No. 6 is on the verge of picking up as, well, the characters head back to No. 6. Six episodes about nothing but Shion and Nezumi’s love nest in an eleven episode noitaminA series? Enough is enough. This series is doing worse than Fractale with respect to using its time wisely.
I mentioned last week that Dogkeeper was one of the more tolerable characters in this series, but the creators are on the verge of forcing me to revise even this modest piece of praise after this week’s episode. First of all, that opening segment. Shion says “Thank you for the compliment!” while smiling and bathing a dog. Dogkeeper blushes, then scoffs, and shouts “That wasn’t a compliment! Don’t get full of yourself!” while turning away and crossing her arms angrily. Pick any harem show, this scene could have been copy-pasted right out of it.
The other thing which bothered me is the scene where Nezumi blackmailed Dogkeeper to help him. Nezumi used his superior analytic powers to make a stunning psychological revelation that shook Dogkeeper’s very soul— that she fears death. He tells her that if she’s dying slowly, miserably and painfully he won’t help her or sing for her if she doesn’t do what he asks. I guess this is supposed to be a comment on how even basic human decency is something that must be purchased in the ghetto outside No. 6. But really, if you have to bargain over this sort of thing, why would you trust anyone enough to keep their promises in the first place? The fact that Nezumi even proposed this is ridiculous, considering he could have just mentioned Shion’s name and Dogkeeper probably would have helped. But what really bothered me is that Dogkeeper was so affected by this threat. She should have just kicked Nezumi out and sicced her dogs on him.
The root problem that bothers me in both of these scenes is the same. Dogkeeper was initially presented as a loner who learned to be tough to survive, and whose family was a pack of dogs. She tried to kill Nezumi after he gave a slight insult to her mother. And now she’s getting all teary eyed from someone saying thank you, and cowed by the threat of someone she tried to kill the other day not sitting by her death bed? I get that they’re trying to show she is kind and does rely on other people, but with such a dramatic difference in actions, I have to ask, is this the same person?
On to my next complaint… which is, once again, how over dramatic everything is. I’ll point out two major instances of this. The first is from when Shion went clothes shopping and found Safu’s coat and started screaming at the shopkeeper. This guy has anger management problems (not to mention this is a rather far-fetched coincidence). The second instance is the goodnight kiss scene, where Shion says “I’m glad to have known you” and then kisses Nezumi “goodnight”. Nezumi’s accusal of bad acting doesn’t even begin to describe this.
With all that said, I felt that the scene at the end, along with the brief interludes into No. 6 with Shion’s mother, were on the right track. There are some hints of progress in the overarching story. In the scene where Shion tried to make his escape, watching Shion’s counterpunch to Nezumi hit was quite satisfying. Nezumi’s flashback was also nice in explaining why he’s taking care of Shion, since it provided a rare glimpse under his skin and past the front he is acting out.
But seriously, I wish they had condensed the last six episodes into two or three, and focused on the bee plague, social injustice and No. 6′s dystopia instead of Shion and Nezumi’s love nest.