A.I.C.O.: Incarnation – Episode 7: Breakthrough & Episode 8: Way
Episode 7: Breakthrough
The action starts off with a tense moment, the CAAC has caught up to the divers just as they are about to engage in battle with some malignant matter. The situation is definitely dire for them. Ozanami requests Yuya to hand over Aiko or they will attack the divers. The conversation between Yuya and Ozanami here felt a bit too cookie cutter for my taste. His lines were super predictable and as a whole his character is so bland and uninteresting. He does a lot of course, but his relevance is plot-oriented, the character itself offers very little. I suppose this is a consequence of us knowing very little about him, but either way, his behavior is practically robotic.
Anyway, the important thing now is that it is continuously made more and more obvious that Aiko’s connection to the Matter intensifies as they get closer to Primary Point. As Ozanami tries to negotiate with Yuya this escalate with the Matter and the CAAC squad gets annihilated. This comes as a tremendous shock to Aiko and now she is worried about the danger of the mission and doesn’t want to take the divers along anymore. The battle tactics shown in the part of the episode where they escape through the tunnel were pretty clever and entertaining to watch. They get to the next sector and activate the dam gate and now Aiko shows signs of carbon hardening as well.
We find out that everyone is moving forward in the mission, which makes the set up for a whole competition all completely stupid, but whatever, in the show’s universe it’s supposed to be an impromptu decision. Afterwards, as they wind down from the battle they just went through Haruka accidentally finds out that Aiko is an artificial being while overhearing a conversation between Yuya and Aiko. I’m really curious to find out how this information is going to be given to the other divers.
On the other side we have two very important events. Dr. Isazu tells Dr. Kiryu that he has plans to start working again on Cell Assembler research because developments will be needed in order to properly deal with The Burst. I suppose he needs permission to start as soon as possible and I wonder if they’ll share with us another kind of solution that can override a need for Aiko. Although I suppose that she could be used for research too? Either way this gets overshadowed by Kurose and Miss Hacker’s (did we ever get this character’s name? I feel like I missed it somehow…) discovery of a pattern that links Yuzuha’s brain activity and the Matter activity within The Zone in the last few days.
I found that twist interesting because we recently saw some memories of Yuzuha within Aiko’s Dream Sequence and I can’t really figured out yet how exactly these two things are connected. I suppose that there are some Yuzuha cells within Aiko’s brain or something like that, but at large it remains a mystery. I still think that this is one of the plot points that has potential to become noteworthy as I can’t really imagine, besides blindly guessing, where they are going with it.
Episode 8: Way
Once again the episode starts with a lot of tension as it picks back up from the divers finding out Aiko has an artificial body. Haruka, who found out in the previous episode accidentally, comes in handy here as she is the one who explains it to the rest of the divers who are in the dark about the situation. She’s also very quick to comment on the fact that Yuya is not wearing a suit either. As the divers protest, Yuya affirms he’s the one who wanted to keep the truth a secret for the sake of the mission. He explains that he plans to end the Burst and that’s what they’re there to do.
Overall, it felt like the pace was picked up a bit in this episode. We get a lot of jumps from one side of the action to the other and we get a real sense of the story advancing. Of course it’s a bit convenient that Dr. Kiryu will pass away right as Dr. Isazu needs to have access to everything and the divers are deep within The Zone about to reach Primary Point, but whatever, it’s fiction. We also see in this episode that the relationship and allegiance between Nanbara and Dr. Isazu is not perfect and can be swayed, as Kurose reveals information to Nanbara to get her to cooperate with him, too.
The divers continue to advance up the dam and each time one of the cleaver gates is activated, Aiko becomes more sensitive to the effects and shows more signs of it on her body. This is another way in which we see how fast the pace got: we see them fighting their way in, threatened by the matter, but not slowed down in the slightest for a bit. That is until they are, of course. Unfortunately Shinoyama, the leader of the rescue mission, goes down trying to protect Aiko and Shiraishi. His death is heroic and heartfelt, but in a sense also kind of cliché he’s the chosen one to perish. He was a strong leader with self-sacrifice tendencies and a conciliatory role. It still affected me though, even if we didn’t know much about him.
Unexpectedly so the sad moment is broken by Aiko suddenly picking up two guns and shooting all over the Matter as she receives damage from it as well. I don’t know, it was just anti-climatic to me. Some people may see it as epic, but she just seemed so weak, even with her new found determination, that to me it’s jarring. The other characters react to this with shock and disbelief, but not enough disbelief in my opinion! Ahem, anyway, it even got a bit too over the top for me, so I got over Shino’s death quite quickly.
As this is happening, we also get some voice-over narrative exposition that Dr. Isazu is giving his daughter Yuzuha while he visits her. This reveal is much more interesting to me that the mourning going on in the other side with the divers. It is finally confirmed that Kanzaki Yuya is indeed Dr. Yura. We learn that Yuya is the name of the first human that was used for artificial body creation, but he died young and his artificial body was not disposed of. Kurose used this first body to transfer Yura’s brain into it and now Yura lives as Kanzaki Yuya. I figured this was going to be the case, but I must admit I’m pleasantly surprised with how it was explained. It’s also still secret to the characters, as it was just revealed to the viewers and Yuzuha, so I’m excited to see how everyone in the show will find out.