(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.)
So, where are we going? We’re heading towards a conflict. Nine wanted a rival, and he got one. They even gave him a face. It’s been made personal. Lisa left home, her ties are all being severed – “But for you who have been abandoned, love does not exist,” was it? But it doesn’t matter if you’re truly abandoned, or only consider yourself so. Perhaps it’s even sufficient if you’re the one who abandoned others.
Three sides. Order and chaos, and Lisa in the middle. Now it remains to be seen how this thriller will keep playing out.
Screenshot album. A few too many, also because I tried for subtitle-less for some shots, and they’re hard-subbed.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Every episode begins with Lisa. Last episode did not end with her, unlike the first and second episodes, but we still begin things with her. It’s her journey, leaving society, cutting her ties, that frames this. It is her, to whom Nine and Twelve feel kinship, as they too had to leave the “safe haven” that was their home, and run to the wilderness, from those who reared them and were supposed to protect them. Sort of like Oedipus.
Also, a great technique. Just as we see Lisa running out of the building, we see the SWAT team rush into another, where the bomb was. As one actor exits stage, another enters. Childhood memories leave, portentous sights of the future arrive.
2) Lisa, we think it’s a tear, as she looks down on her phone at her mother’s call, but it’s just rainwater. Still,she’s surrounded by other people, holding a tool used for communication, but it only emphasizes how isolated she is. News that Nine and Twelve might be caught? No one to turn to, is this release, or further damnation?
3) Cryptocurrency! Russian or Chinese sites filled with illegal content! This is standard procedural stuff. I almost wonder why we’re given it, except that it’s part of showing us the side of the police, and that it follows genre conventions. Maybe to show us the show-makers are in-tune with how things happen today?
2) Following People:
1) Moments of Lisa interspersing the police segments. First night out. Drifting outside, just as we see a cop say, “It feels as if the more we chase the evidence, the further we get from these guys.” That’s the nature of riddles. Drifting apart, until you get the right key for the lock. Just like relationships.
2) These shots of Shibazaki are great. In the sun, face half-covered in shade, holding a cigarette. It’s almost a love-letter to this type of character. A reincarnation of Spike and Mugen. A grittier hero, from a bygone era. Where did you pull him from, the archives? ;-)
3) Riddles and thrillers, all about connecting the dots. “Cold country”, another piece in the puzzle, but is it a corner-piece, or a center-piece?
4) Shibazaki looks like such a hippie, “I wanted to feel what they felt, hear what they heard.” – He’s trying to put himself in their shoes, the mythical detective who gets into the other side’s head. But as Ender Wiggins told us, you can’t truly understand someone without loving them.
Note a very subtle characterization. Aside from smoking a cigarette just being the sort of vibe they want Shibazaki to give, think back to the case that got him bumped off last episode – he’s a man who doesn’t quit.
Finally, “You cannot erase a person’s memory.” Even if a country moves past something, there are people who remember, and they then propagate it to the next generation’s memories. Relevant both to Shibazaki in Hiroshima and Nine and Twelve, and another sort of remark on Oedipus. Even if supposedly no one remembers, people are testament in and of themselves.
3) The Underbelly of The Human Mind:
1) Twelve, how could you? “Not that it’s got anything to do with us,” after you cut Lisa’s ties loose, and then pushed her over the edge? She reminds you of yourselves. ‘Sides, the mere fact you keep looking after her and tracking her means it does matter to you.
2) Shibazaki knows he’s a character in a detective narrative, and that his oafish friend’s role is to give him ideas, to get him on the right track :P
3) Shibazaki seems stricken, surprisingly so even. “Bring letters, not Bronze” is clearly a hint as well. Still, everyone’s watching. It’s like a free play. No one seems scared, but titillated and happy at the momentary pause in their daily lives. Guess it’s like watching a car crash. We all do it. I guess it’s because he feels he has the answer, this time.
4) Sphinx truly is cruel, making people scroll down all the comments on a video sharing site! The inhumanity! Yes, the internet is the Underworld, where various ghouls and wights reside ;-)
4) Reaching Across:
1) “They made a request of us. They want to play with us. It might be a response to what I’ve said the other time.” – I keep talking about how this is about connections, right? They said it last episode as well. The answer does seem obvious though. The person answering the riddle is supposedly Oedipus, because the one asking them is the Sphinx. So if any name is supposed to be used it wouldn’t be Antigone (Oedipus’s daughter), but Oedipus himself.
But it’s not so simple. Sphinx wants to make a connection, with whom? Shibazaki. He is portraying the role of Oedipus here, and the first maxim is “Know thyself”. Know thyself? You are the answer. You’re the one answering the riddle. Finally, it just ties in to how Nine looked him up. It might also be the name of the Secretary who committed “suicide”, but I think it’d be Shibazaki’s name.
2) “I won’t get too involved.” – Just as involved as necessary, which after cutting Lisa loose means having her live with them. “You should’ve sacrificed your queen,” is a bit overt here, eh?
3) Notice Shibazaki is back to his closet in the archives, rather than work with the rest of the detectives.
4) Of course Shibazaki enjoys the game just like the kids, which is why they’re playing with him, with him. That’s how thrillers are constructed. Go back to your procedural police drama, angry dude. I guess his role is to show Shibazaki isn’t swayed by some clueless shouting, and to reinforce him being right, and a “lone wolf”, which is a lie, because just like Nine and Twelve, he’s looking for a connection. Also, they don’t really need one more cop with them as they make the raid, should they capture Sphinx, he can always join them later.
5) “Want to play with us?” I missed it until going over my screenshots, but this shows you that not all games are between consenting sides, with everyone being in it for the fun. Nine and Twelve, like them or not, are still bullies, in the end. Yes, they want you to play with them, and will force you to do so.
6) Twelve and Lisa’s scene, double-pan! The foreground pans in one direction, and the background in the other. Continuing with the very distinct illusion of an actual camera being employed. I should probably gif that.
5) To Every Action, a Consequence:
1) Oafish friend for the final hint once more! Sort of like watching House M.D. ;-)
2) So, the “bomb”, the hidden bomb, was it the information bomb, plastering the police’s reports everywhere? The goal here is to show the police is powerless, that the criminals are several steps ahead, to shamethem. You know who you shame? Cheaters, like the police.
The person going over the tapes threw them away, any data he has access to, anything he thinks he finds out, the criminals know of it as well. A futile gesture. Sphinx had shown them it’s all been a game. Yes, they want to play.
3) “Nine, can we keep her? Please? I’ll clean up after her!” – “No.”
4) Well, they can’t leave an unconscious girl by their doorstep, can they?
5) BTW, speaking of “character call-outs”. Lisa’s is yellow, the same colour as Faye Valentine.
Post Episode Thoughts:
So what did we have this episode? I actually had something in my head and sort of forgot it while editing all the images in. Hm.
Well, anyway, Shibazaki wants to be in his prey’s head. But as he’s accused of, he already is, to a degree. He wants to connect with others, he wants to connect with them. He enjoys the game, the riddles and the chase.
Ah, yes, I’ve got it. The oafish friend made me chuckle, when I made a note on how it reminded me of House M.D. I wrote a piece about it, about how House M.D. isn’t a show about the “mysteries”, which are ass-pulls one could never truly guess, as a watcher. So if House isn’t a mystery show, you have to ask yourself what is it about? And it’s about House dealing with other people, and his observations of them. It’s a drama, with the thriller keeping you interested, until you realize it’s not about the mystery, and that you enjoy it even so.
What about Zankyou no Terror then? If it’s not about the mystery, what is it about? And I’m going to be making avery fine distinction here. This show isn’t about the mystery, it’s about mystery. The actual details here, of how they obtained the bomb, how it worked, the riddles in and of themselves? They don’t really matter. What matters is the environment and story of a mystery-thriller. Sure, Oedipus’ story matters in how it makes thematic sense, ormight, and “know thyself” was a bit clever. But it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the game of cat and mouse, and the actual mystery details are just the vehicle for the experience of watching a thriller.
And yes, just like House M.D., and like so many other stories, it’s about connections. No man is an island, even if that’s what the kids had been told in the facility.