「災厄の舞台」 (Saiyaku no Butai)
“Stage of Disaster”

Even though it isn’t always working for me, in a way I really admire NO.6 to sticking to its guns. Nine episodes in and it’s still preposterously theatrical, comically sincere and terribly muddled. But at least it doesn’t sell itself out and try to be something it’s not.

Certainly, this show is the successor to the “brain” segment of NoitaminA, following in the path of Fractale and C. While the “heart” block of Hourou Musuko, AnoHana and now Usagi Drop has plowed ahead with three unqualified successes – at least in artistic if not always financial terms – the brain block has tended to suffer from grandiose ambition, sloppy writing and rushed conclusions. While I’d rank NO.6 as (just) the better than its two predecessors – especially C – it’s not immune from what ailed them. It’s becoming clear that BONES is trying hard to capture the essence of an awful lot of novel material into these four hours of anime, and as a result the story is starting to get lost in a flood of ideas, emotions and plotlines.

My conjecture that the Twilight House was in fact a kind of Logan’s Run turned out to be correct, if Yoming is to be believed – and as it wasn’t a terribly hard guess I’d think he’s probably right. In fact, the allusions to Nazism as regards the government of No. 6 are becoming more and more obvious as time goes by. Euthanizing those who aren’t any use to them, enslaving those that are – and if the storming of the “ghetto” of the West District, killing massive amounts of civilians before rounding up and loading the rest onto trucks, then unceremoniously dumping the prisoners like bricks of coal – these are about as obvious as allusions can get. If the goal is to give some historical perspective and to cement in our minds just how evil the government is, mission accomplished.

The evil was flowing pretty early in this episode, though. We’re reminded that Rikiga is basically a pimp as he delivers a special girl to one of his clients, a high-ranking official of No. 6. The “girl” is Dogkeeper and it’s all a plan to capture the official and torture him until he gives our heroes a map of the correctional facility, but what struck me here is how even now, I still can’t figure out what gender Dogkeeper is. Rikiga’s comment about a young girl looking like a boy could be taken either way, as could Shion’s reaction after hugging the stricken Dogkeeper – “Hey, you’re a-“ Just what did Shion feel – one lump or two? Above or below the equator? It’s pretty audacious of BONES to play these games so late in the series, but I’ll again salute them for going all-in with the absurdity. Whatever the gender, seeing Dogkeeper (who’s oddly emerged as my favorite character in the show) degraded like that was pretty harsh – a real no-punches pulled moment.

Nezumi got his chance to sing again this week, this time as a caged bird, and they let him finish his entire song. Again, I can’t think there are too many series that would have done that, or could have done it without looking comically stupid – but here, it sort of fit. Nezumi, of course, knows what he’s going to see on the inside and he prepares Shion by telling him that it will likely change him forever. Whatever it is, it’s almost assuredly tied in to the reason why No.6 needs all these prisoners and why Safu is being groomed for… something. That’s a nice cliffhanger, as my mind goes to ideas like Soylent Green or worse, but whatever it is, it’s surely pretty grisly. And just how do the parasitic wasps fit into all this?

Also a nice cliffhanger is Shion, Nezumi and their fellow prisoners being dropped into thin air with no hints as to what lies at the bottom of their descent – but given that being captured was the plan all along as the only way in to the facility, Nezumi presumably knows something besides death awaits at the bottom. On the inside, the city is preparing for it’s “Holy Day” celebrations and Karan appears to have lost her only ally in Yoming, who’s disgusted that she was involved in the founding of the city (I’m surprised he didn’t know that, given his background). Safu has awakened, and she’s heard the voice of Elyurias. Already she seems to be throwing a wrench into the plans of her captors, so perhaps it’s that path where hope lies. Shion the ultimate idealist still has grand plans of living happily with Nezumi, Safu (that could get interesting) and Karan as free folk outside No.6, but we’re a long way from that looking possible as things stand.


On a separate note, I’ve posted the Fall Season Preview over at my site. If anyone would care to check it out and let me know what you’re looking forward to this Fall, please stop by. At this point I don’t know which shows I’ll be covering here and which over there, but it looks like a pretty solid season – though with fewer overall series and more sequels than a typical Fall.





    ….I’m sorry I had to….

    I wonder about elyurias (that’s a mouth full) and safu…maybe elyurias is controlling safu or something….I’m actually pretty excited now all nazi allusions aside…

      1. how is it depressing? Is it because it’s only going to be a 2-episode OVA? Or is it because it only covers the Kyoto arc, thus ending any speculation that we’ll ever see Kenshin getting a happy ending?

      2. Yes and yes – though those who want the real ending – and I mean that literally – can always read the manga. I’m not a fan of the fanfic ending in the OVAs, and neither is Watsuki.

        For me, it’d depressing because the entire last arc of the manga is 11 kinds of awesome and it’s never been animated. So to hear that rather than finally see that adapted in a series, we get a two-episode OVA retelling of the part of the manga that was already adapted brilliantly, told from the POV of a minor character who wasn’t even present for the good stuff? Depressing? Hell, yeah – but it’s my own fault for getting my hopes up.

        Oh, and it’s DEEN too – that’s the cherry. It was probably going to be anyway but one can always hope…

  2. It seems like it will be pretty hard to satisfactorily tie up this series. I mean they just saved a baby, will be executing the near-impossible plan, Safu is doing… something, Yoming looks to be going insane and needs to rediscover the light, the whole issue with the founding of No. 6 has yet to be resolved, etc. etc… and there are only two episodes left! So I have to wonder if there will be a sequel, or if they are planning on covering the entire series? I don’t know.

    (Also, since this note is so brief I think I’ll just throw it in here, about Persona 4: I heard the Persona animes were ehh, but Persona 4 the game was fantastic! Even if the anime sucks (hope it doesn’t of course) you should try to play it!)

  3. Regarding Dogkeeper, the way I understood it was that they’d assumed she was a male when she is in fact female. I don’t know about the novels since I haven’t read them, but Rikiga commented that young girls and boys are not that different. That seems like he’s saying Dogkeeper could get away with looking like a young girl despite being male. But then when Dogkeeper shows an extreme negative reaction and Sion touches her, it’s then that he realizes that she actually is female. At least that’s what I thought.

  4. haha is the gender of Inukashi going to be the next hot topic after that kiss?

    I did think she was a girl then what Rikiga said in this episode confused me. “If they are young there isn’t much difference between boys and girls”, which I thought was a hint that she was indeed a boy, then when Shion touched him/her and the way he reacted made me think she was a girl again so I am very VERY confused lol.

    During the scene when Shion confronted her she wasn’t wearing much as usual so I was thinking to myself “Turn around so I can see your breast and decide on if you are a girl or not” XD Too bad she always had her back towards us.

    Anyway, No. 6 is so cruel. They dumped those people like how they dump rubbish. And that killing and how they dispose old people from that place. Shion and Nezumi better get them!

    I really can’t wait for the next episode. The story is really moving on. Shion getting angry because Nezumi got hurt 😀 I can’t wait.

  5. This episode somehow reminded me of Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa (I think that’s where the Nazism come into play). Yeah, everything seems so grandiose – so many ridiculous things being introduced even at this part of the series. But it works for me! It’s so daring like a flamboyant theater actor who doesn’t care getting naked on-stage.

  6. Erm, not to be pedantic, but Shion’s about the last person to really be overly concerned about gender. Also, considering Dogkeeper’s behavior, the washing and the barely restrained tears, I’m fairly sure Shion’s “You–” moment was actually him realizing that this was probably not the first time Dogkeeper has been sexually abused.

    Just sayin’.

    1. Think you’re looking into it a bit too far.

      Shion’s “You-” comment could only really be interpreted as a statement regarding Dogkeeper’s gender. Why would Shion recognize a previous rape/sexual abuse victim by squeezing their shoulders? That wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, at least to me.

      1. I don’t think so? I mean, look at how Dogkeeper is acting during that scene, crying and trying very hard not to break down while talking about how horrible it was and how come Nezumi didn’t act sooner to stop it. The shoulder touching thing doesn’t really have anything to do with Shion’s realization, he just happens to put two and two together at that moment. Judging from Shion’s expression and how quickly removes his hands, I think he’s horrified at that thought. Also, I try not to nitpick subs, but Shion says “君, 若しかして…” which literally translated is more along the lines of “You, perhaps…”

        Besides, how can you tell a person’s gender simply by holding their shoulders? 😉

    2. Well, the first thing that pops into the mind is that Shion might have realized Inukashi (Dog Keeper) is a robot/cyborg. What can you know from touching someone’s shoulders? Plus there were so much emphasis on how Inukashi keeps saying how he/she’ll stay alive no matter what happens. Some how I think she partially robotic which makes her immortal or sth.

  7. The trucks dumping people into the pit reminds me of garbage trucks unloading the junk. They don’t give a damn whether they’re human or not. That is just so…. wrong…. Can’t wait till Shion + Nezumi destroy the facility.

  8. Uhm, so, I think I’ve totally missed something or I’m being stupid, and I know this is not the point of it, but I like to be correct, so: I don’t think this should be called Nazism. I don’t want to see more into these events, than they are.
    The government is getting rid of people who are undesired (marked as useless or dangerous) I think this is called a purge. Killing, enslaving and using people also can be part of the purge.
    Nazism is a more complex ideology. Surely purge was also a method there (like it was at other places/times) but it is a smaller piece of the whole. (…and I already hate myself for starting this argument so I deleted this beautifully written part that took me an hour to translate, lol) Don’t hate me, just saying.

    And I’m voting for Inukashi being a girl. : D

  9. Inukashi’s a gall for me, from ep 1, and the way “she” reacts sometimes, putting a strong facade, but when the was being “raped” she totally broke down, im pretty sure a male would endure little more if it was all planed or beat the shit out of the rapist…

    My thought line…
    Shion confirms it, he saw a feminine figure, not sure he saw 2 blobs of fat or not but he saw\felt something…

  10. Nezumi sure knows how to play the hero. The person who is voicing him can really sing good. I wonder what those tank-like machines are shooting out…wind? sound-wave? I can’t begin to imagine what’s in store for Nezumi and Shion at the correctional facility. They really are falling into hell.

  11. Safu is Safu is…. a bug? Maybe the queen wasp to control the other wasp from killing people? There must be a reason why we can’t see her body and it is the only 1st person view in this anime.

  12. deafvader: That’s what I thought too. If so it does make sense why those guys screamed din the end. I really hate the thought of Safu being a bug though so I hope that is not the case. I’m just hoping she just got extremely powerful without much effect to her physical appearance.

    1. Well, making her into something not human, or something which would die if she leaves the tank is an easy way to ship Sion and Rat since the competition aint human anymore. Considering this is shounen-ai show it seems highly plausible to sacrifice the “extra” girl.

  13. Not sure if this is a spoiler but:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    I’m rather disappointed that they’re trying to squeeze everything within 11 episodes. I’d rather see the storyline of the anime left unfinished than the way it is going right now. Following Baccano!’s example would be nice, but hey I know they’re never going to do that…

  14. Inukashi is CLEARLY a girl. She acts like a boy, or at least definitely doesn’t act like your typical girl, so Rikaga and Shion etc think/thought she was a boy (hence Rikaga’s comment). I’m sure it would be traumatic for a young boy or girl to have an old man creepin’ on you like that, but maybe more-so if you’re a girl.

    Anyway Shion realizes after Inukashi cries into his arms that maybe Inukashi is actually a girl…

  15. Great review to go along with an amazing episode!

    I also think that Inukashi/Dog Keeper is female. When I first saw Inukashi, I was fairly certain that she was a girl, although her look is very unique and she sure doesn’t act like your typical female. Rikiga’s comment threw me, because I had no idea that the others considered Inukashi to be a boy; I mean, really, tomboy =/= male. That being said, the scene immediately afterwards clinched it for me. Inukashi looked really feminine, and I doubt a boy would have acted in quite that fashion. In addition, I really don’t know how Shion’s comment can be taken any other way; to me, it seemed obvious that the creators were hinting that Inukashi is a girl. Plus, Inukashi and the baby? (which I think is the next episode, but whatever) Yep. I think that pretty much settles it.

    Mr. E

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