Key the Metal Idol
Key & Sakura

Key the Metal Idol, for those who have never seen this wonderful OAV series, is a Pinocchio/Little Prince/Edward Scissorhands style story of an android girl searching for her humanity. She is told, in her "grandfather's" (her creator, Dr. Murao Mima) last words, to seek out the friendship of 30,000 people--for then only will she have the power to make herself human.

Of course at the outset such a request seems absurd; however, Doctor Mima, showing a keen wisdom even in his dying moments, instructs her to undertake this effort, knowing full well that it is not so much the goal of befriending 30,000 people that is important, rather, it is the effort alone that will yield the ultimate reward. He simply explained it to her in terms her machine mind could comprehend given the very short time he had left to do so..

Key's evolution during Mima's living years is also interesting; he adapts her to human society over a period of 17 years, allowing her to "grow up" even as a biological human child matures. In fact, most of the elements needed to elicit that magical, wonderful change to human awareness are already in place in Key's conscious (and unconscious); a few final 'triggers' seem to need tripping to complete her transformation.

The most profound scenes in the series are found in those when--for the moment--the human puzzle is solved; Key closes her eyes on the machine's eye view of her world and opens them in human understanding. One scene in particular illustrates this revelation: In Version 4 (episode 4), when the PPOR robot confronts Tamari (the small-time porn video producer and sometimes Idol singer promoter), the events that transpire (Tamari falls from the penthouse deck; he and Key are balanced precariously on the failing overhang) are quite intense: Key, her mounting awareness that all of the people that are watching this happen are calling out to her in concern ("Ganbatte"--hang in there!), for the moment has many "friends", and she can feel that it is so. In that single moment, a quantum change overtakes her; she becomes something greater man or machine.

Check out the Key the Metal Idol web site.
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Christopher S. Rider ---