[Meta context: First published on June 9th 2017, this article was intended to spark a deeper discussion. It is edited slightly for consistency. You can find it on Tumblr here.]
Series these days are prone to pointing out the benefits – and sometimes even flaws – of today’s technology, but two shows that have pulled this off well are Kado (Seikaisuru Kado, or Kado: The Right Answer) and Tsukigakirei (also known as as the moon, so beautiful)*.
References to spoilers for both shows (up to episode 7 for each).
Kado’s Use of Videos and Interviews
Kado’s belief in technology gets completely undermined by zaShunina and his gifts of Wam and Sansa, but zaShunina’s trust in the media really shows how television and video media have potency. After all, it only takes one viewing of a Sansa video to lose your need to sleep and…well, admit it. Without the choices the characters of Kado made, we wouldn’t have had much of the spinoff “Blue Spring and Railgun” (which almost no one’s ever heard of…it shows the effects of Wam on ordinary high schoolers, if you didn’t know). “Without the way the internet allows news to be spread at the click of a button, there would be no Kado,” goes the tl;dr version, but the more analytical side is that from there, you can feel Kado’s protagonists create waves in the world and have them come back to haunt them.
The downside to this is the publicity Kado inevitably generated, as seen with Saraka and Gonno. Saraka’s furious mashing of “dislike” on the video is funny and sheds more light on her, but once something’s up on the internet, you can’t possibly get all traces of it off. Sorry, Saraka – that’s the permanent damage of the internet.
Gonno’s job was obviously facilitated by technology’s advancement, so that influence was hard to ignore. However, the fact Gonno always plays the devil’s advocate with his videos and interviews seems to sink our protagonists in trouble a lot of the time. Furthermore, knowing how zaShunina always seems to have something up his anisotropic sleeve, it’s likely he planned for the reporter to interfere in the first place. The deepest dent technology makes in Gonno’s world, in the context of the show, would (arguably) have to be the Setten CEO coming to try and win the NNK reporter’s allegiance. In this way, Kado explores the “right answer” of even its minor characters, both within a technology context and a wider context.
Tsukigakirei, LINE and Phones
Tsukigakirei takes a more narrow approach to its technology, instead focussing on LINE interactions between Kotarou and Akane. As technology brings together, it also divides.
By “bringing together”, the screens between the budding couple allow them to build up the courage they need to face each other without tongue-tying themselves. This is where Tsukigakirei’s realism comes in, as more often than not, people can comfortably shout into the void when not speaking face-to-face, and that’s where the damage hides.
The downside here is the absence of communication we can lose with others by having isolated chats. By this, I’m referring to the school trip, where Kotarou borrows Chinatsu’s phone. Had that conversation not been on LINE, we could’ve gotten a lot more understanding between the secret couple and Chinatsu. That way, she could’ve saved herself some heartbreak at the amusement park. Conversely, Hira seemed to be less aware of the couple’s formation because he’s never shown using LINE or his phone (even though he’s highly likely to have both) so he seems to take the reveal a lot better.
Tsukigakirei also manages to show how self-absorbed we can be with our phones, and although it doesn’t show any ramifications aside from “this conversation was one I had on LINE, so you don’t know what happened in it”, it does make you wonder whether you are stepping over the line in your own tech addiction, as much as it’s become socially acceptable.
So, that’s another article. If you want to chat with me about either of these shows, hit me up in the comments.
* – They could’ve just called it “The Moon is Beautiful” like the Souseki line the title is derived from, but no, they had to go and mangle English for the sake of getting a unique title. However, I’m no linguistics or translation major so I have no authority to gripe about these things.