At the end of the last episode of Ando Lloyd (安堂ロイド〜A.I. knows LOVE?〜), Lloyd (Kimura Takuya) faced off against three androids and survived by defeating one of them while the other two stood around and then . . . I think the other two just got intimidated and fled. Either that or Lloyd somehow forced them to retreat. I didn’t really understand it, but the implication was that Lloyd suddenly got some super powers – more super than the powers he already had, though we hardly had any sense of the limits of that.

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The downside to becoming Super Lloyd is that the exertion forced his system to shut down.

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Isaku (Endo Kenichi) helps Asahi (Shibasaki Kou) take care of Lloyd, after having assessed Lloyd’s character during their confrontation in the last episode. Just the fact that Lloyd could have killed him but didn’t has impressed Isaku.

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Asahi wonders if Nanase (Oshima Yuko) can help Lloyd, but Nanase refuses. Of course, it’s not like she has any ill-will toward the robot, right?

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Oh yeah, that. I guess that could make her unwilling to help him. But it seems like she’s acting under the influence of the Mysterious Beauty (Kiritani Mirei) who is engaging in a bit of psychological warfare against Nanase in particular, saying that Nanase killed Reiji. Nanase seems to have some guilt about feeling jealous toward Reiji, but did she really hate him that much, or is the Mysterious Beauty taking that guilt and blowing it way out of proportion?

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Isaku wonders if Lloyd in his ARXII-13 days (you know, when he was a ruthless killing machine instead of the emotional wreck he is now) was tasked to kill civilians as a method of population control.

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I found the suggestion rather stupid. Or, more accurately, I found it outdated. Population control plots in science fiction were popular in the 1970s and 1980s when it looked like the population was booming around the world and set to outstrip food production. Since then we’ve figured out that that’s not how it works – as the people of Japan should know, as places get more developed, their population stabilizes and declines. And even if a country doesn’t become industrially developed, there is the simple fact that when people have nothing to eat, they die. You really don’t need to send robots around to kill people. There are also more complicated reasons why the Population Bomb theory of those decades were refuted to do with agricultural technology and the fact that the problem is distribution rather than production.

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Anyway, at this point in the episode I was really hoping this population thing wasn’t the explanation of future events they were going with, but I’m sorry to say that it is.

In the same conversation, Isaku tells Asahi to call Shinzo (Kiritani Kenta) for help. That’s quite a coincidence, because Shinzo is not only eager to kill Lloyd . . .

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. . . but he’s called in by the cops and handed the means to do just that – a sort of robot poison he has to inject. They’re in contact with the police in 2113, and they’re afraid the ARXII-13 will go berserk in 2013 like he did in 2066.

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Assuming we’re only talking about one reality here, this seems to run afoul of the whole time paradox thing. After all, if the ARXII-13 ran amok in 2013, the cops in 2113 should already know it happened. More importantly, the creators of the ARXII-13 would have known about it. But we have been told that the ARXII-13 killed millions of people because of a glitch and not because of deliberate programming. So, why would someone deliberately create a robot they know would end up committing a massacre? Or even name it the same as a robot that did so? So confusing. The obvious solution is that the people giving this reason to Shinzo don’t believe it themselves – they’re either androids from the future or willing pawns of the future cops.

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So, Shinzo shows up at Asahi’s place, and even though Asahi knows Shinzo hates Lloyd, she agrees to leave Shinzo alone with the android. Really? First of all, she’s the leader of a tech team, so she probably knows plenty about technology herself – at least enough to be able to check out what he’s up to. If she really wanted to keep Lloyd safe, there’s no reason why she couldn’t insist on watching what Shinzo does. Second, the method Shinzo is going to use to kill Lloyd is a big, obvious syringe. Now, I know Asahi might not have seen that coming, but still . . . .

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Now, we know Lloyd has to survive, because Kimura-san got top billing and that means he can only die in the final episode (if that). So the question for the episode is this: does Shinzo relent, Lloyd suddenly come back on and stop him, Asahi finally regain her senses just as Shinzo’s about to do the deed, or Isaku realize that his superiors enlisted Shinzo’s help and intervene?

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That’s a really good question thanks to all those possible scenarios (and those were only the most obvious ones). Unfortunately, we’re asking it very early in the episode, and there’s lots . . .

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. . . and lots . . .

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. . . and lots of time left.

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And it proceeded very, very slowly.

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There were some interesting tidbits along the way. We got to see some more of the Reiji backstory, for instance. The ending was excellent except for some of the acting – especially Shibasaki Kou-san’s shaky effort. But we at least got a bit of a surprise at the end for our patience.

Unfortunately, this episode demanded a lot of patience as it gave us a lot up front, proceeded through the bulk of the hour at a snail’s pace, then wound up with a fast-paced ending.

I still don’t like the population bomb explanation of future events, which was really lazy on the part of the writers. Part of the interest in watching a science fiction series is to see what version of the future it depicts. The writers have been hiding that from us so far, and now that they’ve revealed the part of their hand, I’m not impressed. As a science fiction writer myself, I’m not impressed.

And with that being a disappointment, and no Suppli to look forward to anymore, I’m not a happy camper. Will this series manage to turn it around somehow? There’s still the remainder of their hand – what exactly Reiji did to save Asahi’s life and who sent Lloyd back and why. They’ve got three episodes to turn the answers to those questions into something interesting.