DEM美しい骨格 Chapter 2: Oni offesa (鬼攻撃) / Oni Offense
A year goes by as MAK was practicing how to use his powers and knowing what the stuff he inhaled that day was. As it turns out, it came from a rare plant found in Colombia and Brazil called Blue Leaf or in its’ native language ‘hoja azul’. However, MAK never exactly told his family nor his friends about this new power he’s experiencing but mainly, he rarely speak much to his family and most of his friends as he is mostly the silent one whenever he’s around them. Particularly when rumors starting spreading about him being a super being when Dice and Rick failed to intimidate him as they were robbing him but fortunately for MAK, he always managed to stomp the flames and keep them from being fanned by a few people and it helps that Rick was sent to jail for robbery, assault and extortion for the next 3 years and Dice was sent to boot camp and possibly the army. Now, if MAK didn’t have to worry about those guys anymore, why did he need practice? He was a fight trainer and Blue Leaf supplier and his name is Big Daddy and for the past year, MAK only told him about the power of Blue Leaf within him and Big Daddy explained to him that the blue leaf happens to be a powerful herb that with enough practice in enhancing your defense, stealth and combat skill but explained that it’s not some power that you should abuse with trivial and petty situations, only use it whenever you are in a dire situation. Big Daddy also warned MAK of another substance that is similar to Blue Leaf when both of those are mixed within each other; it’ll become unstable and render your body to be useless and in a critical condition unless and that is called Red Mist or as the Gods called it…..No.6.
One thing you got to understand about this type of show is the representation of a utopia, while being something that may be relaxing and it feels like you’re in paradise; they’re not as they say they are and also must have their deepest dark secrets hidden that if you know them, then eventually, you will be hunted down and presumably you will get killed. That is the case with most things in media, such as 1984, 12 Monkeys, Children of Men and other works too much to name. There’s also something else about No. 6 but that is going to come up later in the review.
The story takes place in the “ideal” and perfect city known as “No.6”. Shion, a boy raised in the elite and privileged environment of his home, gives shelter to another boy, who only gives his name as ‘Nezumi’ (meaning Mouse or Rat) on the former’s 12th birthday. After spending a rainy night with his new friend, Shion discovers the next morning that Nezumi has disappeared without a trace. Shion receives information via an intercommunication bracelet, issued to all citizens, that there is a boy on the loose and that Shion is to report having seen the suspect or not. When he does not comply with demands, the government strips him of his privileged status and he moves to the ghettos of the city. Four years later, Shion experiences a spate of incidents around him in which a deadly infection by parasitic wasps causes its victims to age rapidly and start to decompose at an alarming rate. Shion’s co-worker is one of the victims and Shion is arrested on suspicion of insubordination to the city. While Shion is being transported to the Correctional Institute, Nezumi appears and rescues him. Shion begins to find out the hidden truth behind the ideal city No.6.
OK, let’s just get this one thing out of the way considering some of you will mention this if sooner or later…..this show has underlying yaoi elements/moments, especially with the two main characters Shion and Nezumi. I could see it coming even from the first episode, hell; it was hinted in all the episodes but I didn’t think that it distracted the main element of the plot which is that a conspiracy lying under the city of No.6 and those who oppose it or get caught in the crossfire will most likely to suffer and if you’re expecting a full-blown yaoi/shounen-ai fest, you’ll be disappointed on that. But as for the plot, like BONES’ other series Jyu-Oh-Sei, the pace goes way too fast but it’s after the first episode where it skips 4 years where Shion is 16. They should’ve scrapped the idea of the first episode with him being 12 and just know about what happened between the events of the 1st and 2nd episode or started with the 2nd episode going in.
For characters, Shion was great character development going on from being ignorant of No.6 to being well-known of what the city he’s been in is doing. Nezumi or “Rat” was an okay character for the time being until he can be a real dick to Shion, albeit the guy might need that since he’s out of his comfort zone. However, the female characters and their development wasn’t executed well, especially with Safu, Shion’s childhood friend, and the fact that if this show were to run without her, it wouldn’t have made a difference since they hinted that she eventually want to have sex with him (No, really, it was hinted in the show that when she left for No.5, she wanted him to have sex with her.) but that goes nowhere like most of the subplots there. There’s Shion’s mother, Karan, owner of her bakery shop who has been worrying about him ever since he escaped and has been received messages from him via rats and for her, she was one of the more important female characters in the show or at least one that don’t cast aside that often. There is also the Dogkeeper……yeah, she was cool but that’s all I got from her.
The animation is mostly “meh” on BONES’ part with some of it being a little off on the movements of characters. I think we all say that most animation on anime nowadays looks great but this is just average animation. It’s nothing mind-blowing but it isn’t cheap to look at. Musically, it is also “meh” as it has some great background music that gives the suspense of the show, especially in the next episode previews, but the opening and ending themes left no long lasting impression on me.
And for the dub………yes, this is a Sentai Filmworks dub and I don’t have much nice things to say about Sentai Filmworks dubs (except for K-On!, Persona 4, & Fate/Stay Night – well, the movie) but it is a decent dub from them. Greg Ayres does voice Shion as someone who doesn’t know much outside the city he’s in and Kalob Martinez portraying Rat was fine as well but nothing to cheer on home about although Luci Christian was possibly the most notable voice actress in the dub playing the Dogkeeper.
FINAL VERDICT: This was more likely on the middle of “meh” and “lackluster”. It’s lackluster because of the quick and unnecessary pace it went through and was “meh” because of the character interactions felt nothing special to me. I admit that the bond between the two male characters didn’t result to any frivolous fan service but felt at least genuine. Sci-Fi/Apocalyptic nerds or shounen-ai fans may not find this at the top of their watch list but it’s something to watch when you’re bored.
So, what grade should I give No.6? Well, it isn’t a 6 but it is a…
6.5/10 – Watchable
Now it’s time for MAK to do the one obstacle course that he has been trying to accomplish ever since gaining the power, which include jumping at very high places but using the power to get there quicker before falling an immediate death, learn to dodge bullets, punches, hard blows and other foreign objects and using those against your opponents, using stealth when attacking or being attacked, and simply controlling the powers whenever in a normal situation to not reveal yourself to the public. However, during the course, he manages to be excellent in the courses, with the exception of receiving small cuts in his arm during the knifing and he goofed up with the stealth mode…….by a sneeze. “Boy, you have got a lot to learn about this power.” Big Daddy said as MAK was breathing hard and heavy from the training, especially the falling part, which he had nightmares of most of these days. “Plus, I heard those guys you escaped from are getting released earlier and they are looking to put a cap in your ass soon.” MAK entered the thought of them striking back, “Yes, I know. But unlike that last time, I will definitely be ready to counterattack whenever they come.” Then Big Daddy told MAK not to be too cocky with his power because those who act arrogant with their powers tend to be the first ones to fail and eventually die. So MAK and Big Daddy eventually went back to train some more and to improve his fighting and stealth mode.
Well, the training is all done for Part 2 as The Hybrid gets ready for battle slaying and speaking for battle or slaying, guess the next title from BONES to review?……
And until then, TO BE CONTINUED.
NO.6 – animation by BONES, production by ANIPLEX & distributed by SENTAI FILMWORKS
music inspired by DEM LOVELY BONES (Wu-Tang Clan – Da Mystery Of Chessboxin’), (BT – Kimosabe), (Tears For Fears vs. Eric B. & Rakim – Shout vs. Eric B. Is Pres…)
THE MIND OF THE HYBRID ONE – my Tumblr page.