The mysterious Chairwoman Ashimori receives a phone call which informs her that the information source has been identified. A code 1138 was sent out from Time of Eve and was transmitted through more than five other androids. Shiotsuki’s “parting gift,” a houseroid named Sammy, has been placed in the middle of the broadcast. At the apartment of the family that owns Sammy, a high school boy named Rikuo checks Sammy’s movement records. Sammy is indistinguishable from any other female human with the exception of the holographic halo-like display that constantly floats above her head. Rikuo’s sister Naoko flips television channels, watching a commercial from the Ethics Committee decrying human jobs being taken over by androids. On another channel, a report on “dori-kei”- younger people who become psychologically dependant on androids. Rikuo looks through the GPS movement records he downloaded from Sammy, he finds an odd entry which simply says, “Are you enjoying the time of EVE?” Later, at school, Rikuo asks his friend Masaki to come with him as he retraces Sammy’s footsteps based on the GPS data he downloaded. He is concerned that Sammy seems to occasionally go out on her own and come back at odd hours. The data leads them to a nondescript door in an alley. They are unsure about entering until an android pushes past them to enter. Past the door and down a flight of stairs, they find a cafe called ‘Time of Eve’, where a handwritten sign informs them that in this shop there is to be no discrimination between humans and androids. The hostess directs them to some empty seats and tells them she will take their orders soon. As they take their seats, Rikuo notices the android that came in before them sitting and drinking tea with no halo above his head- had they not seen him enter, they would have had no way of knowing if he was a android or not. Masaki notes that it is a serious breach of android regulations for them to turn off their halo. Rikuo and Masaki realize that anybody in the cafe could be an android and they’d never know. Their conspiratorial whispers are suddenly interrupted by a younger, rather hyperactive girl. She noticed that they were new around here and asks if she can join them. Without waiting for an answer, she sits down and hits them with a non-stop barrage of questions, apparently excited to see new faces, which apparently happens only rarely. She mentions that all the others there are regulars- the book-reading Setoru, an older man, Shimei and his foster daughter Chie, a pair of lovers, Koji and Rina, the hostess Nagi, and of course, herself, Akiko. Rather taken by surprise, Rikuo and Masaki introduce themselves. Rikuo asks her if she’s seen a female android around, but is immediately scolded by Nagi for breaking the cafe’s rule. Akiko defends him, saying he just isn’t used to it yet. Hesitantly, Nagi argues that breaking the rule just causes trouble for everyone and beats a hasty retreat. Akiko tells them that Nagi really cares deeply about her cafe and goes to smooth things over. Alone again, Masaki suggests that Akiko is there to make friends with androids, perhaps being one of those dori-kei that get mentioned on television a lot lately. Rikuo is not so sure, but remains silent as Akiko reappears. As a test, Masaki casually mentions that his family has no androids- odd for a family this day in age- and suggests that Akiko must have some at her home. Akiko hesitates a moment, but says that they do and that’s why she’s here. Rikuo asks her what she means, and she explains that at this cafe you can talk to anybody. She thinks of both humans and androids as her family- but admits that the two are totally different. As such, she’d like to know what they really think of her. The next day, as school winds down, Rikuo continues to think about what Akiko said, and asks Masaki if he really thinks she’s a dori-kei. Before Masaki can respond, Rikuo is stunned to see Akiko walk by and join the line of androids waiting to pick up their charges. She does not acknowledge Rikuo at all, emotionlessly greeting her master and wordless accepting him treating her like the appliance she technically is. At home that night, Rikuo is still reeling from the truth about Akiko, but notices that the coffee Sammy brings him is the same blend he had at Time of Eve. Sammy tells him that she bought a different kind of coffee than usual. Rikuo reminds her that nobody gave her such an order, but she responds that she thought he would be pleased. Rikuo suddenly angrily asks her if she’s trying to imitate humans, but Sammy emotionlessly responds that she is an android, not a human. Rikuo remembers what Akiko said in Time of Eve, about wanting to know more about her family, and realizes that androids resemble humans, not the other way around.
The next day, Rikuo quizzes Sammy on her movements over the past few days. Sammy emotionlessly reports that the last time she went out was two days ago to shop for groceries on his mother’s command. She reiterates that she did not do anything outside of her orders. Noticing Rikuo’s frustration, Naoko warns him that he’s talking with Sammy as if it were human. At school, Rikuo puzzles over Sammy’s refusal to admit that she went to Time of Eve. Masaki accuses Rikuo of trusting robots too much, which causes Rikuo to briefly lose his cool and accuse Masaki of suggesting that Sammy would lie to him. In response, Masaki reminds him what the Three Laws of Robotics are: 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. As Masaki points out, there is no law against lying. Therefore, Sammy cannot be trusted and their only choice is to try to catch her in the act. With that in mind, the pair head to Time of Eve to lay in wait. Rikuo seems uncomfortable with the idea of confronting Sammy, but Masaki is dead set on the plan. As they discuss this front a vantage point on the second level, they are suddenly surprised by a little girl who grabs Rikuo’s leg and starts pretending to be a cat. The girl’s caretaker, Shimei, apologizes, saying that once something catches Chie’s eye, she forgets about everything else. Fortunately, Chie suddenly takes an interest in the piano near the front of the cafe. Masaki asks Rikuo if he’s going to play it, but Rikuo reminds him that he’s given up on the piano. Despite that, Rikuo heads downstairs anyway. At the piano, Rikuo and Masaki briefly speculate on the humanity of the pair- they both seem pretty human, but then, so did Akiko. Masaki notes that Rikuo is very uncomfortable with the idea of Sammy visiting the cafe without his knowledge- perhaps because of the violation of human authority? When Rikuo doesn’t respond, Masaki suddenly distances himself from the situation, noting that his family doesn’t even have an android. Rikuo asks him why that is, but Masaki doesn’t answer. The front door opens, but to Rikuo’s relief it is only Akiko who walks in. Rikuo says he just doesn’t understand why Sammy would lie and then walks over to Akiko. Upon reaching her, he notes that she acts completely differently here. Akiko attempts to evade the implication, causing Rikuo to take a more direct approach, asking her where her halo is. Akiko tells him that she turned it off- if she doesn’t look human, she’ll be violating the rules. Their conversation comes to an abrupt end when they notice Chie standing behind them, staring at Rikuo’s glasses, which she promptly grabs off his face and runs off with. Meanwhile, Masaki wanders off towards the back of the cafe to spy on Setoru, who promptly notices him and half jokingly accuses him of being a Blade Runner. Setoru warns him that he won’t have any fun around here if he violates the rules, and rises to leave as Rikuo and Akiko come over looking for Rikuo’s hidden glasses. Noticing that Setoru has left the cafe, Masaki decides to leave as well, but the front door won’t open for him. Nagi tells him that, after someone leaves, the door remains locked for a short time in order to respect their privacy. As Masaki waits for the door to unlock, someone at the bar asks for a small can of the cafe’s coffee blend, noting that if it’s too big, her family will find out. Nagi asks her if they like it, but admits that she isn’t sure, causing Nagi to suggest that she just asked them outright. The customer shakes her head, saying that ‘he’ hates it when she acts independently. Meanwhile, Rikuo attempts to press Akiko on how the cafe’s rule factors into the Three Laws, but Akiko ends the conversation, scolding him for violating the rules, but playfully telling him she won’t tell Nagi. Rikuo notes to himself that androids really are capable of keeping secrets. Shimei, cradling a sleeping Chie nearby, notes that everyone has one or two things to hide- he himself is keeping something from Chie- but it’s for her own sake, so perhaps whatever is being kept from Rikuo is being kept for his own sake as well? Rikuo realizes that Sammy might be lying to him because she believes the truth will hurt him, thus overriding the Second Law (to obey orders) in favor of the First (not to harm). Shimei then reveals that Chie apparently passed Rikuo’s glasses on to somebody else. Rikuo retrieves his glasses from Nagi just in time to get a clear look at the customer at the bar- Sammy. As he stares at her in shock, Sammy panics and bolts for the door. By the time Rikuo manages to collect himself and give chase, he is blocked by the now locked door. In order to calm him down, Nagi orders him to sit down and gives him a cup of coffee. As he accepts the drink, Nagi explains that the cafe confused Sammy when she first found it, but eventually they got her to open up- telling them about her family and the guy who refused to play the piano anymore. Nagi reminds him that Time of Eve is always open to him, so long as he obeys the rule. Later, over the phone, Masaki admits that he tried to follow Setoru outside to see if he had a ring, but was unable to find him. He is very interested in what the cafe is up to, and Rikuo admits that he’d like to go back there as well. Their conversation ended, Rikuo starts to ask a once again emotionless Sammy about the cafe, but stops and just asks for coffee instead. As she heads to follow orders, Rikuo tells her that the coffee has been quite good lately. Sammy dispassionately thanks him for the compliment and with her back to him, hides a slight smile.
Some time later, Rikuo and Masaki have made their way to Time of Eve for lunch. Nagi suggests they get to know some of her other regulars, but they seem to shy away from this. Privately, Masaki maintains that he’s only here to figure out what’s going on in this strange cafe and has no intention of getting close with any potential androids. Nagi decides to call Koji and Rina over to their table, suggesting that four will make for better conversation. After some awkward introductions and failed attempts at conversation, Masaki asks them if they come here together, which finally gets Koji a bit animated, responding very swiftly that they come separately. Rikuo notices Koji’s camera, identifying it as a new, high-end model, and asks if he could take a look. Koji obliges and teaches him how to use it. Eventually, Rikuo notices MLink functionality and connects it to the table’s holographic display, which, to Koji’s obvious discomfort, displays a set of thumbnails of all the pictures on the camera. While Rikuo gushes over the technology, Rina notices a picture of Koji and another woman. Koji goes immediately on the defensive, telling her it isn’t what she thinks, but Rina simply states that his heart is still far away- no matter how much they meet, she still feels uneasy, and now she knows why. As Rina rises to leave, her leg suddenly begins to spasm, causing Koji to have to catch her. As she recovers, Rina paradoxically asks him not to leave her alone, while continuing her retreat. Feeling somewhat responsible, Rikuo chases after her. In a more secluded area of the cafe, Rikuo blunders upon Rina examining a damaged maintenance panel on her upper thigh. Noting Rikuo’s embarrassment, Rina explains that she was damaged while guarding her master, and the emergency repairs don’t seem to be holding. Rikuo notes that she should really return to her manufacturer for repairs, but Rina explains that she cannot risk that- if they discover her “modifications,” her master would be put in a rather awkward position. She isn’t sure how much time she has left, but states that she would like to keep coming to this cafe as much as she can to see Koji, who treats her like a normal human female despite what she considers her poor attempts to pass as such. Regarding the woman in the photograph, she does not think it will have much of an impact on their relationship. As Rina starts to head back to their table, Rikuo tells her that he thinks she should tell Koji the truth, regardless. Back at the table, Masaki notes that there isn’t a single picture of Rina on Koji’s camera. But then, he couldn’t risk letting people know he had a make-believe lover, right? Masaki goes on to wonder if perhaps the other woman is an android as well? Koji flatly refutes this, and furthermore, tells Masaki that Rina is not his “make-believe lover.” Masaki angrily asks him if he can honestly tell him their relationship is real. Taken slightly aback by this outburst, Koji meekly notes that what Masaki is trying to say is that humans need human partners. Koji admits that this may be so- he and Rina cannot transcend the relationship between and human and an android. None the less, Koji explains, Rina is much like his master- whom he greatly to help. As Masaki is recovering from the notion that Koji is the android rather than Rina, Koji explains that his master is morbidly dependant on him, despite his constant attempts to convince her to find a human companion. When he first met Rina, he was shocked at how similar she was to his master, and thus wanted to know more about her in order to perhaps better understand and help his master. Koji asks that Masaki please not tell Rina about him, as he does not want (indeed, cannot want) to hurt her. Surprisingly, as Rikuo and Rina make it back to the table, Masaki silently agrees. Rikuo and Masaki decide to give the pair some privacy and find a new table, where Rikuo notes that people come in all sorts. Masaki apologizes for getting on his case about staring at Rina earlier, noting that Rikuo’s human-detection skills are apparently better than his. Rikuo doesn’t know what he’s talking about, leading them both to the realization that both Rina and Koji are both androids under the impression that the other is human. Maybe, Rikuo postulates, android relationships aren’t really different than human relationships- Rina and Koji are both interested in each other for the wrong reasons and are hiding things from each other- far from uncommon themes in human relationships. That night, Sammy runs a diagnostic program on her memory, causing her to flash back through various events moving backwards though her life. Recent memories of her family flash by, then her discovery of Time of Eve, all the way back to when she was delivered to her family by none other than Chairwoman Ashimori. Her earliest memories include a distraught looking Ashimori apparently striking her and a brief memory of an older looking man.
Later that day, Rikuo and Masaki find themselves as the sole customers at Time of Eve. The pair strikes up a conversation with Nagi, asking her why she works in such an odd cafe. She happily states that she loves the place and her customers. Before Masaki can press further, the door suddenly opens to reveal a new customer- a LUH model robot (incapable of passing for human), a line from ten years ago which was never popular due to being rather user unfriendly. This particular unit seems about ready to fall apart. The robot takes note of the cafe’s rule posted in front of the door and then suddenly lumbers over to Rikuo and Masaki’s table and takes a seat. An awkward silence ensues as Rikuo and Masaki realize the robot is attempting to pass for human. Masaki finally takes initiative and introduces himself and Rikuo, and asks the robot what his name is. The robot’s only memory of his name seems to come from its garbled memory of the young boy calling his name, which is degraded to the point that the audio is mostly static. As such, the robot introduces himself with a painfully loud burst of static. It then notices that its head has become somewhat dislodged from its neck and asks for the location of the nearest bathroom, which Rikuo and Masaki are only too happy to give it. With the robot safely out of earshot, Rikuo and Masaki are finally able to give in to the humor of the situation via side-splitting laughter. Annoyed, Nagi scolds them, reminding them that the robot is still her customer. When the robot returns, she attempts to take his order. Unfortunately, the question is too open-ended for the obsolete robot to handle, causing him to being to overheat. Fearing for their safety, Rikuo quickly asks for another cup of coffee, allowing the robot to follow his lead. Their relief is short-lived, however, as Masaki quietly points out that the robot does not have a mouth, only a speaker. He fears that the robot may attempt to drink anyway, possibly resulting in a rather uncomfortable explosion. The Third Law should protect them, but neither he nor Rikuo is confident that the robot is capable of making such a judgement anymore. None the less, Nagi is determined to treat the robot as she would any other customer and brings him the drink. Fearful for the robot’s safety (as well as their own), Rikuo and Masaki attempt to stall the robot by asking how old it is. The robot informs them it is eight years old, but quickly realizes that he is rather tall to be passing for an eight year old human. The conflict causes him to begin to convulse violently until Rikuo assures him that there are giant eight year old, using Chie as an example. Despite the obviousness of the lie, it succeeds in placating the robot, who once again goes for his drink. Their relief once again turned to terror, Rikuo and Masaki dive under the table, only to look like fools when the robot pulls a tube out of its neck and sucks the coffee into a holding tank. Nagi returns and calms the situation by asking the robot about its job. The robot seems happy to discuss this and tells them that it was the caretaker of a young boy who has since grown past the need for such things. It loved its job and was given a name by the boy, which it regards as extremely important. Rikuo asks the robot what the boy’s name was, resulting in a static outburst similar to its name. Rikuo notices that the robot’s serial number has been filed off and asks the robot if it remembers any contact information for its family. The robot does not react well to the request and claims to have lost all such data. As the robot’s attempt to recall deleted data send it spiraling into a final crash, Nagi, realizing the truth of the situation, embraces it. As its memory gives out for good, the robot recalls the drawing the boy gave it, informing him that it was a picture of Katoran. With that, the robot’s eyes go dark. As Nagi continues to hold the now effectively dead robot, Rikuo explains to Masaki that the robot was illegally abandoned- when androids are replaced or no longer needed, they are supposed to be returned to the manufacturer to be properly disposed of. In order to avoid the fee associated with the return, some people attempt to delete any data in an android’s memory that could be traced back to them and then abandon it somewhere. Nagi proclaims that the robot spent all those years avoiding the authorities because it wanted someone to remember it, but Masaki responds that it didn’t know its name and didn’t even realize it. Nagi baselessly argues that he remembered in his heart, but Masaki simply scoffs at her. Becoming excessively annoyed with Nagi’s sorrow and Rikuo’s sympathy, Masaki leaves the cafe, stating that affection is impossible for a robot.
That night, as Sammy charges herself, she seems to somehow recall the nameless robot’s last memory. For reasons unknown, this prompts her to visit Rikuo’s room and take some piano sheet music, which she then attempts to play, causing Rikuo’s sleep to turn rather restless. That morning, Rikuo sleepily emerges from his room looking for breakfast. Naoko informs him that Sammy is gone today for monthly maintenance, but made some breakfast before she left. She also chastises Rikuo for practising the piano late at night. This causes Rikuo to recall the last piano competition he entered several years ago, where an android gave a guest performance. At school, Masaki brings Rikuo a print out obtained from his father’s computer of an old man who happens to be an android made in the image of someone’s father. They aren’t currently in use, but that may change if the manufacturers have their way. Masaki points out the part that says they have been testing them in secret, and suggests that such a thing sounds rather familiar. He seems extremely perturbed with the situation, and leaves before Rikuo can respond. After school, Rikuo makes his way to Time of Eve alone, finding Nagi looking after Chie because Shimei is apparently indisposed. Rikuo attempts to make drowsy small talk with the two of them, noting that Chie seems quieter than usual and telling her that he’s sure her dad will be back soon. Chie loudly responds that Shimei isn’t her dad. Rikuo asks what he is and Chie clumsily responds that he is her foster parent, apparently not entirely sure what the title means. Akiko comes over to entertain Chie and asks Rikuo where Masaki is, Rikuo snaps back that it isn’t like they’re always together. Surprised by his tone, Akiko notes that he seems rather out of it and takes Chie away to read a book. Rikuo asks Nagi what Shimei does for a living, and she admits that she doesn’t know what he does outside of doting on Chie. Rikuo says he should have taken Chie with him, but Nagi tells him that Shimei probably misses Chie more than Chie misses him. Nagi admits that she looks after Chie once a month, causing Rikuo to recall Sammy’s monthly maintenance. Rikuo drowsily wanders over to where Akiko and the other patrons are entertaining Chie and plops down beside her, asking her if she misses Shimei, causing her to gloomily reply that she does. Akiko decides to take Chie to the bathroom, leaving Rikuo with Setoru, who becomes surprisingly conversational, informing Rikuo that Shimei began bringing Chie to the cafe quite a while ago and notes that Chie really seems to like it here. Rikuo tells him that he wasn’t trying to bully Chie, but something about the situation really bothers him. Setoru simply replies that all humans hurt their companions sometimes. Surprisingly, this sets Rikuo off, who angrily asks him if he’s saying that he’s a bad guy because he’s human. Nonplussed, Setoru observes that Rikuo says some interesting things- does he think that androids never hurt each other? Rikuo briefly reflects on the various bits of drama the cafe has exposed him to recently, and decides to retreat upstairs. A bit ashamed of himself, Rikuo indulges in a bit of self-loathing and accidently falls asleep, dreaming of an old conversation he shared with Masaki Masaki told him that he planned to become a lawyer specializing in robot law and asked Rikuo if he planned to become a pianist. Rikuo responded that he was actually thinking of quitting after his most recent competition. Masaki attempted to remind him that the android was only capable of playing with precision, but Rikuo responded that he was actually somewhat moved by the performance. Rikuo is finally pulled from his slumber by the sound of a familiar song being played on the piano at the front of the cafe. When he looks over the railing, he is surprised to see Sammy at the piano, ducking praise from the other patrons- insisting that she can’t do the song justice as she was only trying to mimic what she’s heard a great number of times before. Rikuo seems extremely perturbed at first, but then notices the blanket someone pulled over him while he slept, causing him to reflect on the people and androids he’s met in his time coming to the cafe. Enlightened, Rikuo makes is way downstairs. Sammy panics as he comes into view, attempting to explain that she was just trying to play it for Chie. Noticing the sudden tension, Chie latches on to Sammy. Somewhat blankly, Rikuo approaches the piano and notes that he always tried not to play the piano in front of her, as he wouldn’t have been able to stand it if she learned how to play. Somehow, though, it doesn’t bother him anymore. With that, to the delight of the crowd, Rikuo begins playing. When he finishes, Rikuo notices that Shimei has returned. Shimei thanks him for the song, noting that he hasn’t seen Chie so happy in a while. He hates having to leave her, but he is not willing to reveal his true nature to her just yet- Chie still needs him, and his only wish is for her to be happy. Akiko suddenly pops up, asking where Sammy went. Outside the cafe, which her halo switched back on, Sammy smiles. Back inside, Nagi congratulates Rikuo on his performance, causing Rikuo to finally admit that he really likes the cafe. Meanwhile, Masaki returns home, still in a bad mood. Noticing his family’s old non-humanoid android does little to ease his temperament.
Many years ago, a very robotic-looking android named Tex attempts to console a young boy in the midst of the divorce of his parents. The robot reminds the boy that neither his father, nor his mother, is completely wrong, so he shouldn’t blame them. The robot’s words do seem to help the boy a bit, causing the robot to the boy not to tell his father about their conversation, as it would likely hurt his feelings. The boy is confused, but readily agrees. Unbeknownst to either of them, the boy’s father overhears their conversation through a crack in the door. The next morning, the boy awakens to find his father and Tex in his doorway. The father breaks the news to him that Tex seems to be broken. To the boy’s growing horror, despite being otherwise operational, Tex seems to have lost his ability to speak. Years later, in the present, the father leads a meeting of the Ethics Committee in which areas of “excessive human-robot interactions” are being discussed. 1408 such areas have been identified, many based on nothing more than rumors. None of these places clearly violate robot law, which, as far as the father is concerned, represents the unacceptable limits of those laws. The committee plans to investigate several areas and turn the matter over to the media, but the sheer number of them makes finding good targets unlikely thanks to their lack of manpower. Ironically, the committee has decided to use androids to help with the investigation. Once good targets are identified, the committee plans to use smear tactics against any humans found to frequent them. It is noted that the Android Promotion Committee has gotten wind of their plans, and there is concern that they might be able to turn the situation against them. As a precaution, all androids working for the Ethics Committee have been ordered never to reveal their true affiliation. There is fear that an incident which occurred many years ago which is only now fading from the public’s memory could be repeated if they are not careful. Later that day, at Time of Eve, Rikuo and Akiko watch a television program in which the father is being interviewed about the Ethics Committee, saying that treating robots too much like people impedes people’s ability to create relationships with real humans. Akiko asks Rikuo why Masaki has stopped coming to the cafe, but Rikuo seems to avoid the question, and notes that that guy has been on television a lot lately. Nagi observes that it’s like it was in the old days, causing Setoru to chime in that the Ethics Committee has been around since the first household androids starting being sold, some ten years ago. They started out as a somewhat radical anti-robot group, but this lead to someone being injured- referred to as the Tokisaka Incident- causing them to keep a low profile for several years. Akiko, uninterested in politics, asks Rikuo what all that has to do with Masaki, to which Rikuo responds that the man being interviewed is Masaki’s father and the Chief Information Officer of the Ethics Committee. In Masaki’s room at home, Tex- still mute- brings Masaki some coffee. Masaki sarcastically makes one-sided conversation with the robot, telling him about this cafe that Rikuo is hung up on- an absurd place where humans and androids hang out with each other. Just as Masaki is about to break down and beg Tex to talk to him, his father knocks on the door and asks him who he’s talking to. Taking things in stride, Masaki claims to have been talking on his cell phone. His father notes that he has been home a lot lately and offers to talk about it, but Masaki claims there’s nothing to talk about. Back at Time of Eve, Rikuo takes his leave, causing the other patrons to inform Sammy that she can come out of hiding. Nagi tells her that she doesn’t think Rikuo minds her being there anymore, but Sammy reminds her that she’s been around him a long time, and claims to know how he thinks. Akiko teases the two of them for being so concerned about Rikuo, but as she opens the door to leave, her mood turns dour and she wonders aloud if Masaki plans to report them to the Ethics Committee. Nagi matter-of-factly states that if he did, they’d be forced to close. Slightly distraught at the idea, Sammy asks why they’d close such a wonderful place, but Nagi simply responds by asking her if she remembers how she found the cafe in the first place. Sammy states that she thought Nagi invited her, but Nagi tells her she probably just heard about it from someone who had been there before. And because Sammy came, Rikuo and Masaki found the place as well. Thus, if Masaki brings someone from the Ethics Committee, there’s nothing to be done- the connection ends and so does the cafe. Nagi just wants to see how big the circle can grow before that happens.
That night, as Rikuo prepares to retire to his room for the night, Sammy suddenly asks him if he wants Masaki to visit the cafe again. Rikuo is initially taken aback by her sudden break from her household android persona, but quickly recovers and says that he really would. The next day at school, Rikuo catches Masaki in the hallway, but before he can finish the question, Masaki flatly states that he’s not going. Rikuo tells him that Nagi and Sammy would like him to come. Masaki snaps and angrily asks Rikuo why the opinion of a houseroid matters? Rikuo stands his ground on the matter, causing Masaki to storm off, thinking to himself that Rikuo is just like he used to be, and hasn’t learned that investing emotion in androids just leads to betrayal. It would be better, he thinks, if that cafe didn’t exist. When he reaches home, Masaki immediately seeks out his father, ready to tell him everything about Time of Eve, but is shocked to find his father searching for Tex, who has disappeared. His father believes that Tex must be broken and is intent on finding it and disposing of it properly, as it has had access to a lot of sensitive Ethics Committee data. Masaki is shaken up by Tex’s disappearance, and merely tells his father that he has no idea where Tex would be. As Masaki attempts to collect his thoughts, he gets a phone call from Rikuo, which he finally answers. With alarms going off in the background, Rikuo tells him that he’s at Time of Eve where an old android is demanding that they close the cafe. When Rikuo mentions that the old THX model doesn’t seem to be capable of speech, Masaki bolts out the door. Upon arriving, Masaki is shocked to see that Tex has indeed taken the cafe hostage, having plugged himself into the cafe’s AV system, causing it to blare alarms and display a message telling them to close the cafe. None of the cafe’s usual patrons have been able to get any answers out of the mute robot and are shocked when Masaki, having regained his composure, successfully orders Tex to knock it off. Finding everybody’s eyes on him, Masaki attempts to nonchalantly accuse Nagi of somehow bringing his robot to the cafe, and notes that she probably did the same thing to Rikuo. The patrons are slightly taken aback by his bizarre accusation, but allow him to continue, as he seems to finally be opening up. Masaki informs them that Tex basically brought him up as a child and he thought of the little robot as his best friend. But one day, it stopped talking, causing him to feel hurt and betrayed- that’s all there is to it. After an uncomfortable pause, Rina notes that the android doesn’t seem damaged- there must be some reason it stopped talking. Masaki, becoming borderline emotional, informs her that, though he didn’t realize it at the time, his father most likely ordered it not to talk to him in an attempt to drive them apart. Since parental orders take priority, no amount of crying and begging forgiveness would make Tex talk to him- and that’s the problem, androids are capable of ignoring a crying child for years, they simply cannot understand people’s hearts. The uncomfortable silence that follows is suddenly broken by the front door opening, revealing a face Tex instantly recognizes from the Ethics Committee data- one of the androids sent out to covertly investigate improper human/android activities. Tex is aware that it will record the names and faces of everybody in the cafe and all the humans there- including Masaki will be hounded by the Ethics Committee. Panicked, Tex attempts to signal the danger to Masaki, but is unable to get his point across. Tex examines the cafe’s rule for a moment and then suddenly turns to face the crowd and informs them all that it intends to break the cafe’s rule. Tex faces the new arrival and informs him that he is in clear violation of robot law- an android is never to turn off its halo while in operation. In shock, Masaki realizes that the only way Tex could be talking is if the First Law is overriding his father’s orders. In that case, Tex believes a human is in danger, and Masaki is the only one there Tex knows to be human. Tex begins demanding that the android state it’s owner’s contact information, causing the android to attempt to retreat for the door. Masaki, realizing that Tex will stop speaking once the danger has passed, lunges for the android and restrains him, keeping him in the cafe. With tears in his eyes, Masaki proclaims that he won’t let go until Tex talks to him, and demands to know what Tex was thinking, watching him suffer for all those years. Tex hesitates, but finally admits that he simply wanted to be by Masaki’s side, even if he wasn’t allowed to speak. Relieved, Masaki lets the android go and reaches out for Tex. Unfortunately, Tex’s next sentence is cut off when the android completes his escape. As Masaki embraces his mute caretaker, Nagi tells him that Tex only wanted to protect him. Rikuo tells him that he’s seen a lot of things in this cafe, and though things don’t always go as well as you’d like, he’s convinced that they have the right idea. Very quietly, Masaki admits that he may be right, and then, pulling himself together, rises and says that he will tell his father that he ordered Tex out of the house and turns to lead his old friend home. Sometime later, Setoru meets with Chairwoman Ashimori and asks if he should have helped them, noting that it could have become another dangerous incident. His boss is unconcerned, however, noting that she’s sure Shiotsuki would have understood. Setoru asks if that was really related to Shiotsuki, but Ashimori dodges the question, reminding him that the cafe’s designation is 1138–“Our country’s robot force will continue to act upon prioritized orders.” Code:LIFE’s suppressed reformation isn’t working.
As the credits roll, still shots fill in Nagi’s history. As a young girl, her best friend was a non-humanoid robot, but the two of them were injured in the Tokisaka Incident. Nagi recovers slowly, and is visited by a slightly older man with an artificial arm whom she seems very happy to see. When she gets older, she starts a cafe with a familiar rule for some rural robots, who are eventually scrapped, much to Nagi’s dismay. The man with the artificial arm is seen arguing with Ashimori, causing him and Nagi to leave again to run another cafe by the sea where humans and androids enjoy each other’s company. Later that day, Nagi, wearing glasses, enters a rather nice looking office and greets a man with an artificial arm and a very robotic voice. They make small talk- Nagi tells him about her cafe in the city and then notes that he looks sad. The man replies that ever since “she” was broken by Ashimori, “she” has felt insecure. He wonders if they will ever find happiness. As he seems to give into despair, Nagi embraces him from behind, telling him that his children are laughing alongside humans, and one day, it will extend beyond the cafe- the events of today have only served to strengthen that belief.
Unlike the majority of compilation movies, this one stands on its own pretty well, in large part due to the fact that, thanks to the original series only having a combined runtime of a bit over 100 minutes, very little was cut out- watching the movie is only different from watching the series straight through in that you have a few short transition scenes between episodes, and new introduction and conclusion scenes. The only really big change from the series is that Sammy is suddenly special in some way- apparently able to retrieve other androids’ memories and possibly being related to the spreading of Time of Eve’s location to other androids- she was even delivered to Rikuo’s house by Ashimori herself! Nagi’s backstory is expanded a bit as well, though it seems even more mysterious than it was. She was injured as a child by the Ethics Committee, along with her beloved robot at the time, and seems to have spent her life traveling around opening up cafes which all feature the same rule. If you look closely at the end, you can see that the joints in her hand are unquestionably mechanical. Presumably, the man she visits at the end is Shiotsuki, though his identity remains baffling- he seems to be a cyborg (or maybe even an android himself), somehow involved in the creation of and advanced AI which was suppressed by Ashimori, apparently. I had hoped that we would get a bit more closure on those fronts in this movie, but all they seem to have done is deepened the mystery. All we can do now is hope for a second season at some point.