「奈落にあるもの」 (Naraku ni Aru Mono)
“What Lies in the Abyss”
Wow. Episode 10 of No. 6 certainly went straight for the jugular, serving up an orgy of shocking imagery and gross brutality from the good guys as well as the bad.
For such an earnest and seemingly old-fashioned anime as this often seems to be, it has quite the talent for slapping the audience in the face occasionally. Seeing a baby being nursed by a dog is certainly a first for me, anime or otherwise – and that’s just for starters. I guess Dogkeeper’s stories about her background (I’m back feeling pretty safe with “her”) were meant more literally than I expected. I’m not sure which was more interesting, hearing the baby call her “Mama” or her reaction to it when Rikiga asked why. Is there more to that angle? Is there enough time left to find out?
It’s obvious now why Nezumi was so worried about Shion changing when he saw what was at the bottom of the abyss they and their fellow prisoners were dumped into. While the reasons are not clear – the Soylent Green theory still seems possible, especially given the extensive close-ups of delicious baked goods in Karan’s shop in the scene immediately following – the human wreckage of No. 6’s foraging and killing expeditions in the West District are apparently dumped into massive mountains of flesh, dead and alive. Nezumi implies that the entire city is built (literally or symbolically we’re not sure) on these masses of victims. The entire sequence was agreeably horrible and disturbing, again – I believe quite intentionally – calling to mind imagery from a Nazi death camp.
Also disturbing, for reasons both good and bad from a dramatic standpoint, was the specter of Shion and Nezumi making their way through the correctional facility towards Safu, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake (in a beautifully animated BONES-y action sequence). The first time Nezumi shot a guard was mildly jarring, but the key moment of that exchange was his reaction when Shion made no complaints about it. Nezumi knew that for all his “I don’t want you to change” admonitions, something had broken inside Shion right then and there, but little did he – or we – know that Shion would not only shoot a guard to defend Nezumi, but then calmly walk up to the wounded man and pop him again to finish him off with extreme prejudice. The good part of that was yes, it was effective in totally shattering our image of the character, and shocking as hell. The bad, for me anyway, was that I thought it was a bit far-fetched to see Shion so thoroughly desensitized to violence that his nature would completely change in so short a time. Of course he saw terrible things and he was angry to witness Nezumi wounded, but it happened a bit too quickly to be believable – unless of course there was some sort of mind control (Elyurias?) going on, which could have been vaguely hinted at if you really want to believe you saw it.
As things stand, both strike teams have infiltrated the facility and Shion and Nezumi (he must be a tough SOB to take two gunshot wounds and merrily march on with nothing more than a couple of strips of cloth to bind the wounds) have finally met with Safu. She seems…changed, and quite clearly under Elyurias’ control. Of course we don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing just yet, and there are signs of all hell breaking loose in the city as well, where Karan’s little friend Lily is suddenly terrified because “something is out there”. The wasps, Elyurias, Safu, the baby – we just don’t know how it all fits together yet, and whether Elyurias is a force for good or evil. But things are shaping up nicely for an interesting conclusion, if a bit of a hurried one. It’s obvious in watching that this was condensed down from a much bigger story, but BONES have managed to give us something quite entertaining and occasionally very impactful. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works out.