No. 6 Episode Five

‘CAUSE I’LL BE DANCING

Let me preface this by saying that this post is not indicative of me having picked up this show for blogging; I haven’t. I simply have stuff to say about this episode, although some of it encompasses earlier items as well.

There’s been a lot of to-do about the dancing scene in the aninerdoloserblogosphere, with the predictable sighs about how “gay” it is. I think this distracts from a more interesting thing to take away from this, which is that Nezumi knows how to dance. This is a rather revealing bit, as it contrasts with his usual coldness and his repeated statements about survival and such. However, it certainly fits with all those books he owns and his acting career. We may keep getting harsh scenes of dead bodies and poverty, but the people who live outside No. 6 have enough of a grip on life that they still seek out and enjoy entertainment. As such, the kind of world they inhabit is very reminiscent of medieval Europe to me.

Actually, medieval Europe is a rather apt comparison, isn’t it? There are walled cities which provide more material comforts to their citizenry if not emotional comforts. There are many “regular” people who live outside those cities, eking out existences which are more tenuous overall but which are fettered less by overarching institutions. There’s a coming plague which begins with marks upon the skin, and which appears to effect the walled city of No. 6 more than it does the “countryside” past it.

My gut reaction to the dancing scene, though, was to think of another famous same-sex dancing scene from anime:


Personally, I think the music in this scene is about 85% more awesome than the music used in No. 6’s similar scene. However, I think the music used in No. 6 works just fine with that scene and that it would’ve been silly and overwrought had it utilized a J-poppy number like Toki ni Ai wa… .

To get back to the dance itself and the larger question as to Nezumi and Shion’s relation to each other; I do not think this is exactly “BL” which we are seeing. Yet, I do think that the fact that we are questioning what is going on is intentional, and that there is a specific reason for why two boys are being used as opposed to a boy and a girl, or even two girls. The relationship which is forming here, regardless of what it is, is rather atypical for both Nezumi and Shion. It may even be uncommon, period, in the world they both know (i.e. No. 6 and the settlement right past its walls; snippets from No. 5 suggest that it may not be so odd elsewhere). How does one further convey such a thing to an audience which does not, by and large, think of close emotional relationships between people as odd? By using secondary aspects to make it stick out more. With a male and a female character we’d just go “Uh huh, romance, big deal”, with two females we wouldn’t necessarily register much (I say “necessarily” because some folks see two girls standing a foot from one another and start thinking “yuri”) (since girls tend to be socialized differently and so do not develop the concerns that boys do about same-sex closeness as being threatening to one’s heterosexuality or femininity), but two boys dancing around together? HMMMM.

On a wholly unintellectual note, by the way, Nezumi as Ophelia? HNNNNNNNNNNNGH.

And, also, why does it seem like anyone in No. 6 who is supposed to be somewhat roughly garbed has uneven pantlegs? Its kind of hilarious.

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13 Responses to No. 6 Episode Five

  1. Mira says:

    However, I think the music used in No. 6 works just fine with that scene and that it would’ve been silly and overwrought had it utilized a J-poppy number like Toki ni Ai wa… .
    I kind of want to see this. For the lulz.

    How does one further convey such a thing to an audience which does not, by and large, think of close emotional relationships between people as odd? By using secondary aspects to make it stick out more.

    This. When I watched the scene it made me realize that these two found something in each other that is completely different from what they’re used to. What I do like about No.6 is how vague Nezumi and Shion’s feelings are.

    I loved Nezumi as Ophelia, amazing character design. I heard that in the novels you don’t even get Nezumi in costume.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      If I had better audio/video editing skills or if my computer was capable of handling it, I would absolutely set their dancing scene to Toki ni Ai wa… .

      I do enjoy the vagueness surrounding their own feelings as well, because I think it makes a lot more sense that way. Shion comes from a very emotionally repressed environment, and Nezumi doesn’t trust anyone. Also, even more simply, they’re both teenagers. It’d be weird if things were clearer.

  2. processr says:

    Absolutely agree. I find it utterly droll that so many anibloggers latch onto the homosexual undertones and have nearly nothing else to say about it. There’s remarking on the (hints of) romance, and then there’s going “OH MY GOD THEY’RE TWO MEN AND THEY’RE DANCING TOGETHER GROSS”.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      The reactions of the blogosphere are by and large laughable. People say with a very straight face that the show is pandering, and talk about how YuruYuri is a great show. There’s nothing else to do in the face of that but laugh, because these are individuals clearly incapable of critical thinking.

  3. Katherine says:

    What processr said. It’s nice to see some intelligent commentary on that scene, for a change.

    I also like how it reinforces yet again how different Shion (who clearly had never danced) and Nezumi’s respective fields of knowledge are- Shion’s being purely technical, minus the humanities, as with Safu (No. 6 clearly doesn’t want its citizens learning anything that won’t directly contribute to the city’s material well-being…or foster enough enough creativity in its citizenry that they start questioning their hyper-controlled life; No. 6 could have some fiction that’s available if it promotes the state’s image, like in North Korea, but it seems like the last time Shion saw a book that tells a story was when his mom read to him when he was a kid…which raises its own set of questions about how she was able to access that literature; No. 6 has at least been around since she was a student, when she asked that pimp, whatshisname, about that article he wrote criticizing No. 6), while Nezumi is well-educated in the humanities (although Shion seems to be catching up) and has far better street knowledge from not growing up as sheltered as Shion. (Although, creating a balance again, the less hardened Shion has a better moral compass- or at least, doesn’t see helpfulness towards others as a weakness-, which is rubbing off on Nezumi. In that respect, Shion and Nezumi roles kind of remind me from the boy and the man, respectively, in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.)

    • Katherine says:

      Whoah- I went off on such a tangent. > <

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I actually wish I had talked a little about Shion’s mother in my post, as it seems clear to me that there’s a lot more to her than we could’ve guessed initially. She knows of the underground (?) newspaper, after all, and she seems to have knowledge of the world past the walls based on her rather nonplussed reaction to news of her son being there. My guess is that this is how she had access to the book she read in a flashback.

      Of course, on the other hand, while Shion says that they were discouraged from reading the classics, he doesn’t say that those works were outright banned. This is actually a very intriguing approach; if one bans something, that makes it more alluring often. But if one just keeps repeating that something is unworthy of one’s time, then that presents a more persuasive argument against bothering with them.

      • Katherine says:

        “This is actually a very intriguing approach; if one bans something, that makes it more alluring often. But if one just keeps repeating that something is unworthy of one’s time, then that presents a more persuasive argument against bothering with them.”

        Very true. I’d forgotten that the anime made that distinction, but it’s an unusually intelligent take on how a repressive society would try to control what people read. (Along with explaining where Shion’s mom got that book, it explains why No. 6 is okay with sending its students to study abroad in more seemingly open societies.)

  4. E Minor says:

    Everything comes back to Utena, doesn’t it? /squints

  5. Kim says:

    I have very mixed opinions about No. 6. I think the plot is a rushed mess but I do enjoy the relationship between Sion and Nezumi whatever it is. The dancing scene was the highlight of the episode for me.

    I have not seen the Utena film yet (only the TV series) and that dancing scene was lovely. Now I really want to watch the film. But my favorite same-sex dancing scene has to be Oscar and Marie Antoinette in Rose of Versailles.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Well, my guess is that the scene between Oscar and Antoinette probably helped inspire that scene with Anthy and Utena, given that Rose of Versailles was the single biggest influence on Revolutionary Girl Utena.

      I would wait for Nozomi’s release of the re-mastered version of Adolescence Apocalypse. The animation and art is gorgeous, and a re-master will doubtless look fantastic.

      Honestly, No. 6 needs a much longer runtime than it is going to be afforded, which is rather unfortunate. I know its noitaminA, but some of those shows have gotten twenty-two episodes to work with instead of eleven. It’s too bad that something like Fractale sopped up a season’s worth of time on the block when something like No. 6 could’ve gotten that allotment.

  6. Caraniel says:

    I really wanted to blog this show, not only because the Inner Fangirl keeps going ‘BL Kyaaa~!’ and ‘Nezumi as Ophelia!! Squee~!’, but because I think No.6 has a lot of interesting things going on in it.

    As you mentioned, the way the people beyond No.6’s walls seek out entertainment and live in a much more immediate manner is in stark contrast to the emotionally stunted and sterile environment of No.6 proper. Nezumi’s dancing, acting and singing make him appear much more cultured in the fine arts than Shion, who was raised to prioritise science and conformity. The fact that Shion has always been so open to new experiences and has such an earnest personality, is allowing him to embrace life outside the walls of No.6 – Nezumi wouldn’t have coped as well if the roles were reversed.

    The pair form an interesting contrast – Nezumi who is sharp-tongued, suspicious & rough round the edges, yet very well read and adept at the fine arts, and Shion who’s strong-willed yet soft-spoken & naive while being extremely intelligent & analytical. Its usually the character who’s interested in the humanities that’s portrayed as the naive, emotional one, but somehow the dramatic flair Nezumi has complements his strongly guarded emotions – who better than an actor to pull up a mask to keep others out?

    The dancing scene was wonderful – it really showed the contrast in the characters and how they’re gradually growing closer together. I’m really enjoying this show.

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