On Perfect Copies and Anime Cityscapes

Glen Sanford

I was thinking about Steve's belief that Deckard was, in fact, a replicant, and that got me thinking about digital copies, and the conversation we had in class several weeks ago to the effect that once perfect copies can be made, the original loses its flavor. The previous (and way too long) sentence leads to my real question: Can an artificial human be made so perfectly that there is no distinguishable difference between it and a real human? If so, where is this line crossed? It could be that this line can not be crossed, that an artificial human will always be artificial. It seems to me, though, that there has to be some point, similar to a computer passing the Turing test, when a replicant becomes so indistinguishable from a human, that the difference is trivial.

This seems to be the way things are going in Blade Runner, as Dan's quotatation implies. If the next-generation replicant takes many more questions to identify, then what about next-times-ten generation replicant? It seems that there must be a point where the copy becomes indistinguishable from the original.

On a completely unrelated note, I was also thinking about Professor Landow's often-made comment that the city-scapes frequent in most Anime are similar in many ways to the Architecture of Blade Runner. Unfortunately, I think he gets the connection backwards. I find it hard to believe that Anime is copying Blade Runner. What I think is more apparent is that Blade Runner operates under the same assumptions that Neuromancer did: that sometime in the future, Asia has come to dominate Western culture and economy. Blade Runner takes this idea and translates it into the West Coast of the future, dominated by Japanese industry.

At the very least, Anime and Blade Runner share a common ancestry, but I'm fairly certain there was Anime being produced before Blade Runner was filmed. (Voltron, at least, was around already) Can anyone back me up here? (John?)

[To other discussions of this topic by members of English 111, Cyberspace and Critical Theory, Spring 1998.]

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