I wasn’t gonna watch this episode until Saturday night, but after checking tomorrow’s packed schedule, I may as well get this out of the way now. So yeah, there goes my Friday night…
— Lacia can hack into nearby hIEs and see what they see. Actually, she does more than that. She’s literally controlling what they see, so we learn that she’s been keeping an eye on Arato all along. She’s probably been doing this ever since she joined his family.
— She then took quite a hit in order to shield the worst character in the entire story from certain death. How unfortunate.
— The animation is just as bad as the story.
— I’m actually surprised that there hasn’t been an official response to all these hIEs turning into zombies. You’d think the people in charge of this city would instantly realize that something’s gone terribly wrong. You’d think that perhaps an army would show up to quell this outbreak. Maybe there is no army. Maybe society can’t even mount such a force anymore… but who can really say? Honestly, Beatless’s world-building has been spotty at best.
— Arato eventually meets up with Ryo, and they both escape to the park. We know that the latter is in cahoots with Ginga, so I’m not exactly sure what he’s trying to accomplish here. At first, I thought he was going to lure Arato into a trap, but then he allows his buddy to drive the car.
— It’s also quite weird how some of these hIEs just gawk at their attackers. Some run, some don’t. I guess you could assume that the behavioral management cloud is currently being overloaded, but that’s not a very satisfying explanation.
— That’s ironic. I mean, c’mon, Arato ends up driving his buddy to the shopping mall. That’s just classic Dawn of the Dead.
— The human vs hIE debate continues to rear its ugly head when Arato and Ryo come across a crying child hIE in the abandoned mall. Arato does what he can to help the kid, and this encounter makes him decide to head straight to the management center. He now wants to stop the zombie outbreak first and foremost, which really pisses Ryo off. Ryo only wants to save Yuka and that’s it: “If you see them as equal to humans, you don’t value humans enough!” It’s a matter of authenticity, I guess. The child can cry, but Ryo doesn’t think that the hIE’s emotions are authentic. He would argue that the child is crying because it’s being told to. It’s not crying because it actually understands fear and loss. Does Ryo have a point? Eh, I dunno. I don’t know enough about how the Higgins AI operates. Who’s to say that some small instance of Higgins — the instance that is in control of this child hIE — isn’t actually feeling the authentic desire to cry right now? Sure, Ginga said otherwise in last week’s episode, but can we really trust his word?
— All of a sudden, a massive explosion rocks the mall and Methode shows up. Again, if you’re this close to fire, you’d probably die.
— Ryo tells his buddy to go on ahead. Meanwhile, he’ll stay behind to slow Methode down. But I thought he was working with Ginga… so what’s really going on?
— Arato drags the child hIE all the way to the management center instead of just finding a place to safely hide the child. But when they finally reach the server room, he kneels down and tells the kid to run away, ’cause it’s dangerous here. What?
— Snowdrop has taken over the server room, which means she’s responsible the zombie outbreak. She’s another character whose motivations aren’t entirely clear.
— Arato thinks that his only course of action is to destroy the server. And how will he accomplish this? With a power drill, of course!
— Ginga then steps out of the shadows to spout even more gibberish. Same as before, he claims that hIEs can’t comprehend human behavior: “Even your relationship with Lacia is just an imitation of a common fictional story from her point of view.” I’m not sure if his argument is really all that substantive. Humans, too, merely imitate the narratives and metanarratives that we come across in our lives. For instance, I’m not born with the natural instinct to be romantic. I only ever behave romantically because I’ve seen other people’s romances, and their narratives seem appealing to me. You can thus argue that our thought processes are no different from that of an hIE. It’s not that hIEs lack humanity… it’s more than we’re not really all that special. More specifically, human behavior is not all that special.
— Arato tries to argue, but he suddenly sees Yuka and this shuts him up real fast. Meanwhile, Ginga switches gears and tries to convince Snowdrop to join his cause. He starts freaking out, however, when he realizes that the hIE can communicate directly with Higgins, but this means… what, exactly?
— Lacia finally shows up, but Ginga is certain that she has her hands full with Snowdrop. It’s not that Snowdrop necessarily wants to help him, but she apparently wants both Lacia’s head and her Black Monolith. Don’t ask me why, though.
— So Ginga wants Arato to trade Lacia for Yuka, but the kid refuses. Good choice. That doesn’t stop Yuka from calling him an idiot, but hey, I could live with that!
— Lacia makes a concerned face, and Ginga calls it simply analogue hacking. Really? A facial expression is analogue hacking now? I feel like I don’t understand what that term even means anymore. Is my cat analogue hacking me when she mews cutely for food?
— Unfortunately, Lacia wants to protect Arato and Yuka, so she agrees to accept Ginga as her owner. Oh no, if you particularly dislike NTR, you might wanna look away!
— So what does Arato do? He starts to plead embarrassingly. He even declares his love. Yeesh. It’s funny, though. The same sort of scene happens in Darling in the FranXX, but when I see it here, it just makes me cringe.
— In the end, Lacia decides against switching owners. Instead, she rips out the terminal (port?) that even allows her to change owners. It’s a cool looking scene, I guess. Anyways, this is supposedly bad for Lacia, because it means she can no longer accept new owners if Arato dies. But uh, can’t you just repair it? Why are we supposed to believe that this change is permanent?
— There’s a meme to be made here…
— Okay, that’s a little too on the nose, man.
— Ginga berates Arato for falling in love with an hIE, so Yuka retorts, “Arato is great because he does whatever you ask him to!” Huh…? What does that even have to do with anything?
— For some reason, however, Ginga sees something that frightens him, so he just runs off. This means Yuka is now free from his clutches, but she’s also defenseless as the zombie hIEs begin to storm the server room. That’s when a bunch of sane hIEs also show up and start fighting back against their zombie counterparts. Apparently, this is all due to Arato’s actions from earlier in the episode. By saving the child hIE, the kid was able to eventually find help and come to the protagonist’s aid. So, uh, they’re still being controlled by Higgins, right? And from Higgins’ cloud of data, this perfectly sensible course of action emerged. It’s really hard to see the bad guy’s point of view, because they act as though human brains don’t also work the same way.
— Then just when you thought that this anime’s story developments couldn’t possibly be random enough, Marina Saffron shows up to save Yuka. Y’know, she’s the hIE with the same registration number as Lacia. But does this mean that Marina has been on standby this entire time?
— Snowdrop starts scattering her petals everywhere, so Lacia immediately hops into position and fires her weapon at her sister. All we get to see, however, is a massive hole in the ceiling. Snowdrop is gone, and without her to corrupt the server room, the zombie hIEs are now back to normal.
— This apple metaphor is also too on the nose.
— Meanwhile, Arato turns the corner and finds Ginga’s mangled corpse. He then looks up to find Methode draped all over Ryo. It looks as though his best bud is shaping up to be the show’s final boss. Obviously, Methode gives Ryo a lot of power. But what does she gain from him? What do any of them gain from having an owner, actually? I would have to rewatch previous episodes to understand why this ownership concept is oh-so-necessary, but yeah, I’m not about to that. I just remember something about how only a human can take responsibility, and this is why Lacia depends so heavily upon Arato. But with Methode having such a renegade personality, why does she need an owner?