For a company that deals solely with all things cold, technical and inorganic, it turns out that computer chip maker Intel actually has a surprisingly soft, feeling heart. In what we can only describe as a genuine tear-jerker of a commercial, Intel Japan tells the tale of a young boy dealing with the loss not of his favourite laptop, tablet or gaming rig, but of his best friend–to cancer.
You might want to get the tissues ready for this one!
Titled Catch, the extended 13-minute video tells the story of Akira, a kid who’s bad at baseball, and whose best friend Takashi has just died of cancer. The most painful scenes come at the beginning as Akira mourns the death of his friend. Unable to accept it, he stands outside the hospital room and simply says ‘no’. The long silences and melancholic music added to the lonely visuals are a lethal combination, and I dare you to try and remain dry-eyed as you watch.
Akira’s teacher gives him Takashi’s notebook, in which he had written a lot about him. The last half of the book is completely blank, showing a life cut short, except for a few lines scribbled from a song: ‘If we all work together, We can make things happen‘.
Akira may be bad at baseball, but he’s good with computers. He borrows his dad’s laptop and starts researching everything to do with cancer, and the search leads him on to information relating to computers and processing power, and to the website for the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Cancer Research.
After a while, this devastated kid becomes determined to defeat the cancer that took his friend. Of course most people would give up, thinking ‘there’s nothing I can do’, but Akira is young and optimistic, still not entirely sure what cancer is, and he feels there must be some way he can effect change.
And this is where the theme of the video comes to the fore: working together. It’s about the power of connection, and how technology makes these connections possible.
Akira contacts his ‘network’ of friends in a touching montage of Japanese youth, and leads them and their laptops to the cancer research lab. They connect all their laptops together to create one high-spec super processor, which can be plugged into the lab’s computer. With the power of LAN they can defeat cancer (‘cancer’ is ‘gan‘ in Japanese)! …Or something like that.
I’ll admit, I did shed a few tears at the beginning of the video. How can your heartstrings not be tugged by Akira’s sad eyes and that plinky music in the background?! Unfortunately my cynicism started to kick in around the halfway mark, and by the end I was left feeling vaguely irritated that Intel seems to think they can sell their products by likening them to a cure for cancer. But then that scene at the end goes and gives me the feels all over again.
Check out the video below, which comes with English subtitles, and let us know how it affected you.