No.6 09 – A Man Defined By His Uniform

Back to our regularly scheduled homo!

Source: Pixiv.net

Looks like No.6 was quick to redeem itself from last week’s downer. It was infused with a tense atmosphere all throughout, even with the quieter moments you could feel the impending chaos creeping across the episode timeline. The music in this show has always been terrific but the piece that accompanied the violent assault was sublime. As usual, this was another strong offering from No.6.

The Smell of Beasts

In the first quarter of the episode, the Dogkeeper is sexually harassed by a No.6 official as part of the plan to lure the said official. This is so they could get a map of the correctional facility. This scene will undoubtedly be one of my all-time favorite scenes in No.6.

Scenes like these are often played for laughs not just in anime. No.6 proceeds with a cruel approach, reminding us that things like these happen and it isn’t very funny at all. The Dogkeeper is disgusted not only by the No.6 official but with the lack of intervention as well. The three other men in the room allowed this to happen, people whom the Dogkeeper trusted (especially Nezumi). Inaction might as well be the equivalent of betrayal.

Shion apologizes for Nezumi and Rikiga, a scene that once again portrays him as the gentle male, a benign presence among the men. He is even seen trying to intervene but stopped by Nezumi.

The Massacre

People have already pointed out the allusions to The Holocaust in No.6. Although the series’ subtitles refers to it as the correctional facility, the map seen in episode 1 refers to it as the ‘concentration camp’.

The horrendous events that occur in the slums were done very well. The direction in this scene allowed the horror to seep through without relying on sensationalist gore that could easily have turned this whole segment into pure schlock unlike certain series airing this season. Nezumi’s hatred of No.6 becomes understandable, almost reasonable.

People are herded over to the trucks like cattle and are driven towards to the correctional facility where they will either be experimented on or killed. Nezumi sings a song to comfort the people, but he believes that it’s only temporary relief for these people, a song can’t save anyone. Now consider what Nezumi does for a living, he’s an actor with a natural affinity for literature and music. However, what he does cannot protect the people from the evil of No.6. He can only provide a temporary solace. This slightly reminds me of Roman Polanski’s The Pianist based of the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman during WWII in the Warsaw Ghetto. While Nezumi might believe that his songs bear no fruit, the people around him, like those around Szpilman believe that it’s beauty that can never be diminished by war. Not even No.6 can crush man’s appreciation for the arts.

The Faceless Evil: A Man Defined By His Uniform

E Minor brings up a valid point how femininity coincides with victimization. As I’ve already tackled in my previous post about No.6, most– if not, all of the atrocities committed onscreen in No.6 are done by males. The only female I can remember who did something somewhat offensive was that lady who complained about taking care of old women. She shortly shrivels and dies. No.6 is painting a rather troubling picture if these observations aptly correspond with the creator’s intentions. This is a picture I don’t necessarily agree with.

Another subject I’d like to tackle is how the soldiers of No.6 are simply defined by their uniforms. They have no face, they all don masks and wield weapons. Their uniforms strip them away of their humanity, presented to us as mere drones.

In this episode of No.6 the uniform of these soldiers become symbolic of No.6’s government as a whole.

The men who murdered Nezumi’s families all looked the same, they were void of distinguishing features. They were symbolic of No.6 as a whole, they represented an ideology. Because of this, it’s not hard to believe that we are seeing the events solely through a victim’s eyes. We’re not getting the whole story, which was possibly No.6’s idea in the first place.

A similar sequence involving the attack of a village and abducting children was in Now and Then, Here and There. Unlike No.6, the main character is put in the shoes, or rather in the uniform of the offender.

In NTHT, those who carry out their leader’s orders believe that all things lead towards a greater purpose.

In No.6 we get nothing of the sort, they bark out orders and shoot people. Is this supposed to be ironic? While No.6 doesn’t see the people in the slums as human, we (the audience) clearly don’t see the soldiers of No.6 human either.  It’s hard to follow what No.6 is trying to achieve with this, especially since anime is a medium known for exploring gray areas.

Who is Shion?

There are times when I wonder who this bastard is. There’s something not right with Shion, and this episode shows him clearly losing his mind and then entering a calm state for some reason.

At first he was like:

And then he was like saving babies and shit:

And I was like: YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

He also has moments where he lashes out at an old lady and hitting Rikiga on the head with a cup. Seriously though, the fact that we don’t know why Karan raised him on her own is also questionable. Or maybe this is just a case of Shion being the *~chosen one~*.

All in all, a great episode. I find it hard to fault No.6 for rushing through things. You guys can take that as a sign of bias towards this show.

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9 Comments

  1. I’m still confused by Shion’s reaction to Dogkeeper. He was all “Dogkeeper, you’re…” with this surprised look on his face. Dogkeeper is what? How could you notice anything just by having Dogkeeper’s head on your chest?

    Speaking of crimes perpetrated by only males, has there been any mention whatsoever of Shion’s father?

    • You know, one of the comments in Random Curiosity said that maybe Shion realized that wasn’t the first time the Dogkeeper was sexually harassed, which is interesting but I don’t know how Shion can be so ninja…

      I don’t think I remember anything mentioned about Shion’s dad at all! Hrrmmm….

  2. That’s part of what bothers me about Shion – he goes from screaming about nothing to saving babies without time to catch his breath.

    I’d chalk up the lack of faces of the soldiers to laziness— No. 6 is the big bad boogeyman, but the creators fail to go the final step and put faces on the people doing the massacre. This is part of the reason why comparisons of this show to the Holocaust bother me. The creators of No. 6 attribute all the murders to a “system” and a “government”, but fail to acknowledge how these atrocities would not have taken place without the complicity of much of the population. Many people think about the Holocaust the same way: it was all the fault of Hitler and fascism. This is pretty much the exact opposite of the lesson they should be taking away from the whole ordeal. It was the complicit consent of millions of people just like them that enabled the Holocaust. The only character who really shows this for me is Karan with her general spinelessness and indifference, but it seems like the show is making her out to be the wise woman and the revolutionary to be the villain.

    The scene with Dogkeeper’s rape was quite nice though, that has to be one of my favorite parts of the show as well.

    • I think this is unfair. The German people knew about the Jewish (and minority) persecution and did nothing. There’s nothing to suggest that the inhabitants of No.6 have any clue what’s going on outside their walls. As for Karan, put yourself in her shoes — would you instantly believe the things coming out of the mouth of a guy like Yoming? After all, he even tried to make a move on her. He’s not exactly the epitome of sainthood.

      • The people of No. 6 may be unaware of the people outside their own walls, sure, but it contains a ton of people from inside No. 6 too: dissenters and anyone who comes in contact with the bee disease, at the very least. I would think the mass disappearances would be hard to miss, as the bee disease seems pretty common.

        I can sympathize with Karan for being afraid of Yoming, but she does know much more than most of the people of No. 6. She knows how they kicked her out of town for Shion sheltering Nezumi, how they tried to kill Shion, and at the very least the existence of life outside the walls. I feel sorry for her, sure, but at the same time it’s the inaction of all the people like her and her neighbors that allows the government to continue to murder people. Even if she didn’t want to join up with Yoming, she could at least talk to her neighbors about Shion’s disappearance, search for Shion, or try to dig up more information. But she chooses to continue her life pretending as if nothing has happened. The fact that she was one of the creators of No. 6 suggests that she isn’t entirely powerless…

        Regardless of the people inside No. 6, though, the soldiers certainly bear responsibility for their own actions. And here No. 6 makes them faceless, dehumanizing them and chalking up their crimes to an abstract system rather than to the people whose acquiescence to the system is the true enabler of its crimes.

        • “I would think the mass disappearances would be hard to miss”

          As Huxley predicted, material comforts will numb the population to injustice. Look at Americans. Compared to other countries, we rarely ever protest. We’re too distracted by our comforts. It’s not that these guys are evil, but it’s hard to step back and take a fair assessment of one’s reality when one lives in such apparent paradise. In any case, it’s easy for us looking in to judge the inhabitants of No.6. Supposing that we were in their shoes, I’m not sure the situation would have been too different.

          • Exactly. We would do the exact same thing in their shoes: nothing at all. I see this inaction as part of the problem. The show seems to be presenting inaction (through Karan) as virtuous and action (through Yoming) as villainous, through association with unwanted sexual advances. Is this the right message to take away?

            (btw, sorry Mira for going off on a tangent, and thanks E Minor for a good discussion!)

    • I have to agree with E Minor on this. The only thing that many of the inhabitants of No.6 should be guilty of is well, being ignorant. And I understand Karan on her inability to take action, Yoming isn’t exactly the sanest of them all. He looks like he’s acting out of a personal grudge.

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