First Impressions: No.6 – The Search for Freedom

Bones’ latest offering is an adaptation of Atsuko Asano’s science fiction novel, No.6. A story about two boys in a city called No.6, one of the few habitable cities in the world after the war. Shion is an elite living in the city and Nezumi is a runaway from the so-called correctional facility who seeks shelter in Shion’s room. The two start an unlikely friendship that is short lived because Nezumi eventually leaves without saying anything to Shion.

No explosions here, no death, no boobs landing on someone’s face and no fancy transformation sequences either but…what a wonderful first episode. The story itself isn’t revolutionary, but in the very core of No.6 lies a very human story.

Shion never says it outright, but he yearns for something beyond what he sees in the city. He even goes out of his way and screams his heart out during the typhoon, hinting at how repressed he feels by his controlling environment. Nezumi’s arrival in Shions life is paralleled by the typhoon that enters the city of No.6.

Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life starts playing in the background.

The people of No.6 are warned and anxiousness looms over the citizens. And yet, typhoons are a natural occurrence beyond human control. Nezumi in a way, is similar to this typhoon as he too attempts to free himself from their control. Shion is shook up by this encounter and at the same time, he experiences a deep human connection with Nezumi.

Oh no! Boys holding hands! We’re going to get cancer!

On the topic of ‘BL’ hints. Usually I’d understand that some people would be turned off but in No.6’s case, it’s just confusing why it’s gaining such negativity. If you took out the context, maybe young boys holding hands is a bit much. But I’m pretty sure most of us watched the same show and not Junjou Romantica: The Sci-fi version. Think about it this way: If someone you hardly knew took a fugitive like you in, tended to your wounds and fed you– wouldn’t you at least want to hold that person’s hand and be grateful you met such a person? And if Nezumi’s line is any indication, he’s been surrounded by ‘cold’ people figuratively and literally. I’ve seen a couple of shows where the BL fanservice is just there for kicks and here we have No.6 where the ‘intimate’ scenes are quite justified but still gets ostracized for showing ‘BL fanservice’.

I have to hand it to Bones, this is probably the series that did the best in terms of introducing it’s setting. You even get to see different parts of the city:

The studio understands the importance of illustrating a fictional world and although they may be glimpses, the viewer immediately gains access to an impromptu tour of the city, breathing life to the story. It’s more than a ‘city that looks cool enough to be in the future’.

Another thing I picked up on is that it appears that the city is surrounded by a wall as seen here:

The Wall reminds me of the wall found in Haruki Murakami’s novel, Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Specifically the End of the World sections where the main character isn’t allowed to have a ‘mind’.  Whether or not this similarity is intentional or not, I’m not certain. But the idea of surrounding the city with The Wall is a nice compliment to the already very restrained environment of No.6.

Also notice how there is a concentration camp located beyond the wall. While the citizens live their lives so peacefully to the point they question their purpose, outside the city lies a concentration camp that may prove important to the plot later. I expect a social commentary from this show soon because I doubt these things are just here for the sake of being there.

Visually, I’d say No.6 is balanced. It’s not the best out there but it certainly is good enough. The character designs are plain enough but memorable and some scenes are very nicely detailed and animated.

The shaky cam in here was well done.

THEM EYES.

This is a great start to the series. Noitamina sure has had an interesting line up so far and No.6 is no exception. I’m looking forward to this series and where it’ll lead to. The human drama is here, I hope it keeps it up.

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3 thoughts on “First Impressions: No.6 – The Search for Freedom

  1. E Minor

    This anime might end up sucking, but if anything, I think this was my favorite first episode of the summer. There weren’t any forced voiceovers, no pandering fanservice, solid animation and, most importantly, I love when an anime perfectly executes “show, not tell.”

    Reply
    1. Mira Post author

      Okay, so it might suck in the future, but it might also be the darkhorse of the season. I’m really hoping that No.6 surprises us. I think that this was the only episode that actually cared about telling a story. It felt like I was reading a book. Usagi Drop is kind of there but it really relies on the atmosphere to get things going for the viewer.

      Reply
  2. tomphile

    Just for the cool ideas behind this anime, I’m giving it a thumbs up. I don’t expect another Fractale so…yeah. Hoping here.

    Reply

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