Restructuring Momotaro and Astro Boy: Flesh vs. Machine

The film Momotaro’s Sea Eagles, which altered traditional Momotaro story to reflect Japanese militarism, and the film Astro Boy, which showed the discrimination of robots, established a special relationship between human, animal, and machine. The relationship can be seen as animals and machines are subordinate of humans, and the characteristics of flesh and machine are completely opposite.  

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Momotaro debriefing mission to animal soldiers

First of all, the flesh, which is commander Momotaro in Momotaro’s Sea Eagles, even though he showed courage, intelligence, and leadership as original Momotaro, his image in the film is a lot different than the original. In another word, he can be portrayed as emperor of Japan, which resulted that his personality becomes much more serious. Moreover, his relationship with animals is tightened and the friendship also disappears in contrast to original Momotaro. As a propaganda movie, it uses image of Momotaro to attract younger generations, but its true intention is to inform people the greatness of Japan and its militarism. Therefore, the Momotaro in this film is presented as a cold hearted human instead of a favored hero. Similarly, the Astro Boy also portrayed evil sides of human, such as selfishness, greed, and heartless. Nevertheless, the Astro boy has a completely opposite characteristics to these humans portrayed in both films.

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Animal soldier jumps from plane to plane

Secondly, the animals only appeared in Momotaro’s Sea Eagles. Their appearances as soldiers, which are being commanded by humans imply that animals are served as tools. As mentioned before, the animals in this film lack friendship with Momotaro due to it is a propaganda film. Thus, they not only serve humans, but also become victims of militarism. Being separated apart from human, they are correlated with machines due to both of the two kinds are under the command of human. However, the strength and intelligence of animals in the original Momotaro story was reflected in the film, such as animals can jump from plane to plane while in the sky. These elements can be also taken into consideration that animals and machines are correlated due to the fact that Astro boy possess inhuman power as well.

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Astro boy suggests to share his energy 

Lastly, the role of machine in this relationship cycle is significant because the machine can be referred as a combination of human and animal. Although the astro boy is a robot, he expressed his warm-hearted personality in numerous ways, such as shares energy with rest of the robots, offers help to those who need them, and even saves his owner who treated him brutally. In another word, he is the symbol of how human should be. Furthermore, there’s scene when the TV shows a group robots are protesting human rights, it is revealing that in this world, people are being discriminated and lacking basic human rights, which made the contrast between machine and human more obvious. In conclusion, human, animal, and machine portrayed in these two films formed a special relationship among themselves, and they are also dependent to each other due to the realistic society that they reflected.

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