Key the Metal Idol
Episode 4

Version 4: Access


We see a quick series of scenes that are not too far back in the past, but they are from a time before Key's arrival in Tokyo. Sakura is on the job with her pizza delivery scooter. As she is riding she sees a man walking ahead of her down the street, but instead of passing him she stops her scooter and watches him. It is Tataki. Sakura is then seen loitering outside the video store, trying to not-too-obviously look inside. She is startled as she sees Tataki suddenly exit through the doors right next to the window she was looking through. She whirls around to face away from him before he has a chance to notice her; we can see a rather shy look or Sakura's face, and she slowly turns around to see if he is still there. Tataki hasn't said anything to her at all during these events, making it apparent that he and Sakura have not yet met.

In the next scene, Tataki is at the counter ready to rent some tapes. Sakura, now employed at the video store, is arranging tapes on the shelf behind the counter. She starts to greet her customer before she gets fully turned around to see who it is; when she recognizes Tataki she looks rather bashful. In another instance of encountering Tataki while delivering a pizza, she screeches to a halt and Tataki turns around to look at her. Sakura, gathering her nerve, offers the pizza to Tataki. (Ed. note: Sakura has a crush on the poor guy. :)

Opening Titles

Part A

Traffic has become congested along one portion of a street at the point where it passes in front of a building. The motorists and pedestrians alike seem to have their attention focused on the roof of the building.

Walking into the area is a curious, wizened little man. His clothing is very odd: his robe is adorned with six cottonballs, the collar is made up of a very large Elizabethan folded "whimple" on top of which is what has to be the corrugated cuff of a clown's costume. His necklace includes beads and animal teeth, but it is dominated by a large crystal sphere bound by a golden snake. Only his geta (clogs) seem natural. The man has a shaven head and thick, deep-set features. He watches the drama unfolding on the roof.

Tamari is slowly backing away from something unseen by the crowd below. Key and Tataki, on a terrace a few stories below the roof, recognize Tamari and wonder what he is doing up there. Tamari has retreated as far as he can, and is backed up against the railing at the edge of the roof. He crawls up onto the railing, almost losing his balance. "He gonna fall!" a man in a green shirt shouts. A man next to him suggests that somebody go up there, but the girl with the first man says no, that could cause the man up there to panic. The short, curiously-dressed little man clutches the crystal ball of his necklace and bows his head in prayer; he is apparently some sort of priest.

Standing at the corner of an alley just behind the crowd, Tomoyo is also watching the scene between glances at his notebook computer's display. He curses the fact he can't get a clear reading. At that moment, the green-shirted man shouts that it looks like someone else is also on the roof.

On the rooftop, Tamari is confronted by a PPOR. "W-what do you want with me?" stammers Tamari. In the control van, we can see D form words with his lips but they are spoken by the PPOR: "Mima Tokiko. You know her." "Mima? Who the heck is that?" Tamari gasps in reply. "The friend of the girl in those pictures," says the PPOR. "I don't know anything about her," replies Tamari. "And what the hell did you do to my assistant?" "Tell me where Mima Tokiko is," demands the PPOR, advancing toward Tamari. "I don't know! Why do you want to know?" Tamari wheezes. "Where is Mima Tokiko," repeats the PPOR. A gust of wind suddenly blows the hat off the PPOR, revealing it's bald, steel head. Tamari gapes, near the limit of sanity. He turns around to run away but nearly tumbles over the fence. The tension mounts among the observers. On the terrace, a man suggests calling the police while one of the waiters goes up to the roof to see if he can help.

Tataki, looking a Key for a moment, notices she has changed: she is looking up at the roof, terrified.

The waiter who went up to try and help finds his way blocked by a second PPOR. On the rooftop, Tamari has climbed to the other side of the railing. The PPOR is still advancing slowly. Tamari says to hold off, he'll talk. The PPOR halts. Tamari, brows twitching, turns away from the rail, screaming for someone to help him.

Key, gears turning yet with tears in her eyes, looks with her mind's eye at a flurry of faces: one of the street punks...Tamari's cameraman..Tamari himself...Miho, a rose stuck in her chest..a vision of her grandfather lying in his own blood. Key's pupils constrict, and we see the PPOR, then the PPOR's inner mechanisms...and it's power box. The power box convulses, and Key suddenly screams, "Mr. Tamari, no!!!"

The power box disruption makes the PPOR go out of control; D is struck by the feedback through the control system. A strange, pink vapor is leaking from the PPOR. The PPOR suddenly lurches forward, leaking vapor and smashing into the railing; Tamari somehow manages to hang on.

In the stairwell, the second PPOR has collapsed, ramming it's head into the wall. The first PPOR, now berserk, grabs Tamari by the head and flings him out over the street. As he falls, Key is backing up toward the terrace railing in terror. Trying to save himself, Tamari grabs wildly for the terrace rail but manages to drag Key over with him! The crowd, horrified, can only watch.

We hear them strike something below. The crowd, most of whom had averted their eyes, look up to see that, by some miracle, Tamari and Key have landed on an awning one story below the terrace. Already the awning is buckling under the weight, but is still holding. Tomoyo bursts through the crowd and enters the building, which the priest notices. As Tomoyo ascends the stairs, he comes across the body of the cameraman.

Tamari is trying to pull himself all the way up onto the awning. The unstable overhang shifts, and Tamari is saved from falling only by desperately grabbing Key's arm; he now hangs by one hand, he and Key clasping each other's wrist. Tataki asks one of the restaurant staff if there is any way into the room on the level with the awning, but it is owned by another restaurant and is presently locked. As Tataki agitatedly asks about a rope and learns that the only rope is the emergency ladder fixed to another wall, we see D fall out of the van and stagger toward the building. Tomoyo, dashing into the terrace restaurant, pulls tablecloths from the tables and lashes them together. He hands the makeshift rope to Tataki. The awning is collapsing further, and it is all Key can do to keep from falling. "Grandfather..." she cries in despair.

The crowd starts shouting encouragement, telling Key to hang in there, that she can do it...for just a little longer...

Key, her eyes squeezed shut, hears the words of so many people calling out in concern for her. She feels more than sees the hands praying, frightened people watching yet hopeful..the shouts of friends calling her name...

In the darkness of her mind, she falls...

The shouts and cries of the concerned crowd grow distant. Key is kneeling on the ground in a forest glen. As she opens her eyes, she sees her grandfather smiling down at her! Other are here too, people she knows, people that love her, people who are her true friends. Sakura is there...Tomoyo and Tataki are there. Key stands and looks about herself. All of them are here! People from the restaurant and the priest...people all clustered around her..hundreds of friends...maybe thousands...

The voices fade to silence as the sound of temple drums grows. The camera pans across the open space of the glen; there is a shrine on the far side. The ceremonial torches are lit, and a shinto priestess is standing on the platform. The priestess smiles and nods to Key. There is a sudden brightness as the priestess' face floats toward Key; Key's body seems to absorb power from the all of the gathered people...

The wind is blowing about the awning on which Key and Tamari are hanging. Key opens her eyes, looking out over the street, then down at Tamari. She smiles comfortingly...and then effortlessly flings him all the way back up onto the roof! The priest in the street below is amazed--as is everyone. Tamari lands with a yelp and looks up to see the dormant PPOR standing some dozen feet away.

Key slowly levitates from the awning, held in place only by a shred of the overhang's cloth around her ankle. Tamari, still shaking, looks up at the PPOR; it has a rose embedded in it's right eye-lens. Key is concentrating on something, to the point of gritting her teeth. The rose in the PPOR begins to mysteriously bloom, crackling with energy. Key suddenly looks forward in extreme concentration and blows out a short breath...

The PPORs, both of them, explode like stars gone nova. It is not quite an ordinary explosion, however; it is as if all of the matter in the PPORs was converted to energy--there is virtually nothing left. D watches the explosive flash of the PPOR on the roof from the street; the waiter on the stairs witnesses the destruction of the other.

Key relaxes, her eyes beginning to look sleepy. Just as she faints, Tataki, who came down via the rope, catches her. "Pull us up!" he shouts.


Part B

As Tataki places the unconscious Key on the floor of the terrace, he tells Tomoyo to call an ambulance. Tomoyo says she doesn't need one and not to worry--it's just a "blackout." Tomoyo picks Key up and carries her out. Tataki asks Tomoyo to wait up, then spots the roses and runs after Tomoyo, saying that he forgot something. On the street, Tomoyo hails a cab, which the wizened priest observes. As the cab leaves with Tomoyo, Tataki and Key, the priest begins chuckling to himself. "Now *this* is interesting," he says. The priest departs.

In the cab, Tataki demands to know what a "blackout" is. "And just who *are* you, anyway?" he adds. Tomoyo is silent. Tataki continues, "I saw you at the video store last night, and you were at the concert hall today. But something tells me it isn't *me* you're tailing. Just what are you up to?" Tomoyo replies that it should be obvious he is Key's bodyguard.

Back on the rooftop, D appears. Looking about, he finds no sign of the PPOR save for one finger that managed to escape the destruction. As he picks it up, he hears Tamari, chuckling in madness and hunched up near the railing. Police sirens are heard...

At Sakura's place, she answers the door to find Tataki, who carries Key inside. When Sakura notices Key, she gets concerned, wanting to know if something happened to her. "You might say that," mutters Tataki. Tomoyo comes in, closing the door. He tells Sakura not to worry, it's just a "blackout." Sakura recognizes him from when she used to live in Key's village; Tomoyo admits it has been a while. Tataki is surprised to learn that she knows Tomoyo. Sakura remarks that she thought it was Tomoyo she saw that night while delivering the pizza to Tamari's.

Tataki explains that he found Key in front of the concert hall. Tomoyo prepares to leave, telling Sakura that Key should recover in a couple of hours and not to come down on her too hard. Tomoyo tells Tataki, "Hey, let's go," and steps out. Tataki pauses to say goodnight, but by the time he steps outside, Tomoyo is gone. Inside, Sakura sighs and says to the sleeping Key, "Whatever am I going to do with you?"

At Ajo's headquarters, Ajo and the PPOR field staff are reviewing the evening's events in the van. A blurred picture of the PPOR's eye-view of the roof shows Key standing on the terrace. "So this is Mima's granddaughter," says Ajo. "I can't tell if she is human or not." The playback then shows Tamari sailing up from the edge and landing on the roof just before the image cuts out. Ajo accuses the staff of using the explosion as an excuse for not determining the cause of the failure. Ajo berates his team, enraged over the fact he lost two of his precious PPORs and that these fools can't tell him why. He tells them to get out of his sight and re-examine the systems of another PPOR just in case they discover the impossible--that something external is affecting them. D hands Ajo an envelope before they depart. "It is a tomogram of the rose that Miho was struck with. I think you should see it," says D.

In his office, Ajo examines the photograph. It shows the stem of the rose passing through epidermal and fatty layers of tissue, through the Miho PPOR's steel sheel and extending into the center of the power box. Ajo stares, sweating starting out on his forehead and his hands trembling. "Damn you, Mima!" He snarls. "Is this your revenge? Is that girl an assassin, sent by you from the other side? No matter...just sons and I will come after you, even down to the deepest pits of Hell!"

Tataki is home, using his computer. Strewn about are the effects of his lifestyle; street hockey gear, guitar and keyboard, a weight-training set. Models and shelves of videos and CDs take up most of the walls, and stacks of newsletters are piled on the floor. There are several posters of Miho evident. On the computer, Tataki has pulled up an entry on Dr. Mima, but it provides no useful information. Tataki mulls over what happened to Mima, who was fine up until ten days ago. He then considers Key; perhaps she really is a robot? He recalls various instances of her reactions, as well as the feel of her hand. He gives up trying to make sense of anything for the moment.

Leaning back a bit too far in the chair, he falls backward. He lays there a moment, but suddenly becomes attentive; he hears something like distant, muffled strains of music coming from somewhere. He puts his head close to the seems to be coming from there. He turns the computer off, but the music is still there! The phone rings. A friend, Tsukiyama, hears the music at his place too! Tataki says its frightening, hearing music coming from a dead computer. Tsukiyama wonders if Tataki can hear a voice in the music. Tataki, forgetting the phone, concentrates on listening to the music...

Key's wheels and gears are heard along with the music. At Sakura's, Key sits up, swiftly awake. At Tataki's, the music suddenly stops. Key picks up the bouquet of roses and offers them to Sakura. Sakura asks why Key bought them, and Key says it's because she couldn't get Sakura a TV. Sakura stands, suddenly silent, and walks to the window. The reflection of her seems to want to smile and cry at the same time. "You're such a pain," she says, wistfully.

"I've been all alone ever since you quit junior high and came here," says Key. "I didn't have any friends and didn't know where to go, so I was really happy to run into you at Tamari's. But...I've been causing you nothing but trouble ever since. That's why I got them."

Sakura, looking two seconds away from sobbing, turns and hugs Key.

Outside the apartment we can see the priest, looking up at the porch door.

In Ajo's main lab, the engineers are working over a PPOR on the operating table under the vigilant glare of their boss. D is sitting in the van, looking at the finger from the destroyed PPOR.

In Sakura's apartment, still holding Key, Sakura asks, "So, you went to see the concert with Tataki today?" Key looks up...

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Christopher S. Rider ---