Tales of the Abyss – 09
When Luke regains his senses, he finds himself viewing the world through Asch’s eyes while his own body is still unconscious. Asch explains that Luke is a perfect replica, and because of this, they can connect through their Fon Slots. Luke’s Fon Slots were opened to Asch back when Luke got kidnapped briefly at Choral Castle. Asch isn’t happy that Luke is his replica, and in his anger, he steps menacingly towards Luke’s unconscious body, but Mieu stops him. When Asch leaves Luke’s room, he runs into Natalia who asks him if he remembers her, however Asch moves on without answering. Asch then joins the others in a meeting with Tear’s grandfather Teodoro – the mayor – about how to get back to the surface. Teodoro explains that the Tartarus can do so by stimulating and extending Akzeriuth’s Sephiroth Tree one last time, and so the group prepares to leave. Tear decides to stay behind, so only Jade, Guy, Anise, Ion, Natalia, and Asch set out.
They are successful in getting back to the Outer Lands, and afterward, Asch directs the group to a laboratory in Belkend that Van frequents. There, they find a man named Spinoza who had been involved in the original kidnapping and the creation of Asch’s replica. Spinoza recognizes Jade as the father of fomicry, and although the two talk about how diverting fomicry to living creatures is prohibited, Spinoza claims that he was only helping with Van’s preservation project. He manages to escape via a special door, but Jade finds a clue on Spinoza’s desk that points to the Ortion Cavern where a mineral needed to produce replicas is found. Guy, however, decides to leave the group at this point because he’s concerned about Luke. He knows that the real Luke is Asch, but he considers his friend to be the replica Luke, so he heads off to a spot that Asch knows Luke will have to pass through if Luke intends to return to the Outer Lands.
Natalia thinks that Asch should stop Guy, and she refers to him as Luke, but Asch tells her not to call him by that name. That night, Asch has a dream about his struggles after being kidnapped and how he returned home to find his replica being supported by his old friends and family. After waking from this, Asch goes onto the deck of the Tartarus and runs into Jade, and Asch feels that blaming Jade for something from their past wouldn’t change anything. The ship soon arrives at the Ortion Cavern, and the group finds a fomicry research facility there. On one of the computers, Asch finds large-scale replica information on the residents of the destroyed island of Hod, and Natalia thinks that Van might want to revive Hod. Right around this time, the entire cavern starts shaking, and Asch has to save Natalia from being crushed by the machinery. He suspects that the earthquake was from another area falling due to the Sephiroth Tree that Luke destroyed, and Jade thinks that Van’s goal is the collapse of the Outer Lands. Asch knows that the city of St. Binah is next, and he chooses this point to cut Luke off from sharing what he sees.
Because of that, Luke wakes up back in Yulia City with Mieu by his side. He hears Tear’s singing, and he finds her in the flower garden outside his room. He tells Tear about what he learned and feels that he has to return to the Outer Lands, but Tear questions what he’ll do to prevent St. Binah from collapsing. She feels that he’s letting other people’s words control him and isn’t trying to understand anything for himself, and Luke realizes that she’s right. He wants to change, but Tear wonders how he’s going to do so with the weight of all those who died at Akzeriuth on his shoulders. Unsure, Luke claims that he’d be willing to die if it would bring back Akzeriuth, but he’ll start for now with what he’s able to do. Tear is unconvinced that Luke truly understands, so to prove that he’s serious about changing, Luke borrows her knife and cuts his hair with it. He bids farewell to the person he’s been up until now, and he tells Tear to watch him from now on as he changes.
Wait, wasn’t Asch mere seconds away from killing Luke last week when the episode ended? How the hell did we go from that to this week’s opening of Luke unconscious and seeing stuff from Asch’s point of view? It’s not like Asch suddenly had a huge change of heart about Luke, or if he did, he certainly didn’t show it (he even went after Luke again, only to be stopped only by Mieu). I wasn’t expecting him to kill Luke – and indeed much of this episode portrayed Asch in a more positive light – but it was an interesting cliffhanger nonetheless, and the lack of transition ruined it. Speaking of transitions, there was more jumping around locations this week. It was a bit too easy the way the Tartarus was able to get out of Qliphoth, and then in the very next scene, they’re all of the sudden at a port and then at Belkend. At least during the trip to the cavern, we actually saw them at sea in transition.
As for Luke, he’s finally bearable to watch again – in the sense that he’s no longer being an asshole or whiny at every turn – and now that he’s cut his hair to demonstrate that he’s going to change, I imagine he’ll be shown much more favorably in the weeks to come. It seems weird though that both he and Asch would be good guys at the same time, and there’s always the implicit conflict that Luke stole Asch’s life, so I suspect either one of them will die/disappear or they’ll end up on opposite sides again. For the time being, it looks like Luke will join back up with the group, and Asch isn’t shown at all in the preview.