No. 6 – The Fastest Rat in the Universe
God damn does that little bastard ever get around! Either this rat truly is the fastest creature in existence, or it knows some killer, Mario Kart-style shortcuts. This thing probably owns on Rainbow Road.
(Digiboy suggested to me that there are probably multiple rats. That seems like the most obvious, logical conclusion to make. I prefer the idea that there is one, super badass rat, though.)
Anyway, this episode gets things moving some more and introduces more of the world in which No. 6 resides. Lots of standard dystopia stuff here — the over-the-top loyalty pledges wherever the government can cram them in (you get the feeling these people require a loyalty oath before citizens can use the restroom), the dystopian world being different from the “real” world (which is, of course, totally fucked), and a deadly virus thrown in for good measure. Dystopian governments can never leave well enough alone. They always have to be working on some deadly shit or another in their spare time.
That said, for the most part I can dig the application of the basic dystopian elements in No. 6. It seems like BONES (or the original author of the novels if she was this sparing in her layout of the society) is going for a relatively simple approach to building the city: Familiar elements, not overwhelming the viewer with insane detail/nomenclature (which is a relative rarity for anime, haha), and keeping things moving most of the time. There hasn’t been too much pausing to explain, “OH THIS IS BLAH BLAH BLAH IT DOES BLAH BLAH BLAH” thus far, which is probably a good thing considering the brevity of your average noitaminA series.
One of Fractale‘s many problems is that it didn’t properly balance the exposition and plot to the point where it could establish a good, consistent place; instead, it just did the normal anime thing of, “FUCK LET’S JUST DO EVERYTHING IN THE FINAL THREE EPISODES”. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Ahahahaha. Ha. Seriously, though, I hope that having a (what I hear to be) solid base of stories to draw from allows BONES to structure the anime well. Hasn’t always worked in the past, but I remain optimistic, if only because I am such a mark for science-fiction.
I find it kind of interesting that Shion was initially banished to the Lost Town rather than kicked out of No. 6 entirely — I suppose the Powers That Be figured there was still some use for Shion, being that he is such a smart kid and all? Or maybe they just wanted to humiliate him by making him a park manager. It sure as shit wasn’t something they did out of the goodness of their hearts. Dystopian governments do not operate like that. They probably just have to go on pretending that there is no outside world.
This does make me wonder how travel between the major cities works. My guess is that everything that is decently habitable is underneath that most favored of dystopian settings, the giant ass dome, and people just travel to different sections of this enormous habitat. The state of the outside world is a shock to Shion, right? I imagine it would be a shock to everyone else, too, which tells me that you don’t need to travel to the outside world to get to another one of the numbered cities, or else the dystopian governments would never allow travel. Not really anything that is screaming to be addressed in the series; just a detail that’s interesting to think about (or I think so, at least).
Just as an amusing note, Shion has to be the first guy in history to friend zone someone who made this offer. (Of course, for this joke to work, you have to pretend that Shion isn’t in all likelihood gay, and to that I say, LET ME HAVE MY JOKE.)