Kaiba continues to tell its story of multiple dystopias with a utopian aesthetic (distinctly unsettling, like a scary clown).
It’s a nice touch that quilts are made of (if only grammar would allow ‘by’) patches, and it’s nice, too, that the body designer’s own body is practically unusable. Actually, the nice touches are everywhere: did anyone else smile to hear the horn-eared Patch picking on horns as a useless feature? Kaiba excells at this kind of whimsy: Vanilla’s ice cream may be people (the novel was better – although I would say that, wouldn’t I?), and the tension between setting and aesthetic may be unsettling, but there are still gently witty moments like the pursuit which opened the (otherwise rather serious) fourth episode.
The cigar smoking plutocrat’s description of Patch didn’t really match my impression: he seemed to idolise the body designer as a withdrawn genius, but what I saw was a crazy and angry man. Obviously the plutocrat’s gold isn’t something Patch wants – indeed, it makes him a target for thieves. Strangely, the plutocrat puts me in mind of a figure who sometimes crops up in Chandler: the aged, rich man whose success in business has made him de facto ruler of his own small town, and who can’t get his head around something which doesn’t involve money (usually, Philip Marlowe having a sudden attack of morals).
We haven’t reached the state of Kaiba‘s society yet, and I think it would be an exaggeration to say that we’re even approaching it: Kaiba‘s catastrophic devaluation of memories and of the body comes from some rather unlikely-seeming (though I’m no scientist) technology. Here in the UK, though, we do seem to have reached this point with pets: I’m not an animal person, so I lack strong feelings on the issue, but we do discard a lot of pets (plenty of dogs among them) every year.
Incidentally, there’s apparently a concept in European geography called the ‘fat-cat/thin-cat line’. You can, they tell me, draw a line across Europe dividing countries in the north, where cats are kept primarily for company, and countries in the south, where cats are kept primarily to kill vermin. This is probably useless information, but at least it’s more entertaining than the Blue Banana.
Does Kaiba sometimes remind anyone else of one of those old point-and-click adventure games? It’s probably the use of items (‘use MEMORY GUN on COMATOSE PATCH’), but whatever the cause I actually wanted to grab my mouse and start clicking in this particular shot.
Not only is Kaiba riffing on The Little Prince, it looks to me like Kaiba may actually be a prince. Or was a prince, until he lost his memories (if amnesia changes your character enough to make you a different person). Or was using a prince’s body.