The Plot So Far:


  • Six Months Prior: Nine and Twelve steal nuclear materials from a processing plant.
  • Present Day: Posing as students, the two members of “Sphinx” successfully demolish the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.


  • Sphinx’s attack is revealed to have caused no casualties as they successfully launch a second attack on the Roppongi Police Station.


  • Shibazaki re-enters the fray, solving the newest riddle and preventing another bombing.

“A name is usually a gift of love. But for you who have been abandoned, love does not exist. Signs of pretense like that must be eliminated.


“Don’t get carried away with your child’s play. The joker you guys are waving around isn’t a toy.



Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages. Let us welcome to the stage Detective “Razor” Shibazaki. Armed with a sharp mind, an unwillingness to back down, and righteous indignation, he comes to save the citizens of Tokyo from the terrorists known as Sphinx. By successfully answering Sphinx’s newest riddle, Shibazaki proves himself capable as expected, but one wonders how far he’ll actually be able to go. Or should I say, how far will Sphinx let him go?

Because if there’s one thing for certain, it’s that our protagonists are still multiple steps ahead. Every clue so far has been of the intentional variety, and of course, the riddles themselves come as no exception. The fact that the police have someone capable enough to actually solve them puts them on better footing than they were before, but they still have nothing on Sphinx, and it doesn’t look like it’s a notion that’ll change anytime soon—at least until Sphinx decides its time to give them a more substantial piece of information to chew on.

And really, that’s the name of the game here. Sphinx has the police force hook, line, and sinker, and the latter has no choice but to go for it each time. The feeling one gets is that Sphinx’ll inevitably do something that’ll give the police a chance to catch them (they seem perfectly fine with not getting out of this alive), but likely not before they guide the police to some kind of resolution they want—a resolution that’ll likely involve exposing something about the institution they were in before. That much seems certain at least, and one wonders if all of this might actually have roots in the situation that put Shibazaki in the archives in the first place, even if the timeline makes it seem far-fetched.

Considering the mythology and references so far, there’s a clear thread of fate linking the two, and it’s all about the interplay between Shibazaki and Sphinx at this point. Each of them has an axe to grind due to their past, and it looks like it’ll be a match to the death filled with quality interactions reminiscent of those between L and Light from Death Note a few years back.

Interestingly enough though, I can’t help but think that given different circumstances, Shibazaki, Sphinx, and Lisa are all people who could’ve gotten along quite well, with the former acting as a kind of needed father figure for kids that have seen and experienced a lot more than they should have, and clearly lack both the parental guidance and love received by normal children. Granted, it can be said it’s because these are the circumstances that our characters are who they are. In that case it’s a bit of a moot point, but it does go to show how well they’re developing each of the characters and their interactions.


Looking Forward:

  • Lisa’s Role – As the weeks go by, it looks more and more likely that she’ll inevitably join Sphinx in some shape or form due to the situation with her mother and classmates, who are slowly pushing Lisa to the brink. It’s a sad situation to say the least—especially when you consider who she could be given some of the traits we’ve seen so far despite things being how they are—but it highlights the impact certain events and people have on our lives, which seems to be a key notion here.
  • The Mythology – Another arguably important aspect of the series seems to be the notion of there being multiple interpretations of the same thing depending on your perspective. Each of the riddles presented by Sphinx has had multiple versions, and it’s a notion that’s led to a variety of interpretations. The key here is to land at the right one, but there seems to be no real punishment for not getting the right answer (none of the bombings have had any deaths or intent to kill), which seems to give more support to the notion that Sphinx is intentionally guiding them to some kind of predetermined end, with the mythology clearly playing a significant role.


  1. Some things I have noticed this episode:

    – 9 and 12’s only interactions with adults during childhood is a loveless one. From a young age, they were robbed of the connection of ‘Love’ and instead given numbers

    – The mock ‘puzzles and dragons’ game that Shibasaki’s colleague plays is a perfect example of CONNECTION that the main characters of the show lack. Extremely popular in Japan, and now spreading in the States as well, the game is essentially about connecting with the people that you play the game with. The seemingly insignificant comedic side character seems to be the only adult in the show that is truly interacting with those of a younger generation.

    – Shibazaki’s past: he lived in a town (Hiroshima) where everyone was old, and didn’t leave the house during the Summer. It was interesting that during his briefing at the park, he shrugged off the notion that he was involved in the case for the simple fact that he had personal feelings against atomic bombs. No, I think it was more-so the fact that it robbed him off connecting with folks from his town during summers.

    – Lisa’s childhood is also plagued with a huge disconnect, but from her parents. Her father leaves the household and her mother’s selfish and possessive ways prevents any sort of meaningful connection between the two. She also seems to have no friends at school. In the end, she is the only one that doesn’t belong ANYWHERE. 9 and 12 have each other despite their upbringing, Shibasaki is connected to his work/colleagues despite that resulting in him neglecting other aspects of his life. Only Lisa is completely alone, yet in the end I’m sure that she will be the one that will bring everyone together. The whole conspiracy thing is the plot, sure, but I think what’s missed among some is the emotional connection (no matter how dysfunctional) that our main characters are starting to make with each other.

    So far I’m not sure if the theme here is general disconnect between people, or disconnect between generations in Japan (similar theme in Battle Royale). I think it’s both, but with a strong emphasis on the latter. To some, the connection to the people and things around them validate their existence and there’s a terror in being uncertain to what your existence “means” in the world. This terror resonates among the characters, and that’s what I’m seeing from the title of this show.

    1. BTW, I think the similarities between this show and Death Note are superficial at best. There’s only been 2 battle of wits so far and I doubt that will be the main focus of the show. If anything, these riddles and deductions have served to bring these two groups closer together. To what end? I don’t know yet.

      1. I think comparisons especially with this episode are inevitable. Shibazaki isn’t quite as wacky as L but he does go about things in a unconventional way sometimes which is one of the things that made L so unique and loveable. Plus his declaration to stop 9 and 12 is very similar to the way L challenged Light (in a public broadcast). The death note vibes are definitely there but I don’t think the series will operate in the exact same fashion either.

      2. ^ Generally that’s what I meant to encompass in regards to my reference. The interplay between L and Light was one of the best aspects of Death Note for me, and there was definitely a kind of reminiscent tone to it all here. It’s quite clear Zankyou’ll take it’s own route overall, but it looks like at the very least the same quality interactions are there.

    2. Agree about the Death Note similarities, at best they are fleeting. Death Note was all about Light and L (later N) trying to catch one another, Zankyou is currently Nine and Twelve trying to find someone smart enough to read into their elaborate plans (which they now have in Shibazaki).

      It’s unclear what they are after, but it’s certain that Nine and Twelve want someone to follow their trail of breadcrumbs, likely to address specific grievances along the way in order to reach the grand prize in that dirty bomb they have safely stashed away. The riddles and investigation serve to move the plot along in Zankyou, in Death Note the plot was the investigation.

    3. Part social satire and part psych-thriller, man this show never frickin’ lets up. Well, at the very least so far they haven’t really gone down to referencing the whole Aum incident as that’ll be REALLY controversial; which is great and all, but if they did though, I wonder how they’re gonna go about it. Oh well.


      ‘Terror’ that’s resonating within the characters… Hmm… Come to think of it. Yeah, that’s absolutely right! 😀

      I still wonder why the first and last characters are colored red in the title. As I’ve mentioned before in a previous comment, it spells the Japanese word ‘Nokoru’, but the word is in the passive tense. Now that we see this institution, and how that politician who committed suicide is linked to some sort of conspiracy, it could be postulated that that emphasis on the first and last characters of the title refers to the institution, and 9 & 12 themselves.

      But even if I said that, I still wonder how the word ‘Von’ connects to all this. And even that word’s colored in red too. Damn, this show is so frickin’ meticulous.

      And I don’t know about you guys, but if you’ve got Japanese friends and they don’t watch this show, it kinda feels sad no? In a way…

      Nishizawa Mihashi
      1. Woah, I love your “nokoru” observation. It makes so much sense considering that the children of the institution were labeled unwanted, and “left behind.” I wonder if the diet member was killed when he showed opposition to the institution. By the way, if you look on MAL, that white hair girl from the institution is going to be a cast member soon, so that’ll give us much more to work with.

        Assuming that “Von” means “hope” in Icelandic, as many have pointed out, I think I can see glimpse of what 9 and 12 are after. I don’t know in what form they’re trying to attain it, but going back to my thoughts on “connections,” perhaps that is what they ‘hope’ to attain. I’m playing out several scenarios in the my head but in the end none of it is conclusive given it’s only been 3 episodes 😛

    4. @James

      Indeed. And that’s really the big thing here. All of them have some kind of disconnect and issues delving from the past that’ve played big parts into who they are today. One could considered them quite flawed in many respects, but at the same time, it’s exactly these traits that make their interactions amazing to watch, because if you put them all together, they essentially complement each other in regards of their experiences and views, and it’s no wonder they’re coming together because arguably they’re the only ones that can understand one another.

      All things considered, it’s pretty ironic, especially when you consider how it’s purely circumstances that’ve put them on different sides of the equation.

    5. I agree; Lisa is all alone, which is why I think we see in the preview of the next ep and just her actions in general, she tries to cling to twelve. It’s crazy too because she knows they are involved in some dangerous shizzniz but she still wants to be acknowledge by them. That’s some loneliness right there

  2. Zankyou gets better every episode that goes by, not only have we had Oedipus referenced, but now the Spartoi and Cadmus’ slaying of Ares’ sacred dragon too. The latter is some seriously hipster Greek mythology and makes me wonder if we haven’t seen the last myth referenced. If there’s more to come, all bets are on Jason and Medea as that little tragedy is related Cadmus’ story referenced here.

    Another amazing bit here is the actual usage of the Hiroshima(/Nagasaki) bombing(s) in both story and character development. That is not insignificant considering the taboo around discussing the event(s) in Japan. Moreover it’s likely that Shibazaki’s past serves as a metaphorical connection between the differences separating Nine and Twelve from their still unknown enemies as he in a sense was “abandoned” during his childhood.

    Still unclear what Nine and Twelve want, but we should be getting some answers (or hints) next episode considering they have now found their conduit through Shibazaki.

    1. Another amazing bit here is the actual usage of the Hiroshima(/Nagasaki) bombing(s) in both story and character development. That is not insignificant considering the taboo around discussing the event(s) in Japan.

      Yup. And it continues really a string of what one would call “bold” moves on the part of Watanabe, as the first two episodes had obvious references to 9/11 as well. He’s definitely not afraid to do things with Zankyou here, and you have to applaud that.

  3. The soundtrack/bgm tracks in this series are pretty darn great. From the ethereal piano bits to the jazzy guitar licks and spacey chord progressions. Awesomesauce!!

    ….and could we not compare this to that crappy Death Note please. It’s like comparing Godzilla to Barney.

  4. I love how contemporary this show feels. I mean they’re live-streaming to respond to internet video, it’s awesome.

    I also liked the way they used cellphones this episode. Lisa is tied to hers, linking her to her mother even as she wants to escape; Sphinx use them as triggers for their bombs; Shibazaki has a eureka moment thanks to one. It’s like they’re showing the different consequences of being constantly connected. You’re never alone and being connected can be a grave danger, but it can help you in unexpected ways.

    Could just be me over analyzing, lol.

    1. Perhaps it’s a hobby/interest/something he majored in at uni? the other police officers seem to know a few details here and there, but Shibazaki is the one who knows the myths in greater depth

  5. Ah, so that’s why Twelve doesn’t get involved with others. He felt betrayed when the white-haired child didn’t grab his hand to follow them.

    The pain from losing his white-haired friend when he was a child (I’m assuming) has shaped him the way he is today. It’s easy to avoid getting hurt if you keep people away at arms distance.

    It seems to be the assumption that the white-haired child died but I’m guessing as a plot twist, this person will come back into the picture and no doubt, will force Twelve to deal with the rush of emotions he has kept buried deep inside.

    So far, Twelve has been giddy, borderline psychotic and holding himself in a calm and collected manner. It would be VERY interesting to see him explode (no pun intended!) in either rage, despair or any kind of emotional manner.

    It gives the situation he gave Lisa in the first episode a very different and twisted perspective. He nonchalantly forced her into the situation of making a choice of becoming an accomplice or doing nothing (inevitably dying).

    If I remember correctly, Twelve was practically overjoyed when she made the decision, rushing to go rescue her. The white-haired child had the decision of following them to escape the institution (or orphanage?) but for some reason was unable to (twisted ankle?) or did not want to go.

    If Lisa making the decision and trusting to jump into Twelve’s arms isn’t the biggest middle finger to Twelve’s memory of the white-haired child not following them, I don’t know what is.

    1. Actually Twelve is the other dude: the one riding the bike in episode 1. Nine on the other hand, is the one you’re currently describing in your comment. Yeah, I know. It is kinda confusing. It happens though.

      Nishizawa Mihashi
      1. I did say Twelve was the one who went to rescue Lisa after she made the decision, hence it was him on the bike in Episode one?

        Sorry but you’re incorrect about their identities. Nine is the one with glasses, he isn’t anything at all like I described in my comment. I am indeed talking about Twelve, I always double-check I’ve got the character’s names right before posting… I’m kinda anal like that. xD

  6. Well, this episode was somewhat less intense than the previous episode but i suppose they intended it to be an actual introduction to Shiba as he becomes a major player in the game now, and it that aspect it did pretty damn well.

    It tells us about Shiba’s past and explains to us why he might take this aggression by Sphinx personally (as we now know he is a 2nd-generation post nuke Hiroshima resident), not to mention how much he is a incorruptible man with a sharp mind .. personally i think the case that got him removed from his detective position will play a really big role in the story (so things would come full circles), and like some people pointed out .. it might have also broken his family life apart .. meaning that Lisa might actually be his daughter and her traumatized hysterical mother might have been his wife (no wonder he would flee if that’s the case, but why not keep contact with Lisa if she was his daughter .. clearly she needs his support badly, all that assuming of course that she is really his daughter).

    Another interesting point i’d like to bring up .. is that unlike Death Note i think there is potential here that Shiba might actually switch sides once he figures out why Twelve and Nine are doing what they are doing and the horrible stuff that happened in the so-called “Institute” to orphaned kids, and if he didn’t switch sides he would at the very least be deeply conflicted that he might actually help them expose the truth but also try to punish them for their bombing antics .. becasue that’s the type of man he is .. of course that’s all pure speculation but we will have to wait and see.

    And again i really liked the riddle they used this time and how it mixed Greed mythology with Japanese one .. i also think that Twelve and Nine left something in the bomb to give clues to the reason behind their actions .. i suppose we might see that in the next episode, that and where Lisa plan to go now are surely going to be the reasons why i will wait eagerly for next week episode.

    Despite the lack of tension this episode is was still a fantastic episode and did a great job introducing Shiba and setting up the stage for the intense cat & mouse chase between him and Sphinx.

  7. I can’t help but wonder if there is a significance in the fact that Lisa’s eyes are similar to those of the institution kids. It was even noted by Twelve in the first episode, and I can’t help but think it’ll influence how Nine and Twelve will react to her from now.

  8. Oh, and is it me or is there anyone else getting Sherlock Holmes and Watson vibes from Shiba and his chubby partner in the archives room (the way he was one of the first to notice the Sphinx videos, how he sparks ideas in Shiba’s head to help him solve mysteris, he kinda helps Shiba a lot -usually unintentionally- and is quite loyal to him).

    1. Yeah, definitely.

      I also think it’s the fact that the chubby colleague has insight that shibasaki doesn’t have (regarding sphinx being just lonely kids, etc.) in the same way that Watson puts Sherlock in his place sometimes (in the BBC show, at least).

    2. I actually thought the chubby partner might be influenced by Sphinx, the way the crane-operator was. It just seems a little too convenient with all his little comments inadvertently helping Shiba in the long run, y’know?

    1. I think her name is actually ‘Risa’ , but for whatever reason subbers have translated it as ‘Lisa’.But I don’t blame them, because the name ‘Lisa’ suits her better.

      1. Im pretty the way her name is written translates to “Lisa” and not “Risa” although i could be wrong. Every site i go to with cast info has her name written as “Lisa”

  9. Yup reminded me of Death Note as well.

    In the opening.
    The white haired kid is cutting her hair.
    Evil looking.
    I wonder could Lisa be the complete opposite of this white haired kid?
    Ok, according to the wiki and offcial site, that character could be called Five who works with the FBI.
    “Could be” as its still not clear if she is that girl back then.
    (lol, Lisa has “Three” in her family name.)

    Lisa, it seems as if 12 is using her to rub salt into 9’s wounds 😛
    He did say its to help put an end to Nine’s recurring dreams.
    Can Lisa become the random thing in the web of plans?

    Who is the guy thats falling in the opening?
    And they just talked about the secretary case Shibazaki was involved in.
    Conspiracy, is it connected to the boys and the facility?

    Looks like Nine and Twelve wanted the police to link them to the nuclear theft.
    Otherwise they couldn’t have left the “VON” message in the TNT bomb in the City Hall bombing.

    Perhaps 9, 12 and 5 are orphans that are trained from young to become agents?
    (Just finished 009-1 :P)
    That attack of the facility…by who? Or is it a planned escape by the boys?

    Not enough info now to see the light.
    Just what are the boys up to?

    1. Yes, why did the boys enrol into a school?
      Will that work into their grand masterplan?
      Like how Nine went to work in that nuclear plant place?
      Or is it just some alibi? Just a cover identity?

  10. This show is so good. The mother shacking the girl and the orphanage kids with no name were ****ed up scenes.
    I think she is going to join the group and probably become the more aggressive/ volatile one, the one most eager to destroy. But , since she is not as smart as them she’ll probably mess up. Kind of like Spoilers for Death Note – Show Spoiler ▼

    That ending song is so awesome.

  11. We don’t know what kind of facility 9 and 12 were in, but there is significant possibility that they WANT to be captured and highlight it’s existence. From what has been shown it was probably housing 1.orphans 2.highly intelligent.
    Shibazaki can be their ally eventually as he is a kind of detective that would not let such thing be swept under the rug.
    It would be a supreme twist of fate if people running the institution from which 9 and 12 fled were also behind the killing of Diet member that Shibazaki was investigating.
    As for Lisa, she is a wildcard who can either turn the fate of 9-12 duo for better – or have herself fall into darkness pushed by abuse both in school and at home.

  12. A question…
    In the titles of the episodes, there’s always a letter in red, while the others are in black. Capital letters are the red ones:
    1. fAlling
    2. call & response (& is in red)
    3. search & destroy (& is in red)
    4. breAk through
    5. hide & seek (& is in red)
    6. ready Or not

    I don’t know much about this show. I’m sorry if this has already been covered in the previous comments.

    Can someone explain?


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