[Review][No.6] A short anime with a long back-story

I was introduced to the anime "No.6" around the time that episode nine was released. As there were only two more left to go, I decided to wait until the series was finished before writing a review. That was several weeks ago. I've been thinking about it since then, trying to decide what to write.

First of all, let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Post-apocalyptic dystopia? Sign me up! The characters were interesting, the storyline intriguing. That's not to say that there weren't problems. From what I can tell, most of these stemmed from the fact that they tried to cram nine novels into eleven episodes.

That's right. You read that correctly. So, let's just say that there were compression issues, and leave it at that?

The world premise is that nuclear world war broke out at the end of the twentieth century, and when the dust cleared there were only six habitable areas left. Six utopian cities were built to shelter the world's population, designed to care for the needs of their citizens.

The story centers on two male leads. Sion, a citizen of City No.6, who lives a life of privilege, but feels suffocated. At least, until he meets Nezumi, a boy his age branded as a violent criminal, whose existence lends credence to doubts about the true nature of this "utopia". Sion is stripped of his privileges for sheltering a wanted criminal after Nezumi disappears. Years later, Sion's kindness is repaid when Nezumi rescues him from being a scapegoat after witnessing a horrific event the government would prefer no one to know about.

While the two characters live in hiding, they search for the truth behind the foundation of No.6, and must learn to co-exist with each other despite their very different views on life. That first meeting four years ago has consumed both of their lives ever since, and the fascination with each other continues as they live in close-quarters.

There's a small cast of significant secondary characters that are both quirky and interesting in their own right that help to balance out the heavier tones that the main storyline brings.

The resolution was very enjoyable for the most part, although certain aspects were a bit too rushed (almost to the point of not making sense). From what I understand, there was a lot more going on in the novels that was cut out.

The story is very character-driven, so if you prefer your shows action-packed, you might want to give this one a miss. While the main characters are both male, there are a few well-placed and developed female characters including Sion's mother, Karan, and childhood friend, Safu. Safu, in particular, has a very important role.

Have I mentioned that the story also takes a good look at Science vs. The Arts? In No.6, frivolous things such as art and literature have been forbidden. It's only once Sion and Safu, who studies abroad for a bit, leave No.6 that they learns the joy of art, poetry, and drama, and start to realize that facts and figures aren't the only things that are important.

So, if you enjoy character-driven anime with a sci-fi/dystopian bent, this is a definite must! What I'm enjoying even more is a fan-translation of the novels that's slowly (but brilliantly!) being released. Now I'm getting all the extra goodies that were left out of the anime too!