also add to the coldness of the lifeless aircraft. However, as the animals, or perhaps arguably humans for their great degree of personification, start preparing, controlling, and riding these aircrafts, their depicted realism and coldness fade away in the scenes of playfulness, transforming into liveliness and friendliness.

Shot 2: Medium Still Shot of Astro Boy’s Birth

Similarly, when observing shot two from The Birth of Astro Boy, I notice how the multiple circular lines of light shadings at each major joint exemplifies the machine-ness of Astro Boy. The glowing parts of his hair and clothing all serve to signify the metallic element to his construction as the glows represent the reflection of light from a metallic surface. Furthermore, the electrical cords attached to him replace the organic singular umbilical cord. Instead of growing as a fetus, Astro Boy represents already a fully grown boy. However, through the initial love of his father, the education he receives, and the interaction with different robots and people, Astro Boy finally acquires human qualities.

As a science fiction, The Birth of Astro Boy captivates the hearts of his audience not only through the intentional use of familiar objects as implemented by the author, but also through Astro Boy’s personal development. Instead of functioning simply as a tool for circuit performance, Astro Boy learns intellectually as a regular child, makes additional robot friends at the circus, and also saves people. Such developments and characteristics can be viewed as a manifestation of love from his father initially, eventually starting a wave for human rights for robots. Likewise, through the propagandizing nature of Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, the playful and friendly scenes of the greatly personified animals establish a transformation of relationships, going from person-to-machine to person-to-person or animal-to-person.

As the audiences, the animals, the people, and the robots become acquainted with the aircrafts and Astro Boy, a personal relationship arises. The aircrafts and Astro Boy are no longer described as useful or cold, typical adjectives associated with tools, but are rather described as cute and warm, adjectives associated with living beings. Hence, through this transformation of relationships, we see how tools and machines function as an amplifier of the human heart, representing our personal qualities and eventually acquiring them themselves.

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