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Nine and Lisa are related.
From Nine's dream sequence, this seems to be him. This troper almost mistook him for Lisa because of their similarity.
  • Turned out to be never addressed in the story, so we will never know.

Nine and Twelve adhere to Thou Shalt Not Kill
As of Episode 2, their casualty count stands at 27 people with minor injuries, despite their escapades including heisting a nuclear plant, demolishing a skyscraper, and bombing a police station. All of their plans so far have been engineered specifically to avoid casualties, and with good reason: their conflict is with the system, not the people in the system itself. As to why they follow this principle, it might have something to do with the "others" they couldn't save.
  • May have been averted in the ending, as the detonation of the nuclear bomb at the end almost certainly would have killed people who need to be on round-the-clock life support, people on pacemakers, and we didn't find out if the last 4 airplanes still in the air 55 seconds before the explosion managed to land safely beforehand.
    • The planes did land in time. This was stated and shown on the map. Also, it's quite possible that that hospitals were given enough time to make adequate preparations for the loss of main power. Though this troper is not sure of the prevalence of back-up generators in hospitals, it can be assumed that most, if not all, would have some kind of generator most likely fueled by diesel. So, they would be able to keep essential things running, like enough power for life support. Evacuate all those with pacemakers and the like to facilities that would provide adequate shielding, and one could save their lives, as well. And we can almost assume these measures were carried out with some modicum of success, since Shibazaki made no mention of any significant deaths when he finally caught up with them. This troper will admit that there may be some leaps of logic to be taken, but none seem to be so severe as to make the ending outside of the confines of the show's universe.
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Nine and Twelve were Tykebombs, who now are out to get their old masters
Nine and Twelve were children, who were brought up by, say, a rogue faction inside the Japanese (?) secret services to serve as infiltrators, saboteurs, terrorists and similar. From the day they could walk they were thought the deadly trade. One day, they their masters were forced to end the program and dispose of any evidence, including the child soldiers. Nine and Twelve got wind of that and tried to flee. The both managed to flee, the other children not (the "others" they're talking about). Now, with their terrorism skills, they take on the Japanese government and try to ferret out and eliminate anyone responsible for their ordeal and avenge their murdered comrades, the "others".
  • Shibasaki and Five're gonna establish a secret cooperation with Twelve and Nine to help bringing the people responsible to justice but will be trying to get them before Twelve and Nine, because the cops want to have perps hauled before a court, whereas the terrorist duo want them 6 feet under. After a few hours of torture.
    • The Diet member from episode 3 may be involved in this conspiracy, too. The secretary found out and was killed. Confirmed in episode 10, the Diet member was the ringleader of the whole thing.
    • Five is a former Tyke-Bomb, too.

Nine & Twelve are not Japanese.
They are part of a batch of North Korean children kidnapped by Japanese intelligence agents and placed in a special training/brainwashing program to mold them as infiltrating sleeper agents ready to cause mayhem and destruction in North Korean society, serving as a very dark mirror of how the North Korean government kidnapped Japanese children in real life to use them as infiltrators in Japan.
  • Jossed as of episode 8. The kids from the institute were orphans from all over Japan.

Shibasaki is Lisa's father.
Considering Lisa's in high school with a Disappeared Dad, and Shibasaki's transfer to the records division occured 15 years before the series starts, it's possible that they are related and that his staunch belief in a conspiracy involving one of the political factions and subsequent demotion led him to abandon his wife and young daughter.
  • Jossed in episode 8. We finally see Shibazaki's daughter, who looks to be a college student.

The entire story will be an analogue to the story of Oedipus
Here's my take on Oedipus, in relation to Nine and Twelve. Why are they so fixated on it? Their riddles revolve around the myth, they take their name from the Sphinx... why?

Simple: they're either Oedipus, or the Sphinx itself from the story.

We see a flashback into the Numbers' (the lab children) past - orphans, taken in by the cold system of government and presumably trained to reach hyperintelligence. Puzzles, tests, sanitized rooms and doctors - it's your standard superhuman project, give or take.

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But then, King Laius gets a prophecy - your offspring will kill you and take your place. Paranoid, the king disposes of Oedipus and abandons him in the wild. For the Numbers, this equates to the state realizing that all these super-intelligent kids aren't going to be obedient little servants, they're going to take over. They're too dangerous to bet left alive. They abandon their training facility and burn it to the ground, leaving them to die in the inferno. Nine and Twelve escape, unbeknownst to the state, just as Oedipus survived thanks to being taken in by the king of Corinth.

Over the intervening years between then and now, they make their discoveries. They know what they were and they learn of the "prophecy" of their ascent to power. WMG here, but I bet it has something to do with that secretary's presumed assassination, since that'd match up with when they were inducted into the state (high schoolers - 15 years = 2-4 yos, ripe age for identifying intelligence in time to kill off the parents before attachments are made).

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Here's where things branch. I'll start with the idea that the Numbers themselves are representative of Oedipus.When Oedipus ascended to the throne of Thebes, the city experienced a period of unprecedented prosperity (or so told by Antigone in her own drama). This is due to the fact that first, King Laius was less than a skillful ruler - case in point, he was so power hungry he'd murder his infant son - and the absence of King Laius was marked by a time of plague for the city (brought on by the Sphinx) which Oedipus ended with his ascent. In this literal approach, they fulfill destiny in the same way Oedipus did - they were destined to overthrow the current order and seize power, and the attempts of the old regime to stop them were but the catalyst for the entire scenario.

Alternatively, the Numbers' assumption of a Sphinx persona can either be an independent or dual role for them. Perhaps, instead of directly correlating themselves to the tragedy of Oedipus, they're trying to challenge the system to draw out the hero that will save Thebes. Why was Oedipus going to Thebes, anyway? Well, after he fled Corinth and killed his father, he was wandering Greece. Then came news of how Thebes was being plagued by a Sphinx with a riddle. Oedipus travelled to the city with the intent of solving the riddle and succeeded, bringing with him prosperity in the wake of the old system.

A hero who is fighting against a corrupt political system and who directly challenges the greatest riddler in the land? Why does that sound familiar? A detective named Shibasaki comes to mind.

Pull the trigger on this world. Whether it's by their overthrowing the system and seizing power, or setting themselves up as the catalyst for another to rebuild from the ashes, Nine and Twelve aren't just following an Oedipus theme on a whim - it's their story.

  • Confirmed to be the case when Nine and Twelve talk to Shibazaki near the end of "VON". Shibazaki was Oedipus.

Sphinx's "VON" calling card is a reference to the Icelandic band Sigur Ros
VON at first seems like it would be an acronym, but it is also the Icelandic word for hope. In episode 4, Shibasaki questions an employee of the nuclear disposal plant who had a brief interaction with Nine during his time at the plant. The man tells him that the suspect was always listening to music on his headphones, and when the man asked Nine what he was listening to, he replied that it was "music from a cold land."

A cold land sounds like a reasonable, if literal, translation of Iceland, and Von is not only the title of Sigur Ros' first album, but also the basis of the band's fictional language Vonlenska, or Hopelandic, used in a large portion of their music.

Whether this has any deeper meaning as the show progresses remains to be seen, but I have no doubt that Shibasaki will make the connection soon enough.

  • Confirmed! Though, Lisa is the one to tell Shibasaki this after being told by Nine, and Sigur Ros is not mentioned by name.

The survivors of the Athena Plan are dying.
"All I can do is hope that those two are still alive somewhere. Even if they won't be able to live long." Souta Aoki, the man Shibazaki and Hamura visit in episode 9, has no way of knowing that Nine and Twelve are Sphinx, and therefore, wanted by the police. He has no reason to believe they are in danger from outside forces - so why does he believe they don't have much time left? Because they already have a death sentence from the experimentation performed on them. The drugs used in the Athena Plan killed all but three of the subjects, and at the end of the episode, Five has collapsed... Because she's dying too, and so are Nine and Twelve. They may have survived this long, but the Athena Plan will have no survivors soon enough.
  • Strongly supported by the fact that after Five's collapse, she is put in a hospital and the doctors there have never seen the condition she is afflicted with, suggesting it is something artificial.
  • Confirmed as of the final episode. Nine drops dead from his condition almost immediately after the Americans kill Twelve.


Alternative Title(s): Zankyou No Terror

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