AI no Idenshi – 11 – Random Curiosity

AI no Idenshi – 11 – Random Interest

「トゥー・フィー」 (To~uu fī)
“Tou Fui”

After watching last week’s episode, I realized how much AI no Idenshi reminded me of the television show Mushishi, which I adore. At first, it may seem counter-intuitive, but (bear with me here) the more one thinks about it, the more it makes sense. The most obvious similarity between Sudo and Ginko may be their outward similarities, but the two series share a lot of similarities structurally. The human state is examined by a calm, aloof central character using a non-human phenomenon. Both shows have a restrained, intellectual reserve; one would even say a “coldness,” but not in a bad way. Once I made the realization, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to do so because it felt so clear to me.

When an episodic series like this one reaches its conclusion, it almost usually switches to more traditional plot-driven stories. Even though the magic frequently disappears during the change, I understand the need to do it. The fact that these events have been teased throughout the entire story helped make this task easier, in my opinion. I won’t deny that I did miss the first ten episodes’ intriguing philosophical and intellectual inquiry. But the series has always needed to move in this direction, so I’m interested to see what happens now that we’ve arrived.

We start with Risa’s backstory, which deviates from our expectations. Risa was involved in a balloon accident ten years prior while on vacation with her mother (they do happen). Her neural network miraculously survived unharmed, and Sudo reconstructed and reintegrated her body as best he could. He mistook Risa’s mother for her father, who had dyed her hair blond because that is the color Risa’s father had, and who had abandoned the family (I hunger for more explanation of the “soon after they made me” line). Being somewhat of an orphan himself, Sudo bonds with the girl and she soon becomes his caregiver and closest friend.

Now, a woman by the name of Fui shows up in Japan and claims to be Risa’s sister. She does appear to be telling the truth, even though her story is peculiar. Risa lets Fui move into her flat because she is far too trusting. Fui is actually more of a clone than a sister because the father copied Risa’s imprint after their breakup—or perhaps even before when he knew it was coming—and implanted it into a new body after relocating to India. Fui consequently feels as though her life was stolen and even shares some of Risa’s recollections. After learning the truth, she killed their father and traveled to Japan with the intention of assassinating Risa and taking over her life. She ultimately loses the will to carry it out (and ends up in jail like Sudo’s mother).

Sudo raises a lot of unresolved issues, such as why his parents weren’t mentioned despite the fact that he appears to be human. The fact that Michi will bribe him with knowledge of the whereabouts of the duplicate of his mother will be further investigated last week, as we already know. However, even thus far into the plot, AI no Idenshi can’t help but think about more fundamental issues. At a Buddhist altar, Risa mourns her humanoid mother in a manner that is purely human. What does Buddhism, or any other religion, have to say regarding the existence of souls in human beings? Do animals think they do? I doubt they are aware; I am aware that I am not. But I do suppose that, as with humans, some do and some do not believe.

As with the ill-defined historical setting in Mushishi, this future world initially seems so unlike our own, yet the further one examines, the more familiar it appears to be. Humanoids appear to be emotionally identical to humans; in fact, in order to tell them apart, humans had to play with their pupils. Although technology has developed, people’s daily lives have hardly changed (due to Michi). The lost and the hopeless continue to find comfort in quackery mysticism. Things remain the same even as they change more. This has been a fantastic adventure that has left me with far more questions than answers, as the finest travels often do.

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