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WMG / Meta Runner

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I know we don't have much to go by since the first episode just dropped as of this post, but if I'm being honest, I'm actually confident with what I've gathered:
  • Point 1: The scientist at the beginning. He talks to Tari as though he created her. Conducting game-based experiments involving how fast she can complete them or how she can overcome difficulty in some video games.
  • Point 2: The speed in which she gets skilled in Ultra Jump Mania despite only having a few moments with it. Remember, she has next to no memory at that moment. Only who she is and where she is, and Afrobot has to tell her that second one.
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  • Point 3: The U.I. that develops the moment she entered the game. It says things about achievements, progress in the game and information on certain parts of the game world.
  • Point 4: She and Theo (the latter originally coming from a video game) are the only people in the show that we know of that can go all SAO on video games, and Belle and Lucks react as though they've never seen this kind of ability before.
  • Point 5: The way the camera focuses on Tari's cybernetic arm sometimes in the episode. Sure, Meta Runners are a big thing in Silica City, but the way they focus on her cybernetic arm as opposed to others' like Belle or Lamar or Masa makes it feel like this one's important, especially when she's walking out of the alley in the first few minutes of the show. Perhaps it's the reason why this A.I. is inhabiting Tari's body.

If there are any more points to make, feel free to let me know.

  • Episode 6 gives us A LOT of possible evidence that connects the dots of this theory even more. Specifically, Tari possibly inhabiting Lucinia's body.
    • To debunk Tari and Lucinia being the same person, keep in mind that Dr. Sheridan specifically refers to Tari in the flashbacks of Episode 1, with no mention of Lucinia in them other than her screaming in the background.
    • Dr. Sheridan mentioned a super advanced AI would be used for the most recent Project Blue test. Perhaps Tari is this AI that was being tested on Lucinia.

Possibly confirmed.

Belle will turn on Lucks.
  • When she see's him for the Corrupt Corporate Executive he is, and that his methods are not really necessary after all.
    • This seems very likely if it’s to be believed that Tari is actually Belle’s old friend Lucinia, if the Project Blue logs are anything to go by.

Decommissioning a Meta Runner.
It's a Deadly Euphemism. When a Meta Runner is decommissioned, they aren't simply retired. They're executed by having a self-destruct signal sent to their arm. And should they survive that, their "owner" finishes the job with a bullet to the head.

This may happen to Belle when she inevitably turns on Lucks, to highlight the threat he poses.

  • Jossed. According to Belle and Masa's conversation in Episode 9, being decommissioned just means being kicked out of your affiliated company. Though it sounds like it's not the worst thing that could happen to a Meta Runner.

A Meta Runner version of Saiko will appear in Season 2.
However, she will have a different name, Saiko Bitchitaru being relegated to a derogatory nickname given to her by her enemies. As opposed to Lana's Japanese voice clips, Ellyn Barclay will reprise her role from "Mario and the Diss Track", becoming one of Tari's best friends.

She could even be portrayed as Meta Runner as opposed to being a video game character like she was in the original Super Mario 64 Bloopers. She could even have been one of Lucks' top gamers before being decommissioned, and unlike MD-5, took a more violent response to it.

Masa previously worked for TASCorp.

He experienced the horrors that Lucks and TASCorp comitted, which broke him in the end and made him leave, or might even have taken part in them, making him feel guilty once he realised how much bad he has caused. Either way, it could explain why he seems so emotionally distant. And because he might be scared of getting punished by TASCorp for leaving the company, that could also explain why he wants Tari to shut down her livestreaming so as to not get spotted by either TASCorp or the police in the short Tari's Live Stream.

  • It turns out all the members of MD-5 had their lives screwed one way or another by TASCorp.
  • Confirmed. Episode 9 confirmed that Masa used to be TASCorp’s team captain, but left on the assumption that Lucks killed Lucinia.

He is trying to hide whatever evil deeds TASCorp is doing behind the scenes, and given the omnipresence of live-streamings in the universe of Meta Runner, it would only be fitting that Lucks’ Engineered Public Confession would be done by streaming him live to thousands of people to watch.

  • Jossed, at least for season 1.

A Meta Runner version Meggy will appear in Season 2.

Like Saiko, Meggy technically hails from a video game as well, Splatoon, which Tari will eventually visit during her adventures, and will meet Meggy during a train session for Splatfest, and like the Mario bloopers, Meggy will take an instant liking to Tari. It's even possibly Desti may even show up to, due to Belle already bearing resemblance to her, mayhaps even teaming up with each in Splatfest.

Season 2 will bring in none other than...

Mario and Luigi themselves, with Tari logging into any Mario game, presumably Super Mario 64. As Lucks is seeking to replicate Tari's special abilities, such as traveling into the games themselves, and bringing forth video game characters into the real world, he will seek an alliance from Bowser and the Koopa Troop, bringing them into the Meta Runner universe. Tari in turn will bring Mario and Luigi into the real world to help stop them, as a affectionate nod to her role as a protagonist in the Super Mario 64 Bloopers.

  • Due to both series having a radically different tone, and mostly because of copyright issues, unless the creators somehow manages to strike a deal with Nintendo, this unfortunately would be unlikely.
  • Fair point, but you're kinda overlooking that making Mario videos, which includes selling merch about Mario and Co., without legal recourse from Nintendo, is literally Luke and Kevin's livelihood. It's pretty obvious Luke and Kevin long since worked out an arrangement with Nintendo so that they don't get sued, and thus could easily include them.

Theo isn't glitching because he's been out of his game too long.
We've seen that Theo has glitched out twice ever since he got pulled out of Ultra Jump Mania. Once when he wandered the streets of Silica City on his own, and again after Tari's Battle Blaze match against Masa. The second time, MD-5 concluded that being outside his game for too long is what's causing Theo to glitch out, but I don't think that's the case. See, in the episode "Game Plan", Lucks was seen trying to play Ultra Jump Mania, only for it to glitch out because Theo wasn't in the game. Then when Lucks tried to boot up the game using the controller Dr. Sheridan used in the logs, Lucks seems to have unlocked vital information regarding Project Blue, if the symbol was anything to go by. I think the reason Theo's glitching out was because the Ultra Jump Mania cartridge he came from was a catalyst for Dr. Sheridan's experiments, a sort of side project regarding using the A.I. in a Meta Runner's arm to pull a video game character, or maybe even weapons, out of the game.

Tari and Lucinia are the same person.

Many elements seems to be corrobate: they both have their cybernetic arm on their left arm, and their cybernetic arms look very similar to each other, they both have their eyes color purple, they both have roughly the same build and stature, especially compared to Belle, and Lucinia appears to be somewhat shy in the first episode's intro, just like Tari. Because Lucinia got an A.I. implemented in her body to become Tari, it would explain why Tari doesn't remember anything besides her name.

  • And if this isn't the case, then Tari could be a clone of Lucinia created by the sheer power of whatever Project Blue actually is, and the AI uploaded makes up her consciousness, hence why she shares no memories from Lucinia, because they technically aren't the same person.
    • Supporting the fact that Tari and Lucinia aren't exactly the same person, is that in the flashbacks in the first episode, we hear Dr. Sheridan using Tari's name specifically, with no mention of Lucinia throughout them, giving us the idea that Tari is separate from Lucinia.

    • Jossed. Lucinia and Tari aren't the same person, but they are connected in some regard.

Dr. Sheridan is still alive and faked his won death to escape TASCorp.

His work at TASCorp seemed to have stressed him out, and when he realised how much potential his project had and how maliciously it could be used, he decided to stage the explosion in the TASCorp lab and to get away into hiding with his "creation", Tari. Think about it: who else could have possibly saved Tari, and how come Tari woke up in another lab in a backstreet at the beginning ? It makes even more sense if we assume Tari and Lucinia are one and the same, and that Sheridan erased her memory to make sure she can't recall any prior event.

  • This also raises another question: Why is Dr. Sheridan nowhere to be found if he isn't dead ?

If her councioussness was taken from her body and replaced with Tari (an AI), where did her original mind go? In the computer system where Tari came from, of course! In the finale, Lucinia's predicament will be revealed, and she does a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy TASCorp's defenses to help bring the people who trapped her in the computer system to justice.

  • Confirmed. She is trapped in cyberspace, as she has been seen multiple times by Tari as she's entering the games. However, it's shown she's also injured and missing her robotic arm in her visions, and it's revealed her body is in possession of Lucks in suspended animation.

Lucinia volunteered for Project Blue because Lucks attempted to kill her.

I know this might seem pretty last minute because the finale is, as of this WMG, tomorrow, but just bear with me here.

I believe that Masa only saw a part of Lucinia's supposed death. I imagine that Lucinia did something out of line at TASCorp which warranted Lucks, for some reason or another, shooting her with the gun we saw in his drawer during Episode 7. Lucinia, bleeding out and dying, sought refuge at Dr. Sheridan's lab and volunteered to be a part of Project Blue in hopes that it'll save her from death. Unfortunately, the project failed and Lucinia's personality became locked away in favor of Tari, going off from that moment when Tari attempted to enter Tempest during the tournament. Think back to the first episode, where Tari looks like she just went through ER with that IV Drip and medical info. Remembering this, this reinforces it further. Going back to the point of Lucinia's near-death experience, Masa discovers Lucks' supposed crime and offers Belle to leave TASCorp. Belle refuses and Masa goes off to form MD5 with Lamar and Sofia.

I know this sounds stupid, but it just seemed to make sense to me.

  • Jossed: Lucks clearly didn't do anything of the sort, as it's show he has Lucinina in suspended animation as a secret project, showing he feels guilty over her involvement in Project Blue and is trying to revive her.

Lucks is trying to turn Sheridan into The Scapegoat.
He may be trying to revive Lucinia, but it's still possible he had more to do with Project Blue than he admits. He may very well be willing to make Sheridan out to be the bad guy in order to maintain PR.

Masa, Sophia, Belle and Lucinia used to work together for TASCorp as a team.
We already know that Masa was a "team captain" for TASCorp. Sophia seems to know Belle personally, too. Together with Lucinia, the four used to be a team of Meta Runners working together, with Masa as their leader. Then Project Blue happened, and Masa and Sophia defected to form MD-5, leaving Belle alone, ending up on today.

Tari's experiences as a Meta Runner under TASCorp will not be unpleasant as we'd think, and perhaps may prove to create a positive influence in the company.
Yes, things pretty much seem bleak, and yes, Lucks has M-15's hands tied in going against him and has Theo hostage, but as we've seen from the intro, Tari and Belle seem to be on pretty friendly terms in a tournament. This could mean that Tari and Belle may bond as Belle, despite her reckless anger, always seemed to have a liking for Tari, and may try to reconcile with her now that Tari's surrendered herself to the company, and that perhaps

Lucinia was The Heart and The Ace of TASCorp, and her apparent death is the reason Lucks has become so grim and ruthless and Belle is colder.
It's no secret that Lucinia was special to Belle, evidenced by her rage and sorrow regarding her demise but judging by Lucks apparently having Lucinia's body in suspended animation, meaning he's attempting to revive her, might show that she was important to him as well, perhaps being the mascot and face of TASCorp, perhaps one of his best assets and even friends, and that her alleged death due the Project Blue disaster devastated him, hence why he's so callous and borderline sociopathic these days, it's overwhelming grief and bitterness of losing someone he loved, which unfortunately means he lashes out at Belle. It's very possible before Lucks had a far better relationship with her, as she was best friends with Lucinia, and they were both his champion gamers. It might be that Belle could have unfortunately been The Unfavorite in a surrogate-daughter sort of way, and that with Lucinia's death, Lucks is harder on Belle as he subconsciously does not want her to end up the same way, meaning his threats and abusive treatment are to toughen her as to not meet a similar fate.
  • Alternatively, he's really every-inch the unpleasant, cold, opportunistic asshole he seems to be and that nothing we've seen is as it seems, but hey, try to be optimistic.

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