The Major and Togusa investigate the post-human Takashi, the 14-year-old boy who first used the Think Poll program.
ep 11 – “EDGELORD – The Revolution of the 14-year-olds”
This SAC_2045 episode was confusing. It was hard to tell if which scenes of the post-human Takashi’s story came before or after his fever. It was also hard to tell what elements we saw were his cyber hallucinations as he fell into post-human madness and which events were real. The great thing about it all, even though we have an unreliable vantage point, was that it was SAC_2045’s first time showing a post-human’s perspective in his own voice. Sadly, it appears that when a post-human completes his transformation, there is no longer a voice or person to talk with.
While we were inside Takashi’s mind, we saw some things that SAC_2045 clearly wants us to consider. The first was that Takashi had a “little sister” named Yuzu following him around, but she was only present in an augmented reality way. We later learned that Takashi’s parents never had any other children, so who was this person? It’s a nice mystery to keep us engaged. But her presence and Takashi’s hallucination of video game paratroopers raiding his school were surreal. I can only guess that the post-human infection slowly built up in Takashi, leading him to believe he saw soldiers shoot him as the sexually abusive teacher ran away with his half-naked crush Kanami. Was Takashi’s “death” when he fell to the high fever and missed school for a week? It wasn’t clear upon my first viewing of the episode.
I really enjoyed Takashi’s moment when he decided to step away from humanity. It was deliciously cruel for SAC_2045 to show the cyber mob descend upon the molesting teacher, but then for that mob to be disappointed that Kanami had committed suicide so they couldn’t kill her too. Wow. The mob’s appetite for destruction is insatiable, like an out-of-control fire, so it’s very apt for the Japanese to use 炎上 (enjou) to describe a social media pile-on this way. Takashi saw there was no justice from the crowd.
The rest of the SAC_2045 episode shows how the Takashi finally embraced his post-human status by returning the security blanket he took with him when he disappeared after the Think Poll assassination. I wonder if it took Takashi longer to complete his post-human transformation because of his age. Perhaps each person has their own set of experiences which tips them over to embrace inhumanity. I’m sure SAC_2045 will keep this vague because these issues of identity mixed with technology are part of the core theme of the Ghost in the Shell series.
Okay. This is the messy-haired post-human Takashi. SAC_2045 reveals he was still in junior high. The poor kid has a crush on the glasses-wearing class rep type named Kanami. But who is this little sister Yuzu, why is she in the classroom with him, and why can’t anybody else see her? Oh, Yuzu is like an AR presence, but Takashi treated her like she was there. Confusing. Is this right before he wrote Think Poll? When is this?
Section 9 is going after this Takashi kid, so they want to find out why he wrote Think Poll, used it once on a teacher, and then vanished. SAC_2045 continues directly from the last episode. Togusa wonders if the kid just moved onto something else because he was a 14-year-old. Got bored and left it. Motoko and Togusa will investigate the kid. Purin is happy to keep digging into the Think Poll code.
Back to Takashi’s timeline. This math teacher starts a sex education introduction in the middle of math class. Bizarre. Uh oh. Kanami tells him to stick to math and he calls her into “counseling” during lunch. This math teacher must be the first Think Poll victim. SAC_2045 shows us its version of junior high NTR. Ugh, it’s like the kids know something is going on between the teacher and Kanami. Takashi wishes his video game would come to life and real airborne troopers would come rescue them. Who is Yuzu? She’s like Takashi’s conscience.
Har. Togusa and Motoko are in an air transport, but they are not airborne troopers. They’re going to interview Takashi’s mom.
Ho. There’s a real air raid happening at Takashi’s school? Not buying it, SAC_2045, but it’s very surreal. Guh. The teacher dragged Kanami out of the counseling office in her underwear! And then those troopers shot Takashi! It’s like a jumbled dream. Takashi wanted the troopers to release him and Kanami from “this world.” Well, they did, in the only way guys with guns do that.
Back to the real world. What does Takashi’s mom know about what happened after his post-human fever? Ah. Takashi fainted during class, so all we saw from Takashi’s perspective was a fever dream, using elements from his video game and what he and everyone knew about the teacher and Kanami. The kid followed the pattern SAC_2045 set up with the other post-humans. Fever for a week, personality changes, and then they finally vanished one day.
Aw no. While Takashi was out with his fever, Kanami committed suicide. Takashi wrote the Think Poll program right after he found out. Yuzu is still with him after he became post-human. SAC_2045 makes us pay attention to her. Yuzu told Takashi that he’s the “airborne trooper.” He’s the one who must save everyone. And she quoted 1984 like he did, as if they share a cyberbrain. So, it begins.
Back in the present, Motoko and Togusa found a copy of George Orwell’s 1984. SAC_2045 showed us how Takashi assembled his sense of justice and motivation, which was like Yaguchi’s origins. Look at that ancient desktop PC with a 5.25” floppy drive. Takashi was doing more than “working on his computers.” He wrote Think Poll in three days, returned to school, and never came back, according to Takashi’s mother.
Here we go! The hate mob takes down the math teacher. Blatant symbolism from SAC_2045 with that big poster of the famous French Revolution painting by Eugene Delacroix. Oh no. The mob wasn’t satisfied with killing the teacher. They wanted to kill Kanami too! The madness of the mob. No wonder Takashi left this software behind. He relied on other people but saw their shortcomings. Whatever he does next will be on his own. And even Yuzu didn’t go with him. She said goodbye to her Big Brother, perhaps 1984’s newest version.
Back to the present again. Takashi’s mom says when he vanished for good, he only took his security blanket with him. It’s his last tie to humanity.
Oh, please. Takashi just happened to return to his home while Motoko was there? Big drama from SAC_2045 over a note and returning the blanket. It’s a sign that whatever he was working on is ready and he’s thrown away all his humanity. That note to his mom offers a spark of hope he can return.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 streams on Netflix.