No.6 – 01

Categories: First Impressions | July 18th, 2011 | No Comment

Out of the first episodes I’ve watched until now this one is one of the more if not even most interesting. Bones did a good job here to set everything up and judging by my first impression No.6 seems to be a worthy addition to the noitaminA shows.

Based on the information given in this episode, No.6 takes place in the near future in which a war rendered most of the planet’s surface uninhabitable (not in a Mad Max but a Water World kind of way it seems). Only six regions remain (countries seem to be a thing of the past) and in each region one city exists.

As the series title suggests, the series takes place in city No.6 and of course nothing is that perfect as it seems. Sure, everything’s clean and peaceful and there seems to be nothing missing, but the strange “whale” tower in the center and the technical appliances (the bracelets, the VC chips) hint at a society that loves to control its people, although the reason for that is not clear yet. My early guess is that the reason is either environmental (control to prevent overpopulation for example) or human (control to prevent another war).

With regards to other series and movies that deal with such settings (Fractale, Brave new World, 1984 and so on), No.6 follows the plot points by the book: Shion, the main character, lives in this perfect world without worries or questions until an outsider shakes up everything pretty heavily and plants the seeds of doubt. In this case, the outsider is Nezumi who seems to be either some sort of lab rat or a resistance fighter and takes shelter in Shion’s house while he’s on the run.

What I really liked about the interactions between those two is that Shion isn’t frightened by Nezumi at all and takes a surprisingly proactive approach to everything. I more than once thought “Hey, he’s not acting stupid or whiny”. So his characterization is quite a breeze of fresh air after male protagonists in anime lately seem to be more of said stupid and whiny kind.

What surprised me a little bit were the Yaoi/BL overtones, especially at the end of the episode but it wasn’t something too drastic despite its speed of progression. It will be interesting to see whether the series will build up in that direction or moves to the traditional best friends/nakama route. The first case would certainly turn out to be a nice twist to the usual formula where the guy ends up with the girl.

Some of the rest of the cast was also introduced and while I can’t say for sure if they will all play an important role later on it was quite nice to see them interact with Shion. It was almost slice of life and so I am pretty sure that the series will gradually turn to the worst. What was interesting in that regard was that No.6 did not follow the book by not showing us the punishment Shion must have gotten from the government for helping Nezumi. Or did he get not punished at all? The end is a nice cliffhanger as it most likely will decide in which direction this series will go to.

Judging by the ED some sort of time skip must occur in this series and since it’s already shown in this episode it must happen really soon. So I expect it to be the next episode or the one after that. I hope they will then answer the question why the heck Shion’s hair turned grey.

Despite the famous noitaminA slot and Bones and the first episode I’m too reserved to give this series a passing grade already. Reason is that Fractale, a series in the same slot with the same thematic setting, turned out to be increasingly boring and uninteresting until I completely stopped watching it somewhere in the middle.

Let’s hope that that No.6 won’t do the same mistake.

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