The film opens on Michi Kudo, a young woman who works for a plant sales company with her friends Sasano Junko, Toshio Yabe and Taguchi. Michi goes to check on Taguchi at home as he works on a disk of compiled sales data. When Michi arrives all seems well but in the middle of their conversation, Taguchi retreats to a side room and hangs himself abruptly. Junko, Yabe and Michi are baffled by their friend’s sudden suicide and turn to the disk for answers. What they find is an image of what looks to be Taguchi off to the left, staring at an embedded image of himself on his computer.
Kurosawa’s film is nothing if not bleak. According to Pulse we are all ghosts and technology thrives on a myth of connection while keeping us physically apart. This is best displayed in a computer model created a grad student, Yoshizaki. A series of white dots bounce back and forth across the dark landscape and as friend Harue explains to Kawashima, “If two dots get too close they die” The computer model is a startling allegory for human existence according to Kurosawa, as we are simultaneous drawn together and forced apart by technology and the loneliness of modernity.