Category Archives: Zankyou no Terror

Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] [97/100]

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Bless by Arnor Dan is one of the best insert songs I’ve heard all year and such incredible direction!  This was without a doubt one of the best series to air this entire summer season, and I stand by what I’ve said previously– Zankyou no Terror is the best work that Shinichiro Watanabe has ever done.  Now, only time will tell if this still rings true as we’ve still got the final episode of Space Dandy [Watanabe’s other work] to air.  I also stick by what I’ve said about the music production of this show: This is Yoko Kanno’s most compelling soundtrack of her entire career!

 

As stunning as the visuals and the score have been, for Zankyou it isn’t much about what’s being shown on screen rather than what is the underlining meaning behind it all.  As I have said many times before, Zankyou is a show that leaves nothing behind, it does its research [thermite reactions, dismantling a bomb, to the scenes of the bombings].  VON means ‘hope’ in Icelandic and from what I’ve gathered here, is that Sphinx didn’t want to harm anyone.  All they wanted was to be noticed after being neglected and tossed aside in a misguided attempt to improve the structure of the country.  Sphinx’s goal– the collapse of current-day Japan, a society that loosened up after World War II, separating itself from being a strong nation into one that could revitalize itself by starting over–a step, although a primitive one, so to speak, was an attempt at justice or perhaps, revenge.

 

Nevertheless, it took a year to regain what Sphinx had done, and it is their cause that gave the youth of Japan a voice.  Miyami and Aoki wanted to dismiss Shibazaki’s investigation into the Athena Plan, so when Miyami questioned Shibazaki about whether or not he would go to the authorities, it was a two-sided endeavor.  One that wasn’t meant just for the adults in this show but for the kids as well.  Quoting Miyami here further establishes this:

“…no more than a small voice in the midst of a storm. That voice will disappear before it reaches anyone.”

Mukasa also clearly pointed out a crucial piece to understanding Sphinx a bit further very early on.  If I recall it was around Episode 3 where he says,

“Anyway, don’t you think Sphinx is lonely, too? They probably just want attention. They’re kids aren’t they?”

Kids that were stripped of their childhood, as well as the very will to live.  We see this theme strongly hinted at with Five’s personality.  Hellbent on tracking Nine down, to beat him at his own game, and this episode, illustrated very well the impact she made on the FBI.  They didn’t want these kids doing whatever they wanted and pulling a trigger on a bomb anytime, anywhere.

However, this is one of the issues I have with this series.  Five is a very clichéd villain in that she’s got a temper that feels completely out of place for the FBI, and when she goes overboard at the airport putting a bomb on a plane, why wouldn’t the FBI just stop her?  Why did Clarence even go along with her plan to capture Nine?  There were so many inconsistencies with the FBI and her character that it felt rather forced just to push this story quickly ahead.  If Five had to be in this at all, she should have been eliminated after her decision on the airport situation.

We saw throughout this show, that young people were utilizing technology so prevalently that they (just as the children from the Settlement) had forgotten how to interact with each other, whether forced by higher-ups or societal change.  I do want to point out that Mukasa playing his video games largely indicated this.  I was surprised to find that this was the real meaning behind Sphinx’s actions– a vital theme to the very end.  To renew Japan to a time that would not allow for such atrocities to occur were in the words of Shibazaki:

“A long time ago, when I was young, there were teenagers who threw rocks at the riot police and fought against the government. Even though Sphinx are called terrorists now, in a different time… they might’ve been called something else.”

Looking back, the English title Terror in Resonance isn’t even about the explosions Sphinx set off throughout Japan but in how everyone in this series had a role that would be detrimental to the progression of the story.  Shibazaki a washed out detective who is at the tip of a government conspiracy would only unravel into injustice in order to release himself from his past [Shunzo Miyami’s death].  Kurahashi maintaining his position as chief of the Japanese police all the while staying on the good side of the FBI, the wrecked home and school life of Lisa accurately depicts her gradual transition throughout this anime between depressed teenager to a young woman searching for a subtle and sweet acceptance from terrorists [Nine and Twelve].

Even the FBI tries to stand firm in taking over for the Japanese police in recovering the atomic bomb, while for a while there it worked but Five ultimately shook this up quite a bit.  They didn’t want to make it known that they had been a large part of Japan’s underhanded plan to whisk children away in order to not just improve the country but the possibility of enhancing the populace worldwide.  Considering how this plan had backfired the mass media couldn’t know about their involvement thus resulting in the astounding repercussions at the Settlement with Nine and Twelve in the final episode.

In short Zankyou no Terror is a stunningly beautiful piece of art in the anime industry:  A heart-felt nihilistic journey towards retribution that is just a slight take on the modern-day issues of terrorism and corruption.

 

OVERALL IMPRESSION: [97/100]

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Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] Episode 11 [END]

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Where do I even begin with writing this​, let alone my final impression?  I had to re-watch this episode ​several times to get a handle on how I felt about it.  I will ​let this out of the bag right now​; this was an exceptionally beautiful episode.  Zankyou no Terror has been a most ​p​assionate piece,​ ​at every scene, and now that we’re at the end of it all​, if I​ could sum it up in one phrase it would be that:

“This was the most visually stunning and realistic ending we could have had.”

Nine and Twelv​e ​​(​since the very beginning​) ​were on an unclear mission with strict​, self-imposed​ rules they chose to follow. ​No casualties was their modus operandi​, ​​they were intent to ​ensure not to attract attention to themselves if at all possible at least in the beginning.  The pair began their journey only they knew where it would end​.  It’s here, where every riddle and bomb (including the final act by Sphinx) evolves society as a whole.  Every bombing had to be solved [thanks to Shibazaki’s intuition] and it isn’t until Episode 3 that we (as the viewer) take note of this so early on.

Was this the right move on Director Watanabe’s part?  Although they could have gone different ways here, the biggest change would have been to turn this into an Urobuchi-scripted series wherein people die, left and right, as Aldnoah.Zero is doing with the mecha genre, but that wasn’t the writer’s intention here.

Watanabe and his team (especially with this final episode) chose to captivate its audience with a variety of emotions.  The story was very sad in that the aftermath of what Nine set out to do with the atomic bomb resulted in so many casualties. However, the end result of Sphinx was that they just wanted attention for being cast aside by the very country that took them in.  That shot of Nine riding the elevator up to the top of the tower depicted a breathtaking realization for his character in that there really was no turning back for either of them.

Just as Five wanted Nine to live out his life for her, Nine wanted Lisa from the very beginning to remember Sphinx by living–as did Twelve.  Powerful stuff right here!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] Episode 10

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Lisa Mashima has been the wild card of the entire series one that has kept this plot moving forward in quite a huge way.  Because of her, Nine gave her the decision of being an accomplice or dying, Twelve rescuing her from the police, she threw a wrench in Five’s plans at the airport, the apartment exploding resulted in Nine and Twelve starting out fresh, and here she’s gradually developed an emotional connection between herself and Twelve.  It’s even more than that!  These artificially savant syndrome teenagers don’t carry the weight of emotions, and with a normal person apart of Sphinx it was only a matter of time before they start having second thoughts about it all.  Twelve never would have gone back to help Nine out here if not for Lisa– the park scene illustrated this point greatly!  It will be intriguing to see how big of a connection Nine and Twelve will have emotionally by the end of the final episode next week.

The car chase scene with the decoy vehicle had such fluid animation!  Wow!  As the finale arrives next week it’s only normal for a 1-cour series of this caliber to start killing off its characters, fleshing out personal agendas and setup a cliffhanger that has surpassed all the previous episodes– the atomic bomb.  It really is a shame that this series cannot be longer as I would have loved to have seen a lot more cat and mouse games against Shibazaki and Sphinx’s riddles.

Zankyou no Terror remains to be an intense anime series, and the cinematography is probably the best of the year so far but I do have some qualms about this episode here.

As solid as this episode was with its political scandal, top-secret Athena Project and American government’s involvement this did have a few pacing issues.  How did Twelve and Lisa get off of the ferris wheel without get apprehended by Five’s men?  I would have thought after receiving the location of the bomb, Five would have at least left some men behind just for the instance that Twelve would have something up his sleeve.  You would think someone as smart as her would have left them there as a card she could use later on, but since this show is ending next week I can understand why the writers have chosen to develop it this way– a bit disjointed.

Nine turning himself in just gives deeper meaning to how much planning has been put into this series, but I cannot help but think that this bomb might not go off at all–  perhaps, that was his intention. Two outcomes could have happened here, one situation where if the conference were to happen than it would mean a collapse of the Japanese government and public outcry for the missing 26 children.  The second option the writers could have chosen here was to really very much set this bomb off killing everyone– wonder if an official or even Sphinx themselves will make it in time to evacuate all the citizens out of Tokyo before the bomb blast goes off.  So many different things can happen here with a cliffhanger like that!  The part that very much rubbed me the wrong way here was Clarence.  This guy’s an FBI agent full well knowing Five is falling off the handles and so he drops his guard so easily here!?  It felt very weird.  Also why did he go along with the unarmed group plan with this thinking settling in the back of his mind?  He knew within that short amount of time Five was subject to insubordination and she’s been weak since the last episode, so why go this far?  I can understand why Five did what she did in that she’s the only one who has caused injuries with the bombings and now she’s allowed Nine’s conference to be cancelled and thus causing what we had here. An end to justify the means.

The ending to this spectacular series will be next week, and with tons of questions hanging one has to wonder whether the ending will be rushed or not.  Also has anyone noticed the retail Blu-rays/DVD’s on the website doesn’t list Episode 11 in its list.  Strange.  With Noitamina having an additional 24-minute timeslot to use up this summer season [Zankyou being 24 minutes and Psycho-Pass being an hour] it would be very cool to see this series do a reversal and have a surprise second half with the additional 24-minutes they might possibly have for the Fall 2014 season.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

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Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] Episode 9

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This is my favorite Noitamina series that has aired so far, in 2014!  Zankyou no Terror delivers on all fronts, week after week– the voice actors in this anime have done tremendously at breathing life into these characters, all the while, supported by a very stirring soundtrack and stunning visuals.  Zankyou excels at telling a story by dangling the dramatic actions of its characters in front of the viewer and combining it with clean, crisp and mature style of animation.  A solid and thought-provoking production from start to finish!

Bitcoin, Amazon, all of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Meetings, creating thermite reactions, disarming a bomb, to the savant syndrome, so many pieces intellectually tied together in building up for something massive.  I am loving this series!  While Zankyou has a very focused soundtrack here–without the music, I do not believe this series would have had such an impact.  Without intentions to back it up–Lisa jumping from the blown-up building and into Twelve’s arms, Shibazaki’s account of life in his younger years in Hiroshima, the Sphinx investigation reports getting leaked (loved that scene in Episode 4 where Kinoshita threw a tantrum knocking over those videotapes), Five’s initial scene getting off the plane, the police raiding the school in search of Nine–every scene is constructed from the ground up with help of this majestically direct musical score.  Yoko Kanno, the composer, has outdone herself, as this is the best work she has ever done, hands down.  The song, while Twelve was disarming the bomb, beautifully portrayed the emotional struggle they both faced as the clock was ticking!  Can’t wait to hear the rest of what she has in store for the final two episodes!

For the past eight narratives we’ve been building up to the grand finale and here is where we are regaled with so much information!   Almost at the climax of this series, and this became so riveting!  ‘Betrayal’ becomes the new motif, indelibly becoming a part of the narrative; its plot involving Twelve choosing Lisa over Nine, and his original plan–or is this what the writers are making us think?

Cliffhangers–personally, I can take them or leave them but when a series is very much well-grounded in being intense–adding in this element of surprise can be very rewarding in the end; it’s such a fantastic feeling after watching an anime of high quality like this one!  Code Geass suffered greatly from poorly executed cliffhangers that came out of nowhere and I’m starting to notice that Aldnoah.Zero is following the same kind of trend.

Zankyou keeps every dialogue bit and expands on it with grace–the plutonium being an atomic bomb, Aoki’s discussion with the detectives,  Five falling over from the savant trauma parallels to Nine’s head experiences and even Lisa fainting!  Twelve revealing the location of the bomb.  Every scene adds hype into the next segment so smoothly and it works out very very well!

We still have yet to see Twelve and Lisa out of the ferris wheel scene…On top of that, Shibazaki and Homura learn of the higher-up who developed the Athena Project!  Have to wonder what Shibazaki will end up doing having this knowledge.  I’m very glad that the Aomori scene in the first episode has proven pivotal in just about every episode we’ve had, and now the big reveal has occurred– interesting in how the two detectives handled this!  Not to mention how the school has been in the background this entire time (since Episode 1), and we finally get it pieced back into the story here!  The facility known here as The Settlement abducted kids in order to artificially create the savant syndrome inside of them by giving them a drug so they could enhance more capabilities in the brain.  Amazing! We have to wonder how this will play out here–is the Diet Secretary the father of Lisa?  If so, how would Twelve feel about all of this, and will he exact revenge on the very family that erased any normal life he and Nine could have had? Incredible again this week!

Did I see that right?  Was Aoki trying to poison the detectives here?  Following Aoki’s comment to Shibazaki and Homura about how it would be prudent to leave, talking about Shigeru Yamamoto, and then after their discussion about The Settlement, followed it up with a dissatisfied look over the fact that their tea had gone cold–I’m wondering if the detectives will make it out alive.  This most frightening person was just introduced to us  in this episode, juxtaposed with the amazing cinematography  throughout that entire scene!  A week is too long to wait for the next episode!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] Episode 8

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This really is the best show of the season!  Orphans that completely vanished in the early 2000’s by a possible government-operated group–a rather intricate idea that wove so many of the questions from the previous episodes and began tying a lot of them together.  This episode does shed some light on the possibility of Twelve operating outside of Nine’s motives since the beginning.  Still, I can’t fathom how this series and Space Dandy share the same creator.  It just displays how diverse he is at establishing himself as a director–creating two highly enthralling series that are polar opposites of each other!

Megumi Han sure has improved her English this time around!  Within that single scene she managed to enunciate intrinsically better than any of the previous episodes that had English dialogue. Great work here!

Finally they used Ryo Nagano’s ‘22′ song from the soundtrack in this week’s show.  When I heard it on the OST for the first time, I was curious as to how they would fit this into the episode.  It strangely illustrated a stop and start moment for the main cast!

This had to be the best build-up episode we’ve have had all season, if not the year so far!  So much happened in the span of 24 minutes!  There are only two other series that I can think of off the top of my mind that did this very well– Ping Pong, The Animation and Space Dandy, especially Episode 21.

I have to hand it to Watanabe, here, for designing a psychological thriller anime that doesn’t let up even in its slowest moments–this is the kind of stylistic series I want to see more of!  Production values are insanely high, as every scene is so incredibly detailed–Shibazaki and Hamura’s walking sequence against the heated, summer countryside, was animated so beautifully!  The soundtrack had new pieces accompanying the visuals and one song that we’ve already heard before was completely revamped!  It’s fantastic to see a show tie in so many elements around it to tell a concrete, intellectual narrative.

The biggest surprise of all was Shibazaki’s daughter–the dialogue between the two of them was very much real.  You can definitely see that they are father and daughter–their chemistry was so strong together, truly a monumental scene that lasted only a few minutes ended up feeling a whole lot longer!  The fact that Kinoshita has a wife and child shown in that very brief scene just adds to the realism of Zankyou.  This show doesn’t hold back one bit!

The repercussions against Shibazaki and his team saving Lisa from the plane last time gave the investigative side of this show a heck of a lot more freedom than it ever had before!  We’re back to having analytical elements in this anime and its about time!  It’s also interesting to note how the media is portrayed in this show–the Sphinx videos are abruptly uploaded in the beginning episodes and the news reports are so accurate; it’s a great contrast to what is actually occurring behind the scenes to the viewer.

The first few episodes gave us tremendous insight into Sphinx and the Japanese Police–presenting itself on a whole other level!  One in which there was an indistinguishable view of the Police and the Terrorists that played off wonderfully here.  On one side is the Metropolitan Police Department left in the dark with little to nothing but a text message to go on from the plane explosion.  On the other, Sphinx appears to be splintering; Twelve is developing feelings for Lisa and refers to the plans at hand as “ours” not Nine’s, no longer backing every nuance of Nine’s scheme.

So what do they do here?  They choose to denounce the culprits in Sphinx; however, Shibazaki and his team know full well it isn’t the truth in the slightest.  Interesting to see how this plot continues to have more layers from each character peeling off!  I say this, referring to Shimada being unaware of the issues from the higher ups, and the fact that Kurahashi has an inkling that someone is pulling the strings elsewhere.  Five being from the ISA, transferred into the FBI only to be sent to Japan, invokes a new question:  What exactly is the Japanese Government hiding here?   The FBI is taking complete control of the Sphinx situation, but the even crazier part is that they may not even be the real FBI!  Clarence seems to have some kind of authority to keep the Japanese Police at bay.

That scene between Five and Clarence strongly hinted at a new sublplot, we haven’t had yet before.  Deception.  How long can Clarence keep the Japanese Police from finding out Five’s true motives, and that is just the tip of the iceberg!  Are Five’s motives the same as the FBI’s?  Immense framework of information is laid out before us, and with only a few episodes left, I wonder how much we (as the viewers) will be left in the dark about.  Also, did anyone notice Five having the head trauma sequence that Nine previously had?  This point very much elaborates how there may be a high probabability that there is a strong correlation to Twelve’s comment about “not having enough time”  and those tremor events.  It’s just as the title suggests, a Terror in Resonance.

Tokyo, Shinjuku, Aomori all are settings that seem to give a bigger picture of what’s really happening.  Stolen petroleum at the facility in Aomori, the young man taking bribes to misuse the crane to create the first bombing attack, and Nine trying to get Shibazaki to uncover the connection of the bombings–Rising Peace Academy. Every bit of what we’ve seen is slowly getting pieced together.  There is also the young man Shibazaki and Hamura interviewed in this episode–the one with the Sphinx mask hanging on his wall–might suggest that the end result will be changing how we view terrorism. Shibazaki’s comment, making light of Sphinx’s actions and contrasting with the past, does just that.

Can’t wait to see what happens next!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] Episode 7

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I can understand the writers here rewinding a bit of what happened last time but that was entirely unnecessary.  Almost three and half minutes of recap that they could’ve used for another new scene!  It is nice however how this show uses the same exact scenes from last time even with the same music- Sakamichi no Apollon crafted their episodes in the same manner.  Basically you could edit all the episodes omitting all the recap scenes and opening/ending animations as an entire film when it’s all finished!  That would be very cool to see!

I’ve been re-watching this series’ episodes prior to the new one that airs each week and there is a huge parallel to Norse mythology throughout.  I’ll start with how I noticed this.  Twelve beginning in episode 1 indicates how he’s memorized all the girls’ names in their class; Nine mentions how irrelevant and minuscule that is to do that.  Not to stand out.  Nine as seen most especially in the 4th episode- the scene where he’s hacking into the government website to obtain the investigation files has an innate ability of thought.  If we take what we know from the riddles and the stories of Oedipus that Zankyou establishes the plot around it especially in the opening and ending sequences with the ravens- you’ll notice words flash horizontally on the screen.  Huginn and Muninn.  According to Norse mythology, Huginn being thought and Muninn being memory or mind are a pair of ravens that travel all over the world to bring information to the god Odin.  It is amazing how there is this strong correlation between Nine and Twelve and Huginn and Muninn in Zankyou!

It’s going to be difficult on what series will be the number 1 anime of the year.  Mushishi has been an amazing collection of stories and only when the second half finishes airing in December will I be able to make this decision.  Space Dandy is refreshingly hilarious every week, and Ping Pong the Animation had such strong characters behind a solid plot and audacious animation!  However, Zankyou no Terror is intense, a show that strings the viewer along with subtle hints of what is to come with well-developed characters, plot, and one amazing soundtrack.  It’s an intelligent anime that is consistently solid with every episode and without a doubt in my mind will be a tough act to follow for series airing in the Fall 2014 season!

This was single-handedly the best episode of the series so far even of the entire season!  Holy crap!  The facial expressions throughout the airport incident were animated incredibly well!  We haven’t had such an action-packed one in this series until this- it helps a lot when you’ve got well-drawn characters and fluid animation to push this story along! Kazuta Nakazawa animated Samurai Champloo and some of the people in this show especially Shibazaki look like the designs out of that series- love this guy’s artwork. Sayo Yamamoto, Masaaki Yuasa, Shinji Ochi, Hiroshi Shimizu and this guy are my favorite animators in the business- I cannot think of any other artist that could have had a better handle on designs with this series like Kazuta! I thought last week was done extremely well but this- this was on a whole other level!

Continuing the chess match between Nine and Twelve versus Five they finally pulled Lisa into the fray!  Since the very beginning Lisa Mashima has been quite the nervous person and here is where we get to see her actually take her time in setting up the flares in the bathroom!  Even that scene outside where she received the call from Twelve felt real-  again another reason why I love the dialogue in this show!  Zankyou doesn’t toss anything aside, every scene is calculated and very much though out well!  Not only that but she jumps/falls off a plane much like when she did in the first episode yet in this she has set herself up to be the damsel in distress in a very big way.  Lisa has been the struggling character of this series- a broken home, abuse at school with nowhere to run to but in the arms of terrorists.  It’s disheartening to watch her- this episode diverged from that entirely!  We get to see her trying very hard at being one of them- and the camera capturing her movements illustrated that perfectly!  Nice touch to add Lisa as Sphinx Number 3.

There were tons of development here from Shibazaki!  He enjoys the chase and in getting the jump on catching whoever is setting up this bomb he finally gets what he asked for- the revealing of Nine and in learning of that ends up helping them out to save Lisa!  Such a powerful moment when he receives that call from Sphinx Number 1 Nine!  It is going to be extremely difficult to see this series end, but every episode so far just draws you in!  I felt a lot like this with Mushishi as well.  Even the music here ended up being just as good as the previous episodes!  I’ve enjoyed all of Yoko Kanno’s compositions but Zankyou is probably her best work and never have I seen a series give off so much emotion like this one does with its soundtrack!  I can also tell how delicate they’ve had to be in creating the explosion scenes- no deaths in any of the bombings and here is where we’ve got an entire plane blow up on a tar mat.  The animation was astounding this time around too!  Nine and Twelve are finally out of complete control of the situation!  Twelve freaking out over the fact that Lisa might die on that plane and Nine had not a care at all-  the look he gave Nine was superb! With the addition of Lisa as a Sphinx member into the mix- allows for the story to be a heck of a a lot more interesting and what an amazing episode we had here!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

 

Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] Episode 6

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I just want to give everyone a heads up, my posts might be a bit delayed as the Fall season starts up as I am beginning my university studies again.  I will try to at least get posts up within a few days of air time.  Also I am looking to post an upcoming preview of the Fall season anime lineup soon.  So be sure to check that out and if anyone has recommendations on how to make this site more appealing or any ideas they have please be sure to post a comment or send me an email.

Space Dandy may be humorously witty at times and Aldnoah Zero is developing into a  wildly powerful teenage-mecha series but this series is much different. Barakamon’s placid delivery with its story allows the show to be a purely light-hearted comedy.  It is good to have an anime so cheerful as that among all of the dark series we’ve had this season.

Zankyou no Terror however has surpassed all of these.  THIS IS A SHOW that gradually pulls you in- the animation and character design styles are beautiful, the plot has been extremely engaging as two high-school terrorists play a cat and mouse game with bombs and riddles.  The cinematography is so defined in every scene and Yoko Kanno’s music stands out from every other anime soundtrack that has aired this season!  Tons of brand new tracks were introduced here!

Lisa finally gets more attention this time as she enters the game with Sphinx.   It’s about time we get to see how she is going to be involved in all of this.  Clever how the airport was used as an entire chess board and the pieces are Nine and Twelve.  It should be noted that their chess game in one of the earlier episodes only slightly hinted at an episode like this.  The imagery in this has been phenomenal- the blown up building in the first episode, the wreckage in the second and now the varied use of wide angle shots.  Every scene is used as build up for the next.  Put to great use especially here- Five knows everything about these boys- except they’ve got one trump card of their sleeves- Lisa Mashima.

From what I’ve noticed in relation to his previous works Watanabe likes to build up a weaker character into a key playing piece by the end.  In Samurai Champloo, Fuu ended up being the trigger to Jin and Mugen’s journey to find the samurai who smells of sunflowers.  With Kids on the Slope it wasn’t much of Ristuko that provided the overall pacing but jazz.  Music that brought together an unlikely friendship- not to mention strengthening the various romance between characters in that show!  Here, the writers have established this to a game between three institutionalized teenagers.  Why they were kept in isolation void of emotion is anyone’s guess right now, but what we do know is that the actions between Sphinx and Five are only going to get more intense as it goes on!  From what I can tell the key to changing all this will not just be Lisa but Shibazaki as well.

The momentum that Zankyou has done time and time again with each episode strongly emphasizes how well it characterizes everyone.  One of the greatest aspects of the show is how well the creators have developed the people in this slowly- even that Nine and Twelve are such dynamic characters.  The Metropolitan Police, Shibazaki, Nine and Twelve, Five, the FBI has all begun making their moves and this predominantly results in what we see this episode and what will happen next.  I absolutely love everything about Zankyou no Terror!

Has anyone noticed that VON spelled backwards is NOV as in NO. 5.  Also in the last episode there was a billboard sign that said NO. 1.  Perhaps Sphinx was trying to get the attention of Five this entire time.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] Episode 5

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I’ve read a lot of talk on the internet about how this show is similar to Death Note.  I understand that both series are psychological thrillers that form the main character(s) as villains but in how Death Note and Zankyou achieve at telling a strong and solid story are entirely different.  Death Note’s story was an interesting one- write names in a notebook and they die.  It also had a superb soundtrack by Hirano and Taniuchi I will give it that.  The acting however not so much.  There ended up being too many dramatic scenes that were unnecessary for the plot.  I’m not saying its a bad series at all, I just don’t see the correlation between the two anime like many do.

Noitamina this is the best series you’ve ever aired on your network.  Shiki was frightening, Tatami Galaxy was a great introspection into college-life, Nodame Cantabile gave us a neat look at classical music, among many others but none have done consistently well as much as this series has.

I applaud this series for handling the story so well.  The music, the characters, even the cinematography was finely tuned and amazing in this one!  I will even go a step further here.  After watching this I can clearly see now that this is the best work that Shinichiro Watanabe has ever done.   He sure has grown as a director with his series of works over the years.

Cowboy Bebop pulled off as an insurmountable science fiction series- one that merged eastern and western cultures into a fictionalized cowboy-esque set of adventures.  I would like to add- Cowboy Bebop had set the standard for the anime series of today.  Samurai Champloo developed that same pattern but with hip-hop and Edo-era Japan.  Sakamichi no Apollon was all about tradition.  The days of the 60’s where jazz was re-emerging at the fore front of Japan after being banned and called the “enemy music”. With this in mind Sakamichi no Apollon was establishing itself with friendships, romance, and music that deliver very passionately.

Zankyou no Terror is a delicate series.  It is a wonderful exposition on what American dealt with on September 11th, 2001 and produces a fictional story around that.  Very creative actually.  It doesn’t stop there!  This show not only managed to create criticisms portraying it’s two major characters as terrorists but also a tribute to today’s events and issues with so much research planned out.  It payed off a ton especially in this episode! Thermite Reactions, Bitcoin, Amazon, buying a credit card for a dollar, but this didn’t even touch the level of what we had here!  What a beautiful episode and quite possibly the best one we’ve had of this series so far!

Where Yuasa’s Ping Pong had strong characters- Zankyou no Terror introduces the cast with struggles and puts them into even larger situations.  The bombings, Lisa’s fractured mother, kids at school troubling Lisa, the riddles for the police to solve and now FBI agent Five.  Lisa is welcomed with open arms by Twelve but it’s intriguing to know that Nine sees this back-firing later on.  Foreshadowing the inclusion of him breaking down?  I would think so.  Lisa proves her innocence quite a bit this episode and I can only see her getting a lot stronger as the story gains momentum.

From the start it was looking like this episode was going to continue the formula that the other ones had set.  Solve the previous incident, uncover more truth about Sphinx, another bomb is set, and try to stop it.  This was dismantled so forcefully resulting in Nine panicking on what to do next.  From the start every move has been in their control and now here is where we finally get to see it out of their hands and into the fire so to speak.  It was fantastic and highly intriguing to see Nine actual do something drastic here!  That is one way to reinvent his character!  So the FBI or rather Five intervenes and this turned out completely different than what I had imagined!  I have to wonder if there are going to be casualties in this bombing since there hasn’t been a single one before. Sphinx is going to dissolve sooner or later, and for some unknown reason Five is going to make sure of that from what it seems.  The allusion with Lisa’s cooking mishap only amplified this point a lot more.

The episode as intense as it was managed to confirm a lot of areas of the plot we’ve been left in the dark about:

1.  Sphinx isn’t trying to hurt anyone. We see that with the bombings having no casualties and minimal injuries.

2.  The Rising Peace Academy, a non-profit organization that we learn about this episode directs its attention to authority. Nine and Twelve are attempting at getting Shibazaki to make this connection with the Sphinx bombings.

3.  Nine, Twelve and Five  as from what is seen in this episode have an increasing level of hacking abilities and intelligence.  Were they trained to be in a spy program and things just went wrong?

Interestingly enough that the writers placed in a past segment featuring Nine and Twelve at a cafeteria one that I am sure we will learn later on.  Shibazaki discovering the connection between the bombings from Sphinx was just the tip of the iceberg here!

As it stands the addition of Five to the story is even further proof to my theory as to whether or not Zankyou is about homegrown terrorism more than anything else this series has offered us.

Outright amazing and a very intense episode- cannot wait to see what happens next!

Did anyone notice the FBI guy voiced american dialogue.  Higashi no Eden did this same thing too.  Very authentic when a series does this.

If I had one gripe about this show as I stated before its the recap.  It’s only about half a minute or so but those could add up in expanding the story.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] Episode 4

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It is going to be tough at the end of this year- rating my Top 10 Anime Series of 2014.  The only series that won’t make this count is anything that is 2-cour for the Fall season.  The requirements for this is that- series need to have finished airing or entered its 2nd half for 2014.  There were a ton of great series that aired this year so far.  Kill La Kill was GAINAX cream of the crop here, and quite possibly one of the best works to date in their repertoire.  It took the ideas of Revolutionary Girl Utena glossed them over them with an intensely sexualized element to clothing and added in high-schoolers with special abilities.  Mushishi was an amazing collection of stories that explored human connections at its core with an entirely different cast and setting each week!  Ping Pong the Animation shined with its characters.  Yuasa’s obscure technique turned what would be a regular series about pong into a well-acted and provocative look at life inside and outside the game.  Space Dandy the other Shinichiro Watanabe series gave life to classic science fiction stories with a string of comedic genius qualities in its people, alien designs, one-liners, and all around artsy style.  Giving it a bit of an edge with different directors each episode.  Should I even bring up Samurai Flamenco?  That series excelled at genre-shfiting which resulted in an unfinished ending and overall interesting yet very peculiar look at superheroes.  Now with Zankyou no Terror this series will be one that will be talked about for years to come.

Another amazing episode!  Watanabe and Kanno are doing wonders for Noitamina.  This broadcasting company has been known for varied out of the norm works.  We’ve had college romance, a series about fashion and classical music, a medicine seller whom rids of evil spirits with pastel-colored animation, an 8.0 earthquake show, a phone with 8.2 billion yen on it, so many varied series that set themselves apart by handling different subjects from what many other companies would be afraid of doing.  Taking risks and I for one am all for seeing anime venture right into this kind of market.  Zankyou no Terror is doing just that.

This show each week has continued on being very engaging with its characters, music, animation, and thrilling plot.  Shibazaki figured out the last bomb and finally- right here he became the crucial element at solving another riddle?  Awesome.    Atsumi Tanezaki did phenomenal work on portraying Lisa in this episode!  The scene where she yelled at Twelve dynamically changed her from what she once was- soft spoken in all the previous episodes here we got a taste of how she is breaking down.  She’s been worrying about life so much she forgot how to have fun and laugh.  So far the star of the show has got to be Soma Saito.  He’s so versatile in his voice acting as Twelve.  We saw a lot of that here.  A well-rounded cast allows for the plot to be much more compelling- exhilarating to see this happen with an anime series here.  Its great to see Twelve display very real emotions when it comes to her.  She ran away from home, nowhere to go, and a terrorist is choosing to accept her.  Is this foreshadow for his death later on?  Hmmmm I wonder about this.

When I watch a show like this and compare it with a lot of the summer season shows like Sword Art Online and even Aldnoah Zero, I can see how much they don’t even come close in establishing its characters with such fortitude like this one does. These summer titles sometimes contain a lot of unnecessary angst where here is where we’ve got people with varied emotions all on the same playing field. Following the same rules, just the people are with real jobs or lifestyles that put them entirely in different situations throughout the main terrorist plot.  I guess what I’m trying to say here is- every character in this show has a specific job in order for the whole to be carried out- an example are the investigative scenes in this series.  It is like watching an anime film each week!  Everything comes together very nicely!  Don’t even want to know what sort of budget they had for this it has to be huge. Haha!  Loved that motorcycle scene at the end there- such fluid animation when the bike arrived!  This was just so breathtaking to watch!  As for what happened here its interesting to see how cold Nine is.  He must have had a much wider traumatic experience at that child facility than Twelve did if that is what happened.  He’s all about the plan they’ve set into motion caring nothing for the immediate well-being of Lisa only I can imagine that to come crashing down later on.  Since episode 2 when the writers brought up Tor and the thermite reaction analysis during the meeting I can tell a lot of research has been put into this.  Here was where we had references to current events with Bitcoin, and the discussion of credit card theft.  This show capitalizes on todays themes- throwing them into a fictional version of Japan and it really has paid off with these first four episodes!  Great execution here! The fact that bomb once again wasn’t even a bomb and more of an information leakage of the police files on VON was incredibly genius! They act look and act like terrorists but deep down it’s more than just violence and explosions but accepting truth. Very creative!

No wonder I recognized the ending animation! It’s by Takeshi Koike- same animator for the opening to Samurai Champloo and animation/director of Redline.  Also, the animator of Fujiko Mine which was an awesome Lupin series if you haven’t checked it out yet.  I love this guys style and it works  well here. The song IS featuring POP ETC was a nice touch at the end.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Zankyou no Terror [Terror in Tokyo] Episode 3

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The production staff has done a tremendous job at creating a compelling episode every week! This show pulls in strong elements of what happened on September 11th, 2001 from the previous episodes. It is a tough show to sell to an american audience based on that fact alone.  Hard enough that the series’ focus is on Nine and Twelve- the terrorists that have blown up two buildings so far.

Hands down this is the best soundtrack of this season! Yoko Kanno has not composed for a series since her work with Watanabe on Sakamichi no Apollon and that was in 2012. Just about every scene had a new piece of music to accompany it!  Some of which is on the soundtrack that got released the day prior of the series airing.  Cannot wait to hear the rest of what she has for this series! The music this season has been incredibly solid too! We’ve got Kenji Kawaii for Barakamon, Hiroyuki Sawano for Aldnoah Zero, Yuki Kaijura for Sword Art Online II, MONACA for Captain Earth! A great season for soundtracks, but Zankyou is the best in originality, performance, style, and delivery.

Every scene in this show is so moving- this carries a huge effect on the characters.  Shibazaki and Mukasa’s conversation about today’s generation of kids.  I am so impressed with this!  This time we were revealed so much more on Shibazaki, and the terrorists. Surprising that Watanabe decided on showing Five in the past segment so soon. The second pv for Zankyou gives away who she is a little too much I think.  Interesting that the bomb was intended not to explode rather to exploit whether the police knew the connection between the first bomb and the plutonium incident.  Small points in this show that develop into a much bigger picture!  Perfect example of this were the hazmat suits, Mukasa’s idea of the young kids feeling lonely and wanting attention so they blow stuff up.  Interesting theory.

This episode also emphasizes how much can be re-watched in order to understand areas of the plot. The police are still investigating the first bombing and end up investigating the crane driver!  Splendid add-on to the plot here! Did not expect that much from the suspect!  Wonder if we will see more of him!  I had to see this episode twice to pick up on quite a bit that was behind the scenes.  Twelve’s concern about the previous riddle being too difficult turned into foreshadow. Shibazaki’s hometown being Hiroshima gives him motivation in catching these guys.  So much power behind every person in this series is what makes this show so great!  Each and every person in this show including their dialogue, actions, riddles, and scenes are significant in maturing the story!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10