“To Be Or Not To Be” – Kaiba (anime) – 8/10 Sugar Cubes


“Limits exist only in the mind” ~Anonymous

Genre: Psychological/ Romance/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Action

Review Status: Full (13 Episodes/ 13 Episodes)

Licensed: Unlicensed in the US

Art/Animation: This is rather cartoonishly drawn, but the animation is pretty good, and the art adds to how strange and weird the story is. Overall, while it does take a while to get used to, not too bad.

Summary: It is now possible to store memory data, so that the death of your body is not actually “death”. As memories are stored in databanks, they can be “transferred” to new bodies. Because so-called “memory trading” now occurs, it is now possible to steal memories and illegally alter them.

Society has fallen apart as authority has become lost and stagnant.

One day, a man awakens in a ruined room. His name is Kaiba. He has no memories, but he does have a pendant with a picture of an unknown woman inside.

In the skies are roiling clouds and electrical storms, impossible to pass without losing one’s memories; above them lies the elusive realm of the rich and powerful, who barter others’ bodies and memories for their own enjoyment and longevity. Below lies a troubled and dangerous world where good bodies are hard to come by and real money is scarce.

After suddenly being attacked, Kaiba escapes into space, and during his travels meets all sorts of people and regains his memories. Throughout it, he continues to be troubled by the world’s problems, as well as his own existence. And what of the woman in the pendant, Neiro?

Review: This was an experience. From the art, to the world, to the story being told, this is one heckuva thing to watch! First off, this is not your usual anime style. This looks like your simple children’s cartoon. However, it’s very far from that.

This world is incredibly different from ours and takes perhaps 3 episodes to get used to- and only if you really keep an open mind and just accept things for what they are. Luggage can look like a giant dinosaur. People can switch into bodies that are lime green and have horns. Blood is green, and weird space plants are coming to destroy the world!

And yet, within this complicated world, there is an incredibly simple story about a boy who has amnesia and is looking for his lost love. He encounters many things he only partially understands, such as people tossing away memory chips that aren’t of any use to them and deciding which family members can be stored in the house memory banks. He himself undergoes many trials and tribulations, such as losing his original body and needing to take refuge in that of a young girl- and faces forgetting himself and who he originally was in the process. He encounters many people who have done both good and bad things, and sees both the deep sorrow and happiness that people can experience with eachother.

And in the end, he saves the world and finds the girl he loves.

Overall, this is a great anime for those who like to play with the meanings of things and explore alternate realities.

Recommended: Sure! 16+, though. This deals a lot with sexuality, from Kaiba’s original body being used for sex, Kaiba dealing with confused sexuality, lots of people wanting to get with Kaiba in his Chronika body. This is also pretty violent. People tend to die very easily- one after being overloaded with sex! Language isn’t that bad, but with everything else, it’s a minor consideration. And drugs are very much in use.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Paranoia Agent (anime),
Paprika (anime),
Perfect Blue (anime),
Ghost Hound (anime),
Kino’s Journey (anime),
Liar Game (manga)

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