No.6: Don’t bite off more than you can chew


LGBT BEE WILL REVIVE YOUR BISHIES FOR YOU

Especially if it involves a giant, rainbow bee. What a disappointing conclusion to an anime that had started off so very well. To say that No.6‘s ending feels rushed would be an immense understatement. The much-anticipated Safu encounter ends up being nothing but one long exposition dump about Elyurias, Moon Drop, Mother, and various other topics — many that we are just now learning about. The anime follows this dull scene up with an obligatory escape sequence that is all too redundant. First, Nezumi gets himself shot trying to save Shion. Oh dear, with explosions rocking the facility, how will Shion save Nezumi and still escape in tim– Shion gets himself shot trying to save Nezumi. Sigh. Finally, a giant, rainbow bee is No.6‘s deus ex machina.

The main culprit behind No.6‘s numerous failures is this compulsion to sex a story up with action, conspiracies, and strange, mysterious entities like the parasite bees and a mystical forest goddess. To anyone penning a story right now, know your limits. This cannot be re-iterated enough. Understand what you can do in the amount of time and space allotted to you. No.6 was doing perfectly fine as an exploration of how two people from disparate environments can nevertheless come together and form a powerful, touching relationship.

You throw in a totalitarian regime with a literal barrier separating loved ones from one another and you have something that echoes the experiences of many people across history. When Karan finally notices that the wall around No.6 have been demolished, watching her run in a desperate search for Shion made me think how the family members of both West and East Germany must have felt shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We must also be cognizant of the present dilemma facing North and South Koreans. This and the relationship between our two main protagonists should have sufficed for noitaminA’s 11-episode block. Unfortunately, the author behind the story wasn’t content with just crafting a poignant story.

In the end, someone felt the need to add mystical nonsense to No.6. Regrettably, the characters stop dead in their tracks to involve themselves in some generic “infiltrate and destroy the enemy” mission that seems to have come right out of a trashy, pulp novel. Hell, maybe No.6 was nothing but a trashy, pulp novel to begin with. In any case, Bones must also share some of the blame because the studio could not resist the temptation to adapt far too much material in such a short amount of time. Either that or they simply didn’t take enough liberties with the source material to craft something more befitting of the anime medium. Of course, I haven’t read the novels myself so I cannot attest to whether the latter criticism holds up. Either way, I am sure that I can’t be the only one who would have been content to see the Shion-Nezumi relationship develop to its natural conclusion. Oh, of course we wouldn’t that — it would have been too gay.


“Oh, uh, hey Mom. This is, um, my roommate Nezumi.”

I’m not going to worry myself with any apparent plot holes in the anime’s finale. I feel that when people analyze anime, they often miss the forest for the trees. Let’s just focus on what No.6 is trying to say. The show’s editing will suggest that the parasite bees are the results of No.6’s “contemptible experiments.” Using Safu as a conduit, Elyurias informs our heroes that she allowed the “ideal sample” to fall into No.6’s grasp “[to allow its] experiments to succeed.” And why should the experiments succeed? “In order to punish the arrogant city, No.6.” In the meantime, we see the parasite bees ravage the city’s inhabitants indiscriminately. There appears to be no rhyme or reason to who ultimately falls victim. In other words, these people are guilty by association and Elyurias has hastened their deaths. They don’t even get a chance to save themselves.

Elyurias is essentially condemning people to death for their ignorance. Is ignorance a sin? Maybe and we could spend all day debating this. But is it a crime punishable by death? Now, I think the anime has gone too far. Yes, the citizens of No.6 has benefited from the exploitation of the West District and the genocide of the forest people, but the anime has not sufficiently established that the the citizens are equally complicit in the city’s numerous crimes. From my standpoint, it would appear that many of No.6’s inhabitants simply had no clue what the city had been up to all along. This would be like punishing random Japanese civilians for the military’s involvement in the Rape of Nanking. Case in point, Yoming’s revelations shocked and surprised Karan. She, however, did not get “punished.” Likewise, Shion had no idea of No.6’s crimes either, but he would have been one of the parasite bees’ victims had Nezumi not intervened. What explains this inexplicable difference between Shion and his mother?

What’s most disappointing is that this debate has been at the heart of the entire anime. Who has been the most consistently innocent and pure character in the story? Shion. And what message has Shion consistently espoused? That everyone’s human — that everyone should be treated the same — regardless of who they are or where they come from. Shion has struggled all series long to defend himself against the likes of Nezumi and Dogkeeper, both who believe that people should just look out for themselves. So when the ending finally rolls around, Elyurias just wantonly condemns random No.6 citizens to death, regardless of whether or not they are morally culpable. For example, even if Yoming is a little unhinged, there is nothing in the anime to suggest that he deserves to die. Despite this, we nevertheless see Yoming’s withered corpse in the ending montage.

In the end, Elyurias uses her powers to bring down the wall around No.6, but due to what we’ve just seen, her final action is a hollow gesture. It means nothing when countless lives have been lost that same day because of her very own short-sighted moral reasoning. And then she saves Shion’s life but for what? An equally perplexing scene follows: Shion pulls out the data chip that he had been handed a few episodes ago, an unfired Chekhov’s gun. Again, technology is useless and nature reigns supreme. In the meantime, enjoy the happy ending that just got squeezed into a morally inconsistent story. I’m just going to assume that the first episode is all that exists and the rest of the story is nothing but one of the character’s feverish dreams.

49 thoughts on “No.6: Don’t bite off more than you can chew

  1. Marow

    “I’m just going to assume that the first episode is all that exists and the rest of the story is nothing but one of the character’s feverish dreams.”

    Nailed it.

    Reply
  2. Shall

    Not…going to get into this disappointing finale, but I must chime in that the novel has 9 volumes and is so very different to the anime in terms of the sequence of events, character development/screentime/personality, plot(it actually makes sense there)…11 episodes for a series like No.6 is such a terrible idea. Bones really..went off track after episode 3 or so, but this last episode…just…bad. As a novel reader I’m just in shock
    I’m just going to deny the 11th episode exists.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      11 episodes for a series like No.6 is such a terrible idea.

      The idea isn’t inherently bad. They just chose to do far too much. Just keep the focus on Shion and Nezumi. If we’re going to worry about toppling No.6 and saving Safu, hold off on these ideas until a second season. And if someone counters with, “But there isn’t going to be a second season so they had to accomplish as much as they could!” Well, I rather the anime not rush itself to oblivion.

      Reply
  3. Leigh

    I don’t really understand the point of making the changes they did to the ending here (as opposed to the original novel’s end) From what I read, a degree of the “magic” elements were present in the book’s ending (mostly in terms of Elyurias being some mysterious powerful being of unknown origin)…but nothing quite along the lines of junky deus ex machina revivals or golden magical tornadoes. I feel so let down by this last episode, amazing how just 15 minutes of a bad ending could so heavily influence my opinion on an entire series. I’ll stick with the novel translations which are turning out the be much more interesting so far…they’re far from perfect but presented in a way that leaves way fewer inconsistencies and gives way more depth. Shion alone is so much more of an rebellious and intelligent character in the books, that seeing his more shallow goody-two-shoes character in the anime is disappointing.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      but nothing quite along the lines of junky deus ex machina revivals or golden magical tornadoes.

      Well, look on the bright side. Elyurias chose golden tornadoes over golden showers.

      Reply
  4. Mira

    Elyurias was totally not kawaii.

    I’m just going to assume that the first episode is all that exists and the rest of the story is nothing but one of the character’s feverish dreams.

    I can’t do this. There were a lot of parts of the show I genuinely enjoyed which were probably not even in the novel so– nope, I just can’t. I have to say though, the mistakes done by shows like [C] and No. 6 are things the future shows can learn from. 11 episodes can for a fantasy/sci-fi story just as well as it does for a slice of life but yeah, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Sometimes utilizing characters and pushing for more character driven stories sounds like a wiser move for this short time.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      There were a lot of parts of the show I genuinely enjoyed

      And anyone following my write-ups on the show will know that I’ve also enjoyed much of the series. I especially liked the Hamlet episode. Even so, it’s these highs in the anime that make the lows stand out even more. I just can’t look past all the silly mysticism that completely derailed the series.

      Reply
  5. wanderer

    That first episode really was something great, this really was something spectacularly lame. From Great Expectations to wtf.

    Parts of it really seem like the staff knew they had a stinker and decided to ham it up — I’m particularly thinking of the scene with the dog and hamlet-the-rat at the end — but in general this really was terrible.

    It was mainly terrible b/c it seemed to have no idea what it should be doing with itself. It could’ve been fine if Safu had kept talking long enough to tie off most of the loose ends, but instead they blew her up early and cut that possibility off.

    Truly ill-considered. The only bright spot was the brief moment Yoming’s prerecorded speech flipped on to address the crowd; that was some fantastic dark humor. It also seems included to justify his death, but that seems a bridge too far for what we’ve seen from him over the course of the series.

    Elyurias is a spectacular failure: the ambiguous morals underlying its judgment of No. 6 could’ve in fact been a good thing conceptually — it’d put Elyurias into the category of dreadful inhuman entities that think in ways foreign to human understanding, a la lovecraft, wrathful old testament deities, etc. — but then the show completely undercuts that possibility when the G-L-Bee-T Elyurias resurrects Nezumi and Shion. That overly-anthropomorphizes Elyurias’s psychology and ruins any sense that Elyurias is some inhuman figure. Oh well.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Parts of it really seem like the staff knew they had a stinker and decided to ham it up — I’m particularly thinking of the scene with the dog

      It bugged me that the dog would bring the baby to Shion. I thought the baby was going to stay with Dogkeeper. Sure, you could argue that having Dogkeeper care for the baby is pigeon-holing her into a stereotypically feminine role, but as it currently stands, Dogkeeper had no growth whatsoever as a character.

      Elyurias is a spectacular failure: the ambiguous morals underlying its judgment of No. 6 could’ve in fact been a good thing conceptually

      I agree. They should have played it up as though neither extreme science nor extreme “nature” is the way to go, but as always, the story decides to be unfortunately one-sided and simplistic.

      Reply
      1. wanderer

        Yeah, it was a big WTF for the Dogkeeper to return the baby at the end. It seems like she’s supposed to be heartbroken that, in the end, Shion and Nezumi both died out of love for each other, which resets her character back to some hard-nosed, hard-hearted misanthrope. This, of course, leads to an awesome inconsistency: how does she find out Shion and Nezumi are alive — so she can send them the baby — and why wouldn’t that discovery un-break her heart? Sigh.

        And that’s not even the angle I actually had in mind with the dog scene when I wrote that comment. What I was thinking was more along the lines of how I could almost imagine Shion saying “What’s that? Dogkeeper fell down a well?” once the dog started barking…like the writers saying “yeah, this sucks, so we may as well just make it as corny as possible”.

        In terms of balance: the one thing I tend to cut a bit of slack on is being unable to show a happy balance between nature and technology. Striking that balance is quite literally one of the most pressing problems of our age, isn’t one for which we have any great solutions for as-of-yet, and thus I can’t feel too critical to writers failing to come up with anything nuanced/balanced. That’s not giving the writers a pass, though, it’s just characterizing the mistake a bit differently: the problem isn’t that they don’t have a solution to present, it’s that they don’t recognize they have nothing useful to say on the topic but chose to address those themes anyways.

        In any case, I think this series has solidified a half-formed opinion I’ve had for awhile. Essentially, most sci-fi/fantasy-esque shows (like this one) would be better off largely spilling the beans early on — eg, giving clear explanations of Elyurias, the bees, and all that in ep 3 or 4 — at least to the audience, if not the main characters. If you get that out of the way early it gives you freedom to focus on the human drama, and the human drama takes on a lot more significance from the get-go (b/c you’re aware of the bigger picture and how the two relate).

        All that said, it’s been a fun show to watch and these discussions have been a lot of fun. You’ve caught a lot of stuff I would’ve missed and that first episode in particular really was a gem.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Dogkeeper

          Yeah, that’s a good point. Someone had to have bundled the baby up for the dog to carry. Maybe Dogkeeper was just sending the baby out to die. Maybe the dog is really Elyurias. Who knows anymore?

          balance

          Well, I didn’t mean to imply that there needed to be a perfect balance between nature and technology. I just wish it wasn’t “Well, look how evil these assholes are!” sort of one-sidedness. I mean, a goddamn rainbow bee just massacred a good chunk of No.6’s population. I wish the show had just taken a step back and think for a second: “How is this possibly a positive thing?”

          spilling the beans early

          Hey, if anything, it would warn me ahead of time if some story’s going to be this silly. Rainbow bee… Christ.

          All that said, it’s been a fun show to watch and these discussions have been a lot of fun.

          Yeah, I’ll echo this sentiment. We should do it again. At the moment, I’m busy cooking up crackpot theories for Mawaru Penguindrum, but who knows — maybe we could do this all over again for Bones’s UN-GO.

          Reply
        2. wanderer

          Oh, interesting about UN-GO. From going through my notes it’s pretty clear BONES is my favorite studio; they haven’t yet produced anything I’d consider a true masterpiece, but are the studio with the most entries on my list of anime’s that’ve really impressed me. Looks like I’ll be giving UN-GO a shot.

          Reply
          1. E Minor Post author

            I can’t remember the last time Bones didn’t have grand designs only to horribly short. Then again, I didn’t watch Darker than Black.

            Reply
        3. wanderer

          Yup, that’s Bones for you: with their original works they’ve made several almost-masterpieces but even their best works always have something dragging them down. It’s why I said they were the ones who impressed me most (as opposed to “best”).

          DtB S1 is in that category: I’d call it a B-level product that’s made like a masterpiece (in terms of nuances/subtleties/callbacks/foreshadowing/etc.). So it’s very *impressive* for how it’s made — I saw it and thought “get these guys some better material and they’ll make a real masterpiece — but DtB is also something I’d think twice about recommending. It’s not that compelling for what is — often boring, in fact — but is interesting for how tightly-constructed it winds up being, boringness and all.

          Anyways. That first episode of No. 6 is pretty similar stylistically to the best parts of DtB, which was got me all excited here: maybe this was going to be that first actual masterpiece…and we saw how that turned out. Maybe UN-GO will turn out better, maybe another flop.

          Reply
          1. E Minor Post author

            I think the only Bones work I’ve seen that I ever felt satisfied by the end was Eureka Seven, but even then, I thought the series dragged on a little longer than necessary. My first dabble with Bones was RahXephon and hoo boy, that era of anime was full of overwrought, blatantly-symbolic mecha anime.

            Maybe UN-GO will turn out better, maybe another flop.

            There are already a couple things I’m rather wary about with regards to UN-GO. Shifting the adaptation to the future so we can supposedly have flashy technology (and fights?) and one of the characters being a trap (so I’ve heard). On the plus side, it’s mystery and should be proper mystery too, i.e. not the lukewarm light novel mysteries we’ve been getting.

            Reply
        4. wanderer

          Yeah, in point of full disclosure I’ve only seen 5 of their series, of which 3 impressed me: DtB, Eureka 7, Wolf Rain (first two I think highly of, third is not as good but still impressve); the other 2 are No. 6 and Tokyo Magnitude 8, the former of which we’ve done to death and the latter of which is best described as “mostly competent”. Not a lot really impresses me and so 3 is a lot. Maybe if I watch more of their stuff I’ll think less of them…

          In any case, I basically agree on Eureka 7 but discussing it would be biting off more than I can chew right now.

          As far as DtB goes: I know the style of overwrought symbolism you’re mentioning and it’s not like that; if anything, it’s basically the opposite failure case. The show presents itself as a moody, noirish, but essentially straightforward action series, and goes out of its way to disguise most of its subtler layers. I call this a “failure mode” b/c in this case the end result is that it falls short as what it’s presenting itself as — as an action show it’s slow-paced and boring — and the extra layers are easy to miss (and a lot of stuff is hard to catch unless you’ve already seen it…).

          That’s why I have a hard time recommending it: if you pay attention there’s a lot of cool tricks / easter eggs / subtle touches — enough to show the guys making it have some world-class talent, imho — but the actual thing they made is still boring; same craftsmanship, better material to work with, they’ll probably turn out a real winner. I’m not sure what I think of the overall merits of what they did, either; it seems like it would’ve been better if they’d been less subtle, and directed some of that energy to tightening up the surface-level aspects.

          Oh well, I think I’m talked out on DtB for now. If you ever check it out keep in mind that it really is at-best a B-level product that’s inexplicably well-crafted; impressive more than good.

          Reply
          1. E Minor Post author

            Maybe if I watch more of their stuff I’ll think less of them…

            As with anything, the signal-to-noise ratio isn’t that impressive. I guess they don’t routinely do stinkers, but there have been plenty of shows where I’ve not been a fan. You’d be in the camp that’s a lot nicer to Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 than I am. I think it’s one of those shows where the anime medium dooms it from the start. It’s not so much that anime can’t have compelling stories about adults, but here I am, watching yet another tragic tale with a narrow focus on a cute, little girl.

            If you ever check it out keep in mind that it really is at-best a B-level product that’s inexplicably well-crafted

            Gosh, that sounds familiar. At this rate, I wonder if even the best source material anyone can adapt will just be B-material. Well, that’s not fair. Ango Sakaguchi’s writings are far from B-material, but everything I’ve seen about UN-GO just sounds so B-material-ish.

            Reply
        5. wanderer

          All fair. Just chiming in with two last points before taking a real break.

          Small clarification: DtB is a “BONES original”, not an adaption, but you can make the analogy that DtB:”Roadside Picnic”::E7:”Blood Music”; neither item on the left is an adaption of the item on its right, but both items on the left are *so* dependent on ideas derived from the items on the right that they wouldn’t exist without them.

          E7: I’d break this one down as A-level “source material” horribly diluted by sloppy direction, *especially* in the final arc (once Eureka + Renton on the island), but that’s definitely a discussion for some other time. You’ve been an excellent host and I’ll swing by again once UN-GO starts up.

          Reply
          1. E Minor Post author

            You’ve been an excellent host and I’ll swing by again once UN-GO starts up.

            Thanks and I look forward to our future exchanges. Even if UN-GO fails, hopefully it’ll be just as initially interesting as No.6 had been.

            Reply
  6. Richfeet

    Ok you what annoyed me is that. they could have done a Cowboy Bebop ending where they both die. But nooooo. They get a giant rainbow bee. At this point I said whatever. I don’t care anymore. Shion gets shot and killed, and then oooh, giant rainbow bee phoenix down powers activate. Really? You know what? The main characters should have died, I’d have been fine with that. Seriously.

    Overall this anime kind of shows a bit about negative and positive influences. Nezumi means rat. Rats carry diseases that they don’t mean to carry. Sadly Nezumi’s influence was a bit negative, even though he gained that through living on the streets. Hey, hear me out. Throughout this series of events, Shion picked up some stuff from Nezumi and He picked up some stuff of things from Shion. Sure, Shion chose to act all commando towards the end but his experience with Nezumi affected that decision. Shion doing those things without the hardships that go with those kind of decisions, made him come across as a psycho. So if Nezumi acted like he tricked Shion to make him never want to him again, then maybe he could go back to being normal again. That’s kind of the only interesting thing I got from the anime

    Overall I agree. Bit off too much more than it could chew, good characters used poorly, bad, bad ending.

    And the baby never saw his dog mother ever again (sob).

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      The main characters should have died, I’d have been fine with that. Seriously.

      I personally don’t care whether or not the protagonists died. The way Elyurias revived Shion, however, was incredibly lame and tacky.

      By the way, this is the longest comment you’ve ever left on this blog. Are you coming down with a fever?!

      Reply
      1. Richfeet

        All that writing and rewriting gave me a headache. I’m just gonna keep my points short and simple from now on. But this ending was lamer than every disney film ending put together.

        Reply
  7. Crista

    It was dissapointing. For us who are reading the novels it was just a big WTF. I just could imagine how the people who hadn’t read the novel could feel because nothing makes sense with this end. I’m so sorry also. The anime was great until now.
    I wanted to say so many things, but the english again. I suck at it. I just wanted to thank you for all the wonderful reviews you have made for No.6. I really liked them, they made me smile because I liked the way you went a little deeper with every episode. I’m very very sorry for this bad ending.
    It was a pleasure to read you.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I might be a bit harsh in this final post if only because No.6 had a lot of potential and squandered it all. I will begrudgingly admit that for about half a season, the anime was one of the best on TV. Anyhow, thanks for the kind words. Hope we can discuss other anime to come.

      Reply
  8. draggle

    Pretty terrible ending. To add another thing to the moral ambiguity, when Elyurias turns the bees into tornadoes, the walls fall outwards onto, I presume, the shantytowns and crush them.

    And Shion was so dedicated to saving both No. 6 and the other people, until he saw Safu and learned that they had done human experimentation. Then he immediately changed his mind and wanted to kill them all. But somehow he convinced Elyurias to spare them. Not sure how all that worked out… And then we have his outburst again Nezumi for “using” him. They seem to be all over the place with Shion.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      the walls fall outwards onto, I presume, the shantytowns and crush them.

      Well, after the sound massacre of 20XX (or whatever goddamn century this story is set in), it’s not as if there’s anyone left to kill.

      I can understand Shion going nuts for Safu though. Safu wasn’t just some personality-less childhood friend (like a recent moeblob). She actually had some depth to her.

      Reply
  9. thearbee

    I would have talked about the current standing of Serious-toned Homosexuality in Movies and how their endings will always be very depressing and ill-fated (except for a chosen few), but for now I’m just puzzled more with the magic bee.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      And unfortunately, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi will get a sequel and people will go back to thinking that homosexuals just like to rape each other.

      Reply
  10. Anonymous

    I really think you overestimated this anime in the first few episodes just because it made some vague references to Shakespeare that you interpreted far deeper than it deserved. Your letdown was a product of your overestimation of No. 6. Unfortunately the homophobes were right about this one, just a shitty shounen ai with a thin veneer of science fiction.

    Reply
  11. cryptw

    This tacky ending is such a waste of a perfectly good anime.
    But on the bright side, most other anime degenerate from deep, philosophical, insightful, etc. to random explosions and fighting within the first 3 episodes, so this may be a sign that there are better things to come.

    Reply
      1. Marow

        You would be a millionaire. But think about it. Why are there so many promising shows, but they all turn out to be bad? I mean, how could they come up with an interesting concept and not follow it up?

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          I dunno, but speaking of promising shows, I’m curious to see how Mawaru Penguindrum will end up. The chance of a letdown is almost too high at this point.

          Reply
  12. inushinde

    No. 6 just derailed itself too close to the finish line to end on a good note. To me, it wasn’t the way it crammed in too many details that led to it shooting itself in the foot, it was the fact that even after the infiltration, what Shion and Nezumi did still had so little impact that they could’ve most likely rebuilt their home in the West District and waited for the whole situation to resolve itself.
    Despite being overkill, it didn’t have much consequence whatsoever.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Well, Elyurias did claim that it was Nezumi’s mission to blow up the Mother computer. Maybe he’s got the magical touch; without him, the computer remains unharmed! Actually, he was the one who had the bomb on him. Not sure why Elyurias couldn’t have destroyed the computer herself with her magical “bee-nados,” but maybe the computer was hindering her ability to go nuts. Even if this was the case, however, once again, the rushed ending strikes again.

      Reply
      1. rtang

        (hi, i realize the series ended a while ago, but I just watched it, and read all your reviews and had some additional thoughts about the ending, which I didn’t find as bad as you thought)
        About it being Nezumi’s mission to blow up the computer, wasn’t it more that since he is the last of the forest folk, it was his responsibility? Furthermore at this point Shion was too consumed by his rage at losing Safu that he desired to blow up the computer as an act of vengeance, so for him to blow up the computer in his irrational state would go against his previously stated morals. As Nezumi said he wanted Shion to ‘stay as he was’ so by preventing Shion from blowing up the computer doesnt’ he achieve this?

        Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Sorry, Akismet somehow thought this was spam. Probably because strip was in the title. Anyway, thanks for the amusing comic.

      Reply
  13. Pingback: Final Notes of No.6 Episode 11 | Organization Anti Social Geniuses

  14. Pingback: Final Notes of No.6 Episode 11 « Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

  15. rtang

    I can see how the ending was rushed, in that several plot elements were introduced fairly late to the series, but was the whole prospect of Safu ‘being’ Elyurias hinted at in episode 5? When Safu heard the song in the art gallery while admiring a stain glass window of Bees, there were some pretty evident hints that she was some kind of ‘chosen one’.

    Just another perspective, For me the ending left a lasting message. If we ignore the plot holes as you said, and we look at how the series concluded, there was significant loss of life in both No. 6 and the West Block, but in the end, the walls have fallen, the correctional facility is gone, Shion is alive, and so is that baby. Doesn’t this suggest that despite all the horrible suffering that had occurred, a new era of peace/prosperity/happiness is beginning? And the hero/protagonist Shion, who is alive was able to bring together Nezumi, Rikiga, and Dogkeeper, 3 otherwise self-oriented and ‘purposeless’ people, through his compassion/idealism, ultimately making a difference in the world. I agree that perhaps the fantasy elements are overblown (the bee tornadoes…), but personally I thought this elements were minor in comparison to the greater message.

    Finally, just a note about Shion’s characters throughout the finale. I actually thought it was interesting how they looked at so many emotions. Since up until the last episodes we had only seen Shion display unfaltering altruism (in theory) and in this episode we can see how his idealism holds up in reality. Despite Shion’s altruism, once he sees Safu, and learns of her fate, naturally he is overcome with grief (afterall she was his only true friend) doesn’t it make sense that he might question his morals after being grief-stricken? Out of grief he wants to blame someone, so he blames Nezumi. However, when Nezumi takes the bullet to protect Shion, it finally snapped Shion out of (or at least partly from) his grief for Safu.

    By concluding the series with Shion alive, it leaves us with the moral/idea that compassion will help society. That message wouldn’t really work if Shion died… its a far weaker moral to say “be compassionate… it’ll help society, but you’ll die” while this would be true altruism it isn’t really the most practical message, since most people want to avoid death… Shion’s behaviour in the ending, and the emotions he displayed made his character seem more human/realistic and believable to me.

    I know this series ended a while ago, but I just wanted to add these thoughts. I think despite the flaws, the ending was still memorable, and conclusive in its own right. Also thank you for your reviews of this series. Your analysis of the literary connections was really enjoyable to read.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      It’ll take a while to respond to your comments, but it has been a year and I don’t want to respond when my knowledge of the show is fuzzy. Anyway, just replying now so that you don’t think I’ve ignored you or anything. I appreciate well-thought-out responses.

      Reply

Please refrain from posting spoilers or using derogatory language. Basically, don't be an asshole.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.