Many years ago, after the end of a bloody world war, mankind took shelter in six city-states that were peaceful and perfect... at least on the surface. However, Shion—an elite resident of the city-state No. 6—gained a new perspective on the world he lives in, thanks to a chance encounter with a mysterious boy, Nezumi. Nezumi turned out to be just one of many who lived in the desolate wasteland beyond the walls of the supposed utopia. But despite knowing that the other boy was a fugitive, Shion decided to take him in for the night and protect him, which resulted in drastic consequences: because of his actions, Shion and his mother lost their status as elites and were relocated elsewhere, and the darker side of the city began to make itself known.
Now, a long time after their life-altering first meeting, Shion and Nezumi are finally brought together once again—the former elite and the boy on the run are about to embark on an adventure that will, in time, reveal the shattering secrets of No. 6.
No. 6 condenses but largely remains faithful to the the original nine-part light novel series. Changes were made to tone down the amount of violence in the series, in addition to creating an alternate ending.
No.6 is a captivating anime and I can honestly say that after having just watched it twice through. But then again, everyone has different tastes and this just may not be your cup of tea. Even so, it couldn’t hurt to try a sip, could it?
NOTE: For my sake, I’m writing Nezumi, as Nezumi, and not “Rat” like in the subs, and Shion instead of Sion, like the MAL character page.
Story – 8/10. No.6 is a utopia, there is no poverty, there are no conflicts, there are no problems. You will live happily and peacefully within these safe walls, and you will wear this
lovely bracelet that is your identity. Oh, and one last thing: if you doubt us, we won’t hesitate to eliminate you. Ignorance really is bliss.
On his 12th birthday, Shion hides and helps an injured Nezumi, a VC. This leads to being stripped of his rights to live in Cronos and qualification to enter the Special Course. There’s a time skip, and suddenly it’s four years later and instead of studying ecology, Shion’s a park worker. After witnessing two people strangely die, he’s taken away by the Bureau of Safety. At that point, he’s rescued by Nezumi and whisked away to the Western District to discover the truth about No.6.
No.6 is listed as Sci-fi and Action, but there are also elements of Fantasy and Shounen-ai. Yes, shounen-ai. I’m not sure if I view it as a good thing, or bad. I mean, I’m a fan of yaoi/shounen-ai, so that probably contributes largely to the fact I enjoyed it, but I know there are a ton of people who aren’t comfortable with it.
If you’re a fan of shounen-ai, you will enjoy this. Well, to be honest, I’m not sure it would be able to appeal to any other audience beside BL fans...
Aside from the homosexual content, No.6 starts off with an intriguing plot – and I won’t lie, I’m a total sucker for utopia/dystopia stories. But like a lot of people, I thought this had a lot of potential to be something amazing, but it never did reach what it could have; whether it’s because of the length of the anime, or because it got side-tracked by shounen-ai fan service, I’m not sure. I kind of feel like a lot of loose ends weren’t dealt with.
Art – 7.25/10. The art... isn’t one of No.6’s stronger points. While it isn’t terrible, it isn’t amazing. The characters are sometimes really awkwardly drawn/animated, such as Shion’s scar or his blushing. But the background and scenery are amazing, and the OP was done beautifully. Especially the last thirty seconds.
Sound – 9/10. I won’t lie; I strongly disliked the OP at first. I thought it was really strange sounding and the singer’s voice was abnormally high... but as the episodes went on, I’ve grown to like them quite a bit. I found myself watching and listening to it on replay. Anyways, it suited the feel of No.6 perfectly. And ohmygosh, the ED. EDs are something I skip over all the time. Not this one. I couldn’t. This one I liked right away. It felt incredibly sad, almost like nostalgia. As cheesy as this sounds, my heart clenches when I hear it. Background music was very subtle, but added wonderfully to the overall feel.
The voice actors also did a pretty good job. Nezumi’s singing was nice... though, it took a bit of time getting used to little Shion’s and little Nezumi’s deep voices...
Character – 8/10. I cried. I got so emotionally attached, that tears came pouring out when Nezumi began singing in the last episode, despite how confused I was.
In the beginning you’re introduced to 12-year-old Nezumi. Running around from authorities in what seems to be a sewage system, panting, with blood trickling down his arm. He meets a dead end, where steel bars are closing off on an opening, preventing chances of escape. Then you’re introduced to 12-year-old Shion. Right away their lives are contrasted. Shion’s sitting at his desk in the middle of Safu’s presentation; there hasn’t been any real hardships he’s been through in life since being ranked as having highest intelligence.
Shion is naive, innocent, kind, and for the most part, ignorant like many other No.6 citizens. Nezumi is sharp-tongued, gives of an arrogant vibe, and is artsy. Yes, their personalities have been done before, but I don’t think you’ll get bored of them... Shion and Nezumi are actually quite likable. As the anime progresses, you see moments of complete contradiction to their personalities which I found quite interesting. Shion has a darker, more aggressive side that comes out when it comes to Nezumi, and Nezumi definitely has a soft spot when it comes to Shion. This might make them seem out of character at times, but I think that’s the point. They bring out entirely new sides of each other.
As for the other supporting characters: Karan, Inukashi, Rikiga, even Yoming, – they’re pretty okay. You know general information about their life and their past, but not in great detail. They’re not exactly incredibly developed characters either, but the anime was only 11 episodes long.
The only one I found kind of strange was Elyurias/Safu. I didn’t really understand her presence or character...
Enjoyment – 10/10. I enjoyed this 10/10 easily, even the second time going through. I grinned and I worried, I eagerly clicked each episode and got frustrated over waiting for the next one. With this anime, I watched it each episode from beginning to end, OP to ED. Stating it simply: I loved watching it [and rewatching it.] The last episode did confuse me a bit, but I’m seriously longing for more.
Overall – Each category is weighted differently for me, and of course, there are always miscellaneous factors. I consider Story to account for 25% of the overall ranking of animes, Art 10%, Sound 10%, Character 25%, and Enjoyment 30%.
[80% x 0.25] + [72.5% x 0.10] + [90% x 0.10] + [80% x 0.25] + [100% x 0.30] = 86.25%
Round it up, and that’s how No.6 gets a 9/10 from me... and my first review on MAL. ^_______^
Wow, that was painful. Please, anyone reading this, don't bother with this anime. Go pick up a translation of the novels or the manga. I've only read brief summaries of the novel, but those summaries were enough to let me know how good of a show this could have been, and just how far BONES had to go out of its way to make the No. 6 anime a complete trainwreck.
The first three episodes of the show were really interesting. Not fantastic, but enough to get me excited. There's a strong sense of mystery pervading the first episode: Why is this kid being pursued?
What's that thing in the center of the city making a strange noise, one that causes those that hear it to listen in seeming awe and reverence? The second episode continues to add questions, while starting up the plot proper as prettyboy Nezumi helps hero Shion escape No. 6 before Shion can be taken to the Ministry of Love. Excuse me, I meant the Correctional Facility. The third episode gives us our look outside the city, so we can see a town built from freedom and poverty, distinct from the strict control of the supposed utopia beyond the walls. At the end of episode 3, Nezumi, who has stated his disgust at No. 6, promises to reveal to Shion why he hates Shion's former home, and why Shion should too.
And then episode 4 comes, and we get nothing. Then episode 5 comes, and we get nothing. Episode 6? Nope. Episode 7? Still nothing. The show spins its wheels for four episodes, and Nezumi and Shion's interactions in each episode can be summed up like this:
Nezumi: I hate No. 6! I want to destroy it!
Nezumi: I'll tell you later!
Shion: I love you, Nezumi.
Nezumi: I hate you because you love No. 6!
Shion: Why should I hate it?
Nezumi: I'll tell you later!
And so on. Eventually, something happens that causes them to actually decide to get off their asses and finally do something. This is episode 8. There are only 3 episodes left after this. They spend this episode seeing a guy who helped build the city, and getting answers from him. Why Nezumi didn't take Shion to him as soon as possible and keep the plot going is beyond me. We do learn some very important things this episode, though! Namely, the government of No. 6 is actually... evil! This was in no way obvious based on the previous seven episodes, and is a giant shock to everybody. We also learn about something called Elyurias, but what that actually is isn't explained yet.
The next bit will be a bit spoilerish. It shouldn't be too hard to guess the basics of what happens, but if you're really picky about avoiding spoilers you'll want to skip ahead, or stop reading and go do something that isn't watching this show.
The final three episodes end by showing a staggering display of incompetence by every single character and organization in the show (save for one, although that character is basically lucky). Nezumi and Shion infiltrate the Correctional Facility by the dumbest luck ever. Had things gone slightly not their way, they would have died instantly the second they entered the building. They wouldn't know where they should even be going in this place if it wasn't for a magic voice inside Shion's head. The guards of the supposedly secure facility are dispatched with ease by the two infiltrators. And then when Shion and Nezumi finally get to where they were going, the person they were trying to save has freed herself just fine thanks to the previously-mentioned magic voice. A resistance movement within No. 6 tries to do something, but they just kinda set off some bombs and talk to no one in particular. Random eco-magic destroys No. 6, everyone who survived is happy, or something. We don't learn much of anything, and just when we think we might we get a huge slap in the face for thinking that we should know what the hell we just watched.
Those of you who pay close attention to the plot may notice that nothing Shion and Nezumi do actually affects it. They don't destroy No. 6, they don't save the West District, they don't save the person they were supposed to save, they don't save the innocents in No. 6 from the danger they're in. (The last one in particular was what Shion really focused on trying to do, before the show forgot that he was supposed to do that.) Everything that the heroes try to accomplish is done for them, and had Shion and Nezumi not been in the show, the plot would have been exactly the same. (I suppose there's one thing Nezumi does to help take down No. 6 at the very end, but nothing in the anime canon is preventing the one person who actually did anything useful from doing that as well. There's a reason for it in the manga, but the anime contradicts that reason.)
Character development was just as teasing as the plot. Sure, the relationship between Shion and Nezumi was cute, and the world needs more romances that don't make a big deal about the gender of the participants, but it didn't go much of anywhere. We'd watch Shion and Nezumi say the same things, and maybe kiss a couple times. It goes over better than the plot, since at least you know what's going on between the two, but still, it could have progressed a lot faster and gone a lot deeper. (I'd bet Nezumi would not have any problems going really deep into Shion's... feelings.)
At least the art looked nice, and the music wasn't so weird as to be completely distracting. I think that I'll probably remember the music most fondly, not because it was particularly amazing, but just because it was really strange. Also, Safu is the best character and I wish she'd be in the show more. (Apparently she has an expanded role in the anime compared to the novels, and considering how little she's involved in the anime...) Unfortunately, that isn't nearly enough to make this worth anyone's time, not when you could be reading the novels. Or Brave New World. Or 1984. Or watching Steins;Gate. Or Lucky Star. Or Blue's Clues. (At least you got to know the answers to the mystery at the end of each episode.)
(Update: Someone informed me that No. 6 is considered to be a novel, not a light novel. I've changed that up above. I've seen conflicting information about this, though, but this change hopefully will still make sense. If it doesn't, just pretend I said 'book' each time I said 'novel'. If that still doesn't work for you, replace it with whatever you want.)
Had so much potential but was wasted. When I saw the first episode I fell in love with the characters and became very interested in the story. I was so glad this wasn't one of those animes where you had to watch up until episode 4 or 5 before something good happens. It started right out with some action and character development.
Watching the next batch of episodes had me hooked because there was so many things going on with Shion and Nezumi, both apart and together, plus the background of No. 6 and how it got the way it is. The horrible acts committed by
them et al. I thought I was in for a good treat. And on top of it all, the two male characters were falling in love, not just some boy love teasers some animes throw out to bait Yaoi fans into watching. I've always wanted to watch an action anime where the male leads fall for each other but it isn't a drama or romance show. Mirage of Blaze is the only other anime I can think of that was action and yaoi. So I was on cloud nine.
However, somewhere along the way the show lost focus and had no idea what it was going to do with the characters or the No.6 city itself. It begins to trip and falter and just does not know how to pick itself up. The characters essentially become cardboard cut outs and just placed in scenes and seem to not really do anything.
For example, Shion and Nezumi seem to have conflict about their viewpoints on how No. 6 should be handled with people dying. Nezumi wishes to destroy the city while Shion wants to save the people. Yet neither character does anything about it. Then the writers tried to focus on the female character (I forgot her name) the girl who was in love with Shion. But they have no idea what to even do with her by this point, it's just her walking around thinking about Shion, then when she decides to do something she gets taken.
So I'm thinking, fine, I guess this will cause Shion to act and maybe cause some tension between he and Nezumi. And they do act by going to save her. Meanwhile, the story takes a whole new focus on these forest people and alluding to the girl and Nezumi having a connection. But this goes NO WHERE!
The connection between Shion's mother being one of the creators of No.6 goes NO WHERE
The Radical group who wants to take down No. 6 from the inside, goes NO WHERE
Finding out why or how No.6 turned out the way it did, goes NO WHERE
I tried to figure out what was happening here with this show that started out so good and the only thing I got is that the show lacked a human villain. When you have a city or institution as the villain, having a personification of the city would help. After all who is behind the city? Who is the one giving the orders for these terrible acts to take place? Sure Nezumi and Shion are fighting against the city, but who is the one they have to beat? Who does the radical group have to go after to free themselves of No.6?
So yeah, the writers try to solve this glaring issue by making the girl who loves Shion into a magical forest goddess that they have to beat. *eye roll*
Then at the ending when everything seems so bleak the girl transforms into a large magical bee and destroys the city walls with bee tornado for Shion because having him do it himself would take more episodes than they were willing to write. She also grants instant life with her LGBT rainbow powers then float away with her magical bees.
Yes an action Scifi post apocalyptic anime transforms into a fantasy magical anime at the end.
By this time I am just watching for Shion and Nezumi's love story. But I'm given NOTHING but a second kiss on the lips and the characters deciding to part ways for unexplained reasons. Honestly, I would had been better off just watching the first episode and just using my own imagination to come up with what happens.
Firstly, No. 6 is very homotastic. It`s a fact. But to anyone who may be discouraged by the not-very-subtle homosexuality, I advise that you keep watching. Whether or not you like the overt man-love that erupts between Nezumi and Sion (who, oddly, resemble a certain pair of characters from D.Gray Man who get a lot of Yaoi attention as well), getting past it will reveal an intriguing, thought-provoking plot. Given, it is just like any utopian anime in concept - Nuclear War, bla bla bla, Utopia that turns out to not be Utopia. Yet, No. 6 does not suffer from
that. In fact, thus far, it has provoked as much thought as 1984 and Farenheit 451, the masterpieces of Utopian/dystopian novels. Moreover, No. 6 performs its characterization exceptionally. The relationship between Sion and Nezumi aside, the stories of each of its characters (Karan, Sion`s mother; the as of yet enigmatic Yomin/Yoming; Safu, the poor girl who has yet to realize that her love, Sion, now looks like Allen Walker and has already been claimed by a bishounen crossdressing actor) are weaved with the skill of a starving Gandhi on the spinning wheel in a British Prison. The music and art are nothing spectacular (but in no way deficient), but No. 6 is one anime that succeeds in running on plot alone. Though there is a strong element of shounen ai, No.6 doesn`t attempt to sell itself on the homosexuality, and in fact goes about it in a serious and mature fashion (I don`t mean mature as in the Movie Rating - quite the opposite, in fact). There are no not-so-subtle harems, very few coincidences that end up with Sion sprawled over Nezumi (or vice versa) in suggestive positions and no clothes on and no conveniently intriguing animation - in fact, there is very little sexuality in the relationship between Sion and Nezumi (until the last episode, at which it becomes blatantly obvious). No. 6 sells itself on plot, and I would say it is definitely worth buying. So leave aside what biases you may have knowing it might be a little fabulous, and just go with it, and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Having watched the last episode, I am a little bit disappointed in No.6, perhaps simply on account of the ending. Though the last episode hastily ties up most of the plot points to a watchable conclusion, it fails to truly explain some of the story background, such as the exact nature of No.6, the role of Sion`s mother Karan, the exact purposes and extent of the resistance led by Yoming (and whether, given this is a fansub, is actually his name) and who in god`s name the Forest Blokes are. At the end of the road, it seems as if the destination was not worth the journey. As an anime with only 11 episodes, there is some reason to forgive No. 6 for its rushed ending and the inability to tie out many plot points, but it`s still a little disappointing to see a story that had great, great potential end up merely good. I wouldn`t say it renders No. 6 unwatchable, but it prevents it from reaching its full potential.
When you think of gay anime characters, you probably think of yaoi and yuri, but great LGBT anime characters can be found in other genres. Learn about the history of sexuality and gender in Japan, how their attitudes differ from the US, and which LGBT characters challenge stereotypes.