Back to our regularly scheduled homo!
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.
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:
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.