“Emotions are prohibited”, and yet Operator 6O contacts 2B to tell her she’d look good with a lunar tear (a kind of lily) in her hair. Why would YoRHa androids care about aesthetics aside from their practical or tactical use? Maybe, I guess, because enough time has passed and these androids have lived and been regenerated enough that they do have emotions, and it’s a fool’s errand to deny or suppress them.
2B has shown time and time again that she not only has emotions, but is willing to let them guide her actions rather than her strict YoRHa programming and independent from Bunker directives. It’s why when Pascal reports that Little Sister is missing after looking for parts for her Big Sister, 2B agrees to a sidequest to find her. It’s not like they have anything else going on.
Pascal gives 2B and 9S a lift to the Forest Kingdom with his new flight attachments, and the androids learn that he can change out his body parts as needed. That leads to a talk about how much can be changed before Pascal is no longer Pascal. He believes that as long as the heart of someone, be they human, Machine Lifeform, or android, remains, they are still themselves.
Within the Forest Kingdom there’s a sprawling ruined castle of brick and stone, calling to mind not just Castle in the Sky but the classic video game Ico. The visuals and soundtrack combine for another another triumph of location establishment and atmosphere setting. But while the kingdom is supposed to be guarded by a fierce ML fighting force, nearly all are destroyed, and by someone who knew what they were doing.
Various record chips held by the castle’s defeated occupants contain not just a dispassionate record of events 256 and 128 years ago, but a history of their kingdom, from when their first king declared their kingdom, to when he died and was succeeded by a new “Little King”. There’s also a record of four hours ago, when the intruder is revealed to be a female android.
As they’re walking on a bridge high above a long drop, the stone beneath 9S’ feet crumbles, but Pascal saves him. 9S is shocked by this since he’s been badmouthing Pascal and all MLs the whole time, and even afterwards he still can’t fully trust him. But they eventually find the Little Sister, who has fallen in love with one of the castle guards and wishes to be married.
With one sidequest complete, the sister’s new fiancé gives the androids another: save the Little King, who is under threat from the intruder. They reach the throne room and find the King—the Machine Lifeform version of a babe in riveted metal swaddling clothes—but they are too late to save it, as it is run clean through by the blade of the female android intruder.
The Pod identifies this android as the ex-soldier A2, currently classified a deserter and a fugitive (and I’m guessing she’s the “Number Two” from last week’s exploration of Lily’s past). After crossing blades and having hers shattered by 2B (the upgraded model must have an advantage), 9S asks A2 why she betrayed Command. A2 responds that Command was the ones doing the betraying.
Judging from what went down last week, I’m not skeptical in the least about A2’s assertion. She runs off before 2B and 9S can question her further, but I hope we get to see her again. I’m also eager to see what Adam does when he feels he and Eve have amassed enough knowledge…and clothing.