Imagine a cute little dog. This dog has been around humans all its life. This dog, as it has the capability to do so in this hypothetical situation, wishes to assert its own independence through self-expression. The humans, in response, pressure it to continue to be a dog and nothing more. This is a story about how two high school boys discover a café dedicated to treating dogs the same as humans, as they have the intellectual capacity to do so in this hypothetical situation. Why did I use dogs instead of androids? Because dogs are cute, completely innocent, and essentially harmless under the right supervision. That’s basically the gist of the androids here.
The biggest problem facing this film (or six-part ONA series smashed together) is that the oppressed “race” in this case are completely and totally innocent in every aspect. There’s not a peep about why androids are so pressured to be the inferior class in comparison to humans, regardless of whether people can infer the reasons for themselves or not. Not a word about the fear of an overthrow, no indication that the androids are capable of violent altercations or malfunctions. The androids are, by all accounts, a completely pure race that are oppressed for no reason whatsoever, making all the hostility towards them feel confusing and without weight.
On top of the androids, everyone’s issues are placed upon through an episodic lens that make it easy to see that this isn’t as much of a film as it is a six-part series playing in a linear fashion. Every single story focuses, to some degree, on slowly melting the inborn hostility the two male leads have for the android race. From what I’ve stated before, androids are completely innocent and harmless, so the hostility these characters have for them are kind of dumb, though I’ll admit the reason for one’s hostility is relatable, just undercooked. Otherwise, the audience is given insight to the various characters that take up the roster for this film.
That’s… pretty much it. A slice-of-life-esque atmosphere and a subtle romance subplot revolve around the plot, as well as some dramatic “bigger things to come” foreshadowing that isn’t explained in much detail, either. It feels tremendously underexplained and leaves a lot to be desired, which is disappointing, as this is subject matter I could see myself being interested in. It wasn’t hard to watch, which is what makes it at least passable, but many claim this as an underrated gem. I suppose if you like watching a benign species be treated like slaves… because “Should human rights be extended to non-humans?” stuff except it’s an obvious “yes” because this film isn’t nuanced in the slightest.
Final Score: 5/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
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