I’ve been getting tons of requests for my Zankyou no Terror First Impressions and there’s quite a bit of hype around Zankyou right now because it’s directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, the same amazing filmmaker behind notable series like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo.
Zankyou no Terror takes place in present day Tokyo that is being attacked by a group of terrorists who go by the name, “Sphinx.” What’s interesting about Sphinx is that the members – Nine and Twelve are only high school boys. They start off as the interesting mysterious characters and our story is generally told from Lisa Mishima’s perspective. Lisa is actually classmates with Nine and Twelve. She’s a pretty shy and uncertain character who deals with bullying from other girls in the class quite a bit. When she ends up caught in the midst of Sphinx’s explosive jobs, they save her and give her two options – 1) To Join them as an accomplice or 2) To die… naturally in this case, she chooses the one that will save her life.
Zankyou no Terrror is a very high production, well-done series. From music, to animation to cinematography. It has that sort of professional subtle storytelling style that moves at a grand cinematic pace rather than a single season episode by episode pace. What’s really striking about each episode is that it generally progresses in a mundane but purposeful until the end where Sphinx strikes some government building or civil office. It’s a huge contrast from quiet and serious investigation to utter chaos. Nine and Twelve definitely have some sort of back story. Though Nine is pretty serious and somber most of the time. Twelve kind of creeps me out because he handles most things with a lighthearted and childish demeanour, even as people are being blown up within the buildings. The big WHY behind Sphinx’s motives is a huge driving aspect in the plot. I particularly like the myth-references they mention with Sphinx with Oedipus and the riddle in episode 2.
I don’t usually go for anime with such dark plots. The gravity of the story is perpetuated by the gritty and sharp animation style. The colour palettes range from toned down monochromatic schemes to superbly vibrant gradients depending on what mood the story is trying to set. Even when the story is told from Lisa’s perspective and is intended to be a breather between the police-terrorist conflict, the story never allows you to settle into a comfortable place and there’s a sort of tension that lingers in the air throughout the episode because you just KNOW they’re building up to something big.
You probably won’t think much of Zankyou no Terror if you’re usually into shoujo, bright high school or whimsical fantasy types of anime. However if you’re taste leans towards the mature end of the spectrum or you’re looking to change up your to-watch list with something more suspenseful, Zankyou no Terror should be number one on that list. I’m curious to see what large themes will emerge from the characters and I hope it delves deeper into the psychology of terror or fear as the story progresses. It would suck if the series was only a suspense-action anime but judging by what I’ve seen so far, I have high hopes for Zankyou no Terror.
What are you pondering today?