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|Original title||Loop (ループ Rūpu)|
|Cover artist||Chip Kidd|
|Genre||Horror, simulated reality|
|Publisher||Kadokawa Shoten, Vertical, Inc.|
Published in English
The story revolves around a simulated reality, exactly the same as our own, known as the Loop: created to simulate the emergence and evolution of life. It is in this alternate universe that the events of the previous novels, Ring and Spiral took place.
The story revolves around a medical student named Kaoru Futami. His father, Hideyuki, contracts a deadly disease known as Metastatic Human Cancer (MHC). This is a terminal cancer that involves all forms of organic life: humans, animals and plants. Events lead his father to tell Kaoru more about the LOOP project he worked on. The LOOP project is essentially a virtual reality simulator which is meant to represent the emergence of life and how the world most likely evolved. It is known that almost everyone who was involved in the LOOP project has died of the same cancer.
Kaoru, now 20, ends up studying medicine taking tutoring on as a part-time job. He often likes to relax in the public pool where he first meets Reiko and her son Ryoji. He later meets them at the Cancer Ward where his father is being nursed. Reiko asks him to tutor her son, who also has the virus. Kaoru takes on this challenge mainly because he falls in love with Reiko, who is about 15 years his senior. Reiko is also a carrier of the MHC virus, much like his mother Machiko, but neither one of them actually contract the virus. Eventually, Kaoru and Reiko start to have sex with one another once Ryoji goes through Chemotherapy sessions. When Ryoji figures this out, he commits suicide by falling backwards out of a 12-story building onto the concrete. It's about a month later when Reiko and Kaoru meet one more time where she thinks she's pregnant with Kaoru's child. He also reads Ryoji's suicide note which tells him the motivation for his suicide.
Kaoru continues his investigation on the LOOP and his father asks him to meet a man named Amano. Amano, a microbiologist, was involved in the final stages of Loop before it was scrapped. He reveals to Kaoru that LOOP was a project involving a hundred supercomputers strung together with the aim to recreate life. Amano also tells Kaoru of a lab in New Mexico where another scientist might be alive. During this period he also finds out that the cancer cells all equal 2n X 3. Kaoru's mother, Machiko, convinces him to go to the desert after relating a tale of the "Ancient One" who has a thousand eyes watching.
Kaoru then ventures to this place only to find the scientist dead. However, he finds his lab and enters. The computer turns itself on and wishes him to put on a pair of virtual reality goggles and gloves. He tries them on and minutes later is sent into the Loop world. Once in the LOOP, he experiences a Native American's life who has a wife and two children. Unlike watching a movie, Kaoru actually experiences the feelings of—and pain of—the person. Eventually, his character is brutally murdered by whites. He then comes back to the real world where he has a hard time distinguishing the difference between the real world and LOOP world. In order to keep himself aware of the real world, he hurts himself and then calls Reiko, then Amano. Once he calls Amano he specifically asks for the coordinates of the events that are crucial to the LOOP evolution: the lives of Asakawa, Takayama and Yamamura. Amano pinpoints the exact coordinates of the events that take place. He also explains how Kaoru can either merge consciousness with people in LOOP or that he watch from afar like a ghost. He then finds out, in complete detail, events from the previous novels navigating from different angles. First he looks at things from Ryuji's eyes, then Asakawa, finally settling on a character named Ando who finds out the truth about Sadako.
Soon after that, he has another discussion with Amano, who knows that the LOOP's creator had intentions to recreate Ryuji's death. By doing so, he could create a clone and insert him into a woman's womb. But what they forgot is that Ryuji's clone would carry the Ring Virus with his genes. Therefore, when Ryuji was reborn, the virus escaped and mutated into the MHC virus.
Desperate to find the cure for the MHC virus, Kaoru ventures deeper west into the desert only to encounter a storm that leaves him on the verge of death. He is then saved by an old man named Eliot who has purposefully crafted all the events to bring Kaoru to him. After essentially resurrecting Kaoru, the man explains what has happened, and that, Kaoru is Ryuji's clone. As a result, Kaoru has an exceptional gift of immunity to the MHC virus. In order to stop the virus from destroying the real world, Kaoru is essentially sent back to the LOOP world as the one who solves (and eventually stops) the Ring virus. One of the main problems is that he cannot come back to the real world to see his father (still in the hospital) or Reiko ever again. However, in order to save them, he agrees.
Upon accepting, the old man transfers Kaoru's analyzed molecules into the LOOP where he promises that Reiko can see him. In the LOOP, Kaoru solves the problem with the help of Ando. He watches Ando's resurrected son play in the water. Once Ando leaves, Kaoru looks up at the stars wondering about Reiko.
- Simulated reality
- Simulated reality in fiction
- Horror Fiction
- Gothic Fiction
- Japanese Literature
- Ring Novel
- Suzuki, Koji. Loop. Vertical Inc. p. 1.