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Kaiba 10 – The Past Is Another Identity

Icarus before his fall
Icarus before his fall

Some plot points are answered in this crucial flashback episode, and we begin to understand the significance of the show’s title.

Warp’s powers are now clearer. His body is nigh-indestructable, as well stated before; he also has amazing powers of recall which is what earns him the name “Kaiba”–after the monstrous plant that swallows up memory as food. Somehow the power of Warp is connected to the power to keep the plant Kaiba at bay, and his palace is decorated with it–and it is being in that palace where he recovers his memory as Warp. We also see an explanation for the previous flashbacks where Warp/Kaiba is seen killing Neiro–he did in fact kill her, though not entirely out of his own will (what is the computer or booming voice in his palace that is helping direct his actions?), and restored her to life himself. It’s now quite obvious why Warp rules this world, where memory and consciousness are the locus of human identity: he has the best command and the deepest memory out of anyone.

His other namesake

There’s really not as much to “analyze” in this episode in the same manner that I’ve done in previous articles. Instead, this episode tugs at the emotions by showing the poignant romance between Neiro and Kaiba/Warp, and showing that Warp, without that deep voice guiding him, is not a ruthless person by nature. (He even tries his best to preserve her life as she is sent to assassinate him.) Does he even want the position? Warp is king simply by virtue of surviving the deaths of his brothers, because he alone has a near-indestructible body (though the end of the episode leaves it open as to whether that’s true). Is the deep voice another part of himself, or a computer program telling him how to run the world, or something else?

And what to make of this scene? Are these good intentions, or evidence that Kaiba/Warp is, in part, still a manipulator, even when the intention is good?

"I'm just a soul whose intentions are good..."?

As the show winds down, I’m sure I will have most of my major questions answered. The writers are as concerned with emotional fulfillment and satisfaction as any in anime and they seem to know what they are doing. Though I’m hoping they’re not going to go the now-hackneyed route of a choice between “erasing everyone’s individuality so that there will be no pain” vs. “separate identities, which cause pain and misunderstanding but are good too.” I just finished watching Noein today and I’m getting tired of that post-Evangelion ending. With so much rich originality in Kaiba I think it can do better, and I’m hoping it will. Looking forward now to episode 11.

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