The central character to our story. Tokiko is a seventeen year-old girl whose "grandfather", Dr. Mima Murao, told her that she is a robot and that she had been rebuilt several times during the years of her life; as a child, for example, she had the body-size of a child. As her brain accumulated the knowledge of passing years, she was remade by the professor into a progressively more adult shape.
Tokiko, often shortened to "Key", appears to most people as a somewhat autistic child. Her aspect is that as a forlorn, attention-wavering girl whose reponses to typical situations elicit rather non-typical reactions. This personality has caused some concern to those that know her. Sakura and Tataki, for example, seem to think Key is not a robot so much as having been terrified in a robot-related incident during her childhood. At one point they are determined to snap Key out of her fugue.
Things are not this straightforward, however. Key is apparently a robot, but with a capacity to become human. What this capacity is is a mystery to all except perhaps Dr. Mima--and he is dead. Key was often referred to as Murao's granddaughter, a notion Key herself accepted. This identity, along with such concepts as having friends--Sakura in particular--appear to be one of the mechanisms Dr. Mima initiated in his quest to make her human.
With the death of Dr. Mima, Key is charged with the task of completing her journey toward human enlightenment of without the doctor's guidance. In his final words, Dr. Mima urgently explains that Key must have friends to make her human, "friends willing to cry for you...you need thirty-thousand of those friends."
It is this quest that forms the central theme to the series.
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