I have to say that the prospect of watching Kimura Takuya-san playing a soulless android in Ando Lloyd (安堂ロイド〜A.I. knows LOVE?〜) hasn’t really enticed me as much as some of his other roles have after the first episode. Still, this is a genre I like, there’s plenty of action, and there’s still a chance that he’ll make the character work. Let’s find out!
When we last left him, he was pointing a gun at the person he was supposed to protect – Ando Asahi (Shibasaki Kou). Asahi was the fiancée of deceased Matsushima Reiji, whose face the android wears. It was partly in despair over Reiji’s death that Asahi orders the android to kill her.
But of course, there’s no way Asahi dies here, but what exactly happens is somewhat of a mystery. Suddenly, the android is no longer there . . .
. . . and Hoshi Shinzo (Kiritani Kenta) shows up, wondering if she’s all right.
Meanwhile, investigator Ashinmo Isaku (Endo Kenichi) finds out that there was evidence of an impact on the train Asahi tried to fling herself in front of (which the android saved her from), but no evidence of a body or even blood.
It seems like Isaku is on the case, but then we see the mysterious android-helper Sapuri – possibly Suppli – (Honda Tsubasa) walking away saying that it’s a good thing their idiots so . . . maybe the cops are on the wrong track after all?
We see Sapuri with the android next, and she becomes the first drama character in a drama I’ve reviewed (unless my memory fails me) who breaks the fourth wall – recognizes the existence of the audience. That came as quite a shock and totally changed my view of the series – her character seems particularly experimental.
Anyway, she patches the android up and, when he asks, reveals that other androids were destroyed when he went rogue (I think).
She also offers to install her emotion program (which she sure gets a lot of mileage out of) on him, but disappears before he can answer.
The android’s interface speaks in English, and it was funny to hear it say “2.43 million volts”, but see that translated into Japanese as “24,300 volts” (because 万 in Japanese is 10,000). Which number is correct? Almost certainly 24,300 volts – that’s about how much a Tesla electric car would have (though the android clearly has advanced battery technology). The android causes a blackout in the neighborhood because he tries to draw a full charge immediately instead of the hours an electric car takes. Sort of makes him easy to find.
The police discover that the kill list has been updated with Asahi’s time of death revised. Are the bad guys just going to keep revising the time of death until they get it right? That’s shoddy predictive work, isn’t it?
Isaku wonders why anyone would want Asahi dead, since she’s just a normal person. After all, the others on the list seemed to be scientists.
Asahi is back at work, trying to get her company’s technology to work properly (wait . . . could that be what has the assassins targeting her?).
But downstairs Nanase (Reiji’s sister, played by Oshima Yuko) is waiting for her. The discussion that follows doesn’t seem particularly important.
Anyway, time for some action, as the assassins move in, aiming to kill both Asahi and the android protecting her.
Turns out that our hero is at least a bit cleverer than they are.
But Asahi is nevertheless in trouble . . .
. . . and that’s not a real guard speaking to Nanase!
The upshot of this is fight is that Nanase is going to discover there are bad guys responsible for her brother’s death, and also a robot who looks like her brother.
I have to say that, despite the action, this is moving pretty slow so far. Of course, there’s plenty of explaining that they have to do, and there’s an up-front cost to that.
Asahi and the android have a little chat afterward where the robot finally makes clear his low regard for her – he might need to protect her, but he sure doesn’t have to listen to her.
He also seems to know all about Isaku, since he warns Asahi that Isaku is much smarter than she is, and that if Isaku figures things out, he will have to kill the detective.
And he doesn’t help her with explaining thing at all – not even a word to support what she was saying. Of course, she pretended he was really Reiji.
Trouble is, as the android already pointed out, Isaku is smart enough to see through Asahi’s explanation. And so begins the phase where the android and Asahi have to live together just to keep the explanation alive. It’s a time paradox thing.
So, that leaves us with the question of the episode – what do they decide to do?
About twenty minutes remain in the episode past this point, and I’ll leave the rest of the details out for your enjoyment.
There isn’t any mystery about the overall answer to the question, of course – the android will have to assume the role of Matsushima Reiji. But can he really fool everyone, including relatives and students?
I say “he”, but the android makes only the slightest attempt to fool anyone – the burden is all on Asahi at this point. And if she fails, he’s threatened to kill anyone who discovers the truth.
Fortunately, they only have to pretend until the android has dispatched of his eight remaining opponents. Nice to have only a finite number of enemies.
This episode was very difficult to evaluate because it was largely bookkeeping – explaining stuff and setting up stuff. There wasn’t anything particularly striking after the Sapuri part. In fact, the Sapuri part was so . . . different . . . that it made the rest of the episode feel boring. Without that scene, I think I would have found the rest reasonably-paced. Not well-paced, though – it was too long. It had a fifty-five minute program time, but I think they could have managed with just the forty-four or so that comes with a normal one hour time slot.
Sapuri and Isaku are my favorite characters so far. I’m going to withhold further judgment until they flesh everything out, but right now I’m mostly watching to see Honda-san and Endo-san in action. I hope the other characters get a bit more interesting. Aside from the angst and crying from Asahi and Nanase, the dialogue largely consists of incomprehensible hints concerning what’s really going on, and those get irritating after a while.