Otaku Alert! No. 6

"In a reality so inhumane, almost too inhumane, the only thing one could do to remain human was to refuse to abandon one's feelings for others, and to hold onto one's own human soul."

~ No. 6, Volume 4 Chapter 4

Anime art. Photo via Google.

No. 6 -- an enormous nation-state; an ideal place called the 'Holy City' by its inhabitants. West Block -- a barren wasteland forever outside the walls of that utopian city. The year is 2013. And this is stage for the story of two boys -- Shion and Nezumi. One living inside the wall, and one living outside it. But, as if guided by fate (or is it miracle?), these two meet and discover life and everything that surrounds it, while unfolding the secrets of the city of No. 6.

Before I go any further, please let me advise that this anime is NOT for everyone. It has violence and gore (though I can say not that much), some morbid and disturbing matter, and... elements of shounen-ai / yaoi. So if this is not your cup of tea or you are easily repulsed by these, then you may wanna steer clear of this show.

Moving on...

I 'accidentally' found out about this anime while leafing through the pages of one of my Otakuzine (an anime mag) issues. I saw a pic of the two bishounen characters along with the title, so I searched for the series. And just so you know, bishounens warrant my attention. Ohoho~

I like the sci-fi / near-future setting of the show though not that realistic (it's already 2012, remember?), but it's appealing enough the way it was rendered. As for the plot / storyline -- sure, it doesn't have the most original or mind-blowing stuff that makes your brain cells work overtime, but I'd say it's intriguing and solid. To sum it up, No. 6 is an anime with a beautiful story which teaches us to place utmost importance in the world we live in, and to value human lives and our relationships with one another.

The soundtrack is so-so, definitely far from the ranks of Eva and Escaflowne, but I couldn't really care less. Honestly, I don't like hearing the ending theme "Rokutousei no Yoru" by Aimer. I have nothing against it. In fact it's a beautiful track, but it's just so sad and melancholic for my tastes that I can't help but sigh. The opening theme "Spell" by Lama is an electronic / pop-rock stuff; and the small, sugary-sweet voice is kinda annoying, but I guess it grew on me and I ended up putting it in my playlist. Heheh...

Now, the aspect I love the most about No. 6: its characters. First off, it doesn't have too many to the point that it gets confusing. Every one of them is diverse, but they're well-put and serves their own purpose in the story. But of course, I love Nezumi and Shion most! They have very different personalities (Nezumi is tsundere while Shion is yandere), yet both are likeable and they go well together. Their character development was nicely projected, and I loved watching / reading their journey to self-discovery. People say that their 'relationship' falls in the yaoi / shounen-ai category and I can't deny that (just please don't get me started on things like gender preferences, what my views are about it, stuff like that -- I might not be able to finish this or I'll have to make a second No. 6 post). Though in my opinion, it's on an entirely different level than say, Junjou Romantica. This one is more 'innocent' and they change and grow steadily throughout the story, which I find more endearing. What with lines (from the novel, thoughts of Shion) like:

"Have you noticed, Nezumi? No matter how dark or blindingly bright it is, I'm never led astray― my eyes always find yours."

"This is where my heart is. I was human when my heart was stolen by him, and I was human when I longed to be by his side. And this fact won't change, no matter what name I give to these feelings."

Awww... Alright, 'nuff said.


Now, my main gripe -- though the anime itself tried to stand on its own two feet, one will find many loopholes and untied strings. After the first few episodes, everything feels rushed, like they tried too hard to get it completed early. Ugh! I tell you, it's a bad thing. Especially that this is based on a novel with 9 volumes! C'mon... Cramming all of them into barely a dozen episodes? I may be okay with 24 (which is common for anime) it probably should be enough, but 11??? Crazy. Somehow, I can't believe when I learned that this show finishes on the 11th ep. After watching it, I was like "The hell? That's it?". Argh! I was literally shaking my head and pulling my hair. It also creates a bit of confusion 'cause a lot of details or scenes do not match the ones in the novel (so screams the purist in me). Some, if not most, are downright mixed-up in the anime, and they even included stuff which are not originally present. I honestly hate when this happens, like it doesn't do justice to the novel... Lucky enough for me, I watched the anime first before reading the novel and manga. Come to think of it, I don't know of any movie / show in recent memory that exactly captured or stayed faithful to their written material where they were based off. Probably some of the anime based on manga, or yeah, Persona 4 The Animation. Now that's more like it. But given my rant, it still does little in preventing me from enjoying this show.

Well, know what? It's either I'm not really satisfied with how it went, or I love this anime too much on the contrary -- but something inside prompted me to watch the whole series twice consecutively. Yes. So far, this is only anime which gained that treatment from me. Or, I'm probably too engrossed and can't stop fangirling over the pair of Nezumi and Shion... Kyaaaa! *faints*

Manga art. Photo via Google.

If all of my blabbering enticed you in some way to watch this anime AND read the manga / novel, please let me suggest that you watch before you read. Spare yourself the heartache. I guess it should go without saying that the novel is miles waaaay better, though it doesn't mean that you should overlook the anime. Oh, I should add that the novel has 9 volumes (6 of which have been translated to English at the moment -- they are non-official; and as for the translations, I have to thank the kind citizens of the web for these), the anime has 11 episodes, the manga has 15 chapters so far (and good thing it tries to remain faithful to the novel).

Whew... It feels so great getting all of these off my chest, and off my brain! It actually took a couple of days for me to complete this post. As much as possible, I wanna make sure that I've included everything that I like (and don't-really-like) about this anime. But I guess by now you should know that I absolutely love No. 6. This is definitely one that took my heart away and left me sitting there wanting more...

Now, please if you'll excuse me. I'm only halfway through the novel. Shion and Nezumi are calling...

BTW, I also intended for this to be my 100th post. Yay! Keep going, keep going... がんばります!

Ja ne!


Post a Comment