The Plot So Far:
「CALL & RESPONSE」
“What first walks on two legs, then on four legs, and finally three legs?
“You’re an accomplice, but you’re not one of us. If you make one false move, I’ll kill you.
「CALL & RESPONSE」
Every action has a consequence. The question is, how far reaching will those consequences be? Depending on what you do, the aftermath of an incident could affect just you or the entire whole world. The scope of an action’s consequences depend on the action itself, and at least in regards to prototypical terrorists, it’s all about committing action that yields the biggest of impacts. In this regard, the successful demolition of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building qualifies as such an action, but the twist lies within the fact that it led to zero deaths, and it looks far from accidental why this is the case. Considering the obvious intelligence of our Sphinx protagonists, it’s clear they intended for this result to happen, and although we knew this from the start, it only hammers in that they are far from your run-of-the-mill terrorists.
Rather than masterminding an event that maximizes casualties, Nine and Twelve actually end up doing the opposite, and it makes you wonder what exactly is their intent is. Two episodes in, this question’s shrouded in mystery more than ever before, covered by an impressive show of smoke and mirrors. Just when you think they don’t care about getting caught, you realize that they made sure the cameras were disabled when they placed their explosives. Just when you think they actually do care, they do things like letting Lisa return to her daily life, leave riddles that could actually lead authorities to their explosives… the list goes on. It’s as if their whole existence is contradictory in nature, and I’m not sure whether or not to believe they’re just playing a game, overly confident of their success, or merely intend to slowly escalate things towards a nuclear finale.
In ways, it’s as if they’re asking to be caught, and you just don’t know because all of this could be part of their intent. Maybe they don’t intend to come out of this alive to come out of this at all. Maybe they’re doing all this just to expose some of the vulnerabilities or darker elements of society. Just like the riddles they’re use as a test bed for police responses, our protagonists are equally hard to figure out, and as it stands, it’s a fabulously executed show from this perspective—albeit not without its share of controversy.
Make no mistake, Watanabe clearly references the 9/11 attacks more than once in these first two episodes—the footage from the beginning of this episode is identical to what we saw here in New York—and it’s an inclusion that’s bold, risky, questionable, and laudable at the same time. He’s walking a fine with an event that still resonates with many 13 years after the fact, and the jury’s still out on whether or not this ends up being a wise choice on his part. At the very least though, he’s clearly got the atmosphere laid out—I felt the chills run down my spine on those scenes—and it’s great to hear Kanno breaking out her trademark style with regards to the series’ simple yet powerful soundtrack (which notably, has already been released).
- The police—everyone except Shibazaki and perhaps Kurahashi—are merely being strung along at this point, and it’s clear that Sphinx is more than just one or two steps ahead of them. The question is how long will this last? How much of this will be as intended on the part of our cast? And does Kurahashi know more than he’s letting on? There’s definitely a part of me that feels like he intentionally went along with the wrong deduction in order to draw Shibazaki back in the game…
- Lisa returns to what’s generally a normal life, but how long will that last? Her life’s clearly not all sunshine and rainbows, which leaves her stuck between a rock and a hard place. It comes as a surprise that she doesn’t end up joining our Sphinx group—once again a conscious decision on the latter’s part—but that could still change. Alternatively, will it be that she eventually conjures up the courage to report them instead? And would that actually be part of Sphinx’s plan as well?
- Considering their relative youth and seemingly charismatic nature, one of the biggest things to fear are those of a similar age identifying with Sphinx, which could very well be part of their intent. Give things enough of a push and I can see quite a bit of youth following them in a kind of “cool thing to do” movement—especially since their actions don’t seem to have any intent to kill—which could bode grim for the rest of the nation’s constituents.