「機密事項六一四シシシンチュウムシ」 (Kimitsu Jikō Roku Ichi Yon Shishi Shinchū Mushi)
“Confidential File 614, The Enemy Within”
Miss Simplice’s Review
This episode served three distinct purposes. The first, as told by its title, was to reveal the traitor. The second was to establish Janome’s character. And the third, perhaps not as evident was to show how deep the bond between Sawa and Asahi runs.
Sawa is a particular character. In the first instances of the series, she came off cold, distant, bloody but as we progress through her journey, she turns out to be quite the layered woman. She plays so many roles, wearing so many hats, it’s no wonder she holds on to the idea of ‘revenge’. She needs something constant and stable, like an arrow heading straight to its target. The trajectory never changes which means that Sawa had a clear-cut path, one engrained in her when she was much younger, vulnerable, and at her most susceptible. But with Asahi in her path, she risks harming the young girl with her sharp edges. It’s not uncommon that we see characters push away those they care for most in the hopes of protecting them. It’s also not uncommon to see plans such as these turn for the worst.
Outside of Asahi being in her path, Sawa also carries the burden of being the sole survivor of her village, the Karasumori clan. She carries the memories of their deaths on her shoulders, something she was burdened with at such a young age. Another factor that muddies her goal of avenging their deaths is the mystery that surrounds the mass murder. We found out in the last episode that the records around the Karasumori clan were wiped from official documents meaning that the sole source of information Sawa has comes from Jin. Keep in mind, the organization she’s part of, that Jin leads, exists only to protect the Shogunate. So there’s a question there as to whether she can trust him entirely. The entire series is shrouded in relationships lacking in trust.
It’s no wonder Makoto has maneuvered such an elaborate plan. When the people you work with exist only in the shadows, it’s to be assumed that there’s an abundance of secrets. I do wonder whether his prompt with Sawa about “believing only what you see” was his way to redirect her towards her main ‘path’ and not stray off of it, in fear of her asking too many questions about the treasurer and the likes.
It might also mean that we should be observing more than what we see. And I think Princess Usagi’s take on the series is exactly what we need to dive a little deeper into the intricacies of the episode.
Princess Usagi’s Review
In alternate Tokyo, the glittering red lights of the entertainment district hide the dark tunnels and secret plots that lie beneath. I love how vivid crimson pervades so many scenes-in the lanterns, the flowers, the characters’ clothing, and Sawa’s parasol. The constant presence of crimson elegantly portrays the red blood that surrounds Sawa in the numerous deaths she has been directly responsible for or indirectly connected to.
One thing that has remained hidden is how technologically advanced this society is, even when stuck in Tokugawa rule. From Sawa’s flashback, we gather that Janome was working on immortality via human genetic modification. This is impressive, because the structure of DNA and the genetic code weren’t discovered until the 1950’s and 1960’s and experiments with genetics and aging weren’t done until much later. Even then, those experiments were done in cell cultures and mice and it was found that attempting to extend lifespan caused other unpleasant problems. Either this is an incredibly advanced society that has found a way to bypass those biological restrictions, or it is an oversight of the writers.
Another thing I am wondering about is Hanakaze. It appears she is a foreigner working undercover with Nue at the brothel, but we haven’t seen yet how she got there or why. Even though in the Western world it would be 1931, Hanakaze is wearing Western clothing from the Victorian era (right around the time when the Tokugawa rule should have ended and the Meji reign begun). Is the Western world also stuck in time or is this just another example of inaccurate clothing choice in anime?
In their covert conversation, Tsukishiro advises Sawa that it is most important to trust what she can see, rather than be bogged down by analyzing the unseen. Asahi also struggles with trusting what she can see. She knows she should kill Sawa for murdering her parents, but she sees Sawa as Sawa-Oneesan (big sisterSawa). When practicing calligraphy, Asahi practices writing Yuki’s name, similar to how a child learning to write practices using their family members’ names. Sawa rips the paper up, representative of her identity conflict between the identity Nue gave her (Yukimura) and her inner self (Karasumori). It is touching when Asahi pastes the paper back together. To Asahi, what is important is not the Karasumori Sawa or the murderer Sawa, both of whom she never saw, but rather, the Yukimura Sawa that she sees everyday- the same Yukimura who cares for her.
The contrast between the seen and the unseen is a recurring theme-I am looking forward to seeing how these conflicting identities play out!