(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)
This is the show people voted they most want to see full notes for. It’s also the one I’m the most interested in this season. Short (and hopefully “tight”), thriller, political. I’m not sure whether it’ll be smart, “thriller-smart”, or just good fun, but I actually have high hopes :)
Screenshot album – 57 images, not all will be embedded into the post.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Still Kids:
2) They’re having fun. They’re having fun mocking the guards, and the police, who appear afterwards in the exact same police car.
3) The action sequence was very well done, reminded me of the sort of semi-cutscene FPS games sometimes have.
4) Also, since I’ve watched the preview, and I know these are high school students – in anime, high school students can do anything. They’re the smartest, strongest, and freest of us all.
1) A girl, surrounded by other girls, about to leap into the pool, in her uniform. Bullying, an anime mainstay.
2) “Nine” and “Twelve”. “Don’t do anything to stand out”? How about you start by not using code-names to refer to one another in public?
3) The design here is cute and sharp. Yes, “Twelve” sure does stand out, but he does so in a manner that makes everyone think he’s a dorky high school student. In other words, he draws attention in a manner that makes people forget him as anything but a high school student, banishing any thoughts they might have of him being anything different.
4) When you try to put on a mask, leave some very noticeable trait, so that’d be all that people see, and then remove it.
5) “Yes, I’m hot, so I want to jump into the pool, with my clothes on.” – “Oh, I’m hot too!” and then he goes and jumps :3
7) Hisami, not standing out at all. Damn, this is their first day at school? Oh my…
3) Slaves to the Media:
1) One of these two people (detectives, reporters?) is wasting his time on YouTube (we all know what that’s like), and the other is training his mind in Shogi. Thinking in terms of generals and pawns. Are they the mirror to Nine and Twelve, Arata and Hisami?
2) “Sphinx”, eh? A face that shows no emotions. Riddles. But life and death hang in the balance. And if you answer, then it dies. And no longer “Nine” and “Twelve”, as sphinxes, they’ve graduated to “One” and “Two”. Wonder just who these two boys might be ;-)
Also, it was a nice touch. They think it’s a silly YouTube video, so the silly detective(?) who wastes his time on YouTube came upon it by chance, but in a manner that feels natural.
Ok, so no longer a detective, we’ll see about that. A detective is more than just a job, it’s also a mode of thought and action.
3) “Nine” has a lot to learn about not standing out as a “normal high school student”, not having a cell phone is a sure-fire way to stand out :P
And then he beeps, that liar!
4) We’ve All Got a Past:
1) “Don’t stick your nose into it.” Nine, you don’t understand Twelve. He’s not just putting in effort or a freakish talent to memorize all the names. It’s because he truly cares. He’s a gregarious person. I doubt he’ll be able to leave Lisa alone. Of course, we know how series are built, and that she’s a main character, so it’s quite an easy prediction.
2) That music, that dream. They are called “Nine” and “Twelve”. Are they escapees from some facility? Have they been experimented on? Are they special kids with extraordinary capacities, who ran away, and now are having their vengeance on society? Seems like it.
And in the dream, Nine seemed distraught, over leaving a friend behind in a burning hell. Not cold, at all.
3) “They were weak; that’s why they died. We were weak; that’s why we couldn’t save them.” What dire pronouncement. You’re not weak now, and Lisa is akin to those you could not protect. Weak, but worthy of saving. So Nine, will you save Lisa?
5) Smiles Amidst the Fields of Carnage:
1) The bullies having fun. I suspect this is the building which is going to go bye-bye. Their karmic comeuppance.
2) Lisa wants to be saved, but having been burnt too often, she can’t open to anyone, she can’t choose to be vulnerable of her own volition. Running away to the toilet, where it’s only her, her and her refuse. Shutting the world outside, and yet it comes rushing out from within her.
Ah, mom! Why wouldn’t you let me run away from the world? Why do you remind me my ties to other people, such as the bullies?
3) Organized disorder, that’s our modern society (and also very similar to some of my thoughts on The Matrix, the first film). Now throw away the governing force, or inject a bit more disorder… Also, remember the video – a great light will appear, right? Well, we need proper darkness to let it shine first. Also, Lisa, reminded once more that the outside world can always intrude.
4) No wonder Twelve likes the Kururin plushies.
5) It’s lonely hiding by yourself? Twelve knows. But damn, if Twelve’s eyes aren’t scary right now.
6) Holy shit this image is like an optical illusion, I keep seeing dark spots in the intersection of the lines in the background. So, Twelve saved Lisa, which gives him ownership of her life. At his call, she will live or die. By letting her live, they’ll be saving her from the inferno. This is a return to the “dream”, or memory Saving the one with the same eyes from the inferno, which they couldn’t before. They now have the power of life and death. They’re strong now, not weak. No longer helpless kids running away.
Of course, there are also the metaphorical flames, the bullying, and the loneliness, which they can save her from.
About the parallels to their past and dream – I had the thought, then the show mentioned it as well.Always nice to know you’re on the right track, even if it means the symbolism isn’t “subtle”, but who said it should be? They’re trying to tell a story here, and they want you to understand the story they’re telling..
6) Welcome to the Future, With Us:
1) Dat bike driving. Cool. And then combined with actual cinematography, of the camera following Lisa from the front as she runs down the stairs. Really good, when you consider this is all drawn by hand, including the blurriness. Racing, racing to, and racing from.
2) A jump. Just like how we first met Lisa. Asking her to jump. Asking her to change her allegiance. That was a jump of mistrust and hatred, but is this jump any better? Ah, Lisa.
And in case we miss the symbolism, the show has Lisa remember that other jump as well ;-)
3) Pretty destruction, not the explosions, but in the slowness, the slow collapse, the majestic descent, just like an avalanche. And just like an avalanche, though the sense of majesty is real, any sense of “slowness” is but an illusion that’d lull you to your death.
5) “You can’t go back now.” – You can’t go back, but you can refuse to keep progressing. Lisa knows that best of all. Hiding in the bathroom isn’t “going” anywhere, it’s refusing to go, anywhere.
But is that truly a choice, or yet another illusion of one? But there’s also an upside. “You can’t go back now,” but go back to what? To being lonely and bullied. She might be a criminal now, and she might be in hiding from the law now, but she’s not going to be alone.
OP – Music is nice. Reminds me somewhat of Enigma, specifically in their “The Screen Behind the Mirror” album. The visuals remind me somewhat of Steins;Gate, Death Note, and a tiny bit of Gatchaman Crowds. The first two are more understandable, and it’s also more the sort of show I expect this to be (“Thriller”). Gatchaman Crowds? Because the boy reminded me of Rui on the roof.
ED – The throaty singing was good. I really want to know what the lyrics say. It was an… interesting song. I can’t say I like it just yet, but I might want to listen to it a couple more times. Hm.
Post Episode Thoughts:
Ok, let’s talk production first. The designs are sharp, crisp, with good execution, good animation… it’s almost “Shoujo” level, but I like that. This is a nice show to look at. More than just in terms of execution, there’s real effort spent here on thinking of the “camera”, and even treating it like a camera. The characters record themselves, and the show records them for us. This is anime trying to show us it can do “movies” as well.
The soundtrack, hmmm. There hadn’t been much music thus far, which is a bit of a departure from how quite a few shows these days will have music almost non-stop. But I’ve liked the music whenever I did hear it. I liked all the tracks, and I liked their usage.
Ok, time to discuss plot/themes? Hm. The basic background is something we’re used to – kids, probably geniuses, kept in a facility. Then they escape, and use their powers. Combined with a premise we’re also used to – young people rebelling against the stifling society, and a game of chess develops between the criminals and the detectives that chase them, with morality being in the backdrop, and the protagonists being anti-heroes rather than true villains.
But that’s plot, and plot is the vehicle, not necessarily the goal. I like thrillers. Thrillers tend to be a lot of fun when done well. This show has all the signs of being a well-done thriller. Will it actually do anything more than that, such as deal with concepts of loneliness, of choosing your path, and perhaps something about the nature of society and helplessness? Maybe. But so long it does either side well, it’d be fine.