Saturday, October 18, 2014

Zankyou no Terror

Zankyou no Terror, or Resonance in Terror, is a great series.  It’s short, only 11 episodes, but for this particular series, that’s the perfect length.  The story follows two young men who are terrorists.  They call themselves Sphinx and begin the series setting bombs in highly visible places.  They always announce that a new bomb has been set and seem to enjoy taunting the police about their next crime.

Along with each bomb that Sphinx is setting in various places in Tokyo, Sphinx contacts the police before the bomb goes off with riddles to solve.  If the police can solve the riddles, they can locate the bombs and prevent them from going off.  Sphinx and their riddles come to the attention of a very smart, but semi-disgraced police detective called Shibazaki.

The two young men that make up Sphinx actually have no names except Nine and Twelve, and they are the main characters in this series.   At the first bombing, a young girl named Lisa is trapped in the building.  Since Twelve had previously run into Lisa and liked her, Sphinx give her the option of joining them as an accomplice or dying in the bombing, and Lisa chooses to live. 

At first Lisa is horrified to be an accomplice in the bombings, but later she runs away from her bad home situation and Nine and Twelve take her in.  She accepts them and becomes part of their group.  Even though Nine isn’t happy about involving another person in what they are doing, he and Twelve both end up rescuing Lisa at various points in the series.

It turns out that Nine and Twelve were part of an experiment, taken as orphans and subjected to all kinds of brain-washing and medical experiments intended to produce super-humans.  Twenty-six children were taken and experimented on, and 3 survived the experiments.  Nine and Twelve escaped, and a girl named Five was taken by the Americans when the experiments were discovered and shut down.   

Nine and Twelve are using their terrorist attacks to gain the attention of the police, with their final goal being to bring to light the experiments on the children, and also to bring to light that the Japanese government is secretly producing atomic bombs.   They even detonate an atomic bomb to make their point.  Of course, this final goal isn’t revealed until the final episode.  However, Nine and Twelve are very careful with their bombing attacks, so that on one dies and few people are hurt.  Property damage tends to be fairly extensive though.

Nine and Twelve’s plan works at first, and Shibazaki is beginning to figure them out, until Five, as an agent of the Americans, enters the picture to help capture them.  Five has their level of intelligence, but she doesn’t care if anyone dies, as long as she beats Nine, her eternal rival.   Nine and Twelve end up having to actually stop their own bombs and also stop Five’s planted bombing in order to protect lives.

The interactions between the characters are really good in this series.  The series is intense in places, often a race against time and a struggle to see who can out-plot who.  It’s paced perfectly though, and the music is totally outstanding, as expected of music by Yoko Kano.  It’s also a tragic series, because the three surviving children are living on sufferance.  The experiments done on Nine, Twelve and Five mean that they won’t live long, and they’ve only outlived their companion children because all three have a goal they intend to accomplish before they die.  So of course, they don’t survive the series – which I hate.   Lisa and Shibazaki survive and Shibazaki helps them achieve their final goal.  So despite the deaths of Nine, Twelve and Five, I enjoyed the series very much and recommend it.

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