The Kaiba logo
|Genre||Science fiction, adventure, mystery, romance|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Masaaki Yuasa|
|Music by||Kiyoshi Yoshida|
|Original run||April 10, 2008 – July 24, 2008|
Kaiba (カイバ) is an anime series directed by Masaaki Yuasa that made its debut on WOWOW Satellite Network in Spring 2008. A sci-fi love story, the series was produced by Madhouse. The series received critical acclaim as an Excellence Prize for animation at the 2008 Japan Media Arts Festival.
In Kaiba's universe, memories can be stored as information via a memory chip; when individuals die, their minds live on. This digitization of mental information allows for the transfer of one's mind to someone else's body, and the theft and manipulation of other people's memories has become the norm. Society is largely divided into two classes. In the skies are electrical storms, which cannot be passed through without losing one's memories. Above them lies the realm of the wealthy and powerful, who barter others' bodies and memories for their own enjoyment and longevity. Below the clouds is a troubled and dangerous world where good bodies are hard to come by and real money is scarce.
The series begins with a boy named Kaiba as he awakens in a ruined room. He has no memories, but he has a hole in his chest, a triangular mark on his stomach, and a pendant with a picture of an unknown girl inside. After being attacked, Kaiba escapes and, through his travels, regains his memories. Meanwhile, the girl from the pendant struggles with her own convictions and her past, which may be intertwined with Kaiba's origins.
- Kaiba (カイバ Kaiba) or Warp (ワープ Wāpu)
- Voiced by: Houko Kuwashima
- The main character, who does not speak very much. Kaiba has a hole in the middle of his chest and a tattoo of three circles forming a triangle on his belly. At the beginning of the show, he has no memories he can access.
- Kaiba has great power; it slowly becomes revealed that he is able to survive physical damage unscathed, and he also appears to have powerful abilities to halt or destroy large objects with his mind. However, without memory of his past, he is unaware of and unable to control these abilities. He also has a vastly detailed and complex memory, in effect total recall.
- Kaiba's real name is Warp, and he is most commonly known as the king of memories, of whom he is the genuine original. He is one of six sons of his father, the former king; in a conflict to determine his father's succession at the end of his life, all of Kaiba's brothers were killed, and only Kaiba survives with his invulnerability. For some time he ruled in the place of his father, and invented the technology that enabled the preservation of memories, making it available to the people. Since then, it appears that he was closed off in his palace, monitored through a computer and other devices while generally remaining in power.
- By the time the first episode begins, Kaiba has fallen through the clouds and as a result has lost all of his memories. Currently reigning as king is someone else in a clone of his body, although this clone does not have Warp's powers or memories.
- Neiro (ネイロ Neiro)
- Voiced by: Mamiko Noto
- A girl who shares an unknown connection with Kaiba. In the beginning, little is known about her, although she is currently under the care of Popo. In Episode 2, a broadcast reports about a "memory tank" exploding, releasing thousands of memories into space in the form of orange egg capsules. It is believed that Neiro is responsible for this incident.
- Neiro grew up alongside Popo, and has been involved with the resistance group Issoudan for a very long time. She is largely under Popo's control as he has convinced her that, should she get into trouble, she has no other place to return to.
- In Episode 10, structured as a flashback sequence of events happening just prior to the first episode, Neiro meets Kaiba and falls in love with him, and when he leaves she is sent to his palace to kill him. When the two meet again and abscond from the palace, the powerless Warp clone makes them fall through the clouds. Kaiba preserves her Neiro's memories rather than his own, but she falls back into Popo and Issoudan's hands.
- Popo (ポポ Popo)
- Voiced by: Romi Park
- Popo is the first to encounter Kaiba upon awakening. After crossing paths with him again, he explains to Kaiba the nature of the current world, and that his life is in danger. Giving him the temporary name "Warp," Popo smuggles him onto the freight ship Neuron while creating a diversion for him to escape from Mantle, a man who is after Kaiba's special body.
- Popo is the public voice for the organization Issoudan, an anti-memory chip organization destined to destroy Warp for the wrongs he allegedly committed. While Issoudan's supposed aim is to rid the world of these technologies, Popo's real motivation seems to be that he wishes to take Warp's power for himself.
- After the events which take place prior to the first episode, Popo has Neiro's memories modified to make all her good memories of him and all her bad memories of Warp, ensuring her loyalty.
- The shady man behind Issoudan, regarded almost religiously by its members. Popo is not as reverent.
- Later in the series, it is revealed that Dada-sama is actually three different people in aged Warp clones, working to take back the throne from the original Warp.
- Vanilla (バニラ Banira)
- Voiced by: Hisao Egawa
- The sheriff on board the ship Neuron. Though Vanilla is extremely strict and oft sadistic in enforcing his authority, and enjoys doing so thoroughly, he is willing to make deals, accept bribery, and/or steal memory chips for himself. He also has a weakness for extremely cute girls. However, he is devoted to Chroniko (which, in actuality, is Kaiba in Chroniko's body), and has gone through great lengths to ensure her/his safety. This devotion comes to a head in Episode 7 while the two are on the run from higher authorities. While fleeing, he transfers Kaiba's and Hyo-Hyo's memories elsewhere as their ship is under bombardment, knowing well that they would be unable to escape, and tells Chroniko that he had back up bodies elsewhere to comfort her/him. However, after making sure that Chroniko (Kaiba)'s memories are safe, it is revealed that there was no such insurance, and perishes alongside Chroniko's body when the ship is destroyed.
- Kaba (カバ Kaba)
- A stuffed animal-like body that resembles a hippo. Kaiba uses this body to smuggle himself in the ship. It is very difficult for him to move around in this state, and he is also incapable of speech or expressing facial emotion. While using Chroniko's body, Kaiba also makes use of the hippo body when he doesn't feel like being harassed or chased after by Vanilla. Despite its status as a substitute, Kaiba has an attachment towards it, and shows a brief moment of grief when it is destroyed in Episode 5.
- Hyo-Hyo (ひょーひょー Hyōhyō)
- Voiced by: Wasabi Mizuta
- A small intelligent creature that accompanies Kaiba after flying aboard the ship at the end of Episode 1. It cannot speak intelligible language (though it does have a voice) and it flies around, spinning its two antennae like propeller blades to float. Hyo-Hyo goes to great lengths to make sure Kaiba avoids capture.
- It is revealed near the end of the series that due to Kichi's displeasure at being ordered by Popo modify Neiro's memories, he backed up Neiro's original, un-altered memories in Hyo-Hyo. Thus, Hyo-Hyo was actually Neiro trying to help Kaiba remember his memories and who she is. However, by the end, Neiro and Hyo-Hyo have experienced a completely different series of events, begging the question of which is the "real" Neiro.
- Chroniko (クロニコ Kuroniko)
- A girl Kaiba meets during a stop Neuron makes in Episode 3. She sells her body (literally) so that the money can support her family and hopes that someday her family will become wealthy enough to buy her a new body in the future. However, she is killed by a corrupt doctor (by simply releasing her mind rather than putting it in a chip and sending it to her family), and her body is sold anyway. Before her body is taken by the buyers, Hyo-Hyo places Kaiba's mind inside her body, and Kaiba uses this disguise to avoid capture and get back aboard Neuron.
- Baru (バル Baru)
- An ostrich-like creature who saves Kaiba in the beginning of the first episode and at other points throughout the series. In the final episode, it is revealed that Baru contained the memories of Kaiba's mother.
The world and story of Kaiba involves many elements of science fiction. Powerful, futuristic devices are present throughout the series.
- Memory chips
- One of the most defining factors in the universe of Kaiba is the ability to store a person's memories, preserving them after death and allowing them to change bodies if needed. Not everyone opts for the change, but many do if they can afford it. While this provides a great advantage and convenience, as well as essentially prolonging their life, it can also make a person shockingly vulnerable, because their chip can be removed putting them at their attacker's mercy.
- Memory chips are small metallic cones which insert into the top of the head. With some assistance, it is easy to switch bodies at will. It is also possible to modify, copy, and trade memories on the open market or at a clinic for good or nefarious purposes alike.
- Blasting guns (kābairu, カーバイル)
- The most common type of weapon in the show, these golden, metallic guns are nearly omnipresent. They are shaped like a globe with a ridge over the top, and feature a pointed end with a handle on the opposite side. They appear to be heavy, and a character moving or brandishing one creates a distinctive sound of dragging cast iron or brass. These weapons vary in size from handheld all the way up to very large, wrapping around the body and carried similarly to a large marching band drum. These weapons are devastating in power, and are capable of exploding a person into blood (which appears as green) in a single shot. They destroy most objects with the exception of memory chips and memory eggs.
- Memory readers (hōreitō, ホーレイトー)
- These odd-shaped green devices can be used to not only read the memories of a living person, but to physically walk around inside the person's memory bubble and explore their mind. Memories usually appear like books, though the style varies greatly depending on the person. It is also shown that the room the memories are in stays the same regardless of who is in the body; changing the person using the body merely changes all the memories inside. The devices can also copy the memories from a living person and play them back later, as if the person was still there.
- As a secondary and tertiary functions, they are also capable of freezing their target in place over a limited distance, along with completely erasing memories, effectively killing the target.
- Memory tanks
- When a person (or their body) dies, if they do not have a memory chip, their memories are released as small yellow-orange "memory eggs," which float away through the atmosphere, creating vast rivers of deceased individuals' memories out in space. On some planets, these memories are collected in huge yellow memory tanks like anchored hot-air balloons, the contents of which can then be searched and viewed.
- Artificial bodies
- Many artificial bodies are shown throughout the course of the show (most notably Kaba, the hippo body), although they appear to be inferior in quality to natural bodies. Advanced cloning and biological fabrication technologies are also very well developed.
- Opening Theme
- "Never" by Seira Kagami
- Ending Theme
- "Carry Me Away" by Seira Kagami
- "The Tree Song" by Kiyoshi Yoshida
- "Kaiba". Siren Visual. Archived from the original on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- "Discotek to Release Kaiba TV Anime, Galaxy Express 999, Adieu Galaxy Express 999, Hells Anime Films on Blu-ray". Anime News Network. June 11, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- ANN: Yuasa Directs Kaiba
- "Tsumiki no Ie, Piano Forest, Kaiba Win Media Arts Awards". Anime News Network. 10 December 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2008.