Anime Title: Terror in Resonance 残響のテロル “Zankyou no Terror”
Production Studio: Studio MAPPA
Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Composer: Yoko Kanno
Air Date: Summer 2014
Episode Count: 11 + English Dub
Genres: Drama, Psychological, Thriller
Hope is the one thing that can be a motivating factor for any character or story; the story of ZnT is no exception to this statement. Zankyou no Terror is a story of terrorism and may help explain the thoughts and emotions that inspire the acts that are committed.
The story of Zankyou no Terror revolves around two teenage terrorists (who go by the name of “Sphinx”) who happen have a dark/grim past and over time the viewer slowly learns about who these people are and what they strive to accomplish throughout these acts of terror. Throughout the series Sphinx likes to play a game of cat and mouse with the Police Department in the form of riddles as to where their next target is. These riddles are usually attached Norse Mythology all while being broadcasted for the entire city of Tokyo to see in the form of an youtube video. This trend of riddles continue all the way up until episode 5, in which the introduction of a new character throws a wrench in Sphinx’s plan and causes them to slowly turn from antagonists to protagonists.
As I explained up above there are two characters who go by the name of “Sphinx”, the real names of these two characters are “9” and “12”. I will not be describing their past nor will I explain as to why they have numbers as their names.
“9” is a boy who is somewhere between the ages of seventeen and eighteen, he is the mastermind behind Sphinx. 9 is the man who plots the attacks and is also the one who is research to give clues to the police department as to where their next target will be. The personality of 9 is that he tends to be cool, calm, collected, and is extremely intelligent not only in his knowledge in mythology but also in his skills of computer hacking. He also suffers from PTSD.
“12” is also boy who is between the ages of seventeen and eighteen, he is not the kind of character who is afraid of getting his hands dirty. He is fully willing to plant the explosives to wherever they need to go. The personality that 12 has is one that talkative, is a jokester, he loves to mess around with other people’s business, and he does all of this while also being highly intelligent as well. 12 also is deeply in love with their accomplice Lisa.
Lisa Mishima is a sixteen year old girl who at first was just a clumsy and shy high school student at the beginning of the anime. Over time you soon learn how she was bullied at school & how she grew up in an extremely over-protective household. Nearing the end of the first episode Lisa’s world was about to be turned upside-down, and this is because Lisa was given a choice: either die or become Sphinx’s accomplice. Realistically she chose the second option. Lisa soon became 12’s love interest, she’s a terrible cook, and she is willing to do anything Sphinx tells her even if she is afraid. But one problem some people have with her is the fact that she really does not serve a vital role in this anime.
Kenjirou Shibazaki is a fifty-one year old man who is a highly skilled and intelligent detective. He is seen as a lazy and aloof, and lacks the motivation to work… until he is asked to be a part of the Sphinx case, this is when he is willing to pull out all the stops and decode all of Sphinx’s riddles even if he is too late. Later on in the show he is seen to be used as a plot device in a way for the viewer to learn more about Sphinx’s past, and this is another major problem why some people may have about this show because he really does not change the direction of where the plot is heading.
“5” is an girl who does not have an age listed but can be assumed to be seventeen or eighteen due to how she and the members of Sphinx share a similar past to one another. She is an employed government operative who works for United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation and is also highly intelligent but her methods in how to toy around with Sphinx is nothing short of evil. She has no remorse for human life and is even willing to use people as pawns for her giant game of chess. Most people who I have personally talked to blames “5” as one of the major reasons as to why people dislike ZnT. “5” fails as being a good antagonist of the series because she doesn’t give any reason as to why she is attacking Sphinx in the explosive manner that she does, the best way how to word my problems with this character is how she is evil just for the sake of being evil.
The opening theme to Zankyou no Terror (“Trigger” by Galileo Galilei) is one that starts up on a fast yet calming note. As the song progresses it gets faster and faster and quickly begins spiraling out of control and later turns into chaos. The tone of the song is calms yet extremely details, this gives off an impression that Sphinx knows exactly what they are doing and how to get away with their actions in a calm and precise yet highly thought out manner.
As for the ending theme to Zankyou no Terror (“Dareka Umiwo” by Aimer) is all about Lisa over time has lost sight of where her life is heading, it is filled with suffering, being over-protected, and just her losing the will to live. The song starts off calm in the beginning but just like the opening theme, it progresses over time and becomes alarmingly fast, this is when the the internal struggle of Lisa is most prominent. In the animation of the song there is a black crows that is staring down at Lisa but later on flies away, in my opinion this black crow represents the people who used to bully her. The crow is always watching Lisa’s every move and is always beating her up but once the crow flies away so do the bullies themselves, Lisa is no longer bullied but at that point it is too late. But near the end of the theme, Lisa reaches her hand out in a sense of last resort and luckily a hand comes down and frees her of her suffering. This hand I would assume is represented to be 12, freeing her from the past life that she had.
Finally for the soundtrack, it is used to portray a multitude of emotions. Whether it be to portray a sense of terror (as represented by the track named “Fa”), panic (“saga”), or to give off a sense of relaxation and sincerity (“walt”). The choice of music is nothing short of awe-inspiring, breathtaking, and brilliant. This soundtrack is used in a way that leaves a certain type of atmosphere on the viewer to cause them to be deeply invested into the show. Also the soundtrack has a wide array of insert songs, all of which are absolutely brilliant. If you were to ask me what my personal favorite track from the show was, I would have to respond by saying “birden” or “is”.
Zankyou no Terror debatably has one of the best soundtracks in the year 2014, the only other OST in my opinion that comes close to being as good as ZnT’s would have to be Shigatsu.
All I have to say about Zankyou no Terror’s artstyle is how ingenious it is, to be heavily focused around the color grey, black, and white. It leaves an impact of the harsh and grim reality that the show is trying to portray. The use of lighting in the show is on point. And the animation at time might be short cutted by CGI instead, most prominent in heavy machinery (planes, cars, and fighter jets) and a select few of scenes when there is a mass of people in one single frame.
But there are two scenes in this anime that are so beautifully animated & directed that I would personally place in my all time favorite scenes in anime. And that included the motorcycle scene and the ferris wheel scene.
I first watched this anime back when it was first airing in June 2014, and I personally consider this show to by my first seasonal anime. So basically this show has some major sentimental value to me. I remember loving the show back when I first saw it, but I do remember having a problem remembering who Lisa was & hating 5’s personality. The engrish in the series is a major problem but was fixed once the dub came out. If you haven’t pieced things together yet, I just rewatched this series in English dub and my thoughts on the dub is that it was really well made. I feel as if I enjoy Lisa & 5’s English voice actors more than the Japanese, so in return I started to enjoy the characters more. However I feel as if the Japanese voice actors for 9, 12, and Shibazaki work a lot better for the characters instead of the English VA’s. None-the-less, I enjoyed rewatching this show just as much as I enjoyed watching it for the first time. I understand that most people have a lot of problems with this show, but some of those problems were ultimately fixed in the English dub. This is a side comment, but as for those who are wondering what the entire point to 9 & 12’s plan is because they just want to be remembered before it’s too late for them. All they wanted to do was to tell the world about what their torturous past was like.
I am officially awarding this series with the rating of 8/10 and an enjoyability rating of 9/10.
Stay tuned next week when I review Wolf Children.