- Release Date
- Summer 2011
- No. of Episodes
No. 6 is a 2011 Science Fiction Mystery anime series from fan-favorite Japanese animation studio Bones. Whether one is a longtime fan or just starting on their discovery of anime entertainment, one thing is for sure: viewers cannot avoid watching their creations. However, with their massive backlog of titles, many of them still prevalent decades later, this does not mean everything the studio creates is worth watching. Can a series that tries to tie science fiction, Action, Drama, and even mystery into a single series without crashing and burning?
Many years ago, after the end of a bloody world war, humanity took shelter in six peaceful and perfect city-states, at least that’s what it appears to be on the surface. However, Shion, an elite resident of the city-state No. 6, gained a new perspective on the world he is in thanks to a strange 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 relocated elsewhere, and the city’s darker side became known.
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.
When an anime series can be summarized in a little over a paragraph, that tends to be a red flag, but that is not the case for No. 6. This series has a story that is well written in the science fiction and drama genres which will easily captivate its viewers within the first couple of episodes. Along those same lines, the viewers will also potentially enjoy the core elements like the same-sex relationship the two main characters have.
Outside of those two positive factors, the story has a plethora of negatives in the background that viewers, unfortunately, must know about. If one is interested in watching this series based on the same-sex relationship the two boys have, viewers will be disappointed that it is barely superficial. This must be stated No.6 appears to be playing towards a specific audience that did not even need to happen. If the creators had taken out the homosexual relationship between the two, the story would not have been missing anything. It’s just there to be there.
Another negative portion of the narrative is that the story is wholly abandoned after two or three episodes and does not try to pick itself back up again. The story focuses on random background characters that the viewers will not care about but deserve entire episodes. This problem is nothing new for Bones, as the hype that comes with every series or film with their credit is partly hyped due to how terrible it will be. No. 6’s story is a classic bait and switch of excellent source material waiting to be adapted but only focuses on a single chapter.
Another negative that No. 6 has is that the pacing is terrible; in the most concise description, it is slow, uneventful, and even a slap in the face to any genre it attempts to write itself into. If one looks at this as an action story, they’ll be questioning where the action is outside the first couple of episodes. If the viewer wants this as a romance story with science fiction thrown in, then it’s terrible on both ends of the spectrum. It had an exciting core theme; while it may not be perfect, it was interesting and could be easily stretched out to an entertaining outcome. The problem is that some people may defend this series since it only had eleven episodes. Still, there was no character development from start to finish, nor did the viewer gain anything from watching this story.
What makes No. 6 even worse is that it has no plot at the end of the day. The first two episodes set up the two main characters and the world they live in together. Then everything after is practically just getting to know each other, not about the apocalypse or surviving an insect disease. This is not a criticism of the source material or Atsuko Asano. The source material had plenty of material to pick from, which is a total knockout punch for any fan of the Novel or Manga series.
While it would be easy to criticize this anime for its art style compared to today’s standards animation within the same genres, it was pretty good. Some scenes did look better than others, but the character design was pretty good for the most part. However, age has given no help to this anime; by no means it still holds up compared to other anime released within the last five years or so. Could this be anyone’s favorite anime based on the style and design? No, But when the creators get the scene right, it does fantastic work, but those are very few and far between them.
However, the production value for this anime series was a bit lackluster. For instance, in some scenes, viewers will quickly identify where the creators cut corners and where they put their best people on, specifically in the first episode. Suppose any form of entertainment is trying to create something within the Science fiction genre. In that case, the audience needs to be nourished with production outside of a regular slice of life anime series. While some viewers may enjoy the opening sequence, Bones, unfortunately, dropped the ball on this one.
The first problem with the opener is that LAMA’s song “Spell” is one of the worst choices for theme songs any studio could have made. The singer has a high-pitched voice that does not fit the tone of the series or what they are trying to convey to the audience. Another problem was that the opening animation was chopped up, outdated, and a classic case of doing the work with no effort. The amount of choppiness and weirdly edited overlays is very reminiscent of early youtube videos, but that would be an insult to the early days of youtube.
Shion is an intelligent, romantic boy who was on his way to going into the Special Curriculum for gifted students, specializing in Ecology, until his fateful encounter with Nezumi on his twelfth birthday. Although he knew Nezumi was a wanted fugitive, he cared for the wounded stranger. Four years later, he is now an employee of the Park Maintenance of No. 6, where he controls the waste management robots. Despite his nature, if someone or something he loves is in danger, he does not hesitate to save them. He’s not easily angered; however, he is not against becoming violent at times.
Unlike Shion, Nesumi is an intelligent, cynical boy with a dark past. He is an outwardly rude, sarcastic, and irritable individual, especially when speaking to someone in a position of power. He despises the City of No. 6 so much that he even calls it a “parasitic city” and has spent many years trying to find a way to destroy it. At the beginning of the story, he is very distant towards Shion, to the point where if he would ask any questions about him, he would typically reply with him being nosy. He believes that people should only live for themselves, which gives off the impression that he is cold and intentionally distances himself from others.
Overall, No. 6 is a series riddled with mistakes and problems that cannot be solved. While the story leads itself as a science fiction anime, this is a terrible way to introduce anyone to the genre. Even as an LGBT-related anime series, it would be hard-pressed to give anyone this recommendation for the romance genre. But when the two characters had their moments of sweetness together, that’s when the story was worth watching, and the viewers will most likely wish for more of them. Watch this series at your own risk, but get ready for a disappointing time.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.