Technology: Does it Help Us Succeed or Fail?

In the Japanese anime films, Momotaro’s Sea Eagle and Astro Boy, technology is a force that controls the outcomes of events. In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, technology helps them successfully bomb “Demon Island”; however, Torpedo Bomber #3 is unable to make it back safely. Whereas, in Astro Boy, technology enables Dr. Tenma to reincarnate his son; yet this fails him when he realizes the robot cannot replace Tobio. Thus, the relationship between the characters and technology reveals, technology can either help the character succeed or fail—or sometimes both.

            In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, technology plays a significant role in the warfare of the movie. The animals engage in warfare in which they attack Demon Island (a representation of America) and are successful. The animals’ handling of machinery during these scenes can be seen as carefree. For instance, the monkeys can manipulate the machines in a lighthearted, playful way to help them win the war. They can hop from plane to plane or simply jump on an air born torpedo to direct it in the right direction. This plasticity that the animals have help them direct destructive weapons towards ships they want to destroy. Thus, their hands-on relationship with the machinery helps them to succeed in bombing the ships. Technology seems to fail the animals during battle only once. Torpedo Bomber #3 is unable to get back because it has been hit; however, Spotted Dog and Monkey put out the fire quickly with effortless swatting movements showing that the severity of the damaged machinery is not life threatening. We can also see that the lithe abilities of the monkey allow him to try to fix the broken wing with his tail—something obviously futile.

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The monkey’s abilities to manipulate the technology allows him to steer the torpedo.

            Similarly, in Astro Boy the relationship between the humans and robots shows how technology helps the characters achieve and fail in different aspects of life. The creation of Astro Boy originally has good intentions—to allow Dr. Tenma to have his son again. Dr. Tenma is successful in creating him and his devotion to the construction of Astro Boy is apparent. His fellow scientists think he has gone mad; however it is the drive to achieve a technological advancement that will replace his son, which makes him seem so wild. Thus, technology pushes Dr. Tenma to be successful in creating what he thinks will be his replacement son. Astro Boy himself is a success; however, this does not make him Tobio. Therefore, Dr. Tenma considers his work a failure. Initially, Dr. Tenma’s relationship with Astro Boy is affectionate and he treats him as his own son. However, as time passes, Dr. Tenma’s sinister impatience foreshadows the rejection of Astro Boy. Even though, Astro Boy, a moral and kind robot, wants nothing more than to please Dr. Tenma, he is still rejected because he is not Dr. Tenma’s real son—something impossible. Dr. Tenma’s short fuse causes him to mistreat Astro Boy and only see faults. In this case, Dr. Tenma relies too heavily on technology and is blinded by the loss of Tobio to see that his technology will ultimately fail him.

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Astro Boy cannot grow like a real human which displeases Dr. Tenma

            In both films, technology serves as a way of achieving certain goals whether it is in war or for personal issues. However, we can see that in both the films that technology failed characters in some way or another. Thus, technology can sometimes help attain success, but it must not be relied on because it too has its faults. 

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