Lacia has been insisting over and over that Arato needs to create a suitable future… but what if that’s just a lie to gain his trust? His precious hIE is obviously up to something. Unfortunately, Arato is far too gormless to do anything about it. This doesn’t mean that either of his friends are right. I still think Kengo and Ryo are both hIE-discriminating jackasses, but it doesn’t help that Arato has his head shoved so far up Lacia’s ass that he can no longer separate truth from fiction. In this week’s episode, he insists that they rescue Kengo at all costs. Rescue the kid from what, though? Is Kengo truly in trouble of going to jail? Not really. Because according to Lacia, all that it would take for the the police to release Kengo is for Arato to hand over a better lead. As a result, this involves having our hero get picked up by HOO, the PMC that just took down Kouka. Apparently, they also have that kidnapper from way back when in their custody. After a short bout of questioning, Arato discerns that an individual high up in the Antibody Network had forced this kidnapper to… film the destruction of hIEs? This individual might just be the very lead that would interest the police and thus free Kengo. But if Kengo isn’t in any real danger, why is our hero going to such lengths to “save” him? At this point, I can’t even say that he has a good heart, because he sure as hell didn’t seem to give a shit about stopping Kouka from going on her rampage. At this point, I’m not even sure I really understand what’s going on.
Eventually, the police take Arato in for questioning. They put up three different sketches of what looks to be three different women. These ladies have been seen in and around Arato’s apartment complex, but our hero claims to have never seen them before. Not only that, they don’t appear on any of the building’s security footage. All we have are eyewitness accounts of their existence. After staring at the pictures intently enough, Arato finally realizes that all three sketches kinda resemble Lacia. In other words, she’s been doing stuff behind his back. But that has always been the case, hasn’t it? All throughout the series, it felt as though Lacia knew ahead of time what decision her owner would make, and as a result, she was instantly prepared to take action. For instance, during the airport incident, she had arranged so that her device would arrive on time in a separate car. During the kidnapping incident, she had the device stored nearby so that she could whip it out at just the opportune moment. It was as if she knew where her kidnapper was taking her. Lacia has been in complete control this entire time, and yet, she insists over and over that she has to take orders from Arato, that the kid has to take responsibility for her actions, and last but not least, he needs to come up with a suitable future. Who’s actually the owner here?
But like I’ve said, this doesn’t mean that either Kengo or Ryo are correct. Just because Lacia is likely — very likely, in fact — manipulating Arato, that doesn’t mean that she’s no good and that they — his friends — are actually the good guys. We already know that Kengo is kinda pathetic. We’ve seen him confess that he’s only lashing out because he feels as though he’s falling behind his buddies. When Arato finally gets the chance to meet with Kengo, the latter claims to be glad that he never assumed ownership of Kouka. Why? ‘Cause he cares more about humans than hIEs. As a result, he didn’t want to get wrapped up in her fight for survival. He didn’t want to get wrapped up in the bigger struggle between the five Red Boxes and their competition to shape the future. He says all of this like it’s a good thing. But from my vantage point, it’s hard for me to see how humans continue to put themselves upon such a pedestal. It’s hard for me to see how humans could justify maintaining their superiority over hIEs. I’m adamantly opposed to both Kengo and Ryo. Their positions are simply untenable. They insist upon some innate sacredness of humanity, but they never put forth any sort of cogent defense for their claims. Both kids often resort to verbally browbeating Arato with the fact that humans are special simply because they are humans. That’s not good enough.
Of course, I have no clue what Lacia is up to. Maybe she’s just as bad as those two, but at least that question is still up in the air. As a result, whatever she’s after is easily better than the alternative, which is apparently maintaining a status quo in which humans continue to lord over hIEs even though AI has far surpassed them in every regard. These androids are faster, stronger, smarter, and probably more energy efficient than their fleshy counterparts. You might even say that humanity is lucky that all they’ve had to suffer thus far has been Kouka’s terrorist attack from two weeks ago — a terrorist attack that didn’t even claim any civilian lives. So again, even though Lacia’s motivations are still shrouded in mystery, it has a greater chance of being far more preferable than anything that Ryo has in mind. As for Kengo, well, he was a non-starter right from the get-go. Yeah, Lacia’s been manipulating Arato, but so what? He’s been pathetic and indecisive all series long. Only now does it look like he has any determination in him. He can’t tell anyone — much less Lacia — what an ideal future should be. After months and months of episodes, he still doesn’t even the faintest clue what she wants from him. Sure, she doesn’t love him, but again, does he deserve her love? So yeah, unless Lacia turns out to be some evil robot mastermind, I’m in her camp despite everything I’ve seen in this week’s episode.