No. 6 8 – Not Sure If Want …

Suspension of disbelief is a fickle thing. Everyone has his or her own standards; some folks are just more or less accepting of things than others. For me, a lot depends on timing — the earlier a strange concept is introduced, the easier it is for me to accept it as part of the world a story is building, and the less likely I am to think of it as some bullshit the writers are pulling out of their collective asses.

Obviously there’s a lot of farfetched stuff in No. 6, but let’s pluck two examples: The parasite bees and the magical singing. The former is acceptable to me because it’s introduced relatively early, and while not really explained all that much, it’s not an especially foreign concept in science-fiction, so I can roll with it. (There’s certainly been far crazier things that have grown inside people in fiction, especially if you’re a fan of body horror.) The latter, well . . . the first hints came in episode five, which, to be fair, isn’t that long ago in terms of episode count (though the wait between episodes makes it seem longer), but seeing this in action in the latest episode is getting to the point where I’m thinking, “OK, this is slightly too much for me.”

Logically, parasite bees and magic singing powers are at least equally ridiculous. And from the story’s point of view, all this forest magic has been around longer than the man-made bee virus. But that’s the fickle nature of suspension of disbelief — I always have story structure somewhat on my mind, and suddenly having Nezumi with magic powers (in terms of how we see it from the outside) is kind of . . . eh to me. This is especially so when taken in combination with Safu’s connection with Nezumi from episode five (and another blatant connection again in this episode). I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be a, “You thought everyone from that forest died that day, didn’t you? Well, you were WRONG!” moment and Safu will also have magic powers. I was wary when that connection was initially revealed, and this does not make me any less wary . . .

Karan likely being involved in the creation of No. 6 (or whatever sciencey things she may have done before) is something else that could be interesting or potential train wreck territory. At the very least, it might explain why Karan and Shion were banished to some poorer area of No. 6 rather than outright murdered by the establishment after Shion’s initial “transgressions”. Maybe there’s a sense of loyalty there, even though the city still has to make an example of them to keep their ironclad laws going. But, yeah, we’ll see if there comes a point in time where Karan comes up with some sort of magic solution to help bring down No. 6 because she helped create it, or something like that. Eh.

Despite my trepidations with the story, I’m still enjoying No. 6 for a couple of reasons: I think the relationship between Shion and Nezumi produces some interesting things (and it’s a refreshing sort of relationship, at that), and I also like the tone of the series. The difference between No. 6 and its false utopia science-fiction noitaminA precursor, Fractale, is that the latter seemed almost desperate for the audience to view it as some sort of rousing adventure with serious ideas, while No. 6, although it has a serious tone of its own, also has a somewhat weird, campy feel to it. I mean, you can’t take something with parasitic bees, magic singing and that weirdo singing with grave seriousness.

I think someone on Twitter may have compared No. 6 to Logan’s Run early in the show’s run. (If it was one of you readers, then speak now or forever hold your peace. If I am just making that up, then I am totally taking credit for it.) Logan’s Run is a science-fiction movie with an ostensibly serious story about a man whose eyes are opened to the insidious nature of the utopia for which he works, but it’s executed with an incredibly camp feel to it; whether it’s intentional or not, I don’t know, but it’s definitely there. Maybe No. 6 is a story sprung from the same camp — it certainly has a host of strange elements to it.

Of course, that doesn’t really excuse any failings the show’s writing may have had up to this point, or may have afterward. Just me trying to mine a bit more enjoyment from the show.

14 Responses to “No. 6 8 – Not Sure If Want …”

  1. As for the parasite “bees” they’re actually wasps (the translation quality is near abysmal), and many wasp species are in fact parasitic. Of course they don’t use people as hosts but hey, it’s a possibility.

    • Hm, I guess “bachi” can refer to both a bee and a wasp, then? The more you know!

      And, yeah, I’m familiar with wasps that use tarantulas and shit as hosts and breakfasts for their wasp babies. Ick.

      • barak Says:

        “Hachi” is basically “yellow-and-black insect that flies around and stings you.” It can mean both bees and wasps (various species/groups of both have specific names). What we know about the insects in No.6 all points to them being wasps.

        (Just as “nezumi” is “small furry rodent” and may refer to rats, mice, voles, etc. depending on the context. I think No.6′s Nezumi is supposed to be Mouse, given his gray-ish coloring and the fact that he’s a positive character. Plus his robonezumi look more like mice than rats to me.)

        What I’ve seen of the official subs of No.6 was substandard – it’s a prime example of a translator not giving a damn.

        • Good to know! Thanks! (Although a couple of people have comment on the rat/mouse business before, haha. Also, lol robonezumi. Totally using that name.)

  2. The singing and psychic communion with the elf lord were bad enough, but the thing which broke my sense of disbelief the most was the secret underground kingdom with the sage who knew everything they wanted to know. Where exactly did that come to?

    • lol, I kind of liked the underground sage business, if only because that enhanced the campy feel for me. Felt like something you’d see out of a grungy science-fiction flick in the ’60s or ’70s.

  3. Right, so there’s a love-triangle, a mysterious deity and now magical singing… hmmm. Perhaps I’ve been watching too much of a certain franchise lately but Logan’s Run isn’t the first thing that springs to of head right now.

    I guess I’ll just wait for some mecha/dodgy musicians to arrive! :)

  4. Mad Chemist Says:

    Yeah, I had a hard time swallowing some of the more fantastical parts of the episode because it seemed kind of weird given the show’s internal logic. The show never said that there wouldn’t be magical forest elves, powerful singing or a nature goddess, but there wasn’t a lot hinting that any of these things would come into play either. They’re just strange fits in the show’s dystopian setting.

    I’m still watching, but I really hope that the fantasy elements don’t take over the show from here. It would be disappointing to see a promising show lose its goddamn mind at the very end.

    • We’ll see, but it certainly seems like the fantasy elements are coming to the forefront, unfortunately. Reminds me of when the crazy bullshit like fortune blood and gravity machines affecting destiny took over Escaflowne.

  5. Hmm, I always thought that No. 6 did take itself seriously, albeit without as much ‘HEY LOOK AT THIS WOW GUYS IT TURNS OUT PEOPLE ARE COOL AT THE END AND FRACTALE DOESN’T MATTER’. There’s hardly a comedic moment in the show – in fact, I think it’s the gravest show this season.

    Also uh

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100613142531AAcjaDx

    • It does take itself seriously, but with lots of strange elements — that’s where the camp comes from.

      Also, that was a typo, my bad.

  6. [...] Unmei Kaihen: No.6 8–Not Sure If Want… [...]

  7. [...] Unmei Kaihen: No.6 8–Not Sure If Want… [...]

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