I’ve been waiting for an episode like this from Seikai Suru Kado, one where a significant push-back is mounted against Za and we get to see some opposing perspectives against his rapid technological advancements. Kado‘s done a good job of canvasing a lot of interesting futurist discussion, as sci-fi of its like should, but perhaps everything has been going a bit too well and, as an ingrained pessimist, I’m waiting around for someone to ask, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and then receive a thorough answer. Am I playing devil’s advocate for the sake of it? Perhaps (though as far as advocating for the devil goes, I’m sure the lord of hell has plentiful access to attorneys). But I do think that without someone else persuasively arguing the counterfactual Kado would just be beating up strawmen and its vision of the future would feel incomplete. And on a more personal level, characters aren’t as interesting without doubt, so Shindou being prompted to question the course of his actions now can only be a good thing.
I do admit that I’m often critical of what goes on in Kado, but that’s not always on the show itself, but more on how the characters within it act. Perhaps that’s what Kado wants me to do, I’m not sure. Google has turned into Facebook and decided sharing is greater than all else. The Prime Minster of Japan has basically abdicated all strategic responsibilities. Is their flippancy towards the consequences of their actions a testament to their faith in humanity, or a laissez-faire attitude towards the social consequences of technology? Are they convinced that things will turn out fine, or do they just not care? Regardless, my fundamental criticism stems from how, in a science fiction show that’s enamored with technology, its characters have abandoned the scientific method.
For a while, we did have scientists on this show, who seemed to care about finding out how Za’s toys actually worked, but slowly but surely they’ve faded out of any role of importance. Take this Sansa thing now. Prior to unleashing it on 2.5 million people, only four people have tried it: the three journalists, and Shindou. Based on only that sample, without any objective measure of the Sansa’s effects, and without waiting to observe any that may pop up later, apparently we’ve all decided that it’s fine. Am I the only one who thinks this is very shaky reasoning? There’s a reason why we don’t test drugs on humans from the get go. And conversely, when we our medicine we do so in the comfort of knowing that someone’s tried that thing before we had. Science! We’ve trusted it as the means for us to understand our world, but for the Sansa, we’ve foregone measurement and rigour in favour of, ‘Well, I feel fine.’.
Near the beginning of the series we discussed whether Za was God. We decided that he may as well be. Such is his role now, if not as God, then as the prophet of a higher power. And when he descends from the mountain with commandments, the other characters of Kado take them up as a matter of faith. But faith is the realm of the metaphysical. For the physical, we have science. And I think even God would want us to at least try to work it out for ourselves.