Takashi Sato Leaves the Standing-Reserve

The scene from The Global Frequency I want to discuss is when Takashi Sato is called upon for a mission in a hospital in Osaka, Japan. I believe that this part of the comic relates to Heidegger’s idea of the standing-reserve.  Sato was part of the global rescue organization and was on stand-by until a situation occurred in his territory, Japan.  When a situation arose in Osaka, Sato was called but he tells Aleph that he is no longer on the frequency but she convinces him to go to the site anyways by bringing up his past mission.  He has to go into the hospital and rescue the patients.  He finds that all the doctors have been infected and have permanent brain damage and are using stem cells to create new patients with whom they can worship through the patients wounds and the insides of their bodies.  Sato realizes the only way he can save them is by blowing the hospital up and killing all of them, including himself.  And Aleph doesn’t understand why he has to die too but he tells her, “I told you before. I’m not on the Global Frequency anymore.”  Based on Heidegger’s definition of the standing-reserve: “Everywhere everything is ordered to stand by, to be immediately on hand, indeed to stand there just so that it may be on call for a further ordering” (322).  Sato is on stand by until he is called upon and when he figures out how to finish his mission by killing everyone, he essentially leaves the standing-reserve set up by the Global Frequency because he had to die with his mission.  By Sato killing himself, he is no longer on call for the Global Frequency, which is what he wanted from the beginning of this comic because of his last mission.  So he got what he wanted and so did the Global Frequency by “saving” the hospital.

This comic engages in concept of narrative by using the pictures and dialogue to tell the story of Sato and his mission.  It engages in technology by all the gadgets the agents use such as the sat phone and the central location Aleph operates out of.  Without the pictures, this wouldn’t be a comic, but then it would turn into a novel and all the pictures would then have to be described through words to give the reader an image they can make in their mind and this would be difficult to get the technology across that they are using like the sat phone that can do everything for the agent using it.  The comic gives the reader a new perspective on what the Global Frequency is all about and by making it a comic the reader has a better understanding of exactly what the agents are going through on their mission and how they accomplish it with their given technology.

Sato utilizes his sat phone throughout his whole mission and as the reader you can see that by just looking at the images and not having to read a description of it every time.  He also has Aleph is his ear the whole time relaying him information that she finds on what happened at the hospital and what he needs to do.  He then uses the sat phone to show Aleph everything that has happened in the hospital and why it is imperative that it be bombed and made sure that there is nothing left.  The images and dialogue provide the narration and within that technology is used to tell that narration, so essentially the narration is told through technology.

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4 Responses to Takashi Sato Leaves the Standing-Reserve

  1. yuc46 says:

    Excellent points and ideas about how narrative and technology happen in “Global Frequency”! I totally agree with your idea that “The comic gives the reader a new perspective on what the Global Frequency…. how they accomplish it with their given technology.” Your response greatly explore my mind! Awesome!


  2. Dandy Mott says:

    I immediately thought of this chapter as well when thinking about the form of the Global Frequency because this was the first chapter without a title. Upon closer inspection, formal things like the borders around Takashi and Aleph’s panels had distinct separations, further showing Takashi’s want to separate from the Global Frequency. I completely agree with your connection to Heidegger’s “Standing Reserve” and the Global Frequency acting as a standing reserve itself; this came into my mind as well!


  3. useltime says:

    I really like your conclusions that drew a parallel to a “win-win” situation when you started to say that “By Sato killing himself, he is no longer on call for the Global Frequency” where both Sato and Global Frequency got what they wanted by blowing up the hospital. That got me thinking really exemplifies the “disposability” aspect of Heideggar’s definition that you mentioned and the idea of the standing-reserve in both senses of the word “disposability.” The standing reserve here being the field of agents and the object that is able to be used “disposibly” in this case is Sato. The first sense of “disposability” is in a technical way of thinking in that Sato could be convinced to take the mission even though he initially would not cooperate with some prodding. This is analogous to a forest of trees being initially disordered and rooted and after applying a chainsaw and some elbow grease is turned into paper, pencils, boxes, etc. and ultimately what the user, Aleph, needed. Sato also fits the “disposable” tag in that he is able to be replaced by other agents in the field as proven by the fact that there are other episodes solved perfectly fine without Sato in them.


  4. danwillisdan says:

    How do you think the comic book’s emphasis on visual information informs Global Frequency’s relationship with Heidegger? Were there any particular images that struck you as particularly resonant with ideas like ‘enframing’ or ‘standing-reserve’?


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