OVERVIEW Our topic is "Technology and Protest", and our film is Steamboy, written and created by Katsuhiro Otomo. This was Otomos second blockbuster anime style film; the first being Akria. It highlights the struggle between good and evil when it comes to the advancement of technology. With each major stepforward in technology, there are people/governments who want it for military power and weaponry. On the other hand, there are people who want to use itfor the betterment of humanity. In the film, the technology in question is theSteamball. Its creators, a father and son, intended it for good, but the OHara Foundation wanted to corrupt it for use as a weapon. A war ensues between the Foundation and Britain over the Steamball, each side craving the power it would give them. Ray, the main character and a third generation inventor,represents the protest of technology used for power. He attempts to keep the Steamball out of either sides greedy hands.
CONTRIBUTIONS Kristin: Culture and Origin of the Story Miranda: Storyline and Characterization Hina: How the Major Themes UnfoldDue to a member of our group unexpectedly leaving, Miranda and Hina are splitting the section on technical aspects.Miranda is also in charge of putting together the Powerpoint with assistance by Hina.
FUTURISTIC William Gibson once described Japanas "the most inherently futuristic of allnations” and speculated the reason for this was the massive societal changes Japan underwent in the nineteenth century to catch up to the technologyof the Western powers. From this time on Japan was effectively living in the future and eventually became a world leader in technological research. Tokyos gigantic urban sprawl looks like a city from the future. Japans neon-drenched cityscapes have influenced the look of science fiction, most famously in Blade Runner.
TRADITIONAL Japan also manages to be one of the worlds most traditional societies. Customs and festivals going back hundreds of years are still observed and Japanese culture is still influenced by the Shinto worldview of nature as alive with spirits and gods. The clash between the modern world of technology and the animist world is a central theme in many Japanese stories.
POWER OF TECHNOLOGYOne of the most pervasive themes in Japanese SF is the destructive powerof technology. The most famous ofall Japanese SF icons, Godzilla (Gojira) is in some ways a reaction to the nuclear bombing of Japan. Other films contain cautionary tales oftechnologys dehumanizing effect. Arecent example is Steamboy, where the course of scientific research is perverted by the desire to create better weapons.
POST APOCALYPTIC Post apocalyptic societies are also prevalent in Japanese SF, notably in films and series such as Akira, Ghost in the Shell (Koukaku Kidoutai) and Evangelion (Shin Seiki Evangerion). Roland Kelts book Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. charts the rise in popularity of anime and includes a discussion of how the atomic bombings influenced Japanese popular culture, along with the claim that Japan became the first post apocalyptic society. The book goes on to speculate that one of the reasons for the rise in popularity of anime and manga in America is that after 9/11 Americans were better able to relate to tales which dealt with "a sudden shift in a mass population from the known risks and vulnerabilities to the unknown, the abstract, the shadowy, and the faceless—and the imminent possibility of an apocalyptic event on a bright sunny morning."
THE STEAM BALL Steamboy is a science fiction/actionadventure film set in Victorian England that tells the story of the Steam family (Doyle). During 1866, Dr. Lloyd Steamand Dr. Edward Steam have a dream to better all of humanity through science.With the help of the O‟Hara Foundation, Dr. Lloyd and Dr. Edward set out in search of a pure source of energy and end up finding it in a cave in Iceland. With the use of this newfound puresource of energy they create the “SteamBall”, an invention capable of powering an entire nation (Doyle).
MOMENT OF INSANITY However, Dr. Lloyd is overwhelmed by the power of their new invention, which drives him to insanity for a brief moment. Dr. Edward, Dr. Lloyd‟s son, becomes a victim of the Steam Ball that disfigures him. Dr. Lloyd sees the errors of his ways through this tragic event and tries to protect his son and the Steam Ball by sending them to his family and escaping the O‟Hara Foundation.
GRANDFATHER’S LETTER In Manchester, England, 13-year oldmechanical genius and prodigy James Ray Steam anxiously awaits the return of his father (Dr. Edward) and grandfather (Dr. Lloyd) (Steamboy). When Ray receives theSteam Ball in the mail, two men fromthe O‟Hara Foundation arrive shortly after. Fortunately, Ray read the letter his grandfather sent with the Steam Ball warning him about the O‟Hara Foundation and to keep the Steam Ball safe until he returns.
DARING ESCAPE #1 Ray does exactly as the letter states and protects the Steam Ball by escaping on his steam-powered monowheel, but unfortunately the O‟Hara Foundation is a bit more prepared as they send their steam- powered locomotive after Ray. Thanks to the help of Robert Stephenson and David his assistant, Ray is able to escape the clutches of the O‟Hara Foundation for a brief moment.
CAPTURED The O‟Hara Foundation soon returns with a zeppelin that has mechanical arms, which are used to help kidnap Ray. Arriving in Londonprior to the London Exhibition, they arrive at the Steam Castle where Ray meets Scarlet O‟Hara and is firstintroduced by his father to the power and capabilities of the Steam Castle;Ray is recruited by this father to help finish the Steam Castle without fully knowing the intentions of it.
WAR MACHINE Dr. Lloyd, who was re-captured by the O‟Hara Foundation, is able to escape the cell in which he was withheld in and rushes to destroy his invention. When Dr. Edwards discovers this, he directs his assistants to shut off certain valves and his son to close a hard-to-reach valve that his assistants cannot reach. Ray discovers his grandfather opening valves and loosening bolts when he almost reaches the specific valve. Confused by what his grandfather is doing, Ray interrogates him but his grandfather explains to him that the Steam Castle is really nothing more than a war machine meant to destroy mankind.
DARING ESCAPE #2 Now enlightened, Ray decides thatthe Steam Castle and the Steam Ball must be destroyed. He follows his grandfather to the center of the Steam Castle where the Steam Ballruns the entire castle. As he watches his grandfather begin to unlock the Steam Ball from its prison, theO‟Hara Foundation begins shootingat Ray and his grandfather. Ray takes the Steam Ball and makes a daring escape by jumping off of the platform and freefalling until he catches on a wire.
IN THE END Rescued by Mr. Stephenson, Ray discovers that he has other intentions for the Steam Ball which are similar to that of the O‟Hara Foundation. With the beginning of the London Exhibition, a battle soon ensues between the O‟Hara Foundation and Scotland Yard; Ray must find a way to re- retrieve the ball and save his family as well as Ms. Scarlet. Modeling off his genius, Ray is able to construct a flying contraption that he uses to reach the control room of the Steam Castle. With the help of his grandfather, father, and Ms. Scarlet, Ray is able to steer the steam-powered castle away from its Armageddon on London.
JAMES RAY STEAM• Main Character• 13 years old• Lives in Manchester• An inventor following the paths of his father and grandfather.• Has youthful idealisms and sincerely dislikes the employment of technology for harmful purposes.
SCARLET O’HARA • Selfish, misguided, annoyingly spoiled yet whimsical and not completely heartless. • 14 years old • Granddaughter of the chairman of the O‟Hara Foundation • Matures as a result of her encounter with Ray. • Based upon the fictional character of the same name from the classical novel Gone with the Wind.
DR. EDWARD STEAM• Ray‟s Father• The accident that occurred as a result of the development of the Steam Ball left Edward in a state where he needed to have machinery replace some of his body.• The accident also left him with severely twisted morals, driving him to believe that science is an expression of mankind‟s ultimate power.• Edwards father calls him Eddy• He uses the Foundation and the Exhibition as a springboard to launch his ultimate invention: a monstrous, flying war machine called the Steam Castle.
DR. LLOYD STEAM • Ray‟s idealistic grandfather • The original conceiver of the Steam Ball, which he succeeded in developing with his son Edward. • Lloyd wishes to use science to help people. • Lloyd intended the Steam Castle to be a sort of flying amusement park.
ROBERT STEPHENSON• Edward and Lloyd Steam‟s friend and rival• A major player in the Industrial Revolution• He claims that he wishes to use the Steam Ball for the good of the British Empire, but exactly how he plans to do it is questionable.• Possibly based upon the real-life Robert Stephenson.
TECHNICAL ASPECTSBy Miranda Scott and Hina Farooq
STEAMPUNK Steamboy is a steampunk kind of film which shows the industrialization of Europe in 19 th century. Steampunk refers to thegenre of films which are inspired bythe steam powered machines. Film‟s director and co-writer KatsuhiroOtomo has shown industrializationand its dangers. Film is a traditional animated style and mostly dark colors have been used. All themachines are dark, mostly black and very huge and complex.
LAYOUT Film starts off as being very dark and dull. In the first few minutes of film, everything has been destroyed because of a steam explosion except the steamball. Director focuses on steamball after the explosion to emphasize its importance. Very dull shades of brown, black and grey have been used throughout the film. Director has beautifully shown the Victorian setting. When steam castle takes off, it leaves behind a layer of white fog on everything which makes everything appear lifeless. Ray‟s father who is villain of film is a cyborg with one arm and eye made of metal. A special sort of music is associated with launch of steam castle.
TECHNOLOGYThe advancement in technology has helped societies to progress and enter into a new era of development. New and improved technological inventions have made it possible to create machinery, progress economy and improve quality of life.Instead of manual labor, machines are able to do the same job more efficiently and in less time. They help countries to grow, expand and prosper. But these advancements have also caused moral and social issues like desire to gain power andcontrol the world. The invention of steam ball was considered one of the greatest inventions of nineteenth century.
MISUSE OF TECHNOLOGY Any invention or technology can be used in different ways; either for benefitting or for harming. In this film all the new technological inventions are used for the solepurpose of making money instead of improving people‟s lives. Humans have always been fascinated withpower to control and rule the world. Instead of using technological inventions like steam ball for the betterment of humanity, they are being used to create weapons and armies.
INVENTION OF TECHNOLOGY In Steamboy, Ray is interested in inventing steam powered machines for the betterment of his people and country. He is fascinated with technologicalprogress and hopes to design something useful like his father, Dr. Edward and grandfather, Dr. Lloyd. Ray‟s father on the other hand is busy with the O‟ Hara foundation in developing weapons and machinery to be sold to othercountries. These weapons and machineries are a passport to destruction. Theyare created to destroy countries and to gain power. Ray‟s and his grandfather‟s views are highly contrasting to his father‟s views of these technologicaladvancements. Ray and his grandfather openly protest against his father. They know that these productions will only lead to destruction and will cause devastation among people. Throughout the film we can see how Dr.Lloydopenly protests against the weapons, arms and other steam powered machines that his son has invented.
PROTESTING AGAINST MISUSE OF TECHNOLOGY Ray‟s father spends his entire life in inventing steam powered machinery and succeeds in achieving his goal. But he forgets that with such a huge inventionalso comes a big responsibility of truthfully using these inventions. He forgets his responsibility and starts working with O „Hara foundation whose interest only lies in making steam powered weapons, machines and army. They don‟t care about the outcomes of their actions. They just want to make money out of these machines. Ray and his grandfather are busy in trying to stop hisfather from his evil motives. They have teamed up and doing their best to stop the production of these weapons. Ray „s grandfather has been openly protesting against his father because of his immoral actions. Despite all the efforts, Ray‟s father finally succeeds in launching the steam castle which is the ultimate invention.
GREAT INVENTION COMES WITH A GREATER RESPONSIBILITY This film shows that technology, its misuse and the protest goes hand in hand. There is always someoneresponsible enough to take charge of everything.
BIBLIOGRAPHY• Broadbent, Jeffrey. Environmental Politics in Japan: Networks of Power and Protest. Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1998.• Doyle, Aidan. "Japanese Science Fiction." The Internet Review of Science Fiction. N.p., July 2008. Web. 4 Nov. 2012. <http://irosf.com/q/zine/article/10437>.• Doyle, Aubrey. "Filmmakers rely on the power and flexibility of Autodesk® 3ds Max® software to create Steamboy, the epic new film from renowned Japanese writer/director Katsuhiro Otomo." Autodesk (2005).• Gibson, William. “The Future Perfect: How did Japan become the favored default setting for so many cyberpunk writers?” Time, Apr. 30, 2001, vol. 157, no. 17.• Kelts, Roland. Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.• Marshall, Marc and Marshall, Akemi. Steamboy. 28 November 2006. 4 November 2012 <http://animeworld.com/readerreviews/steamboy.html#plot>.• McKean, Margaret A. Environmental Protest and Citizen Politics in Japan. London: University of California Press, Ltd., 1981.• Morris-Suzuki, Tessa. The Technological Transformation of Japan: From the Seventeenth to the Twenty-first Century. Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1994.