The Plot So Far:
「CALL & RESPONSE」
「SEARCH & DESTROY」
「HIDE & SEEK」
“There’s nothing but misfortune waiting for someone who gets involved with us.
「HIDE & SEEK」
As the fifth episode brings the fitting arrival of Five, Zankyou no Terror hits its halfway point with a literal bang. Considering the significance of the Sarin Gas Attacks in Japan, the latter comes as something I didn’t expect to see, but if there was a show to challenge the norms of expectation, this would be the one to do it. At this point, it’s clear Watanabe’s not holding back, an ironic notion considering the revelations regarding Sphinx, who clearly are doing quite the opposite.
As suspected, Sphinx’s goal isn’t to cause casualties, but to intentionally draw the police in and either use them for or led them to something. This episode gives our protagonists their first major setback in this regard, and it showcases just what happens when there’s someone capable of not only calling their bluff, but doesn’t care what happens in the process. With the Police Department getting side-stepped during this entire process—they really can’t get a break in this series can they?—Nine and Twelve are forced to (ironically) go all out to try and stop a bomb they themselves set. The thing is though, while I can’t argue against the skillful development of the episode as a whole, I can’t help but feel that something also felt off this week.
It could just be because the first few episodes had Sphinx as such as unstoppable force that I got used to things being this way, but no matter the reason—even if Five has superior skills—it’s still strange that our protagonists were so thoroughly dominated. It got to the point where they were being pushed into a trap, yet still decided to go into it, and it was highly uncharacteristic for them to have done so considering the risk they were putting themselves in the process. Granted, it isn’t the first time they committed an act of such a nature—picking up Lisa was another—and they clearly don’t intend to get out of this situation unharmed at the end, but it makes you wonder what exactly they’re trying to do here.
Throughout the series’ run, our main cast has acted like terrorists despite clearly not being terrorists in any stretch of the normal definition, they’ve acted like adults and as kids, and they’ve also acted like they’re people that have lost their innocence yet still bare traces of that same innocence. There’s a sense of incongruity here in more ways than one, which makes it possibly more apt to say that it isn’t so much that there’s something off this week, but something off overall with how things are in Zankyou’s world overall.
And as I say this, I guess that’s really it with this show. It’s easy to try and use the mythology to pinpoint some kind of actual hint or link between everything, but when you consider the multiple interpretations between different versions, it’s all still shrouded in smoke and mirrors. Every time you think we’re getting some major revelation, you realize that you still ain’t that much closer to the truth than you were before. Needless to say, it’s a testament to how well this series is executing things overall, and there’s much to be said about how twisted things are here in Zankyou.
As I mentioned last week, there’s just a certain poignancy when you consider how Lisa can only find a place to belong with people who find value in terrible food the way Sphinx does, and it’s emphasized further by how normal they actually can be together when the latter isn’t busy building bombs and trying to prove a point. There’s really a fine line between maintaining a sense of innocence and losing it outright, isn’t there? Here’s looking forward to the role Five plays in the future.