Hey, look who’s back today! It’s Zankyou no Terror! In case you need a bit of a refresher of what happened last episode (I did), here’s my write-up from two weeks ago. By way of summary: Nine and Five played chess in the airport, Lisa got trapped with the bomb, Nine and Twelve get her out in time while Shibasaki helps them from the control tower, the airplane blows up and nobody gets hurt.
So, where does that leave us going into this episode? Well, Sphinx has inevitably been framed by the media as the culprits of the airplane bomb and Shibasaki, et al. are in trouble for acting without orders.
I think I want to start at the end of the episode this week, because it connect best to the points I was raising at the end of episode 7. Five is, as I hypothesized, pretty jealous of Lisa’s involvement with Nine and Twelve, and she shows it in the venom that she spits at Lisa and whispers in Lisa’s ear after capturing our favorite moe terrorist. She’s obsessively researched Lisa’s background, and uses everything she knows to strike out at Lisa and hurt her. In another situation, you might call Five’s behavior “bitchy,” because it reads pretty clearly as a nasty girl bullying another. Of course, the situation being what it is, Five’s language comes off as much more threatening—and indeed, Lisa’s life is probably in danger.
And everything Five is saying is built on Lisa’s prior insecurities; no matter how homey her existence the past couple episodes with the boys has been, she’s still the same insecure, attention-starved person she was before. She fears being useless, she fears being in the way, and she fears being abandoned. And while the bomb would have probably still destroyed their home without her accepting it, the pressure the destruction (and Nine) put on Lisa in the aftermath are enough to push her to leave. The point is, obviously, that no matter what the truth of the matter is, that if Lisa feels like a burden, she thinks she is a burden. That’s enough—even in the face of the acceptance she’s found with Nine and Twelve—to cause her to strike out on her own once more.
Twelve’s reaction to all this, while not surprising, is certainly interesting. He’s a heckuva long way from where he was with Lisa in the second episode (“If you make one false move, I’ll kill you“). Lisa’s made plenty of blunders since the time they took her in, and yet it seems that all of this has only strengthened his attachment to her. It may be that he still sees her as a surrogate for the Five they weren’t able to care for earlier, but I think it’s pretty apparent that his priorities have totally shifted.
Twelve isn’t even interested in continuing with Nine’s plan. (I should take a moment here to note that from the beginning I said Twelve was not an instigator of the plan, but merely following Nine’s lead. His departure this episode bears that out.) Lisa has supplanted his long-time friend’s plan and that, I think, is an important distinction to make. I don’t see Twelve as abandoning Nine as a friend, merely as having different priorities. Lisa and the plan are two (for the moment) contradictory goals, and Twelve strikes out on his own to achieve the goal he cares about more. Even Nine’s plea, easily the most emoting we’ve seen from him yet, which sounds positively desperate and was more than a little heartbreaking, isn’t enough to deter Twelve. The two friends have decided to take different roads.
Of course, while all this is going on, Shibasaki is on the move, given new freedom (ironically) after having essentially been fired as a detective. It’s pretty convenient that he happens to have a semi-estranged daughter (she sounds almost happy at even the possibility that her dad might be checking up on her) who knows about nuclear physics and making bombs, but while it’s a decently smart way to sneak in a little info dump, it also adds some nice color to Shibasaki’s character. His daughter makes a couple of sharp remarks about his workaholism, but she definitely loves her dad—and I have to wonder: is it a coincidence that she reminds me of Lisa? She’s almost a foil, even being unnamed: a daughter suffering from parental neglect, rather than overprotectiveness.
Eh, that might be too much of a stretch. Maybe we’ll get more of her later on.
Interestingly enough, Shibasaki’s screentime actually got some of the best cinematographic moments of the episode (excluding that gorgeous shot of Nine and Twelve on the roof at the beginning of this piece). The series of half-fades used during his research was something I haven’t seen done before (at least not in a sequence like that), and was really effective at moving the images along with lines at the time. I also liked the contrast (second gallery picture) between Shibasaki’s warning to Kinoshita that many people could die juxtaposed against the image of the tech guy’s pregnant wife and kid. Life and death—and also Kinoshita’s motivation to both help and not help. If he helps, he can save lives, potentially that of his family. But if he helps, he could lose his livelihood and his ability to provide for his family. Give the man some credit for taking the risk.
- Five apparently shares Nine’s ringing ears condition.
- Nice to hear that Five actually does have a leash, even if nobody’s pulled it yet.
- Lisa’s new outfit isn’t random. It’s pale yellow, the color Twelve said her voice was.
And that’s all for this week. Glad to have this show back; looking forward to seeing how all the threads are going to pull together. You can do it, Watanabe, MAPPA!