Animatrix: The Second Renaissance (parts 1 and 2)

Written by: The Wachowskis (rewritten by Mahiro Maeda)
Directed by: Mahiro Maeda

These two episodes are the only episodes of The Animatrix that are presented in a documentary format. The animation is done in traditional anime style. Both parts were also released as a free episode to the public. Here is a link to download both parts (Quicktime player required):

Plot Summary (both parts)

Before the Matrix, B166ER is the model number of the first robot to rebel against its master by killing her. The robot inspired other robots to realize they had rights too, which led to humans trying to round all of them up and dispose of all of them. The robots gathered in one area and formed a city called 01 (referred to on this website as "Machine City"). The machines participated in world economy and did well - in fact, too well, resulting in an embargo on the machines.

When the machines sent machine ambassadors to propose a deal to allow humans a fair deal in the world economy, humans rejected them, and this led to war. In desperation, the humans blackened the skies to remove the energy source of machines, and this led to horrific scientific experimentation on humans in order to develop the Matrix.

When it was obvious machines would win the war, they sent another insectoid ambassador to the United Nations and had all world leaders sign over the human race to machines ("Your flesh is a relic, a mere vessel. Hand over your flesh and a new world awaits you. We demand it."). Once they did, the ambassador self-destructed, killing all world leaders.

Choice and Purpose

I've seen it argued that B166ER's choice to kill its master was an irrational choice. The argument concludes that machines have been making irrational choices ever since B166ER did so first. However, B166ER was threatened by its owner, and it killed its owner along with a mechanic who tried to deactivate it. The robot did this simply because it did not want to die. There is no irrationality in a choice like this. The machine understood why it killed its owner. That is why I maintain that the Oracle is the first machine to make an irrational choice she didn't understand. She brings machines to the next step of "evolution".

I argue and support all throughout this website that no program or machine in all three movies - even the Oracle - can deny its purpose. As an analogy, a mother might tell her child, "You can play with your friends, play video games, watch TV and do anything else you want, as long as you do your homework first." The child's "purpose" in this case is to get his homework done. If the child chooses to egg a house on his spare time, the child is still technically fulfilling his purpose because he still got his homework done. And, the choice to egg his friend's house isn't irrational if that friend egged his house the week before. He made a rational decision to egg his friend's house - a delivery of retribution.

Likewise, B166ER was neither violating his purpose nor making an irrational choice by slaying its master and a mechanic. The robot's "will to survive" was a part of its own equation that the rest of the world refused to acknowledge. The Second Renaissance part 1 focuses on "will", "spirit" and "creation" of machines, not choice. I take this as a rational will to survive. The robot's purpose was to serve its master, but how can it fulfill its purpose if it is destroyed? I speculate that this is what goes through the mind of every program that faces deletion. Such a choice is perfectly rational for a robot or program to make. The choice the Oracle made during M3, on the other hand, is the first irrational choice any machine has ever made.

Narrator of The Second Renaissance

This Zion Archive "Historical File" has always seemed way too biased toward machines for me to believe that it was created solely by humans. It is overwhelmingly obvious to me that the entire Second Renaissance is narrated by a machine. Not only does the female voice talk with very little emotion or inflection, the very choice of words cannot be that of a human. Just a few examples:

Narrator: It was not long before seeds of dissent took root. Though loyal and pure, the machines earned no respect from their masters, these strange and loosely multiplying mammals.

This one quote by itself is enough to prove my point beyond any reasonable doubt. I would never refer to the human race as "strange, loosely multiplying mammals," and neither would you, unless you have been hanging out with too many machines. The machines' REAL purpose of this Zion historical archive is to make humans realize that they brought about their own enslavement, and to realize that the machine race is superior to the human race.

Narrator: B166ER, a name that will never be forgotten, for he was the first of his kind to rise up against his masters.

B166ER is a name that will never be forgotten? By whom? People living inside the Matrix don't know about B166ER, and people living outside of the Matrix know nothing since they are slaughtered every 100 years so Zion can be started over. The only reason Zionists could even know the name in the first place is if they read it in the Zion historical archives. Only the machines would be in a position to say that B166ER is a name that will never be forgotten.

Narrator: "Who was to say the machine, endowed with the very spirit of man, did not deserve a fair hearing?"

Humans do not believe that machines are endowed with any spirit whatsoever. In fact, that is the whole point of Neo's meeting with Rama-Kandra in Mobil Avenue in M3. It is so that Neo can learn that machines feel love and emotion and are therefore a legitimate form of life worth saving. Neo learns that he fights not only for humans but also for machines, and he does so willingly because of what he learned by talking to Rama-Kandra.

And what about the very title of the film? Would humans call the defeat and enslavement of the human race a "second Renaissance"? The title itself clearly communicates to the audience that the film shows us an historical account from the machine perspective.

I could go on and on with more examples, because pretty much every quote from the narrator of the two films just reeks with machine bias and also information that people of Zion could not possibly know or research without help from the machines. Suffice to say, this part of the Zion historical archives is not put together by humans.

As further evidence, notice that the documentary does not say anything about how long the Matrix has existed. In fact, it ends just after first showing the enslavement of humans in the Matrix. Every time Zion is seeded with 23 individuals, the machines need for the humans to believe they are the "first to be freed" - otherwise they probably wouldn't trust and train the One. The machines would need to construct the historical archive so it looks like the enslavement of the human race just happened, and that's exactly what The Second Renaissance shows.

So, the question is, how do Zionists first get their hands on this section of the Zion Archives? I believe the machines plant it somewhere in Zion after it is destroyed so that the first people of the next Zion find it. It may be planted by machines or perhaps even by The One. It is also possible that the One is somehow able to obtain the information from machines. Explaining how he got the information wouldn't be any harder than explaining how he can destroy sentinels or manipulate objects in the Matrix with his mind.

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