Thoughts on the Endings
I didn’t want to think about it but the deaths were definitely coming. Someone had to die in this series. Terrorists don’t just walk off scot-free into prison. Nine’s character doesn’t change much throughout the series, he’s always driven, intensely driven and doesn’t really breakdown until he witnesses’ Twelve’s death. I quite enjoyed Twelve’s character story a lot more than Nine’s because even after everything he’d found with Lisa, his actions still led him to a grim death which brings a quote by Sophocles to mind, “Oblivious – what a blessing… for the mind to dwell a world away from pain.” (Oedipus Rex) Perhaps we can say that Nine’s “disappearance” is figuratively crueler than Twelve’s death…
Only really in Twelve’s death and Nine’s disappearance that they can be released from their burdens. Lisa, on the other hand, does a great job of balancing out the characters. She is everything Sphinx is not. She’s grown up in the city. She’s really just a regular girl and even after the impact that Sphinx has made on her life, she still strives to move forward.
“When the remembering was done, the forgetting could begin.” – Sara Zarr
It’s hard to determine what the ending is trying to say. Though Sphinx did succeed in their goal to reveal the experimental facilities to the public, news that will be remembered as a political scandal in the history of city, they will never be truly remembered for their individual person, but as mastermind vigilantes or merely terrorists. It’s hard to even wrap your head around the fact that it was two high-school teenagers that made it happen. When the bomb blows up over the city and causes an electromagnetic wave that wipes out all electronics, is it Sphinx that society will remember after the ordeal, or the fact that “some random terrorist” activity blew out all the electrical systems of the city. Society will only see Sphinx for how the media portray them. It almost sucks that they really just disappear at the end of the series. The public will ever know how Nine sprinted around the airport trying to stop Five’s bomb attempt, or how Twelve attempted to disable the bombs on Lisa in an attempt to save her. Sphinx won many battles but arguably not the war. While I could sympathized with their attempts, the writer keeps the audience clearly detached from the actions and sentiments of these anti-heroic characters. This distance leads us to almost pity their tragic fates.
At the end of the day though, when all the hardships, the destruction, the burdens and regrets are gone – what you find at the bottom of all that, is hope. We see terror in many forms in this show. We also see a lot of hesitation as well as rashness. As a result of this chaos, physical conflict, and the characters’ emotional struggles, Watanabe leaves the themes of the series open to your interpretations. But even if you didn’t gleam particularly insightful ideas from the series, this is most likely the ending scene with the feathers and the dialogue that have literally spelled it out for you – at the end of the day, when the storm has passed – hope is the thing that drives people forward.
Every anime comes with its strengths and weaknesses, moments that hit home, and scenes that just didn’t do it. I rather like the ambiguous parts of the storytelling in Zankyou no Terror because it keeps you wondering and contemplating. Whether you enjoyed or became confused by the storytelling is really up to you as a viewer but cinematically, the animation was just brilliant. Like I said, this anime is not for everyone and there are definitely many anime fans who felt Zankyou no Terror lacked the guidance and focused direction of other more popular anime series. There are many ways to approach the story and its characters because they’re NOT obvious. Personally, I didn’t need things to be obviously spelled out for me to empathize with the emotions that the scenes were trying to evoke.
Overall, with all the hype from this show, it’s hard not to recommend it out just because it was created by such a seasoned-veteran in the industry. I wouldn’t give it such a definitive label as to say it’s the “Anime of the Year” but this series is a rare gem that doesn’t follow the usual trends of season anime series that aim for action-heavy or comedy-focused. The soundtrack has really unique sounds and melodies. I can’t quite describe it because it’s so multifaceted palette to match the symbolism and sentiments of the story. If you consider yourself extremely open-minded and you’re looking for an interesting show to stimulate your mind, gives this anime a go.
One Last Thing (related but didn’t exactly fit into the schemes of my critique)
I just want to point out that initially I really loved the storytelling’s allusions to the Greek Tragedy, Oedipus Rex but other than the reference to the riddles in the first third of the series, I felt that parallels fell short beyond Shibazaki (who Nine deems is Oedipus), saved the city after solving the riddles.
Anyways, If you made it to the end of the review, thank you very much for reading. I don’t write full series reviews very often but usually when I do I like to break it down like so especially when the series has so much to discuss. Feel free to comment on what you thought of the series, the character, the ending or just any thoughts you had. You can also tweet me @CuriousCloudy. If you’re looking for more from me, check out my Youtube Channel or all my social media feeds. Thank you again for dropping into my blog =)
What are you pondering today?