I’ll be working on a full review (or maybe more of a reflection) of the show for later on, but I need to get my Haruhi reflection out of my head so I don’t end up just saying the same things all over again. But anyways, let’s talk about this explosive (sorry) finale to what I think I probably consider the finest show of the season. And Zankyou no Terror was a fine show—a thoughtful and sensitive show, realistic without being handcuffed by reality, a bit cynical without being hopeless.
Well, this is pretty much the definition of putting all your eggs in one basket. If Zankyou no Terror can put out a fantastic episode next week, the show will have sold me. If next week ends up in the dumps, the whole show will suffer the repercussions. To be honest, I’m torn about this—endings are always critically important to me, but this almost seems to be a case where the ending is going to be disproportionately important to the other 10 episodes that came before.
I kind of wish things weren’t this way. But they are. Anyways, the episode.
This episode of Zankyou no Terror was pretty much the definition of hauntingly beautiful. Gorgeous shots were littered everywhere, the music was chillingly pretty, and the emotional beats (especially between Twelve and Lisa) were enhanced and complemented by the aesthetics. It was hard to look away. And at the same time, it was just a little hard to watch.
Hey, look who’s back today! It’s Zankyou no Terror! In case you need a bit of a refresher of what happened last episode (I did), here’s my write-up from two weeks ago. By way of summary: Nine and Five played chess in the airport, Lisa got trapped with the bomb, Nine and Twelve get her out in time while Shibasaki helps them from the control tower, the airplane blows up and nobody gets hurt.
So, where does that leave us going into this episode? Well, Sphinx has inevitably been framed by the media as the culprits of the airplane bomb and Shibasaki, et al. are in trouble for acting without orders.
I was worried coming into this episode, as the popular opinion on the streets (read: Anitwitter) seemed to be that this episode wasn’t very good.
I disagree. This wasn’t my favorite episode of Zankyou no Terror, but it was more that serviceable. (EDIT: Apparently the ruckus has to do with believability problems with FBI allowing a bombing to take place under their command. Y’all are too grounded in the real world.)
This episode we saw the return of (better) visual storytelling to Zankyou no Terror, as well as giving us a number of parallels and contrasts on which to ponder. There were also a TON of facial expressions this episode, most of them revealing small details in tiny moments that are easy to miss.
In this episode, Lisa uses her moe powers to convince a couple of terrorists to let her in on their super secret plan to defuse a bomb somebody else set up.
Well, not exactly, but Lisa’s first real inclusion to Nine and Twelve’s purposes is a landmark moment for both Lisa and the boys—one that places her in very real danger. I do wonder if she truly understands what she has gotten herself into, but at this point its not about the danger and its not about whether or not she can harm others. It’s about whether or not she belongs.
I wonder if I will be able to make it to the end of the episode notes for this show without running out of words to praise it. This was another great episode from Zankyou no Terror, and the most impressive thing is that it was great in a totally different way than last episode. The visual storytelling here is of a quality unlike anything I’ve ever seen in anime before (really, a good season for that, if you include Argevollen)—and man does it make the entire show better.
What did I say last week? “Give me more of the teens,” I said. “They make the show better,” I said. Well, you know what? Zankyou no Terror did exactly what I wanted it to, and turned in the best episode since the premiere because of it. The final minutes of this episode (omigosh that freaking soundtrack) were an amazing ride—yup, I just did that. This is the kind of stuff I wanted from this show from the start, and when I got it…well, you could say I was a bit misty-eyed.
The fault lines in Zankyou no Terror are very, very evident when the focus away from its strengths. One thing I’ve learned from writing fiction is that it’s much easier to write well when writing good characters. Solid characters with depth and emotions of their own naturally support good writing and good storytelling. I said last week that I like the main trio more than I like any of the police officers, and I stand by that this week.
Well, Zankyou no Terror leaned a bit more on dialogue this week than it did last week, and it showed, because episode 2 was neither as intense or as interesting as the premiere. That being said, this is still an chilling piece of work and Watanabe and company are doing an excellent job of laying out their foundation. Even if parts of it feel a little unoriginal, Zankyou no Terror is still the best currently airing show right now (EXECTUTION, PEOPLE), and I don’t see that changing soon.