One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | TenThe night is deep and dark. Lights are on inside the building. The outside logo says Smart Brain. A guard paces in front of the gate. Deep inside the building are labs. There are rings inside liquid vats, all kinds of sensors hanging down to touch them. Men in heavy suits but faces open stare with concern. They add more liquid to the vats and report to the scientists in the next room. A graph on the computer, heading labeled Gentoxin, shows full. The scientist reports, "The Altered State has been accepted." The other man nods troubled relief. They close up their suits now. But suddenly the lights die before emergency power cuts in. They hear the sounds of gunshots. One man checks the monitors. Guards are firing, and then running from a strange figure but then the monitor fills with static before they can get a good look. The sheltered scientist asks what's happening and is confused by the response he gets. Then the door is being hit hard and starts to buckle slowly. Slam, slam, slam. The scientists run for the heavy windows but those are soundproof and the men inside can't hear them and don't turn. The doors fall in, and a monster (with a goat-head) stands outside. It stalks towards the vats, then towards them. The scientist in the other room sees them pressed against the wall and then their flesh starts to run like sand falling. He cries out in horror and falls back. The monster throws them around, then starts yanking the sensors from the material in the vats. The liquid runs past the fingers of the probably dead men. The monster lifts the rings out. It is unconcerned with the distant sound of sirens. It rips open the casing to find the strange equipment inside....
Beginning credits... crystallization of chemicals. A rider blurring into focus. Hmm. Skipped beginning credits altogether.
A beautiful, brand new days. Episode One begins. A rich house, one side all window. It is two years ago, by the way. And a lovely girl is looking at pictures of a baby with a laughing man (this lovely girl played Time Pink). "Oh, cute!" she says. The pictures are of him and she lifts the album then lowers it to playfully compare him then with him now. He makes a hilarious face for her and she collapses in stitches. He is Yuji, and he manages to half-wrestle the album from her hands. His mother comes with tea for them, laughing about these old things. There are pictures of him as a little boy with a face full of cake. Him flashing the peace sign at different ages and they laugh as he does it for them now. And then the girl grins in delight. "From here the pictures are with me," she says. The two of them exchange grins, for they had done quite a lot together since they'd become an item. His mother scolds and teases him for his girlfriend, telling him she could get bored with him. It's their one-year anniversery. Tomorrow will be exactly one year.
Evening, and Yuji is driving his parents as they discuss his future. He talks about his and Chieri's first date and playing on a bicycle. When his father questions that as a date, he counters that he hadn't a driver's license at that time. They stop for a red light, while his parents bask in their luck. They are unaware of a truck careening down the road the other way. The driver is rubbing his eyes, drained and exhausted. Yuji and his parents laugh together, for his mother really likes Chie (girl's name). The light turns green and Yuji, blissfully unaware, starts the car going forward. The truck hits them solidly in the side and everything comes to a crazed halt. The driver lies unconscious or dead on his wheel, his horn blaring. Three women race towards the scene, one going to check on the hit car. She looks and races away in horror as another passerby runs to see.
Yuji lies on a hospital bed. In fact, he's been lying there for around about two years. They keep him alive with intravenous fluids. They monitor him. They take care of his body. Two years like this. The younger nurse stares wistfully at his fine features as the older nurse reports that his girlfriend used to come every day, but.... And it is on that note that the heart monitor suddenly registers an absence of beat. The older nurse sends the younger for the doctor. But the doctor says he is dead. They gently drape the sheet over his face. The young nurse is alone with him, now, when she hears a sound. She turns her head but all is as it should be. The older nurse is outside, cleaning up. The young one picks Yuji's arm up and puts it under the sheet wistfully. As she turns away, he suddenly grabs her wrist. She screams and about leaps out of her shoes. He sits up, tearing the sheet from his face. For a moment his eyes are white but then they become normal as he pants in terror. The terrified nurse screams again and again.
A handsome motorcycle is on the roads of Kyushu, rider heading out towards the high mountains. A girl, she stops at an intersection and looks around as though to decide. But someone calls her "Hey, wait!" and she looks around. It is a young man on another motorcycle, heavy red jacket. She sighs to herself upon seeing him. She closes her helmet and hurries off, and he follows. Eventually she stops at a cafe and heads inside. She greets the lady and sets her bag on a chair. The lady greets her. Airwalk, says her bag. The next person in is the boy who'd followed her, and he tells the lady he has no order, he's not hungry, before sitting with the girl. She doesn't look too pleased to see him. He comments that it's cold and he wanted to go with her. She talks about birthdays and where she's going. Another customer arrives and is greeted by the lady. A boy with soft hair and full lips. He doesn't look too happy. He doesn't respond but points to the order sheet and sits down. The girl's order arrives, and the boy with her decides it looks good and orders one for himself. To his surprise, the girl dumps the soup into her rice, stirs it up and starts slurping. Loudly. She is trying to get him to give her space but he just isn't taking the hint. The noise is gross. She eats the fish with her hands and starts sipping again. The noise even annoys the young man across the way and he eyes her doubtfully. But she's finished her meal, hands the lady her money, grabs her bag and heads off while her friend tries to catch up with her in dismay. The boy waiting for his order watches the two go with a hint of relief, but then his eyes sharpen on the bag the girl is carrying. Airwalk. He stiffens and stands to look. As she drives off he looks quite upset and makes for the door, but the proprieter waylays him about his order and he cannot get out quickly enough.
A commercial on the TV says "Life is frail" in English, showing a girl in white and black vinyl-plastic with blue butterflies fluttering around her, in a backgrouned of yellow-green watery-looking stuff. "Life is limited, so why don't you think about true life." The ad is for a Smart Brain motorcycle. "Be smart. True life is the start," and the girl smiles at us as a butterfly lands on her finger.
Yuji stands outside his home, staring at it. The driveway is barricaded by a folding fence. His mother comes and opens the door. "Welcome home, Yuji!" she greets him, shoving her feet into shoes. "Aren't you cold?" she laughs, coming to him. But she disappears. He was only remembering. There is a large shepherd dog barking at him and he is startled from his memeories. The house is not his any more. He blinks and stares at it in blank confusion.
And another house sits, yellow and two-story, with sculpted trees in th tiny yard. Yuji has gone there. An old man greets him with delight, while a younger sits stiffly listening. "Ah, you were discharged from the hospital yesterday," the old man says warmly. Uncertainly Yuji says he has some questions, explaining that he'd returned home but.... The man explains gently about business and younger brothers. As he speaks, the listening man turns his head to watch alertly, eyes blazing. It seems that, of course, during Yuji's coma the life and job that was supposed to be his has been lost to him. And there's really nothing to do about it, it's sad. Still in a daze he walks the streets. Back at the house, the young man who was listening is concerned and asks the older, who is setting up a Go board. The old man tells the younger not to worry about it. But Yuji wanders vaguely. He suddenly stops. Something catches his attention. Is it the sharp sound of the old man putting down a Go piece? Is it something in the suddenly silenced engines of passing traffic? Neither. He is hearing the young man talking to the older, worried about him. He is hearing the questions about Yuji's business (I'm guessing they took the opportunity while he was dead to rob him of his inheritance). Hearing those voices, Yuji begins to tremble and raises his fists to his temples to shut them out.
The mountains are sweet, white with snow. Mari has stopped in the middle of a bridge to look down on the shallow river below. She stretches lithely. "Hey!" comes a shout. Her follower has arrived along with two others. She sighs in exasperation. The man in red gets off. The others with him, the far is in blue and the nearer in black. They all set their helmets on their bikes to greet her. The newcomers introduce themselves, Hiroshi in blue, Kohei in black. Hiroshi is especially sweet, while Kohei tries to impress her but she irritably turns and walks away from them to her bike "Hey, wait!" one worriedly says. "Where are you going?" asks Kohei. "Somewhere you guys aren't," she tells them bluntly, getting ready to get back on the road. Her red-clad friend says "Well, we're going with you!" and sets his hand on her bag. She pushes it off quickly and angrily. "Don't touch my stuff!" she says sharply. "Don't ever touch my stuff, understand? And you, and YOU!" she snaps at the rather bewildered other two. They sheepishly agree and bow to her.
The next bridge over another motorcycle pulls up, a guy with a red helmet keeps a sharp eye on the folks across the way. It is the boy from the diner.
They've reached a lookout point, an excellent spot for a photo op. Hiroshi is the cameraman, dancing back. He takes the picture and delightly bounds over to show it to the others, Kohei taking the digital camera from his hands. He will take the next picture, and so Hiroshi and the red-clad boy on either side of a VERY unhappy Mari grin for the shot and hold up their hands in the peace sign. She thinks to herself with a grimace of distaste, "I wish they'd stop. What is it with these guys?"
And later, they make a stop to use the toilets. Red-coat comes out of the bathroom and starts back to join the others when he hears a strange noise. He looks around, then up. There is something circling above him, almost fishlike. With a yelp of terror he starts to back away and falls. The creature lands in front of him. He scrambles to his feet despite knees of jelly and runs for it, while the heavy-seeming being walks after him. Backed against a tree, silenced by terror, he does nothing as it reaches for him. Two fingers become tentacles that stifle his scream as they go inside his mouth, into his body and tap his frantically beating heart, turning it to blue flame and leaving his chest empty. "Gggg!" is the last sound he utters, and the creature holding him laughs lightly, almost feminine-sounding.
Hiroshi bounds happily down the stairs from a vendor, sticks of shishkebobbed meat in his hands. He's brought one for Mari and one for Kohei, and stands holding the extra, wondering where the other guy (Daisuke) is. Kohei says he's been in the toilet an awful long time, and Hiroshi laughs. Mari starts walking and Kohei asks alertly, "Where you going?" Turning, she says clearly and with exasperation, "To-i-let." As they do not pursue, she grins and glances back to where the two are standing looking out at the scenery, one up with arms spread wide. "Bye-bye!" she thinks with a free grin, and hurries. She gets to her motorcycle, carefully ties the Airwalk bag in place and gets ready to go. As she is starting to put her helmet on, she sees something which gives her pause. Booted feet sticking out of the dead winter grasses in front of her. She sets her helmet down and goes to investigate. Not merely feet, for legs are there attached. She moves until she can see clearly and whispers, "No way," for the corpse lying there is her erstwhile irritation, Daisuke. But for the whiteness of his face and stillness of his body, he almost looks asleep. She races back and drags the quite confused other two men over with her, Kohei by the arm. "What do you mean, Daisuke's dead?" yelps Hiroshi. But when they get there his body is gone. "Um, here?" asks Kohei. "Well, no..?" she answers uncertainly. Then somewhat panicked she says "He's vanished! He WAS here!" Now glad of their presence, she takes uncertain steps to stare at the imprint in the grass.
A somewhat sad girl walks home in the dark evening. She carries a bag, her hair is curling around her pretty face. She turns to the entrance to her apartment when she hears the ring of a bicycle bell. And someone on a bike peddles past her in a circle. He is almost completely around before she exclaims in shock, "Yuji!" "Chie," he answers her warmly. "Do you remember what day it is today?" She can't help it, she smiles at him. "I heard you got out of the hospital." She walks forward but is somewhat reticent. "Congratulations on your recovery. Yuji, I - " "No, not that," he tells her laughingly. For this is again the anniversery of the day they first went on a date, on a bicycle. And he rolls up in front of her, grinning. "Ride!" he invites her. She stands somewhat frozen, then says weakly, "Well, today isn't actually the commerative day - " A door opens in the building beyond them. "I know you feel that way, but I... I've changed." Far above them, a man looks down at the scene. Yuji, innocent of understanding, chuckles and grins at her. "What are you saying? Hurry up and ride!" She swallows, closes her eyes and gathers her thoughts. "Oh Yuji." Then meets his eyes. "Yuji, that was a long time ago. I'm... I'm not the same as I was long ago." When he stares at her, troubled, she can only say sincerely, "I'm so sorry." Just then the man who'd been watching reaches them. He is the same man who had sat while the old man told Yuji his future was gone. "What's wrong, Chi?" he says and comes up beside her. Yuji sees him and stares, dumb with surprise. Then the other man reaches out, pulls the girl close to him. "Yuji, she's not your girl anymore." He glares to let it sink in, and then pulls Chie away with him, hand gripped in the sleeve of her coat. He stops near the stairs and says coolly, "Everything changed while you were sleeping." Chie turns her head and stares sympathetically back at him before her new man drags her on. Yuji can only sit, stunned beyond belief, on the bicycle.
Night in the mountains and they gather around a crackling fire. Mari watches the flames, depressed, curled protectively around her bag. Hiroshi takes a sip and then asks her, "What is it? Are you still worried about Daisuke?" It is only the two of them, at this moment. He tries to reassure her, pointing out that Daisuke's motorcycle was gone and maybe he went home. Kohei arrives to agree with him and toss some more branches on the fire. Then there is the distant rumble of a motorcycle engine, and the boys look at the approaching figure. Hiroshi grins and say, "Hey, here he comes!" Kohei also smiles. The bike rumbles to a halt, red-jacketed Daisuke gets off it and starts towards her, but there is just a hint of disjointedness to his movements. She stands to greet him, a bit angry. "Hey, what'd you - " she starts furiously, when he reaches for her face and she jerks back reflexively. He takes a few steps towards her as she backs up, then opens his visor. For a moment she can see his staring eyes, then they film over white, and his skin starts to fall to dust as she stares. He crumples slowly, the sand running out of his helmet. Finally he falls over on his back, or just falls over into the dust he's become. She stares harder, biting back a scream, when Kohei starts to laugh madly. "What, is this something to laugh at?" she manages to demand of him. But his face in the light is alarming, expression dead despite the smile. The stick he is in the midst of holding out to the flames never wavers as his eyes film over and his flesh turns to sand. "What, how, who?" she is left wondering. "Who did this?" Hiroshi is gone. As she looks around there is only a stranger approaching. It is the boy from the diner, though she never noticed him.
"Who are you?" she asks him as he walks towards her. "Give me the bag," he tells her firmly. She bites her lips and says weakly, "Then you must be - " He does not respond. He looks around, sees her bike and starts for the bag but she snatches it and races to the dubiuos shelter of a nearby building. "Hey!" he pursues her as she runs. She runs until she gets to a dead end, and he catches up with her. "Look," he starts stiffly, "just give it to me." But she clings to the bag and backs frantically away from him.
Rain in the city, and that young man drives his car along the road. He is content to go until he sees a figure picked out by his headlights. "Yuji!" he gasps in surprise. He stops his car and steps out to meet the man standing there, drenched, with only a beige raincoat on over his white shirt.
Mari still backs from the menacing young stranger. "I know what you are!" Mari tells him. "What'd you DO to those two?" He doesn't answer her and only continues to approach. She panics and flees, but trips and her bag slides ahead of her. Not far away Hiroshi appears in his blue coat. She sees him and, as she scrabbles for the bag calls, "Run away, he's a murderer!" But Hiroshi only takes a step closer, his face a ghastly color. He answers her, "No, not him." And suddenly his skin changes to something horribly patterened and monstrous. Mari's mouth drops open as his form changes. He is the Stingfish, a monster in true.
The young man goes to confront Yuji, who only stands motionless. The silence is unnerving at he says at last, "Yuji, what are you doing?" He feels guilty and struggles not to sound too belligerent under the feral gaze of the smaller man. "Leave me alone, I don't want to listen to you." But then Yuji speaks and his voice is taught with unshed tears. "What did I do? Tell me will you. What did I do to deserve what you've done to me?" "Look, why don't you just die again? You shouldn't be alive!" snarls the man back, on the defensive.
The monster approaches Mari, but its shadow is human, Hiroshi's naked soul. And he is after the stunned Mari's bag. He grabs it and when she convulsively clings to it, throws her aside. The other young man shouts, "Give that back, that's MY bag!" and lunges for it. He manages to knock the startled monster down. Rolling with it, ignoring Mari as she gets back up, he paws at the bag to open it. Inside is only a heavy box with the Smart Brain logo bolted to it. "Oh, I'm wrong. This isn't mine," he says in embarrassed surprise. "What is this?"
"I am alive," says Yuji numbly. But he's beginning to shake, dizzy with pain and fury. "But you're wrong. It's not my fault!!" The other man tries to stand tall. "What, are you saying I'm the bad one, then?" he snaps heatedly. But Yuji raises his head, eyes filled with madness. "Yes, I think you are." And his skin changes, to reveal another shape hidden inside.
Mari rushes over and snatches the box from the confused boy's grasp. She pulls it aside, opens it and takes out the belt. Putting it on, she opens up the cellphone-like device and taps in the 555 code. "Standing by," it tells her. She closes it, raises her hand high. "Transform," she says firmly, and as the very bewildered young man watches, and the monster collects itself, she places the device firmly where it belongs in the belt. A crackle of read light and then "Error," says the voice and Mari is staggered by an energy backlash. The belt rejects her, sending her flying one way and it to fall on the cement, the change device knocked loose. There is a laugh from the shadow of the monster, and the echo of Hiroshi tells her mockingly that she just doesn't have the power to weild the belt. The young man, hearing that, whirls. He stares at the monster, which suddenly changes the lower half of its form to be a sort of mermaid-type. It swims in the air. Mari lunges for belt and changer, snatches them up, and puts it around the boy's waist. He is just stuttering in confusion when the fish makes a dive for them. Mari pulls him down, and when they get back up starts fastening the belt on him again. "Hey, what are you doing?" he questions her. "Using you," she tells him bluntly. The belt is in place.
In the rain, in the play of the other man's headlights, Yuji throws his head back and screams. A brilliant, white flash bathes the area and suddenly the falling rain stops. The water drops hang in the air. The only moving things are Yuji and the other guy, who is just starting to feel terrified. Yuji's face is drenched in sweat, then the inner shape fades, then returns with a vengeance. He changes form and the other man screams like a girl, falling backwards in blind terror. The rain begins falling again, drenching both man and horse-monster.
Mari types in the code for change. "Standing by," it tells her again. Their monster swoops in and knocks them back, but Mari has a one-track mind and rolls to her feet to put the changer in place in the belt. "Complete," it says and brilliant red light bathes his body. In a very short time he stands, the enemy as startled as he is but it attacks before he has a chance to adjust.
The Horse approaches the screaming human. It is hugely powerful, and smashes him onto the hood of his car. He leaps to hs feet and gets inside, then tries to drive from the horse, which transforms to a Centaur form and pursues him, gets ahead of him by leaping over a bridge, and waits. With a mad feral effort, the man tries to run it down. As he comes, the Horse rears high and screams in Yuji's voice to the sky, then comes down hard, sharp hooves crushing the front hood and halting the car. While its quarry stares in horror, the Horse punches through the windshield.
Battle in the mountains, inexperienced rider against malicious Stingfish. The fish beats him down and he gets its weapon, and they punch and fight, while Mari watches. She cradles her bag and its precious contents.
The Horse has the man in its hand, and lifts him high. It opens its other hand and a long, beautiful blade materializes as though grown from the wielder. The man is beyond sanity and when he sees the blade coming, screams. The blade punches deep, becomes a mouth that sucks in his heart. And then the Horse drops the man.
Punching, kicking, the two armored beings fight, and then the Rider races at the stunned being and kicks him hard. The fish blinks its eyes, and then goes up in blue flame before going to dust. Mari watches, almost numb with relief now. "That's the power of the belt," she says wearily. And the man in armor slowly turns to meet her gaze.
In our Next Episode:
Mari rides along a narrow path on a sea wall, the boy following behind her. "Oh, so your name is Takumi," she says when he is signing in. They've found his Airwalk bag. Yuji sits atop a building, pigeons nearby, wondering where to go, what he is. A man with a coat and no shirt gets off of a motorcycle and removes his glasses. "Give me that bag," he says almost friendly. Takumi and Mari hover over the Phi's belt, her looking rather petulant. "Do you even know what this is?" Takumi is asking someone. Yuji looks horrified as Chie, terrified, tells a man "It's him! That man's the murderer!" A police officer getting ready to give a ticket, perhaps, finds a ghost in the wall behind him, and confronts a monster. The girl from the commercials explains "The Orufenoku were here first, we are senior to humans." She is talking to Yuji, who sits shirtless and stares at her. "Orufenoku?" he repeats. "Transform!" shouts Takumi, this time doing for himself. He fights the Elephant.
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten