No.6 Ep. 7: The wheels of the plot go round and round…


…round and round all through the episode.

We’ve rounded the halfway mark in the season, so the anime’s making up for lost time. As a result, this week’s episode of No.6 is a little more quickly-paced than I would have liked, but I guess we have a schedule to keep. With so much plot being pushed through such a short time frame, I think a little subtlety has gone out the window. Certainly, however, if you disagree, feel free to enlighten me. In the meantime, I’ll begin discussing the few things that did pique my interest this week.

Well, that was quick
When we last left off, Nezumi had simply decided he wouldn’t tell Shion about Karan’s latest message, i.e. Safu had been taken away by No.6 authorities to the correctional facility. All of a sudden, Nezumi has since resolved himself to saving the poor girl and we don’t even get to see him make this pivotal decision. Nezumi is now ready to risk it all — money and his own life — to save someone he barely even knows. Yeah, I’m sure he’s doing this for Shion, but I guess I just feel as though the story skipped a few steps and the results are a little jarring.

I feel the same way about the early exchange between Nezumi and Dogkeeper. When Dogkeeper refuses to accept Nezumi’s job, Nezumi then plays on Dogkeeper’s fears that she might someday die alone. In a split second, the once-confident character is crestfallen and immediately changes her mind. I just think Dogkeeper’s turn of character happens all too quick. But yeah, the plot has to get going….

Before we move on, I want to bring one small detail to attention. When Dogkeeper expresses her doubts that she can get any information out of the correctional facility, Nezumi brings up the janitor. Who’s the janitor? The same janitor Rikiga mentioned back in the fifth episode, insinuating that Dogkeeper had to do something salacious to smuggle goods from the correctional facility. Dogkeeper kept an even expression with Rikiga. With Nezumi, however, watch how her facial expression changes:

Let’s say Dogkeeper does have feelings for Nezumi. He’s essentially telling her to sell herself out so that he can help Shion, a romantic rival. Nobody would be happy about that.

The eyes and ears of No.6
We find out this week that old people are not to be trusted in No.6. The city are using them as a way to spy on any potential dissenter.

This got me to thinking… how many other times have people suffered as the result of a benign-looking geriatric? I then thought back to the kind lady at the airport from last week’s episode:

Was she a potential plant? Was she there to intercept anyone returning home and judge whether or not they might pose a threat to the city?

Rikiga, the seducer
Here, we have Shion spending his free time trying to come up with a serum (how doe he know how to make a serum?) to save No.6 from a potential plague. Rikiga suddenly exclaims that Shion isn’t thinking enough of himself:

“You’re such a nice boy! You should spend more time worrying about yourself, rather than others! Are you getting enough to eat? … Knowing Eve, he’s probably feeding you moldy crusts! Look how thin you are… and your clothes are filthy!”

Rikiga then attempts to ply Shion with the clothing he gets from the political prisoners locked away in No.6’s correctional facility. This then leads to Shion coming across Safu’s white jacket, but Rikiga’s behavior here continues to affirm my suspicions of his character. Imagine if someone walked up to Jesus or Buddha and told either of them that they should give up their silly quests for some materialism. Shion isn’t exactly a messiah, but we have linked him to “The Happy Prince.” I believe Rikiga thus represents some sort of devil in the story, and he will betray everyone soon enough.

“Look how I’ve changed?!”
Nezumi finally comes to terms with his feelings. Shion never has any problems expressing his innermost thoughts; he confesses that he would have become “an apathetic, clueless, obedient adult” without Nezumi’s influence in his life. In return, Nezumi confesses that Shion has helped him realize that “humans are willing to help each other.”

Nezumi may not exactly buy into Shion’s plans to demolish the wall separating No.6 and those on the outside, but Nezumi’s willingness to save Safu at all costs does count as a positive step forward in his moral development. He acknowledges and adopts some of Shion’s altruism, something he used to dismiss derisively as naïveté. Both characters have grown as a result of each other’s influence and this brings back to mind the idea of thesis-antithesis-synthesis.

“Hiding? Who’s hiding anything?”
Y’know, every episode where Shion and Nezumi share a moment, my Twitter timeline fills up with insinuations that the anime isn’t being quite forthright about the story’s homosexual coupling. I do not understand this mindset whatsoever. I think people watch way too many one-dimensional romances where the instant any young people come within twenty feet of each other, the anime beats us over the head about the sexual attraction (e.g. cheeks flushing red, hearts pounding, noses bleeding, etc.). So when people see a rather straightforward relationship between No.6’s two leading men, they think the anime’s being coy.

Or is it just this? I wonder if people would still be leveling the same accusations had one of the leading men been a girl all along. “Oh, why are they trying to be so coy about this heterosexual relationship!” Now, wouldn’t that sound ridiculous? Since we’re dealing with two guys, however, the anime is all of sudden sneaky. Oh no, the homosexual agenda is trying to worm its way into our personal spheres. Damn it, they’ve taken our anime! What’s the next to go?!

22 thoughts on “No.6 Ep. 7: The wheels of the plot go round and round…

  1. Richfeet

    Its so unfair. The plots so deep already. I didn’t want romance of any kind in this anime, just a cool matrix like plot. Now that romance has occurred, now the anime gonna get all mushy and stuff. I mean the plots still good. guys holding hands in a bed, so what… no biggie friends hold hands. That kiss now shatters my view of them as just best friends. seriously who kisses the best buddy on the lips. Well i guess that explains why Shion didn’t like that kiss Safu gave him in episode one…BA-ZING!!!

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      That kiss now shatters my view of them as just best friends. seriously who kisses the best buddy on the lips.

      Maybe they’re more than best friends?

      Reply
  2. Ryan R

    I don’t mind that they kissed. The anime has done a decent job of building up a believable gay relationship between Sion and Nezumi, and frankly, I like the idea of anime having openly gay characters that aren’t walking stereotypes (which neither Sion or Nezumi are).

    My only problem is that the kiss came off as a farewell kiss from one longtime lover to another, given how calm and smooth Sion was in kissing Nezumi, and how calmly Nezumi received it. It just seemed to lack the nervousness and/or lustful passion of a typical ‘first kiss’.

    So I can’t help but to conclude that there’s been a lot of Sion/Nezumi relationship development going on “off camera”, and I can’t help but to question the wisdom of having that happen “off camera”.

    In general, it goes back to your broader point of pushing the plot along just for the sake of pushing the plot along. But hey, that’s what 11 episode lengths will do to many anime shows… a shame that noitamina, a veritable fountain of high-caliber anime, is where such limited episode lengths are now found, though.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      It just seemed to lack the nervousness and/or lustful passion of a typical ‘first kiss’.

      Well, that would assume that Shion and Nezumi share any sort of passionate romance. It’s possible that their love is more on the platonic end than the romantic end of the spectrum, though there’s bits of both. Relationships don’t have to be cut and dry.

      noitamina, a veritable fountain of high-caliber anime

      Have you heard the recent chatter about Black Rock Shooter or whatever it’s called??

      Reply
  3. KidKonseptual

    I think their relationship has been far less coy and more straight-(lol)-forward than the average boy-girl relationship. This is Japanese anime, don’t forget, where a stray lingering touch is akin to full penetration elsewhere.

    I completely agree with you that old women are not to be trusted–in fiction or fact. Wait, did you say that? No worries, jump on board the old-lady-hatin’-train!

    On a serious note, I agree the pacing has been pretty steady, but doesn’t it feel like a season one of a five season show? It feels to me, like they could go on forever about No.6, the other numbers, the other derelict “outsider” type ares (surely they exist), and so on and so on? So yeah, it feels pretty quick, but at the same time, it’s like, “please continue telling us your story in a prompt manner please thank you very much.”

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I think their relationship has been far less coy

      You should see the people on my Twitter timeline, then. They think Bones is trying to conceal the BL-ness out of fear of alienating immature folks. Speaking of which, it always amazes me that people will fawn over trap characters, but two somewhat androgynous guys kissing in No.6 skeeves people out.

      Reply
  4. wanderer

    Agreed 100%: this episode is *definitely* about where the story begins visibly straining a bit under schedule pressure; some stuff is implicitly there but (and this is stuff I don’t think is deliberate decisions to try and be “subtle”; it’s just trying to work within the limitations).

    EG: the scene where Rikiga is probably along the lines of what you’re thinking, but Rikiga’s plying Shion doesn’t come completely out of nowhere. There’s a one-off line in ep6 in which Rikiga tells Shion something like “you get the money and I’ll go get the stuff”, and at the time we didn’t know what the “stuff” was. Now we know that it was probably Shion working out a deal with Rikiga to get him supplies for his serum, and in this episode we have Rikiga apologizing to Shion for being unable to get anything, and Shion being very understanding.

    So Rikiga’s move doesn’t *actually* come out of nowhere — he’s specifically concerned b/c he knows just how much money Shion just spent trying to get serum supplies — but that connection is pretty tenuous and implicit (and the deal itself is implicit, b/c we never saw it get set up, so there’s not even an explanatory flashback that could be inserted).

    So as-presented Rikiga’s move is jarring, but in terms of a factual plotline it’s a little more-motivated than the show makes it out to be; it’s a clear sign the compressed schedule is beginning to effect the presentation.

    In re: Rikiga, I think he’ll betray them and then later get his redemption. There’s such a lack of bad guys with names — if you’re a named character, you’re a “good guy”, so far — that having him make a complete heel-turn seems out of character for the show (and in the absence of any other concrete antagonists would draw too much attention to him, I think).

    In re: the Dogkeeper, assuming she has some kind of feelings for Nezumi does serve as a skeleton key for a lot of what she does, but she’s erratic enough I’m not comfortable concluding that she does have any such feelings (and even if she does, she may not be aware of them).

    EG: I’d read her reaction to Nezumi’s suggestion as to how she gets the info more as “shame” than anything else — she’d tried to keep that secret from Nezumi, is disappointed he found out, and what can she really say to him about that?

    Similarly, her reaction to his “dying alone” threat also shocks her b/c: they’re friends who pretend to hate each other and “play fight” a lot, but my take is she never seriously considered the possibility that he wouldn’t be there for her. That’s why what he’s saying is so hard for her to process, and when she does process it it’s really disturbing.

    And, the whole “you really do have emotions” things makes sense: the Dogkeeper can accept his keeping her at arms-length if he is something of an emotionless monster, but that arms-length treatment is harder to take if Nezumi actually does have emotions, just not for her.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Rikiga

      I didn’t mean to imply that Rikiga is plying Shion out of nowhere. I’m just saying that it’s a little fishy how he’s always trying to tempt Shion with materialistic concerns… maybe that’s just my cynical interpretation of his behavior.

      Dogkeeper

      Oh, there’s no concrete evidence that she has any feelings for Nezumi, but it would balance the picture. Both Shion and Nezumi would have two people pining for them in an unorthodox way (although Safu has changed since the start of the series).

      Shame could be a factor. I haven’t gotten any impression that she was trying to hide that fact to Nezumi, however. Also, I didn’t get any impression that they were truly friends to explain Dogkeeper’s abandonment issues. I always figured she’d depend more on her loyal dogs than someone tempestuous like Nezumi. As a result, I’m not convinced by her behavior here.

      Reply
      1. wanderer

        Oh,that Dogkeeper: complex character? just sloppily written? Either way she’s fascinating to watch each week.

        Dogkeeper Hiding Something: it’s hard to know for sure. When it came up with Rikiga Nezumi wasn’t around, and it was implied to be something that wasn’t *widely* known. Everything past that is speculative.

        “Friends”: that’s also more guesswork. They certainly seem to do a lot of business together and Nezumi presumably was able to get the Dogkeeper to give Shion a job. There’s the as-yet unexplained backstory event in which Nezumi sung the Dogkeeper’s mother’s soul to heaven.

        In re: Rikiga: it certainly is fishy. There’s a nice bit of subtle humor in that shop scene when Shion goes for the woman’s jacket; I’m not sure if the writers didn’t pick up on it or decided to play it down.

        Out of nowhere isn’t quite right. It’s more that there’s a clear chain of causality starting from Shion’s decision to make the serum and ending up with Rikiga tempting him with a coat, but the narrative’s so rushed that causal connection is pretty well-buried.

        Come to think of it, I’d been assuming Rikiga was buying him a coat, but it’s possible he was merely tempting Shion into buying himself a nicer coat (instead of serum ingredients). Interesting.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          friends

          I would just imagine Dogkeeper isn’t naive enough to think Nezumi’s the type to depend on. Until he now suddenly has emotions, that is.

          Something suddenly struck me. Did the anime ever specify that Dogkeeper was even a girl? Maybe it’s the fever playing tricks on me, but all of a sudden, I can’t really remember.

          Reply
          1. wanderer

            I’ve been calling the Dogkeeper a “she” but I don’t think that’s explicit either. The subs have actually used “he/him” to refer to the Dogkeeper a few times but I’ve been ignoring that b/c I haven’t caught any gender-specific language used by or about the Dogkeeper.

            That said: for this anime in particular it’s not as though the Dogkeeper’s gender would really matter much, no?

            Reply
            1. E Minor Post author

              Not particularly, but seeing as how people are quitting the anime left and right because the main characters kissed, it’s a little subversive to have a feminine looking character — one that people draw fanart of — turn out to be a guy after all.

              Reply
          2. wanderer

            I googled this. Apparently in the novels the Dogkeeper’s gender is mostly kept ambiguous but the reader consensus is that there are enough hints in the story to make it pretty clear the Dogkeeper’s female.

            If the anime’s sticking with the novels that’d make the use of “he”/”his” in a few spots essentially a mistake, but it’s possible the anime’s decided to make it Inukashi a “he”, and the subs are “leaking” that decision ahead of its actual revelation in the anime (eg: translator has a “cheat sheet” from the show’s creators to use as a reference, it says that Inukashi is male, but the translator didn’t realize that that should’ve been kept ambiguous for longer).

            Other than that I’m sticking to my plan of not finding out much about the novels in advance.

            Reply
          3. wanderer

            And yes, in response to your response: given what I found out I could see a decision to make Inukashi male in the anime for precisely that reason (especially since in the domestic market readers would be expecting Dogkeeper to be a woman…).

            Reply
  5. Mira

    I did think they rushed here a bit, but it was done in such a way where it doesn’t turn into a complete mess and it still has a hefty amount of detail stuffed in it.

    I can’t bring myself to trust Rikiga and his mustache. It’s the same way I can’t trust old ladies anymore.

    So when people see a rather straightforward relationship between No.6′s two leading men, they think the anime’s being coy.

    Unless Shion and Nezumi are blushing, being embarrassed and generally being nervous around each other, the anime is being sneaky and slowly turning people into homos. Yup! What a strange thing this kiss has become. I think this has gotten more attention than that Blood-C massacre and ain’t that a funny thing?

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      No, not a complete mess. It’s just that No.6 has focused so much on imagery and characterization that a plot episode could be slightly jarring.

      Blood-C massacre

      Well, if they didn’t censor 90% of it, maybe we would be talking about it!

      Reply
  6. scineram

    Wait, isn’t Dogkeeper a guy? Was there any information regarding that?

    I was surprised, that this is one cour. I don’t know the novels, just how far are we into the story? I assume there is no intention of making a second season.

    I have also seen on multiple fora people dropping this at this episode, right when the plot picked up. It’s pathetic and sad.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Shrug, that’s what I asked in a comment a little bit above yours. I guess we always just assumed Dogkeeper was a girl.

      As for a second season, I don’t see why they couldn’t continue the story. Then again, if they manage to get their ideas across in a single season, there’s also no need to continue.

      Reply
  7. Pingback: Notes of No.6 Episode 7 | Organization Anti Social Geniuses

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