The deeper Shibazaki digs, the more he discovers how well Sphinx have covered their tracks – everything from using fake credit cards to buy their bombs to picking said bombs up from convenience stores and not having them delivered to their homes…in other words, besides the connection with the missing plutonium and the witness sketch of the mystery worker there, the police have zero leads. Being the one that was able to connect Sphinx to the missing plutonium, Shibazaki decides to visit the plant in Aomori to get more information.
Meanwhile Lisa is still on the run, hanging out in fast food joints and in alleys and anywhere else that isn’t her home. Toji starts to wonder if it would be better to take her in if they aren’t going to deal with her in some other manner – after all, she is the only person who knows their identity – but Arata is adamant about not getting anyone else involved. After successfuly hacking the police network the two launch their next riddle and bomb…and this one has a twist.
The prospect of this show quickly getting stale was one of the things that worried me about it, and to be honest I was feeling a bit of that worry when Sphinx announced yet another bomb. I was dreading the show getting a bit repetitive with its ‘solve the riddle, shibazaki!’ gimmick, so I can safely say that the pay-off in this episode was entirely unexpected and rather expertly done. This time, even though Shibazaki was able to solve the ‘riddle’ leading him through a secret website link to a moe girl asking him to stop the bomb, the rest of the police team chastise him for ‘playing’ with Sphinx and do what Sphinx explicitly told them not to in their latest video – cheat, by finally managing to determine their hideout (or at least, what they thought was their hideout) and breaking in. Due to their cheating, the bomb explodes despite Shibazaki solving the riddle – and here’s the twist, it’s not the kind of bomb that anyone expected, in fact its a digital bomb, and when it goes off it releases all the confidential police reports to the public that Toji and Arata had managed to hack into before. Now, the previous bombs were acts of terrorism clearly meant to invoke fear and cause some kind of statement (while not actually harming anyone), but this time it’s a clear ‘up yours’ to the police. Where, exactly, does Shibazaki stand? He’s already making himself seem separate to the police – in fact they’re getting increasingly uneasy about his willingness to play along with Sphinx. Thus one really has to wonder whether Sphinx’s obvious dislike of the police extends to him.
The unexpectedness of the nature of the latest bomb gets points for me, but Lisa was what I liked the most about this episode. The scene when Toji takes her by bike back to their hideout was a great piece of animated emotion…as well as being the first time we’ve seen her smile. I’m still not sure what is drawing Toji to Lisa so much – after all it was him that interfered with her being bullied in the first episode, too…but I can’t imagine Harata is going to have much luck not involving her in their schemes now.
After Lisa collapses feverishly at Toji and Arata’s doorstep, they end up letting her stay – although Harata wants her gone as soon as she recovers. She tries her best to be useful to them, but ends up causing more harm than good. The two terrorists try to ignore her as best as they can while they launch their next attack – a real bomb again this time, inside one of the fire extinguishers on a subway train. Once again, despite the risk in putting the bomb in a place guaranteed to have people, Sphix doesn’t want to harm anyone, and Arata particularly wanted to make sure that Mikoshiba solved this riddle in time to stop it. (Or so he says.)
However, this time their plan does not go smoothly. Some new people have arrived at the police headquaters to assist with the case, and one in particular is far craftier than Sphinx could ever have anticipated. And she’s not exactly a new face to them, either. For the first time, Sphinx may have to concede that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew…
Alright, wow. I can safely say that at this point, this show definitely isn’t getting stale. I was actually expecting an episode mostly focussing on Lisa so I was kind of surprised that she didn’t exactly do much in this one. To be honest it was a little disheartening seeing her suddenly being reduced to comic relief like that, yet given the main focus of this episode I guess I can overlook it. There sure was a lot that happened in this episode and I was actually kind of on the edge of my seat for most of it.
This is the part of the plot where things ought to be shaken up a bunch, and Watanabe definitely delivered on that front. I knew the time would come when Sphinx were bested and reduced to panicking, but I didn’t expect it to go down quite like this. There’s a certain satisfaction to seeing the smug grins wiped from their faces, but at the same time, the motives of this new lady are even more confusing. The whole thing really drives home what Shibazaki was so angry at them about before – how that even if they aren’t hurting anybody, this isn’t a game. But Mystery White Lady ‘s interference came very close to causing a bunch of people to actually be killed for real, which would effectively turn Sphinx into murderers. The episode confirms that she is the same white-haired kid from the facility in all those flashbacks, so she clearly has a connection with them, but why its so apparently malicious I can only begin to guess. Even while reviewing this show I’ve been on and off the fence about it, but I think that this episode in particular really succeeded in making me want to stick around.
The suspense in the scenes where the two boys frantically try to stop their own bomb before they kill everyone on the train were greatly done and what I’m mostly going to remember this episode for, but some parts of the writing did give me pause. Once again, the riddles and the way they’re solved are honestly just kind of weird to me. For example, the riddle this time was simply ‘where lies the angel that receives FEX5889’s punishment?’ Shibazaki is able to figure out instantly that FEX5889 is the identification number for a police case – fair enough, he’s a detective, and fair enough that Sphinx new about it, given that they just hacked the police servers in the previous episode. The case in question concerned a teacher facing charges for forcing students to run in the heat as punishment until they succumbed to heatstroke. Shibazaki then goes on to talk about the Samael the ‘red serpent’ from the Apocalypse of Baruch, and then combines ‘red snake’ with ‘running’ to come up with ‘train’. …Exactly what led him to the Apocalypse of Baruch? Did I miss something there? Even if I did, as usual it just seems a really bizarre leap in logic in order to arrive at the correct answer…and even moreso given the fact that Arata and Toji actually remark to eachother about how easy they made the riddle this time, given that they wanted it solved quickly due to the added risk of the bomb being on the train. This is the main thing that I hope to see less off from now on, but with the main event of this episode shaking the plot around I hopefully won’t have to worry.
It’s reached the point in the plot where I have no idea where things are headed but am dying to know, which is quite fun. I’m genuinely looking forward to the next episode, and I really hope this new spanner in the works means good things for the writing.