Oh, Zankyou no Terror... How much did I praise you during the early few episodes, but how could I know that you will turn out how you did. Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance or Terror in Tokyo in English) was one of my most anticipated titles of the season and I am sure I was not alone. The show also gained a bit of a hype because of the famous Shinichiro Watanabe (Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Bebop), who I am in all honesty no big fan of, but okay, let's get this review started. Just make sure that I will NOT be able to hide
all possible spoilers, so just read this review if you have already finished the show or dropped it and don’t consider picking it up again! Or if you just don’t care about spoilers...
The plot, or rather the premise, was what caught my attention and interest at first. “An anime about terrorism?” Sounds thrilling alright, but sadly it turned out to be quite a train wreck with lose plot and lackluster characters in the long run. Basically the show is about two special kids, who build bombs and make them explode, but with no people around so nobody gets hurt. That’s a weird characteristic for two young blooded terrorists, but there are reasons for this, obviously. And they announce their terrorist attacks on YouTube and ask the police riddles, so they may or may not stop the bomb from going off. That’s what I was thought to be quite interesting and I was hoping for there to be a message behind the bombings and some deeper meaning and connections, but sadly that wasn’t so. Either I didn’t get them, or the riddles were just there to make the show appear smart. The show generally shows its story from two perspectives, from the bomber’s, naming themselves “Sphinx”, and the police’s perspective. What I found somewhat disappointing that there was no real tension during the moments when the investigations took place and the investigation process went waaaay too easy. I mean the main detective, Shibazaki, seemingly knows all of Greek mythology (that’s what the riddles are mostly based on) and at one point he clears a riddle because he watches his fat friend play a video game. It reminded me of some cheap Hollywood movie in which the protagonist finds out some very important clue due to something a kid spouts. I’m sure you know what I am talking about.
How the story played out felt a bit cheap in general. I mean Shibazaki (together with "Five" in the middle part of the anime) was the only one driving the plot along thanks to his super knowledge and his daughter who knows a lot about bombs and nukes. Also in the end he meets a few men who willingly agree to just tell him everything he wants to know in fullest detail, just because.
Another point when the show took a huge nosedive in my opinion, was when a former “friend” of the main characters “Nine” and “Twelve” was introduced as their nemesis, called “Five”. Five was basically the point on when I almost gave up on the show. She seemed just like a psychotic woman who had to stop Sphinx because the US said so. And to do this she went overboard multiple times, resulting in countless casualties, damages and wounded innocents along the way, for a ridiculous, nonsensical and compleely unjustified reason and motivation if you ask me. And she also did pointless and silly riddles with bombings, which the main characters now had to solve and disarm… While the character of Five was not complete useless, I do agree that she shouldn’t have been there. They should have spent more time on the "important characters" and explore those more. Speaking of which.
The whole cast of characters was so lackluster, with barely any real explained motivations or fleshed out ones among them, the only decent one being the detective Shibazaki. He was the only one advancing the plot, but even this with the most trivial and convenient ways possible, like I told you before. I mean his relative and one friend gave away the location of the bomb in the last episode, oh my, how convenient indeed. It was so cheap I had to face palm. A lot of answers to the already mentioned riddles by Shibazaki where really sudden and there was never a clear train of thought to follow either him or the actual main protagonists, which was a shame. This could have been a great cat and mouse game like in Death Note, but it was not. There isn’t much to talk about the two male main characters to be honest. Nine was the rather cold and distant guy, while Twelve was the funky and hyperactive one. They have flashbacks to their past every now and then, when the plot feels like it, and that’s about it. We literally learn everything there is to them in the first two episodes, with their motivations being revealed in the very last episode.
The last character I want to mention is Lisa, Sphinx’ female sidekick. She has a highly clingy mother and got bullied in school, that’s where she first met Nine and Twelve, which was the most convenient and cheapest way to introduce her, because for whatever reason Sphinx joined a local school in episode 1, but where never ever seen there again, which makes it pointless and the yet again really, really cheap. Her relation with her mother seemed like an important plot point in the beginning, but was quickly abandoned and never talked about again, which is quie a shame. The only things she then really did where trying to cook for Sphinx, but messing up, helping them out a few times, but messing up, staying at home, but messing up and so on. She also gets kidnapped a few times to drive the plot along, but contributed nothing important or meaningful to the story whatsoever. As you can see, the writing is not really strong with this one. Sadly this doesn’t change in the later episodes as well and even the conclusion was everything else than satisfying and quite anticlimactic. They basically shoved everything we already assumed down our throat in the most forced way possible, though at least it is complete and not inconclusive. That’s a plus.
But thankfully the show is good in two aspects; visuals and sound. The animation was really good for the most part and especially in the first episode gorgeous. The explosions were fluent, the attention to detail on backgrounds and characters remarkable and the use of lighting and shadows impressive too. But sadly the anime has a few quality drops during its duration of 11 episodes and often likes to use 3DCG to animate even two background characters, which is really cheap and effortless if you ask me. Characters tend to lose a lot of detail once they move away from the screen too. Nothing new, but when the show does want to look good, it certainly does. The other thing I want to mention is the soundtrack by the famous Yoko Kanno (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Cowboy Bebop, Jin-Roh), which was done very well and especially during the show’s high points in the last couple of episodes, the soundtrack really stood out. One particular scene being one scene in a Ferris Wheel, which was in all honesty my favorite moment of the show. The voice acting was solid, but no performance really stood out or caught my ear.
But even with all these flaws, Zankyou no Terror was one of my most anticipated shows each week during the summer 2014 season. The whole thrill of how things can turn out, what will happen next, really thrilled and captivated me, only to be let down again and again…
Okay, let’s get to the verdict.
Zankyou no Terror was such a huge letdown for me in multiple aspects. This begins at the flow of the story, tons of unanswered questions and thin writing, the flat and weak characters and the unsatisfying, yet complete, conclusion of the show’s plot. Zankyou no Terror could have been a great comment on terrorism and a huge controversial thing to talk and discuss about, but sadly it turned out to be a cheap and forgettable popcorn flick with fancy visuals and good music. Don’t worry, Sphinx. I will remember you. I will remember you for being in a show with the first good English I heard in a long time and in my biggest disappointment of summer 2014. Zankyou~
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 1/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (solid)
Complexity 1/2 (has some nice attempts)
Plausibility 0/2 (completely unrealistic)
Conclusion 1/2 (overblown, but well presented)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (fairly typical and not memorable)
Personality 1/2 (generic and some completely bland)
Backdrop 1/2 (some is shoehorned into the plot)
Development 0/2 (non-existent)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown, but it's there)
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (very detailed)
Character Figures 1/2 (quite generic but very detailed)
Backgrounds 2/2 (very realistic)
Animation 1/2 (sometimes good, sometimes average)
Visual Effects 2/2 (quite good)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (quite good but no outstanding performance)
Music Themes 3/4 (good tracks and very well used)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok, I guess)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10
Art 1/1 (looks great)
Sound 2/2 (sounded good from top to bottom)
Story 1/3 (interesting hook, but that's it)
Characters 1/4 (Shibazaki was not that bad...)
I'll start this review by saying I started watching this show with no prior knowledge about the writers and the premise, so I had no idea what to expect. What I found was a mature and compelling story that kept me entertained throughout the season.
Even in such an amazing season, it managed to shine through as the anime that defined the summer of 2014. Even compared against such great shows as Gekkan shoujo, Tokyo Ghoul, RE:Hamatora and Aldnoah;Zero, Zankyou no Terror stood on top.
There are many stories that focus on anti-heroes and terrorism, yet none have come close to the level of maturity found
in ZnT. This shows succeeded in areas that other shows such as Death Note faltered. You will find no edgy character development here; no shonen-esque elements. This is the kind of show that you could quite happily show to any non-anime orientated friends with confidence that they won't leave mid-way through, or that you will have to justify why so-and-so is making unnecessary fanservice.
The art style of ZnT perfectly fits the tone of the show. There are many still-life scenes in ZnT, and each one perfectly captures the essence of Tokyo. After seeing Tokyo rendered in both Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo ESP, the realistic calming images in ZnT were a breath of fresh air.
The character design also mirrors the art style: realistic enough to provide a sense of severity, yet different enough to give the show an underlying artistic element.
Despite some background characters lacking detail in some parts, this is expected for the first release of an airing show and does no detract from the overall excellence.
There are very few shows in which I decide to buy the OST, and even fewer in which I will continue to listen to the songs many weeks later. These songs bear a strong resemblance to 'songs from a cold country' which is a phrase that will become clear if you watch ZnT. In short: the sound is beautiful, elegant and very melancholic.
Both 9 and 12 have starkly contrasting personalities: 9 being blunt and mature with 12 being childish and playful. Lisa describers them as having'a smile like the sun and eyes like ice'. However it goes far deeper than that. Underneath 9's calm exterior lies indescribable grief, and under 12's smile lies a form of severity to match 12s.
At this point many watchers would criticise Lisa fir being 'bland' or simply a plot device. However it is impossible to imagine the show without her. Not only does she create a contrast, with her troubles with her mother against 9 and 12 orphan statues, she shows a great deal of development over the show's progression.
Finally I will touch on the characters in the police force, and how ZnT manages to capture adults in such an appropriate way. The police are neither shown as mindless soldiers, nor as clumsy un-organised oafs, and although the duo play along with them, the police are never antagonised.
From episode 1 I was hooked. No other show kept my interest like ZnT. Now that it is over I feel as if I have gained something from the experience
To summarise, Zankyou no Terror showed a level of maturity and elegance I never expected from anime, and it is my hope that other shows in the future will learn from ZnT.
Before you roll your eyes and point your finger at the obvious “Terror” emblazoned in the title, I am serious on this one. While the topic is addressed at times, the crime thriller genre is merely a tool the show wields to sculpt out its socio-political commentary on Japan. If you are expecting a deep-seated exploration of the subject of terrorism, this show will not satisfy you. So please chuck those expectations into the trash and enjoy the show for what it is. Zankyou No Terror tells an engaging tale of generational conflicts, post-war nationalism, isolation
from modern society and the hopeful rebellious spirit of youths.
The story kicks off in a grounded, realistic setting of present day Tokyo. 2 teenage terrorists, who go by the names of Nine and Twelve blow up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, and in the process accidentally involves a girl called Lisa Mishima. Flashbacks reveal Nine and Twelve to have escaped from a mysterious institution when they were children, hence cloaking their motivations in mystery. From then on, the show continues its crime procedural routine that lasts for a few episodes: Nine and Twelve would plant a bomb, release a video on Youtube under the name ‘Sphinx’ and challenge the police to solve a given riddle before the next bomb explodes. All the riddles are based on the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, and interesting choice that gives the audience parallels to think about- especially the idea of patricide and sacrifice in the pursuit of truth. We also get introduced to Shibazaki, a detective who gets caught up in the cat and mouse game against Sphinx. He is a character whoe has been casted out from society just like Sphinx and Lisa. These first few episodes are thematically condensed and provide solid insights into modern society.
The characters of Zankyou No Terror are not complex, after all, the show is more thematically-focused as compared to being character-focused. Zankyou No Terror is not condoning the main characters’ acts of violence, rather, it wants the viewers to reflect about why they were forced into committing those acts. The show does succeed in evoking the emotional depths of its main terrorist duo and Lisa: the need to escape from the clutches of modern society, the youthful drive to challenge the world that rejected them, the yearning for human connection. This would not have been possible without the brilliant aesthetics and production, which are definitely the show’s strongest point. The polished direction is among the best in recent memory, taking the viewing experience to a cinematic level at times. The show efficiently manipulates camera angles and colour palettes to heighten atmosphere, while the lighting frames the scenes purposefully, stirring up a sense of alienation. Yoko Kanno absolutely delivers when it comes to the Icelandic-inspired soundtrack- the music is a blend of acoustic and electronic that sets the mood perfectly, constantly evoking the melancholy felt by the characters. It brought in the pathos needed to execute the best moments of the show.
Of course the show is not without its faults, which mostly lie in the script. The show takes a generic popcorn thriller route at times, and when you have a show that is rooted in realism (even referencing Tor and virtual currency), many events ended up requiring suspension of disbelief, which might put off some viewers. This fault appeared with the introduction of the show’s antagonist, Five, an agent deployed by the U.S government. The intervention of the US highlighted the problematic relationship between Japan and U.S., but Five came off too cartoonish. As a childhood friend of Nine and Twelve from the mysterious institution, her abnormal upbringing might have been the reason for her hugely childish behavior, but she often went overboard with her dramatic theatrics. The setup of her plans were ridiculous and Hollywoodesque, which led to silly contrived scenarios that clashed with the tone of the show. When her arc came to a close, she was cast in a more humanized and sympathetic light, but her character did more harm than good to the show. Thankfully, the show picked up again afterwards, where it made an interesting choice in joining the narrative with the ongoing issue of Japan’s rising nationalism.
In spite of its shaky narrative, Zankyou No Terror is a show that presented relevant themes and concluded with an emotional ending. The show does not fully dig into its themes or answer the questions raised, but it articulates its reflections on society well and its best scenes are truly memorable and affecting. It is an ambitious and passionate production with plenty of substance to appreciate.
In a season filled with giant robots, teenage dramas and supernatural violence, Zankyou no Terror stands out from the usual crowd with its focus on the rarely explored subject matter of terrorism. Shinichirō Watanabe, renowned director of Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Kids on the Slope, once again teams up with Yoko Kanno and the newly formed Studio MAPPA to delivers one of the highlights of the summer season 2014.
Zankyou no Terror or Terror in Resonance, opens up with two mysterious male teenagers named Nine and Twelve, carrying out a heist at a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility and ends up stealing
a device that contains plutonium. Six months later, in the sweltering heat of summer, both of them, call themselves Sphinx, commit a series of terrorist attacks on Tokyo under and caught up in their schemes, is a teenage girl named Mishima. Through a series of circumstances, she willingly becomes an accomplice in their plans to pull the trigger on the world.
Having spent their entire lives together, I felt that Nine and Twelve are two sides of the same coin with the same intentive goals in mind but exhibiting different mannerism as they go about their terrorism business. Nine is your emotionally distant teenager in glasses and approaches the work of Sphinx in a business-like manner. The Ying to Nine's Yang, Twelve more like a playful cat than anything else by the way he plays with a grenade as if it was a ball and prefers to drive a motorcycle when speeding his way through traffic. Both of them are extremely intelligent and physically capable and they soon make short work of anyone sent to apprehend them. The catch is that, while their acts of terrorism causes an enormous amount of damage, they are setup in such a manner that no fatal causalities occur. It is to the testament to Watanabe's skill that viewers can relate to characters like Nine/Twelve instead of the psychopathic monsters that the mainstream media often demonize terrorists as.
Completely opposite to the our males in every way possible is a female highschooler named Lisa Mishima. She comes across Twelve during their demolition of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and given a choice between dying or becoming a member of Sphinx, she chooses the latter. Casted out by society due to her broken family and being the constant target of bullying by her classmates, Lisa garners a fair bit of compassion from me. While I was sympathetic to her situation in the earlier episodes, as the series went on, my patience began to wear thin at just how inept this depressed teenage girl is at everything. It would be too much for me to expect that she would turn into a goddess of terrorism but a little more usefulness out of her would have gone a long way into fostering that emotional connection with the audience. I do admit, realistically speaking, for a bumbling depressed schoolgirl to be involved with such large-scale destruction, Lisa plays that role to a T.
Hot on the heels of Sphinx is Shibazaki, a former ace detective who comes back to active duty as he successfully decrypts the various riddles. He certainly doesn't fall short in the characterization department as I perfectly understood his motivations when comes to stopping Nine/Twelve. Being an old grizzled man filled with experience, he has the demeanor of a mature adult who is very committed to the idea of justice. At the same time, he does have these nonchalant moments that make him feel like a real investigative veteran accustomed to the norms of the world.
Even though Lisa did get a little on my nerves, I did genuinely enjoyed all the characters and their journey throughout the show for the most part.
For the most part.
Of course, even though the next major character is a bit of a spoiler, I cannot ignore the effect that Five had on the show when she is introduced partway through the story. Being the primary antagonist by working against Sphinx and subjugating the Japanese law enforcement agencies, she is, by far the weakest part of Zankyou no Terror. Clad in a sailor school uniform, she brings an wildly overbearing presence into the story with her antics and games. The first of two issues that I have with her is that she seemed too omnipotent when facing off with the already formidable Sphinx and damages much of the grounded realism that the show sets itself up as. Second, I could dismisses her bat-shit crazy actions if her character had an interesting motivation and background but Zankyou no Terror drops the ball in that aspect leaving only hints of what might have been a fantastic villain. It's not that I wish that Five didn't exist but I want to see her character be rewritten in a way that was more restrained and fleshes out her story. That being said, she was anything but dull and was at least entertaining, even when her actions didn't jive with the core plot.
Visuals and Sound
Accompanying our band of teenage terrorist on their quest for vengeance is the stellar soundtrack by anime legend, Yoko Kanno. Having worked on Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: SAC and Macross Frontier fame, she produces a sound that is insidious, subversive and unsettling for the viewers. With haunting guitar riffs, subtle electronic beats and jazzy undertones coupled with the occasional outburst of sound during action scenes, Yoko Kanno skillfully tailored her composition to suit the gritty tense atmosphere of Zankyou no Terror.
Studio MAPPA has done an absolutely breathtaking job when it comes to the animation quality and comes close to what is expected of an anime movie instead of an ordinary TV production. One of the first things that viewers will notice are the muted colors and attention to detail that is intended to sets up modern-day Tokyo to be as realistic as possible. Backgrounds are expertly detailed from the reflective sheen on vehicles in traffic to the cluttered mess of a former detective's office to a Ferris wheel glowing in the rainy night sky as it carries its passengers on a ride. When it comes to 3D CGI, which is often a tricky thing to balance out in anime, it done to support the various angles and scene composition to gives Zankyou no Terror its cinematic quality. Although Studio MAPPA is still a newcomer in the industry, it has demonstrated it has the talent and potential to become a powerhouse within anime.
Aside from the very pretty explosions, Zankyou no Terror has pretty of depth to draw from with its ideas of a increasingly modernized society and its pitfalls while alluring to ancient mythology. By incorporating fancy pieces of technology like Twitter, YouTube and virtual currency as well , it makes the viewers think about the fragility of our current reality. Although, it doesn't provide any answers, Watanabe's work is certainly more than capable of generating an immense amount of discussion as to what it all means for the characters and our current world.
From the very beginning, I knew that Zankyou no Terror was going to be one of the very top shows from the summer season and maybe even earn a very rare 10/10 score from me. The question was whether it would be able to maintain the standard set out by the initial episode and the answer teeter somewhere between an 8 and 9. Lisa and Five certainly didn't do the show any favors as they could have as they represented the polar opposites of either being useless or completely all-powerful and insane. If Lisa would have been a little more capable and Five was toned down while given a complete back story, I would be incline to award higher marks overall. Other than those two flawed characters, every other aspect of Zankyou no Terror, from the distinct soundtrack by Yoko Kanno to the cinematic visual direction of Watanabe and his take on the touchy subject of terrorism mixed in with a little conspiracy, is certainly not lacking in quality nor relevancy.
If you had a tough childhood, blow up an atomic bomb.
Zankyou no Terror is an original psychological thriller show. It is a different take on terrorism, and received massive hype during its airing for supposedly "thrilling" and "realistic" execution. However, what's the anime really about? A couple of kids running around bombing stuff to solve their problems.
A video on the internet regarding a mysterious group called "Sphynx" gets the attention of Japan after unknown people destroy a Tokyo Government building. Nine and Twelve, children with number codenames and the masterminds behind the terrorism act, begin their game of riddles where the result of failure is
a bomb detonation, while leaving subtle messages behind the bombings.
The plot is seemingly very intriguing and unique at first, with the audience starting to wonder what's this all about and what's the point behind it. Sadly, that ends with the premise. Nothing really important happens from the main plot in this show. It's summed up very easily - a bunch of kids are playing a riddle game in hopes for someone to come and solve their problems, all of this with a bomb twist. The way they wanted to make this all happen is incredibly stupid and unlogical, and it just becomes obvious that explosions exist for the sake of explosions.
There's no real depth or a message this anime wants to translate: everything is just extremely shallow. We get no idea as to why the main characters wanted to approach the situation this exact way, or how the hell did they manage to do it. It is praised as being "very innovative - exploring the society's problems in a unique way", and dear god that's just so wrong. Despite the popular belief, and that the anime thinks it has that, there's actually no terrorism in this show. "Terror" as a word means "to frighten". "Terrorism" - acts that are intended to create fear, are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal or for demands. None of these things apply to the show, sans the last one which is so subtly hinted that it is impossible to derive it in such a way without relying on massive amount of plot conveniences. (which this anime uses for god knows how many times). Fear doesn't exist in the show, because there's no global perspective - it feels like the bombings are just an everyday thing and nobody cares much that their lives are constantly in danger. So what do we get? A useless plot element. It is just suprising why the characters don't do the first logical thing possible and instead create an extremely unlikely plan that is almost sure to not work (but because of plot convieniences, that becomes possible) and has the exact same result in the end.
The characters of the show suffer from being one-dimensional and uncharacterized. The main protagonists, Nine and Twelve, have their own personality traits (Twelve being sweet and easy-going, Nine being serious and determined), but that's about it. Their backdrop is hinted to be something extremely horrible, but it is never elaborated in the show. Instead, the fragments of their backstory just randomly inserted, and it is impossible to actually guess the scale of importance of the events in their past until much later in the anime, when it comes off as very disappointing and underwhelming reveal. The main problem with the protagonists, though, are that they just don't fit to be terrorists. The show attempts to please the casual viewers by making the main characters a pair of teenagers that are super smart, but it forgets to also give enough of a motive for them to start doing what they're doing this exact way and not just going to the police and tell them what the hell happened in their past.
The pair is joined by Lisa, who receives a lot of attention early on, but nothing happens with her character. She joins the duo simply to be a plot device and to drive the conflict of Five and the protagonists the way the anime wants to it to go. She has her own personal problems, but they're not focused on, and she just comes off as a dull character with a clumsy trait. She receives no reasonable development and apart from one scene, extremely irrelevant to the story, so it's really sad to see the potential and the focus shown to her early on being wasted.
Next on we have the antagonist Five. Okay, she is an extremely stupidly written character. Her motives are contradicting, she gets the same cliched antagonist traits and actually is irrelevant to the end result. I personally have no idea why she was needed in the anime, most of the logical inaccuracies happen around her, and she is a fresh air of "generic" in a rather unique anime. The anime just wasn't fit to include a character like her, and that can be witnessed in her last scene in the show which was probably the stupidiest thing I've ever seen in anime this year.
The best character of the show is Shibazaki, and he's a friggin plot device. That's how sad it is. He is the "plot convienience" Sphynx was searching for to fulfill their insanely unlogical and impossible plan. Shibazaki gets some character development, has some sort of a character backstory that is somewhat believable and reflects on his current character quite well, but he gets pushed into a side role after Five is introduced. His personal drama wasn't elaborated much, but he was the only character on which "the rule of cool" worked. It was much more enjoyable and believable to watch him solve the riddles than witnessing Sphynx presenting them (why so serious?)
The side cast doesn't really exist in this show. Everything revolves around 4 (5 with Shibazaki's sidekick) characters in a story that actually has the entire population of Tokyo in direct influence. All other characters are just plot devices that are there to assume a certain position and for the anime to have realism in this aspect, but they are completely irrelevant. And since the next segment is going to talk about how there's no realism in this show at all, the above point becomes moot.
And here we go. The most pretentious anime of the year. Let's start off with the impossibilities. It is IMPOSSIBLE to have no casualties after you destroy such a massive building. 9/11 had around 300 people killed on ground level, excluding the firefighters which is another 300. Total number of injured people was 7000. Here, we have no casualties even though the entire evacuated group happened to be next to the building when it exploded, and a mere 50 injuries. That's just so bullshit and immediately kills any immersion. You have a girl jumping from the 4th floor on the ground and she doesn't even get her legs broken, let alone a scratch or bruise? Are you seriously telling me two teenagers stole a friggin atomic bomb from a mass security nuclear facility? And are you seriously telling me the government took 0 actions to find out more about that and locate the stolen bomb before the attacks started happening? And it's just the first episode, guys. There's atleast dozen occurences of straight up impossible and illogical bullshit in every episode. It slows down between the second and the fourth episode, and that's where I thought the anime could actually be good but shit hits the fan again when Five is introduced and we witness the greatest chess game ever - using airport terminals.
Moving on to the riddles, the whole method is stupid and over the top. The duo needed the exact guy who was willing to research them this exact way, and they found a guy not only willing to do that but who was also a part of an incident which involved someone affiliated with their problem - what are the odds! We are never shown how they plant their bombs or how they manage to create them - everything already seems to be completed and in place and then we just need to wait for a boom. The pair are terrorists, but it was cringe-worthy watching them go nuts over a bomb which couldn't be defused, and that they could be labeled as murderers. The fact is that if this anime followed any string of proper logic, they would already be murderers at the very first bombing.
The thriller part is done very, very weakly. The whole thriller is that the audience doesn't know what the characters know but don't reveal because TENSION! That's not thrilling to watch, that's just f*cking frustrating. Their whole story is very predictable, it is very obvious that something happened in their childhood and they wanted revenge but there wasn't enough motive to start blowing stuff up, as the scale of events in their childhood wasn't so bad or shocking, and they were probably too young to understand all that. We have no information on what happened inbetween their childhood and the present events, and the duo talks like the Rising Hope Academy thing happened yesterday, when in reality anyone would most likely forget it over time (and sure as hell wouldn't start blowing up the city). The anime tries to make everything complex and mature and deep but everything comes out so messy that even a 10 year old child could write a more fluent script than this.
There is just way too much to talk about in this section, but I need to keep this short enough and not to spoil anything. The anime is not clever, it is pretentious. It tries to be something that it's not, and tries to be something that it fails to be. Since the show relies solely on being "logical" and "thrilling", if there are no other elements to get hooked to, you simply cannot enjoy this show because it's not "logical" and "thrilling". The only thing that is positive and worth mentioning is that there's no fanservice in this show. The comedy is very very little but it doesn't fit, but because there's almost none of it that's not a problem.
Animation and Sound:
Credit will be given where credit is due. Animation looks salad in this one, especially the explosions. The character designs are okay, although Five looks like a clown for some reason.
What I would like to talk about more is the soundtrack. Yoko Kanno nails one yet again. It is the best soundtrack of the year, with amazing piano arrangements and dramatical music fitting perfectly with the atmosphere. Standalone songs, such as "Hanna", are just amazing to listen. Overall, soundtrack is the only thing I really enjoyed in this show, and I have no complaints and arguments against it. The sound is also well made, the explosions sound realistically, especially in the last episode. The only complaint I have in the sound department is the awful Engrish and subpar voice acting in general, although Shunsuke Sakuya did a good job voicing Shibazaki.
The opening to the show is beautifully animated with decent music, but strangely enough, it doesn't fit with the anime at all. What is overlooked is the ending to the anime, which is simply animated but has some beautiful music and I ended up enjoying it way more than the opening.
Zankyou No Terror is the definition of a pretentious anime, and a victim of the Code Geass R2 syndrome. It is overhyped because it is "different" in execution and the themes. Mind if I tell you, that being "unique" is not automatically being "good"? It has an amazing soundtrack, but I suggest just buying the OST album instead of watching this, if it's just for the music. Overall, a disapponting watch, but if you want something pretentiously clever you could check this out.
From the ensemble of Watanabe and Yoko Kanno who brought us Cowboy Bebop, comes together once again to bring us a work that has quickly garnered attention from the anime community, Zankyou No Terror. It's easy to see why ZnT will catch the eye of the masses. And it's even understandable why, to some degree, it receives such positive praise. In a time where the anime community is saturated with school rom coms, run of the mill fanservice moe blobs and bishounen "self insert" plot armored protagonists, ZnT certainly has a refreshing change of pace. It brings a concept to the table
that allows a much needed breather from the monotonous mass produced clones. However a good concept is only good if executed well. And this is where the line is drawn between those that offer immense praise and others who don't take things at face value.
You see ZnT is a notorious example of an anime using the 'Bait-and-switch' method to draw an audience in. It 'baits' you in by offering a premise involving terrorism and then 'switches' to a show that provides social criticism of it's government. Because of this concept, ZnT is given a mirage of bloated self importance. Although you'll be hard-pressed to freely share actual criticism of it's missteps since this show has given rise to a rabid fanbase that will chew your heard off for uttering a single word of disagreement.
Without question ZnT can be credited with great presentation and production values but that's all superficial qualities and doesn't inherently equate it to actual quality. With everything that ZnT had going for it, it seem to have forgotten the key elements that separates a solid show from one that HAD the potential to be a solid show.
Today we'll break apart the categories of Story, Characters, Art, & Sound to point out where this show with unrepresented potential went wrong.
First lets get the obvious areas in which it excels out of the way
[Art/Animation & Sound: 9.5/10 & 9/10]
The art and animation for ZnT was top-tier in almost all aspects. Every scene was gorgeous from beginning to end, with great attention to detail and proper use of shading and lighting in every frame. The fluid aesthetics breathed life into every scene and helped to make the choreographed actions displayed to have weight behind it. This was further heightened by the creator's mastery of cinematography. From the unique camera angles, to the unorthodox shot compositions, to the camera panning, everything gave off a cinematic look. This made immersion almost instantaneous. It's a firm grip on presentation that's worthy of admiration and praise.
The color palettes were also used to optimum affect with a clear understanding of color placement and color theory. They were changed in accordance to the mood the show was trying to convey. To the bleached acid washed look of a hot summer day, to a dark shrouded room that gave a sense of isolation. Every color choice and shading felt intentional and properly utilized. The character designs weren't all unique but for the most part they were a cut above the rest. They served their purpose in establishing the traits of the individuals even before we hear them talk.
Like the animation, the sound was no exception, being the best soundtrack I've heard in ages. But that's to be expected when the talented Yoko Kanno is the one behind it. The tracks came in various forms, most predominantly ambient and melancholic vocals. Every scene was accompanied with an impressive score, that shared great chemistry with the accompanying actions showed. It also have the honor of being the among the few soundtracks I've been compelled to download right off the bat. Standout tracks being "hanna" , "von" , "is", "walt" and many more. It's a great stand alone listen and one I've revisited several times.
NOW, time to address the issues that many turn a blind eye too.
[Characters & Story: 2/10 & 3/10]
These characters aren't even treated as actual people. More like a range of archetypes and plot devices. They simply slap on a grim backstory and act like that's enough to be called "characters"
To quickly run them down you have:
9 = your intellectual "according to plan" stone faced archetype
12 = your innocent turn "sadistic psycho" at a drop of a hat archetype
Shibazaki = the veteran detective guy. You know, the guy you find in every single cop/mystery show in media's existence
5 = the 1 note psychotic bitch archetype
and Finally Lisa, the "can't do anything right" girl.
9 & 12 despite being our MCs have nothing outside of a sad backstory and archetype throughout the shows run, and with that said there's very little worth mentioning about them. They simply exists to commit the terrorist acts from which we will discuss soon.
5, Shibazaki and Lisa were your plot devices. 5 serving no true purpose as an antagonist other than being evil for the sake of being evil, was just thrown in to foil 9 & 12's plans. Her quirky out of place characteristic destroys all the real world aspects the show crafted by being as bombastic and over the top as possible. And the biggest sin of her as a character is that she added absolutely nothing to the shows overall story. This in turn makes the middle portion involving her feel like filler. I dare you to rewatch the anime after completion and skip the scenes with her involvement and prove me wrong. A show given a short 11 episode runtime and half of it was essentially unnecessary.
Lisa serves no purpose outside of being the punching bag/sympathy token character that always fuck shit up. She was also a huge missed opportunity for actual development from the rest of the stagnant cast. Shibazaki being the only character that felt... well, like a character, was given less screentime so Lisa can continue to go around being a damsel in distress. By dumbing everyone down, Shibazaki is made to be a genius detective, while the rest of cops are made out to be bumbling buffoons.
Also the show is guilty of treating the US government as a 1 dimensional Saturday morning cartoon type of villainous group, which doesn't help with immersion.
Now it's not a bad thing that ZnT strayed from it's initial premise, many other shows have done it before. But when the concept is stripped bare-bones what's really left is a tail of kids that perform drastic measures in order to get noticed. Despite the show's down to earth setting it asks the viewer to suspend their disbelief to think that their acts of terrorism don't affect anyone. When does blowing up a building, that possibly provided hundreds of jobs, not be considered a harmful act? Because they made sure it was vacant? These actions are played out with a cinematic flare but the actual ramifications of said actions are never even brought up. Not to mention the thousands of lives that may have possibly depended on that source of income from working in those targeted facilities. When do we as viewers decide that a couple of kids false sense of conviction is not illogical. Or when do we question the incompetent way the entire populace of Japan and the police are treated. For a show that is trying to be "down to earth" how can it excuse a country that's ranked #1 in education in the world, but can't figure out such mediocre riddles that's broadcast for all to see it.
But you don't have to take my word for it--> http://worldtop20.org/the-worlds-best-20-education-systems-rankings-third-quarter-report
It's ok not to mirror real world expectations but when a show is trying to be as close to the real world as possible it needs to uphold a certain degree of believability . If ZnT was trying to present itself as actual fiction then this wouldn't be a problem. But direct commentary and social criticism of one's real world government needs to be handled with better finesse. "Japan's inferiority complex towards the US" was treated so lopsidedly that its questionable how it even made it past the rough draft for a final script.
Now the 2nd half of the story is suppose to be the mystery behind 9 & 12's origins and the purpose behind their actions. I don't know about you but a mystery is suppose to keep you guessing and finding clues. But when everything, and I do mean everything, is shown to us in the form of visual exposition within the 1st few episodes then what's the point of continuing to present it as a mystery. Not much of a "mystery" at all but the show continues to drag us along to an inevitable conclusion that you've already seen coming. Now the purpose for their actions can be to open the eyes of the Japanese populace or it can be said they wanted to shed light on the government's actions. But when it comes to it all the speculations are simply that, speculations. It's a rather ambiguous ending that shows neither consequences nor the effect of their actions. In other words their actions lacked any substance. Speculations are fine but that's simply inserting answers which the show never said was there. We'd like to think that's what it means but with no solid answer to the madness nothing is given merit. Even up to the very end it needed external knowledge from the viewer for the show to stand on it's own. That's the epitome of lazy storytelling.
In short ZnT relied too heavily on presentation but lack actual substance.
The 1st few episodes of ZnT were exceptional but it quickly became a blundering mess. An easy to swallow treat for the visual/audible senses but a brain rot with half-assed characters & story. In other words it's an anime without a soul. As a cinematic experience it gets top marks but for a show that had such high ambitions it fell short.
In a day and age where otaku pandering and excessive fan service is the norm, a show like Zankyou no Terror has stuck out for not following conventions. If you're simply looking for a beautifully crafted show then this is for you. But if you want substance with your presentation then this might not be up to par.
The concept of terrorism is a rather scary and ambiguous one in today's society. Terrorism comes in all sorts of ways; cyber hacking to bombing buildings to mass murdering people. Zankyou no Terror's terrorism was a bit different though. Zankyou no Terror's hype came not only from the fact that Shinichiro Watanabe directed it, but also because of it's new, intriguing terrorism plot. Although I'm not particularly a fan of so-called "deep" anime, I gave Zankyou no Terror a try and due to my lack of psychological thinking, I got rather confused on many parts that seemed to not make sense. Nonetheless, it was an
enjoyable anime overall.
The story is about 2 teenage boys, and one teenage girl. The two boys, Touji Hisami and Arata Kokonone also known as Sphinx #9, and Sphinx #12, are the 2 terrorists. They call themselves, "Sphinx" and they send riddle question videos to the government, always giving the government a hint to where they planted a bomb. But for some reason, it seems as though Touji and Arata want the government to find the bomb, they have no desire to actually cause an explosion, but rather just a "terror". Meanwhile, the main character girl, Lisa gets tangled up in all of Sphinx's plans and ends up making a decision to join them as an accomplice. On the police's side, there's an ex-detective named Kenjiro Shibazaki who is the only one who can answer Sphinx's riddles, and as the plot progresses he seems to develop an understanding of what and who "Sphinx" is. Then... there's a female American government operative, "Five" who has some kind of connection to Sphinx's past, and is devoted to catching Sphinx and reuniting herself with Arata Kokonoe. And so the anime's entire plot will become a 3-way psychological cat-mouse game between the japanese police, the American operatives and Sphinx. Questions such as "Where will they go from there? What is "Sphinx"? What are Sphinx's motifs? Who exactly are the "bad-guys" in the anime? What is "right"? all arise throughout.
The plot will start off a bit slow, but once it gets going, it is rather interesting. I thought the plot was rather realistic with some unrealism here and there (^o^). The realism comes from the theme: corrupt in society today. But how they achieve that theme was quite unrealistic to me... Somehow a psychopathic psycho like Five became the head of the American Governments Operations in Japan which leaves me dumbfounded; there's no way in reality a psycho like that would become a leader, even with all the corruption. There's even more no way that Sphinx could plant all those bombs without being caught. And EVEN more no way that Lisa, an innocent girl would just join Sphinx and not feel worried/scared at all and not tell anybody about them. If I was Lisa, I'd be scared out of my mind! Despite it's questionable problems, I enjoyed watching the anime every week. The beginning of the anime starts off with a bam, as Touji and Arata were being the terrorists they are, and bombing a place. I honestly think this anime tried a little bit too much to be "deep". All the riddles were said to be "symbolic" by many "deep" thinking viewers, but the riddles were plain riddles derived from Greek Mythology. There really was no life lesson, or deep motif behind them, unless I missed something. The anime was kind of confusing to me. Without spoiling too much, one example of complete confusion was towards the middle of the anime when Sphinx and Five were facing off at an airport. Every move that Five made, and every move that Sphinx made were symbolized by a chess move, which made absolutely no sense. It's like, if Touji went to the bathroom to change into a cops cloth, then that'd be considered "Bishop B-6", and if Five sent 5 guards to the bathroom, then that's "Queen to C-2", like it made absolutely no sense; there was no correlation. With that said, there were good moments throughout the anime as well, such as the ending which left me happy in it's on way; leaving me in tears.
The characters was where I had some problems. I liked Sphinx, Arata and Touji; they were the bright spots in the anime. They were developed to the fullest; we learn of their past, their motif, their character, and most importantly their destined goal/fate. If you want to be a terrorist, then follow the footsteps of Arata and Touji, not any other psychopathic monster. Now, the problems started with Lisa, then went on to Five, and when the anime ended I also had some problems with Kenjiro the Japanese Detective's character. As I mentioned before, Lisa shows absolutely no sense of fear when she becomes part of a terrorist group. Some people argue that it's because she has nothing to lose; she gets bullied, she basically has no family since her mother is Coo-Coo and father abandoned her, and she has absolutely nothing in life to look forward to. But, that doesn't take away the fact that Lisa randomly joins Sphinx without hesitation, like really?... But then to add on to that, Lisa's character at first seems like someone you can remorse for, but that's not the case. Quickly Lisa's character develops into a joke. Lisa helps Sphinx do absolutely nothing except make Arata and Touji less lonely. It bothered me how the anime made Lisa seem useless while making the males seem genius and perfect. As for Five, she was just plain annoying and her entire reason for trying to capture Sphinx was pathetic. I won't spoil it, but it really was dumb. And her methods to try and catch Sphinx were cray-cray! It's like she's a government representing villain terrorist, and Arata and Touji are the heroic justice league. Kenjiro's character started with lots of potential, but then the story started to solely focus upon Arata, Touji, Lisa, and Five, leaving Kenjiro's character to rot in the dust until the end of the anime. A waste of a great character at it's finest.
The art was great. Certainly a different type of art then the usual art. But, it fit in very nicely with the anime's overall mood; it portrayed the realism of terrorism. The darkness/grayness of the art in the anime was nice. I felt like the character's appearances were perfect to their personality. Lisa looks like the typical clumsy girl, Touji looks like the typical open yet mysterious boy, Arata looks like the scar-filled hero, Five looks like the psychopath that she is, and Detective Kenjiro looks like a smart, lazy, mature, and in the end, heroic man himself. As for the music, it wasn't superb, but it was decent. The opening sounded mysterious which was nice, and I liked the animations of the opening too. The opening really portrayed the anime well. There were no other great soundtracks, but none of them were bad, and they did fit in rather nicely with the entire "terrorism" concept. The voicing of the characters fit in nicely with each character, especially Lisa, so I praise them for that.
My biggest problem with the anime is honestly not the anime itself, but all the people that call it "genius" simply because it's psychological, and about terrorism, hence leading it to be a "masterpiece". All the so-called symbolism is something that I personally didn't see in the anime, and if I missed something then feel free to message me explaining all the so-called "deep-symbolism". Also, the anime over-exaggerates it's theme of "corruption". I do hear about and understand the corruption of the government, but the government itself isn't a terrorist organization, and there are no terrorists in reality that are exactly honorable and heroic. And with that being said, this anime is certainly an anime that I'd recommend to people that enjoy psychological thrillers but also to anyone that wants to watch an anime that will make their brains think. Despite my confusion in some parts of the anime, the parts that I did understand, I enjoyed. The plot was interesting, art was perfect for the anime, sound was good, characters had some problems but were still decent thanks to the 2 mysterious anti-heroic main characters, and all in all it was rather enjoyable. Thanks for reading!
Zankyou no Terror has easily been one of the most well received anime of the season, and understandably so. It has amazing presentation, unique and memorable music, and it’s directed by motherfucking Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, etc.). After a fantastic first episode filled with intrigue and mystery, the worldwide anime community waited with bated breath to see what this show had in store. So… While some people were able to continue to enjoy the show from beginning to end, watching the rest of this anime for me was more comparable to staring, frozen at the sight of a terrible accident that kills
hundreds of people. It’s fucking horrible and gets worse and worse with each passing second… but you can’t look away. From the worst antagonist in recent memory to poor character development and a plot the goes downhill fast, this anime can only be described as a shame. Looking at what this anime could have been and comparing it to what it ended up being, it’s nothing but a damn shame.
Synopsis: Two teenagers, who go by the codename “Sphinx”, have managed to steal plutonium from a high tech facility. They then go on a spree of terrorism, bombing building after building as the police department scrambles to diffuse the bombs and apprehend the perpetrators. Sphinx’s reasons for doing this are unclear, even to the auidance.
Quite honestly, I think that Zankyou no Terror has perfectly defined the term “dragging it out”. Many people scratched their heads when they realized that the show was only 11 episodes long, but in hindsight, it didn’t even need to be THAT long. The true downfall of the anime is that it’s story and characters are very, very shallow, despite the occasional intrigue they are able to illicit. While the plot starts strong as it presents a relatively believable, realistic setting, the show soon begins a downward spiral into complete, nonsensical absurdity. For instance, the show loses all of its subtlety and starts trying WAY too hard to be an “intelligent” show, thanks to laughable plot points such as “airport chess” (playing a life-size game of chess with an airport as the board -_-). Some of these are so bad that they manage to create plot holes. This spiral is perpetuated by the introduction of a certain character that we’ll get to later.
The train wreck is culminated in the disaster that was the finale of the show, which was incredibly rushed, anticlimactic, unsatisfying, and really just shockingly bad (that’s right, I could write an entire essay on why that ending sucked, and yet everyone seemed to enjoy it). I think the biggest reason behind this failure is the fact that none of the mysteries have satisfactory answers behind them, or at least not any that are even remotely satisfying. The big revelation of the show is supposed to be the backstory of the characters, particularly their motivations, and quite frankly, it’s all just so damn predictable. The names of the main characters (“Nine” and “Twelve”) coupled with the OP are all you need to see to guess to the character’s pasts (or at least the basic gist of it). Once you do that, its just a matter of figuring out their motivations, which are STUPID! It’s not that the motivations themselves are terrible, it’s that they render the entire storyline completely pointless because there are MILLIONS of other, better ways they could have gone about reaching their goals, but stealing plutonium and bombing shit was the idea they decided to go with? Whatever. In short, the plot absolutely crumbles. It’s bad.
If the plot isn’t where ZnT went wrong, then it was definitely in its characters. Our protagonists, Nine and Twelve, are shallow. We never learn anything substantial about the way they think or who they are. Sure, we learn their backstories, but that doesn’t tell us anything about who they are as individuals. They seemed so promising and unique at first, but they ended up being boring, unspectacular, and not memorable at all. Lisa, the third wheel of the show, has no purpose. Why does she even exist? She is used as a misogynistic plot device in ONE episode, and then does nothing ever again. Even in the finale, when she finally had an opportunity to show that she affected the story or that the story affected her in SOME way, it just doesn’t happen. The ending gets rushed through. So disappointing. Then there’s Five: THE WORST ANIME ANTAGONIST IS RECENT MEMORY. FUCK FIVE. Everything good that the show had going for it gets wrecked or begins its downward spiral once this character showed up. Here’s why: The show used to be morally grey; there were no clear good guys or bad guys because we didn’t know why Sphinx was doing this. Then Five comes along, who is overly maniacal, blatantly evil, and stupidly exaggerated. This wrecks the notion of grey morality and makes it more black and white than a bad shounen would. The show used to have realism; many connections were made to real life, modern places and things that made the show believable. Then Five comes along, begins a game of airport chess (-_-), speaks the WORST engrish I’ve ever heard in my entire life, and successfully manages to manipulate a major government organization at the age of about 17. Makes sense. I could go on, but I think you get the point. This cast of characters is very, very bad, particularly Five. The only character that is even remotely passable is Shibazaki, but he is relatively shallow as well.
In conclusion, Zankyou no Terror has reminded us all about a sad reality: shows that start well do not always end well. In fact, sometimes, they crash and burn. This would be an example of an anime that crashed and burned. I know the first few episodes are really good and really interesting, I know the animation is a fantastic complement to the show, and I know that music is incredible, but none of that can fix the shitstorm of a shallow, incompetent plot and uninteresting characters. Is it a bad anime? No. Is it worth watching? Meh, maybe. It’s just overwhelmingly underwhelming, if that makes sense.
Terror in Resonance focuses on a duo of teen terrorists responsible for a string of bombings throughout Tokyo that have the police baffled over who the culprits are. Mostly focused on our young male leads Nine and Twelve, Terror in Resonance involves the duo using the codename Sphinx to give riddles out to the police in a challenge to have them figure out the location of their bombs before they detonate, leading detective Kenjiro Shibazaki to be involved in the case as only he has the wits and intellect among the police force to connect the dots on the actions and motives involving the bombings
with Sphinx. As the series progresses, a girl around Nine and Twelve's age named Lisa becomes entangled in their plans, more about their dark past is revealed and someone from their past arrives in Japan to attempt sabotaging their efforts.
On paper, the premise of Terror in Resonance seems like a typical one for a suspense title as elements to its storytelling such as the bombers playing a cat and mouse game with police, the so-called villains not being as evil as you think and government secrets are nothing new within anime. However, the somewhat realistic and dark mood that the series gives off in the exploration of Nine and Twelve's bombings give it something of a chilling feel as the events can hit close to home with American anime viewers of the series, especially in light of the events of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The first four episodes are focused around Nine and Twelve's cat and mouse game with the police trying to figure out the whereabouts of their planted bombs via the video riddles that our two leads supply them. The episodes help to establish the characters of the duo and Shibazaki, as we learn of their backgrounds and what issues they are implied to have with their national government. Not to mention the suspense of seeing if either side will prevail in their goal in each episode is genuinely thrilling. Later episodes introduce us to a past acquaintance of Sphinx in the form of Five, accompanied by American agents, who complicates things for Sphinx as she is just as smart and crafty as the duo when she exploits their modus operandi to her advantage by turning the tables on them by playing her own cat and mouse games with the duo for the second third of the series. The final third of the series reveals everything going on with Sphinx, Five and the government secrets connected to them; as well as what plans Sphinx had with the plutonium they had stolen prior to the start of the series that build up to a rather bittersweet, yet satisfying, ending. For the most part, Terror in Resonance is effective at making use of the story elements it is rehashing by applying a more darker and realistic edge them and creating genuine suspense and intrigue out of what you think is going to happen next in the series.
While I praise the show of its execution of its plot, it does carry some issues that hurt its quality to an extent involving some among its cast. Lisa's character is mostly worthless in the series as she mostly exists as a damsel-in-distress for Twelve to rescue and has no real relevance to the major events that take place throughout the series, which lead me to question why she exists in the first place.
Five's character is a bit of a double-edged sword for her role in the series. While her presence in the series helps to create a solid adversary against Sphinx, the psychotic and childish fits she gives in to at points in the series do usually make it hard to take her as a serious threat and there are clear lapses in logic from the agents accompanying her as they don't try stopping her destructive and life-threatening actions. Unlike Nine and Twelve, Five doesn't get enough dimension and background to her character to make her sympathetic, especially when later episodes attempt to do so despite the earlier acts she shown where she had no regard for the lives she would put at risk in her cat and mouse game.
Presentation-wise, Terror in Resonance is easily one of the best TV titles this year in what it implements for its visuals and soundtrack. The visuals make use of subdued color tones and plenty of detail for designing its lifelike, vast settings and have character designs that don't have the conventional anime style of rainbow-color hair and big eyes, having bodily features drawn as believably as possible. The animation is easily among the best I've seen for the year for a TV anime thus far, with plenty of onscreen fluid movement that shows people and vehicles moving naturally without degradation of animated detail or noticeable animation shortcuts. Highlights to the animation in the series include groups of people moving about in the streets of Tokyo, the collateral damage resulting from bomb attacks and the impressive looking events that take place in the finale of the series.
For the show's music, Yoko Kanno lends her music composure talents to the series creating tense and haunting dramatic pieces that are excellent fits to the dark and chilling mood regularly portrayed throughout Terror in Resonance's run. The opening and closing songs to the series (Trigger and Dare Ka, Umi o) are easily the best lyrical tracks for an anime series that I've heard for the year thus far as they are fitting for the mood of the series and immediately stick out to those viewing it.
Overall, Terror in Resonance makes for a solid 11-episode run of suspense, mystery and intrigue concerning Sphinx's bombings and their origins, making effective use of rehashed story elements through giving them a more darker and realistic edge. It has its shortcomings with some elements to its storytelling and characterization, but it was still a thrilling watch for me to check out throughout its 11-episode run.
What do we think of when we hear the word ‘terrorism’? The first thought coming to mind would destruction and death. Terrorism isn’t anything new though for the past few decades. A monumental event that took place on September 11, 2001 really stroke the foundation of this word. Taking a step back though, terrorism has always been around whether it involves domestic terrorism, bio-terrorism, or even cyber terrorism. Where does Zankyou no Terror fit into all this? Well, it all begins with an event that the world witnessed which has now become a global pandemonium.
Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Tokyo or Terror in Resonance) is
a 1-cour show produced by studio MAPPA. The series is an original anime meaning there’s no source material based off of the work. At the same time, it’s noticeable that the show is directed by Shinichiro Watanabe while also reuniting with music producer Yoko Kanno. That alone should evoke some interest for this series. Taking by the standard, the show can be mind indulging. The setting takes place in Tokyo where an event dubbed as terrorism catches the attention of the world. There’s no direct evidence to the true masterminds besides a video uploaded on the Internet. Going by the name of “Sphinx”, viewers learn that the culprits are actually two teenage boys with a goal in mind and an ambition that strikes fear.
As a psychological thriller, the first episode wastes little time to establish the presence of the main characters. We meet Touji Hisami and Arata Kokonone who also seems to play the role of anti-heroes. However, they are better known by their designated numbers “9” and “12” respectively for unknown reasons. The series blasts off literally as they go through the plan to steal plutonium from a power plant. About half a year later, a government building is bombed as the duo creates fear and confusion in Tokyo. There’s one problem though. A young girl named Lisa accidentally gets herself caught in the middle of this affair. Faced with a choice between life or death, she chooses to join them as an accomplice. From here, the show becomes a dangerous cat-and-mouse game or so it seems to be. I have to admit though, this series can quickly become confusing at first. A lot of events happen in the first few episodes where the viewers might not truly understand what’s going on. What exactly is Sphinx? Why are they doing this? What do they want? These common questions pop up instantly as there’s little clues to provide their purpose. However, the show undergoes phases to flesh out these answers with cryptic clues.
As cryptic as the show seems to be, there are a lot of references, influences, and allusions to cultural and literature. The clues that Sphinx provides to the public often alludes to famous works such as Oedipus Rex. At the same time, there’s also something else noticeable about the two as their plan seemingly involves the engineering of recognition. Sure, they strike fear with what they are doing but their plans results in no death. There has been a few close calls but causalities aren’t a result of what they are seemingly after. That strikes the curiosity of what they really want or if they really are the so-called villains the public makes them out to be. There is a big bad of the show though. We don’t know much about her except her name as “Five”. It’s hard to say how we can feel about the character as she treats the hunt for Nine and Twelfth as a game. Her twisted psyche implies that she came from the same place where Nine and Twelfth did when she was little as seen in various flashbacks. What makes her stand out more is the fact that she solely aims to accomplish a mission while playing with her opponents. It’s also implied that she cares little for the lives of those involved as seen in one particular episode when she gets Lisa caught in a death trap. The relationship Five has with is perhaps most prominent during her conversation with Nine. She treats him as an opponent in her game and hopes to win by putting him in situations where lives really are at stake.
Speaking of Nine, he also shares some interesting relationships with others. The most prominent is with Twelfth, his friend and accomplice. In a way, we may even see the duo as brothers because of their close bond. But over time throughout the show, there’s a slow yet evident progress that seems to drive them a bit apart. This is seen by their contrasting personalities. Nine is a serious character with stoic expression and man of few words. On the other hand, Twelfth has more of a childish persona who often cracks jokes and make best of what they are doing. The relationship that Twelfth develops with Lisa is also fleshed out throughout the show after he saves her numerous times. In a way, Lisa is similar to Twelfth as both are lonely and tends to cause trouble around them. During one particular scene in the series, she pops a curious question to Twelfth asking him if he is planning to destroy the world. The response suggests that they don’t really care about anything anymore but to do what they want. It’s at this point in the show that viewers may realize the interpersonal relationships characters develop by their common interest. Unlike most series, they are ambiguous and can be interpreted in different ways. For another instance, Nine’s connection with a detective named Kenjiro Shibazaki leads them both into a world of twists. Here, we enter a realm where the hunters may be the hunted but with understanding that comes from jeopardizing others to achieve goals.
The show can be interpreted in a detective-esque series as well although it lacks the forefront of storytelling by a first person point of view. With the cat-and-mouse game in place, we get several scenarios where detective Shibazaki comes close to catching Sphinx in particular Nine. At one interesting point, the two even work together because of a common goal. However, the way the suspense is delivered can be a mixed bag. The clues sometimes feels a bit simplistic, predictable (through foreshadowing), and sometimes even repetitive. Furthermore, we don’t know much about the characters’ backgrounds. We can only scratch on the surface to see what type of person they have become. Compared to their past, it’s really hard to characterize them on an individual scale. However, there’s decent suspense when it comes to conspiracy regarding VON (as shown in the beginning of the show). The mechanics behind the conspiracy is explained without confusing the audience and offers thorough guidance. As such, the show is aware of what it has been doing to transit each episode with its structure and delivering a well-crafted story. I wouldn’t say it’s too intelligent as some bits are ambiguous such as Lisa/Twelfth’s relationship. It’s hard to say the significance of their relationship but ultimately is on track of the show’s execution.
As a character coming into this new world, Lisa can also be quite a character for debate. We know that she isn’t a popular girl, terrible at cooking, and in general a clumsy character who is often not sure of her place in this world. Her family background is most left in the dark but through several scenes, it’s easy to see that it isn’t exactly bright. The only character she is closed to is Twelfth. It’s hard to say they are friends but rather as close acquaintances. Later on, it’s easy to realize how much Twelfth dedicates himself to Lisa; a sharp contrast to when he threatened her life after becoming an acquaintance in the beginning. It’s also implied that there’s more to meet than the eye from where she came to the world as a child which sparks interest. However, her character can be somewhat controversial. Throughout the show, she also plays a bit of the ‘damsel in distress’ especially after the introduction of Five. I wouldn’t call her a terrible character but some of her roles are underwhelming. Perhaps the show is trying to send a message of what someone’s life feels like when they enter a completely different world. In this case, Lisa would be the normal character entering the Nine and Twelfth’s abnormal world. She’s not entirely useless either considering some of her actions did influence certain outcomes. However, she isn’t the sharpest tool in a shed either.
Even prior to the first episode, preview videos show that the anime has great potential on technical fronts. When it comes to visuals, this series deserves praise as it illustrates the realism of terrorism. Destruction such as a government building and aircraft highlights fear and tension. The spectacular artwork depicts the consequences of that with great precession. The characters’ designs also have a feeling that makes you think they are outsiders. Nine and Twelfth and designed with simple characteristics to make them look normal. Five on the other hand has the look of a mischievous woman; a trait that fits her role accurately considering her hacking skills. Finally, there’s Lisa and Shibazaki who are designed to look very human. In retrospect, MAPPA studio aced their production qualities with a bang. And even saying that figuratively, the short yet memorable moments of those explosions captures the world’s attention.
Soundtrack also plays a prominent role thanks to the talented Yoko Kanno. Her music score delivers the message of a solemn tune with deadly accuracy when it comes to depict a theme of isolation. The slow pacing of the soundtrack has a meaningful purpose with it’s trying to portray. In particular, several scenes creates a brooding atmosphere that matches perfectly with the OST. The jazz tunes also commands attention to achieve its desired effect especially during climatic scenes. Finally, both the OP and ED songs creates the thriller-like vibe to give what the audience expects – a convincing tale of mind games.
Zankyou no Terror’s premise and delivery ultimately prevails in the end despite some of its predictable plot points and pacing. What began as a terrorist plot transpires into mind games and relationship building that develops naturally. The show seizes opportunities to make the best of what it has and although it doesn’t always deliver masterfully, it’s well intentioned for its efforts. Characters have diverse range of personalities and motivations to create tension. If you’re looking for an anime with impressive visuals and soundtrack as well, then you’ll be in for a nice treat. In the end, Shinichiro’s talents are realized once again in this show. For a thriller, this show definitely requires attention and patience. And in the end, it’s worth every minute.
Terror in Resonance is a fine anime in terms of directing and tension. It’s not hard to see how it excited thousands of viewers into calling it anime of the year back when the first episode aired. That still doesn't make up for its undeniably amateurishly handled script when it comes to mystery stories. Personally, I didn't need to wait for the show to be over before I knew it wasn’t as good as they were hyping it to be. The cracks were obvious since the very pilot and kept getting bigger with each new episode. The reason why everybody else didn’t want to admit
to that is because the director was Watanabe of Cowboy Bebop fame. There is no way for Watanabe to mess up, even if anything else he made besides Bebop was average. Well, damn, he did, what a shock. So for those of you who are in constant denial while hugging your huge anime pillows.
Allow me to give you some basic pointers, for as to why this anime was basically a waste of my time and why I regret watching it so much.
-The plot is basically, plot less:
It starts out with a very intriguing idea about how two teenagers plan to create chaos in Japan by exploding a Government building, and then send out riddles for the police to solve in order to stop the bombs that they plant. Each time, the riddle is engrossed with a message.
I could already predict what the rest of the show will be about after episode 3. I mean, really, it was obvious what the terrorists wanted to do thereafter. A good mystery story is revealing itself slowly, constantly keeping you interested to find out more. This anime didn’t do that. It overused its already lazy exposition gimmicks to the point it revealed all the major plot points in its first quarter. All there was left was an almost fatalistic procedure because it became that predictable. And the only reason it took 11 episodes to play out exactly as I predicted was only because they wasted half the show running after Lisa or Five, characters whose role was to derail the plot and waste time.
-Everyone seems to act like a retard except that one cop.
-There doesn't seem to be real *terror* in the show.
Terrorism and human experiments, Ooooh! what a thrill!
I expect people crouching, crying and going insane. Thinking how it's going to be the end of the world, as the atomic bomb is going to explode.
-It seems like a very, very bad anime remake of V for vendetta but without the good dialogues, plot and characterization.
-The only reason I watched the whole show was because of the fantastic sound and animation, and that's it.
-Why is five even there?
The story is disrupted when this psychotic bitch, five enters the scene. Where she doesn't capture nine and twelve, but chooses to play a game with them. Which btw is completely fine because the Americans are Muppets being controlled by her and choose to ignore every thing until one them points a gun at her and says that enough is enough. At which point, five kills him and then finally come face to face with nine. You would think that she wanted to say or do something interesting when she finally meets the man she has been chasing this whole time? RIGHT? RIGHT?
Nooooooo, she just tells him that it was all a game and kills herself.
- Does anybody even know about the experiments in the end? were the guilty parties even punished? We don't know. All we know that a bunch of buildings were bombed and two teenagers were killed. And most of the anime was spent rescuing a stupid bimbo called Lisa.
-This is not how real detectives do stuff they know how to do basic research and are not complete idiots who don't even know how to use wikipedia, furthermore when you look at a nuclear explosion, you don't hold hands and pretend as if they are fire works. Because there is a thing called radio-activity. And EMP pulses are enough to kill anyone who has a pacer in his heart or is in life support in hospitals, thus contradicting the attempt to not kill anyone.
- There is no political statement behind the bombings because the two terrorists do not reveal them until the show is over. They don’t even have demands for not going forward with the bombings; a thing which no terrorist ever does. If there is a statement, there is no reason not to reveal it right away; something which of course they didn't because that way the show would end in 2 episodes.
- Where is the so called awakening of the population that I was promised in the synopsis of the show? Because all I remember is yawing through out the show and waiting for it to show the greatness it promised.
-Over all points:
Zankyou no Terror pricked up the ears of many anime fans when it was announced to be an original anime directed by Shinichiro Watanabe. Since Watanabe had previously directed widely acclaimed shows such as Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Kids on the Slope, Zankyou no Terror was naturally expected to be Watanabe’s next big work. Couple that with the fact that Yoko Kanno, another big name in the anime industry, handled the soundtrack composition, and the show instantly became a fan favorite coming into the season. So then the question has to be asked: “Does Zankyou no Terror live up to its hype?”
would have to be, “not really.” In short, Zankyou no Terror is worthy of its praise for its impressive visuals and a phenomenal soundtrack, but those alone are not enough to cover up the lack of character development and the slightly problematic story.
Story & Exposition
Zankyou no Terror is about two mysterious teenagers, Nine and Twelve, who plan a series of terrorist bombings in Tokyo under the alias of “Sphinx.” Much like the Sphinx from Greek Mythology, Nine and Twelve give out a riddle to the public before detonating each bomb. An ex-detective named Kenjiro Shibazaki is the only one in the Japanese police force that figures out the answers to the riddles, and he vows to bring “Sphinx” to justice. Shibazaki, however, eventually realizes that Nine and Twelve have ulterior motives behind their terrorist bombings and figures out a disturbing truth. But before Shibazaki can process the truth, the Sphinx bombings come to a sudden stop as the FBI, led by an old friend of Nine and Twelve, intervenes and starts a wild cat-and-mouse chase to capture “Sphinx.” A three-way battle between the Japanese police force, “Sphinx,” and the FBI unfolds as they all try to carry out their own purposes.
Since you are sort of thrown into the middle of this whole situation, watching Zankyou no Terror initially feels like playing a videogame without in-game tutorials: You have to learn everything there is to know about the anime as it goes on. The show will leave you plenty of hints throughout the series through flashbacks, cinematographic details, and dialogue, but in the end it is up to you to analyze those hints and figure out what is going on. Since most anime rely on “info dumps” to spoon-feed background information to the audience, Zankyou no Terror really stood out in the beginning for its engaging style of exposition.
The problem with this style of exposition, however, is that there is a limit as to how much the show can tell the viewers without directly telling them. The more information the show holds from the audience, the harder it will be to explain everything towards the end. Unfortunately, this was the case for Zankyou no Terror, so even if the show tried to explain everything towards the end, it answered only the bare essentials of the questions raised by the show. Zankyou no Terror should have struck a balance between what they should tell the audience and what they should hold from the audience, but they decided to hold too much from the audience and paid the price of glossing over several questions that needed to be addressed. Although the show wraps up its story relatively well, there was a sense of incompleteness that left me dissatisfied in the end.
Style Over Substance?
When it comes to Watanabe, it’s hard not to talk about his style. Without a doubt, Zankyou no Terror is Watanabe’s directing at its finest, especially in terms of cinematography: Watanabe uses a lot of low-key lighting in order to convey a sense of despair and isolation, or in other cases a sense of mystery and suspense; he uses different camera panning techniques to give scenes 3D depth that makes them look dynamic; and of course, his love for the visual spectacle resulted in some of the most beautifully animated scenes to be seen in anime history.
However, Zankyou no Terror is the typical case of a show that emphasizes "style over substance," in which the captivating style overwhelms the comparatively weak substance. There definitely was a deeper message and a darker story behind Zankyou no Terror, but the show just didn't do a good job of conveying that message and story. Most of the story’s shortcomings and shallowness can be blamed on the length of the show, because a 1-cour was not enough to tell the story that Zankyou no Terror was trying to tell. The writers could definitely have planned it better, but what started out as a seemingly profound show about exploring the mindset of terrorists and discussing the corruption and degradation of a Japanese nation quickly became a blockbuster action thriller filled with clichés and empty characters. The writers tried too hard to combine a dark social commentary with action thriller sequences that the show ended up as a confused mishmash that lost the original focus of the story. Zankyou no Terror should have focused more on being either a dark human drama or a pulse-pounding suspense drama, but not both.
Characters & Developments
With the story trying to be two things at once and Watanabe focusing too much on his own style, the weakest aspect of Zankyou no Terror would undoubtedly be its characters. There just is not much to say about the characters because viewers never get an in-depth look into each character. At one point, viewers have to accept the fact that some characters are just plot devices in order for the story to meet a certain end. The characters definitely had the potential to drive the story in a better direction, but the characters are instead sacrificed in order for the story to finish strong.
However, it is not like the characters get no development at all. The show actually makes subtle attempts to try and develop its characters, and so if the viewers are willing to invest themselves enough to the show, they will indeed be able to find redeeming qualities within the characters. However, for most viewers the characters do not get developed enough for them to care. And without the emotional connection between the viewers and the characters, viewers cannot look beyond the dull and stereotypical personas to find the characters likable or relatable.
This is a real shame considering that the characters were actually interesting. Looking at it strictly from the characters’ perspectives, the story revolves around five social outcasts who each want to make something of their aimless lives and do something right for themselves. Seeing each of them struggle in his or her own way to carry out individual goals is actually both heartbreaking and heartwarming to watch. However, the show, again, never capitalizes on the emotional development of these characters, and thus the inner conflicts of the protagonists become largely overlooked.
Art & Realism
A rather unique aspect about this show is its sense of realism. Since the setting is in an alternative version of modern Japan, it is difficult for viewers to suspend their disbelief because the show makes everything seem so realistic and believable. For example, it is clear that the writers did their research in terms of how bombs are made, how hackers invade the system, and how the police would react to terrorist attacks. Not only that, the show throws in all these real life references, like YouTube videos, Puzzles & Dragons, Twitter tweets, and Bitcoins to further emphasize the show’s realism.
The realism can be seen in the character designs as well. For example, the show contains a lot of close-ups on the characters’ faces, so the facial features are detailed and well proportioned. The characters as a whole are given normal human appearances, but are still distinct from one another because of their facial and bodily features.
In terms of the animation, the show stomps its competition by a long shot. Although there was a quality drop towards the end of the show, the animation overall was smooth, detailed, and beautifully done. Briefly mentioned above, Watanabe’s choices in cinematography is really what made the animation stand out even more and resulted in visually stunning scenes that are hard to come by in anime.
Kanno & Soundtrack
Usually, the soundtrack is my least favorite part to review because there are only so many ways of saying that the soundtrack “enhances the mood or atmosphere of certain scenes in the anime.” I mean, which soundtrack doesn’t? Zankyou no Terror’s soundtrack, however, gives me something to write about. For one thing, the soundtrack is categorically indie, filled with several experimental songs that combine electronic, classical, and ambient sounds together with (or without) vocals in Japanese, English, or Icelandic. Yoko Kanno shows off her musical prowess once more and proves that she is not afraid to experiment with different styles of music in order to make a soundtrack appropriate for Zankyou no Terror. The soundtrack, therefore, is terrific. What makes it more than just an excellent soundtrack, however, is that it becomes better when complemented by the anime. Partly due to the cinematic quality of Zankyou no Terror, every scene in which a song is playing in the background looks and feels like a music video. In other words, the emotions evoked from the scenes mesh beautifully with the melody of the songs, thus making Zankyou no Terror’s soundtrack an essential part in enjoying this anime to its fullest.
Watch Zankyou no Terror at your own risk. The realistic art and the remarkable music are enough to blow you away, but the problematic story and dull characters will reasonably disappoint you. Watch this show as you would any other show by lowering your expectations, and only then will you find that Zankyou no Terror is one of the better ones, especially among original anime, to come out in awhile.
(Edit: I decided to weigh the "story and character" more (60%) and "art, music, and enjoyment" less (40%). That way I would be giving a more accurate score that reflects my review. Score is rounded up to 8 since MAL has no "in-between" score)
And thus, what is easily one of the most politically charged anime in recent memory has come to a close. People are primarily attracted to it for its value as a piece of visual entertainment, but is that all there is to works such as this?
Thus in my determination to explicate on the matter as thoroughly as possible, I would like to present to you with my POFITs on the anime Zankyou no Terror, or as it is in English, 'Terror in Resonance'.
To begin with, allow me to present my case for what is most definitely the primary objective behind this particular anime's conception.
one, this anime, though it utilizes plot elements from a multitude of genres in fiction such as the thriller, psychological and police procedural genres, it is in reality much more akin in spirit to that of satires (albeit a very dry and analytical one utilizing extensive irony, analogy and juxtaposition), social commentaries and political fiction.
The heavy usage of highly subtle and somewhat in-your-face symbolism that are intimately connected to events that had occurred outside of fiction, in addition to explicit references to key events in real world history is indicative of the overall direction that this anime is taking, and on what themes, ideas and messages that it attempts to convey to the general public.
And because of that, whoever was in charge of conceiving such ideas and putting them onto the screen is personally expounding his or her views within the permissible scope of free speech. Which in this case, revolves around the increasingly dangerous and alarming resurgence of Japanese ultra-nationalism, as well as the current ongoing debate regarding the proposed amendments to Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. Other subtle critiques against the current state of Japanese societal affairs include, but are not limited to the increasing political apathy among the Japanese, as well as the increasingly alarming state of interpersonal relationships within the Japanese population.
Now, were those symbols and references used to maximum effect? Yes and no, as their placement and timing is at times too subtle or multi-layered that it tends to make the audience lose track of or interest in them amid the very fast, though expertly paced plot sequences; no scene drags, and no scene ever feels too fast.
As to the actual plot itself, it is relatively straightforward and very dense though halfway on, the plot takes on a rather chaotic turn as new plot elements and characters are introduced, though only momentarily before returning to a somewhat more stable state of affairs before the climax. The 'lull' so to speak. But is all of this 'completely original'? Not really, and at times not exactly necessary either. Especially in regards to the themes, a far more elaborate and metaphorical take on the plot would greatly lessen the impact of the message itself.
A note on the script-writing pertaining to the story as a whole, I have made re-assessments in regards to certain plot points and thematic concepts, and I have concluded that they were unsatisfactorily handled, i.e., that they were either stretching the limits of believability or simply not explored thoroughly enough, in that ideas were merely referenced rather than expounded upon via a variety of means to properly convey the sheer gravity and scale of the series' themes.
Indeed, perhaps one of the key expectations that numerous people have when they think of the show, is that it possesses a certain 'je ne sais quoi', a certain 'revolutionary seriousness' or 'zeitgeist quality' to it which demands that it be taken very seriously, whereby the very fact that it possesses this very element signifies a 'do or die' expectation from the audience. Thus, notwithstanding the slightest inconsistency in logic, or it not being bold, challenging or transgressive enough, the show's very nature, now weighed down by the 'just not quite there yet' execution in its thoroughness, is probably the biggest reason why despairing disappointment, is all too prevalent.
Story Rating: 7
When I speak of the artistic qualities of the anime, I would like to say that this is easily one of the best animated animes in recent years. There are few still shots, and whatever still shots there are are expertly crafted to represent as close as possible to the essence of what it means to be in Japan during summer. One particular still shot that stood out, especially to me as I've experienced being in Japan before, is the still shot that depicts a school hallway in the summer daytime. Absolutely stunning and near realistic, reminds me very much of my own experience.
No scene feels lifeless, and no scene is in lacking of much needed detail. The extensive use of cinematographic elements in this anime adds value to certain scenes by heightening their suggested emotional or physical impact. The 3D animation used in this anime in relation to certain objects as well as background extras are impeccable, and blend extremely well with the 2D drawings. Particle effects, lighting effects, the fluid movements of objects and people, the extreme attention to all these elements can be summarized in one word: meticulous. The same goes for the symbolism and references as well.
Art Rating: 10
As for the sound-based elements in the anime, the characters are well-voiced, lending credibility to the emotions displayed on screen. Miscellaneous sound effects such as gun shots, explosions, object movement, footsteps and the like are very well done and do not sound in any way cut and paste.
There has been debate in regards to the depiction of the English language used in some scenes, and overall, I would like to say that it is rather adequate though still underwhelming. One secondary character and one side character in particular are noted for their bad English pronunciation as well as their surprisingly good English pronunciation respectively in accordance to their characterization.
As for the background music and soundtrack, they are excellent. The soundtrack has enough variety and flair to facilitate the overall mood and tone of their respective scenes. If I can remember correctly, there are set piano pieces to set a tone of calm, set guitar riffs to heighten tension as well as a myriad of songs used throughout to provide symbolic meaning, which are mostly in English or even Icelandic.
A little trivia is that all pieces used in the soundtrack are natively composed in Iceland to provide a degree of authenticity to some of the sounds, and that the anime itself also makes references to Icelandic music when pertaining to one main character's musical tastes.
Alright, characters..... Unfortunately, I would have to make certain comments in regards to the characterization of characters in this anime. For the most part, the characters are simple, rather 'tropey' characters. In fact, at certain points throughout the anime, one would see that the characterization of the main characters, as well as some secondary characters are a bit lacking and leaves one questioning as to whether they have much or any purpose within the overall plot, and one would also question as to whether the utilization of such characters or their assigned characteristics is even effective in advancing the plot or in helping to ease the conceptualization of the themes.
That said however, despite the characters embodying very specific 'Jungian archetypes' so to speak, they still do receive further development in their overall personalities, it's just that due to the very short runtime of the series, their identities are simply not developed to their fullest potential.
Character Rating: 6
Strictly speaking, the visual entertainment medium, in fact, all entertainment are primarily created for profit-seeking enterprises as well as entertainment and artistic merit and prestige. Sometimes however, works such as this emerge that immediately warrants not an evaluation of whether one was able to derive 'pleasure' from it, but whether one was able to appreciate and ponder on its messages, themes and whether its artistic elements helped one come closer to a better understanding of them, or of life itself. At times, the best fiction, and even the best works of art and music aren't for enjoyment's sake but are attempts at better conceptualizing and clarifying what is known as 'worldly truth' depending on their scope of exploration.
And for that, this show does it relatively rather well.
Overall, I would like to conclude my review on the anime Zankyou no Terror by offering both a 'Recommended Viewing' and 'Socially Important' approval seals to it despite areas of unsatisfactory development, in addition to providing total aggregate scores of:
(P.S. If you happen to want some music recommendations since this anime makes active use of music composed in Iceland, then I would like to point you to the Icelandic artists Bjork and Sigur Ros. And yeah, Sigur Ros's first album is titled Von as well)
Yet another over-hyped anime that started off the season and just like Attack on Titan, it became a train-wreck as well. Let me make this perfectly clear from the very beginning: this show is all style and no substance. Whatever deep sociopolitical message is ingrained here is hardly ever explored; the show would rather focus on fancy explosions and cool-sounding themes that don't even matter in the end. With that out of the way, I'll start the review.
Story (25%) - 3/10
My reason for giving it such a low score is the fact that the riddles feel so pointless. And this is a big deal since
about 8 of the episodes focus on them. I keep asking myself: what was the point of those riddles?; why didn't they use the bomb from episode 1?; why didn't they reveal their motive for the bombings from the very beginning?; why didn't anyone go blind after staring at a nuclear explosion? So many questions.... And of course, all the fanboys are over-thinking the show to death with all their BS about how the show is such a deep social commentary on Japan, despite the fact that the show barely spared an episode to mention all that, instead focusing on pointless explosions and riddles. I can do it too, you know:
Zankyou no Terror is actually a show about how Japan refuses to learn from its past mistakes, just like how ZnT refuses to learn from the mistakes of Death Note and Code Geass. How? By adding another one-dimensional, white-haired antagonist to ruin the show and MORE BULLS*** CHESS.
Art (20%) - 8/10
Definitely some of the most realistic looking backgrounds and effects I've seen in anime. The directing is superb, better than most action flicks, and the explosions aren't cartoony. The animation is spectacular and it felt almost like a live-action movie at times. The character designs are what prevent a 10. As I was watching the show, the two main leads kinda reminded me of the characters in Free! The designs just don't seem very original and they don't stand out from other anime.
Sound (20%) - 8/10
Not as good as Bebop's soundtrack but still excellent. The OP however, didn't leave much of an impact. Not much else to say, definitely some of Yoko Kanno's best work.
Characters (25%) - 3/10
None of the characters in the show are relatable, making it hard to identify with any of them. Nine and Twelve really aren't interesting as characters; after their backstories were revealed, I felt sorry for them but also found them rather dull. Lisa was even more useless than Sakura from Naruto (if that's possible) and Five wasn't interesting in the least bit. Shibazaki was interesting and he was certainly the most humane character but he doesn't get much screen time or development and he is reduced to nothing but a plot device in the end.
Enjoyment (10%) - 7/10
It may be a bad show but it has great art and sound. If you're only in it for the explosions and to be given infodumps by random people about the oh so interesting plot instead of being given something to think about, then you'll enjoy this. But don't expect a good thriller anime, this show is pretentious and has no message to offer that it doesn't outright tell you.
"Zankyou no Terror" is a terrifying thriller that will resonate with your soul.
I don't know what expectations I had for this anime, but it sure exceeded any thoughts about it swirling around in my mind.
"Zankyou no Terror" is a story about two odd teenage boys, Nine and Twelve. As terrorists, they go by the name of "Sphinx," uploading videos to tell where the next attack will be. The police are powerless to stop these children -- who shouldn't even exist -- from pulling the trigger on this world.
The three main voice actors of this series open the audience to a whole new world of
desperation, solitude, and hope. Ishikawa, Kaito plays the brilliant, but shut off Nine, a genius hacker and brilliant mastermind (also played Harutora [Tokyo Ravens]). Ishikawa takes Nine's sadistic, yet kind and insecure personality and molds a new voice for this character. The voice is deep and silky like velvet, but hides a certain weakness under the dark tones. Likewise, Saito, Soma takes Twelve's character and does his own this with it, bringing the street smart, energetic boy to life (also played Tatsumi [Akame ga Kill!]). It reminds one of a dark and twisted Nagisa (Free!!), but holds more depth than that. The boys' accomplice, Mishima, Lisa, was voiced by Tanezaki, Atsumi who did a wonderful portrayal of a young, lonely girl with deep insecurities (also played Natsume, Asako [Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun]). She has a sweet, timid voice that makes this otherwise unappealing girl quite charming.
This anime was definitely my favorite this season. I'm constantly on the lookout for a good psychological thriller. I was not left down. It all started with the opening song that just screamed 'love me!' And as ordered, I fell in love. Not only did it seem to have a good base for a great storyline, but it was intriguing from just the art alone. This is the first time I had ever seen such detailed, and realistic animation -- the first time characters actually looked Japanese. And it just gets better. The music was truly the best of this season. There is a segment in the anime where Nine has a nightmare, and I say others should take notes, because that is how a nightmare should look and sound. It was a chaotic dream sequence with vague images telling a background story, accompanied by eerie music that further accentuated the dream-like state(lolol - OST). Dreams are chaotic, and most have no one speaking -- there may be mouthing, but no words come out. However, even though you cannot hear the words, you know what the other person is saying. And that is how a nightmare should go. Another part I felt was executed correctly was the pacing. I don't think any pacing was a bit off in this anime the transitions were smooth, Twelve's and Nine's motives were slowly unveiled, and there were no characters introduced last minute. There was only one thing that bothered me: a character named Five. She was severely detrimental to the boys' plans. And maybe this is me hating on the character, but I felt that her existence affected the anime greatly, in a slightly negative way. But it happened, and now that it's over, I am not complaining.
There is a constant message being played throughout "Zankyou no Terror"; Von. It is of Icelandic origin, and most of the OSTs are sung in this language, making them sound like a piece of Björk's. The constant message of 'Von' means 'Hope.' Twelve and Nine are trying to remind themselves --and others -- of hope. I feel that all the subliminal messages in this anime are very deep; enough to make one cry.
Now this anime, like all psychological thrillers, is for the discerning of mind. There are a lot of mental games, and if you enjoy figuring those out and playing along, you will enjoy this anime. For those who like animes with a deeper meaning, this one is also for you. However, if you are the type to like fluffy shoujo stories, I suggest you give this a chance, but you might not like it. All I can say is that this is the first time I've ever truly been satisfied with an anime that only ran for eleven episodes. It was a short ride, but a memorable one.
Story - 9
From the beginning, the base plot was perfectly mapped out with a pretty accurate summary of what the show might be like. As the story continued more characters were introduced -- all with the purpose of helping the storyline. Even having been annoyed by one (Five), she was not detrimental to the plot in the long run.
Art - 10
While it may look rather plain, the artwork is really THE best ALL season. The characters actually look Japanese, not to mention very realistic. So much detail went into the characters from their waving hair to the subtle qualities in their eyes, to each expression and mannerism.
Music - 10
Like the art, the music had to be the best of the season. I don't give many tens for music, but this anime deserved it. First it was the opening that gripped me by the shoulders, invoking the emotions of suspense, yearning, and fear. All the OSTs were beautiful were a melodic tune that captured the thrilling and mysterious essence of the show. And to close it off was the ending; a surreal piece that excited me, but was very bloodthirsty, if not a bit desperate.
Character - 9
The character establishment was perfect. Twelve and Nine are introduced in the most uncanny way, as well as Lisa. Lisa's past and disappointing present are given in the first episode, and clarified upon throughout the series. Then the show moves onto the boys' pasts, taking a slight detour for detective Shibazaki who is working on the 'Sphinx' case. Then Five appears, making me question the show for a bit, but my worries were resolved in a wonderful, if not in a heartbreaking fashion.
Enjoyment - 10
"Zankyou no Terror" started with no place on my 'hype list,' and ended with the top slot. I love this show a lot, and am probably not going to find another like it for a long time. But that's fine. It is finding these gems that make watching anime so worth my while.
Overall - 9.6
Overall, I very much enjoyed this anime with only one moment of doubt (a first for me!). It has all the elements I need in a perfect story; fitting music, subliminal messages, well rounded characters, great art, and an intriguing storyline. I am confident enough to say that this anime deserves only scores above eight, and it is well worth the watch.
Feelings of wanting to destroy society and all of its riches in order to reconstruct to their own ideologies have been the forefront of terrorist actions. Lately, the beginning of the 21st Century has cropped up numerous terrorist acts across the globe. So, what better way of showcasing these horrific acts of violence then to make an anime where the terrorists are the protagonists? With Cowboy Bebop director Shinchiro Watanabe at the helm of production in Terror in Resonance, this was sure to be a fiery sensation like many of his previous works. Yet, in spite of the hype, it turns out to be a
prime example of how not every show with a talented director will be a marvelous project.
Saying this is an abject failure, however, would be stretching it too far. It can be construed as a pretty good thriller in comparison to most recent anime thrillers that have come out. What Watanabe clearly knows what to do in his direction is to create a tone that is impending to the viewer. Whether it's comical like in his earlier works, or serious like in Kids on the Slope and Terror in Resonance. With the latter, we feel an intense, unsettling atmosphere directed by the three protagonists that we're following. Cold and calculated, they know how to create chaos in a just society and we can feel that anguish and thought process quite clearly and with great direction.
Music is one that speaks with radiance and greatness, accomplished once again by the always talented Yoko Kanno. Blending various styles of electronic music composition and dark string instruments, Kanno helps add so much layered atmosphere to the show. This and Watanabe's dark direction create a nice mixer that feels very cohesive to the structure of the environments we see in many scenes throughout Terror in Resonance.
Not often do you see artwork on character designs to look more human than in typical anime. Terror in Resonance's artwork consists of beautifully drawn backgrounds with a nice coat of colors that give a dreary focal point to the setting. Washed out colors that have dark blue overtones are paved, even in scenes where there is daylight. Sometimes, in a small nit pick I'll admit, the darkness can be a little bit too much, to the point where it is difficult to see. Especially in the scenes where we visit the apartment rooms and there is hardly any light and I can barely see the characters in front of the camera's view.
What Terror in Resonance marvels in is technicality. Other than those aspects, Terror in Resonance is lackluster in the aspects of story and character development. For starters, the vast majority of the characters in the show feel very vapid in terms of their characterization and personality. The only exception is Lisa Mishma because of her internal struggles that feel very genuine and relatable in her anxieties and psychological issues. Outside of her character, the two people she brought herself into, named Nine and Twelve, aren't as strong as her. Nine especially is inexcusably dull from what his goals are to begin with, which I'll get to later on, and his overall arc. Twelve is at least a little bit more enthralling because of his charming charisma, but considering how the show wants to be a dark psychological thriller, it feels a little out of place in some areas.
Besides our three main leads, other characters come off as just decent, but nothing more memorable than that. Though I will say, Five is definitely a contender for villain of 2014 because of how they successfully make her into a big considerable threat. The police terrorism division head, Kenjirou Shibazaki, is a nice throwback to old-school crime detectives who are the main driving force in stopping the opposition. Although they aren't the very least bit memorable from the lack of any special identity, other than the fact that they are just there to stop the protagonists' bombings.
Now we get to the story portion of the critique. This can easily be summed in a few main crutches that make it good: Lack of a coherent structure and poor development. All of this can pointed to the backstory of Nine, Twelve, and Five, which feels absolutely uninspired. Yes, it's your typical "kids escape from a facility of a brainwashed government facility and go their separate ways" plot. That isn't to say that it can't ever be done well, but with Terror in Resonance, it was lacking a special pull for me to even be interested in this type of plot again. Uninspired is the perfect word to describe the plot, with Watanabe on board on a project like this, you'd expect something more ambitious than this.
With all that said, was this a great thrill ride despite all that is said about the plot issues? Absolutely. The tension I get whenever the police are trying to find the bombs that Nine and Twelve put out in the city are some of the most intense sequences I've experienced yet. Again, with Watanabe's great direction, the atmosphere definitely helps make this work tremendously. With that and Kanno's extravagant music makes for a perfect amalgamation with all these elements neatly wrapped into a triumph for a suspenseful thriller.
There are some aspects that disappointed me to some regard, considering this is Watanabe's first directed show in nearly five years. That aside, I can still see this as worthwhile to watch. This will most likely be his least popular work, considering how Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo are typically looked at by everyone. But trying to best out his other works would be an impossible feat to take over; probably even for Watanabe himself.
"I started watching this really good anime; it's about terrorists." my cousin told me the one day. I was a bit startled by her statement and didn't expect that I'd like 'Zankyou no Terror' this much! *updated*
STORY (8/10): Knowing that this anime would be about terrorists, I was quite skeptical about what the plot would be like. I figured it would mainly be based on crazy action scenes and undeveloped characters but, boy, was I wrong! It turned out being completely different than I expected, and in a good way. The anime always had me guessing. Rather than pouring all of this overwhelming information onto
you, it reveals things little by little, making the audience think about it and come up with theories about the characters' goals. I was not bored at all and was immediately pulled in from the moment I started watching!
ART (8/10): 'Terror in Resonance' has some astounding art that really caught my eye and was a big factor in keeping my attention. It had a very clean-cut, yet elegant style. I love, love, LOVE the dramatic colors, lighting, and effects that were used, as well. It really helped set the mood for each scene and the show as a whole. From the delicately outlined animation, to the vivid city streets at night, the visuals never ceased to amaze me.
SOUND (10/10): Okay, so when my cousin showed me a small scene from the anime before I started watching it, I was struck by the music right away! I don't know how many times I've told her how much I love the music from this anime. The music is by Yoko Kanno, one of my favorite composers who also did the music in 'Wolf's Rain', 'Cowboy Bebop', and more. The soundtrack includes the help from musicians from different parts of the world, which shows that a lot of work was put into it. All of the different vocals are soft and calm, to match with the instrumentals. The opening is one of my favorites mostly because of the music. Aside from the soundtrack, the voice acting was spectacular. Each of the characters' voices were very mellow and pleasing to the ear. The emotion in their voices were very believable!
CHARACTER (9/10): This is one of the things I was worried about before watching this show. I was afraid that the characters would be underdeveloped and that it would be mostly focused on the action, but each episode seemed to develop the characters very well and made me really care about them. Before starting each episode I was excited to know more about them and see what would happen to them. The fact that they are terrorists made me wonder if I would be on their side, but the way that they were portrayed made me want to know more about them and hope for a happy ending for them. Anyway, the characters are realistic, understandable, and play a big part in the uniqueness of the anime. Most people wouldn't think to view it from their side of the story.
ENJOYMENT (9/10): Because it was so entertaining, creative, and very well put together, I give the enjoyment a 9/10. Some parts were a little confusing before it revealed things, but it was never too much to handle. When a new episode would come out, my cousin and I would be really excited, but also scared, because we didn't know what would happen to the characters. It's an emotional roller coaster, but an enjoyable one!
OVERALL (10/10): 'Zankyou no Terror' is very different from most animes in which it focuses on a point-of-view that most would not think to see. I like it when you can see from a non-cliche perspective that questions views of society. The anime definitely exceeded my expectations and is probably one of the best that I've seen in a while. I enjoyed every minute of it and I loved the characters. It was artistically done by very talented people and a talented director. To me, this anime was a masterpiece. If you like a unique way of story-telling and a mind-capturing plot, then this is a must-see. However, if you are sensitive about things such as bombings and terrorism, you might not want to watch this. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants something new.
Zankyou No Terror has a very intriguing idea which first drove me to watch this. The idea of the main characters being terrorists really appealed to me, as it is something that hasn’t really been touched on at all. I decided then to give this anime a go and for the first 4 episodes I was not disappointed.
The Artwork and Sound are good without being amazing I thought, although the use of English language in this anime is terrible. The opening episodes have us seeing how the terrorists are committing these crimes. They leave riddles to the police to try
and find bombs that they have placed, making the first half of this anime a cat and mouse game. Up to this point I was very happy with this anime and was very interested to see where it would take me, from episode 4 new characters are introduced and there is a plot twist that certainly dimmed my enjoyment.
The plot twist turns the characters around and the anime drops its terrorism theme until the last episode, which disappointed me greatly. A female (or actually two) character is introduced and focused on heavily in the last half of the anime, these bring in romantic elements. I really didn’t like the switch since I hadn’t seen enough development of the characters for me to believe in the second half of the story. The character development is really bad in this anime, the pacing is bad too. I didn’t like the depth of the characters either, the main female probably had the most of this but her character was really bland for me. The main reason why I couldn’t accept the last half was due to the fact that I couldn’t empathise with the characters because things were moving too fast and not being explained enough. I got why the characters were doing what they were doing, but these were shown in small flashbacks and never expanded on, I got it but I wasn’t convinced.
Story: 5/10- pacing is bad and character development is minimal. Plot twists are uninspiring
Art: 7/10- Nothing bad, Nothing amazing
Sound: 6/10- horrible use of English language loses the points here(why do they never get a Seiyuu that can actually speak English?)
Character : 5/10- Main characters are interesting but have no depth.
Enjoyment: 5/10- First half is great. Second half is very disappointing.
I decided to give this a 5/10 because it has a good premise and is a solid anime, but I was disappointed since I thought it could have been a lot better with an interesting theme. If you are watching this for the terrorism theme then I’d say you will be disappointed, however, if you’re looking to fill your time with something this could satisfy you.
I walked into Zankyou No Terror (or Terror In Resonance) with no expectations. But man am i wrong. The anime is something unique, something that's different from the generic moe, shounen show you get every season, and will get you hooked up into the anime right from the first episode.
As i said earlier, this is not your generic moe, shounen shows. The plot is something original, the pacing is steady. It will keep you on the edge of your seat every episode. The ending wraps up the show perfectly and will leave you hanging for a while.
The character design is simple but not
ugly, although i wish there were more details. But the animation is buttery smooth, backgrounds have a realistic feel to them, making you more immersed in the anime. The quality is also consistent.
While a lot of people like the OP of this anime, i don't. My tastes in music is pretty different from other people. But the ED is good. Background music is spectacular and adds tension in serious situations, and makes you feel sad in some.
The characters of ZnK is good. Exepct from Lisa, which is your generic "damsel in distress", We got Nine and Twelve, a team of two person with interesting personality and mysterious motives. Five is also introduced later in the series, and her personality is interesting and likeable. But the star of the show is Shibazaki, a cop, who gets a lot of character development throughout the series.
ZnK always keeps me at the edge of my seat every episode, and keep me waiting for the next. Watching it is like watching a movie splitted into 11 parts. I almost cried in the final episode.
If you're looking for an anime that's unique and different, or has good plot, animation. watch Zankyou no Terror. It's totally worth your time.