(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)
Two weeks ago we’ve had the best episode of the series to date, full of smart writing, showing how everything’s connected, and addressing the appearance of both plot elements and scenes. Sadly, last week might have been the show’s weakest episode to date. It wasn’t terrible, or “randomly bad”, but it was an intermission episode, which is what you get when you try to stuff 10 minutes’ worth of content into 20 minutes
Why did they do it? So that this week’s episode would get to start with a bang, and get to continue full-steam ahead, without the episode-break coming at an inopportune time. Well, let’s see how they managed. I expect a pretty brisk episode.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Adult Problems – Kept in the Dark:
1) Considering that my biggest complaint with last episode is how much of it felt stretched, that up to 4:12 minutes into this episode it’s all content from last episode aside from the OP feels like adding insult to injury. You make that content take even more time, eh? Well, I guess it fits with how they need all of the content shown to fit into one episode, and were wary of splitting it up. Show me what you’ve got, show-makers.
2) “How are we supposed to search this huge airport with so few people?” – “You’re cops, why aren’t you going to the control room?” you might be asking, but don’t forget, they’re all disobeying orders in order to be here at all. Shibazaki is right though, if it is Sphinx, then they’d give them more details so they could solve the riddle.
3) So, the police is leaving the messages on the screens, which means they’re the ones sending the messages, meaning they’re the ones who sent the SMS, and thus, the ones behind the “bomb”. This sadly fits with how the police are the ones who forbade them from disarming the bomb on the train. The police are the ones placing the bombs, and the “terrorists” are the ones disarming them. Shibazaki is in a nega-verse, and his sense of justice will not abide it. But hey, while he’s here, there are definitely games for him to play.
4) Why chase the terrorists when you can just observe the police? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, eh, my dear Shibazaki? (“Who watches the watchmen?”)
2) The Youth Strike Back:
1) So, Twelve isn’t necessary for the game, so he can be removed from the board. But of course, that’s part of the game outside the game they’re playing, of who will catch whom, and how the bomb will be dismantled. But are they playing that game? Because Five could capture Nine if she wanted, and he’s playing using her rules. Is this just to make sure Twelve doesn’t cheat and disarm the bomb bypassing the Chess match? I wonder.
2) That’s modern thrillers for you, showing you data cables and going “Bingo!” – It’s a sad and dreary world we live in :P
3) Cameras are giving her a feed from five minutes ago, well, it’s ye olde “fool the guard room” trick. So, what are Nine and Twelve up to now that they’re off-screen? Those little sneaks, those cheats.
4) Five knew she’d win, and not only that, she knew where she’d make her final move. So many steps ahead of Nine and Twelve. That’s part of the message, of how superior to them she is right now. Makes you wonder about plans within plans. And what if things hadn’t gone according to plan? She could’ve always used the screen at the final location to reveal the true location, assuming she wouldn’t have been a sore loser, of course.
3) Passing By:
1) So, Lisa caught, how will Nine act? Will he leave her behind to the fire, admitting that just like in the past, he’s not strong enough to save anyone? That’s what they discussed in the first episode, when they compared Lisa to Five, and how they couldn’t save anyone back when they escaped the facility.
2) Five makes light of friendship, or rather, she treats them as a weakness to avoid. But what did she tell him, “I came to settle things for you.” I wouldn’t be surprised if she saw him as a friend, and felt abandoned, and thus her treatment of things now. No, that she refused to leave in the past does not make it into a contradiction. She could still have felt abandoned.
3) I’m pretty sure Shibazaki knew it was Nine running past him. It’s interesting that Five let Nine go. Five believes in destroying her opponents so badly in the game that they can never defy her again, but the real game here is still ongoing, and it’s about the bomb. That Nine threatened her with a gun shows he’s not been destroyed just yet. Five can’t let the game end before her dominance is displayed for all to see.
4) Bomb, on a plane. Did Five foresee their cheating, or that perhaps she didn’t win where she thought she will and not being there Nine missed the final clue, which might have only been given had he won? I wonder.
Also, notice how Lisa is contacting someone else via the cellphone. The cellphone where all calls were unwelcome to her, and only served to accentuate her loneliness. Now she has nowhere else to turn, and when she’s alone, she tries to summon her guardians.
5) Well, that works. Five might have lost, and the checkmate could be someplace other than where she foresaw it, what do you do? Move the bomb! Well, I guess sometimes the simplest solutions are the best, and otherwise you’re just overthinking it.
4) Hard Choices. Obvious Choices:
1) Five’s choice, for Nine and Twelve. This is her final test – will they rescue the helpless masses, or their one friend, who’s a criminal like they are?
2) Shared goals, allies for the moment. “Don’t tell me you’re going to use us?” – Do you mind being used to stop a bomb on a jetplane that’ll decimate the whole terminal, Shibazaki? No, I didn’t think so. Also, you’re an adult, you’re constantly “used”, but you agree to it because the goals align with your own, or are neutral to you. Does it really matter by whom?
3) Five was surprised, she thought it’d be Nine coming up those stairs, but just an old man? Disrupting her plans? She didn’t see this coming! Unacceptable! What’s unacceptable, him meddling in her plans, or her not seeing it coming? I’ll let you think that over. But she’s angry now, that’s for sure.
4) “I’m going to make you regret this.” – Greek Tragedy, remember? Characters can’t go against their nature, and in the dilemma, the battle between two differing ideals, two differing systems of justice, being true to their personal code will lead them down to ruin. Shibazaki can’t let injustice be done, he can’t let it go. And so, he did his duty, but not his job. Just like in the past. But I don’t think he’ll “regret” this Five, he did what he thought was right, and some would say that might be the greatest tragedy of all in Greek Tragedies, how characters are happy to go to their graves, for what they believe in.
5) Shibazaki, so distraught over having Nine connect with him. He can’t let him go now, they need further bonding! He’s still a terrorist, after all. I do wonder why he’s so distraught, he knew he’s there. Guess it reminded him of how close he’d been.
Shorter Notes / Asides:
- Yeah, all the officers’ English is actually solid. It’s Five, who’s a Japanese voice actress, whose Engrish is… Engrish. At least it’s still grammatically correct, which is much better than what most anime manage.
- BTW, take note, for the last few minutes (Note taken at 06:52 in) there’s been this almost tribal beat constantly playing in the background, adding to the sense of tension, perhaps mirroring Nine’s heartbeat as he keeps running around. It’s the small stuff that unconsciously gets you tense.
- And now Saga begins playing, another piece that keeps the “beat” going and thus the tension keeps rising. I also really like that piece because I’m pretty sure it’s based on Bach’s Crab Canon, which isn’t surprising considering Yoko Kanno is a pianist.
- Now I know why Twelve is so cute, he reminds me of a chipmunk (ala Chip and Dale) with his smile. Squeee! He’s the cutest lil police officer! Nine though would look like someone about to do a Striptease act, or taser you.
- Lisa is holding a red rod out of which fire will erupt in the toilet and is telling us she’s nervous. I couldn’t just pass without comment, could I?
- Lisa is going to jump off of the plane. Is this Die Hard 2? And this isn’t even the finale, or the penultimate episodes, we still have four whole episodes to go after this one, huh.
Post Episode Thoughts:
Well, as predicted (hoped?), this episode sure was hopping non-stop. It certainly helped that it was accompanied by an almost constant stream of music from the soundtrack, especially of the sort that’s more repetitive, more of a “beat”, and thus gives more urgency to the scenes it accompanies.
Choices, choices for everyone. Why did Five get so angry with Shibazaki? “I can’t believe you’re doing this.” Five believes in people looking out for themselves, because friendship is a weakness. On the first layer, she’s angry at Shibazaki because she couldn’t foresee his action, and this is how he could disrupt her planes, without allowing for Nine to surprise her from within the game, which she’d accept. However, that’s only the first layer, what really got her was that Shibazaki is acting in a manner that is self-sacrificing, and shows the power of trust, and thus in his actions is making a direct attack on Five’s beliefs. People have issues taking kindly to that.
The action was standard in terms of what we saw, but it was well-handled. I liked that I bought into the show’s lie, as Nine and Twelve fed it to us, that Five saw everything from the first move and predicted or manipulated the final move to be at a specific location, while she was considerably less sure of herself and thus had to use a bomb.
Lisa’s “movement” here was subtle, calling to help on the cellphone, her old symbol of loneliness, and jumping – trusting that Twelve would rescue her from her life and offer her a new life. That’s exactly what she’s done in the first episode, but now she’s reaffirmed it, after Nine and Twelve have shown once more that they will not abandon her.
Shibazaki though, his most interesting part in the show is only just beginning. Choices are only meaningful because of ramifications, and what they tell us of the characters who made them. He will never give up, and will do the right thing. What more can he teach us?