Just a few thoughts I had been putting off posting, but won’t any longer with Rokkenjima shutting down soon:
(Haworthia spoilers + a Umineko EP4 spoiler because I referenced the world of 1998)
Ryuukishi’s works are always thought-provoking, and while sci-fi concepts like nature “rebelling” against humans, of androids’ differences in philosophical perception leading to conflict, and of future societies losing their perspective on the human experience have been “done” before, I like the presentation style and the ideas presented: short and sweet is the best for this sort of story, because it boils down to intellectual musings, and on top of that the setting and characters are introduced in an intriguing way. It seems as though you could view the booklet’s “objective” reporting of events as akin to Haworthia’s “Question Arc” or maybe the world of 1998 in Umineko, and the personal experiences of the humans and Organics Automata within the voice drama as Haworthia’s “Answer Arc”.
Umineko had a lot of novel ideas, and they had maximal impact to me because they were presented within an epic story. Haworthia obviously isn’t that ambitious, but one of the major themes of the work still resonated with me: the “cruelty” of natural beauty. I’m sure we’ve all reflected on the majestic nature of nature’s greatest dangers in the past. In a sense, you could even go really abstract with this, because change inherently is threatening, yet change inherently is also what inspires us…
But on top of that, there’s also the additional factor of human perception affecting what we view as harmful. I’m reminded of when I first learned that prisoners in past civilizations were tortured regularly to deter them from wanting to be in a place where they’d be fed and sheltered. It made me reappreciate the rich and liberal era we live in where most countries simply refuse to allow anyone in them to starve, even if they’re a fiend or an outcast.
We humans generally prefer a range of temperatures from cool to warm, and perhaps view the inside of a volcano or the high ridge in Antarctica as merely alien and brutal places, but maybe if humans had evolved further or enhanced themselves, those places would be considered beautiful and rainfall mundane in comparison. (I’m reminded of the Chinese fantasy novels I read about immortals with deity-like bodies who meditate in fantastic places like black holes or deep ocean canals to increase their comprehension of magic related to the elements.) But the humans with the world of Haworthia seem to have proceeded in the opposite direction with their reliance on technology, seeking to live in a world where the temperature and humidity are at an exact ideal, seasons don’t exist, and people never even need to sweat. In a sense, it’s a world where every common sense is removed from the reader’s. Definitely a very far-off future, where colony ships exist and the population of one continent is 16 billion.
I’m looking forward to the eventual full translation of Haworthia! On a side note, I’m curious about what the total length is of tracks 3, 5, and 7 (since 1 and 9 are already TL’ed and are probably around 5 minutes total). In my experience, doujin voice dramas can range from 10 minutes to 10 hours.