Gardener to an empty castle (in the sky)

Having read my share of robot-in-a-dying-out-world fiction, I immediately felt sympathy for this gardener robot in Laputa: Castle in the Sky. But while Alpha is a living triumph of humanity’s technological achievement, the gardener robot is but a shade of its masters’ former glory.

Without an artificial intelligence to guide it, the gardener robot is limited to carrying out its programmed tasks, until it joins its brethren slumbering by the roots of the Laputan giant tree. Pazu offered some form of consolation, but even he knows the inevitable fate of the automaton. At least YKK was kind to leave such a deserted world to our imagination.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy here is that the gardener robot is unable to comprehend its existence. And just as well, it’s the smallest relief.

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11 Responses to Gardener to an empty castle (in the sky)

  1. In the Nausicaa manga at least it gets to KILL LOTS AND LOTS and rampage like an angel or something. Yeah I like that one much better LOL.

  2. Kurotsuki says:

    This is depressing. Robots are depressing. At least the Gardener robot won’t even try to comprehend it’s existence.

  3. bonehimer says:

    Yeah, I felt pretty bad when I found an unused toaster under the kitchen cabinet.

  4. draggle says:

    To be quite the downer, are human lives any less pointless? We do the same thing day after day, and we’ll soon die and our work will go unremembered. Yet I would imagine that, were the robot to be self-aware, he would find some amount of joy in what he does.

    • schneider says:

      I wouldn’t debate the meaning of human life here, but my realization of our own existence (and the robot’s lack thereof) allows me to feel pity towards the thing.

      We humans, at least, can despair at our losses. Not that I’m sadistic or whatever, but I find tragedy in the robot not being able to know the stark reality of its environment.

      Your comment made me think seriously about it. Thank you.

  5. Mitch H. says:

    You’re… not supposed to feel sorry for the gardener robot. While his brethren kill and kill and then fall like dying flies as the inauthentic Laputa rains into the sea at the climax of the story, the last detail we see of the true Laputa floating away is the gardener robot going about his appointed tasks, literally ascending into heaven. The gardener robot basically enjoys buddha nature – it’s selfless, without dukkha, and is as close to nature as is possible without growing roots.
    Now, you can object to Miyazaki’s heretical-Maoist adoration of the peasant life & conflicted, conditional luddism, but love it or hate it, this is the message being retailed by Castle in the Sky.

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