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Chapter 17, Past Lives

Manga

Manga[]

  • Previous: Chapter 16, In Darkness
  • Current: Chapter 17, Past Lives
  • Next (Publishing Order): Chapter 18, Little Robot Lost

Overview[]

Past Lives (Also known as chapter 17) is the seventeenth story of the manga and the final chapter of Volume 5. It covers Dastun coming across a con artist who parades a girl that can allegedly recall memories from 40 years ago. When the girl’s visions of the past begin to get dark and morbid, everything spirals out of control and it’s up to Dastun to save the girl’s life.

Synopsis[]

The chapter starts with a monologue from a charlatan monologuing about a young girl with a ventriloquist dummy in next to him named Marie:

“Ladies and gentlemen, hers' is a tale of sorrow. This child awoke from cold stasis into a still colder world of forgotten dreams. A world without families. Where parents, siblings—yes, even lovers—pass as strangers on the street. A world that even the sun has forgotten for 40 years. Ah…who made the world like this?!”

We see Roger and Dastun walking alongside one another in the snow. Roger notes that although it makes the city look “clean and beautiful”, in reality there’s still “muck” hidden underneath. Dastun tells him not to focus on that and just let himself enjoy the beauty, which Roger acknowledges and admits that “peeking under the rug” is a bad habit of his.

We see flashbacks of Instro playing “The Sun Will Rise Again” on the piano followed by a flashback of Big Duo, with Dastun at the bar with Roger and asking what’s going on with this city, from the song who’s singer’s death led to it being a chart-topping hit to the angel fiasco to the “red megadeus”, and now it’s an alleged seer who looks into memories prior to 40 years ago. Roger notes the addictive nature of dreams and how regardless of sleep, people need them, only for Dastun to note this “dream” is more of a nightmare, and nobody knows it.

We cut back to the Charlatan who proclaims god does exist, and has gifted Marie with a special “gift” allowing her to survive this world. He tells people with lost pasts to line up, experience this “gift” for themselves, and pay afterwards. The show starts off promising, as the girl uses the doll to tell an old man that he is indeed the owner of his own house and that his wife and kids love him. He’s tearfully grateful as the Charlatan tips his hat, proclaiming it’s this simple, and instructs the crowds to free themselves of their insecurities of the past.

As more people step in and asking for their memories, we cut back to Roger and Dastun still at the bar, with Dastun noting it’s just a scam where the girl is being used to validate the dreams of grownups fearful of awakening a reckoning of sorts. Dastun says it’d be preferable if they just “woke up” themselves, only for Roger to joke that this would put alarm clock salespeople out of business.

Dastun then switches the subject to Dorothy, asking Roger if she’s given up on using the piano to wake him up. Roger notes she hasn’t, much to his dismay. The two men exit the bar and part ways, with Dastun noting these people won’t return to reality unless someone does it for them, which Roger agrees with. Dastun suggests they head to this bar again in the future before wishing Roger goodnight.

We cut back to Marie, who continues telling people things about their pasts that reassure them, earning the Charlatan more money. Said Charlatan then goes on another, more detailed monologue:

“This girl may look like a child, but she was born over 40 years ago! And for 40 years, through the lost science of cold stasis, she remained a sleeping beauty. Take a good look friends: Her hands bear horrible scars she received four decades ago…maybe some of you also bear the scars of long forgotten wounds. This little darling has known suffering beyond her years, but god has rewarded her with a gift…to help her make her way in a strange new world!”

We see the scars on Marie’s hands, along with Dastun and his accompanying officer Johnny. Dastun doesn’t believe any of this, and notes those scars look only weeks old, and questions how the people don’t even see that. Johnny suggests they get  back to HQ before Colonel Gauss starts causing trouble, stating his “arrogance gene” triggers when he needs to leave the place to see them, only for Dastun to get going. Johnny rushes over and asks Dastun to wait up, which Marie sees.

We fast forward to Dastun, who is with one of his investigators who’s showing a slideshow on a projector and discussing several reports of what he believes to be a mnemonic neurosis. We see a flashback of the Gigadeus as the investigator asks Dastun if he remembers the “unusual seismic activity” from a month ago, and states that’s when this phenomenon started.

He then elaborates that the people who were studied claimed to have memories from prior to 40 years ago, despite being younger than 40 themselves. He admits however that these claims are hard to verify and can easily just be delusions. Dastun grunts, causing the forensic investigator to ask if something is wrong. Dastun however says it’s nothing and thanks the investigator for the info before putting his hat back on and leaving.

As Dastun heads back outdoors, the things Marie is telling people are getting much darker, her doll now smiling as it describes that a woman lost her love a long time ago in a fire, his death being agonizing and full of screams. As the woman breaks down into tears, the Charlatan angrily wonders what’s wrong with her. Marie then meets a “father and son”, only to tell the son that his father is actually a robber that killed his real father, and when the world changed, they happened to be standing together, leading to their bond.

An elderly man sees this and is outraged, claiming Marie is making things up, much to the Charlatan’s panic. Another man agrees, and soon a rabid mob forms denouncing the darker things Marie has been saying. Noticing the jig is up, the Charlatan takes Marie and flees, driving off in a van only to be chased down by the mob.

As the Charlatan screams at Marie and asks her what she’s done, Dastun pursues them in his police cruiser. However, the Charlatan’s van then produces a “smoke screen” from behind, which causes the pursuing mobs to break down into uncontrollable laughter as they realize it’s laughing gas. The Charlatan angrily demands Marie to prepare attack number two, pulling bundles of firecrackers out of a bag, lighting them and tossing them out of the window, finishing off the rest of the pursuing mob.

The Charlatan angrily asks why this happened, asking Marie why she lied, only for Marie to pout and reply she wasn’t lying, only further infuriating the Charlatan, who explains she doesn’t have a gift and was supposed to just let people have their fantasies like he told her too.

Marie counters that that’s lying, only for the Charlatan to retort that technically it’s “fraud”, before then asking again why she did this. When Marie explains it was the truth via the doll, whose smiling again, the Charlatan throws her out of the moving vehicle and lamenting that he’ll need to find another “lost lamb”, citing he can’t work with a “nut job”.

Dastun sees this in horror, parking his car and bursting out the door and seeing Marie about to cry because her doll’s face was shattered, leaving her panicking. Big O then arrives and confronts the Charlatan, much to his bewilderment, asking what he did wrong and why the Black Megadeus is going after him. Dastun is equally confused, asking why the megadeus is here as it picks up The Charlatan’s van from the road.

Dastun goes over to Marie and comforts her, saying this wasn’t her fault. However, Marie doesn’t pay attention to the officer, and instead looks on in horror at Big O, as the angry mob catches up with them. Marie breaks down into tears and screams she’s scared, that it’s the end, and everything is going away. Dastun tries to calm her down, but he can’t stop the girl from having a flashback, depicting a Big O unit rampaging through a burning street amidst crowds of fleeing and dying people whilst shooting eye lasers, with a legion of Big Duo units soaring through the skies.

She runs away from Dastun and Big O, only to be caught by the angry mob who began demanding her to tell them “the truth”, as they run over and trample over her broken doll. They insist their pasts can’t be that bad, and demand answers from Marie as they reach out at her, the girl begging them to stop. As Marie heads to a frozen lake under a bridge, Dastun invades the crowd and demands them to stop. However, they refuse and finally get a hold of the traumatized girl, demanding answers for their pasts.

Dastun barges through the angry mob and frees the girl from them, angrily asking what they want from this little girl. A brief silence passes by, before one of them answers they want their pasts, citing that someone like Dastun is old enough to understand. The mob start explaining their fears of not knowing the past before beginning to demand answers from Marie again, who tearfully begs them to stop. Eventually, she can’t take it anymore and leaps into the frozen lake behind her, followed shortly by Dastun as they break the ice and fall into the freezing water.

The mob look on in shock, before Dastun emerges out with Marie, who isn’t moving. Dastun shames them for pushing her to this, saying that her heart couldn’t take the shock, and now she’s dead. He chastises the desperate elder folk, saying they sacrificed her future for their pasts, demanding that they wake up. Big O then arrives to the scene and offers out its hand for Dastun to step onto, much to the officer’s confusion.

Dastun is amused at seeing the black megadeus meddling again, saying it reminds him of a friend of his. We see the Charlatan unconscious in his trashed van, surrounded by cop cars as Big O walks away with Dastun. As Dastun elaborates that this “friend” of his also meddles into other people’s business, Marie wakes up. She wasn’t actually dead, merely passing out with Dastun making up a lie so the mob would stop chasing her.

She’s shocked to see Big O helping her, before then asking Dastun why he saved her, who replies that she has nothing to be afraid of. Marie simply replies she isn’t dead, to which Dastun smirks. The officer tells the girl that she doesn’t need to see or say anything anymore, her doll being dead and the child in his arms having no special powers, stating she’s seen enough of the past and now should look into her future. He then cites something from his friend who reminds him of the Black Megadeus:

“If you’re going to dream, it’s much better to dream about the future than the past.”

Similarities To The Anime[]

  • Although a manga exclusive story, this chapter bears many similarities to "Winter Night Phantom", as it is a story that takes place predominantly during the winter season that follows Dastun and a villain who uses the same balloon van.
  • Said van the Charlatan and Marie drive away in is near identical to the van seen in that episode, but with the balloon logo removed.

Trivia[]

  • It’s likely this chapter takes place after the entire first volume of Lost Memories 1 and at least one of the chapters of Lost Memories Volume 2.
  • Paradigm Gallery reveals Marie’s name as well as the fact she was an orphan found by the Charlatan, who also goes by the nickname of “The Cheater” depending on which translation is used.
  • The Charlatan has an uncanny resemblance to Penguin from the Batman comics. Coincidentally, his van produces laughing gas, which can be considered a reference to a more famous Batman villain, The Joker.
  • It’s actually very likely Marie’s alleged abilities to recall memories prior to 40 years ago could be authentic, at least partially, considering that other people allegedly had similar symptoms of recalling memories prior to 40 years ago despite not being 40 themselves ever since the destruction of the Gigadeus last month.
  • Speaking of which, the memories she recalls through her doll get progressively darker over time much like said mecha, and lastly Marie somehow was able to recall flashbacks of The Event itself with the megadeus rampage including the likes of Big O and Big Duo. The alleged burns on her hands may also be genuine, considering the fact the world appeared to be consumed in flames during The Event. She even describes somebody who burned to death possibly around that time.
  • Also, the explanation that Marie was kept in cold stasis during the event 40 years ago lines up with Del Poi from "Chapter 10, Unto Us A Beast Is Born" who also was stored in cold stasis and appeared to recall the inferno of The Event. It too was also able to bear memories prior to 40 years ago in spite of the mass amnesia that afflicted everyone else.
  • Lastly, it appears these memories had some kind of connection to Marie’s doll, whose seen changing facial expressions depending on what memories Marie has it recall, particularly when it was smiling while the Charlatan demanded Marie tell him why she told people those disturbing stories about their pasts. This implies this doll was special and had it’s own unique properties prior to being trampled and destroyed, though we also see that Marie herself possesses memories of her own, at the very least remembering the megadeus onslaught of 40 years ago.
  • People younger than 40 years old reawakening memories from prior to the event after Gigadeus’ destruction bares similarities to "R.D." of the anime, where Red Destiny pursues people who began having memories of what happened during the event. The main difference is that, according to Vera Ronstadt, these people couldn’t remember anything prior to that event and were killed by Red Destiny because of it, being failed test subjects of Gordon’s Artificial Cultivation Experiment rather than random citizens who managed to get actual memories prior to 40 years ago.
  • This may imply that the Red Destiny’s memory core technology (and possibly Dorothy by extension) is more similar to the Gigadeus than the Bigs. This would explain Red Destiny’s supernatural abilities and insanity resembling Beck’s ascension and why various robots like Archetype and Leviathan were pursuing Dorothy, with Dorothy herself citing that Timothy never fully understood how she could think and was aiming to “bring back his dead daughter”, which would be theoretically plausible with technology from a machine that could summon memories prior to 40 years ago.

Citations[]

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