Saturday, November 8, 2008

Real drive 21: The Bracelet

IN A NUTSHELL: As Souta and Holon grow closer together, Souta's girlfriend is planning something dark and sinister with the moustache dude.
EPISODE 21: Eternity - Infinity

The episode begins with my favorite het pairing: Souta and Holon. Are they on a date? No, but it has every appearance of a date.

my super-secret prayer has been heard ♥ ~

Apparently, Holon is on her way to Denriken (Electronic Investigations) and Souta is accompanying her, on the excuse that he has business with Denriken as well. Holon then asks if Souta has any plans tomorrow. Of course, no. So Holon asks him to accompany her to the Commercial District to do some shopping. Souta is all: "HELL YEA! I've been working up the nerve to ask you out since five episodes ago!" Of course, he makes it sound like the whole thing is nothing more than casual. But after Holon turns away, he sneaks a look at her.

After a while, Souta notices a particularly large shooting "star" in the sky. He and Holon pause for a minute to admire it in silence. The "star," of course, is not a star but Halley's Comet passing by Earth's orbit once more after 76 years.
honestly now, do the FLESH on these women bother people?

Earlier that day, the Secretary-General of the Trustee Committee (I've been referring to her as the bad) is on the phone with Jennie (whom I've been calling the moustache dude), talking about their plan of installing the meteorological nanomachines on Artificial Island. If this plan succeeds, it would give the whole ASEAN region, with the Artificial Island at its center, complete weather control.

While they're talking, Jennie lets slip that the Secretary-General is the Island's "First Princess" and that it is because of her that the Island is even possible. The two stroke each other's ego for a good five minutes before Jennie brings up the report on the tests results of the meteorological nanomachines. He and the Secretary-General are extremely pleased with the results, but the same thing cannot be said about Kushima, who believes that the unexpected excellent results of the nanomachines are the problem. The Secretary-General next asks who did the observation and Jennie promptly gives her Haru's name.

a conversation between old friends

At that moment, Haru is in a hospital of sorts, receiving a check-up. Kushima is there as well. Apparently, Kushima has always known that Haru could still walk from the moment he woke up. Later, the two of them sit together on a bench at a park. It is here that Kushima asks Haru to dive into the sea for him again. Haru gets to the heart of his request by asking if this is about the Earth Order. It is. Haru accepts. In a rare moment of self-doubt, Kushima wonders if the answers they find will form the foundation for the future. Haru answers him that even if they won't, if the younger generation use their answers to build a different foundation, it would be the same as having their dreams come true.

Afterwards, Kushima goes off, saying that the Trustee Committee has just called an emergency meeting and judging from the looks of things, he might get demoted. Haru watches him leave, obviously worried.
like looking into a mirror

Later, Haru arrives at home only to find that he has a most unexpected visitor: the Secretary-General and apparently her last name is "Takanami." But let's just call her Secretary-General. This is their first meeting but Haru recognizes her as someone from the Trustee Committee.

Holon serves them tea and while she does, the Secretary-General can't help but watch her movements. She then comments that Holon is unlike the other androids of the same model, to which Holon says that it's because she had not been synchronized with the others since becoming Haru's care assistant. Also, she credits the fact that Haru and the others all treat her as an individual. The Secretary-General then says that it's strange watching her other self. But Holon seems perfectly aware that she is modeled after her. After that brief exchange, Holon asks to be excused and Haru unintentionally reveals that Holon is going shopping with Souta. The Secretary-General sits through this with remarkable calm.

When Holon leaves, Haru and the Secretary-General get down to business. What she wants is simple: she wants Haru to join the Trustee Committee's survey team. But Haru turns down her offer, preferring to stay by Kushima's side. He adds that Kushima is investigating the Earth Order under the theory that this phenomenon caused the destruction of the first artificial island some 50 years ago and also the present Artificial Island's substation that spring. Their ultimate goal is to figure out why the phenomenon causes a reaction in the Metal.

Seeing as how Haru is set on the investigation, the Secretary-General tries a different tactic. This time, she offers better resources for Haru's investigation. But again, Haru declines, saying that without Kushima, they won't be able to get to the heart of the important question. The Secretary-General recognizes defeat when it's staring her right in the face so she decides to let it go.

this is a date

Meanwhile, Souta and Holon are at the mall, shopping for some stuff when the conversation shifts towards shoes. Holon is picking up Haru's training shoes from the shop and Souta says that he's been meaning to buy one for himself as the shock absorption of his present pair has already worn out. Holon thinks this is bad because it would lead to ineffective attacks. So apparently, the two of them are still sparring during their free time. Souta offers to go with her to the shoe shop but Holon only says that it's inefficient. Souta is all: "Huh?" While waiting for her, Souta finds himself watching an ad for the Infinity bracelet designed after the Halley's Comet and marketed as a romantic gift for lovers. This, of course, gives Souta an idea. Inside the shop, Holon gets an idea of her own when she happens to see a pair of white training shoes on display.
time for a meeting

At the emergency meeting, Jennie, Kushima and the Secretary-General are conferencing with the stockholders and investors. Jennie reports the excellent test results of the meteorological nanomachine plants. He is now pushing for the plants to be installed during the celebration of Artificial Island's 20th Anniversary. To support this, he offers the assistance of the Advisory Committee, which he is spearheading, to the Secretary-General's Trustee Committee.

the politics behind all that science

While the Secretary-General is all for supporting the nanomachine plants because she sees it as the answer to the worldwide water-shortage and thus another asset of Artificial Island, Kushima is dead-set on the idea.
that's not happy

Kushima proposes to delay the inauguration of the plants until after the celebration. When asked for his reasons, he says that his people are still investigating the connection between the nanomachines and the Earth Order. Instead of deciding right then, the Secretary-General temporarily adjourns the meeting until after the motion is considered.

lighter moments

At the cafe, Minamo and her friends are gobbling up a Halley's Comet-themed sundae while gushing over the Infinity bracelets. Minamo, of course, has no idea what they're talking about and thinks they're discussing some type of "tea." Next, their topic shifts to the upcoming 20th Anniversary of Artificial Island and somehow they end up talking about the Secretary-General and her still delectable assets. Speaking of which, the topic yet again shifts and this time it's about beauty products. Apparently, Sayaka and Yukino are quite into them, thus explains their shock to find out that Minamo only uses soap. But they admit that Minamo has baby-soft skin so she does not really need anything more than soap. This prompts the two of them to start pinching Minamo's face out of fun.

Not far away, Souta is mooning by himself at a lookout point by the side of the road. In his hand is a pair of the Infinity bracelets. Just who they are for, we're all going to have to wait because at that moment, Souta's father is busy testing a new type of diver's suit.

choices to make

He and his young associate are wondering why Kushima suddenly asked them to design and test the deep-sea diving suit when the man himself asks them to bring the suit to the deepest section -- the abyss. It is all very sudden but Souta's father complies with the order.

Meanwhile, Souta arrives at Haru's office. Only Holon is there. Souta fingers the box in his hands while Holon finishes up with whatever she is doing and stands up, with a shopping bag in her hands. The next moment, Souta is surprised to find himself the recipient of an unexpected gift: Holon gives him the pair of white training shoes she saw earlier, saying that it is the same model as the one he is wearing. Souta is floored, but before he could react, Minamo and Haru arrive. Minamo invites Holon to watch the Halley's Comet with her, but then expresses her worry that the comet might crash down. This prompts Holon to launch into a discussion about the last time the Halley's Comet came close to earth. While Minamo thrills over the idea of watching the comet, Holon asks Souta if he'd be fine with tea. He says yes. But once Holon prepares to serve him a cup, he's gone.
princess, huh?

At their secret lovenest, the Secretary-General is waiting for her young lover. While she does, she muses about her being the First Princess. It's been twenty years, which means she's OLD. She notices Souta standing in the frame and asks him to come in, suggesting that he take a shower first. But instead of doing as she asks, Souta stays where he is and tells her that he's breaking up with her. Like the woman that she is, the Secretary-General figures out that it has something to do with Holon. Souta does not deny this, prompting the Secretary-General to remark that Holon is just a doll, a machine. Souta is well aware of this and even so he wants to be with her. The Secretary-General next says that one day Souta will grow old and she can grow old with him. Holon, on the other hand, will remain as she is. Souta says that he does not care. He wants to live for the moment and be with Holon, and now he's telling her that because he feels bad keeping his feelings secret. He tries to say more but the Secretary-General stops him, trying to save face. She tells him that she's been intending to end their relationship as well because her job is becoming hectic and she can't find any more time for Souta. This is a lie, of course, because isn't she making time for him now? Souta walks away and the Secretary-General is left in that room alone.

who's up for change?

After Souta leaves, the Secretary-General gets a call from someone. Guess who. Meanwhile, Kushima is walking down a hallway when Jennie appears, waiting for him. The next day, Haru is at the Denriken with Souta, both of them apparently looking for Kushima. Someone then arrives with bad news. Very bad news.

Souta! Breaking up with your girlfriend so you can be with an android who is modeled after your girlfriend! Man, that is low. But I don't mind because I'm a Souta x Holon shipper. Always have been.

Something's up, and it's serious. What is Souta's father up to? What is Jennie up to? Everyone, with the exception of Haru and her friends, seems to have an agenda. Question is: what?

Shady-Shinsen subbed this episode as well as the rest until 26 (final). I actually watched the whole thing already. Now, just finishing blogging them.

Real Drive proves to be truly a surpring series. I'm not sure if I like it. Some episodes I really did not enjoy, but the series overall is quite something. Interesting does not nearly come close enough, and yet that's about the only word I can come up with.

The story progresses from several different points and that's why it seems so scattered. You can even say that it has no driving plot, seeing as how it proceeds from a slice of life approach. But it does have a plot. You just can't see it, not until everything starts to connect in the last few episodes.

This is what I call a classic "connect-all-the-dots" storytelling. The first part takes care of all the dots, where they are placed, how they are presented. And then the resolution is where everything falls into place. Once they do, it's beautiful.