With this post again I’ll stick my head into something out of my league and talk about MuvLuv again in a very personal manner. However, behind that charade I’m trying to observe how would a person act after losing all of his sensory inputs for a time with the visual novel’s context.
As always with MuvLuv posts, anything below this point is heavy on spoilers. If you haven’t yet read the visual novels, you might want to skip this post altogether again.
In MuvLuv Alternative âge pulls one of their finest punches without holding back; the 00 Unit. Up to this point the readers have not seen or met this worlds of Kagami Sumika, as it was told that she didn’t exist in this world. However, there she was, standing in front of me, almost catatonic, barely acknowledging anything around her, eyes clouded and lifeless.
The 00 Unit as she’s known goes into a fit of rage, repeating the same words over and over again.
“…..kill…..kill…..kill them!! -I’ll kill all of them!!!”
I was heartbroken. She had become the one I loved the most of them, and now there she was. Here, in a world almost literally torn apart by war against an enemy barely understood. She didn’t even acknowledge anything else around her, except her own will to kill, and the constant headaches. Rushing in to hold her, she denies my existence and becomes completely panicked. She tires herself out fast, and becomes limp in my arms, sleeping.
She denies almost everything that’s around her. She doesn’t acknowledge either me or herself. She is barely alive. What drove Sumika into this state was no more than total physical and mental abuse, fate worse than death, which she choose to enact by holding to one wish that kept her alive.
Prior to the events that takes place in MuvLuv Alternative the hometown of our main characters was under BETA attack. Some of the populace was taken captured and taken to the BETA hive rather than outright killed. The reason was to study humans, and how BETA studied humans was less than comfortable.
Takeru and Sumika were there among others. They were the last two from the others, and even then Takeru tried to protect Sumika the most he could. She saw him die, and held his dead body in her hands, feeling as he got colder and colder. At this point her mind became blank, or it would’ve become if the BETA hadn’t started experimenting on her. The BETA began to stimulate her body, finding every bit that made her feel good, and never stopped. She hated them for it, violating her body over and over again without a pause. She hated herself for allowing them to do it to her, and that she became to enjoy it, as the BETA covered her in their own extracts and manipulated her bodily shapes into new forms. At some time, it wasn’t enough for her, and the BETA started slowly to get rid of the extra bits in the pleasure’s way, ripping her apart piece by piece until nothing less than her very core, her brain, remained.
This is covered by Sumika herself to me, told with a psychic link to let me see and feel everything. After witnessing what had happened to her, I couldn’t let go. I never could have.
I’ve wondered what kind of experience it must’ve been for her. Sumika experienced large amounts of horrifying shocks, which only lead her whole sensory system overloaded with information only to be dumped into a glowing tube where she could not feel, see or hear. To her there was nothing else than she. The world outside could not be perceived. She must’ve been completely out of her mind for a time, seeing and hearing as her brains tried to cope with sensory deprivation. She wasn’t alone in this condition, and what the in-universe evidence shows, all of them basically shut down. Died. In her very mind there was two things that kept her alive; her strong will to kill every single BETA, and more importantly, the strong subconscious wish to see Takeru once more.
Imagine yourself being torn apart, losing limb after limb. Then one by one your eyes are plucked out, followed by your hearing, your voice and everything else, until you’re in complete blackness forever.
No matter how hard you try, you just can’t. To be with nothing less than your own thoughts must be like a purgatory at first, especially if you’ve been treated like Sumika was. Do you feel phantom pains? Do you still hear and see things outside hallucinations? At one point the brains just die out, or rather become a vegetable. It’s a complete psychological and physiological shock to the system. Would it be possible to cling to one small thought that would keep your core alive?
To create the 00 Unit, Kagami Sumika had to die. A literal death and rebirth. To create an exact copy of the person she once was, to quantify her personality and memories, that which is the last remains of human has to die. The quantum computer now serves as her core, her brain and the place where her soul resides. Her body is artificial and mimic human functions. She could live completely normal life with small additions like ESP and higher strength, but she never could have children. Knowing Sumika, this is rather big deal, even in a world where there is only one shining glimpse of hope.
To me from the very second I knew what 00 Unit was it ceased to exist. 00 Unit was Kagami Sumika, and not just another machine. True, her body and everything in it was artificial, but one can’t deny the very human that she was inside. If I were to die and my essence was transplanted into a HDD that would serve as the brains for a robot, that robot would essentially be me. Physically perhaps completely different, but in mind nothing less than me.
I wonder what kind shock it have had to be to Sumika’s mind, to the soul, to see and hear again, or to move an arm. She must’ve been thinking that she was hallucinating again, denying that she was alive. How does a mind act, when everything in your body tells you that you’re alive and well, but you know that’s not true? Your brains functions completely, feeding you all the information a normal body would receive and more, but the mind simply won’t accept it. In what stage she became aware of her state, that she was artificial? It’s a crucial point, as admitting that she is artificial allows to take another step towards proper functions and accept her new body. The second stage would be not to allow this to define her to a large extent. However, in the situation she was in she had no choice; she was reborn for one purpose only, and that purpose she had every intent to fulfil; the complete eradication of the BETA.
Her portrayal is childlike with one way of thinking. Only with the one person she wishes to see the most she takes baby steps towards her true personality. From almost insane rages and catatonic sleep, to catatonic playing with string as her mind copes with new sensory inputs and that she is whole again, to simple promise “I won’t go away again. I’ll be here for you.” The last point is where we can say that she starts to open her shell bit by bit, allowing her to remember and know, as well as acknowledge what she truly is.
Sumika’s growth is fast. Slowly she talks more, but still in simple words. She speaks of vengeance, goes to wake her precious in the morning and messes her memories with that of Kasumi’s. She slowly grows with every experience, and with every honest smile she has to grinch in her subconscious.
She grows into a young girl. Not really a child any more, accepting her surroundings more and using her new powers granted by her quantum brains in childish ways.
She realizes. The one she loves is the one she has hurt the most without realizing it. The only thing she can do to amend her misdeed is keep him away, to make sure that he will be safe. He shouldn’t do anything more than he already has. Even if it takes her own happiness to keep him safe in this world. Even if she has to make him hate her. Because what she is.
The amount of both physical and mental pain she has gone through must’ve been… insane. Unmeasureable.
She lies, she arranges Takeru’s transfer to another unit, she keeps keeping him away. She does things out of love and good intentions. Wrong things, but everything is for him, and his survival.
As Sumika leaves broken Takeru standing on that hill, she breaks down in tears and sadness. With Meiya’s help, Takeru forces a meeting with Sumika once more and… she shows him everything she’s gone through. At this point she is fully aware who and what she is, but she hasn’t accepted some things.
Not until that one accept her. Everything that she is, giving himself completely to her. Sumika’s own walls start to break down, and she accepts both her emotions and feelings. She is accepted who she is. It doesn’t matter what she is. It never has.
That night she becomes human once more. No longer she allows her status as the 00 Unit define her completely. She has accepted that she may become happy once more, and be with Takeru.
Until the next day.
Until the world turns upside down and all hope is lost but one shining glimpse.
Those individuals who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders match towards the Hell’s nest. Much like those before her, Sumika decides to walk the road that leads to love and death. During all this time she just wanted to see Takeru, and now… she’s letting go. What she has done with or without her own conscious acts are all ending at this point; she allows herself to be the tool, the 00-Unit, for Takeru to become the saviour.
Sumika as a person is the strongest character in MuvLuv. Her love is what carries her spirit and deeds, and this is her driving force. Her love towards Takeru is also her weakness, and she is somewhat dependant on Takeru just as Takeru is dependant on Sumika. Their friendship has been there a long time, at least since early childhood. How long they’ve loved each other is an open question, and it took something completely out of this world to Takeru to realize his feelings.
If I were to give a comparison to Sumika, it would be Suzumiya Haruka from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. They both are characters that seem rather soft and easy to hurt characters (Sumika much less) but then they step out from a traumatic experience (Sumika had far more hurtful experience thou) only to do what is necessary to do; to do what their love required them to do. In a way, they both let their love go, for his own happiness. Be it at the expense of their own happiness, or something more.
Naturally, Haruka had her own route in Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, but even âge seems to agree that Hayase end is the more canon one.
When discussing Sumika’s part in MuvLuv we need to take account her state. I haven’t seen this kind of situation in any other thus far. The closest thing is when human brains are installed into a robotic body, but Sumika’s case is different; it’s the mind that is installed into an artificial body. I’ve tried to find psychological papers on what kind of things a mind goes through when it’s not in its body any more, but I guess it’s impossible to study such thing at the moment.
Psychologically Sumika goes through fear, loss, hatred, brainwash, extreme pleasure and pain through by ripped physically into smaller pieces, then shut into her own world without any stimuli from outside world, alone with her grief, loneliness and hatred. A normal mind would die, but Sumika kept herself alive. She fought to keep herself alive, even thou brains shut down if they don’t get any stimuli after certain period of time. She fought, she survived.
Sumika fought, she survived, she met the man she love once more, and embraced the world for the last time, as a human and nothing less.