Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Real Drive 20: Baby Steps and Cyberbrains

IN A NUTSHELL: Haru learns to walk and Minamo decides to get a cyberbrain.
EPISODE 20: With These Feet

Haru is at a park, presumably relaxing by himself but actually practicing how to walk again. After the events in the last episode, he learns that he can still walk if only he tries. So try he does.


To be sure, learning how to walk is hard as it is. It's harder when you've had fifty years' worth of wheelchair and atrophied leg muscles. But if anything, Haru is determined. It's a painful first few tries for him but he does not give up. Even Minamo, who arrives just as Haru takes a particularly hard fall, is worried. Haru then asks her not to tell Holon or Souta what he's been doing because those two would eventually tell Kushima about it. As head of Electronics Investigation and his boss, Kushima is the last person that Haru wants to know about what's he's been up to, the reason being that the exercise might prove to be far too strenuous for a cyber-diver.
getting chummy

Instead of being completely happy for Haru because now he's learning how to walk and practically managing by himself, Minamo feels a little left out. A feeling which finally prompts her to consider getting a cyberbrain. She asks advice from her friends, who immediately encourage her to go for it as it would make communication with her so much more convenient. But Sayaka wonders why Minamo suddenly wants to get a cyberbrain. Minamo reveals that it's because she wants to remain useful to Haru.

brain and heart are complicated organs

At this, the perceptive Sayaka makes the thoroughly shocking discovery that Minamo might be harboring deeper feelings for Haru. Could it be love? Unfortunately, Minamo misunderstands the word "koi" that Sayaka uses and thinks that her friend a is merely asking her if she wants to become a fish (koi is Japanese for carp) so she can constantly accompany Haru in his dives.
getting a cyberbrain. looks painful

Minamo's family has no real objections to her getting a cyberbrain. Souta is even of the same opinion as her friends: it would make everything more convenient. But he warns Minamo that getting a cyberbrain is not as easy as she thinks since she still has to undergo some tests to determine her compatibility with the device.

Kushima ain't having none of it

With that settled, Minamo goes for her test. While waiting for her test results, she meets a guy who looks amazingly like a younger Haru. At first, the guy seems friendly enough. He also seems knowledgeable about cyberbrains and he tells her that there are in fact people who fail their test results for a cyberbrain. Minamo unknowingly reveals to him some things that are supposed to be secret, such as her tender regard for Haru and how Haru is now learning how to walk.
not quite truthful, are we?

In turn, the guy says that he is a designer, but it's obvious from his behavior that this is not quite accurate. He adds that he was the one who designed the lab outfits and even gives her his name, albeit again it's probably false.


But he is kind towards Minamo as he seems to understand that she genuinely cares for her friend. When she tells him that she wants to become Haru's dolphin, he seems to know exactly what she's talking about. Before Minamo leaves to get her test results, he reminds her that dolphins are dolphins from the day they are born.
dreams are paper airplanes

Meanwhile, Kushima is in a lab, instructing Holon to stay by Haru and keep track of all his movements. Somehow, he found out that Haru has been practicing walking. Guess why.

In the next room, the guy that Minamo was getting chummy with is lying on a bed, with his head open. It turns out he is not a real person but an android used as a temporary container for Kushima's cyberbrain while Kushima's prosthetic body is getting maintenance. Back in the lab, Kushima confirms Haru's fear: Kushima does not want Haru comprimising his job by straining his body in practicing walking.

baby steps, Haru

Minamo's test results reveal that her cyberbrain compatibility is normal. However, instead of rejoicing, she just folds the piece of paper into an airplane and lets it fly into the air. Then, she goes to the park where she knows Haru will be.

She sees him just as he is struggling to pick up a paper airplane from the ground. Without letting her presence known, she silently cheers him on until finally Haru succeeds. Minamo runs up to him then while Haru gives her a crooked smile of triumph.

Not much to say about this episode. We learn about cyberbrains, and we learn about Kushima's body. He is practically a robot. All that's remained of him is probably his brain, and even that isn't even real in a sense that it's a cyberbrain. A microchip which contains his personality, traits, past memories and all other data that makes a person. A microchip that can be transferred to another "body" just as easily as transferring data through a flashdrive.

On the other hand, Minamo's feelings for Haru is obvious now but I doubt it's romantic. She's abnormally attached to him, to be sure, but on a deeply emotional level that defies an exact definition. I still think it's one of those deep friendships that last a lifetime.

Anyway, looking forward to the next episode since it's about Souta and a bracelet.