This year, for National Novel Writing Month, I am not writing a novel. I aim to use it to write more short stories, and try and write more challenging ones for me. Ones that try to be more ambitious in their scope, or explore ideas I am interested in in some new way. This is one of those, a response to what is best called cyborg fiction – that introspective science-fiction about the meaning of humanity in a transhumanist world, about being a machine. I dearly love Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell and even, in lighter handlings of the story, Full Metal Alchemist, Astro Boy and Robocop. I think these stories are if anything even more timely the closer science comes to the science-fiction prosthetics they depict – in a real life where transhumanism is discussed seriously as a possible future for mankind, asking questions about whether it is morally acceptable, and where boundaries should be drawn is vital.
My perspective, which comes across very plainly in this piece, is that transhumanism is entirely the wrong attitude to approach this technology from; rather than considering the idea that “mankind” (as argued generally from positions of privilege, and at times implicitly referring only to those privileged humans) needs uplifting to something beyond human, a better use of technology would be to give everyone equal opportunity. Before one can even begin considering what comes after humanity, humans should try to give everyone a fair opportunity in the world as it is – rather than creating an introspective circle dedicated to “improvement” of the lives of the already affluent and healthy.
Thus I wrote my own, arguably Oshii-esque, internal monologue of a cyborg. It is more than a little Robocop…
With the final preparations complete – in the form of an episode of down-time – Eureka Seven is finally ready to begin its ultimate confrontations. Renton is going beyond the Great Wall to find out some kind of truth, Stoner and Holland are preparing their expose of the Coralians and Eureka, and Dewey is planning his own operations to bring an end to the Coralian “threat.” The shift in focus is established with a new opening theme tune, probably the best of the series’ four themes. The theme tunes and credits sequences have throughout the series tonally reflected what is happening – the third, the punk-esque To the Centre of the Sun, played through the series’ impetuousness and kicking out – and now Sakura, the fourth theme, comes with its very heroic and spiritual sound for the show’s climax – established as something that must be religious.
Considered as an entire series, Overman King Gainer works to an extent as a distillation of the coming-of-age story into its basest form; its protagonist begins his journey the epitome of apathy and unwillingness to engage with the world around him and has to be forcibly dragged into action. What follows is his awakening into not a warrior, as would be expected of many series in King Gainer‘s vein, but simply a better person.