#10 Helter Skelter
Wow, I don’t even know how to begin. So much happened in so little time yet it’s managed to bring Zankyou no Terror leaps and bounds ahead of all the other animes this season. Just, wow.
I think the best way to go about this episode review is by what Zankyou’s done best – it’s characterisation. The plot really becomes secondary but it’s so compelling (newly-created atomic bomb threatens to blow at 10pm above the Tokyo skyline) you don’t even realise the characters are the true stars of this show.
She’s the typical antagonist everyone hates from the very beginning until more of her back story gets revealed and you slowly come to understand her. I’ve come to like Five especially now with her demise (what a beautiful way to go really, just look at how gentle that last shot of her was!). She was the sole survivor out of 24 children, because she willed herself to live long enough to one day defeat Nine, the one person she’s never been able to win against. That sheer willpower pushed her to use whatever methods and resources she had to finally be able to kiss Nine goodbye. I thought she was so cool for shooting Clarence who had turned around intending to discard her – cool, calm and oh so composed Five didn’t even aim or look/think twice. Was Five justified in killing so many innocent people along the way in her pursuit of Nine? By our standards of course not. But by Five’s standard, yes. When you’re an orphan abandoned by your own parents and then society turns its back on you while being cruelly experimented on, what do you live for? What’s the point? Nine was her point. And till the very end she lived just for him, and now he has to live her share too.
He’d be the class valedictorian. He was 3 steps ahead – Nine knew Twelve would betray and sell him out with the school locker location so he chose a different method to detonate the atomic bomb. That’s what all the helium from last episode was for. But he still had to be seen at the school locker so that the police think they’ve got him and maybe also for Nine to truly realise that Twelve has betrayed him. The sleek stoic Sphinx #1 walks up to surrender at police HQ, demanding to hold an 8pm press conference, knowing fully well that he’ll never get to the press conference venue anyway. So the bomb’s air balloon is triggered and his pre-recorded message automatically broadcasts. How far ahead do you plan Nine? It’s brilliantly scary! Brains aside, I’m more interested in knowing how Nine feels – his best friend betrayed him, his childhood friend kisses him and dies right before his very eyes and he’s all alone in this final plan. But Nine probably doesn’t have time to feel. That final reveal was chilling for me as Nine’s grin was just so all-knowing, of both Tokyo’s fate as well as his own. Look at near the end of the OP sequence and notice how Nine falls alone, with an all-knowing grin. Chills…
2 episodes ago he wanted out. Can’t they just let things go and live the rest of their remaining time as ordinary teenagers doing what ordinary teenagers do? He seemed so excited about high school and made a friend in Risa. Twelve’s gained the most emotionally; I’ve almost forgotten the way he threatened Risa in episode 1. He’s obviously guilty about betraying Nine but he’s now free for it. Sphinx #2 is no longer involved and can’t go back to Nine anyway, not after what he’s done. So even though Risa tells him Nine surrendered and is going ahead with the plan, he chooses to spend the day with her at the amusement park, just like what ordinary teenagers/couples would do. There’s no time left and Twelve’s making the most of it because that’s all he can do. But Risa knows Nine needs Twelve, even if the boys won’t admit it and he does eventually go help shake off Five from Nine’s tail, getting quite badly hurt in the process. I don’t see a happy ending in Zankyou for the boys but I really hope Twelve’s alright enough to reconcile with Nine first!
Lovingly dubbed by viewers as the useless one, Risa turned out to be the key turning point in Zankyou this episode. Yes it’s true that if it weren’t for her, Twelve wouldn’t have chosen her over Nine and we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. But it’s also because of her that Twelve is convinced to go help Nine and return to being Sphinx #2. Risa cries a lot in Zankyou and I’m surprisingly not annoyed, maybe because she’s so genuine her tears aren’t wasted on anyone ever. I just hope Risa’s strong enough to live on when Nine and Twelve aren’t around anymore.
Good ol’ detective Shibasaki. Things have indeed come full circle for him as he confronts the man behind the Athena Plan Mamiya Shunzo, who’s a frickin’ bastard through and through. He’s trying to get to the bottom of the Athena Plan so he can understand Sphinx’s raison d’etre so as to stop them from wronging further. And now he’s got a personal vendetta 15 years in the making to settle. Unfortunately we don’t get to see that settled this episode though with bigger things to worry about, I’m ok with no closure on this. Shibasaki seems like a pseudo patriarch to Sphinx in that he’s the only detective capable of keeping up with the boys. One thing he got right was how quickly children grow up. He’s not referring to his own daughter. He’s referring to Nine and Twelve, correctly identifying that the boys have turned against their patriarch in their elaborate plan. If Shibasaki could, he’d probably want to put an end to Sphinx’s tirade personally and offer them closure by bringing to public justice those involved in the Athena Plan. I doubt that would happen seeing has how old Mamiya is bedridden and most of the members involved are either dead or incapacitated. But I do hope for resolution in the final episode with Shibasaki and Sphinx finally coming together.
This was again a beautifully executed episode of Zankyou, a show which has been amazingly consistent throughout the season so far. The action sequences of car chases and explosions was anime movie-worthy. The OST so aptly plays at pivotal scenes and once again, those damn facial expressions are so real. I really don’t want Zankyou to end from just a pure production POV but alas, good things really must come to an end…