(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 made it pretty clear, the riddles don’t matter as much in and of themselves, it’s the same situation as House M.D. – the riddles are there to create tension. Shibazaki is a mirror image of Nine and Twelve, he wants to be like them, but he already is – both sides only gain validity via the other.
Nine and Twelve used Shibazaki in their riddle, they’re reaching across, they’re connecting. And likewise, Lisa is making contact as well.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Here’s something I didn’t think about last week, Lisa asked Twelve if they’re going to destroy the whole world, right? I didn’t think about which answer she’d rather hear, this ostracized girl with no connections.
2) Vision swimming in and out of focus, like a camera’s zoom function. Ah, camera-work, and in anime, someone has to think, and actually draw it all. So nice to look at. This show’s cinematography is seriously spoiling us.
3) “I found this sick puppy, it wandered in circles, until it puked and collapsed. I’m keeping it here for observation.” – Twelve, the kind veterinarian. More seriously, “observation” hints at the desire to people study, if he were actually honest about it. It’s an excuse.
4) “Don’t you think she’s kind of shameless?” – Nine, we know you’re just feeling awkward. If she’s going to live there, you expect her to not shower? Also, the “Boom!” moment by Twelve, the scolding by Nine – it’s sort of a dysfunctional slice-of-life of the sort we’ve had in Neon Genesis Evangelion, eh?
5) Watanabe shows actually handle English and other languages well, it’s so refreshing after the usual Engrish fare most anime give you.
2) Repeating The Cycle, Part 1 – Lisa:
1) “There’s nothing but misfortune awaiting for anyone who gets involved with us.” – That was certainly true for the Sphinx. Either you got eaten, or you ended up being Oedipus. So, Shibazaki, he’s also involved with them, does Nine foresee darkness in his future as well?
Also, Lisa might prefer misfortune alongside you than the nothingness she feels she’s stuck with, without.
2) “There is no use having her around.” – Nine, you’re such a tsun-tsun! And that means they’ll have to find her a role. It almost sounds like a classic story of a divorce. Nine and Twelve are the parents, and Lisa as the child will try to make sure they’re happy, and she’s a useful little kid, so they won’t argue, and won’t send her out to the harsh world! :<
3) Lisa fails at everything she does. At least the two of them tell her how it is. Were this a RomCom they’d eat it and not speak about it, or belch fire. I wouldn’t even taste it. Forget the bombing shit, but eating that stuff? Twelve is so much braver than me.
5) “Bad food is at least a memory made.” Twelve, ever the optimist.
3) Repeating The Cycle, Part 2 – Shibazaki:
1) I did wonder why we’re getting the boring police meeting again, and now we see. Shibazaki is bored, and the head honcho gets pulled out. Something’s cooking under the surface.
Also, it’s part of the whole “procedural police drama” aspect, it’s interesting that they actually show us every time that Nine and Twelve are placing the bombs. Is this to show their audacity, is it to show us them going around? They could just show us how things carry out, but I guess it’d lose something of the realism that way, and everything in this show, and especially the colour palette, seems to be aiming for “realism”, as a style.
2) The police got it! The only way to defeat teenagers in anime, that are smarter and braver and more capable than all the adults combined, is, wait for it, use another teenager! Also, with the white hair, she reminds me of the kid they failed to save from the facility.
3) BTW, something just hit me. Shibazaki used to have a wife and daughter, and Lisa’s father left her and her mother. I get the feeling Shibazaki might be Lisa’s father. Hm.
4) “I’m Sphinx Number 2, looking for a girlfriend who can make bombs and knows how to cook!” – Twelve, what a kidder.
5) Shibazaki is such a loner, he’s such a copy of Dr. House. He has an idea, but he’s part of the police force, he’s part of a mission, he’s part of a team, but when inspiration strikes, he runs off, without informing anyone else of what’s going on (great shot, Shibazaki is present in his absence). It’s a single man’s show, until he needs his carb-loving friend to inspire him.
4) When Riddles are Easy, A Bewilderment:
1) “You mean they made a riddle the police could solve?” – Sphinx is trying to send a message, they’re trying to make a connection. We just don’t know what the message is. Uncover their past to the world? Confront society with what’s wrong with it? The former seems likelier than the latter, cause they’re making contact with the police, and specifically with someone who can’t quit, and can uncover secrets. Essentially, the riddles are a screening process to find themselves a good detective.
Also, if we take a look back on mythology, does it mean that the story thinks the Sphinx wanted to lose, at some point? Just an idle thought.
2) “A red serpent, running.” Well, they’ve given us the answer. I guess that’s one way to make a riddle make sense – give us the answer, and only then the question. And it also answers my previous question, which is neat – “Why did they show us them planting the bomb?” – And now we have an answer, to get us invested in the story, and the tension, while freeing our minds of the riddle itself.
3) “The Subway, huh?” – We’ve had our 9/11 reference, and now we have a potential reference to the 1995 Japan Subway Terrorist attack, but unlike the 9/11 reference, this reminder isn’t allowed to play out. Too close to home.
4) Interesting. The real riddle isn’t the one they asked, but the one they didn’t even mention exists – the connection between the various bomb locations.
1) Nine isn’t offended by Twelve saying he seems to put a lot of trust into Shibazaki, but he’s shocked, because he realizes it’s true, and that he didn’t consider it. The man who’s too busy planning for how everyone else will act, realizes he lacks in simple introspection.
2) A shadowy organization, collecting the influential people of the land? Ho ho ho.
3) “Do you understand the feelings of terrorists, huh?” – And you do, Shibazaki? Yes, he feels kinship to them.
4) Ha! “If the worst happens, in an hour we’ll become mass murderers.” – “Well, we’ll just have to deactivate it.” – The threat of force is as useful as actually using force, but only so long as the other side doesn’t realize you’re not planning to use it. Yes, Nine and Twelve are trying to send a message, they’re trying to uncover something. I think revealing to us this early, and in such a calm manner that they won’t actually kill people with their bombs is definitely an interesting script choice. I’ll have to think of it more later.
5) “Will you ever learn from your past mistakes?” – the story of Oedipus, in a nutshell. But Oedipus, and the other protagonists of Greek Tragedies, are incapable of deviating from their fate, and going against their nature. “You can’t quit,” they told Shibazaki.
6) Playing with Fire:
1) An interesting situation though, one in which the bomb isn’t removed, and can’t be deactivated from afar. It almost feels as if someone foresaw that Nine and Twelve do not wish for the bomb to go off and is expecting them to go and try to deactivate the bomb on their own, and capture them then.
2) And now Nine is distraught, because he had been told, he trusted Shibazaki and his ability to solve the riddle, and his trust had been betrayed. “Why won’t the police move?” – Even now he realizes the riddle was likely solved, so why was nothing done? He should follow that train of thought, “If the police solved the riddle, what do they stand to gain by not removing the bomb?” and then as Sherlock Holmes would’ve told him, once you remove any answer that is impossible, the remaining solution, however improbable, must be right – they saw through them, and are setting a trap.
Yes, yes, they’re thinking it through. Good, my loyal co-members of the Lelouch Lamperouge school of thought!
3) The schemer’s schemes are being seen and meddled with. The hacker is being hacked. “Who is this?!” and then, once more, resonance. You know what this is? This is the interference of two minds operating on the same wavelength clashing. It could be Nine and the mysterious opponent, or Nine and his past, or his guilt.
Yes, the child they couldn’t save, coming back to haunt them! This is Oedipus’s story, again! The child that they had abandoned in the woods, come back to kill them, hee hee.
4) Well, that’s a solution as well, tell people there’s a bomb and get them off the train. That was a close call, Nine.
5) Yeah, girl’s crazy. And what a reunion, that even makes use of the story of Oedipus. This is very rich. We have so many different contenders for Oedipus running about. And if Lisa is Shibazaki’s daughter, then she too is his Oedipus, but even if she’s not, she’s still been abandoned by her father, so she could fill the role, for society, as well as Nine and Twelve could.
Post Episode Thoughts:
Everyone’s Oedipus here! Realizing that Nine and Twelve might be Oedipus as well, for abandoning Five, and that Lisa could be an Oedipus as well, and perhaps even Shibazaki’s daughter? Oh my, that’s fun. But let’s put that aside for a moment and focus on this episode, right?
This episode was really, really good, in terms of narrative construction. “Why is the scene of them placing the bomb shown to us? Why do we need to see the police meeting scene again?” And the easy answer is, “to enhance the sense of a procedural drama and hyper-realism the show has going for it,” but then the show goes further, and actually makes it plot-relevant.
We see them placing the bomb so we’ll have the answer to the riddle before it’s even asked, so our mind could focus on what matters. And yes, something doesn’t make sense, why would the police leave the bomb be? But the characters actually realize it doesn’t make sense, and think it through, and reach the same answer we could’ve, especially if we recalled the girl from the opening and how she seemed similar to the child they left behind in the facility.
Things are becoming messy, the stakes are raised, and now it’s personal. Heck, even the whole riddle situation was done elegantly – why keep having riddles? Oh, there’s a real riddle, the one behind all the useless ones, which also answers why they wanted them answered. And just like a Greek Tragedy, the sins of the past are bearing fruit now, and people can’t help but be true to their nature and past mistakes.
This episode was really good. Bravo.