Nae sure did grow up. Those of you who have watched Steins;Gate will remember her as the cheerful little girl. She’s still cheerful alright, but she’s definitely not little any more. Nae aside, this was another great episode, with a strong focus on Airi and Aki. I felt that Airi really needed a bit more attention, so this was a welcome development. It seemed as if she had been introduced as a convenient device to inform us about the Kimijima reports, and then brushed aside. Here, though, we see that she’s actually got some character to her. Though she may be an AI, Airi is essentially a program, so she must carry out the tasks she’s been given obediently. It seems fairly obvious by now that she was originally some sort of weather app, as the opening scene suggests. My guess is Kimijima just attached the “Sister Centipede” mode to her as a means of carrying on his plans in case anything happened to him.
Being an AI, Airi is also “trapped” in the “world” of the Iru-O. Well, it’s more like she can only understand the real world from the static data available on the Iru-O. It’s a little strange to me that she can tell the weather but can’t just simulate it in her “digital” world, but I digress. The point is that she can’t sympathize with Kai’s pain even if she wanted to. In the end, she’s just a program, and it would appear as if they haven’t figured out how to give programs feelings in the Robotics;Notes universe. Clearly she cares for Kai though, as she broke her secrecy and appeared to Aki in an effort to have him rescued. But what I’m wondering is, how genuine is this apparent care? Did she merely want Kai rescued so that Kimijima’s words would not be lost forever? Or did she want to save him because she actually came to like him after watching him for so long? Yet another pressing question is, if something did happen to Kai, would Kimijima’s words really be lost forever? Sister Centipede claimed that Kai was “chosen” as the subject for contact, but does this mean that the reports can only be revealed to him (conditionally, even)?
There was also a focus on Aki this episode, not that she isn’t the center of attention most of the time anyway. She continues her attempts to talk to Misaki, though I’m guessing even this latest attempt will go nowhere. I do wonder why Misaki became so distant. The depictions of her in the past suggest that she was just as cheerful as Aki, with both Aki and Kai looking up to her as a sort of role model. I would have cited the mass fainting incident as the turning point, but last episode we see Kai’s memory that she had already become “disillusioned” before that. I could be mistaken though, as the chronology of the flashbacks is never really made apparent. We also see that Aki’s father is more than just a silly old man (albeit the head of the JAXA station). He obviously spoils Aki, though that may be a bit of an understatement here as he offers the support of JAXA. But point is we see that he has some weight to pull around, unlike the initial “weak” impression we got of him. Finally, the interaction between Aki and Kai this episode was very sweet, and goes to show just how inseparable the two are. They really should just get together already! I’m sure everyone is expecting it.
With the “unlocking” of the second Kimijima report, we find out that there is indeed a secret organization known as “The Committee of 300” pulling the strings in the background. Apparently their goal is to decrease the world population to around one billion. I’m not sure what the number is in the Robotics;Notes universe, our the world population today is about seven billion. That’s a proposal to kill off more than 85% of mankind! And if they really are behind hiding the impending explosion of the sun, I don’t see how this is going to help their plans. The sun exploding would really just kill everyone (and destroy the entire solar system, at that). I guess things will be further cleared up in due time.
Evil secret organizations plotting to screw over mankind are a bit cliche (and well used in the Nitroplus/5pb. games and adaptations), but this isn’t really a problem. It’s not as if the success of a series hinges on the uniqueness of the bad guys. If anything, the secret organization is probably more of “the bad” here than their concept itself. What kind of idiots would really want to so seriously maim mankind?