Key - The Metal Idol

JPEG image Type: series
Genre: Science fiction, fantasy
Dub/Sub: subtitled
Length: ~25 minutes per episode
Copyright date: 1994/1997-1998
Animation quality: 8.5
Why: V, mt, n, al
General overall quality: 8.5
Distributed by:Viz Video

Tokiko Mima, who goes by the name of Key, is a robot. She was built 17 years ago by Dr. Mima, her grandfather. Despite being well constructed in nearly all ways, she does need to have her batteries replaced from time to time and her body does wear out over time.

Key attends the local school like every other child in the community and every so often Dr. Mima would update Key's body, thus allowing her to grow up along with the other kids in the community.

In all appearances, Key gets along ok with the rest of the students, although she does have some odd quirks. One of the most obvious being that she recharges herself by lying down in the sun and would often be found on the roof of her school sunning herself.

It was one day, while she was on the roof, that she is told that her grandfather has died.

Key hurries home, and find her grandfather's assistant, Tomoyo, there with her grandfather's last words on a tape for Key.

The Doctor's final words state that it is possible for Key to become human, but it will require that Key finds and makes 30,000 friends who really care for her.

There are not 30,000 persons in her town, so Key reasons that she must go to Tokyo. Key does not have forever to complete this task, as her batteries and current body will fail sooner or later. It is possible, or was her grandfather suffering from delusions?

While in Tokyo, Key meets Sakura, a girl and old friend who had moved away from Key's home town a few years ago. There is also Tataki, a boy, and head of the fan club of Miho Utsuse, a popular singing idol.

JPEG image Chasing Key are some rather nasty corporate persons who want some of the robotics secrets held by her grandfather. They do not yet realize that she is a robot, however, or that she may be the secrets they desire. Key also appears to have at least one special ability. At certain times of great emotional stress, she is able to control and usually destroy other electronic devices, including other robots.

In Volume 2 Key's unique abilities begin to surface when she saves a rather sleazy talent agent from being killed by a PPOR, one of the puppet robots from the Ajo corporation. Sakura and Tataki both do not really believe that Key is a robot, but simply a strange girl who things she is a robot. This causes stress in Key's relationship with Sakura and Key decides to leave. She takes up sanctionary with a snake god cult.

The leader of the snake cult is called Mr. Snake Eyes by Key, and in volume 3 she is asked to heal a very sick little boy. Mr. Snake Eyes and the people of the cult believe her to be a living god. Key does think this, but in a fit of emotion, she pulls off what seems to be a miracle.

D, one of the members of the Ajo corporation which has been developing the PPOR robots and who is chasing Key breaks into the cult temple. D is not a person to be trifled with, and get quite violent when Mr. Snake Eyes does not hand over Key to him. To her rescue, however, is her grandfather's assistant who followed her to Tokyo and has been basically protecting her all her life.

In the end, Key moves back in with Sakura, who becomes CEO and Manager of Production Key and more mysteries then ever now exist.

In volume 4, Production Key attempts to get Key an audition, but things do not go well for the robot girl who can not smile or dance. Meanwhile, further depths of the madness of Mr. Ajo is seen, as he pushes his crew to the limit and uses them like he uses Miho.

In Volume 5, Key attracts the attention of Hikaru Tsurugi a particularly well known writer, director, and producer. Mr. Tsurugi has found most things to be "simple" and wants to take on the challenge the Key presents. The secret of Key mother, Toyoko, and other things which have been hidden begin to be revealed as well.

This is a fairly interesting piece of anime. The fact that the only person who thinks of Key as a robot is Key, herself, is one of the more interesting aspects of the series.

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