Many anime fans (and even non-anime fans who just pay attention to excellent movies like Spirited Away) are familiar with the studio known as Studio Ghibli and the world renowned director Hayao Miyazaki. One of the earliest works for which Miyazaki served as a director is an anime movie released in 1986 entitled Laputa: Castle in the Sky. This story supposedly followed a boy named Pazu who rescues a girl named Sheeta from some pirates searching for an amulet connected to a floating castle named Laputa, a magical place that Pazu’s father spent his life trying to prove was more than legend. Critics have heralded the movie as a great family film and a timeless classic within that genre. However, I wish to expose something that is hidden from most of the public eye regarding this movie. In this essay, I will prove that Laputa is actually a radioactive sky pyramid, and analyze the significance of this undeniable realization.
To properly prove this, one should analyze the movie and search for evidence to support such a notion. However, the most convenient way of structuring this analysis is to begin with the assumption that Laputa is in fact a radioactive sky-pyramid, and then searching the movie for ways to fit this assumption into continuity while answering some basic questions. In order to organize the information conveniently, I will structure the analysis in a question and answer format.
Q: From where did the radioactive sky-pyramid originate?
A: Long before the beginning of the movie’s timeline, people in the mining valley in which the movie is set were mining for “magical” aetherium crystals. During this process, they hit a large deposit, the mother lode of “magical” crystal, with an overheated drill. This caused the crystal to react violently, resulting in an explosion that was only survived by those who reached the “fallout shelter” such as Laputa or other such ships/cities/shelters. (The others no longer exist because they were either destroyed by Laputa, suffered the same fate, or repopulated the ground)
Q: Where was the radiation present in the movie?
A: There were two main uses of the aetherium crystals the people of the valley were mining, as well as many side affects. One was the weapon form, the “Sodom and Gomorrah” bombs shown in the movie. Another was controlled power, as seen in the robots that inhabited Laputa, which clearly ran off of mini nuclear reactors. Another use for this controlled power was present in the propellers that kept Laputa floating in the sky. As the technology improved, the propellers were replaced by fission rockets shooting energy out of the towers to which the propellers were originally attached. The heat that results hits the ground or water beneath it, and so when the castle flies over water, the “mystical hurricane” that shields Laputa is generated. This was also the power source of the castle, holding it together as well as doing other passive and active duties, such as generating the one-way energy dome around the tree.
Q: How does this assumption of a radioactive sky-pyramid explain the magical powers present in the movie?
Q: If Laputa was originally a fallout shelter for a previous civilization, why was it empty when Pazu and Sheeta arrived?
A: Radiation poisoning from the crystal killed most of the castle’s life forms. The remaining creatures are radiation immune mutants, thus accounting for the size of the tree. Also, due to the sickness that resulted from radiation poisoning, the people of Laputa built the robots to do tasks for them.
Q: How did the royal family from whom Sheeta descended survive?
A: The royal family of Laputa actually fled the castle once they knew of the radiation poisoning, leaving the civilians to die. The bodies were disposed of by the robots. It also happens that the royal robes of Laputa were a lead-infused synthetic polyfiber, much like a hazmat suit.
Q: What powered the robots?
A: As mentioned earlier, mini nuclear reactors in the form of crystals that broke off the original mother lode explosion power the robots. Lead frames prevent radiation from the crystals from destroying the circuits.
Q: Why didn’t Sheeta die from radiation poisoning?
A: Her crystal was a small sample and the exposure period was relatively short. Also, her clothes were made from the same material as the royal Laputian robes.
Q: How did the robot on Laputa wake up?
A: The radiation of the crystal completed the long broken circuit in the robot’s body.
So now that you’ve been convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that Laputa is a radioactive sky pyramid, one must wonder why such a message was conveyed in the movie while no one in the media seemed to have picked up on it. The reason is that Hayao Miyazaki is a staunch environmentalist (don’t believe me? Watch Nasicaa of the Valley of the Wind or Princess Mononoke). By portraying radioactive energy as so dangerous (i.e. the bombs used in the movie and the total destruction of the castle at the end), Miyazaki was secretly implanting in the minds of children that they should not support initiatives to support the expansion of nuclear energy initiatives.
Watch Laputa: Castle in the Sky again now that you’ve been imbued with this new knowledge. It will greatly enhance your experience of the movie.
Internet obligatory fun killing disclaimer: If you took any of the above essay seriously, I suggest that you see a therapist.
This post was made in colaboration with the deviant catholic-deviant. Check out his page. He's awesome!