Key the Metal Idol

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ACCESS is an episode of Key the Metal Idol that reveals some of the strongest hints into the nature of who, or what, Key really is.

It continues the pattern of an opening tag that illustrates a character rather than being part on the main storyline.  In this example it is the early encounters between a slightly younger, slightly more uncertain, Sakura and Tataki.  The tag hints at deeper feelings for Tataki that Sakura doesn’t really know how to handle or express [1].

After the credits the crowd is looking up at the scene on the roof as a bizarrely dressed priest wanders onto the scene to observe.  Tamari is backing away from the PPOR as the observers on the ground continue to think it is a suicide.

The PPOR asks about Mima Tokiko and the conversation does not go well. As Tamari begins to fall, Key’s hair changes to brown and she is clearly beginning to panic.  A waiter from the cafe who goes upstairs is confronted by another PPOR at the door to the roof.

Tamari yells for help and this triggers a series of images in Key’s mind, as well as tears and an outcry in Tamari’s defence.  The PPOR suffers a malfunction that Key is somehow responsible for.  As the PPOR collapses a reddish gas escapes, Sergei experiences some pain, and the PPOR goes out of control.  Tamari falls but grabs Key as he passes, only for both to land on an awning that is starting to collapse.

Tamari ends up hanging on to Key’s arm as Tomoyo arrives to create a makeshift rope from tablecloths to send Tataki down to save them.

This is the critical moment as the entire crowd starts believing, hoping, that the two won’t die. As they start chanting for Key to hold on her mind goes somewhere else.  It is a clearing in a forest, everyone that Key knows is gathered around, including her smiling Grandfather, Sakura, and Tomoyo.  As this scene continues the gathered people grow to include the current observers, including the creepy priest [2], before shifting to a shrine with a Miko [3] who smiles and nods at Key.

I think this is the point where Key gains ACCESS to her powers, as well as the biggest hint as to the nature of those powers.

As Key awakens she actually smiles at Tamari before throwing him all the way back to the roof.  Tamari is not best pleased to be facing the PPOR again but notices the rosebud stuck in its eye [4].

Key begins to levitate, her expression darkens, the rose blooms, Key gets visibly angry as both PPORs explode and basically disappear.  As Key falls unconscious and begins to fall, Tataki is there to catch her [5].

After the eyecatch and back in the Cafe Tomoyo picks Key up and takes her to a cab.  Tataki still wants answers and follows [6].  The cab deposits the three at Sakura’s apartment, as the priest observes.

Tomoyo admits to being Key’s bodyguard, but Tataki remains sceptical. On the roof Sergei finds a finger from the PPOR and a still somewhat confused/shocked Tamari.

On arrival Sakura recognises Tomoyo, and remembers the incident from START UP with the scooter headlights. Tomoyo and Tataki leave fairly quickly after Tomoyo warns Sakura to be gentle with Key.

Back at Ajo Heavy Industries, Ajo is very unhappy with the loss of two PPORs, and is speculating whether Key is human or not.  His management style leaves somewhat to be desired, as does his sanity.

Tataki is working on a computer in a classic nerd’s apartment. He is researching Key’s grandfather when he hears a strange voice singing.  Switching off the computer doesn’t stop the voice, and a friend rings to say that he’s also hearing it.

The clockwork soundtrack is heard as Key wakes up and sits upright [7], Sakura greets her, and Tataki notes that the voice stopped.

Key gives Sakura the apology bouquet, and expresses her loneliness once Sakura left the valley and her happiness at seeing Sakura in START UP, but again apologises for being such a problem for Sakura.

As Sakura embraces Key, the priest observes from outside, Ajo watches technicians working on a PPOR, Sergei considers the finger of the destroyed PPOR, and Sakura asks about Key going to the concert with Tataki as the credits roll.  Given the tag I can’t help but wonder if there is a degree of jealousy here, even if Sakura doesn’t know it yet.

ACCESS is the clearest indication yet that Key is a supernatural rather than technological being, and that the PPORs are an attempt to harness the spiritual world in a practical way.  This is rarely a story that ends well, and even as hope for saving Key rises there will always be this overtone to the story.

The priest has not yet been identified, but his appearances in this episode are definitely in the vicinity of creepy stalker. As I recall though these first impressions are somewhat misleading, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the change of view is managed.

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] She is still only 16 – 17, which does raise the question of who, and where, is the responsible adult for Sakura?

[2] I think I may have seen the early Miho Utsuse there as well.

[3] AKA Shrine Maiden, this one appears to have long black hair but some of the effects are ambiguous enough that it could be the brown haired girl from the previous dream sequences.

[4] Where did that come from?

[5] As she falls unconscious Key’s hair colour reverts to the default grey/green shade.

[6] He does remember to take the bouquet of roses with him though.

[7] Key must have phenomenal abdominal strength to move the way she does.