The Clone Returns Home
(Kurôn wa kokyô wo mezasu)
Sometime in the near future. Human cloning is no longer science fiction, but a reality. Technology is such that cloned human’s minds can be implanted and completely merged with the memories of their forbears.
38-year-old astronaut Kohei Takahara dies in an accident while working at a space station. Tragically, shortly after the accident his mother passes away following a long illness. As a little boy, Kohei had a twin brother who died in an attempt to rescue him from drowning in the river. The deceased Kohei becomes the first trial subject for human clone vivification and memory implantation, but due to a technical malfunction the clone wakes up with Kohei’s memories only until around the time of his twin brother’s death.
During a walk in the forest, the clone comes across what appears to be his own corpse in a space suit. Trapped in a memory loop, and unable to differentiate the present from the past, the clone mistakes the corpse for that of his dead twin brother. He lifts the corpse on his back and starts walking in the direction of his beautiful hometown, where, he, the prodigal son, looks forward to being reunited with his beloved mother, despite the tragic circumstances…
However, it turns out that this clone is only a prototype for the “Third,” a new model that has been specially programmed with a very limited lifespan. The second clone expires before he can reach his hometown. Suddenly, the body of astronaut Kohei, reanimated, lifts up the now-lifeless body of the clone, and heads in the direction of his hometown…
Meanwhile, back in the city, The Third is vivified, the first clone to be successfully implanted with the complete memories of its legacy human. He is put under severe public scrutiny, and comes under attack from religious groups. In the midst of deep confusion and difficulty, The Third learns about the existence of The Second. Following the path taken by the missing Second, he finally arrives at his childhood home, only to find it has been abandoned. There, he discovers the empty spacesuit and the body of The Second. He mourns that they were lost while he still lives, and grows increasingly distressed as these feelings become entangled with the memories of his lost twin brother.
While burying the corpse of The Second in the overgrown garden, The Third witnesses a strange phenomenon. At the door of the abandoned house, the spirit of his deceased mother warmly welcomes the spirit of The Second. Bereft and unable to restrain himself, Kohei calls out to them. However, the spirit of his mother does not seem to notice, and shuts the door.
The Third is left dazed and utterly alone. He rises to his feet, hoists the empty spacesuit on his back, and starts walking. As The Third walks through the wilderness, the face of The First can be glimpsed through the visor of the suit on his back, like the spirit of a guardian angel…