One day a young man wakes up in an empty room, with no idea of who or where he is. His only clues are a strange marking on his stomach, a hole in his chest and a locket containing a blurry picture of a girl.
Soon Kaiba (his name, though he doesn't know it yet) finds out that in the world he has awoken to, memories can be stored on small cones called "chips". These chips can be transferred from body to body, making you essentially immortal. Bad memories can be removed, and good memories can be uploaded — for a price. Unfortunately, there are now more chips than bodies, and a huge gap between rich and poor.
It is in this universe that Kaiba travels from planet to planet, searching for who he and the girl in the locket really are.
And it's all set to a soundtrack that is hauntingly beautiful.
As of May 2019, Kaiba is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
This show provides examples of:
- Alas, Poor Villain: Well, it's hard to call Vanilla a villain, but his motives were definitely less than pure, yet he goes Heroic Sacrifice on us when he finally does die. It goes hand in hand with the Gray-and-Gray Morality. And then there's Popo....assuming he didn't recover his memories after being back-stabbed. The ending wasn't completely clear about that.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Upon recovering his memories, Warp almost totally reverts to his previous personality as the Evil Overlord; luckily, Neiro is able to make the Kaiba personality come back in time to save the planet.
- Amnesiac God: It turns out that Kaiba was Warp before losing his memories, who invented the technology that enabled the preservation of memories.
- And I Must Scream: Many continue to live inside a machine when they have no body to return to. This is considered preferable to death/deletion, as they might get a new body one day. Not to mention Neiro's past memories, and thus the version of herself not altered by Popo, captured in Hyo-Hyo's body.
- Art-Style Dissonance: The anime's art style looks like something Osamu Tezuka or Dr. Seuss would draw. The actual subject matter is darker and more mature than its colorful and cartoony style would suggest.
- Assimilation Plot: Popo, who's suffering from a villainous breakdown, and the new Warp like the idea of the universe being eaten by the plant monster Kaiba in order to unite all peoples. However the older Warps realize straightaway the drawback to allowing the monster to do as it pleases, as they'll all lose their individuality.
- Balloon Belly: Kaiba gains one after eating too much in Episode 10.
- Black Blood:
- Well, some characters have been seen to bleed orange and purple, so...
- Blatant Lies: Vanilla. "I do constant backups and can get a new body any time." Which doubles as an Empty Promise. Horribly so.
- Brain Uploading: Kinda. One can store their memories via a chip, meaning that if they die, they can live on using another body.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Character designer Nobutaka Ito wasn't that derivative with his designs. Even the Warp copies are easily distinguishable.
- Crapsaccharine World: Takes place in a hypothetical universe where people have created a kind of immortality by downloading their memories into chips which they can put into a new body when they die. The downside to this is that human bodies are now a commodity. The poor are manipulated into selling their bodies and family members' bodies to the rich to get by. And because bodies are replaceable a common punishment for crimes is to just vaporize people with lasers. If you haven't converted to the chips you're pretty much a goner if you upset the police. Despite this you wouldn't be able to tell. The art style, and setting are incredibly cute and bubbly in a way very similar to Disney and Astroboy styles of animation.
- Death by Sex: A very messy scene in episode 2 has Parm exploding upon orgasming while having sex with Kaiba's body.
- Deconstruction: The setting appears to have once been like a television show for toddlers, except the world itself has grown up and taken on the real-world horrors and injustices (racism, predatory capitalism, identity theft, human trafficking, rape, mass-murder, genocide, mishandled environmental disasters) that pervade 'adult society', all while keeping the weird charms of nonsensical magics, which have aged badly.
- Dogged Nice Guy: The "nice" part might be up for debates given that Vanilla obviously has ulterior motives for being nice to Chroniko/Kaiba, but seriously the sheer amount of CRAP he goes through for her/him probably makes it true.
- Dulcinea Effect: Really, Vanilla gives up a lot more for a girl he doesn't really know than sensible people would.
- Dull Surprise: Despite the considerable skill of the animators, this happens a few times with the lead character, likely due to his character design.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
- Vanilla, although by the time he mentions her, it's debatable how "bad" he is.
- And Popo, and Warp/Kaiba. The mother/child bond is examined, broken apart, and reconstructed into a painfully close-to-home message.
- Foreshadowing: "The copy will always kill the original. Because if it doesn't, it knows that being disposed of is only a matter of time!"
- Gainax Ending: The giant Kaiba plant monster is defeated and destroyed by Kaiba and Neiro, and they, Popo, and the others that managed to get to the ship are alive and well. But it's not exactly specified how much of the world is okay. It's just sort of...up in the air.
- Gag Boobs: Butter's new lover at the end of episode 2.
- Gender Bender: Kaiba uses Chroniko's body for literally half the series.
- Gratuitous English:
- The opening and ending theme, and the Tree Song. Sung by a half-Canadian, apparently.
- Not to mention the character names.
- Gray-and-Gray Morality: You can't really call La Résistance morally upright given how they twist people to do their beckoning, but neither can you really call the Evil Overlord good either....except he's not really evil. And then there's every other side character who all have good and bad traits.
- Heart Drive: The chips can store the consciousness and memories of a person.
- Inconsistent Dub: The only English fansub switches from "Cloak" and "One Accord" to "Mantle" and "Issoudan" with no explanation.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Parm, who borrows Kaiba's body for "recreational purposes" and... well, screams. A lot. Then she explodes!
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: Several throughout the series. It's how we learn that Neiro's memories are heavily altered and also the location of the climax of the final episode.
- La Résistance: Though they aren't terribly nice, and it's questionable towards the end if they're even the good guys.
- Man-Eating Plant: Or rather memory-planet eating plant, which assimilates everything
- Meaningful Name: Kaiba is Japanese for hippocampus, the memory component of the brain.
- Mental World: A number. The series even has special guns which open portals into people's memories, allowing you to step inside and explore.
- Mind Screw: The entire series is a little difficult to understand, but the last episode pulls out all the stops.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The ending of episode 3, for one.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: * The unfortunate fate of many. Characters are constantly sent over a Despair Event Horizon or end up in depressing situations. Frequently, side characters are tragically killed just trying to find a better life.
- Non-Malicious Monster: If the haunting soundtrack is to be believed, Kaibu the legendary monster is devouring everything because its lonely.
- Oblivious to Love: Patch, who's oblivious to everything except his work. His admirer's solution to this problem (after a lifetime of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy) is rather unusual, but it seems to work out well for her in the end.
- Ontological Mystery: The series begins with Kaiba waking up in a ruined room with no memories, but with a pendant with a picture of an unknown girl inside.
- Pokémon Speak: Hyo Hyo.
- Screw Yourself:
- Parm. The possibility of loading some of your own memories into another body, then having your way with yourself isn't revealed until well into the episode, making it a bit of a Mind Screw until the fact.
- Not to mention the unimaginable Squick of seeing her give herself such a big orgasm that she goes out in a gory green death. Well, her current body at least.
- Super Robot: Kichi the memory merchant transfers his memories into this sort of body for the last episode. The robot can even fold out to perform a Macross Missile Massacre.
- Villainous Breakdown: Popo loses it after his mother's memory chip is accidentally destroyed and he discovers that Cheki's personality has mostly been wiped away.
- Was Once a Man: Anyone who places their memories in a non-human body, like the people on Abipa.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Popo does everything for the sake of providing a better life for his mother and his friends, all of whom die or have their memories deleted by the time Popo's plans come to fruition.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Part of Issoudan's motivations.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Soon after Popo conquers the universe, he loses everything that matters to him. He set out to usurp Warp to give his friends and family better lives, but he managed to sacrifice every single one in pursuit of that goal.