Thursday, September 15, 2016

Theories on 1 - Part One


> This Article Contains SPOILERS. <



Directed by Shane Acker, the movie 9 is an animated film about nine rag dolls trying to live in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by machines that have wiped out humanity. These rag dolls, known as stitchpunks, come to learn that they and the machines were both created by a man called the Scientist, and that their purpose is to defeat the machines and restore the Earth. The film has developed a cult following since its release in 2009, largely because it lends itself to a lot of discussion and fan theories. Today, in honor of 9's recent seventh birthday, I want to offer two fan theories about the character named "1."

All nine stitchpunks are named after the numerical order of their creation. The newcomer and protagonist is named 9 while the oldest stitchpunk who leads the group is named 1. 1 is by far the most complex character in the story, being both an arrogant coward and a tragic, failing protector. You can spend days analyzing him and come up with dozens of theories about his backstory and motivations. With that said, let's explore the first of today's two.




1 Has a Soft Spot for 6

1's main goal throughout the movie is to keep the stitchpunks safely hidden away from the machines that roam the outside world. The character 6's main goal is to direct the stitchpunks out into that world to find "the Source," their place of origin that holds the secrets of their creation. Because of this, it stands to reason that 1 would see 6 as a nuisance and resent him. However, there's actually evidence to suggest that deep beneath his cold, crabby exterior, 1 may have a hint of compassion for the eccentric little visionary.

For starters, 1 never seems to get angry at 6 for telling the others to go find the Source. He only ever gets angry at the others for taking 6's advice. This is likely because the others usually don't know what 6 is talking about when he refers to "the Source," which makes his urgings a less direct threat to their safety. It's also likely that 1 knows better than to blame the striped stitchpunk, as 6 is very childlike and detached from his surroundings. Still, scaring him into "better" behavior wouldn't be impossible. We see 6 recoil in fear from 1's brutish bodyguard 8 on one occasion, and he knows to run away from all of the machines that attack the group. He's clearly aware enough of others to be reprimanded, yet 1 doesn't resort to that. The film hints that 1 knows the Scientist used alchemy to create the machines and that he's trying to keep it a secret from the other stitchpunks so they don't dabble in "dark science" as well. Maybe he understands what a burden it is to know something that the rest of the group doesn't and sympathizes with 6's reclusiveness.

We also see that 6's room is right next to 1's throne room in the cathedral where the stitchpunks live. This is odd since 1 appears to prefer living apart from the rest of the group and is much tidier than 6. It could be that the leader is keeping him away from the others so 6 can't give them ideas to go exploring outside, but if that's the case, it appears to be all that 1's doing. 6 spends most of his time in his room drawing pictures of the Source to show to people; 1 knows this and knows how problematic it could be, but he never does anything to prevent it. Why not take away all of 6's ink and paper so he can't draw anymore? Perhaps 1 realizes that drawing is 6's favorite pastime and he doesn't want to deprive the artist of that. He almost even seems to encourage it, as we see that he has a large drawing of 6's displayed on the wall of his throne room. It's also possible that he keeps 6 close to him so the impressionable youngster doesn't get any bad ideas in turn from the other stitchpunks.

Most telling of all, it's right after 6's death that 1 finally takes charge in destroying the movie's main villain, the Fabrication Machine. Up until this point, we either saw 1 running and hiding or following someone else's lead in fighting the machinesand often being a detriment because of his cowardice. When the Fabrication Machine kills 6 though, the elder decides for himself that action must be taken against the metal monster.

Granted, he's dismissing the artist's dying plea not to destroy the Fabrication Machine even though 6 claims that the souls of the dead stitchpunks are inside of it and need to be released. It can also be argued that 1 wants to destroy the machine more to save himself than to avenge 6, but compare his reaction to the youngster's death with his reaction to the character 5's death right before it. The Fabrication Machine kills 5 at a time when 1 is reeling with shame over his failure as a leader, and when he's given a chance to help the others destroy the villain afterwards by making a bridge collapse under it, he does nothing. 6 is then lost while intervening, and 1 responds by forming his own plan to destroy the machine. 5's death didn't push him to become braver, but 6's did.

As for ignoring 6's plea to spare the Fabrication Machine and release the souls from it, 1 might think that 6 is just following instructions left by the Scientist. 1 despises the Scientist for using dark science to create the machines, and he probably blames the man for 6's obsession with the Source. When that obsession leads 6 to his death, it's possible that 1 rejects this plan involving the Scientist's agenda as a way to get revenge on his creator as well as on the Fabrication Machine.




PART TWO coming soon




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