Jul 13, 2018
Krunchyman (All reviews)
“I wish I had no brain to think and worry.” — Naomi Armitage

Ah, the age-old dilemma of being human (or a robot emulating a human), that which separates us from the animal kingdom — namely being, our superior cognitive abilities — is the same variable that alienates us, as well. We have the capability of creating fantastic technological instruments to ease our lives, yet those same instruments have the ability to “replace” our intended “purpose” of existence. From a biological perspective, we tend to believe in passing on our genes to future generations in a process known as procreation. The sense of “fulfillment” gives us great pride, yet evolutionary theory does not adhere to a designed “purpose,” nor does it care how genes are passed on, or if they are passed on at all.

Faced with the prospect a diminishing/stagnant population, the Mars colony deems it “necessary” to hasten their biological development by means of using advanced robots (otherwise known as: “thirds”). The ethical/sociological dilemma’a comes to the fore when job displacement becomes an issue, and feminists begin to protest as their “woman-hood” is supplanted by the female “thirds.” The absence of purpose is evident from the outset, as numerous people define themselves — and take great pride — through their job, or their capacity to start a family. Think about it: how many times does a person ask you what you do for a living, and you responded promptly with, “I work at [fill in the blank.]” We tend to believe we have a life outside of our job, but the fact remains: without a job, we cannot live as we please. As of writing this review, our very own society will be facing this same predicament as automated cars replace truckers, robotic arms replace surgeons, and artificial wombs (potentially) replace human conception.

The political easement of the people’s woes through the faux slogan, “one world, one nation,” as they eliminate their enemies with, “coincidentally” enough, their own robots, highlights the hypocritical nature of politicians and national governments. The Earth Federation Chairwoman, like many politicians, appears before a crowd with a sense of dignity and virtue, but behind the scenes, loose ends are being “taken care of,” for the “betterment” of society.

The characters of the show are fairly interesting, as we get some useful insights into their motivations and their uniquely distinct characteristics. Armitage, while being a robot, struggles with the same basic questions that plague the majority of humanity: why do I exist? There are no easy answers, but it sparks the audience to ask the question themselves, and where the line between robot and human should be drawn? Ross Sylius, in a weird way, represents the anime public, as he falls in love with an “artificial” girl, someone who is not “human.” Think about it: he married, and impregnated his waifu. Well done, sir. Well done.

Final thoughts…

A fascinating anime relic from the past, Armitage III resembles the highly popularized Ghost in the Shell, but, interestingly enough, its first episode predates the latter’s release. Coming from the mind of Chiaki Konaka — who would later write Serial Experiments Lain, several episodes of Texhnolyze, and Digimon Tamers — it’s no surprise the series deviated from the high-paced action sequences, to a philosophical view of the human condition. That being said, it suffers from a surface level approach to its own philosophical themes; thus, leaving the viewer yearning for something more substantial. Also, the story seems sporadic, at times. Giving the impression of poor planning on the staff’s part. But given the brief nature of the show itself, it did a fine job of accomplishing an entertaining action-drama with philosophical musings, and sociological ramifications of proliferating technology.

In addition, that opening theme song is fantastic. I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I absolutely love it. Perhaps you have to be a 90’s kid to understand.