For those looking for a new anime to watch during these trying times (I know, I know), I recently came across Obsolete. YouTube Original seems to be a weird place to catch the Obsolete  anime, but it turns out sometimes you can find something special among all the crap on the platform. In short, Obsolete is a mecha-anime, but one inspired by current events and geopolitics.

Created by Gen Urobuchi, who anime fans may know for season 1 of Psyscho-Pass and Madoka Magica, and scored by Skrillex, Obsolete offers something unique among anime series. For one, it takes a hyper-realistic approach to what would happen if our current world was upended by radically new technology. Within the series, aliens (who we never see) offer up highly advanced exoskeletons to all humans, regardless of race, religion, or nationality. These can be obtained provided that the human in question give the aliens a certain amount of limestone. While we don’t know the aliens’ motivations for wanting the limestone, it really isn’t that important, and it’s roughly analogous to Europeans trading with Native Americans.

Obsolete anime

However, what is important is the effect that introducing exoskeletons to our world introduces. At first, the exoskeletons are used by so-called third world countries for farming, construction, and other forms of manual labor. While this is going on, the West (namely, the United States) refuses to adopt this technology despite its availability to all. This is mainly due to entrenched capitalist interests, and construction firms like Caterpillar (which is cited specifically), as well as automobile manufactures and the military industrial complex, band together to form a pact for Western nations to not use exoskeletons.

But what the US military does not anticipate is that terrorists and a nefarious paramilitary group will start putting exoskeletons to use in a military context. This  creates a great equalizer and destroys United States military hegemony. In 6 short episodes (each under 15 minutes) we see US military might (namely tanks, helicopters and drones) get destroyed by exoskeletons piloted by everyone from African child soldiers and Pakistanis. Each episode is very action-oriented (and the action is great!), but also full of philosophical musings on the state of the world, and the effects that the introductions of the advanced exoskeletons have had on society.

Obsolete anime

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Daniel Horowitz
I dreamed a dream of time gone by. Where hope was high, and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die. I dreamed that god would be forgiving.
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