Hey guys how are you all? Today I am finally reviewing the ever-popular and ever-so intriguing summer anime – Zankyou no Terror. The reason that I decided to wait till the series finished before approaching it critically was because I wanted to look at the series thematically as a whole rather than nitpick on pacing and storytelling in each episode. This review is going to be two parts and the actual writing will be divided into sections for organisational purposes
Part 1 will include Storytelling, Animation and Character Analyses
Part 2 will include Thoughts on the Ending, Themes to Explore and Conclusion
BEWARE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW!!!!!!
Zankyou no Terror follows two mysterious teenagers who call themselves Nine and Twelve (together, named Sphinx) who are the masterminds behind recent terrorist attacks in Tokyo. That’s basically the gist of the premise in one line but the story unfolds from a number of perspectives; from the police and its attempts to stop Sphinx, to Five’s meddling, the masses panicking, and even the simple-minded simple-sided perspective of one girl who someone gets caught up in this chaos.
Series Rating: 4.20/5 fairly satisfied clouds
Storytelling and Approaching the Show
Zankyou no Terror is not a story for everyone. Fans of fast paced, high-action series might want to veer away from the series. I wouldn’t say the pace in the series is slow. Rather, it’s very controlled. The pacing is overwhelmingly fluid to the point where you almost space out of the everyday scenes at times. There’s no question to Shinichiro Watanabe-san’s skills when it comes to handling the technicalities behind the scenes. The pacing is set in such a way that provides you with a definite amount of time to process a specific set of events that happen to fluctuate the plot before it moves on to build more. Looking at it from the surface, Zankyou no Terror seems immensely straightforward in its plot events. And it generally is.
Instead of looking at the series from a very grounded and empirical point of view when critiquing the show, I think it’s wiser and more effective to approach the show as if it was a poem or a painting. The show is realistic, and yet… it’s not. Can you imagine two teenagers stealing into a high-tech security facility and actually, totally utterly baffling the government? Can you imagine such strange and unlikely circumstances of Nine and Twelve’s back stories as well taking place in real life? In retrospect though, I really enjoyed the series because it created the circumstances from which we can explore aspects of human nature through themes such as survival, redemption and remembrance.
The world of Zankyou no Terror is by no means a happy one. It’s created to almost emanate the harshest realities of our world. You see this reflected in the animation style. The colours are realistic and the lighting is vivid, but casts harsh shadows and undertones to the point where it lapses into monochromatic shades.
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” – Rose Kennedy
When you look at the ending where everything comes full circle, I get the sense that there is a real conflict that Nine and Twelve (more so for Nine) has with the past. There is a huge chasm between childhood and adulthood for Nine and Twelve. When they were kids, they had to undergo the hardships of the Athena Project. When they escaped, they were forced to grow up to fend for themselves and survive. Largely why Sphinx does what it does is because their goal was for what happened to them, never to happen again. As a result of this underlying goal, everything about the atmosphere of Sphinx exudes a relentless sense of urgency underlying the stillness of the story’s most mundane scenes.
The significant differences between Nine and Twelve make you wonder how they ever turned out as partners, let alone “friends” in the first place. I think Nine was so utterly focused on Sphinx’s plan because he somehow believed that upon achieving this missing, he’d be relieved of his emotional burdens and regrets. When we are introduced to Twelve initially, he almost seems torn between sticking with Nine for old times’ sake versus shelving the past behind him and moving forward. He ends up finding solace and redemption through his bond with Lisa. I call it a bond rather than a real relationship because there is little to almost no romance between the two. Rather, there is a sense of kinship between the characters – two people who want to escape the harshness of everyday life and run away.
This brings me to my FAVOURITE moment in the show – in episode four when Twelve finds Lisa and takes her on his motorcycle. Those moments were just so cathartic and carefree for the two. In this respect with the characters, Watanabe did a great job of juxtaposing the sort of unsettled discomfort of the everyday storytelling with the very beautiful scenes of the show. This reaches the highest point of contrast in the final episode where you have a lighthearted childhood scenes of Nine and Twelve inserted between two large beginning and end parts that offers the characters’ their last moments of lost childhood before Watanabe appears at sundown to arrest them.
What are you pondering today?