So, last week was a framing of the conflict. Conflicts need stakes, something you stand to gain, something you stand to lose. With all the explosions, you’d think it’d be lives, but lives of faceless masses, especially where no one died yet isn’t terribly compelling – so we’ve seen Shibazaki’s family, and another detective’s pregnant wife. We’ve seen Lisa get kidnapped.
Stakes have to be personal, and the show, and Five, made it so. Time to see the final(?) conflict, where it’s all up for grab.
So, today is September 11, and they actually delayed an episode so today’s episode would come out on this day. Makes you wonder what’ll happen.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Grounding Ourselves:
1) Reminder, everyone having to reaffirm their resolve, “many people could die.” “I don’t care what happens to me,” a line that’s easy, but Five throws in her face it’s her life in question, the life she didn’t really own since Twelve rescued her, and that it’s meaningless, that Twelve’s friendship is meaningless. Then again, different people attribute different worth to the same things.
2) Again, “I’m going because I don’t have time.” What he would like to do, what is most important to him, is to rescue Lisa. This is his call. Back to the discussion in the first episode, that this time they’ll have what it takes to rescue others, unlike “back then”.
Throwing the key, symbolizing the lack of time – there will be no return. Are Nine and Twelve splitting up, now that Twelve made his call, or are they just going at it now cause there’s no more time? Saga’s rising tension is a great fit from the OST, and it also sounds close enough to “rain”.
2) Raring to Go – On (Self) Loathing:
1) “I’ll force him to tell us everything!” – But then they have to be polite and ask for admittance. The real world is not kind to the zealous gung-ho dude. Shibazaki is also very idealistic, but he knows you can’t just barge everywhere angrily.
2) Let’s see how deep the conspiracy goes! “Hamura, you should leave.” Shibazaki rode hard on his fellows, men with families, in order to get him information. But he won’t risk them when he can get the information on his own. He’s acting as if he has nothing to lose. He even believes it. But last episode showed us his daughter to show us the lie he’s living.
Also, the man sharing the information? The show first alluded and then outright told us he lost his wife. Someone else who thinks he has nothing to lose, which is why he’s willing to talk.
3) Angry Young Cop can’t take it! The information he asked for, and it’s not even all of it just yet. Tsk. Well, in a different series, he could be the protagonist, but we’re in a more noir series here.
3) Paying for the Past:
1) “I’d have taken the information to the grave, but those children wouldn’t have allowed it.” At first I thought he meant Nine and Twelve, as Sphinx, but he means the ghosts of all the kids who died or were ruined as part of the experiment.
2) “You’re right, I wasn’t a human, but a pawn.” – This is sort of the theme I thought the show would talk about, back in the first episode, and maybe the second. I know for sure I thought it’d discuss it during the preview – that the boys will try to shake society out of its slumber, because they feel as small cogs, to remind everyone that they can control their world, and their reality. I guess it’s back when I thought it’d be more Code Geass meets Fight Club, due to the trailer, eh?
But Shibazaki is lying down the absolute morality hammer! “That’s what the selectors said in Auschwitz”, but you know, most people would do exactly the same. There’s comfort in being a small pawn, and sometimes it’s impossible to live as anything but, with emphasis on “live”. He had what to lose, back then.
3) Back to “What we stand to lose” – the person who committed suicide, if it were suicide, was the one in charge of the plan, and now it’s tied to Shibazaki’s past. Dun dun duuun. Well, on one hand it can perhaps solve his past case, let him loose from the ghost from his past, but on the other, he might be accused of chasing the ghost of his past and thus the matter will be swept out rather than be given the attention it deserves, due to his involvement.
4) Picking Sides Part 1: The Couple:
1) Five’s handler doesn’t seem all that worried about Twelve dying, or Lisa dying. He cares that if he dies, it’d be harder for them to obtain the plutonium, assuming that’s what he’s after. Of course, it might be that he’d like to save Twelve, and is taking a utilitarian tack to convince Five.
“What are you after? Not even a professional could succeed.” – He’s telling Five she created a rigged game. We know she likes winning, but if the game was one where the other couldn’t win, then it’s not much of a game, eh? I do think she’s playing this in order to have Twelve reaffirm her life, by choosing himself over Lisa, but if he’ll do otherwise she’ll decry him a fool, while being unable to move past it.
2) Lisa saying how it’s her fault without Twelve countering it only made it worse. Well, he did say something in the end. Does he think she’ll die, and wants her to go in peace, or just because he’s a kind young man who just might like her? Regardless, it’s precious time he’s spending on this. Remember what he told Nine? “I’m doing this because I’m running out of time.” – This is what Twelve thinks matters, saving Lisa, and her happiness.
Lisa gets her confession, and looks away tearfully. Awww.
3) Though perhaps those tears were to steel herself, to tell herself her life was worth living, and now she’s fine with dying. This also feeds into both of what I think Five’s after (the affirmation of her priorities by Twelve abandoning Lisa), and also regarding Five and Lisa’s talk, of how Lisa’s life is worthless, and how Lisa herself she’d do anything so the boys would be fine.
But once more, this would be what they spoke of in the first episode, Nine and Twelve, of how they weren’t strong enough as children and had to leave their friend behind. Yes, you guys made fools of the police, and robbed plutonium, but you’re still two helpless kids who can’t save your friend, eh?
5) Picking Sides Part 2: Those Left Behind:
1) A-ha! The real game! “Will you betray Nine, or will you betray Lisa? You have one minute to choose, Twelve!” – Also, now that he’s on the phone with her, if he doesn’t betray Nine, he’ll end up dead himself, which will also betray their mission, and if he escapes, he’ll likely be captured.
Five does have a point, he already made his choice when he came here. But that’s how you do stake-based conflicts, you show us what someone is aiming for, then you give them a complication, or a “price”, and ask them, “Will you still keep going for it?” Say, a stranger’s life, then you go, “how about your friend? How about your lover? How about… now?” You keep raising the stakes, to see how far people will go.
2) Also, a bomb. Then again, they had plutonium, so it’s not like we acted as if they’re not planning to blow something up. But of course, considering how they were unwilling to let anyone be harmed thus far, does it really matter? Well, the threat of power is as powerful as power itself, so long others don’t know you don’t plan to use it.
3) Nine going “Twelve…” as he retrieves the bomb, but didn’t he retrieve it exactly because he thought this will happen? As everyone knows, Five had a point: Twelve did choose Lisa over Nine, and their mission.
Shorter Thoughts / Asides:
- More “Unlocking the potential of the mind.”
- “A single child survived, and the Americans took custody of her.” Shibazaki knows who she is, and when they say “Two children escaped from the facility,” he knows who’s involved as well.
- Another obtuse reference to how the kids don’t have much longer to live.
- Five’s handler doesn’t like her games either. Not much control, eh?
- “What should I do?” – Not the best way to have the guy you like go all over your chest, eh Lisa? :(
Post Episode Thoughts:
Hm. I was sure this episode would be all explosions and shit. But then again, now I wonder why. This is supposedly a thriller, right? Thrillers aren’t about an explosion, but about the suspense of an explosion. Well, stopping a bomb in the last moment, that’s a standard action-thriller bit. And having the villain gloat, as he forces you to betray your friends, as he tells you you’ve already betrayed them, that’s pretty thriller-esque as well.
Shibazaki’s past coming back to being relevant, we all saw that coming, it was a classic case of “A gun shown in the first act will shoot in the third,” but right now it’s not meaningful yet. What are the ramifications, aside from preying on Shibazaki’s mind? Ok, so we know people are willing to die, and people are willing to kill over this whole mess, but you’ve gotta do something with it.
This episode had a bit of a psychological aspect to it, and somewhat of a thriller-vibe, but it was still on the low end, it still felt as if we’re building up to something. The real showdown will likely be when Shibazaki comes face to face with the truth, and the other members. I feel we’ve been told enough times to be all but sure that the three kids are going to die soon, and this was all about avenging themselves as ghosts. As the retired conspirator told us, “The kids wouldn’t accept the story being taken to the grave.”
This episode was solid. I really liked the scene between Twelve and Lisa, and all that it conveyed. I didn’t like Five, she still appears as if she watched too many James Bond villains. But this episode… it just felt weird, and somewhat half-done. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Two episodes to go. And I can already see Shibazaki standing over the corpses of the kids, especially Nine, and then carrying on with their mission, which is also his mission – to bring the truth to light.
Also, just thought of it, but Lisa and Twelve are pretty similar, in how they’d sacrifice themselves for the other, in how they’d just go and act, not because it makes sense, but because they can’t bear it any other way.
Ahahah. That James Bond villain comparison with Five is pretty spot on.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if Five’s handler discards her later in the series if he deems that she is a liability to his mission. During this episode, when Five’s handler was expressing his concern with obtaining the location of the “object” if Five were to continue her game, for a split second, I thought he would shoot her or override her authority and stop the bomb.
The zoomed up face of his distaste when the agitated Five said “shut up,” (how dare she insult me in Engrish! :P) shows that he has no emotional connections to her. While he did let her do her thing and she did manage to obtain the results he wanted from her game, I think it was a pretty close call for her. When things escalate even further and stakes become even higher, I doubt her handler would show the same restraint that he did this episode if Five’s goals began to deviate from his.
Then again I could be just over-analysing the split second facial expression of a minor character. :/
What do you think?
I definitely saw his shock/distaste as well, but in the end he did not overrule here. She’s a tool, but she’s the true power, he’s just her handler, it seems. I don’t really know how their relationship goes, and it could have definitely been beefed up in a lengthier series.