The last episode of Real Drive finally pulled us away from the filler and back to the really interesting part of this series, dealing with The Metal and all of the kind of technical jargon and references that I love. Thankfully, episode ten takes that shift and runs with it, offering up a better episode still, and dare I say the kind of thing that wouldn't look entirely out of place as an episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
As seems to be the status quo with this series, just as Satou and company are investigating something problematic in The Metal, so Minamo and her friends are discussing and trying out that exact same thing. I suppose in many ways this could be regarded in itself as an accurate representation of the Internet, with us young whippersnappers (and, in my case, wannabe young whippersnappers) doing all the stuff we're probably not supposed to online. Anyway, I'm getting a little ahead of myself, as the episode begins with the discovery of a box. It turns out to be an Xbox 360, and when it suffers from the Red Ring of Death the entire Metal grinds to a halt until Microsoft get it repaired a few months later.
Okay, okay, I'm kidding. The box in question turns out to be an AI called Eliza, a reference which immediately brought a smile to my face as memories of messing with the rudimentary AI we know as Eliza sprang to mind. Of course, this particular Eliza is far more advanced, and while she's known to many as nothing more than a fortune teller there is clearly more to her than meets the eye, as referenced by many people falling unconscious upon connecting to her.
For once, the culmination of the story actually involves Minamo saving the day, rather than simply shouting from the sidelines, although her lack of a cyberbrain does mean she gets given the most ridiculously bulky gear to use every time to connect to The Metal. Someone buy the girl a 3G card or something!
Anyway, it's probably due to my technical bent and my own interest in Artifical Intelligence and the like, but I really enjoyed this episode - It's what I expected Real Drive to be from the very start. It's a shame it's taken almost ten episodes to reach this kind of plateau but oh well, better late than never.