Phase OI

The Setup: It's a snowy Christmas Eve in Tokyo, and inventor Natsume Kyusaku and his son Ryunosuke are on the run with an inactive android in the back of their Land Rover. Making a 'comfort stop' in an alleyway (or, as Kyusaku puts it, 'Hey Ryunosuke! Have you finished peeing yet?'), Ryu finds an alley cat he wants to take care of. Kyusaku objects to this, but they all have to take off in a hurry when a heavily-armed helicopter swings into sight and pursues them. Kyusaku drives the Rover into a junkyard where he accidentally conceals it rather well by crashing into a pile of dead cars. The pilot of the helicopter, thinking she's lost them, fires a volley of shots into the junk heap in frustration. This rather tense pilot is Arisa. She and Kyoko report back to Akiko that they can't find their quarry, and return to base. Kyusaku and Ryunosuke are fine, but the cat is dead, and Ryunosuke feels terrible about having brought it along. Kyusaku tries to comfort his son, and after a moment bursts into laughter - he's thought of the best possible Christmas present for Ryunosuke.

One year on, and Android NK-1124 (Nuku Nuku to her friends) is up and running, and about to go to school for the first time. Her first day isn't going to be easy, though, because Akiko has finally found a clue to Ryunosuke's whereabouts and Arisa and Kyoko are bearing down in the chopper...

My Review and Thoughts: Uh, one year on? But it's not Christmas again yet. It looks more like late spring. The other weird continuity thing is that in the opening scenes Kyusaku appears to have black hair, and for the rest of the series it's brown like Ryu's. Those minor bits of nitpicking aside, this is a really cool episode, and an excellent introduction to the characters. It's fast-paced with a lot of action, and extremely funny. One of my favourite moments is Kyusaku trying to pick out the biggest piece from the bucket of chicken before Ryu gets to it - then his guilt-stricken reaction when Ryu comes back to the car. It's a good episode for Nuku Nuku being tough as well as cute - of course, she's very cute.

The first time I went to see the X-Files movie, Fight the Future (yes, I am a big enough geek to have seen it more than once), I found myself having a Nuku Nuku flashback. You know that scene where Mulder is in a bar drowning his sorrows, and wants to go to the men's room but finds it's out of order, so he goes out to the alley behind the building? It's incredibly similar to the first scene of Nuku Nuku. When Mulder hears a movement in the alley, it would've been extremely cool if it had been a little grey tabby cat, but instead it was Martin Landau. Which I think goes to show that Natsume Ryunosuke is far luckier than Fox Mulder. (Although it would've been interesting if Scully was out in the street in a car with the engine running yelling 'Hey MULDER! Have you finished peeing yet?')

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