I’d be lying if I said this episode didn’t disappoint me. In fact, even though the voice in the back of my head was telling me to keep my hopes and dreams for Aoi in check, I still ended up becoming overly optimistic the potential direction it seemed she was finally going in. So as anyone could imagine, when Aoi was told to stay with her brother who has already lost his consciousness, it seriously ticked me off. What good would it do for her to stay by his side? What’s done is done! Ugh honestly… it soured my mood, especially since she seems to be handling it a lot better than most people probably would. I would like to hope she isn’t going to be benched for too long, and that Yuusaku and Takeru are just having their turn now to dealing with Robopoppi and/or Ai in-person as the others had, but I’m definitely lowering my expectations again.
At least the boys went to see her and Akira though. Yuusaku’s pained expression of what had happened to Akira killed me.
Why not just ripped my heart out?
Besides my qualms with Aoi’s situation, the episode as a whole didn’t really do it for me. And to be certain of that, after I determined I needed to do this as a double-post, gave myself a few days to reset, rewatch and settle on what I felt. And frankly, the whole episode felt really sloppy and terribly boring. As much as I adore Robopoppi, the humour between him and Ai just wasn’t doing it for me. I also wasn’t particularly happy about seeing them nose-dive into yet another duel, especially after being burnt out from the recent duelling streak. More than anything right now, I would like to see the characters finally interact with each other PROPERLY in the offline world. As much as I adore this series, one of the things that is really bugging me is the lack of proper interaction among the characters. We see them have quick meetings here and there, which more often than not served as an information exchange, so it leaves a lot more to be desired in regards to the friendship development. Hopefully there will be able to get to that opportunity sooner than later, because we are starting to run out of time.
That being said, even the episode as whole was disappointing for me, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some crucial and ominous things brewing in the mix. The first one is Ryoken’s bizarre way of dealing with Pandor. Honestly I can’t understand it very well, the whole thing seems really weird to me. Ryoken is constantly sending mixed signals and it’s making it hard to pinpoint exactly how he truly feels and what his true intents really are. So I get why Pandor is super confused right now about what her role is supposed to be since he just left her to her to make her own decisions.
There is also the matter of Ai’s behaviour, while it may had initially looked to be part of a comedy gag turns out to be more of a coverup of his actual feelings. He is separating himself from Robopoppi, sending him to his own domain where he is entrusted the responsibility to protect it. Interestingly, Robopoppi shared with us this bizarre dream he had, something about becoming one with the universe of the sorts, where then Ai told him it must be a sign to become a ‘Conquerer’, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean in his mind. Well, to some extent Ai himself has already concurred SOL Technology, having successfully kicked out all the employees, running the place with SOLtis security, and made LINK VRAINS into “Ai-Land”, delivering free content for all the players— I know this is totally like Ai to do this (not to mention, was also freaking hilarious!), but given what we have seen so far, but I can’t help but worry as well. All of these things just lists plenty of reasons to be nervous about what is to come in the future.
I think we can all agree that Robopoppi is superrrrrr creepy now. At first it was cute and funny, especially with the witty dialogue in beginning of the episode, but not anymore. We don’t know what Ai gave him last week, and we haven’t exactly seen any signs of what that was supposed to be yet. It’s hard to say whether the gift was a good thing or a bad thing, as I am having a very difficult time reading Ai’s intentions right now. He is quickly to flip back and forth between his signature goofiness, to his new and more complex solemn mood.
However what we do now for certain, is that while Robopoppi is rapidly growing more intelligent, his emotional development hasn’t been able to do the same. Similarly to Bohman, we are witnessing struggling how to cope with his newfound emotions, and it’s heading in a very dangerous direction. His unwillingness to compromise, and his stubborn refusal to listen and understand that due to the circumstances, it was impossible to prevent the tragedy. It also doesn’t help how Robopoppi’s anger towards the Human’s failure (claiming they are the reason for Ai’s torment) is also misplaced. But because the true culprit behind this mess (Lightning) no longer exists, this inconsequentially means the anger and frustration Robopoppi feels about Ai’s despair has been channeled towards Ai’s ‘former’ allies instead. He blamed Takeru today for his failure to protect Flame, which isn’t fair at all considering just as Yuusaku said, Robopoppi doesn’t understand what had happened. Flame’s loss was without a doubt the most tragic of them all, when after being attacked by Windy, he had no choice but to take him down with him, leaving Takeru to continuing fighting Bohman alone.
Seeing how the emotional turmoil is making Robopoppi terribly unstable, it leads me to wonder if Ai is trying to see what does it take for A.I. to undergo proper emotional development? They could become the most intelligent beings in the universe, but the ability to understand and grasp emotions is an entirely different matter altogether. All of the Ignis, with the exception of Lightning were able to undergo a steadily healthy emotional growth thanks to their connection to their origins. But right now, just as we had seen with Bohman, we are witnessing Robopoppi is struggling how to cope with his newfound emotions.
So it’s an understatement why both Takeru and Yuusaku are quite chilled by Robopoppi’s behaviour. Takeru had tried to be merciful with him, and Yuusaku tried to explain why it’s important for Humans and A.I. to coexist, but Robopoppi doesn’t share that sentiment. He is quite set on becoming a ‘Conquerer’, as Ai encouraged him last week.
Overall, I would say this was definitely a much better episode than last week. I liked that it set the tone and gave us a better idea of where things appear to be heading by bringing the A.I.’s emotional development to the spotlight. Robopoppi’s declaration of A.I.’s superiority over Humans circles back to same issues that were brought about by Lightning who sought to enslave and eventually purge the Human race. I don’t particularly mind that it appears we are going back to that, as it has been left unresolved due to the outcome of the battle against lightning and Bohman. This is could also be another thing Ai is looking into, trying to gauge whether or not the existence for coexistence is truly feasible. If so, it just goes to show that Ai’s has more going on than just being consumed by his grief and loneliness.