Anime Today: Dealing with the Finite

Episode one of Plastic Memories had me hooked this season. With a theme and feel much like Time of Eve, one of my all-time favorite movies, and a dollop of moe, its pilot episode hit all the the right spots. Of course, the episodes following the first have yet to prove if the series will stand up to its concept, but that stands beyond the fact that it absolutely hit on a topic that is of utmost importance for Christians: finite-ness.

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For those who are unaware, Plastic Memories follows a young man at a robot manufacturer’s department responsible for collecting and effectively “wiping” the memories of its old distributed models. The reason? Robots have a defined life span of 9 years, and they must be collected before they naturally and slowly progress offline. This presents a plethora of intriguing dilemmas as the robots are as close to human as one can get.

Why must humans suffer through parting with their loving companions? Why must robots operate at all, knowing that they are going to effectively “die”? What we’ve seen so far in Plastic Memories thus far is a mixture of perseverance and a loss of hope on the part of the heroine, Isla. But how does this translate into Christianity, for this is surely a relevant topic?

1) Giving up on the body

As one who has gone through depression, I can empathize with the thought process that determines that, since the ultimate end (death) will come regardless, why should one suffer through life. In understanding her impending and unavoidable “death,” Isla is caught between a feeling of utter defeat and resistance. In some areas she has “checked out,” so to speak, so as to avoid the mental anguish that will come later. In others, she is fighting the train to regain what she once had so as to push off her final end.

Regardless of your belief on resurrection or Heaven, universalism or anything else, Christians can rest assured that they are in good hands. A conclusion that I finally arrived at in my faith is that it doesn’t particularly matter if the Greek-influenced vision of Heaven is true, or if there is a literal body waiting for me in the time of resurrection, or if all of that is simply metaphorical for something entirely different: Christians are in God’s hands and so we need not fear death.

2) Giving up on the world

This second area takes the concepts of Plastic Memories several steps further, but it is still relevant. One of the most frustrating areas of popular Christian doctrine is the belief of the End Times that dictates that the environment today does not matter. Let’s set aside for a moment the many End Times theories (perhaps that is a post for another day) and just re-examine this outlook with an analogy.

Years ago, when I was a freshman in high school, my parents received an offer from a railroad company to purchase our house at far above market value. Since we lived next to a railroad track and would eventually be forced to sell years down the road due to eminent domain, it was an offer they could not refuse. Thus began the waiting game: we knew we were selling and had agreed on a date and price, but we had to wait for our new house to be completed.

One thing you must know for this story is that we had a small stream that ran through our front yard. On the other side of this stream was a small patch of grass that was extremely annoying to mow, yet large enough that it needed it. Well during the later portion of this waiting period, my parents decided to stop mowing it since the entire yard was going to be trashed anyway. Then I had the bright idea: if we don’t need to mow that, why don’t we just stop mowing the entire yard (I was the one in charge of mowing and I hated it). And you know what, if we’re going that far, why don’t we just stop cleaning the bathroom!

Obviously this was a very silly assertion, and one that my parents didn’t buy into, but those assertions are often what I hear from Christians who say, “It’s going to all be destroyed anyway!”

Whether it is your own life or all of Creation itself, it all has value in its present state. We don’t have the luxury of Plastic Memories‘ giftias (robots) of knowing the exact lifespan of any of these things, but we do know that all of it has value today. Maybe with this in mind, you can make today a day to make someone else feel special, realizing their uniqueness and the value they have in being alive.

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