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?!