「正しい社会」 (Tadashī shakai)
“A Proper Society”
Since I’ve known for quite some time that AI no Idenshi is subversive, an episode like this one is expected. However, this was the subversive act that was the most obvious. The standard for what fits that definition is comically low in Japan, a country obsessed with uniformity and respect for the powerful, yet AI no Idenshi easily clears it. Remember that Johnny and Associates have been abusing boys horribly for years if not decades. However, none of the main “news” outlets ever reported on it because they didn’t want to upset such a wealthy and powerful corporation. And this is not an exception; it’s the rule.
This week’s second chapter, for reasons I’ll explain momentarily, really spoke to me, while the previous one was also quite pertinent. This week’s theme—which unites the two chapters—is that humanoids are more concerned with protecting “humanity” than people are. The first subject is a man by the name of Oyamada, who created the well-liked anime “Shadow Bushido” as a humanoid. One individual may perhaps create an anime in the future (hey, Shinkai essentially did it for his first two films 20 years ago). The protagonist of “Shadow Bushido” also happens to be a violent high school ruffian, a total bad boy.
This infuriates the typical suspects, the thought police, who believe the show is having a negative impact on their children. One of them visits Oyamada’s apartment to personally confront him, but Oyamada seems steadfastly uninterested. This person is the leader of some generic “concerned parents” group. He is acting in this manner because he finds it repugnant how everything that makes us human—like the ability to drive—is being outlawed by the law. He is, to put it mildly, unrepentant, and because of his disregard for his own care, Sudo-sensei sees him frequently. Like his protagonist, he is essentially a good guy who dislikes uniformity. Despite the simplicity, the main idea is rather obvious.
That B-part, now… As someone with vast experience working in the Japanese public school system, let me just remark that a lot of times, what is considered to be fiction is actually the most truthful thing that can be found. Hanae Natsuki plays a young humanoid teacher who accepts a position at a school known for having anti-AI bias. “Using a curriculum created by humans, teaching young humans how to be humans.” The young person is aware that this is a poor location for him, but he needs a job, and this was the only offer he received. I understand, buddy.
Apart from the A.I. bigotry angle (and the “virtual gymnastics”), I’ve actually witnessed every single event that was shown in the episode. One of the worst developments in educational history, including parents monitoring broadcasts from the classroom, is the practice of doing so. In Japanese schools, where both pupils and teachers are prohibited from doing anything to differentiate themselves, the adage “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down” has never been put on nauseating display more than it does here. Being an idealist, our humanoid friend always gets into difficulties.
I found the line “I thought I’d just try and hang in there till the end of the year, for my students’ sake” to be the most upsetting. My God, that hit hard; that sensation is so well-known. The wisest course of action, as Sudo-sensei advises, would be to leave immediately, but in Japan, that’s never as simple as it might seem. Our character takes off, working in an “independent” school with a large population of outcast children (where Perm-kun also “works”). He’s one of the fortunate ones, to put it simply.