#9 Highs & Lows
Now you’ve gone and done it Twelve. You could’ve at least lied about where the atomic bomb was…
Was Lisa worth it Twelve? That might be what most viewers have in mind but for me, even if Lisa wasn’t worth it, Twelve’s humanity was. As called in episode 8, we get the disturbing revelation of how the Athena Plan involved scientifically experimenting on children under the age of 5 years old with an accidentally created brain-function boosting drug which eventually shortens their mortality. Not too far fetched for anime-land so far. Even Hamura’s frustration as expected of a newbie, passionate detective was as OTT as anime-land requires. I’ve not liked Hamura’s character so far but objectively, his reaction was necessary since everyone else (including this viewer) is just too staid in Zankyou.
Turns out Five is the only survivor from this experiment out of 26 children, with Nine and Twelve having escaped by setting a fire to trigger the safety alarm system. Not bad for a couple of brain-boosted 9 year olds right? And then here’s where I got a bit pissed off – the Americans found out about the Athena Plan and rightfully shut it down. But why did they take custody of the one surviving experiment subject? And then put her to use? It’s just absurd that they go spoil the Japanese government’s secret plan only to take the spoils for themselves, which isn’t too far flung from reality though. So the Japanese government didn’t just lose plutonium, an essential ingredient for making an atomic bomb, but lost their prototype atomic bomb itself back in episode 1. And of course the Americans knew all about this secret atomic bomb, which is why they gave themselves the authority to sidestep the Tokyo Metropolitan Police in making sure they get their hands on it before any other country in the world.
Before we all get upset yet again at poofy, cotton-candy, sheep-on-head Five, remember that she’s a victim too. It’s no wonder she’s grown up all warped and emotionally disconnected enough to think nothing of blowing up an airport gate and now, the Yokohama (presumably) ferris wheel, in her bid to corner Twelve. Kudos to her for even realising the feelings Twelve has for Lisa, romantic or not. It’s an elaborately set up first and last “date” where Twelve has just 8:30 mins to dismantle the bombs strapped to Lisa but those scenes as with almost all scenes this particular episode, had beautifully animated close-up shots of Lisa and Twelve’s faces and god those expressions, I’ve not seen such real expressions in anime in a very long time (anime movies aside since those have the budget for such animation). Bravo to the production team for doing such a good job when it’s not even the final episode!
Five was right about one thing Twelve. You really have betrayed Nine not once but now, twice. What was the bigger picture you both shared for so many years that you both worked hard towards, knowing full well you both didn’t have long to live? Nine was right – you shouldn’t have gotten Lisa involved, you shouldn’t have taunted and teased her, you shouldn’t have given her that bike ride and you shouldn’t have brought her back to the apartment. Now you’ve gone and done it at the expense of everything you thought was your one goal in life. But I’d like to think it was worth it. Because at least before your short life goes out with a bang (I’m under the impression we’ll end Zankyou on literally a big bang), you’ve learnt empathy, compassion and perhaps even love. You’ve learned what it feels to be frustrated and caught in a dilemma, what it means to betray a friend and to judge for yourself what your life’s worth. Don’t chide Lisa for Twelve’s actions – she did tell Twelve to leave her because she knew how important Nine was to him and vice versa. It’s a cheesy plot line but with such sleek execution, does anyone mind? 2 episodes to go and if Zankyou continues like it has this episode, it’ll be one of the anime classics we’ve not had in a long time~