Author’s Note: Images coming tomorrow, hopefully. Blogger seems to have disabled Windows Live Writer Again…
There are certain rules of mysteries, with varying degrees of “officialness”, And I think, ultimately, Subete ga F ni Naru obeyed the ones that really matter. Nowhere, for example, is it required that a mystery be believable per se – not, that is, as long as it’s honest with the audience. If the puzzle and solution is entertaining and all the pieces are there for the audience to put it together if they’re exceptionally smart, I think far-fetched is forgivable. And that’s about where I place Subete ga F ni Naru (with one episode to go, anyways).
In addition to that, Subete was always more about the players than it was about the play, as many good mysteries are. Rather than the characters shed light on the mystery, it’s the mystery that sheds light on the characters – the strange and terrible events at Magata Labs are the crucible by which the major cast’s true natures are exposed. It’s not always a pretty thing to see, but it was pretty much always an interesting thing to see.
If you’re into math, the whole business with the hexadecimals was probably more interesting to you than it was to me (the programming stuff from last week was more in my comfort zone). It gets the point across anyway, and the gist of it is that everything does indeed become F, and F is indeed fifteen – although, it seems, Magata Shiki was taking that a bit more literally than one might have imagined. Of course the fifteenth year is indeed when a girl kills her parents – who wouldn’t think that way?
As I surmised last week there was indeed a switcheroo at some point, and the Shiki daughter (Michiru, perhaps?) did indeed step in for her mother on camera. Spare a thought for this poor girl, who must have had a short life harrowing beyond imagination. Kept a secret, raised in a locked room by a psychopath, trained to kill her parents as if it were the most natural thing in the world. But of course it’s not, no matter what Dr. Crazy says. and since it seems the daughter wasn’t insane, and rebelled at the notion of killing her mother. And thus the best-laid plans of a madwoman gang aft agley, and Shiki’s improvized plan is to kill her daughter and uncle instead of being killed by her.
It’s rather elegant in its grisly way, if indeed not all that believable, and as far as I can tell there are no major cheats by Mori Hiroshi or Kanbe-sensei here – it could indeed have been deduced (at least in theory) based on what we were told. Miki never having existed certainly explains a lot – and her escape from the island is quite plausible under the circumstances.
The real highlight of the episode is Souhei and Moe’s trip inside the VR tanks to meet Shiki once more. Moe is angry and defensive, and to her this is an interrogation room. To Souhei it’s freedom – a beautiful expanse of tropical ocean on which he and Shiki float. It’s beautifully staged – the ever-changing drink color is especially mesmerizing and beautiful – and symbolically rather powerful. And Shiki? Inside this world everything does indeed become F – she’s not the doll that is her 29 year-old body, but still the 14 year-old girl one suspects she remains in her mind. By killing her daughter Shiki becomes her, steals her identity – which is quite the opposite of the “natural” cycle of patricide she so casually describes to Moe. It’s a dark and disturbing vision of reality, virtual or not.