(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.)
Last episode had a very distinct purpose. It was there to show us that Nine and Twelve are taken seriously, and to introduce to us what every Thriller Mastermind needs – a mirror, someone on the other side who can understand them, provide an adequate challenge, and will provide said challenge. That’d be Shibazaki.
Now the only loose ends is what will the show do with dear Lisa. Well, let’s find out.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Callbacks and Call-outs:
1) Like last episode, this one as well opened with Nine or Twelve talking to Lisa. Same as each of the previous episodes ended. Both times the message is, “You can’t go back, you have nowhere else to go. It’s just you, alone.” – I think they’re priming her, or at least making her even more similar to themselves, even as their similarity is what drew them to her to begin with. No connections, except to one another, though right now they’re making her feel her separation from them as well.
2) Welcome to anime-world! Where cops are fat and whiny, or too proud of their positions to work well with others! Last episode we’ve already had bigwigs covering their asses. Well, we also have Shibazaki. Shibazaki who looks like he needs the razor from his nickname, eh?
3) “Don’t you think the riddle was too hard?” – Yes, we as watchers know only what is in the narrative matters, but please, we’ve heard the same riddle, “The next bomb will be all yours?” – They’re detectives, they should’ve thought of it, if I did.
4) “What will you do if no one solves your riddle again?” – And “Someone might have figured out what we’re after.” – Thriller-protagonist-villains! They want people to understand them. They want to engage in the cerebral give and take of a discussion. It’s a game, and no one has fun playing in a game alone, with no opposition. Besides, it seems they’re trying to send a message. We simply don’t know what it is just yet.
5) The police doesn’t underestimate the kids anymore. The discussion between Shibazaki and the chief was an interesting one. On one hand it felt like something out of Damages, that perhaps we shouldn’t take seriously – but he related us to his childhood, after remarking Nine looks like a kid. Kids want fun, and when adults hide from summer, kids can’t have fun. The Chief, like me, tried to analyze Shibazaki’s motives, but Shibazaki himself doesn’t know what motivates him.
2) Loneliness Connects Us:
1) Lisa is walking alone, and we keep seeing shoes. As we switch back and forth, it should be clear to us that they are hers. By the time she opens her shoe-locker and sees it empty, we’ve been expecting it to either be empty or have soggy shoes within. The sense of expectation is what Lisa feels. They want us to be faced with her situation, to know as she does what she is likely to find. A sense of alienation.
2) Here we have our super-detective, Shibazaki, basically walking all over the person they interrogate, and then the new person who didn’t appreciate him, who tried to speak during his presentation. Shibazaki is the mouthpiece of the author, drawing our attention to what Nine and Twelve had accomplished, and what are the true signs of their superiority, and what’s just “business as usual” – the trail of breadcrumbs left, what still needs solving.
And then, in this game, how could we continue without a new riddle? Something to keep tensions up? But there must be a sense of impending doom, of the stakes rising. What do you mean, you can’t tell? As each bomb is announced, the tensions of the population rise, regardless of casualties, it’s the sense that their lives aren’t safe. That this summer is fragile.
3) Riddles. Connections. Mythologies. So much fun! Yes, Nine and Twelve are having fun, this is a game. Riddles had always been games, and often games where lives hung in the balance. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, specifically the third and fourth book, were good examples of this.
4) Lisa’s mother clinging to her. Lisa staring at a tool meant for communication. These serve to heighten rather than assuage the sense of loneliness, of being apart from others that she is beset by. This Summer is so fragile. Her life, which she nearly lost, hangs in the balance. But is it a life worth fighting for? She answered yes in the conclusion of the first episode. Floating, without support.
3) Making New Connections:
1) Prophecy was given to the fools and children, eh? Shibazaki’s oafish friend helped him realize his answer, but he also told him things Shibazaki was not yet ready to hear – kids trying to form a connection to others. And then we switch to poor Lisa, who’s ready to cut her ties loose, at long last.
All the slow and deliberate actions that leave-taking require. This is predetermined. But in the end, you’re still running away in the night. No clean break. There are none to be had.
2) “Names are signs of love. You’ve been abandoned, so should lose all such pretenses.” – Again, with cutting one’s ties. When Nine holds his head, he is beset by resonance. He is beset by his past. We all resonate with our names. We all resonate with the relations we form with others. We all resonate with our past, of which memories are a signifier, and our names a symbol. And now Nine and Twelve resonate with Lisa.
3) A threat is only useful if the other side believes it, or is forced to take it seriously. Now Nine and Twelve can make a threat of Plutonium, without alerting the population to it, should they so choose. Yes, the reveal of the answer to the riddle was very dramatic, for effect, but this is basically an invitation to the game. Unlike the story of Oedipus, I’m not at all familiar with this piece of Japanese mythology, and as such I’m not going to say anything, including whether it is obscure information or not – I frankly have no clue whatsoever.
It was interesting to note that Shibazaki takes it personally, and that he is either infused with inner purpose, or at least wanted to give off that appearance. Nine and Twelve certainly seemed happy at the notion. A game is always more fun if everyone gives it their all. It’s impossible to know if it’s all part of a game though, whether he is playing with them as they play with him – his own form of a “threat”, perhaps?
Miscellaneous Notes on Style:
1) The shot of the “leaping secretary” mirrored that of Lisa walking through school. We come closer to the window, but we already know how it ended. A foregone conclusion, but what we don’t know is why, and how it affected people. I’m really liking these shots. Yes, they’re all style, but what does it hurt? It doesn’t come at the expense of substance. An ending we cannot escape, a corridor that is life. We escape the heat, until we have no option but to leave to it again. Summers aren’t Shibazaki’s friends, are they?
2) Nice, OP got lyrics, which are tied very well into what we see on screen. A summer, are they like cicadas, here just for a moment? A story of balancing between being of this world and being an outsider. A story of reaching to others. OPs. You can read as deeply as you want into them, but for the most part if they sound good and seem even somewhat related to the series, it’s all good.
3) ED – also with subtitles for the lyrics! Now that it opens with a mention of the ocean I know what it reminds me of, a tiny bit – of Regina Spektor, specifically of all the rowboats, but it reminds me a bit of her style in general – also, that piece is so very fitting for this show, isn’t it?. It then reminds me of another singer I know, but I can’t place it just yet. The opening song is definitely Nine and Twelve’s, one of summer, of life, and of connections. The ending is Lisa’s song, one of drowning, of being alone, of beingcrushed by life unto death. Makes one think of how we first met her, of how she had been bullied. Even this episode, her bullying was marked by the water of the pool, and twice she had taken refuge in another altar of water – the toilet.
Post Episode Thoughts:
This show is giving us nothing new, and it’s fine. We’re getting a true-blue thriller. It feels as if I’m watching a good film, or watching a high-end television production like the first season of Damages. Last episode we, the audience, met the one who will oppose Nine and Twelve, and this episode they met him as well. The game is now officiallyunderway.
Cat and mouse? More like a set of riddlers. And anyone who ever played a game of riddles knows that after one side asks their riddles, it’s the other side’s turn. That “accusation” of Shibazaki’s in the end, the anger which he might not feel? All part of the performance, these might be the riddles themselves, asking, “Are you willing to pay the price? Why are you doing this? Are you willing to play this game with me, truly?”
Lisa continues to be the mirror of the world. Nine and Twelve had connections, which they had lost. Now they still have connections, to one another. Shibazaki had a family, which he seems to have lost. He still has a connection to his commanding officer. They are now connected to one another.
Lisa, Lisa is finally cutting her connections loose, but what will we learn of everyone else through her journey to finding her place in this fragile summer world?