Here it is, Shinichirō Watanabe’s newest creation: Zankyou no Terror (AKA Terror in Resonance). Set in an alternate universe of Japan, teenaged terrorists Nine and Twelve have ambitions to terrorize Japan and wake up the world with their destruction. On the other side of the fight is Kenjirō Shibazaki of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, who is ordinarily a records keeper, but is thrust onto the case as the only one in the department who seems capable of solving Nine and Twelve’s riddles. And in the middle of all of this is Lisa Mishima, a troubled girl from a broken home with no real idea of what to do. She aims to join Nine and Twelve’s terrorist group Sphinx, but is this really the best option for her to choose?
This is Watanabe’s most thrilling (literal and figurative) series to date, and it’s mysteries only get more and more deep as the series goes on. Planned for a 12-episode cour, we’re over halfway to the finale with very little answers still, but I trust Watanabe and studio MAPPA (Kids on the Slope, Space Brothers) to bring it to a satisfying conclusion. Ordinarily thrillers and mysteries aren’t my thing, but after seeing the initial previews and learning of Shinichirō Watanabe’s (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and pretty much everything else you love from the last 10 years) heavy involvement, I was there from the start. Is it a perfect series from the get-go? No, it’s raised more queries with very few answers so far, but as we enter the final stretch, there’s plenty of time for the answers to come.
We’ve already gotten heavy implications to Nine and Twelve’s relation to Five, an American FBI agent sent to help control Sphinx’s actions. It’s clear they’re a bit abnormal and they’re childhoods are corrupted and leading cause to how they are, but what is it exactly that’s put them on this path to cleansing and destruction? In addition to all of that, what of Kenjirō’s past, why is he a record keeper when he was a seemingly high-ranking investigator? What of Lisa’s fate? A lot are expecting Lisa to be a martyr for Sphinx and allow Twelve and Nine to survive, and I could see that as plausible; she’s trying to find a purpose and is seemingly okay with the world going to hell. I know that sounds like a lot of weaving threads Zankyou no Terror has, and could be a bit overwhelming, but Watanabe and crew have capably maintained the plot with brilliant directing and focus. Nearly episode wraps with a satisfying conclusion, or heavy lead in to the next, leaving you begging for more.
Zankyou no Terror is a show that requires your patience and undivided attention, and may require a few extra minutes to view scenes over again to fully grasp it all. It can move somewhat frantically when the pieces fall together, but it’s never overwhelming. I personally found myself re-viewing a bevy of scenes due to missing a bit of information. Luckily it wasn’t anything too glaring I missed, but it helps in the end. I also found myself re-watching several scenes to take in the astounding soundtrack from the impeccably transcendent Yoko Kanno. Watanabe and Kanno have been nearly inseparable, and Zankyou no Terror’s OST may be one of the strongest she’s done in the last five years. Full of Icelandic and even a few American inspirations, terrorism with a soundtrack has never been so stylish. Just take this scene for example:
Ooh, it gives me chills every time; the animation, the direction, the music, Lisa asking about the world’s destruction and laughing as she takes it all in. There’s so much happening here that it would be impossible to talk about it here, but trust me, in-or-out of context, that moment is astounding. Zankyou no Terror is headed on its way to either an explosively strong or disastrous ending, but with everything it has behind it right now, I welcome whatever it has in store. Much like a Gen Urobichi work, Zankyou no Terror brings a nihilistic view to the world: Sphinx are bad guys, they’re terrorizing and destroying millions of people, but you root for them, why? Why are you booing the police and FBI investigators who are there to stop them? Why are we connecting better to the criminals and terrorists rather than the police and FBI? Sphinx are responsible for putting a town on constant watch with riddles and wanting to play games, and for what; why should we be cheering them? That’s why this show is important, and why you should have started watching it already. The divisions are there, which side will you choose?
Funimation has streaming rights to Zankyou no Terror and you catch new episodes every Thursday. The summer season has been full of a ton of anime worthy of your time, so be sure to check back with Geekenstein as I have a lot more in store for you!