Episode 3: Cursor II

Key: The Metal Idol moves through its narrative like it were a dream state, except some of its participants are awake, and sensible, and trying to make real sense out of their senseless predicaments. Sakura, who has a regrettably small part to play in this episode, is Key’s opposite and double, with all of the emotions and appeal that Key lacks, but still unable to make a go at life. Tataki (introduced last episode as the man Sakura flirts with in her video store) is her link to the reality behind Miho Utsuse’s stage persona, and in his own way as inward and alone as Key. Then there’s the Metal Idol herself, of whom we can have no understanding, since she doesn’t seem to know what she is either.

Equally strange is the head of Ajo Heavy Industries, crafters of the PPOR1. Typical motivations aren’t enough for this show, nor are typical business plans: Ajo doesn’t just build big robot killing machines, they are also the backers of Miho Utsuse. We learn here that Miho isn’t Miho – she’s a construction, life like in every way, but a robot nonetheless, her voice provided by a girl who begs for sleep or death, confined to a machine. It’s a perfect example of the show’s extrapolation of madness into reality – Miho is actually a staff of engineers, built by an international robot manufacturer, and one tortured girl. Key just wants to cut out the middle man, be the robot and the tortured girl all in one.

Ajo himself is a basket case – he isn’t a typical money hungry business man, he has some sick desire to see his robots out in the street, regardless of the havoc they cause. Particularly creepy: a scene with him down on his knees in a pile of robot parts, wearing the iron face of one of them over his own as a mask. Ick.

Key maintains its swift pace, and each episode satisfies because, as much as it builds upon its mysteries, it also gives little connections and pieces of information so we don’t feel at a loss the whole show. Stuff may be weird, but all the time while watching Key I feel like we’re heading for something. The answers may not be just around the corner, but there are answers, not just mysteries.

1PPOR – big robots walking around in trench coats killing people at the order of the big white haired guy named both Sergei and “D”.
Rating :B+

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com