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Literature / A Wind Named Amnesia

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What was left for Humankind after it lost all of its memories?
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A science fiction novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi, A Wind Named Amnesia is a story set After the End...sort of. Three years after losing its memories, humanity has been reduced to an almost savage level, with only the most basic of instincts now driving the lost and confused humans. Wataru, a young man, travels across America, searching for answers to what happened, and why. Along the way, he meets a girl named Sophia, who tags along with him. As they travel across the country, they witness how society has changed after being stripped of all reason and logic. And it soon becomes apparent that Sophia may hold a secret pertaining to the fall of humanity...

Written in 1983 and later adapted into a film in 1990 of the same name, it was one of Kikuchi's many lesser known works (when compared to the more widely known Vampire Hunter D and Wicked City).

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Examples:

  • Absurdly Cool City: Eternal Town, a self-sustaining cutting-edge pre-amnesia city with everything run by a supercomputer including its two human inhabitants.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Sophia's hair is black in the book, silver in the movie.
  • A House Divided: For three years Sophia has been wandering the Earth, observing the effects of the amnesia on humanity in order to judge whether they can become worthy of traveling in space. However, there are factions among her race who regard humans as unsalvageable and, seeking to keep them from ever reaching space again, interfere with her and Wataru's travels.
  • A.K.A.-47: Wataru's pistol is clearly a Browning Hi-Power. When the Guardian robot scans it, it's displayed as "Automag 12".
  • Aliens Are Bastards: In the end, it's revealed that aliens were the ones that wiped humanity's memories. The aliens did this not only because humans were seen as a threat (though considering when they started considering them a threat, it seems to be an overreaction), but also for their own good. As you might expect, by this logic, the aliens see humans going hungry and fighting each other for food and kids losing their parents, along with them setting up Human Sacrifices are seen as "for their own good". Sophia herself showcases this by insisting to Wataru that he should not interfere in a pack of feral humans who are chasing down a woman with one of them holding a gun simply on the merits that he should respect their "traditions" of sacrificing her to a "god" which in reality is a mechanical backhoe... the traditions they had to make because her race had the bright idea to make them feral in the first place, ironically interfering in the first place.
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  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: A discussed variant. Sophia questions whether Wataru, a human being educated with the knowledge and morals of the pre-amnesia world has the right to interfere with the emergent civilizations which have been developing. Which is similar to the question her race faces.
  • Amnesia Danger: To put it simply, everything goes to hell the moment everyone awakens and realizes they don't know who they are!
  • And I Must Scream: Amusingly inverted. There is an AI unit build before the wind blew, capable of managing a city. But while it's one of few beings on Earth still capable of higher reasoning, it's also trapped in that city with dwindling resources and a small staff of other robots, completely unable to stop incoming doom, since it lacks manpower to keep repairing itself and all the infrastructure.
  • Badass Normal: Wataru, who retains an almost inhuman martial arts skill, even after losing his memories.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Inverted, Wataru is actually much older than Johnny, who is probably 7 or 8 years younger.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sophia leaves, along with her race, but Wataru and virtually all of humanity is still barely out of the Stone Age, and it's strongly implied she could not, or would not, restore any of the lost memories.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The aliens figure that if humanity is inherently good, then the civilization they'll ultimately build from the ashes of the old one is worth the short-term suffering they're undergoing now. If they're evil, then giving their memories back means they'll eventually destroy themselves and the threat they present to space.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Averted. Sophia is willing to admit that just because a civilization is more advanced technically doesn't mean it's necessarily wiser.
  • Cool Guns: Wataru's sidearm is a automatic Magnum.
  • Determinator: The Guardian robot, in anime adaptation. First of all, it's still doing it's duty years after the civilization collapsed, but OK, it's just a programming. Then it started chasing Wataru. From Los Angeles to New York. Being almost destroyed and going through reconstruction twice. It takes almost absurd level of abuse before finally being deactivated.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Wataru uses a bazooka on a Star Fish Alien near the end.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Sophia is barefoot through the entire story, although nobody seems to notice. In the anime adaptation, the sacrify girl ditches shoes after having fun with Wataru.
  • Dystopia: The world isn't entirely in ruins, but without their memories, humanity has abandoned all modern technology and gone back to a simpler, almost cave-man like living style.
  • Flyover Country: The story jumps from Las Vegas almost directly to East Cost. Meanwhile, in anime adaptation, the journey is covered in a single sequence that doesn't even last half the song.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Tonto.
  • God Guise: The "god" to whom Sue is sacrificed is actually a powerful construction machine which its sadistic "priest" has figured out how to control.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Gender-flipped - Wataru and Sophia have sex, then she disappears.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Town Guardian GT7. Even after it's pilot has long since died, it still continues to patrol the Los Angeles area for any crime.
  • I Want My Jetpack: It's 1999 when the action starts and it's at least a year after total collapse of civilization. Yet before the end, humanity used mecha suits (capable of auto-piloting their whole programming), advanced robots, humungous construction machines and fielded at least one AI unit.
  • Identity Amnesia: Waturu wonders constantly what kind of person he was before the wind blew, but he believes he was probably the same.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Sophia. She constantly rambles all the time about moral ambiguities over such simple concepts to the point one time she comes off saying you should question whether you should stop human sacrifices. Justified in that she is an alien observer.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The plot of the story.
  • Long-Lived: Pre-amnesia, the average human lifespan had reached 104 years. Sophia states that that's not even a patch on her lifespan, which would last even after the supercomputer and all the buildings within Eternal City crumbled away.
  • Los Angeles: The setting for a few of the earlier chapters of the story.
  • Meadow Run: Lisa and Mr. Simpson.
  • Meaningful Name: Wataru, which means to go from place to another. Guess what Wataru spends his time doing.
    • Sophia means wisdom in greek and she is a key factor in the memory loss and the regaining of memories.
      • Wataru loves "sophia", in a certain way, a greek translation of a person "loving sophia" would be the word "philosopher". And according to the greek philosopher Plato, the job of a philosopher is to help people regaining wisdom. (As according to Plato, learning means regaining memories (anamnesis) which were wiped out after death, rebirth and subsequent amnesia.)
      • Sophia is also the name of a divine being in gnosticism.
  • Mind Control: At one point, the aliens opposed to Sophia's mission hypnotize Wataru into attacking her, but she's able to dodge and break the control.
  • Mysterious Waif: Sophia
  • Never-Forgotten Skill: Quite literally. Johnny figures from how quickly Wataru is able to pick up physical training and skills that before the amnesia he must have been some sort of incredible athlete/martial artist.
  • Noble Savage: Quite a few, Little John is one of them.
  • No Ending: In the novel. In an hour, the aliens will either decide that humanity is an inherently greedy and opportunistic race who only pursued space travel out of selfish desires or an inherently good people who only wanted to explore and learn. If the former, then the experiment is over and human memory will be restored. If the latter, the memories of man will remain wiped out. Either way, humankind will be allowed to continue developing on its own path, either toward self-destruction in the former case or toward rebuilding a better civilization from ruins in the latter. Although Wataru is eager to see what they'll decide, he intends to keep on traveling whatever happens.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: When Wataru and Sophia discuss whether or not it's moral to stop Sue's sacrifice, Wataru says that he feels she has the right to live her own life, and Sophia agrees. And then after a day of fun, Sue goes to be a willing sacrifice, as Sophia expected her to.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Encountered in the sewers of New Orleans, it's confused for a lizard, spider, and snake all rolled into one, with claws, tentacles, and suction cups.
  • People Puppets: The supercomputer of Eternal City has a need to put its two inhabitants, an old man and a young human girl into numerous roles, as though they were in a play. It speaks directly to Wataru and Sophia by putting the girl in the role of Mayor, offering them residence and a quality of life no other humans of the time can appreciate.
  • Psychic Powers: Displayed by a crazed patient near the hospital where Waturu meets Johnny. Sophia is shown to have some sort of telepathy.
  • Reality Warper: Sophia does this in the sewers.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Guardian's camera lense is red.
  • Scenery Porn: From Los Angeles, to Las Vegas, a futuristic utopia, to New Orleans.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few.
    • The girl met in the future city near the Mojave Desert is named Lisa Simpson.
    • 20th Century Fox is mentioned.
    • A portrait of Philip Marlowe and Terry Lennox.
    • Mickey Mouse (or at least a crude imitation) can be seen in one of the illustration pages.
  • Split Personality: The youth met in the Las Vegas strip who is innocent and gentle one moment, but immediately turns into cold blooded killer a the drop of a hat. And the killer personality still retains his memories!
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Guardian robot (at least in anime adaptation), who chased Wataru all over the way from San Francisco to New York.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Johnny; however, it's explained he underwent gene therapy that gave him high intelligence and allowed his brain to store memories like a computer, luckily sparing him from the amnesia.

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