Two more episodes, and it’ll be the end of this anime series as we know it… Episode 9 does nothing but remind you that this series is strongly, so strongly, about a dystopian society, about how the filth of humanity easily stains what we try to keep pure, how it is not perfect while it attempts to conceal all and – sorry, I think I learnt from Nezumi how to rant a little.
Also, apologies for being really late, my 3D model assignment is giving me more hell. Not to mention I started school again. (Remind me why I picked Wild Tiger to do as an amateur. taibani breaks sanity much) Temporarily, until I can find enough free time in-between work/school/home, this post will be without screencaps, with the exception of some small pictures.
Episode 9 is however, possibly offensive to some, and brutal as well, so a warning: scenes of sexual assault and massacres aka lots of dead bodies, blood, etc. are viewable. So if you’re sensitive, you’re welcome to skip the review post for this episode. (I may post a more kid-friendly version once I’m able to juggle what’s left of my life after university starts.)
An old man sits waiting in some industrial area, probably in the West District…and Rikiga turns up to meet him. Turns out, Rikiga’s pimping someone to this old man, and she’s just right for him. And resulting pedo face that is unforgettable before our lovely OP (only 2 more times after this!), sigh.
A silhouette is first seen as Rikiga and this old man (hi another nameless old man here, just realised) enter a suspiciously familiar hotel we know well. The ‘girl’ is shivering, almost looking nervous/scared/idk what as the old man approaches her, begins touching her in a very disturbing fashion on her thighs, licking her neck… There’s so much that is wrong with seeing this scene but I’ll comment on that later.
Rikiga however slips up, by not collecting the fees upfront, which he normally does. The old official from No. 6 starts feeling the jitters that something is wrong and it is then that Inukashi explodes from disguise, having withstood enough of the torment she’s has had to go through. Shion nearly goes to her aid at first but Nezumi stops him from doing so.
Note that Inukashi is of uncertain gender (which has not been confirmed until now really, amusingly so), it is hard to say that she’s a girl or a guy still even at this point, but for now let’s stick with her being a girl (until one day some translations roll by and we find out).
The official then pulls out a gun upon being threatened and knowing that he’s been hoodwinked by Rikiga. As Inukashi and Rikiga are temporarily stunned about the gun, Nezumi gets out of under the bed, knocks down the man and seizes his gun with ease. Lovely Nezumi’s words are laced with venom as he takes the man captive.
Once their hostage has been tied up proper, Inukashi begins to rattle off a very nice string of insults and curses at Nezumi, all related to animals, for not following the plan and taking his own sweet time. Nezumi is rather nonchalant about it and Inukashi walks out of the room, with Shion deciding to go after her. Nezumi however begins to interrogate the official, and if you know the novel, well, perhaps they removed that from the anime for a reason. More talk about that after the recap.
We move to Inukashi outside, who is scrubbing really hard, as if to wash the memory of the assault away. Shion apologises for not coming to her aid faster, as Inukashi gradually breaks down over how she was tolerating so much, just waiting for them to come get her, almost wanting to scream but having to hold it in… Shion then offers her a chance to leave their party and stop being involved, but Inukashi simply leans into him crying. As Shion touches her shoulders, though, he realises something…that we aren’t too sure of, but anyway Rikiga picks the perfect moment to interrupt the pair that Nezumi’s done with preparations to force the guy to talk.
Scene jumps to a few hours later as Nezumi and Shion are going back home, as Shion inquires about the pre-Holy Day cleaning they heard briefly about from the official. Nezumi attempts to change the subject first with the dog, but deflects it by telling him that he doesn’t need to bother about that yet.
Next day we find everyone except Shion talking how impossible it is to break into the correctional institute/facility – they’re stuck. Then Nezumi mentions that there’s another way, much to the disbelief of the other two, who think it’s ridiculous/suicidal/insert-similar-negative-feeling-here. Inukashi however says she won’t go along – she wants to live and survive, regardless of whether they die or not. Rikiga however is concerned about Shion’s reaction to such a plan, but Nezumi says it’s best not for him to know since they may not agree on the methods – they can only wait for things to fall in place.
Back home, as Nezumi returns, Shion’s arranging some books by the bookshelves when he starts asking about how summers are like in their current place. About the heat, the stove, cooking, weather…and it hits Nezumi that Shion has the mindset that he’ll still be with Nezumi in summer when it comes by. (Remember, it’s still winter, but since Holy Day is approaching technically spring is in 1/2 days from this moment.)
Nezumi talks about how life is a day-to-day thing in their district, but Shion merely goes on about how many things there are to do such as saving Safu, making that important serum, destroying the wall so that everyone can live happily ever after together at Nezumi’s place. Nezumi, of course, laughs at his idealism and dreams, but Shion makes a clear stand that he’s serious. Nezumi is a bit surprised at this, but gets over it. This level of talking about dreaming when we’re nearing the end of the series, though, it’s obvious that it’s foreshadowing.
Shion then strikes the jackpot regarding the current plans – they’re stuck, and he probably can tell just by the way Nezumi went to meet the other two, came back with nothing and some sighs… Shion then says that he’ll wait till they give him an answer.
Back in Lost Town, Karan looks like she’s been wandering in her mind and aimlessly walking the streets when Lili appears in front of her, reminding her that Holy Day is tomorrow, and that it’ll be great/super/etc. but if it wasn’t obvious enough by now, something major and unfortunate will happen then.
Going back to West District, Shion and Nezumi are walking the marketplace when Shion tells Nezumi that he knows he sent a message to Karan, possibly regarding Holy Day. Then he asks about the plan, which Nezumi is about to finally tell Shion when the silly manager of Eve’s (Nezumi’s alias at work) theatre comes to bother him about his absence at work. (Busy plotting the downfall of No. 6? Check.)
While the manager is ranting off though, a sudden explosion can be heard/felt in the distance, and suddenly, the West District is under attack! It looks like machines with sonic wave generators are ripping up the town into pieces and people are screaming, shouting…the manhunt aka cleaning operation has begun.
While Nezumi and Shion attempt to flee though, a tank-machine rolls up behind them and fires, blowing the duo off into some alley while the manager has been killed by debris and the explosion/shot. Shion’s unable to stand such a scene – he hasn’t really seen dead, bloody people yet, remember, only dead people – and nearly throws up but Nezumi grabs him and drags him away.
What happens after is really a horrifying massacre.
People are easily blown away, homes are squashed flat, dust and debris are flying everywhere. The screams and shouts of the people are many as they attempt to flee, to little success. The machines have no mercy as they easily wipe out rows of shops, more and more people and chaos reigns.
Nezumi and Shion run through puddles of blood, past the dead, past what was once a lively marketplace now filled with crushed, dead bodies and hide in an alley as Shion last witnesses a trio of men attempting to gun down a tank unsuccessfully. Nezumi covers him and himself with his good old special fabric scarf/blanket as the resulting sound boom blasts dust their way.
People just continue to die as resistance is gunned down, taken out and their screams, wails, cries and the sounds of mass destruction resound in Shion’s mind – he cannot mentally withstand it because the scale of it is simply too much for him to take it all at once. Suddenly though, it seems that his consciousness fades into nothing temporarily, shutting out all the chaos around him despite the noise – likely to be numbing himself. Then, he hears the cries of a baby.
A baby, in the embrace of his dead mother, draws the attention of the duo. Shion slowly gets up with the intention to save him, despite the possible dangers. He shoves off Nezumi who tries to discourage him from doing so, but to no avail. Then, he watches Shion wrap up the baby in a calm manner despite the chaos surrounding them, and tells the dog that’s been following them to take the baby to Inukashi.
They now are part of a crowd of survivors who have been rounded up to be transported to somewhere, and as Shion apologises again for getting them into this mess…Nezumi finally tells him the real plan. About getting captured on purpose since there’s no other way into the correctional facility, to the specific first block when Safu is. The doubt lingers a while on Shion’s expression before being replaced once more with a grim resolution.
Back in Lost Town, Karan looks like she’s finally returned from wandering about, and Yoming’s waiting for her by the doorstep. Jeeper creepers. He’s come to ask about the offer, but Karan’s only concerned about Shion. Yoming once more attempts to twist Shion’s rather unknown situation to his cause and then talks about the witnesses to the recent parasitic bee attacks. How they’ve all been either killed or used for experiments – and that the Twilight House, the so-called perfect hospice, is nothing but a front to get rid of the useless people to the population.
Yoming then continues about how he’s about to begin a revolution on the Holy Day, to rise up against No. 6. How just one more little push is needed to break open the ugly truth…and he sounds like an utter fanatic, overly obsessed with his notions that it’s scaring Karan, similarly to the people who built No. 6.
Just then Nezumi’s messager mouse appears and Karan picks up the letter hoping that it’s Shion but no, it’s Nezumi; in it, Nezumi has written that Karan and Shion will be reunited…but the question is at what cost for Nezumi?
As the trucks drive the people from the west to the facility, people can be heard sobbing, whimpering, all sorts of down when suddenly Nezumi starts singing what seems to be like a folk song for his people. (It’s so folksy, I’ll poke at it later.)
Lyrics for anyone who might need them, based off fansubs:
On a distant mountaintop,
snow melts into a stream
bringing life to the beech forest.
The village is covered in flowers now.
Young maidens, lovelier than the flowers,
pledge their love in the beech forest.
soak your feet in the green water,
run like the deer,
and kiss the maiden before the flowers wilt.
Nezumi coughs almost what seems like out of modesty after singing, and despite receiving praise from Shion, he says matter-of-factly that it can only let one momentarily forget their suffering, but it’ll still be there, undeniably so. ‘A song cannot save anyone.’
Not forgetting Safu, we hear Safu’s voice in some darkness, and she’s contacted by Elyurias – what seems like a link. And then the chamber containing her is emptied of water as the scientists assume that she’s ready to be used when suddenly…it seems the system goes crazy, and Elyurias strikes them down while they scream off-screen…
The main duo are reaching their destination as Nezumi tells Shion that what he might see there might change him – while he knows nothing much about Shion, he doesn’t want Shion to change. Shion looks almost worried and surprised that Nezumi knows what is inside, but his question goes unanswered as Nezumi wraps him up in his usual blanket/scarf and the people are thrown out of the back of the truck like rubbish being dumped at a waste facility…into a black abyss.
This is such a negative episode. In so many ways. I suppose it’s because it’s building up to the climax that we’re all waiting for, but pacing might be ridiculous in the last two episode since there’s so much in the novel that’s why to be covered. Unless they do an hour episode or something which is highly unlikely.
Somebody on LJ mentioned that Nezumi looked really off, which I didn’t notice for the first time around, but when I went to screencap I found it really odd at times. Say, for example, Nezumi’s face when he speaks to the manager of the theatre. But generally animation for this episode wasn’t up to the usual standard. Not only with Nezumi, but for some of the other characters as well – Shion looked weird at some parts, and a number of the in-betweens look way too off to just be in-betweens orz.
Plot-wise if you refer to any novel translations out there, you’ll know some parts have been shortened – firstly the sexual assault scene, which what happens to Inukashi, when held at knife-point by Nezumi the official still actually wants to get Nezumi’s services. Plus, hat torture scene was cut much shorter than the original, and there’s quite a notable section about Nezumi that’s missing. Shion actually witnesses the torture and realises that despite how much he says Nezumi is nice/kind/etc to him, he’s really a type of ‘demon’ inside. Apparently, it’s really bloody too. If you wish to know more, the LJ community has some decent summaries/translations of this part!
Going to the music in this episode – while the scene of massacre had somewhat fitting music plus the oppressive feel, Nezumi’s song was just…awful in some way. Sure, it was nice to hear him sing (heck, I loved it when he did it in the previous episode) but this time was sort of ruined by many factors ie the background music, the situation/environment and AGAIN THE BGM why so folksy and happyhappygreenfairyvillageyaaay. I couldn’t help but actually facedesk at this one, though it’s too late to regret it.
Don’t have much comments this week because of time constraints plus work plus studies but kjdlkja many things! For those who read regularly, plus note that for the last two episodes, I might stagger posts till about Wednesdays/Thursdays as well, right before the next episode in any case. It is majorly a recap post, so I’ll do my best to rush things out. Picture-wise though that might drop because I have little time at home to screencap.
Once NO.6 ends though, I might either take up another series to recap/review again, from the Fall 2011 lineup. If you readers have any preferences drop me a comment/message/what-have-you, I already am planning to watch some series when they start!
PREVIEW: Holy Day is here! We see awesomecrazynutjobrebel!Yoming and Lili looking scared while Karan attempts to comfort her fear. Nezumi and Shion now are sneaking around the facility, avoiding shots, dressing in lab coats for camouflage… Inukashi and Rikiga are sneaking around too, in No. 6. Safu calls desperately for Shion, and then we see Nezumi getting knocked down and screaming and crying. Oh gosh, so much to see and cram in one episode, till then!