Harmony is a Japanese Anime Film directed by Michael Arias and Takashi Nakamura. The story is set in a future where the world is divided into two. One, that continues to live everyday lives like the present but are forced to exist in poor conditions for not complying. The rest of the world has decided to exist under constant monitoring by the use of nanotechnology. People have devices embedded in them and are plugged into a central system called WatchMe and supported for good life by Medicare. The central plot revolves around three friends who are not happy being connected to this system and what that results in. The film is a little slow and you need to press through it. The concepts are not very unique. That said, we aren’t here to review the film so here’s the explanation to the plot and ending of the film Harmony, spoilers ahead!
What are WatchMe and Medicare – Admedistration?
In the future, the majority population has signed up for nanotechnology that has everyone connected to each other. People and their emotions are now connected. They are able to collectively feel pain and show empathy to others even if they are strangers. This has created a more congruent society, truly caring for each other. This has removed the need for wars. Also, they are constantly monitored for health and well-being. Diseases are a thing of the past. WatchMe is the nanotechnology that connects everyone and Medicare supports health. Now, WatchMe is not activated till a person has fully grown. Hence, children are not yet connected to this central system until they hit a certain age. The flip-side to this congruent existence is the fact that there is a loss of individuality. For example, people feel the same amount of pain for the death of someone regardless of whether they know that person or not. Many children feel that getting onto WatchMe means losing a part of themselves. After the introduction of WatchMe, suicide by children begins to increase. Many don’t really want to be part of a false network of emotions.
What is the Harmony Program?
A group by the (long) name “Next Generation Human Behavior Special Characteristics Monitoring Working Group” responsible for the development of WatchMe, have also taken care of having a backup plan. In case WatchMe results in a massive failure, they will turn on the “Harmony Program”. This program perfectly stabilizes the brain’s desires. However, the side effect is that the consciousness will disappear. So while everyone connected would become 100% harmonious, they would lose their consciousness. Humans, connect their consciousness to the soul. Hence this side-effect is not desired.
What Miach Mihie’s Story?
There is a lot revealed through the film about Miach. As a young girl, she was born into a minority group that lived in the mountains. The group formed an independent community amidst the steep mountains, repeatedly marrying within the same bloodlines. What was peculiar about this group was that they had a gene that restricted the formation of a consciousness. This group, as a result, was in natural harmony. Miach was abducted from there and sold to a human trafficking camp. There, Miach was put through brutal pain and torture. Over there, Miach’s consciousness was awakened for the first time. It was awakened with a hatred to what humanity is capable of. Eventually, she is freed from that camp and moved to Japan post the war. A family adopts her. In Japan, WatchMe has been implemented. Miach moves from one extreme to the other – from a world that inflicts unlimited pain to a world where you get suffocated by too much empathy. She stays to herself and wants to end her life. Over course of time, she meets two other girls – Tuan Kirie and Cian Reikado. The three get close. The three agree to commit suicide. Miach wants to attack the system of WatchMe using their deaths. She wants to show that the system is horrible.
The Suicide Attempt
Miach procures pills made by Medicare (we aren’t told how, Miach is just resourceful). If they took it, their body’s internal nutrition functions would be completely broken. The trio agree. But Cian doesn’t have the courage to go through with it. She just says she would to keep Miach content. She doesn’t take her pill. Miach and Tuan take their pills. They begin to die. Cian’s mom eventually takes her to the Emergency Ethics Center. Cian reveals about the pill. The center contacts the parents of Miach and Tuan. Tuan is saved. Miach is also saved and they ship her out secretively. The center gives a statement that Miach was too weak and they couldn’t save her. Miach is proclaimed dead.
Tuan’s Father – Nuada Kirie
Tuan’s father works in the labs of WatchMe. After the suicide attempt, he suddenly disappears. The world doesn’t know where he disappears off to. It is he who leaves with Miach to Baghdad for the second level of experiments. Experiments go on for years. On records, Miach’s body was taken for experimentation purposes. In reality, she was pretty much alive. The experiments that Miach volunteers for is one where the will of a person can be controlled. They are able to suppress Miach’s will completely. They also find the side effect of lack of a consciousness. Miach feels that she was in a state of trance during this period. She finds that state to be satisfying. She started off from a life with no consciousness so it is only apt that she would feel amazing going back to that state. However, when the experiment ends, her consciousness comes back. So, Miach is born with no consciousness, she gets one as a child in the camp, she loses it during the experiment and gets it back again after the experiment.
After her failed attempt at suicide, she wakes up to a crying mother who seems to be showing equal compassion for her and Miach (who her mother barely knows). Tuan is tired of this false compassion thanks to WatchMe. She hates her father for leaving them. She eventually becomes a Helix officer and leaves Japan. Years pass. She stays away because she doesn’t want to be influenced by WatchMe. She grows up outside of the influence. Tuan engages in illegal trade of alcohol and cigarettes (this is how the movie begins). She gets sent back to Japan to get some society time. Tuan doesn’t like it but she goes.
She gets back home. Cian meets Tuan at the airport and they catch up. Cian appears to have become embedded into the networked society of WatchMe. She has a good social score, etc. Tuan is cold towards Cian. They go out for lunch. Cian confesses to not taking the pill all those years ago. She feels responsible for Miach’s death and has been carrying this guilt with her for all these years. Cian gets a call on her comm. Tuan is unaware of this call. The call comes from Miach. Miach tells Cian that it is fine that she couldn’t commit suicide 13 years ago. But it would be fine as long as she could bring forth that courage now. Cian stabs her throat and kills herself. Tuan doesn’t realize why Cian kills herself.
Why the Suicides?
Cian is one amongst thousands of people who have committed suicide on that day. Investigation begins on why this has happened. Tuan forces her way into the investigation. What’s happened is that the group “Next Generation Human Behavior Special Characteristics Monitoring Working Group” has split into two. One faction wants to trigger the Harmony Program as they feel that the world needs to be united into one collective existence. Miach is the person who has created the faction who wants to turn it on. She simply wants herself and the world to go back to her original state. The other group considers the loss of their individual consciousness to be the death of their souls and therefore don’t want to turn the Harmony Program on.
The Death Task
Miach’s group makes a public announcement that they are responsible for the suicides. They also announce that each person needs to go and kill someone. Anyone. If not, it will result in them killing themselves by forced suicide. Mass panic, mass murders, and mass suicides ravage the world.
The higher-ups in the Helix group know about Miach. But they don’t tell Tuan. They are hoping that Miach will make contact with Tuan and she can help stop the Harmony Program. Tuan starts doing her detective work. She starts with Miach’s parents and then the laboratory. She realizes that her own father has taken custody of Miach’s body. She follows his trail to Baghdad. She meets with an Interpol agent who goes with her. This dude is looking to find Tuan’s dad and kill him off. He’s part of the group that wants the Harmony Program. Later Tuan hears the call Cian had before dying. She realizes that Miach is still alive. Tuan gets a meeting invite in secret. It turns out to be her father. He tells her the whole story about the two factions and Miach’s involvement.
They get back and get into a gunfire with the Interpol agent. Both the Interpol agent and Tuan’s father get shot and die. Later Tuan finds out that her reporting officer, too, is part of this group (with the long name). But she is part of the faction that doesn’t want the Harmony Program. Tuan announces that she doesn’t care how the world ends up. She has no empathy and has never had any for the other humans. All she wants to do is meet Miach who has been responsible for her father’s and Cian’s deaths. She leaves.
Tuan Meets Miach
Tuan gets to learn about Miach’s origins. She goes to the camp to meet Miach. Miach and Tuan talk. Miach explains that she must set off the world into a state of craziness else the old people in power would not turn on Harmony Program. Miach feels that this world needs to exist as one. People should give up their consciousness for the sake of others and live in complete harmony. Tuan realizes that Miach always wanted to go back to her consciousness-less state. She wants the world to follow her too. Tuan finally holds Miach close and says this “If Miach wishes for a world of Harmony, I will accept that too. But, Miach… Only Miach cannot go there. Please, always be the Miach that I liked. I love you, Miach”. After this Tuan shoots and kills Miach.
What does this mean? Tuan loves Miach. They are clearly more than just friends. But for Tuan, Miach has been dead for 13 years. Based on the chaos that the world has been thrown into, it is quite clear that the Harmony Program is going to be triggered. As far as Tuan is concerned, living without a consciousness is the same as being lifeless. Consciousness is the soul. She and her father agree to this earlier on. But she empathizes with Miach based on what she has been subject to in that camp. Miach has no empathy for humans and their consciousness. She feels the world would only be a better place if people gave up their consciousness. However, Miach is willing to go to any extent to make this happen; even if it means triggering mass murders and suicides, killing Cian, killing Tuan’s father.
Tuan is soon going to lose her consciousness and before that happens she wants to freeze her relationship in time with Miach (the way she has always remembered it). She doesn’t want Miach to be part of that consciousness-less world. Tuan wants Miach to remain as she remembers and loves her. Tuan fell in love with that consciousness that made Miach. By killing Miach, she commits her last selfish act of preservation before she loses her consciousness. Tuan is no different from Miach, she acts based on what she wants. After this, we are shown the Harmony Program being triggered and all the red dots on the globe go away. All the mass murders and suicides come to an end. The majority of the world’s population loses its consciousness and a new world is born.