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Let’s Watch No. 6 – Episode 4

Last time we ended in Inukashi’s hotel where Nezumi told Shion that if Shion learned the truth and continued to try to save No. 6, that Shion would become his enemy. There was also some kind of message from Shion’s mother, but the message seemed to be some kind of code. Let’s find out what happens.

Episode 4 – Demons and Saints

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The episode starts with a scene to help fill in the blanks a bit as to where the message from Shion’s mother came from and why Inukashi was examining the note for Nezumi. It also seems that Shion’s mother is under some kind of surveillance by officials, who anticipate Shion’s attempts to contact her.

Shion’s mother reads Nezumi’s message: “Shion is safe. He’s escaped to West Block. Nezumi.” She next quickly writes a message to send back: “Living-Kitchen, around 13,000, Latch Building, Three Down, Zero Confidence. Tuesday”

It was a bit confusing at first from the last episode, because it seemed like Inukashi was the one who had made contact with Shion’s mother. We see now that it was indeed Nezumi, using his robotic rat, who made contact and Inukashi was merely hired to examine the meaning behind the note Shion’s mother sent. I can see why Nezumi would need some help deciphering this message and its meaning.

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Inukashi: ” ‘Latch Building’ is the name of a newspaper. I managed to figure out where one of their former employees is located…and he has quite the interesting connection to No. 6.”

Inukashi was indeed able to help figure out the meaning of this message, so with Inukashi’s knowledge in hand, Shion and Nezumi set out to the streets. The market of the slums are quite a contrast to the streets of No. 6. Here in this outside world thieves run rampant and a few dead bodies lying around are of little concern. If a thief is shot at with a gun it’s just an everyday occurrence. In this world, so unlike what Shion has grown used to,  Shion finds himself displaced and in trouble as he tries to cope with the reality of what the world is like and the people who live there. This naivete of Shion’s has a way of making Nezumi lose control of himself, likely because Shion’s vulnerabilities make him nervous.

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Nezumi: “You really piss me off. Listen up. I’ll tell you one thing: no one will save you here. Stop asking questions about every damn thing and protect yourself at the very least.”

Such a speech would have more impact if he hadn’t just saved Shion a moment before. That’s right, just moments before saying this Nezumi helped Shion out. Obviously Nezumi cares about Shion, which is why Shion unnerves him the way he does. The worry and fear Nezumi has concerning Shion are probably not even understood by Nezumi himself. Caring for others is something foreign to this dog eat dog world and so Nezumi finds himself in a situation he isn’t emotionally prepared for.

After a few scrapes on the streets, Shion and Nezumi find there way to the Latch Building Press former employee, Rikiga. Upon meeting with Rikiga we learn that Nezumi is some kind of performer under the alias ‘Eve’, but what Nezumi does remains vague and unexplained, though he is possibly a stage actor.

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Nezumi asks if Rikiga knows Shion’s mother, Karan and after Rikiga takes a  look at Shion, he becomes convinced that Shion really is her son and invites them up into a hidden room to continue their discussion. Here Rikiga explains he was once suspicious something going on in No. 6 when he was younger and part of Latch Building Press. This was when he was acquainted with Shion’s mother, who was interested in the article that Rikiga was working on at the time. Now though, Rikiga is involved with some shady business where he is ‘recommending’ women to No. 6 officials. Nezumi sums up Rikiga’s situation pretty well: “Ah, so you’ve forgotten about what you’d intended to do in the first place and spiraled into ruin.”

They don’t learn much more and Shion, fed up by Rikiga casually talking about his dirty business, even attacks Rikiga, but is dragged away from him by Nezumi before he causes any serious harm. It’s hard to say where Rikiga stands concerning  No. 6, but it seems that there may be people associated to him and Shion’s mother who know more to these mysteries. Just before they leave Nezumi recognizes a man in one of Rikiga’s photos although it isn’t explained who the man is or how he relates to Nezumi. The discovery only adds to the mystery of what Nezumi already knows about No. 6 that hasn’t been told to us yet.

While back in Nezumi’s home, Shion pushes for more information, wanting to know more about Nezumi, but Nezumi pushes him away with warnings that a person shouldn’t get too close to someone else. But this is a narrow minded view that I can’t agree on. In fact it sounds like Nezumi is trying to convince himself of these precepts that he’s lived by up until now. Despite what he has said in this episode, he has done the exact opposite time and time again.

First, he told Shion to forget about his mother, but he is the one who initializes contact with her.  Next, he told Shion that no one would protect him, but what does he immediately do afterward? Now Nezumi preaches about how getting tied up with others will only end badly, but this is what Nezumi has already set out on. Why save Shion in the first place? The excuse he uses is that he was merely paying him back for what happened in the past, but anyone can see through his facade.

Later, Shion is set to work by Inukashi, probably in payment for the information that was provided about Rikiga. For whatever reason Nezumi decides to insult Inukashi’s mother and this leads to Inukashi trying to ambush Nezumi in the night while he’s alone.

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“You’re already no longer who you used to be.”

Even Inukashi has picked up on the changes going on with Nezumi, who has begun to let his guard down and who is allowing his emotions to show through when he’s around Shion. Nezumi manages to pin Inukashi down at knife point, but before the situation escalates any further, Shion shows up which allows Inukashi to break free and retreat with his dogs.

One thing I wonder is how in the world could Shion not have seen all of those dogs or Inukashi as he made his way over to Nezumi.

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As they make their way back to Nezumi’s home Shion makes a proclamation that he will try to make a living outside of No. 6 now, but also states that he cannot forget about his mother who lives there. He can’t forget her or leave her behind, but what will he do about it?

The episode ends with Shion’s mother receiving a message from Shion:

“Mom. I’m sorry. I’m alive and well.”

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Let’s Watch No. 6 – Episode 3

So far we’ve seen a little of what it’s like to be a citizen of No. 6. What’s disturbing is how much control the government seems to have over its citizens. It’s already been shown how dissent can lead to a person being immediately arrested without a trial. Now Shion, possibly framed to hide the truth behind the mysterious wasp incidents, has escaped No. 6 with the help of Nezumi. What will happen next?

Episode 3

After discovering the squalid life of those outside the city boundaries, Shion takes up abode with Nezumi. He hasn’t been told much yet and I assume that Nezumi knows quite a bit more about the goings on of No. 6 and its government. While Shion takes a bath we glimpse a disturbing sign that he may be afflicted by the same mysterious parasite that killed his co-worker.

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Afterwards, Shion approaches Nezumi wanting to get into contact with his mother. He’s told to just leave it alone and forget about her, because such ties only put him in danger. Nezumi also reveals that not only has he been using his rat robot to keep an eye Shion, but also to try to find out the secrets of No. 6–a weak point for him to exploit. Shion then asks whether Nezumi has heard anything about the wasps, but the two are interrupted when Nezumi notices something strange and asks if Shion is alright:

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Black marks have appeared on Shion’s hands and Shion realizes what this means.

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Shion freaks out and begs Nezumi to immediately cut the thing out of his neck. Pain and suffering wrack his mind and body as the parasite seems to be in the final stages before hatching. Shion next says, “just kill me.” Nezumi however reminds Shion of his mother and Safu and what his death would mean to them as Shion struggles against the tortuous pain. Shion fights through while Nezumi operates with a scalpel, making an incision along the black festering mark and is able to remove the pupa of the wasp.

I presume that when Shion and his co-worker came into contact with the victim they found, that they too contracted the same parasite. Somehow Shion’s body has been able to fight off the parasite longer than his co-worker was able to. The after effects to Shion’s body are a sign of this.

After Shion is laid to sleep after the ordeal, the scene cuts away to Safu, who is on her way to No. 5. Safu reflects about a conversation she had with her grandmother before leaving concerning Shion. She had been feeling depressed, but her grandmother comforts her reassuring her that two years isn’t such a long time to wait to see him again.

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There’s something strangely disconcerting about the Twilight House. Apparently this facility acts like a retirement home or nursing home, but I can’t trust it.

Shion later wakes up and quickly discovers the changes in his appearance in a mirror and is frightened by what he sees. His hair has turned stark white and a strange pinkish mark runs along his body from head to toe. In denial, Shion collapses to the floor and holds himself. Nezumi harshly comforts Shion, trying to make Shion see that his life is important. Shion is able to calm down and they later discuss the pupa which was removed from Shion’s neck. This conversation leads to Nezumi’s disclosure of his views on No. 6:

Nezumi: “Let me tell you something about that city: It won’t accept anyone who doesn’t comply with complete obedience. That’s what happened with you, right? It won’t allow any foreign substance: those who disobey, or say something contrary to its philosophy. The city was established with that intention.”

Nezumi also concludes that Shion must have felt the deception somewhere in his heart, for Shion to help Nezumi, an escaped prisone, and to openly suspect the government of manipulating data. Nezumi thinks that these wasps are also a control by those in power to get rid of any “foreign substance” in their city.

No. 6 is merely a fabrication, a lie held over the people living there. When we see what life is like beyond its wall it becomes much clearer.

Nezumi: “An entire people that never doubt the information given them. An ignorant, arrogant, blessed people.”

Shion wants to seek the truth about the world and to understand the reasons behind everything.

I can’t understand Nezumi’s complete condemnation of No. 6, because its obviously only those in control of the city who are at fault. Yet Nezum is excited to see what happens when all of these parasitic wasps hatch. I know his hatred for No. 6 runs deep, but that hatred is misguided a bit. Why include the innocents? Why isn’t there more of a distinction for him? I would want to only overthrow the government, to free the people from its binds.

Nezumi takes Shion to a hotel run by an acquaintance, Inukashi (Dogloan) who has a message from Shion’s mother. Despite what Nezumi had said earlier about Shion needing to forget about his mother, he obviously was the one to get into contact with her. Shion thanks him, but Nezumi makes a declaration:

“If upon finding out the truth… you still intend to protect No. 6… When that time comes… You will also become my enemy.”

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Does Nezumi know the truth? He seems to know something more to No. 6, but he hasn’t revealed this information. We’ll just have to see what happens next.

Let’s Watch No. 6 (Episode 2)

Episode 2

Around four years have passed and I find that Shion has been relegated to a menial job managing parks for the city. He no longer lives in Chronos, where the more elite of society live, but now lives in Lost Town, a more middle class part of the city. We find out that this is all because of his involvement in aiding Nezumi in his escape.

While Shion is working, the park robots that he and his partner are monitoring discover something, a person. When Shion and his partner arrive on the scene they get a closer look:

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A strange festering black mark on the neck is the only clue to mysterious death of this individual. The scene cuts away to the opening and we assume that the case is handled as expected.

Later Shion meets with his friend Safu and afterwards it becomes clear that Shion is still not able to fully understand his own feelings toward the path given to him in life and his place in the world. He no longer aspires to the prestige of those chosen for the Special Course, but at the same time he wonders what he is trying to accomplish in life now. Safu sees that he no longer has any attachment to his former aspirations. Safu has continued on with the Special Course and has passed a selection test to study abroad in No. 5. She then asks if Shion is jealous.

Safu: “You’re jealous, aren’t you?”

Shion: “Sure am!”

Safu: “Liar. My specialty is brain function, behavior modification, and hormonal relations. If you were jealous of me, spending time with me like this should cause you anxiety. If you were feeling anxious, you would be excreting a type of corticosteroid from your adrenal glands… ”

Shion: “I get it, Safu […]”

Safu: “You weren’t feeling the least bit of anxiety; you aren’t jealous of me at all. If you were, you wouldn’t be able to smile like that. […] It must be because we are looking forward to different futures. Shion! Just what are you thinking? What is it that you wish to accomplish?”

Shion: “My wish…I wonder…”

Just as the night’s winding down, Safu comes right out and says it:

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Not quite as blunt as the picture, it’s still out of the blue and Safu, with her overly scientific disposition (which reminds me of Leonard’s mother in The Big Bang Theory), makes it even more awkward of a request than it already is. It makes me wonder if everyone has this disassociation toward love or if this is only specific to her.

Shion turns her down, but asks that after her two years of study abroad that she asks him again. Safu brightens up and is about to head off home when Shion and Safu are interrupted by a rat.

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The rat crawls up Shion and speaks! Shion immediately realizes that it is Nezumi controlling this robotic rat and runs after it as it scurries away. The rat however gets away and Shion returns home.

The next day, upon arriving at work, Shion talks to his work partner about the mysterious death the other day. Apparently the death has been reported as nothing but an accident, which Shion severely doubts. He asks his partner if the authorities are manipulating the news and his partner quickly scolds Shion for voicing such thoughts, reminding him that they are ‘loyal citizens.’ It seems that openly criticizing the government is a punishable offense and adds to my view of how this government operates.

Suddenly his partner becomes old and withered before Shion’s eyes. Once again a black mark has appeared on the victim’s neck, but this time something else happens.

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A wasp comes out from the blackened skin. Somehow this wasp must act like a parasite, feeding off of the host. When the wasp is ready to hatch it seems that is when the host dies. The Security Bureau members arrive on the scene and after reviewing Shion’s past, apprehend Shion, who was found unconscious at the site. Shion isn’t explained why he is being apprehended. While be transported, Shion realizes they aren’t going to the Security Bureau and asks what’s going on. A recording of what he said earlier to his partner concerning his suspicions of the authorities manipulating the news of the mysterious death is played back to him. Instead of the Security Bureau, they are taking him to the Correctional Facility under suspicion of discontent. I see that people under subconscious can basically be put under arrest without trial. Unable to do anything to struggle, Shion settles down resignedly.

The car they are riding in comes to a stop on a bridge, where a park robot block the path. When one of the guards goes to check it out, Nezumi launches his ambush and effectively subdues the entire team and steals the car. Shion and Nezumi don’t get far though, since the security members have a mean of remotely controlling the car. They abandon the car and escape by having the rat robot take Shion’s ID bracelet (being used to track him) and lead the chase away from them.

In the end, they must escape through what looks like a water filtration plant, whichtakes them outside of No. 6 where reality awaits.

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No. 6 reminds me of Jagura’s city in Wolf’s Rain, a first world city that is ignorant of the problems around it and life others face outside of its walls.

Let’s Watch – No. 6 (Episode 1)

Hello. This time I’m going to be doing something different for me, which is, I’m going to be posting my summary, thoughts, and experiences while watching an anime.

Characters

Shion – One of the main characters of No. 6, the anime starts with him celebrating his twelfth birthday. As a child with a very high IQ, through various exams and assessment tests, he has been chosen for a Special Course for the elite.

Nezumi – An escaped prisoner of the Correctional Facility, Nezumi finds his way to the Chronos district, where Shion lives.

Safu – She has been Shion’s friend for apparently a long time and his in the same class as him.

Impressions

I’m behind on what I’ve wanted to watch over the years, so I decided to give No. 6 a try. That’s not to say that I’m not watching other anime, but this will be what I’ll focus on right now. As far as how the future is depicted in No. 6–it gave me similar vibes to Psycho Pass, where people are accessed and placed into society accordingly. Unlike the society seen in Psycho Pass however, the government is much more authoritative almost on a disturbing level. Moving ahead a bit, upon arriving at work, Shion must recite an oath, “I swear my loyalty to an unchanging city.” To be a part of a citizenship that requires this kind of servitude is scary to say the least. An unchanging city? Should not a society change according to the technological advances and cultural shifts that define how people live? Change is an inevitability that must be accepted. People cannot bind themselves forever with such oaths as this and stay stagnant or unmoved, rather people must move forward with new ideas and learn to let go of foolish traditions.

Before I go on rant … here we go.

Episode 1

Things start off with Nezumi running through the sewers, being pursued and shot at. The scene cuts away to Shion, who is daydreaming in class, while Safu, his friend, his giving an advanced presentation on the brain and its functions. Shion, like the others in the class, are gifted children who have been selected and placed here to learn by their advanced assessment. The daydream occupying Shion has him imagining himself floating amid the vast space of sky as the wind of a coming storm sweeps him away.

After school, Shion and Safu head over to Safu’s grandmother’s house to celebrate Shion’s birthday. On the way, we get a glimpse of what the city is like, which is has a few technological nuances to what modern cities have now. We also learn that a typhoon will be heading through the city.

After the birthday celebration, it’s strange to see how Shion reacts when Safu kisses him on the cheek before he leaves, because he doesn’t seem to understand where such affection comes from at all. Even Safu’s explanation for why she kissed him is given scientifically, which makes it almost seem like imitation rather than expression. It makes me think that they really aren’t normal at all. As the wind and rain continue to pick up, the structure people are calling the Moondrop begins to ‘cry,’ which has something to do with the storm.

At home now, as if to confront the facade of what this society is, Shion shouts out at the storm unable to truly understand why he does it. He is being led down a predetermined path, controlled by a society who punishes anyone who does not conform to its views.

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This darker side to the apparently peaceful and prosperous city is represented by the appearance of Nezumi, an escaping prisoner of the so called Correctional Facility. From the first moments in episode one  I can clearly think that something is wrong with this society, as I watched Nezumi, who looks to be the same age as Shion, being hunted down by people with guns. A little excessive right? Although there are times when it is hard to tell how to treat youth when making judgments on morality, I can say that such a heavy punishment as death does not belong in any society I would wish to live in. Clearly there is something wrong here.

So, Nezumi breaks in Shion’s room and the two meet for the first time.

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Rather than becoming uneasy or afraid, Shion wants to help him and seeing the injury on Nezumi’s arm asks to help treat the wound. Even Shion is unable to come up with the reason why he decided to help Nezumi, but I think like his yelling, Shion is finding an outlet to disobey the system set out before him. The unnatural way in which his life has been bound acts contrary to his deep down subconscious and  Shion wants to rebel in some way without being fully aware of it. The situation calms down after Shion convinces his mother over a communication channel to be left alone for the night.

When Nezumi asks Shion if he knows how No. 6 came to be, Shion answers, “The Babylon Treaty. In the previous war, a race that lost the greater half of its inhabitable land outlawed all armaments, and created a city state to govern the remaining six areas. And No. 6 is one of those areas.” This explanation by Shion is given laugh by Nezumi, but nothing to show why. In the end I assume that this information was likely fed to Shion hiding the true origin story of these six areas denoted by number.

In the end Nezumi briefly stays there and leaves before Shion wakes up and the episode ends with someone from the Saftey Bureau showing up to the house .

Some additional thoughts

It’s interesting to see how No. 6 divides out its class and how people live in these classes by comparison. Shion, with his high IQ and high assessment, is allowed to live in Chronos, what seems to be the nicest and extravagant living quarters of the city. But as we’ll later see, this can all be taken away by a government that is in complete control of its citizens.

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A picture of Chronos