No. 6 9
This post was published on 06/09.
Similar to Fractale (you know something’s bad when you start comparing something to Fractale), it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly /where/ No. 6 started to go wrong. One could say that it started with the introduction of Elyurias, but that’s like saying Fractale started going downhill when they showed us that Nessa was Phryne’s clone. Sidetracking a bit, the parallels between the two are almost too scary – Phryne was a successful clone among many thousands of other Phrynes, while Safu was (presumably) a successful Elyurias (I’m about 95% sure this is what No. 6 is trying to do with her) among many thousands of other tests.
Anyways, No. 6 really started going down when it started doing too many things at once. Steins;Gate is a success because it never tries to do too much – all of Rintarou’s actions are straightforward, and everything develops around him. The world of No. 6 develops around many different characters, some of whom shouldn’t matter. Introducing the wasps as a main antagonist was already too much – it’s enough for Shion to just handle the government of No. 6. After that, talking about the founding of No. 6 and Elyurias just overloaded the entire thing, similar to how Fractale extending Lost Millennium and that little arc about Xanadu just blew the show apart. There’s just so much you can fit into 11 episodes, and sometimes, more is less.
With so many different things put together, you’d expect the writers to not go even further, but they still do, adding small details that DON’T MATTER AT ALL – that part with Krein’s father just dying was absolutely stupid, and similarly, that part with Shion’s initial ARGHBLARGH HULK SMASH with Rikiga was absolutely stupid too. Admittedly, the former could have been better if Krein’s father actually mattered, and the latter could have been better if Shion’s rage (due to the parasitic wasps) was used in some way in later episodes, but neither happened.
One last Fractale comparison before we move on: both No. 6 and Fractale deal with a battle against a shady government (the Fractale System, No. 6). I don’t mean shady as in ‘bad’, I mean shady as in we know absolutely nothing about them except that they’re bad. Throughout Fractale, we don’t see the daily life of one in the Fractale System – look at the huge difference between Krein’s life and a Xanaduian’s life. If we saw just a day in the life of somebody living there, we would easily be able to support the system instead of ‘evil evil evil must die let’s all go back to agriculture because THAT’S COOL THING TO DO’. Throughout No. 6, we do see the daily life of Shion in No. 6, but not of anybody else. Why should we care about a minority if the majority are perfectly happy? Think about the millions of lives that would be utterly destroyed if No. 6’s government was overthrown, just as the millions of lives that were destroyed when the Fractale System was overthrown. You could argue for both that overthrowing the government was ‘the right thing to do’ – but does the person whose wife was killed due to lack of hospital care care? Does the person whose best friend died because the police didn’t intervene care? Does the person who was getting ready for a new treatment that would save his life, only to find out that the scientific laboratory researching the serum was destroyed by No. 6 dissenters, does that person care that you did ‘the right thing’?
That was eerily philosophical, and I don’t want to delve into that until the end (whoops, I already did), so I’ll talk more about the show’s flaws.
Actually, there’s not much more to talk about, other than the producers’ questionable morals (unless they’re doing this so that we’ll think the other way…), since every main plot problem (questionable morals aren’t a problem – in fact, they should be encouraged so that we can question the questionable morals…) can be summed up by No. 6 being a novel adaptation (Fractale wasn’t as lucky) and having 11 episodes.
It’s obvious that the novel contains far more information than any producer could cram into 11 episodes, and they’ve already made some concessions by leaving several characters out and diverging from the original plotline. While a series of novels (that could be of indefinite length) can explore multiple main plot threads simultaneously (No. 6, parasitic wasps, and Elyurias), an anime that has a set number of episodes can’t – and that’s where all the problems come from. Perhaps they can’t exclude Elyurias from the adaptation, or maybe they can’t exclude Youming either (with the removal of either, much more time could be freed up to do other things, such as explore Nezumi’s still very mysterious past and mysterious rats) – or maybe the producers actually do suck, and didn’t read the novel in advance.
If they really can’t exclude Elyurias or Youming, it’s obvious what the next episodes are going to hold – a Fractale-esque (that’s right) epic battle between forces, with a final conclusion that neither Youming’s anarchic rebels nor No. 6’s oppressive leaders are right, and that moderation is key (though Youming seems right on all counts but his sanity and rape of Karan (which takes a much darker tone this episode with Inukashi and all) – just because a person is creepy doesn’t mean his ideals are wrong) and that everybody should take a chill pill. I really wish that No. 6 was given a first chance, y’know – sacrificing a few for the happiness of many and all that. Portraying the No. 6 officials and police as emotionless, robotic bullies is really shallow – the point is not to look at No. 6 through the view of a biased criminal (Shion /is/ a criminal who helped Nezumi escape), but through an omniscient narrator who can see all aspects of it at once.
That’s all on that topic – there’s a lot more I could say, but not more that makes sense.
Uh, I feel like Youming’s stirring unnecessary resentment of No. 6 (or just wants to rape Karan). All retirement homes are just a place for old people to die… why would the Twilight House be any different? At least they can die happily instead of in pain. Saying ‘The Twilight House… IS AN EXECUTION CHAMBER!!! D:’ is basically saying ‘Old people… WILL DIE!!! D:’, or saying ‘Banks… TAKE PEOPLE’S MONEY!!! D:’.
The scenery is repeating now – there’s not much budget left for No. 6. Even the music feels cheaply done and out-of-place, especially during the demolition of West District and Nezumi’s singing. How could somebody’s voice echo so well in a truck filled with people that’s also bouncing on the road? The demolition of West District probably also used Elyurias’s power – is it a power of destruction or of growth? Or is this the power of science vs. the power of nature? Speaking of that, I was totally expecting Nezumi to HARNESS THE POWER OF ELYURIAS when he raised his hands to DEFLECT AGAINST THE EVIL SCIENCE, but he was actually just surrendering.
Not even the entirety of the West District was demolished – for example, Rikiga obviously waited out the assault. Everybody knows of the (perhaps annual?) cleanup, but not only is there no resistance (not even planting bombs under everybody’s houses, which might cripple the military there), but they manage to rebuild every year regardless? What’s the point of ‘cleaning up’ the West District anyways, if no No. 6er even goes there (it’s in the middle of a fucking landfill for God’s sake), and they aren’t planning to do anything to No. 6 anyways?
If there’s one thing I love, it’s how the show keeps Inukashi’s gender unknown throughout – that is something the show has just done masterfully. If only that talent could be used on more important things, such as making the plot comprehensible? Or maybe, just developing the characters more. For a show like No. 6, they could have both developed the main characters (Nezumi, Shion, and maybe Inukashi) and had a decent action-filled plot, but now, with two episodes left and neither completed, the show will have to choose. Does it want to end with a bang, a senseless rescue of Safu that somehow ‘saves’ the entirety of No. 6? Does it want to end questionably, with Shion ‘triumphing’ and overthrowing No. 6, or with No. 6 ‘triumphing’ and the wasps winning (both are valid, as both are very, very discussable)? Or does it want to continue the development between Nezumi and Shion that was the main point of the show at the very beginning (not from, because it’s hardly the main point now)?
Wow, gosh, that was a long post. I suppose I’ll summarize it as such:
1. No. 6 did not start failing at any one point.
2. No. 6 does not have enough time to go through multiple plot threads.
3. Shion is not necessarily ‘right’ and No. 6 is not necessarily ‘wrong’.
4. No. 6 is going to have to develop the plot or the characters.
5. Nezumi is a loser.