Zankyou no Terror 08

#8 My Fair Lady

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Darn it, I liked that house too.

“Wake up, wake up in the morning dew. Peppermint fields I watch the birds fly.
Darkness disappears into light. The lightest feeling dawns with the new day, floating.
Looking back now with perfect eyes, if only I could just save this sight.
But it slips away into the breaking waves and slowly sinks back into the sand.” ~ 22 (feat. Ryo Nagano)

I love Kanno Yoko’s music. I love this Zankyou OST. But what I appreciate most, is music used most aptly in an anime and here’s yet another beautiful example from the Watanabe-Kanno team (refer to the motorcycle scene in episode 04 for the other brilliant example). This episode opened with just music against the quiet scene of Nine and Twelve taking a moment outside on the rooftop as Risa sleeps peacefully away on the sofa. There was no dialogue because it’s written into the lyrics already. Watanabe even threw in a couple of birds flying off just as the words were sung! The song title probably alludes to the catch-22 situation Sphinx is in with Risa. Keep her or not, they’re endangering her life and theirs too. After all that tension and action in the last episode, I half expected the pace to start off quick as the three teenagers figure out their next step. So I was (very gladly) thrown off with this opening instead, giving us a glimpse of what Twelve sees through his synesthesia eyes of white feathers filling Tokyo as yet another day simply goes by.

Kudos to Risa for knowing to run and to run fast away from the bomb Five had lovingly arranged to be delivered to the boys’ loft apartment. I liked that house too but I’m more traumatised to see Risa add pocky sticks into curry… that’s it Risa, you’re on your own now, I’m no longer defending you and your uselessness. It’s the one big pain viewers of this show seem to have, that Risa’s not value-adding to Zankyou. And I counter-argue that that’s exactly what her role is! Now you see how her uselessness has caused a rift to crack in Sphinx? Nine blames Risa for all that’s happened – having to rescue her from the plane and now having lost their home. Twelve defends and speaks up for Risa though it’s not enough to shift the internal blame she’s put on herself and so she runs away. It’s too late though – Five knows the boys care enough for her and Twelve for one, chooses to leave Nine to go searching for her and to me, that was a heartbreaking scene to see the well animated pained expression Nine had when telling Twelve to ‘please don’t go’.

Something just clicked. Why is Sphinx are Nine and Twelve saying on multiple occasions now that they don’t have much time left? Could it be something the facility biologically did to them?! Initially I thought they’d been referring to the stolen plutonium or were responding to the latest movements of those in the Rising Peace Academy. But maybe it’s something else? We’ve seen Nine clutch his head in agony a couple of times so far though Twelve attributes it to his nightmares. This time around, we see Five clutching her head too, noting that, ‘this isn’t funny at all’. Was something planted in these facility children that capitalises on their intelligence yet in exchange shortens their life?

Maybe I’m reading into things too much. Thankfully we have the restless Shibazaki going around putting the pieces together for us this week. He expected to be suspended indefinitely even though the rest of his Haneda-lunch group got 3 months. Guess averting a bomb disaster didn’t count for anything huh? What kind of whacked authority does the US Government think it has in securing the object (plutonium) in a bid to prevent nuclear terrorism? First, it’s not your plutonium and second, it’s not your country. The end does NOT justify the means if that entails Five blowing up a plane, a loft apartment and now kidnapping Risa. Even Clarence finally warned Five to not go overboard because there’s only that much he can do to hold the Japanese Government off.

I liked how young, idealistic Hamura tried to protest for Shibazaki especially since he initially didn’t like the guy. We never got his back story or even enough lines from the guy to remember his name by. Yet now the young, passionate-about-his-job detective has voluntarily partnered with Shibazaki to investigate into things themselves. Not bad for some character development purely through plot right? Shibazaki was happy to go solo, relying on his daughter’s university-level knowledge and blackmailing a participant of the Rising Peace Academy. But together, they find out just enough information to get us going – the Athena project was a top-secret plan linked to members of the Rising Peace Academy group many years ago. They recruited orphans who were found to be intellectually gifted after conducting a series of paper and interview tests at various orphanages. AMAZINGLY, none of the orphanage directors/guardians knew where the children were taken. Not a single one of them. Seriously? What kind of guardian do you call yourself to just believe anyone, even the government, and not follow up on where the orphans went?

Zankyou’s appeal at the start of the season was its psychological thriller premise and mystery surrounding Sphinx. Along the way, we got less of that thrill and more of the mystery. Then Risa came along and added the signature Watanabe drama into the mix which is where we are now. Some viewers feel cheated since Sphinx seemed really cool, with some of the youths in the show looking up to them too. But I signed up for the drama and am glad to see it seeping and creeping up on Sphinx before they even realised it, creating a neat, all-rounded show. Intentionally or not, Kanno Yoko’s done an amazing job in her collaborations so far – just look at how the last verse of the lyrics in 22 echoes Twelve’s suggestion that they just stop all of this:

“Looking back now with perfect eyes, if only I could just save this sight.
But they fall away into the rush of days.
Another life is calling my name”

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