Joined: Oct 2019
Ok, so I know I'm joining the conversation late, and I'm aware I'm in the minority, but I just finished watching this anime and dammit, I need to rant.
Long story short, I went from loving this anime to hating it. (I'd say from the moment the "villain" was introduced)
Oh and spoilers I guess.
So it started out as a really great thriller, with intriguing main characters who seemed to have a clear plan in mind which promised to have intricate and fascinating reasons behind it, and a good antagonist in the detective, who had his own backstory and reasons for going up against them. No real villains, no real heroes, grounded in reality, adult and subtle themes, it seemed to have everything.
I was even willing to forgive the token female character, who didn't add anything to the story, because hey, I'm used to that type of trope in anime.
But after the first few episodes focused on the two leads' plan and the detective's efforts to catch them, the story suddenly takes a sharp turn. We get introduced to a plank of wood with excessive makeup who's supposed to be intimidating because she randomly acts like a psychopath, and my instant question was "What anime is she from? Because she definitely doesn't belong in this story".
But turns out, the story does a complete 180 and suddenly becomes about far-fetched human experimentations and genius kids (goodbye, grounded reality), a dumb romance subplot, and an even dumber "genius face-off" storyline that we've seen done better in a ton of other anime. The detective goes from leading the investigation to becoming an exposition plot device, we get a few throwaway exposition scenes to explain that all the two leads really wanted was revenge for what was done to them, then the ending pretty much makes all their previous actions completely useless (I mean, if all they wanted was attention, they would have gotten it with that atom bomb, all the other ones weren't necessary). Then they get killed off without any build-up or payoff, just because in "serious anime", the main characters have to die. Cross that off the checklist.
Oh, and did I mention the sexism? Only two female characters: One is completely helpless, with barely any personality or agency, constantly gets in the way of the people she's trying to help, and ends being nothing but a plot device to add some artificial conflict in the leads' friendship. The other doesn't have any more personality, unless cliché psychopath female tropes like evil smiles and evil laughs count, has no motive or purpose in the story other than to be a villain for the good guys to defeat, but of course, in the end, her only reason for living at all is the one guy in her life.
In that sense, this anime reminded me of Death Note, where the sexism was even worse, but at least they knew to focus on the investigation the whole way. Zankyou no Terror somehow thought that "token psychopath girl" would be gripping enough.
I think the reason I'm so angry with this series is that I really thought I was in for a great show. If it hadn't started out so strong, I wouldn't have minded as much. It's the missed opportunity that really got to me, they could have had a masterpiece if they had kept going like those first few episodes. Disappointment hurts, I guess.
...whew, rant over. Um, sorry?
Joined: Apr 2013
Yeah, Five was the game-changer, but not really a good one. She was foreshadowed, at the very least (not all that well, but eh), but there should've been more to explain her own motives, because she didn't really have one outside of "I was abandoned", I guess. What were the headaches, again? Was it a psychic connection, or the side-effect of their experimentation? Twelve didn't suffer from them, only Nine and Five did.
Now Twelve I think was being built up to being someone else, I suppose? Like he had a more sinister motive of his own, but they didn't go anywhere with that. Lisa I think had something going for her in terms of her family drama, but Nine was right in that she was just in the way, and Five was right in telling her she was stupid for going along with them. The relationship between her and Twelve was too soon, yeah, there needed to be more time for it.
I will say that the anime at least has balls. Like it went places you don't really expect to see in anime, not back then, not even nowadays. The terrorism angle and the end-game was interesting and that's why it makes you want to keep going, but 11 episodes was a death sentence for an anime of this caliber. If the episodes were longer (like they were exactly 45 minutes like 24, which I'm thinking is the inspiration for this show? Reminded me a lot of it), maybe it could've worked. But...
I'm glad I was finally able to get around to watching it, but I guess I waited five years too long. I probably would've enjoyed it better, or at least so I could've engaged in the discussion, and let the episodes sink in every week instead of just watching multiple episodes at a time. Which I think is what it was meant to be for, like it was meant to be a show you'd watch in one sitting instead of waiting for a week. Because when you sit on it and think about it for too long, it collapses in on itself like a tower. Even while waiting for a week, you psyche yourself up for these supposed "what if"s that end up not happening, so you get disappointed that you didn't "get it".
It's sad, really. Least it made for a good piece of entertainment for a few hours with good music, some people are just okay with watching some good mind games action.