It’s episode No. 6 of No. 6. Over halfway done and it doesn’t seem like we’ve gotten that far…
I will say that this episode was an improvement just for the fact that Safu came back, so we spent less time on Nezumi mounting Shion this week. The episode also did a good job of showing the cracks in the walls of No. 6. The grandmother’s coffin at the twilight home, the man assuring Safu of how her grandmother died happily, and the return of a box with only the grandmother’s glasses did a good job of indicating that something wasn’t quite right in town. It wasn’t exactly subtle, but one step at a time. We also confirmed that No. 6 is the only one of the cities that is so draconian— Safu can’t even bring in her Picasso art book, and it seems to be the only city where they wear the bracelets. I am curious how these cities view the suffering of the population outside of No. 6, and whether they have similar issues.
Safu is not the smartest chip on the block, and after searching to discover that Shion is accused of murder (that search alone probably put her on the no-fly list) she has to go and visit Shion’s mother and ask. Shion’s mother is smart enough not to say anything, but Safu doesn’t realize the house has been bugged since they moved in. Then Safu gets kidnapped, and Shion’s mother sends a message to Nezumi. This part kind of surprised me: I had a low opinion of Nezumi, and assumed his struggle would be over whether to do anything at all about the kidnapping. He seems to want all the inhabitants of No. 6 to die, so Safu could be step one. But I got the impression that he does intend to help Safu- he was about to tell Shion, and then stopped and destroyed the paper out of concern for paper. But I get the feeling he still plans to do something on his own. An enemy of an enemy is a friend, I guess.
I think I may have finally been able to put my finger on what bothers me so much about this show: it’s the dialogue. It’s just too well thought out and over-dramatized. It doesn’t sound like the characters are having a conversation. It sounds like they’re reading out the lines from a play that they memorized. This has the effect of making the characters’ interaction feel superficial and downright corny. This comes out even more strongly in the BL scenes, when what’s going on is corny enough as it is. The character that suffers least from this is the dog woman: her spontaneity rescues her from an impression of superficiality, even if some of her lines are a bit too in-your-face philosophical. No. 6 tries to be intelligent by having the characters quote Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, and argue about philosophy: this makes it come across as pretentious. Compare No. approach to Mawaru Penguindrum, which involves stalkers, delusions, penguins, magical hats and slapstick comedy. Which of the two shows is more intelligent and witty?
I’ll put out posts on Usagi Drop and Steins; Gate eventually- hopefully tomorrow. Penguindrum isn’t airing this week.