Animatrix – A Kid’s Story, Freedom or Paranoia?

From one of my favorite animated series, ‘A Kid’s Story’ follows the character of a teenager in the Matrix, after the events of the first Matrix film. Though the short was directed by a Japanese filmmaker, it was written by the great American directors, the Wachowski brothers, and is one of nine animated shorts in the Animatrix collection.

Briefly put, the video follows the story of an unnamed ‘Kid’ as he becomes aware of the Matrix. The frustrated teenager feels that there is something strange about the world, and comments on his dreams being realer than the world he lives in. For those who are familiar with the Matrix trilogy, it is apparent that the kid gets in contact with Neo, ultimately setting himself free from the Matrix, and entering the real world.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Matrix, the kid seems…well, delusional. The animated short does a great job of toying with themes of paranoia and suicidal obsession, forcing us into the mind of this confused teenager. The combination of a disconcerting aesthetic, and robotic voice overs, makes us believe that this kid is unable to view the world like the people around him. At the ‘Kid’s’ funeral, we hear comments that his suicide was a ‘typical mental delusion’ and that ‘reality can be a pretty scary thing to some people.’ The irony is that his insanity was in fact more rational than the narrow perspectives of those around him.

My initial response to the video was to consider what mental illness really is? If this kid is mentally ill, then mental illness must be relative, and not an absolute state. What do you guys think?

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