A.I.C.O.: Incarnation – Episode 9: Truth & Episode 10: Volition
Episode 9: Truth
The title for this episode makes the most sense as the reveals continue from episode 8 and man, what a bunch of reveals! Last time we left off the divers and rest of the team were mourning Shinoyama and Yuya’s identity as Dr. Yura was confirmed to the viewers. The episode starts with one of those wind-down moments the divers have occasionally and they’re talking about how well Yuya played them when they were invited for the mission. Shiraishi admits she thought Shinoyama was likely to die after they found out what the mission was, but well it’s obvious he believed in what he was doing, so they went through with it.
There is a little interesting thought-provoking moment when Aiko finds out that her artificial body will disappear. She’s shocked, but she still trusts Yuya, since she will still have her other body back. He acts cold and rational and makes some interesting remarks about existence, but they’re short-lived and we quickly move onto something else as Aiko is attacked by Matter as she tries to get close to Yuya. Soon enough two different types of Matter start fighting each other off. At some point they are even saved by one of those types and they finally make it to Primary Point.
As they climb towards the lab through what seems to be a shaft, Dr. Isazu communicates with them remotely and reveals to the divers and Aiko that Kanzaki Yuya is really Dr. Yura because Yura’s real brain is inside Yuya’s artificial body. They react with some disbelief and shock as Yuya stands there like the mannequin doll he is. One of the things I found funny about that character was how ridiculously stoic he is.
While Yuya/Yura is there looking brooding, Dr. Isazu also reveals a bigger truth that in turn is supposed to shock the viewer. Aiko’s other body doesn’t exist. The body she has now is her real body modified with carbon nanostructures that repair itself and are affected the same way Matter is. It was supposed to be that the real brain was with her in the artificial body and the body in primary point was the real one with an artificial brain, but it’s the other way around! Dr. Isazu wants Aiko because she’s a consciousness emerged from an artificial brain.
So in the end, Yura’s plan is to inject her artificial brain with Anti-Cell Assembler and place her in the artificial body that became the Matter and this will convince her artificial brain and body to self-destruct, but Isazu is trying to convince Aiko to come back to him because he wants to study her and backward engineer something similar to her artificial brain to wake up Yuzuha. I must say that the explanation here was quite convoluted and long and it took me a while to get it, but eventually I did. This was quite a twist and I must say that I didn’t see it coming.
Dr. Isazu informs them that there will be an attack on the matter soon and they should abort the mission and enter the shelter. Nanbara has been a little swayed by Kurose after finding out Isazu was withholding information from her, so she decides to intervene somehow in delaying the attack as much as possible. She asks Isazu to let her do this, but he seems to suspect something is off and he’s disappointed. The episode ends with Aiko being continuously chased by Matter and then suddenly entering a cocoon-like thing at Gummi’s insistence. There she meets the other Aiko face to face for the first time.
This episode was interesting and exciting, though I liked episode 8 a bit more. I wasn’t exactly confused by the information, but I was puzzled. Does this mean Yuya is the real baddie? It isn’t like Isazu is giving Aiko a nice choice either, but he’s not trying to basically kill her, either. There’s a bit of a dilemma here that is not being explored too much and I wish it were, but the design of the threat is so that they’re constantly being attacked so there’s little chance for that kind of perusal.
Episode 10: Volition
At first when Aiko sees the other Aiko she wants to run away, but she is convinced to stay. They talk a little bit and Aiko says she doesn’t trust anyone anymore. I found this funny because at first she kept passively going along with everyone. It’s obvious that Aiko is changing, but the way she’s changing annoys me. Not because she’s changing in a bad way, but because to me it seems forced, I guess. Anyway, on the divers side they get attacked again and discuss completing the mission which is getting kind of repetitive now, but I assume it’s to be the viewer a sense of how committed they are to seeing it through.
Kazuki gets in an argument with Yuya about Aiko’s ultimate destiny. He’s upset Yuya doesn’t care about Aiko and Kazuki confesses he loves her, which had been hinted for a while now. Yuya brushes him off and goes to find Aiko. In his way he runs into that human form matter and it takes Yuzuha’s shape before absorbing him. She takes him into some of her memories and they are able to talk. Yuya looks like Dr. Yura in these scenes, which makes the reveal from previous episodes more tangible. Yura is puzzled by Yuzuha’s situation and confused behavior, but after talking to her a bit, he concludes she’s the one behind the human form Matter.
At some point the divers separate to be able to move better inside the lab. Shiraishi and Seri have an interesting talk about why the information regarding the mission was concealed from the divers and they admit that the situation is more complicated now that they all know the truth as they are moral and ethical implications they have to consider and before it was just Yura calling the shots and taking that responsibility himself. I enjoyed this conversation because it’s the kind of thing I look for in sci-fi, but once again I felt it was a bit too superficial because they didn’t even reach any conclusion, it’s still a bit thought-provoking, but jumping back into action after that cuts that train of thought immediately.
Back to Aiko and the other Aiko, they talk about how the real Aiko who is tied to the matter has felt and lived in the past two years. She talks about what she remembers and then about how the memories she could receive from artificial Aiko were her lifeline. She knows now that she’ll soon lose consciousness, she can feel it, so she is willing to sacrifice herself in the Matter attack the government is planning to unload on the lab but artificial Aiko must save her family. Real Aiko says she’s going to suppress the matter so they can get away and leaves artificial Aiko with a mission. Aiko wakes up and Gummi leads her away somewhere.
Real Aiko notices something is amiss with Dr. Yura so she uses her Matter to fight off Yuzuha’s matter and help him out of where Yuzuha was keeping him. Right after he is freed he goes off to find artificial Aiko. Gummi took her towards the pod where her mother and brother are. They wake up and are overjoyed to see her. They talk for a little bit and have a nice family reunion which is obvious Aiko is trying to enjoy. Soon we see Yuya walking in and she goes to meet him. She looks devastated, eyes a bit swollen, but she’s also determined as she approaches him and talks, but whatever she says is a mystery for next episode to solve! The episode cuts off right there.
It’s a bit of a frustrating cliffhanger, but I’d say it’s effective too, since it made me want to go to the next episode right away. One thing I liked from this episode was Kaede’s confession towards Sagami because of how it was played. She used Kazuki’s confession as a reference to let Sagami know how she felt and then his reaction, prioritizing the mission, was cool too. Well, I do hope this isn’t some random death flag though.