I really liked listening to this one. It was a pretty big departure from the other two Planetarian stories I have experienced so far, but in that way it was kind of refreshing I suppose. Plus it was good to have a story that more closely shows how messed up the world has become.
They did a great job on the audio design for sure on this drama. I liked the tension of the sniper scenes, and when Murdoch encountered the multiple robots and they are all praying for him in unison as they hunt him was pretty eerie feeling.
I have to admit that I never read iRobot. Honestly this bookclub has catapulted it up the priority list quite a bit. I was familiar with the laws of robotics before Planetarian, but only vaguely. I really liked the detail in this that robots had to be tricked into thinking that humans were something other than that in order to be able to kill. Though practically it is hard to think of how someone working on the software for a robot directly, and had control over the hardware, would need to resort to that as opposed to just being able to just being able to design them as desired to begin with.
I generally process stories that center around robots as reflections on human nature. After all a robot’s otherness is defined in contrast in their lack of humanity. The “artificial-ness” is contrasted with “natural” human. The main visual novel plays to this a bit more as Yumemi is a real character, and the robots here are more of a force to antagonize Murdoch. But the image of the mal-programmed (misguided) robots who wont stop until literally shot in their faith (the rosary weak point) was still pretty powerful.
Completely agree with your thoughts on the audio design, It really had an uneasy atmosphere when there was no music from planetarian like there was in the game and a snow globe. It really is quite eerie and unsettling. The audio was the biggest things that made me feel that it wasn’t even planetarian but an entirely different IP. Also nice pickup with the “artificial-ness” and the “natural” contrast. I hadn’t thought of that but the fact of how the robots talked and acted really lacked character and made them feel artificial. The story really does imply that they are fundamentally different from Yumemi and the fact of Yumemi being of “natural” personality really does contrast with the “artificial” robots. Good job on the pickup.
One aspect of this I find confronting is how, this story is largely the antithesis of the rest of planetarian. At times, it almost feels aggressively anti-christian, a world where even nuns can kill humans in the name of God. It’s left up to interpretation how to take the final scene. Is he receiving forgiveness from God, or is the killer robot just recycling the same speech as always?
This gets even harder with regard to Hoshi no Hito, as this reveals that the goddess was in fact one of these killer robots, and the reason she bowed before the Starteller was because he had the rosary in his possession. It offers a godless explanation for an otherwise miraculous scene
But I guess that’s the thing. It’s meant to be confronting, much like how Christian faith confronts people to believe even when the option to not believe is just as a valid. It’s hard to swallow, but I suppose the true form of miracles is that they exist in that razor’s edge superposition of meaningless and meaningful, and it’s up to the individual to accept them as truly meaningful experiences.
I think rather than being “anti-christian” the feel of this story is a bit more “anti-establishment”
Murdock himself is heard praying before some of his shots in Mission Complete section so he himself seems to be a character of faith. But his faith is something he has maintained by experiencing camaraderie and through memories of a home he no longer has. It is more self actualized - and in that way almost ties into a sense of hope.
This contrasted with nuns, who come off as more “devout” but have been led down an evil path by those who had power over them and controlled the narrative of their faith. A demonstration of sorts on how people who may otherwise be good can be manipulated to do horrible things in the name of their religion. The nuns were programmed to be faithful (the way some people are raised to be faithful) and were not really able to question the power structure that they were a part of. Their devoutness (paired with the robot aspect) becomes a blindfold where they never face the fact that they have been killing humans and not demons. The nuns are arguably “innocent” in that way, but were lead down the path of evil by those above them.
I think the final scene plays into this as well, because of the ambiguity. We feel like the recycled line may be an actual act of forgiveness because in that moment the nun robot and Murdock have faith in the words. Murdock’s resonates and wants to be forgiven, and that resonance creates a connection between Murdock’s faith and that of the nun robot - highlighting similarities in a way, while not letting go of the differences that brought us to this scene.
So by the end I had a feeling the story is more skeptical of organized religion than it is actually anti-religious.
Just gonna mention a few things notes I thought about during my second readthorugh of Jerusalem. Hopefully you enjoy it. Don’t expect you to read it as its pretty long. Some of these ideas could be interpreted quite differently but that in someways jut adds to the discussion in the forum.
Personal thoughts on Music and Atmosphere
I personally find that the atmosphere in Jerusalem is completely different that planetarian and a Snow Globe.
The atmosphere in this one doesn’t have that happy family friendly vibe seen in the previous too but instead has this showing of how the world changed in the 30 years that the war happened. The music really helps to this as the silence really adds to the atmosphere in the later half or the rain in the early half. If you want to know more about the music read Idiologys post on his music analysis.
Part 1: Bell Chimes and Gunshots.
I kind of found it interesting that before the fight Murdock is talking to a sister, are these sisters indoctrinated too like the robots? After all in order to get past the three robotic laws he changed the definition of what a human is to a demon. Salinger programmed robots so its quite possible that as theses are dressed as nuns and the fact that he didn’t didn’t have any emotions when they died, that he is the leader and is using those under him as just pawns to further his goal. As each country does, this could be a representation of that.
This conversation with Murdock and the sister happens before the actual bell rings and the gunshot fires. By the time it rings again in pt 7 the retrieval squad has already arrived which shows that the entire story arc of Jerusalem takes only 30minutes as Murdock mentionjed in part 2 that the retrieval squad will arrive in 30minutes. Also just for the fun of it, shoutout to 07th expansions new series, エルサレムのベールのなく頃に。(When the Jerusalem Bells ring)
Part 2: Sniper in the Bell Tower.
The fact that the sniper is snipping from a building to those on the ground could show that there is a level of arrogance from the sniper in the tower as they are below them. This kind of staging is used in anime and manga all the time as the one who is higher up looks down on others so this isn’t that far a fetched idea especially when the sniper believes those that she is snipping are demons. It could also be that as demons come from hell below the earth that could also be a parallel but I doubt it.
The original goal is to capture the sniper not kill it. Hostage use maybe? Intel maybe?
The bullet from the sniper is moving faster than the speed of sound.This could maybe be that the progression of the destruction of the war is happening faster than the effort for the war to end, even Murdock said war really shouldn’t be happening with the world in its current state or bullet moving faster than the speed of sound could just a narrative device to show her power over he others.
Part 3: Mission Complete…
This event is during the 30 year war prior to the events of planetarian. At least 10 years through the war as one of the soldiers that died’s country no longer exists.
The Rosary is the power source of the nuns who have the same face. Is this trying to convey that soldiers that follow a leader have no personality
Where this fight is happening is the city Jerusalem was once according to Murdock.
Murdock and his opponent are both snipers and one shot the other kind of like the saying, You use the sword you will die with the sword, except this time is a gun.
Salinger is newest to the Murdocks squad.
Murdock killed Dhaz, this is due to mercy reasons but also just adds the darker tone to Jerusalem in some of the tragedies and trauma that happen during war.
Part 4: Sister
The base is underground by the entrance at he back of the chapel described by Murdock as that of a bomb shelter.
The snipers body got shot in half but still functioned showing that despite what happens to them they still follow their leaders and their role in war.
Part 5: Kingdom of God
There is a robot storage under the ground, these robots were imported for a religious group heavily implied as Christian due to the mention of Armageddon after 1000years.
Murdock is very perspective based on how he was able to deduct facts like; the word she Salinger used to describe the snipper, the fact that Salinger acted in a way that would make it easier for the soldiers to get snipped easier. This somehow reminds me of Yuuji from Grisaia no Kajitsu.
24 people died before Murdocks platoon showed up which is too lots of 12 (A symbolic number.)
There is enough electricity and food for 500people to the survive for 10 years and valuable supplies inside the church like alcohol inside the church. This shows some of the results of greed during war which is cool.
All the Robots were named after saints
Part 6: Hellfire
Murdock can barely move his right hands fingers due to his wound in his shoulder and then later Salinger gets the same kind of result with his arm getting shot off which kind of shows the war mentality of and eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth.
There is a library of books in the underground but not disks as Murdock mentioned. It could be symbolism that this church has a vast long history
Alcohol is being used to destroy the life source (oxygen supply) in the Church which could imply the traditional religious believe that alcohol kills you.
Part 7: Bell Chimes and Atonement
Murdock may have died immediately after the the story but didn’t die during the story therefore of the original 7 (including Murdock) in Murdocks squad all of the others die. 7 is a symbolic number for good and 6 for bad. Murdock was the final person or 7th while Salinger was the 6th person to die who was evil in the narrative space.
Some of the destruction of this world is shown by the fact that Murdocks family is gone and his country, Great Britan was erased after 38 Nuclear bombs.
Salinger died by the own robots he programmed which is an ironic way to die but goes nicely with how he indoctrinated his subjects and died by his own laws he indoctrinated them with.
This arc of Jerusalem is just one example of how two squads can end each other without a victor just like many of the countries that were destroyed with no winner.
So I relistened to Jerusalem today and the thing that stuck out to me the most here was the mention of the Divine Comedy. It’s pointed out in chapter 6, Hellfire, because after Murdock escapes the lower basement area, he comes to the library and finds high quality alcohol along with the Divine Comedy book to which Murdock comments that the person seemed to have good taste. I had never actually heard of this story before so I looked it up and it turns out that it’s the set of stories written by Dante which describes his view of the Inferno (Hell), Purgatory, and Paradise (Heaven). From a quick read of the wikipedia page, I learned these few facts that I think relate pretty well to this story.
Dante’s Purgatory describes the seven deadly sins which while being prevalent in Christian (or at least Catholic) thinking in general was mentioned by @Idiology as appearing in Jerusalem.
Also in Dante’s Purgatory, Hell is portrayed as existing underneath Jerusalem.
Each of the three sections (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise) end with the word “stars.”
This last one to me at least seems like the only connection between this story and the stars other than its connections to the rest of Planetarian’s stories. This is because stars are never directly mentioned in this story.
I feel like I could probably benefit from reading the Divine Comedy for the purpose of this bookclub but I know I won’t understand a bunch of it because a lot of it relies on Catholic theology (especially all that purgatory stuff) so I don’t know if I’ll actually get more in-depth analysis on this particular topic but I’m curious to see what you all think.
Super sidenote: imagine if the later FripSide song “Sister’s Noise” featured in To Aru Kagaku no Railgun 2 was just the spouting of these nuns…