Last week was rough, no Zankyou no Terror, no Barakamon, but here we go again. Last episode was “Seat of our pants” thriller, with non-stop music that kept things racing, and a sort of “Bizarro-world” plot, where the “good cops” have to join forces with the terrorists to stop an airplane from exploding on a terminal full of people, and a Die Hard 2 rescue scene for Lisa.
It was enjoyable, but now it’s time to see how people pay. The game between Five and Sphinx is only starting, now that we see Five will stop at nothing, and Shibazaki once again disobeyed orders in order to do what is right. However, in Greek tragedies (Ala Oedipus’s story), the choice of being true to your rules (Law of the Gods) or the dry law (Law of the People), is one that you don’t make, but follow your nature and your preordained choice, and pay the price.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) On Social Positions:
1) “My Fair Lady”, what an interesting episode title, a reference to the classic story of Pygmalion, another Greek figure. So, we have a lowly commoner and we transform her to appear as royalty, we take a mannequin and make a person out of it. This can be Five and the other kids due to not being “entirely human”, or Lisa, who will finally become one of the group.
That first scene after the OP, we see everything appearing as if it’s calm, but we know Five knows who Lisa is, and we’ve already seen her predict Nine and Twelve’s movements, so it’s a fragile sort of peace, about to be disrupted. Also, Lisa sleeping next to her phone, the tool that keeps her tethered, but also lonely. It wouldn’t surprise me if the trouble will appear through it.
2) “You’re off the force, indefinitely.” – “Isn’t that essentially firing him?” – Or until the FBI goes away. But notice, the real issue here isn’t with what Shibazaki had done, but that he’s disobeying orders. Even the final tiff, and the demand for the badge, came after Shibazaki once more went against the “Accepted Narrative”, where the police is the force for good, and Sphinx are simply terrorists.
Shibazaki’s final act here wasn’t random either, in front of witnesses, he tells his boss that Sphinx are innocent, so this is clearly cover-up, not just the situation thus far, but the situation from here on out. Rather than use the detective who saw the opponents, they’re making doubly sure to remove him.
3) It’s interesting Shibazaki goes off to the bigwig who pulled him from the archives after this, who’s higher up than the one who just got his badge. Compartmentalization, but exactly what the bigwigs wanted in order to cover their asses. Yes, Shibazaki is acting true to his nature, following his own code rather than the demands of his superiors.
And it’s also interesting what he’s told there, his “angry boss”, who took his badge? He was still protecting him from being outright fired. It looks like he’s thrown to the wolves, but they’re trying to make it so he couldn’t get in more trouble.
2) Personal Time:
1) Yeah, what a workaholic. Talks to his daughter, she thinks he might be interested in her, in how she’s doing at school, but all he cares for is information relating to the investigation, the one he’s not allowed to partake in.
“But first they’ll have to deal with all the radiation they’ll be exposed to.” Nine and Twelve keep speaking as if they’ll die, as if this is a one-way route for them. Perhaps this is what was meant, but then, we’re supposed to start seeing burns and their hair falling at some point, right? Well, I don’t actually know enough about radiation poisoning either way.
2) “Don’t leave the house.” “They might find this place eventually”, only to come back home seeing Lisa run towards them, and then the whole place explodes. Well, at least Lisa got the ladle with her, she knows what’s important! Well, the Ladle does symbolize home, as well.
Twelve did say, “I liked that roof.” Those without a home, liking the place that is truly theirs.
And this wipes away all of Nine’s progress with Lisa. Well, he did work to save her, so I guess that’s what really counts, in the end.
3) The (Oh So Personal) Stakes:
1) “Even if I knew anything, I wouldn’t tell you.” You could see Shibazaki getting pissed off here. “Don’t you know your place?” – Again, rather than actually doing what is right, the structure is to be followed above all else, though it makes sense for those at the top to actually argue for that, what do they stand to lose?
“I’m about to be fired.” – Those with nothing to lose are dangerous, “I don’t care about keeping up appearances,” meaning he can finally follow his own code. But, we’ve seen his daughter, and we’ve seen Five target Lisa in order to get to Nine and Twelve, so Shibazaki definitely has what to lose.
2) Speaking of being afraid of losing things, where does Nine stand? Does he want to not involve Lisa because he cares for her, or because he cares for Twelve, and doesn’t want anything to hinder the plan? Are those things mutually exclusive? But it does matter at some level, does he protect Lisa in order to protect her, or is her safety only something that is maintained for the sake of the plan?
And what of Lisa, will she stay with them, or leave them, which does she think will be better, for them, and for her? She just wants to help, so she has to figure out which will be more helpful.
3) Still with “Losing things” as a theme, we see Shibazaki, the man who says he has nothing to lose, pressuring his ally to risk his job and his future, and we see what he stands to lose – a happy family, a child, and another on the way. “Many might die.” The faceless masses that are the policeman’s duty to protect, versus the few but oh-so-very-personal faces of one’s family.
Also, another inversion. Terrorists who stop a bomb placed by the police, so here we have off-the-job detectives doing the work the police force tries to obstruct them from accomplishing.
4) Those Old Tired Lines Which Show We Care:
1) Five with the cliched villain lines, “I understand you, I really do. I’m trying to help them, because if they keep going, they’ll be making a terrible mistake which they won’t be able to take back, so why don’t you help me stop them? For their sake, you understand.
And then she just pisses all over Lisa, which is probably another part in making her later act as she wishes, or just because Five likes breaking people. Followed by a really great shot, a vast distance between Five and Lisa. Insurmountable, even.
2) “I’m going because I don’t have time.” – “Please don’t go, Twelve.” – “Sorry, Nine.” The yaoi fanfic is writing itself, Nine going for the request this time. What’s going on? I think it’s back to the first couple of episodes, where Nine and Twelve discussed how they weren’t strong enough to rescue their friends back in the facility, so Twelve is saying that he’s willing to trade his life in order to save Lisa, that it’d be one act to make his life having been worthwhile.
That Nine makes a request and Twelve turns him down? That’s basically Twelve saying Nine isn’t enough, and that he is choosing Lisa’s “request” over Nine’s.
Shorter Notes / Asides:
- “Fortunately, there were no injuries.” – This series, in a nutshell.
- Shibazaki’s daughter, she does look like Lisa, but she’s not. Well, we still have room open for Shibazaki to look at Lisa and be reminded of his daughter, I guess.
- “Is the investigation really this bad?” – “No, I was just thinking how weak this barley tea is.” – Father of the year, boys and girls!
- Just like Nine, Five seems to suffer from the headache of “Resonance”, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Twelve’s Synesthesia is also somehow related.
- “Athena Plan” – Why is it that if we get cultural references then suddenly everything has to be that way? But this one at least fits. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, sprung forth from Zeus’s forehead. Headaches, in a plan designed to bring forth geniuses, eh?
- “I have to act like a detective sometimes.” – Meaning, actually doing the legwork, rather than relying on a mystical intuitive breakthrough to dawn upon him.
- A nun, so we’d believe she saved the business card for a decade.
- “One more important detail…” then Shibazaki exclaims and we don’t get told what it is >.>
- Well, Lisa made her choice, she’s leaving.
- Oh, so “My Fair Lady” is from “London Bridge is Falling Down”, boo! I liked the movie reference better.
- Baka Nine! Lisa said she left because she always caused them trouble, to run to the police would only be creating more trouble for the two of them, so it doesn’t make sense.
- Twelve on his bike, almost always related to saving Lisa.
Post Episode Thoughts:
This episode started calmly, but there was a reason for that, and the way in which it continued followed that same logic. This episode was about the price. “No one was injured in the large scale explosion,” is sort of what this series had been like thus far. In thrillers, quite often the threat of violence and casualties is what makes up “the stakes”, what’s up for contention, with one side trying to create said casualties, and the other side tries to stop them, but that’s not really what’s at stake here.
So, what is at stake? Nine and Twelve are trying to expose some truth, and for Shibazaki, exposing the truth and making those responsible pay has always been one of his big motivations, but we’re at episode 8 out of 11 and this sort of stuff was mostly hinted at, and it feels cold and distant.
So, what do we have? This episode came after we’ve seen just how far Five’s willing to go, so we’ve seen what everyone stands to lose, and they stand to lose their homes, and their families, and the sense of security that makes up their world.
This episode was here so we’d know what’s at stake for the conflict to come. No one is happy here, and whoever is, knows it’s a fragile sort of peace that could be snatched at a moment’s notice.
Has this anime disappointed you? You had fairly high expectations, as I recall
Five is a bit of a disappointment, and if I came to it from a position of expecting it to deal with themes then it would’ve, but right from episode 1, this show is mostly about delivering a really well-executed thriller, and for the most part, that’s what it’s done. So not really.
I didn’t really come to it with “hopes”, that’s for established franchises, for the most part.
Between Five swearing to make Shibazaki regret his actions and the introducing of potential stakes, for Shibazaki if he continues to delve deeper into this case, I have a sinking feeling that we’ll be seeing Kinoshita’s family later in the series in a much less pleasant light.
Seems with the introduction of his friend and accomplice’s family of four as well as his Lisa lookalike (-2 moles) daughter, Shibazaki has even more things to lose now, this time more personal than a hiatus from his job.
But here’s another important note, thus far in the series, not a single person died. That’s quite shocking when you think about it, especially when you think about all the explosions.
Honestly, it’s as if this is the idealized dream of youth who wish to change their country, as if they could have a nice revolution where no one dies.
And yes, everyone has what to lose, and us seeing Shibazaki’s daughter shows us what he has to lose, which he just doesn’t realize, or doesn’t accept, as something he stands to lose, or is important to him. Of course, that’s the mindset that can also have you estranged from your family, with a daughter that frowns when you only visit her for your work, eh?