Real Drive (RD 潜脳調査室 Āru Dī Sennō Chōsashitsu?) is an anime TV series, created by Production I.G and Masamune Shirow. Real Drive is produced in collaboration with broadcaster Nippon Television (NTV), and premiered in Japan on NTV on 8 April 2008.
Storyline and setting
Real Drive is set in 2061 AD, fifty years after the development of the Network society. The new infrastructure was to create a utopia where people could directly connect at the level of consciousness. But new social problems, such as personal data leaks and disinformation surface. People still must rely heavily on the Network and are unable to abandon it.
In due course, a new Network realm with more effective security measures was developed. This was called Meta Real Network, nicknamed "The Metal."
The Metal holds personal memory data in bubble shells. These are supposedly protected virtual online organic cyber-enclaves. The Metal eventually pervades the everyday lives of people.
People gradually learned to release and explore their instincts within the environment of the Metal. The unleashed instincts cause some individual's consciousness to drown in the sea of information and to be exposed to the pressures of desire.
Meanwhile, norms and regulations continue to bind their real world lives. Friction between the two worlds manifests as troublesome aberrations.
Cyber Divers are experts who investigate and decipher these aberrations in the Metal.
Interaction with the Metal is always two way that means more control means more vulnerability, people without cyberbrains cannot be affected by the metal directly but can likewise not interact with the metal directly themselves.
As a way of raising suspension Real Drive uses similar rules for interacting with the network as The Matrix does, the consequences are of course in no way possible and completely fictional.
- Masamichi Haru (波留 真理 Haru Masamichi?)
- Voiced by: Katsuji Mori
- Age: 81
- The protagonist of the series. A diver of "The Metal" and long time friend of Eiichiro Kushima. Masamichi was in a diving accident while testing an early Meta-Real technology and was in a coma for 50 years before awakening as a paraplegic old man. He eventually regains his ability to walk towards the end of the series.
- Minamo Aoi (蒼井 ミナモ Aoi Minamo?)
- Voiced by: Kanae Oki
- Age: 15
- An intern hired by Masamichi Haru and sister of Souta Aoi. Originally hired to replace Holon during a leave for maintenance, she became a permanent employee after she helped guide Masamichi back from a dive gone wrong. Unlike the other humans and some animals in the story, she does not possess a Cyberbrain augmentation, and requires electronic accessories to access The Metal.
- Souta Aoi (蒼井 ソウタ Aoi Sōta?)
- Voiced by: Hiroki Takahashi
- Age: 22
- Employee of the EISF and brother of Minamo Aoi. He begins to have feelings for Holon towards the end of the series.
- Holon (ホロン Horon?)
- Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi
- Age: 1
- An android who helps Masamichi Haru with daily life in his old age and assists him in his search for the answer in the sea.
- Eiichiro Kushima (久島 永一朗 Kushima Eīchirō?)
- Voiced by: Keiji Fujiwara
- Age: 82
- Director of the EISF and friend of Masamichi Haru. While as old as Masamichi, his body has the appearance of a twenty-eight year old man. It was revealed later in the series that Kushima chose to replace his original body with a prosthetic one, allowing him to continue his work beyond the limits allowed by the human body. He has a spare body to which he transfers his consciousness during his usual body's maintenance, one which might be modeled after the young Haru (Minamo remarked in episode 20 that his spare's appearance reminded her of Haru in his youth).
Relation to other works by Shirow Masamune
In Ghost in the Shell, the cyberbrain is newly incorporated technology, and is already having a very strong impact on world history. Within the events surrounding the Fall of Dejima in 2030, the impact of Cyberspace, known also as The Net becomes apparent. Soon, the Net will become a more independent structure, a sum of all human knowledge, and an assembly of human subconscious - the Metal of 2061. Already in 2030, personal external memories are encased in software firewalls of great complexity. The most complex in 2030 are the so-called Decatonchire, which are able to run virtual-reality simulations that contain physical forms as well as AI personality simulations. These too will develop, ultimately becoming the Bubble Shells of the Metal.
Androids are commonplace (though expensive items) in Ghost in the Shell, which also sees the introduction of the first Bioroid - Proto, an officer of Section 9. Within Real Drive, Bioroids are an increasingly important part of the AI environment.
Real Drive also leads us to the world of Appleseed, where the status of Bioroids becomes a significant part of future history, and with an increasingly pervasive Net, with new problems.
- Original concept: Production I.G, Masamune Shirow
- Original concept assistance: CROSSROAD
- Original creator: Masamune Shirow
- Director: Kazuhiro Furuhashi
- Series Composition: Junichi Fujisaku
- Character Design: Tetsuro Ueyama
- Music: Yoshihisa Hirano, Hideki Taniuchi
- Animation Production: Production I.G
- Broadcaster: Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV)
- Production Assistance: CROSSROAD
- "Real Drive". Newtype USA. 7 (2) p. 12. February 2008. ISSN 1541-4817.
- (Japanese) Official site
- (Japanese) Production I.G Site Worklist
- (Japanese) Production I.G Site Worklist English Translation
- (English) Anime News Network