No. 6 6 – Two-Thirds of the Number of the Beast
Apologies for getting to this so late. Last week was quite hectic for me, and I fell behind on many things. It was an ordeal just to get that Sister Princess post out Saturday. This week should be better, hopefully.
Safu seems to be the spark that will move No. 6 into the endgame. I doubt Nezumi will tell Shion about her capture — after all, there’s really nothing in it for him if he does — but doubtless Shion will find out about her eventually. It would be a narrative waste for Safu to return to No. 6, only to be killed off, especially since she has become more sympathetic following her stay in No. 5. (And it’s not like she was unsympathetic in the first place; she was just strange and crazy straightforward.)
I do wonder what sort of resolution will come of everything, however. Really, both Shion and Nezumi have their points and their faults with their respective points of view. I can’t blame Nezumi for being cynical about the citizens of No. 6, whether that cynicism is fueled by personal feelings or not. It’s doubtful that the citizens will react well to any sort of sweeping change in No. 6; they’re too set in their ways. But at the same time, Nezumi wants to attack that problem by, uh, killing everyone, which is not so cool. To say the least.
On Shion’s side, he is right to question the black and white lens through which Nezumi views No. 6. To get in a frame of mind to kill someone, unless you’re a sociopath or something, you basically have to view things in black and white terms — like “I have to kill this person, or else I will be killed”. Basically every war we have ever fought has been framed in black and white terms. People have to believe they’re in the right to be able to kill, or else the killing becomes too much. Nezumi believes he has been wronged (possibly for even more than we saw at the beginning of the series), and for that, the denizens of No. 6 deserve to be punished, due to their (in Nezumi’s point of view) willful ignorance and decadent ways of life.
But ignorance is not a crime punishable by death, or else we would have to wipe two-thirds of the Internet off the face of the planet. (Hmm, maybe that’s not such a bad idea . . .) People can be crass and ignorant and awful, but they are capable of change, even if it’s incremental rather than sweeping. One aspect of this episode that I found of particular interest is the confirmation that No. 5 is not totally like No. 6 — it at least lacks the obsessive control of government over its people (or seems to, anyway; there could admittedly be behind the scenes stuff we have not seen).
What that says to me is that as long as outside influences persist, there remains the potential for change to come to No. 6. If the majority of the city-states in this world are more like No. 5 than No. 6, then I think there’s very little chance for No. 6 to continue as it is. No. 6’s lifespan as a totalitarian state is finite. Doesn’t mean that change will come immediately, but the very fact of change is inevitable. I don’t know if Shion senses this, but he does believe in the people to a certain degree, which is why he wants to save them (and save his mother, too, of course).
But of course Shion is fairly naive right now, and Nezumi attacks him for it. I don’t believe Shion is quite as naive as Nezumi believes, however. I doubt he thinks that everything will be hunky dory in No. 6 if he is able to create a vaccine for the bee disease and administer it to everyone in the city. The bees aren’t even the worst problem in No. 6. However, Shion does not seem like the type to rest on his laurels and say, “Well, my work here is done!” after curing everyone of bees. He would fight an impossible battle to make sure No. 6 would truly be free. Probably also too idealistic, but hey, if we didn’t have people like that, then change would probably come at a much slower pace.