The Kaiba logo
|Genre||Science fiction, romance|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Masaaki Yuasa|
|Original run||April 2008 – July 2008|
Kaiba (カイバ?) is an anime series directed by Masaaki Yuasa that made its debut on WOWOW Satellite Network in Spring 2008. Animation by Madhouse, as a cyberpunk dystopian love story. The series received critical acclaim as an an Excellence Prize for animation at the 2008 Japan Media Arts Festival.
In Kaiba, memories can be stored as information via a memory chip. When individuals die, their minds live on. This digitization of mental information allows both the transfer of one's mind to someone else's body, and the theft and manipulation of other people's memories become a norm. Society has fallen apart, as authority enforces law arbitrarily and has become stagnant. 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 as a boy named Kaiba as he awakens in a ruined room. He has no memories, but he has 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.
- 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, as yet he is unaware of and unable to control these abilities clearly. 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 and tightly controlled in his palace, closely monitored by some other party through cameras and other devices while generally remaining in power.
- By the time the first episode begins, he has fallen down through the clouds, and his memories have been closed off to him by the electrical storms inside. Someone else in a clone of his body is currently reigning as king, though he does not have Warp's powers nor memories.
- Neiro (ネイロ Neiro?)
- Voiced by: Mamiko Noto
- A girl who shares an unknown connection with Kaiba. Little is known about her, although she is currently under the care of Popo and a memory merchant. 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 Issoudan for a very long time. She is largely under Popo's control, and he has her convinced that should she get into trouble, she has no other place to return to.
- In the events of episode 10, 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 of them abscond from the palace and fall through the clouds, Kaiba preserves her memories, but she falls back into Popo'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 Cloak, a man who is after Kaiba's special body.
- Popo is the more public voice for the organization Issoudan, an anti-memory chip organization destined to destroy Warp for the wrongs he allegedly committed and rid the world of these supposedly evil technologies. Popo's real motivation is likely more nearly that he wishes to take this power for himself.
- After the events before 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.
- 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 Neuron. Though Vanilla is extremely strict and oft sadistic in enforcing his authority, and enjoys doing so thoroughly, he is 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 Kaiba, in Chroniko's body, and has gone through great lengths to insure her safety. This devotion comes to a head in episode 7, while the two are on the run from higher authorities. 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 also telling Chroniko that he had back up bodies elsewhere to comfort him. However, after making sure that Kaiba is safe, Vanilla reveals 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. He often makes use of the body when he doesn't feel like being harassed by Vanilla any more. Despite its status as a substitute, Kaiba has an attachment towards it, and is in a brief moment of grief when he loses it in episode 5.
- Hyo-Hyo (ひょーひょー Hyōhyō?)
- Voiced by: Wasabi Mizuta
- A small intelligent creature that accompanies Kaiba starting from episode 2. It cannot speak (though it does have a voice) and it flies around using its two antennae to spin like propeller blades. It was dispatched by the memory merchant in episode 1 to follow Kaiba in his travels and helps Kaiba avoid capture. It is revealed near the end of the series that Hyo-Hyo contains the original memories of Neiro before she had her memory altered.
- 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 from storage), and her body is sold anyway. Before her body is taken by the buyer, 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, it is revealed at the last episode that Baru contained memories of Kaiba's mother. Baru first appeared in the first episode, when Po-po tries to eliminate the memoryless Kaiba, dashing out from a corner to carry Kaiba away.
Despite its appearance, Kaiba is in fact very much science fiction. Many powerful and futuristic devices are present throughout, creating a very different landscape of the possible vs. impossible than are present at the time of its making.
- Memory chips
- One of the most important features of the Kaiba landscape 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 it does provide a great advantage and convenience, as well as prolonging the life of their ego, 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 generally 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.
- Memory tanks
- When a person dies, their memories are released as small yellow-orange beans, called memory eggs, which float away out of the atmosphere, creating vast rivers of dead people's 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.
- Memory readers
- Odd shaped green devices, these can be used to not only read the memories of a living person, but to actually physically walk around inside the memory-bubble created there 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 function, they are even capable of freezing their target in place over a limited distance.
- Popo's exclamation seems to indicate that the official name for these devices is "horeito," and that they are additionally capable of completely erasing memories, effectively killing the target.
- Artificial bodies
- All different manner of artificial bodies are shown in the course of the show (most notably Kaiba), though they all seem to be inferior in quality to bodies that grow up normally. Advanced cloning and biological fabrication technologies are also very well developed.
- The most common type of weapon used in the show is never called by name ("kabairu" according to the official site and the ninth episode), but nearly omnipresent. They are shaped like a gold-colored globe with a ridge over the top, then a pointed end and a handle opposite. They often have a sound effect like something rustling against cast iron or brass whenever a character brandishes them. 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 in a single shot (It is notable that the blood in kaiba is green). They destroy most objects, with the exception of memory chips.
- Another different sort of weapon comes as a feature of the memory readers. They seem to be able to freeze their target in place, even stopping their thoughts in their tracks. Memory readers seem to also have the function of erasing the memory chip, killing the target.
- Opening Theme
- "Never" by Seira Kagami
- Ending Theme
- "Carry Me Away" by Seira Kagami
- "The Tree Song" by Yoshida Kiyoshi
- "Kaiba". Siren Visual. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- ANN: Yuasa Directs Kaiba
- "Tsumiki no Ie, Piano Forest, Kaiba Win Media Arts Awards". Anime News Network. 10 December 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
- Kaiba Episode 8, at about 19:30
- Kaiba announcement (Japanese)
- Official site (Japanese)
- Kaiba (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia