Miho Utsuse at the beginning

START UP set the stage. CURSOR I established the cast. CURSOR II gets the plot rolling now that all the pieces are on the board.

The tag is a silent flashback showing Tamari as the talent scout who found Miho, but the fairy tale of the idol singer is clearly corrupted.  A thing of pain and tears rather than the joy of performing, highlighted by the idol singer’s frilly dress being a gothic creation in black.  The ominous sense of the tag is further enhanced by it being silent, as if to say that Miho is a victim silenced by her situation.

After the credits Ajo is looking out over the city as D/Sergei steals the PPOR and support van.  One of the minions talks about quitting and is warned not to by the scientist.  The scene flashes back to a slightly earlier discussion between Sergei and Ajo about the previous incident in START UP with the PPOR running out of control. 

This discussion is disturbing on a number of levels, but makes clear that Ajo does not believe that Key is a robot.  Ajo is also obsessed with the robots to a truly disturbing level, referring to them as his “beloved sons [1].  Ajo bans further private action on Sergei’s part and this is when Sergei leaves to steal the PPOR. 

The next scene highlights just how disturbing Ajo’s obsession with his slaves the robots.

One of the PPORs running down a highway triggers a fatal, accident.

The scene finally returns to where CURSOR I left off as Key’s mesmerisation with Miho causes the TV to explode.  Sakura puts the fire out with a bucket of water [2].  The next morning features Sakura laying a guilt trip on Key about the broken TV.

Key is looking at TVs [3] when she buys some roses as an apology gift for Sakura. Key is then seen lying on a park bench with the roses on her chest, and the only thing missing from that imagery was the coffin.  Whilst lying there Key flashes back to her grandfather, and there is another image of the brown haired girl sitting in the rain.

Key is then drawn towards the concert hall where Miho is about to perform.  As Miho’s concert is getting ready to start it appears that the real Miho is sitting in the same sort of control rig that Sergei uses on the PPOR.  Miho is not well, and clearly hates Ajo.

Outside the concert hall Key meets Tataki who has extra tickets and gets her inside just as the first song starts.  Tomoyo is lurking outside and curses as something activates inside.

This concert is a bare stage and a largely unplugged concert.  It is essentially Miho, or a Miho-bot, standing at a microphone singing slow paced songs.  However Key is again mesmerised.

Meanwhile, in the neverending string of coincidences that define Key the Metal Idol, Tamari and the muscle are making their way backstage.  It seems that Tamari’s work as an idol talent scout is at least semi legitimate. Tamari passes a set of photos of the new prospect to D as the next song starts.

As the mesmerised Key reacts to the music her hair changes colour to a rich brown [4], there is an image of her grandfather, as well as her inner workings as a robot (along with a ticking clock soundtrack).

Then a semi transparent image of Miho is right in front of Key, and Key offers her a rose from the bouquet…which flies through the air impaling the Miho-bot.  In the control room the real Miho screams in pain.  From this point things go south quickly.

Whatever Tomoyo was monitoring goes crazy, Key’s hair reverts to the greener/paler shade, and Tamari stumbles into the control room as Miho is being retrieved.  Sergei is sent in pursuit.

Tataki and Key leave the concert hall. Sergei looks at the photos of Sakura that Sergei provided earlier, and connects her to the photo of the younger Key & Sakura in Dr Mima’s house.

The PPORs pursuit of Tamari and the muscle does not end well for the muscle.  Meanwhile Tataki and Key are in a cafe discussing Key’s need for 30,000 friends. Tataki promises to help as well.

As a scream is heard they run outside to see Tamari backed against a railing as a PPOR asks about Mima Tokiko.  He is about to fall. Key looks up and her eyes begin to widen as the credits roll.

This is an almost literal cliff hanger, and very a well constructed cliff hanger at that.

As I said this is the episode where the plot really starts to happen.  It provides the first hints as to just how much is hidden within Key, as well demonstrating the extent of Ajo’s insanity.  Key is continuing to connect to those around her, albeit on a retail rather than wholesale level, and the body count continues to rise.

The episode ends with a sense that something important is about to happen, and that not all is as it seems on the surface.

Overall this is the strongest episode so far, certainly the temptation to watch ACCESS immediately was strong but that will have to wait for a bit.

Day 1 – START UP
Day 2 – CURSOR I
Day 4 – Sub vs Dub
Day 5 – ACCESS
Day 6 – SCROLL I
Day 8 – ???
Day 9 – RUN
Day 10 – GOTO
Day 11 – RETURN
Day 12 – ???
Day 13 – BUG
Day 14 – SAVE
Day 15 – VIRUS I
Day 16 – ???
Day 17 – VIRUS II
Day 18 – SYSTEM
Day 19 – EXIT
Day 20 – Looking Back at Key The Metal Idol


[1] The dub makes a significant error here in my opinion by expanding the PPOR to “Pyschological Power Operated Robots” – this is a spoiler that didn’t need to happen.

[2] I suspect that this is a common mistake with electrical fires in film and television generally so I’m not going to be too critical of it here.

[3] Including one that, coincidentally of course, costs 30,000 Yen.

[4] The same brown as the long haired girl seen in the dreams as it happens.