NO.6 – 01
OP: 「Spell」 by LAMA
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「びしょぬれネズミ」 (Bishonure Nezumi)
The BL is strong with this one.
If it’s Thursday it must be NoitaminA, if it’s the second slot it must be an edgy fantastical series, and if it’s BONES sci-fi the plot must be indecipherably complex. So far, No. 6 looks to be meeting demand in all three areas.
With your heartstrings suitably tugged at by Usagi Drop – the successor to Hourou Musuko and AnoHana – No. 6 takes over the cerebral half of the bill from Fractale and C. I hope it’s ultimately more successful than those interestingly but flawed series – based on the premiere episode it’s too early to say. There were some very nice things here, and some that were already awkward and a bit stilted.
Based on a best-selling YA novel series by Asanao Atsuko, No. 6 is set in the near-future (2013) in the fictional city No. 6, a kind of model city that emerged after a war we aren’t given much detail about. It’s somewhat delicate Shion’s 12th birthday, and after spending some time at the house of his quixotically interested girl classmate Safu (Yasuno Kiyono), where he receives a cake, a kiss (“I’m expressing my reproductive impulse!”) and a bad sweater, Shion (Kaji Yuuki) heads off to his futuristic home.
Shion, it emerges, is a genius – a top-ranking student raised as an elite since the age of 2. This is obviously a highly segregated society though again, details thus far are short. As Shion thrills at the prospect of a coming typhoon which makes the Moondrop (some kind of futuristic communications dome at the center of town) “cry” (it sounds a lot like whale song), he throws open his window and screams exultantly into the gale. But through his open window appears Nezumi (Rat), a wild-looking boy with long hair and a wound on his shoulder. Nezumi (Hosoya Yoshimasa) is an escaped criminal. Shion seems to rather take to the idea of hiding a girlish-looking feral boy in his room, treating his wounds, “forehead-kissing” and holding hands. Rat, for his part mocking Shion’s defenseless nature and willingness to let a dangerous stranger take advantage of his kindness, is in no position to refuse it.
In terms of plot, there just isn’t enough in this first episode to make much of a guess where this is going. Clearly Shion and Nezumi are going to become BFFs, and just as clearly from the ED there’s going to be a time-skip of 3-4 years at some point and Shion’s hair is going to pull a Victorique and turn white for some reason – must be a BONES thing. It’s more than a little jarring to me to hear the voices of 30 year-old men – making no effort to disguise them – coming from these bishounen, prepubescent character designs. Obviously it’s a “we didn’t want to have to change seiyuu” kind of thing, and that leads me to believe the skip is happening sooner than later – but it still lends an inadvertently comedic effect to the scene in Shion’s bedroom.
As with anything BONES, the series looks good and the animation is smooth and fluid. The character designs are classic BONES too, the boys pretty and the girls cute. There’s going to be a lot of violence and and fast-paced action down the line, presumably, as this definitely has the feel of a 1984/Brave New World scenario where society takes way too much direct control over people’s lives. Shion and Nezumi in some sort of resistance movement? Shion banished as punishment for helping Nezumi and turning to him for help to survive? Plausible enough guesses, as good as any others based on the thin evidence of the first episode.
But it seems as if the fate of this series as an entertainment is going to turn on whether the relationship between Shion and Nezumi can carry the show – much of the episode consists of close-ups of the two boys staring at each other. I’m guessing the BL undertones will never rise above the level of undertones a la shows like Pandora Hearts and this show’s numerically-named cousin 07 Ghost, but either way that doesn’t matter so much as the quality of their friendship itself. Like everything else it’s too early to say whether it will succeed in this area. As popular as the novels were I’d like to assume there’s substance there – we have yet another new director in charge, Nagasaki Kenji, so that’s nothing to go on. It’s NoitaminA and it’s BONES, so that’s enough reason to be hopeful if not overconfident.
ED: 「六等星の夜」 (Rokutousei no Yoru) by Aimer
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