As you’ll recall, Five has engaged Nine in a game of high-stakes chess. In their biggest move, however, Sphinx manages to turn Five’s omniscience back on her. The girl is basically Big Brother personified: she can and does see everything. But what if you suddenly can’t trust your own vision? How confident are you that the reality before you is the only reality? So in order to get the upper-hand on Five, the boys rig her camera feeds. Five can still see everything, but the problem is that she can only see everything from five minutes ago. The boys have literally added another dimension to the game. In way, this has been happening all episode long. A chess match typically plays itself out on a flat, open plane. As a result, both opponents can see the entire battlefield and thus plan their moves accordingly. Five, however, tries to take the game to the airport, i.e. a 3-D environment. Call it hubris or whatever, but this ends up allowing Twelve to use the 3-D environment to his advantage. In spite of all the cameras at her disposal, Five can no longer see the entire battlefield. To add even more insult to injury, the dimension of time then becomes yet another factor to consider. As smart as Five is, she’s still only human, and as a result, she can only see things unfold linearly. This is why I find the time delay so ingenious; the boys are directly challenging Five’s omniscience.
None of this means, of course, that our protagonists have won the battle. Sphinx ends up making the same mistake as Five in not considering time as a factor. As expected, Nine correctly deduces the location of the bomb through his chess match with Five. He and Twelve don’t realize, however, that this location is merely where the bomb will ultimately end up. They soon realize that Five has planted the bomb on a slow-moving plane, and plane is headed for one of the gates at the International Terminal. If it is able to go off, countless lives will be lost. And oh yeah, Lisa’s trapped with the bomb, too. That part kind of sucks. Even so, the ever pragmatic Nine tries to look at the big picture. So what’s the most realistic scenario here? Save everyone, or increase your chances of success and save only the innocent people at the airport? Like before, he initially hopes to cause a commotion that will evacuate the airport. In doing this, however, he would have two problems on his hands. First, Nine is essentially conceding the battle to Five. He’s basically admitting that he has no clue how to stop the remote-controlled plane. More importantly, however, he’s also conceding Lisa’s life, a fact that seems to really pisses Twelve off.
Considering how both boys have been adamant against the loss of any innocent life, Twelve can’t be happy that Nine would all of a sudden allow Lisa to die. Hell, I’d even venture to guess that Nine’s initial decision makes him appear a bit hypocritical in Twelve’s eyes. After all, why have they been suffering this entire time? It’s because that mysterious institute had tried to strip the boys of both their personhood and their personal identity. The boys are named Nine and Twelve for a reason. Their abusers were only interested in one thing: turning gifted children into useful tools for their aims. Of course, no one really knows what Sphinx is ultimately trying to achieve, but we can safely suspect that one of their goals is to shine a spotlight on the abuse they have suffered. So with that in mind, how can it sit well with Twelve if Nine is willing to dispose of Lisa’s life as if she’s nothing more than just a pawn in their game? In fact, the only reason the boys could even get a small advantage on Five was due to Lisa’s help. As much as Nine might not want to admit it at the moment, Lisa has become a part of their team. As you’ll recall, Nine said in last week’s episode that it was very likely they’d be captured on this mission. This, however, was before Lisa had insisted on joining them. You can’t help but wonder how far the boys would have gotten on their own.
So if Sphinx really wants to save both Lisa and the people at the airport, Nine thus has no choice but to go from one risky gambit to another: he must now turn to Shibazaki for help. It’s clear now why he was so reluctant to include Lisa from the very start: Nine likes to control all the variables. It’s why he and Five were engaged in their little chess match. In the actual game itself, there are no variables to worry about other than who starts where and what your opponent is thinking. It’s also why Five taunted him about Lisa: “I was surprised to find that you two made a friend. But that means you have more weaknesses.” The more people you include in your plans — whatever those plans may be — the more you make yourself vulnerable. Nine has been with Twelve a long time, so I’m sure he knows how Twelve operates inside and out. As such, there aren’t really any big variables here to worry about. On the other hand, even though the boys had only given Lisa a simple task, they still don’t know her all that well yet. They still can’t fully trust her or in her abilities. Lisa ultimately got the job done, but needless to say, Nine couldn’t control Lisa and thus prevent her from running around like a headless chicken.
Twelve: “Then it’s finally time to introduce Sphinx Number 3, huh?”
Nine: “If we must.”
Now, if Nine had been able to, then Lisa might not have aroused Five’s suspicions, which ended up leading to her capture. But what’s done is done and they are now in a big mess, and if Nine wants to save Lisa, he has to involve yet another variable he can’t control: Shibazaki. In the end, however, I’m sure the anime will go with the age-old theme of “You must put your trust in others to find true happiness.” The side effect of controlling all the variables is that you will inevitably isolate yourself from the outside world. After all, the outside world is full of variables. Before Lisa, Sphinx was primarily concerned with their mission. Sure, they didn’t want to spill any innocent blood, but even this desire is a bit self-serving in a way: it would do them and their goals no good if the public started to rally against them. Saving Lisa is impractical. Saving Lisa isn’t very pragmatic. Not only do the boys increase the risk of them getting caught, but if their primary goal is to prevent the loss of unnecessary lives, saving Lisa is an additional objective that makes this goal harder to achieve. So there’s nothing in it for the boys to save Lisa… except perhaps their humanity. After all, she doesn’t deserve to die.
A few more things to consider… If Five had really wanted to win, she wouldn’t have given Sphinx so much time to stop the plane. In fact, the plane is practically crawling at a snail’s pace, so it’s hard to say what Five really wants. Maybe she’s just not done settling the score with Nine, so winning the entire war here will do her no good. While she wouldn’t necessarily be nonplussed if the bomb does manage to go off, she’s also content to merely win the battle and nothing more. At the end of the episode, I feel as though she’s more pissed that Shibazaki had interfered than anything else. Speaking of Shibazaki, he now knows two things: Five will make him regret his actions, but more importantly, Sphinx was telling him the truth about the bomb. I’m sure our detective will team up with Sphinx many more times before this story is over and done with. But will others believe him if he tries to tell them that the Sphinx boys aren’t exactly the enemies? Considering how he’s already been known to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong — and as a result, he may not have very much credibility with anyone but his own immediate team — this may end up being Shibazaki’s Sisyphean task. Finally, after such a harrowing experience, what will Lisa do now? Will the thrill of danger entice the girl to do and see more? Or will she wish she had gone home when she still had the chance?
To wrap this up, we got yet another pretty exciting episode, but I gotta make one thing clear: I never thought for once that Lisa or anyone else would lose their life. I think this is the one thing holding the anime back. The anime does a pretty good job at building tension, but because there are never actually any consequences, there’s a ceiling to how high that tension can climb. Because the anime has been unwilling to cross a certain line, it has imposed upon itself an arbitrary limit. Some shows are all to willing to shed blood in an attempt to engage our heartfelt sympathies. In doing so, they end up desensitizing us to the violence and bloodshed. Still, this does not mean we should avoid violence and bloodshed completely. When it is appropriate — and I honestly can’t think of a more appropriate anime than an anime about terrorism — then we should see some violence and bloodshed if only to ground the show in a realistic world with consequences. Unfortunately, Terror in Resonance seemingly refuses to tug at our heartstrings, even if just a little. Obviously, the show has my attention like no other show this season, but at the same time, it’s lacking that tiny edge: in a show about terrorism, the consequences are noticeably absent.
— Hmm, the episode started with a recap of last week’s episode. Then after the credits, we still end up rewatching a tiny bit of how last week’s episode ended. I think that’s overdoing it a bit, no? Naw, I get it; they just want to make me hear Five’s beautiful English accent again. She’s truly a Botticelli in aural form, and luckily, I get to hear her dulcet voice over and over and over again in this week’s episode!
— The monitors are flashing stuff like “D4,” and yet, the public doesn’t seem to be all too bothered by any of it. We hear a girl whine that she can’t see the airport map as a result of Five’s shenanigans, but that’s about the extent of her reaction. The public is bizarrely detached from the situation. It’s almost as if they’re just props.
— I’m somewhat surprised no one has noticed that Shibazaki and his team are just milling about in the first half of the airport, but I suppose that as omniscient as Five may appear, she’s a little too wrapped up with her game to care about anything else.
— Twelve’s doing a good job of hiding in the camera’s blind spots. Five’s team members are right: how does he know the layout of the airport so well? Perhaps Nine and Twelve have thoroughly researched the airport before as a possible location to attack.
— I’m also surprised how quickly Shibazaki and his team came to the conclusion that the two boys are the ones trying to defuse the bomb. In any case, I guess our investigators are smarter than I give them credit for. Still, we continue to see a recurring theme: the police may be a bit bumbling from time to time, but they’re still the good guys. It’s the government that we can’t trust. And since Five is supposedly affiliated with the FBI (can we really trust this bit of information?), we can’t exactly trust foreign organizations to have our best interests at heart either. Lives weren’t really at risk until Five got involved. Lives weren’t really at risk until America had to butt in on a situation that is located entirely within Japan’s borders. And even now, the lives of Japanese citizens are being leveraged in a cat-and-mouse game between Five and nine. Are these signs of a potentially broader commentary regarding international politics down the line?
— Five wastes no time with Twelve, giving direct orders for his capture. This doesn’t change my impression that she just doesn’t really care all too much about the guy. Obviously, she cares enough about him to the extent that he’s a potential threat to her plans. But at the end of the day, she’s primarily concerned with Nine.
— Ah, if only Lisa had been a little less nervous in her actions, then Five wouldn’t have noticed her. Still, while I can suspend my disbelief and buy into Five’s super-intelligence, the fact that she could instantly spot Lisa on a camera feed in the corner of her eyes is pretty damn convenient. Yeah, I realize Lisa gave herself away by acting all nervous and everything, but c’mon, Five instantly spots her.
— There’s a pill that is hard to swallow: why is Clarence going along with this? What sort of FBI agent hears the orders “Capture the schoolgirl and trap her on the plane with the bomb” then goes along with it? Hell, this makes me wonder if he truly is an FBI agent. I mean, Five is likely psycho, so you can handwave her lack of conscience away. But what’s Clarence’s problem? Sure, the two of them already shown their willingness to risk people’s lives, which is evident by the way the fifth episode played itself out. It’s another thing, however, to cruelly lock an innocent child away on a plane, and let her watch the timer on the bomb slowly tick down. I just wish I understood Clarence’s thought process a little better.
— Hell, we know what Five intends to do; she wants to play a game with Nine. But what about the rest of her team? Why are they willing to indulge the girl and follow her orders? Or has she been so good in the past that they’re willing to overlook the eccentric way she seems to be going about this?
— This is the first time I can say I’ve noticed Twelve get so angry.
— By the way, this is the second time Twelve has commanded Lisa to jump into his arms in order to avoid an explosion. And in way, he and Nine are ultimately responsible for putting the girl in this same precarious position again.