"Mnemosyne" is an anime that explores a disquieting hypothetical scenario: What would happen if only some human beings were granted immortality?
What would you do if you were unexplainably granted immortality and the ability of self-regeneration Would you consider it a curse or a gift? Our fear of death has made us search for ways to increase the years we live through technology and medicine. Yet, once we achieve it, would we eventually find immortality appealing anymore? In this hypothetical scenario, that’s an answer you’ll find as you live through decades and centuries, seeing the lives and places you’ve known disappear and meet new people over and over again. In the most pessimistic scenario, you’ll realize that humanity hasn’t changed a bit, and that perhaps your gift will turn into a curse because others want your abilities for themselves. No matter how many centuries pass, in the end, the problems and evils of human beings prevail in eternal cycles. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen in this situation, there’s an anime series that explores that question, leading to disquieting answers.
Mnemosyne (called in Japanese Mnemosyne no Musumetachi) tells the story of Rin Asogi, a Japanese private investigator who lives in Tokyo and possesses the unexplainable ability of self-regeneration and immortality. Rin accepts all types of jobs, from looking for pets to solving stomach-churning crimes. This anime isn’t really for the faint of heart (and I assure you that as someone who often watches gory anime). Now, the main reason why this anime is kind of R-rated is that Rin’s immortality often puts her in scary situations, including being chased by another immortal woman who works for a twisted and sadistic being who tortures and feeds on other women with Rin’s powers.
Yeah, the setting is pretty eccentric and terrifying, especially when dealing with such a troubling issue as immortality. Nonetheless, it does offer the perfect setting for a kind of social experiment to understand the true nature of our society. To do so, each episode is set in a different era, highlighting Rin’s immortality and her struggle to understand her situation and fight against those who want to feed on her powers. The interesting fact about the structure of the story is that, no matter what time the episode is set, there will be hideous examples of the extents of humanity’s lust and greed.
As you watch the episodes –if you dare to deal with the gory bloodbath and highly sexual situations that happen throughout the story– the title of the anime becomes clearer, as well as the core of the plot. Mnemosyne is the name of the Greek goddess of memory, a quality that would ideally be linked with the passing of time, stopping us from making the same mistakes of the past over and over again, and helping us trace the story of our lives. In Rin’s case, there’s a nihilistic quality to her immortal life and going over the same chases and struggles for survival over and over again, when she just wants to have a normal life. No matter the era, there will be people hunting her, either to exploit her powers or because of their own twisted desires. In the end, it is the worst side of human beings what stops her from living a peaceful life and understanding her condition.
The situations depicted in each episode invite you to question the nature of human beings. Again, let’s go back to the hypothetical scenario I stated at the beginning, and let’s make it even more specific. What would happen if some human beings were given the gift of immortality? Would the ones who don’t possess it go after them? Why would they go after them? It’s worth highlighting that the outcomes shown in Mnemosyne aren’t very uplifting, but who knows? I’d like to believe that we are better than that. But let’s be honest, as this anime shows, there are some really twisted people out there who would do anything to fulfill their desires, even if that implies harming others. So, do you still find the idea of immortality appealing?
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