Altered Carbon: Resleeved Ending Explained

The anime version of Altered Carbon leaves open the possibility of more adventures for Kovacs in his Ken Kakura incarnation.

Latimer Skyline in Altered Carbon: Resleeved
Photo: Netflix

This article contains spoilers for Altered Carbon: Resleeved.

At first glance, Altered Carbon: Resleeved would appear to have a fairly pat ending. The villain is dead, and everyone goes their own way. It’s an uncharacteristically hopeful conclusion for this normally dark cyberpunk story, aside from the fact that Hideki Tanaseda, the latest Meth to compel services from Takeshi Kovacs, is not quite finished with the last Envoy. But even that leaves open the possibility for more animated action in this universe, whether it’s with the same secondary characters or not.

Holly seems to think the band will get back together at some point. In perhaps the most significant twist in the final moments, the hotel AI Ogai refers to the young tattoo artist as Margot, a name which Holly mentioned as the originator of the technology that ended the life of each Mizumoto boss during the succession ceremony. Ogai notices that the girl is growing tall and asks if she would like to switch into a younger sleeve “as usual,” indicating that Margot has kept herself in prepubescence since the time of the original kumicho. But Holly turns down the offer, saying she’d like to grow older in this sleeve so that Ken and Gena will recognize her when they inevitably reunite. Wishful thinking or foreshadowing?

First of all, “Ken” will be busy with whatever mission Tanaseda has in mind, but it’s unclear what fate lies in store for Gena, who told her CTAC colleagues that she got rid of Holly as commanded. If the tattooist remains in her current sleeve that assertion would seem easy to disprove, but perhaps with the death of the Mizumoto boss, the whole clan will fall apart and the Protectorate will lose interest. Plus, remember, this is Reileen Kawahara in disguise; she no doubt has other Yakuza fish to fry. And would the sometimes vicious, single-minded Rei even care about a young innocent? Well, yes, if that child reminded her of her own experience with the Yakuza revealed in the live action version of Altered Carbon.

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And then there’s that photo that Holly took of Ken and Gena — Takeshi and Reileen — in the hotel lobby. Kovacs tells Ogai to delete it, assigning no emotional significance to the frozen memory of his temporary partnership with CTAC, a group he has no love for because of his own past. Gena agrees, but there is a moment of regret both as Ogai awkwardly discards the image and as she passes her brother on her way out the door. Perhaps off-camera, Holly will tell Ogai to keep the portrait after all as a keepsake, and it will crop up again should there be an animated feature follow-up to Altered Carbon: Resleeved.

In the meantime, Kovacs is still a wanted man among the Yakuza on Harlan’s World as indicated in the live action series, and he’s still in his nicotine-addicted Ken Kakura body here in the animated version. The key question asked in the final line of Altered Carbon: Resleeved is “Where is the next mission?” The world of Latimer was an interesting place to visit in this adventure, but it seems Tanaseda will be taking Kovacs to another planet in the Protectorate next time. Where the next investigation will unfold is anyone’s guess, but it’s sure to be as gloriously violent as this one was.