Petrushka and her memories

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Petrushka and her memories

Post by Robert Frazer on Thu 26 Feb 2009 - 16:06

On IRC last night someone made the comment that Petrushka's conditioning was "screwed up" and that the memory-wipe that she received wasn't actually intentional. This appears to be an idea with some traction - it's even mentioned in her character biography on Wikipedia's "Characters of Gunslinger Girl" article - but I'd like to know where it comes from, because there's absolutely nothing in the text of Volume Six to support it!

Accidental memory loss would is a catastrophic miswiring, but in the whole of the three chapters that are dedicated to Petrushka's introduction and backstory, not once is such a major malfunction - which you'd think would elicit some comment - so much as mentioned. Retaining the old Elizabeta's memories is not stated as an objective in the briefing section; Alessandro still has to rename her; Petrushka is not empty-headed on waking up (as Wikipedia insinuates) but still has all of her technical knowledge immediately to hand; no issue is made of the state of her memory in her acclimatisation phase.

The Agency science team even openly refer to deliberate mind-wiping in a couple of places: "we're quite pleased with how she's turned out... they [note plural - it's a systematic policy] may not have memories, but they still have knowledge" (p. 130); "If we throw out her name, her memories, even her face, do you think that Elizabeta's soul will live on somewhere?" (p. 98)

Even without the above data, it makes sense for Petrushka to have her memory erased, anyway. While the original, miserable Elizabeta had lost the will to live and the Agency rescued her with the cherished gift of being able to dance again, Elizabeta still had a life, friends, and prospects in Russia; isolation from those would have distracted her from her new life in the Agency (a flaw which could be fairly serious, seeing as lighter and less restrictive conditioning is part of the second-generation cyborgs' design brief). Unlike Rico, the Agency probably couldn't rely on Elizabeta's gratitude alone to ensure her loyalty.

The only thing that they do see as a possible error is Petrushka's early compulsion to address Alessandro as "Signor", which is hardly that much of a 'screw up'. The scientist who speaks to Allesandro after Petrushka's vomiting episode even says that "she's acting normally". Indeed, there's nothing at all to suggust that Petrushka is anything other than exactly what the Agency built her to be.


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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Nachtsider on Thu 26 Feb 2009 - 17:08

Odd. The Wiki article is written by some of our most knowledgeable members here, who aren't people who'd concoct details out of whole cloth.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 26 Feb 2009 - 17:26

Warning - Here there be Spoilers for Chapters 58 and 59


@Robert Frazer wrote:On IRC last night I observed the comment that Petrushka's conditioning was "screwed up" and that the memory-wipe that she received wasn't actually intentional. This appears to be an idea with some traction - it's even mentioned in her character biography on Wikipedia - but I'd like to know where it comes from, because there's absolutely nothing in the text of Volume Six to support it!

It's in the later volumes. I don't recall the exact location, but I do know some hints are first dropped during the Lake Maggiore mission in Chapters 33 and 34.


Accidental memory loss would seem to be a particularly catastrophic miswiring, but in the three entire chapters that are dedicated to Petrushka's introduction and backstory, not once is such a major malfunction - which you'd think would elicit some comment - so much as mentioned.

In my opinion, based on what I've seen in the manga, the medical staff are still really winging it with the conditioning and memory-suppression regimens. Also, Yu Aida likes to drag things out - it was some 30 chapters between us knowing Jean's fiance was killed in the bombing that took the lives of his parents and sister before we knew what that fiance looked like. We'd also been operating under the assumption that Jean and Giuseppe only had one sister, but in Chapter 58 we discover that she was the eldest which implies they have at least two more (otherwise she would have been the "elder"), and yet they have never been mentioned in 60 chapters.

So Yu not mentioning it in Volume 6 doesn't surprise me. Wink


(I)t makes sense for Petrushka to have her memory erased, anyway.

I agree they did some erasure of her memories, but a complete and total wipe seems to not have been necessary and might not have been desirable, since it may accelerate the neurological deterioration that is slowly killing all the Series 1 girls (and eventually killed Angelica). Triela was totally wiped because of the trauma she underwent. She likely would have been insane if they hadn't.

I always thought they totally wiped Henrietta, but I'll need to see a complete translation of Chapter 59 to be sure of that since she does remember the assault that killed her family and resulted in her ending up in the SWA while in the tank.

Rico appears to have only been mildly wiped. She remembers her past life, her parents fights and she might even remember her father (she mentions his job to Emilio). Now it is entirely possible those are all implanted memories, but if they were, Yu Aida would have had to tell us so. Since he hasn't, we can only operate under the assumption they are her real memories.

Angelica remembered her parents for a period of time after the vehicular assault perpetrated upon her and her conversion. She even asks Marco when she can go home to them. And when they do start to condition her, they may very well have fracked that up as well because Marco goes all Jigglypuff on them for "destroying the girl I knew" which is when he starts to distance himself emotionally and physically from her.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Nachtsider on Thu 26 Feb 2009 - 17:55

If Rico's memories were implanted, the SWA would have almost certainly done the same with all the other girls. So, I say they're real.

Unless, of course, Jean secretly and personally did it to make his soldier extra loyal - I'm thinking of that statement about the handler himself being responsible for how much his cyborg is conditioned. It's unlikely, but would make interesting fanfic fodder.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Robert Frazer on Thu 26 Feb 2009 - 18:09

I don't recall the exact location, but I do know some hints are first dropped during the Lake Maggiore mission in Chapters 33 and 34.

I think that you may have misremembered, Kiskaloo - that arc is about Claes's state of mind more than anyone else. The only remark relevant to Petrushka is that she mentions that she still goes through her stretching routine every morning even though she doesn't know why she started it, which doesn't really have any bearing on the circumstances of her memory erasure anyway.

it was some 30 chapters between us knowing Jean's fiance was killed in the bombing that took the lives of his parents and sister before we knew what that fiance looked like...

Hmm, I can't say that I find this comparable, really. Sophia's appearance's is an incidental detail and doesn't in and of itself define Jean (nor does the exact number of siblings define the Croce brothers). By contrast, the direct condition of Petrushka's mind does by definition have major implications for her character, and so it would have been necessary to mention it. The manga goes into quite exhaustive detail about Elizabeta's rescue and conversion into Petrushka, more so than any other girl in the cast: nothing is skipped over, as the whole scene exists to reveal to us to the previously-unexplored actual physical process of making a cyborg. Accidental memory loss still isn't mentioned anywhere in that considerable depth of detail. By all accounts, Petrushka was built without a hitch.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 26 Feb 2009 - 18:25

Some of the "thought boxes" were Petrushka's during her discussion with Claes. And I distinctly recall it was mentioned in the manga that they wiped all of Petrushka's memories. *shrug*

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Robert Frazer on Thu 26 Feb 2009 - 18:32

And I distinctly recall it was mentioned in the manga that they wiped all of Petrushka's memories. *shrug*

Well, yes, I agree: that goes without saying. What I'm driving at is that mind-wipe of the life of the old Elizabeta wasn't accidental, a mistake, or a 'screw-up', but rather it was deliberate - an entirely ordinary, planned and unspectacular part of her rebuilding.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 26 Feb 2009 - 18:56

What I meant to say was I recall it was accidental, but Alessandro didn't seem to care (likely made his job as a handler easier).

There is direct evidence they do wipe all memories and direct evidence they do not. Also, in the chapter where they question Petrushka and she declares her love for Alessandro, the doctors note Petrushka's personality is her original one and not something the medical team created for her. She is now the way she was when she was Elizabetta in terms of her earnestness and motivation to succeed and excel.

Which is why more and more I tend to just chart my own course with my OC.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by ElfenMagix on Thu 26 Feb 2009 - 22:24

@Robert Frazer wrote:On IRC last night someone made the comment that Petrushka's conditioning was "screwed up" and that the memory-wipe that she received wasn't actually intentional. This appears to be an idea with some traction - it's even mentioned in her character biography on Wikipedia's "Characters of Gunslinger Girl" article - but I'd like to know where it comes from, because there's absolutely nothing in the text of Volume Six to support it!...

If you mean by the forum's chat box, thats not IRC. That is something totally different and akin to my HTML chat that I run along with the OC-Wiki.

As for Petruska's memories being erased, it not of her memories of Elizebetta's memories that were being discussed. If Petrushka found out that she tried to kill herself for losing a leg to cancer, and becoming a cyborg as perfect as she came out to be, she would high-tail it to the Boyshov Dance school where she came from to show off what she got!

The issue here is Petrushka losing her training and conditioning memory, as Type 2 Cyborgs were supposed to know everything when they came out of the box, and it seems that Petrushka did not have everything she was supposed to have. She still functions well without it, and what she does need, Allessandro trains her in doing.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Robert Frazer on Fri 27 Feb 2009 - 5:10

The issue here is Petrushka losing her training and conditioning memory, as Type 2 Cyborgs were supposed to know everything when they came out of the box, and it seems that Petrushka did not have everything she was supposed to have.

But I can't see any basis for that, either. When taking Alessandro to his new cyborg Ziliani says that she's "completed her conditioning and basic life training" without any qualifying comments. From the very moment she wakes up Petrushka understands and speaks Italian, recognises Alessandro as her handler, knows of the Social Welfare Agency and her function within it, can identify a specific weapon on sight and give a run-down of its specificiations as well. Later on, she handles the railway bomber without any trouble at all despite it being literally her first day on the job and not having had any phyiscal training from Alessandro. She's not missing anything.


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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Danjo3 on Fri 27 Feb 2009 - 6:13

Iíve pretty familiar with Petraís story (I donít like it, but Iím familiar with it) and have gone back over the relevant chapters, and I can find nothing to suggest there was a screw-up in her conditioning.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Nachtsider on Fri 27 Feb 2009 - 6:28

Somebody got some explaining to do.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Kiskaloo on Fri 27 Feb 2009 - 11:22

*shrug*

Maybe it didn't happen, then. Honestly I don't know the anime and manga backwards and forwards like some, but it was the impression I have for whatever reason.

I can edit the Wiki entry if necessary.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by maverick375 on Thu 26 Mar 2009 - 19:57

My understanding, and my application to my own story, is that in the instances where they are chosen because of trauma, as most are, their memories are wiped as best they can be. Short term memory is usually rather fragile and can be eliminated as they said, with electricity in certain spots on the brain.

Long term memory is a combination of things that even modern science does not adequately understand. All of our senses' states are stored for a particular memory, which is why the smell of apple pie can bring back a picture-perfect memory from when you were five and standing in your grandma's kitchen.
These memories are almost impossible to get rid of by force, though we tend to forget them naturally over time.

This is also why you train repetitively with drawing and shooting a gun. Physical motions, repeated over time, become natural and long-term stored. This is why Petra's stretching is important to her. Her mind felt it was missing, even in her new body, so it attempted to do them.

Now, Rico seems to have her memory, likely because it wasn't necessary to wipe it. There was nothing traumatic involved.
There is, however, a side to this I think might play in. Some of the memory wipe might be required as a result of the prosthetics application. From the time we were born, we learned how to move our bodies in first haphazard, then more accurate ways. Coarse to fine motor skills. Things like walking become unconsious acts.

If you apply multiple bio-feedback prosthesis, the brain will have to learn how to work them, something which takes time. I don't think Petra's form is necessarily the only thing Sandro comments on when he says that she's getting better at her poses. She is learning more and more fine motor skills and perfecting her control of them.

This is why there is a requirement for 'basic life skills'. After taking on the bodies, they have to re-learn every control. A memory wipe may help in the learning by removing the previously held information, and then the new stuff can be learned at a faster pace. Perhaps the rigors of this learning are extreme and a final short-term wipe is made to clear up any issues that remembering might involve.

Rico didn't need as thorough a wipe because her body had nothing really to re-learn to adapt to her new body.

Angelica was a different case, I think. Being the first, not only were the techniques not perfected, but the level of conditioning was not set in stone. They gave her the body, trained her, and then turned her loose. When a need for more intensive control became clear, they had to rewrite her almost entirely, causing a loss of skills on a memory level, rather than a motion control level. She could still use her hands, but had to relearn how to use them to shoot.

I think the second-gens, with their less intense conditioning, and more real-world experiences in their long-term memory, are bound to have more of their previous personality coming to the front. It's also why Petra seem less robotic and in-tune with her emotions than the others. Little kids don't have the same understanding of their emotions as teens or adults.

My character, Jamie, used to be a devout Christian who sang songs and played guitar. She wouldn't hurt a fly willingly. Imagine, if you will (and I am), the internal conflict of someone who knows killing to be morally wrong in their soul, but discovers it only after she is bound to, and extensively guilty of, killing. You have become the antithesis of everything you feel is wrong deep in your soul. Hell, like most of the cyborgs, she actually enjoys the killing as a test of her skills, and that's the worst part.
What would be her reaction to this feeling that is slowly manifesting itself from the depths of her memory?

The cyborgs have their memory repressed, some parts even forgotten, I'm sure. But it can and will come up in who they are, IF the handlers allow them to develop on their own. Imagine how Elsa might have been if Lauro hadn't been such an ass.
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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 26 Mar 2009 - 20:21

@maverick375 wrote:There is, however, a side to this I think might play in. Some of the memory wipe might be required as a result of the prosthetics application. From the time we were born, we learned how to move our bodies in first haphazard, then more accurate ways. Coarse to fine motor skills. Things like walking become unconsious acts.

If you apply multiple bio-feedback prosthesis, the brain will have to learn how to work them, something which takes time. I don't think Petra's form is necessarily the only thing Sandro comments on when he says that she's getting better at her poses. She is learning more and more fine motor skills and perfecting her control of them.

This is why there is a requirement for 'basic life skills'. After taking on the bodies, they have to re-learn every control.

Henrietta did learn the violin to help her become more comfortable with her prosthetics, so I agree with you that over time the cyborgs get better at how they use their bodies.

I imagine the initial conditioning is to help "re-calibrate" their brains for their new strength and abilities so they don't inadvertently crush things when they try and grasp them. But it's likely a crude benchmarking (probably erring on the side of caution) and over time, just as a developing human learns finer motor controls, so would the cyborgs.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by ElfenMagix on Thu 26 Mar 2009 - 20:34

Short and Long Term Memory resides in the Thalimus and Hypothalimus of the brain, with connections being made to the Hippocampus and towards other regions. It seems that only memories of senory images and events are stored and the rest of the brain works on reconstructing what those images were. An example, a visual memory of a friend named Bob; the signal travels to the right cortex to get a visual reference in the facial recognition lobe, and in the frontal cortext where association kicks in to connect the face to the name. Then the memory through conscious action goes through a cascade action, retrieving more information on your friend Bob. But this is not possible without first interaction in the Thalimus/Hypothalymus part of the brain. As the med techs stated, the memory can be erased by applying electricity to certain parts of the brain but much of this is guess work.

In most cases the girls through chemical, electrical, mental and physical conditioning. In short, the girls are being branwashed (conditioned is the PC Term and people who are PC'ing everything to death should die! Say it for what it is! This is Brainwashing!) This can be done to various degrees to get the outcome you want. With much of the girls going through a traumatic cases, it would be best to mind wipe them once and for all. But, as in the past, Brain Washing is not a 100% Science, and some victims sometimes to return to their former selves if given enough time. The danger here is, erased memories from a brainwashing can be reformed when enough stimuli is given to access the other areas of the brain.

Motor memory is another form of long term memory that can not be erased because the suject's motor and sensory cortexes along with the motor and sevnory nueral pathways are in sync with various tasks the individual has done through their life. If the individual is a dancer, than the suject will find dancing easier to do even it such memories of events are erased. This is totally different from the short and long term memories stated above.

The type 2 get the same conditioning, if not more than the type 1s. They have more to learn during their programming stage. Type 1s come out Tabula Rasa and need to be taught everything, type 2s do not, though they both share getting used to their prosthetics in common.

Religion has very little to do, especially in characters being Christian in a country where it is 99.995% Roman Catholic. The church does santions killings, and the first rule of god of is for man to follow the rules of man before following the rules of god. If man sanctions the killing of another in which it means it would defends the sanctity of innocents, then it is allowed. This is true in times of war, law enforcement, and defending one's home. So there should be no internal conflict here, and if so, see a priest and they will tell you the same thing. My OC Fernando, is a member of the Protectorate Knights of the Roman Catholic Church- a position passed down from father to son for the past 1500 years, and he kills by their orders. So he does by what he thinks needs to be done by what is right, not for himself or some group, but for the overall good and justice. Yeah, he's gotten plenty of flack in being righteous, but it comes with the territory!

We all know what Elsa would have been like if Lauro would have been nicer to her.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Ghostfriendly on Sat 28 Mar 2009 - 7:00

Are learned skills and memories of events based on different types of memory? I'd certaintly think they wipe one and not the other, though the girls do need to relearn all their motor skills with prosthetics anyway.

On Petra's memories, what are the chances of running into her love interest from the ballet school again? That would be an interesting meeting....
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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Rico-chan on Sat 28 Mar 2009 - 7:49

Hey

I like Petruschka but.........

But I think the first generation is not better........but they are cuter
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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 28 Mar 2009 - 18:09

@Ghostfriendly wrote:Are learned skills and memories of events based on different types of memory? I'd certaintly think they wipe one and not the other, though the girls do need to relearn all their motor skills with prosthetics anyway.

On Petra's memories, what are the chances of running into her love interest from the ballet school again? That would be an interesting meeting....

Programmed Motor Pathways and Motor/Sensory Cortex Syncs is how people have talent. That is what makes a violin player a vertuoso vs what one does to a cat to make it sound like if one is torturing it. This is a kind of memory that can not be erased without paralysing that part of the body.

The chances of that happening is only deliberate if the SWA or Sandro sends her out to see their show and meet the dancers. But, they changed her height and other body attributes, making her taller and more mature for her size. Along with facial features, and red hair, no one from the group would recongize her, and she has no memory of them either. Moot point there!

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Awinnell on Sat 28 Mar 2009 - 19:27

she may not remember the people but she does remember the dance!

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 28 Mar 2009 - 19:32

Finally somebody got it right!

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Ghostfriendly on Sun 29 Mar 2009 - 0:39

Okay, she remembers the dance. But if Sergi saw her dancing as she is, mightn't he recognise her from that? Not that i'd do him any good since, yes, she wouldn't remember him unless somerthing like dancing with him jogged her memory....

....I can't believe I'm proposing anything so soppy.
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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 29 Mar 2009 - 0:52

Well Petrushka does look physically different then Elizabetta, but there might be a certain style to her dance and movements that Sergei could recognize.

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by ElfenMagix on Sun 29 Mar 2009 - 2:11

Ballerinas must train daily to keep their talent and skills sharp. Plus Petra would be able to jump and leap three stories where Elizabetta wished she go could higher. Plus Petra's heavy... she'll crush that russo-boy if she were to land on him...

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Re: Petrushka and her memories

Post by MadHatChemist on Sat 4 Apr 2009 - 21:16

What it probaby comes down to, is what is deemed necissary for each individual girl. The need to fine tune would be good when it is applied to the public use of the technology, which is one of the reasons th 2nd gen don't seem as conditioned.

Remember, the technology is going to make certain people very rich.
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