The Plot So Far:
「CALL & RESPONSE」
「SEARCH & DESTROY」
“Using a type of illegal website from Russia or China, a regular (credit) card can be obtained for a dollar.
“It makes one wonder if the guy even exists. He’s like a ghost.
“No matter how you erase records and tracks, you can’t erase a person’s memory.
As the investigation progresses, Sphinx continues to string the police along—that is, everyone except Shibazaki, who they seemingly want to get closer—and it’s a story of how not to judge by one’s looks. As we’ve seen time and time again, the members of Sphinx might “just” be kids, but they’re far from incapable. The question is, where does that leave the adults? Should they be judged as incapable because of their failures in the investigation? Undoubtedly the people in the Zankyou universe believe so, and one can’t blame them for such an assessment.
The thing is though, correlation does not imply casuation. That is, just because they’re unable to obtain a breakthrough (a fitting episode title), it doesn’t automatically mean they’re all incompetent. And that’s the point. The way I see it, the theme of Zankyou isn’t so much about the failure of one group of people or a failure in one incident. It’s about failure on a grand scheme, a systematic combination of apathy, carelessness, naivety, and complacency on everyone’s part that led to the events we’re seeing right now.
And they’re things you can see it all the way back in episode one—in those that were running the facility Nine/Twelve were in, in Lisa’s family, in those that failed to investigate more into Shibazaki’s case from years back, in the police department of the present, in the classmates that spent their time making Lisa’s life hell, and in the everyday people you see depicted with their smartphones, watching on from afar and merely laughing as the police try to take down Sphinx. Boil it all down and one could say Watanabe’s going for a commentary about society here with Zankyou no Terror, and it arguably wouldn’t be too far off the mark in some respects. All things considered, it might just be that the whole bit about Sphinx trying to “wake the people from their slumber” may not be so much about revealing the past as it is trying to force people to realize the stagnate life they’ve become accustomed to.
With that in mind, I can’t help but feel there’s a kind of poignancy here with the events of this episode, because by all means, Nine, Twelve, and Lisa seem like they could’ve grown up to be great individuals. Yet, here they are—half-halfheartedly laughing at the notion of bringing the world to an end—finding solace as victims of a society that let them fall through the cracks. Put it all together, and it’s a tale that’s as sad as it is ironic. The only way for Lisa to find someone who understands her is in a group of terrorists, and while I personally don’t feel like any of this excuses Sphinx from the things they’ve done, you have to say that they’re doing a good job of portraying how they’re not entirely at fault here. Still, there’s blame to be shared on the part of our Sphinx protagonists, and perhaps the saddest part of it all is that they seem to know exactly what they’re doing. You get the sense that they decided on this course of action knowing that they’d be foregoing a normal life for a path that will eventually lead to some sort of punishment, and it’s likely one that’ll come at the hands of Shibazaki, who likely won’t come out unscathed from this either.
At this point, it looks like Lisa’s the only one likely to survive the ordeal in some way, and in ways it’d be quite fitting given the circumstances. One gets the sense that she won’t actually ever end up committing any crime herself—Sphinx themselves’ll make sure of that—and in that sense, she becomes the one person who arguably deserves to come out of this unscathed. At the same time, she’ll come out as the likely the beneficiary of the “wake-up call” that Sphinx is aiming for—even if the latter doesn’t succeed in its ultimate goal of waking up the nation, which seems quite likely at this point.
- It’s all about Sphinx vs. Shibazaki and Lisa’s effect on the equation. I find it unlikely that anything actually happens to her following the events at the end of this week’s episode (it was probably just exhaustion), and it’ll be interesting to see how things develop from here. Four episodes in, Zankyou seems to be getting better and better, and here’s hoping it can keep it going for the rest of its run.