I missed Terror in Resonance (also known alternatively as Zankyou no Terror and Terror in Tokyo) when it first ran in 2014. I already got wind of it in the past, and was curious, but never had a chance to follow up on it, and eventually forgot about it. But recently, I was reminded of its existence while surfing some anime stuff, and my interest was renewed. Discovering the fact that it was directed by Shinichirō Watanabe – whose past works include Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Kids on the Slope, which are all anime I’ve loved – was the clincher for me to watch it.
This eleven-episode anime series centers on a pair of genius teenage terrorists named Nine and Twelve. Taking the aliases of Arata Kokonoe and Tōji Hisami, they enroll themselves to a Tokyo high school where they meet the emotionally troubled Lisa Mishima, who becomes an accidental accomplice. With their motivations and ultimate objective remaining a mystery, Nine and Twelve conduct a series of high-profile bombings across Tokyo. Calling themselves “Sphinx”, they give the authorities the chance to stop these attacks by uploading a cryptic video to the Internet whenever a bomb is set to explode. With the police baffled, it’s up to ace detective Kenjirō Shibazaki to solve their riddles and figure out what their real goal is.
It has one of the strongest pilot episodes I’ve ever encountered in anime. It terrifically sets up the entire series, introducing interesting characters and a general sense of intrigue. But as it progresses, it gets predictable. I don’t mean that it gets bad. Actually, the storytelling remains solid all throughout. It just that it starts out with so much promising mystery about its plot and characters, but in the long run, there are no real surprises given. For example, it’s easy to deduce what kind of origin is set to be revealed based on their names “Nine” and “Twelve.” Another one: when it’s already known that they don’t kill, their endgame is easily guessable. But, again, it’s generally well-told. It’s effectively exciting and emotional. But it has no development that truly blows the mind away.
Terror in Resonance isn’t the immaculate anime that I thought it was going to be. If one begins to pause and think about things, story details that don’t make sense and bothersome loose ends may be discovered. However, if one allows himself or herself to be deeply engrossed on its characters and story – which is actually easy to do – he or she won’t really have a problem with its flaws. It also helps that it has fantastic production value – the animation has first-rate cinematic quality, and the soundtrack and sound design are utterly amiable. So with all the great things going for it, the flaws are easily dismissed. Thus, it seems perfect even when it’s not.
Overall, Terror in Resonance is another amazing anime from Shinichirō Watanabe. And it’s not hard to see it be considered as one of the best anime of the decade.