Very seldom does an anime series just reach out and grab a hold of me these days, but for some reason Kaiba has just done that to me. After watching the first episode I had an inkling that this series just might be something special, but after watching the second episode of Kaiba I knew that this series just grabbed me by my throat and pulled me into it’s world.

Episode summary follows, if you don’t want to see the spoilers please scroll down to the review portion.

     This episode starts off with a narrator giving us a little background information on Kaiba’s world, memories can be converted into data and stored. If your body dies they can be transferred to a new one, bad memories can be erased, and good ones downloaded, but this is only available to the rich.

     After the narration sequence, we see that our little group is continuing their voyage aboard the large ship they fled on to.  In the cargo bay of the ship we see that the little helicopter like creature has meet up with a girl (Kochu) whom is a stowaway on the ship, she tries to talk to the little fellow and another person residing inside a stuffed Hippo, but it does no good

     After a while Kochu goes looking for some food, and our little friend goes wandering around when he steps on something that transports? him and the Hippo? to a place on the ship where he sees Kaiba’s body and the bartender/waitress having memory or physical sex together, after this he is transported back to where Kochu and her boyfriend Butter are eating. Then we get to see outside of the ship a flow of golden eggs which Kochu calls memory roe, the flow of memory eggs as they depart dead bodies, and Kochu tells them that she wonders if someday they will fall like rain on a planet someday?

     Later, we hear a announcement that something has caused an explosion of the memory tanks on the planet Lala and that the memories of over 200,000 people leaked into the sky. The news service says that there is not an estimate on how long it will take to recover all the memories, and that the main suspect is a girl called Neiro, she looks kind of like the girl from Kaiba’s locket.

     Then Kochu finds that her boyfriend Butter was using her to smuggle memory chips, and that he also is seeing another girl behind her back. Kochu and the other girl get into a tussle and Butter ends up getting caught with the memory chips by the ship’s sheriff who says that smuggling memories is a felony. The sheriff threatens to execute anyone without a ticket, so butter gives his ticket to Kochu leaving him the only one without a ticket. The sheriff first shoots Butter and then he shoots Kochu, her memories convert into golden eggs and leave the ship.

     A while later, we again see Kaiba’s body and the girl having sex? in some sort of chamber or machine, the girl pushes herself to her limits, even ignoring warnings that her organs are about to fail, eventually she fails and dies?. The sheriff is about to execute Kaiba’s body for the murder of the girl when a officer says he’ll handle the investigation. While he conducting his investigation of Kaiba’s memories we realize that Kaiba’s memories are really inside the Hippo. Then the helicopter like creature snatches away the officer’s memory device and leads the sheriff on a chase, eventually the helicopter creature and the Hippo/Kaiba escape from the ship before being caught. Well, that’s all for this episode.

Episode review follows

     OK, what really grabbed me in this series is the completeness, uniqueness, strangeness, and the utter wrongness of Kaiba’s world. Kaiba’s world is a world out of kilter, where a large portion of the population has lost it’s hold on it’s humanity, stealing others memories for personal gratification, wanton searching for sexual fulfillment, and the almost zero value to human life makes this world a damaged world.

     The simple, stripped down, almost childlike, (but I also have to add, dreamlike) animation style hides the deeper issues covered in this series. Kaiba is about what makes us human, our memories and our experiences, but also the connection between the mind and the body, Kochu highlights this point to great effect when she realizes that the large stuffed animal character is a male and is looking over her body and says, “oh your male, but you can’t do anything with that body”, longing without hope of fulfillment.

     Memories and experiences are what make us human, but it’s more than that, touch, smell, taste, and our other senses we receive from our bodies help form our memories and our human experiences, I can feel the wrongness of being trapped in something other than our own good bodies. But what really caught my attention was when Kochu was looking out the window at the flow of memory eggs in space, and she wondered if they would rain on a planet someday. The comparison between memories and rain, remained me of the classic Blade Runner line spoken by Roy Batty before the moment of his death, “all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain“.

     I feel that if this anime keeps up it’s current level of quality, it just might be my pick for best anime of 2008.