An adaptation of a classic 1948 novel by Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human (“Ningen Shikkaku”). Dazai is a highly revered author in Japan, and No Longer Human has an impact on Japanese culture like J.D.Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye had on the US.
The year is 2036. A revolution in medical treatment has conquered death by means of internal nanomachines and the “Shell System”, yet only the richest can afford to partake. Yozo Oba isn’t the richest. Troubled by strange dreams, he flippantly joins his friend’s biker gang on an ill-fated incursion to “The Inside”, where society’s elite lives. This instigates a journey of terrifying discovery that will change Yozo’s life forever.
The film’s story is set in 2036. A breakthrough in medical science has led to the creation of nanomachines, and the S.H.E.L.L. system that controls them, which ensures humans are free from disease and injury and extends their lifespan to 120. But this ultimate social system has warped the Japanese nation in a number of ways, whether it be economical disparities, serious environmental pollution, or the “Human Lost” phenomenon that malforms people disconnected from the S.H.E.L.L. network.
The novel is closer to Dostoyevski than William Gibson. It’s a semiautobiographical novel about a man trapped in a spiral of depression and self-hatred who deems himself unfit to be human. It’s the Japanese counterpart of Dostoyevski’s Notes from the Underground, and considered one of the greatest Japanese novels of the 20th Century.