It’s been a while, since the last anime series was reviewed on this blog, so I went and watched on title that seems to be getting buzz in certain anime circles. From the man who brought us Cowboy Bebop is a title that’s nothing like that. And for some reason thats a refreshing feeling.
Let’s take a look at Terror in Resonance.
Terror In Resonance follows Nine and Twelve, two high school age teens who survived a Government experiment that left the two with superior intelligence but at the expense of their childhood. The two plan a series of terror attacks in Tokyo under the name of Sphinx in hopes of getting revenge on those who hurt them. Along the way the two meet fellow student Lisa, a girl from a broken home who’s brought into their world after becoming an accomplice to one of their bombings.
The series also focuses on Detective Kenjiro Shibazaki who, along with the rest of the Tokyo Police force, try to investigate the terror acts and find out what the Sphinx’s agenda is. However, as the attacks get more and more frequent the United States government steps in to find the two.
While the description might not seem like it, this is a Shinichrio Watanabe title. Sharing little if any in common with his past works like Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo or Space Dandy; Terror In Resonance features little of the trademark Watanabe touches. Little is flashy about this title, as it shares more in common with your average drama anime than other action titles.
Watanabe’s past works seem to have a oddball joy to them, as they would bounce around from genre to genre or just do something completely different in the case of Space Dandy. But in this title, there a larger themes that are explored making this the most serious title he’s worked on since Macross Plus.
With theme’s of terrorism vs. freedom fighting, technology affecting the way we connect with people to even a small case of parental abuse Terror in Resonance is playing a whole different game from past titles. Watanabe seemed to build a world that’s close enough to our own and uses the current fears of modern terror acts to make a story about two people trying to take revenge.
The element that stands out most is the use of modern technology. At any given point in the anime, several Apple like products are show along with several other knock off websites such as a YouTube looking service where Sphinx posts their videos. The series even goes deeper and uses some real world items like Tor, a program that hides IP addresses. These touches only help connect this story to our real world problems.
Plot wise, the show seems to flow quite well. With each episode ending with some type of cliffhanger action, making this a good anime for binge watching.
Despite the lack of a English dub, the voice acting is solid. This is do to, in no small part, the excellent writing that keeps driving the plot and characters forward. That being said, I’m interested to see what this time will be like when Funimation does get around to releasing a localized version.
Terror In Resonance marks the return of Watanabe’s off and on again music collaborator Yoko Kanno. While the music is good, it’s not the main focus of the title. In something like Cowboy Bebop, the music is another character affecting the flow of action or dialogue scenes. In Resonance, the music stays in the background and doesn’t get in the way of the deep themes that are playing out on screen.
This trend is continued with the shows intro and outro tracks. The opening, Terror by Yuuki Ozaki (seen above), is very low-key and modern sounding. The track oddly matches the crazy action of the series due to its modern feel and use of elecronic instuments. The closing track, Dareka Umiwo by Aimer, feels more melodramatic staying in tune with the darker side of the main characters plans.
Additionally several songs from North American based band POP ETC are used during the shows run. These tracks also stay in line with the feel of the show. Nothing really makes it’s self known music wise, but rather stays in the background adding to scenes.
Granted this anime has a lot of good qualities about it, there are a few things that might drive some viewers crazy.
The stories plot is quite fast and with all the complex things happening from episode to episode it’s easy to not stop and think about the actions characters take. For instance for a group of terrorists, they seem to be side tracked a great deal by their own heroics. Despite setting bombs to destroy buildings, the two don’t want to kill anyone, but rather guide the police to the information they want.
However, the side effect of setting a bomb to explode is that it has a tendency to kill those around it. Near the middle of the series Nine and Twelve go out of their way to save people from a bomb they set, because the police couldn’t figure out where it was in time. Doesn’t that seem kind dumb for a terrorist?
Additionally, the show seems to take great joy in implying that the United States government is worse then our main characters, who by their own admission are terrorist.
Finally, Sphinx’s end game seem to silly for a series this serious. While this is a spoiler free review, the final bombing played too much like Fight Club and made their end goal seem awkward in the end.
Despite these issues, Terror in Resonance is a excellent title. It’s fast paced, features good dialogue and will leave you wanting more than the series gives you. This is a must watch for those looking for a more serious title.
Terror in Resonance was produced by Studio MAPPA and is available to stream through Funimation.