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Zankyou no Terror Review: What makes Terror in Resonance a great Thriller anime?

Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance or Terror in Tokyo) figures in our list of Top 10 Best Mystery Thriller Anime Series of all the time. But what makes Zankyou no Terror a great thriller anime?

Keep reading our Terror in Resonance anime review to get the answer!

Zankyou no Terror Anime Review

Zankyou no Terror anime review
  • Type: TV
  • Episodes: 11
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Jul 11, 2014 to Sep 26, 2014
  • Premiered: Summer 2014
  • Producers:Aniplex, Dentsu, Fuji TV, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, Kyoraku Industrial Holdings
  • Licensors: Funimation
  • Studios: MAPPA
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological
  • Duration: 22 min. per ep.
  • Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)

What’s the first idea coming to your mind when you hear the term “terrorism”? Certainly, it would be “destruction”, “death” and “ruin”.

Where does Terror in Resonance fit into all this? Well, it all starts with an incident that the world encountered which has now become a worldwide chaos.

Zankyou no Terror is a 1-cour anime series (11 episodes) produced by Studio MAPPA.

Terror in Resonance is an original anime series. In other words, there is no source material based off of the show.

In addition, it’s obvious that the work is directed by Shinichiro Watanabe while also reuniting with music producer Yoko Kanno. This combination should evoke some interest for Zankyou no Terror anime series.

Zankyou no Terror setting takes place in Tokyo where a terrorist incident catches the worldwide attention. There is no evident clue about to true identity of the masterminds behind a video uploaded on the Internet.

Using the nickname “Sphinx”, the culprits are no other than two teenage boys with an objective in their minds and an ambition that challenges fear.

As a mystery thriller anime series, Zankyou no Terror episode 1 devoted little time to set up the presence of our main protagonists “Nine” and “Twelve” who seems to be kind of anti-heroes.

Terror in Resonance anime series blasts off literally as our two teenage boys go through the plan to steal plutonium from a power station.

About six months later, a government edifice is bombarded as the teenage boys create terror and disarray in Tokyo. Unfortunately, there is one problem. A Highschool student girl, Lisa, unintentionally gets herself involved in this affair.

Faced with a life-or-death decision, Lisa chooses to join Nine & Twelve as a partner. From here on, Zankyou no Terror anime series becomes a risky cat-and-mouse game.

To be honest, Terror in Resonance anime series can quickly become confusing at first. The viewers might not really understand what’s going on since a lot of incidents happened in the first few episodes.

What exactly is “Sphinx”? Why are they doing this? What do they want? These common questions arise immediately as there are some cryptic clues to provide their goal.

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Zankyou no Terror cryptic messages

Zankyou no Terror cryptic messages

As cryptic as Zankyou no Terror seems to be, there are a lot of references, influences, and insinuations to culture and literature.

The hints that Sphinx provides to the public often make reference to famous oeuvres like Oedipus Rex.

On the other hand, there is also something else notable about our two main protagonists “Nine & Twelve” as their plans seemingly involve the engineering of recognition.

Certainly, they spread terror with what they are doing, but their plans result in no death. There have been a few close calls, but causalities aren’t a result of what they are seemingly after.

That’s what makes us curious about what they really want or if they really are the “villains” the people make them out to be.

Zankyou no Terror Characters

Zankyou no Terror Five

Zankyou no Terror Five

Here we go with one of the big problems of the Zankyou no Terror anime series: we don’t know much about her, except her name as “Five”.

It’s hard to express our feeling toward “Five” as she deals with the hunt for “Nine” and “Twelve” as a game.

Her distorted mind suggests that she came from the same place where Nine and Twelve did when she was kid as seen in many flashbacks.

What makes “Five” distinguish more is the fact that she only intends to fulfil a mission while playing with her opponents.

It’s also insinuated that she is unconcerned about the lives of those implicated as seen in one episode in particular, when she manages to catch Lisa in a death trap.

Five‘s relationship with seems to be most apparent during her discussion with Nine. She sees him as an opponent in her hunt game and manages to win by placing him in circumstances where lives truly are at risk.

Zankyou no Terror Nine

Zankyou no Terror Nine

When it comes to Nine, he has some significant relationships with others. Twelve, his friend and ally, is the most notable.

Because of their close bond, we may even consider our two main protagonists to be brothers. However, there is a slow but noticeable progression throughout the Zankyou no Terror anime series that seems to drive them apart.

Their contrasting personalities demonstrate this. Nine is a melancholy character with a cool demeanor and a man of few words.

Zankyou no Terror Twelve & Lisa

zankyou no terror twelve and lisa

Twelve has more of a childlike personality. He often tells jokes and makes best of what he and Nine are planning to do.

Lisa can also be quite a character for debate. She isn’t a popular girl, she is terrible at cooking, and she is a clumsy person who is often not sure of her place in her environment.

The only character Lisa is closed to is Twelve. It’s hard to say that they are friends, but rather as close acquaintances.

The relationship developed between both of them is also expanded throughout the Zankyou no Terror anime series, especially after that Twelve saves Lisa many times.

In some sense, Lisa is like Twelve as both are lonely, and manage to cause trouble around them.

During one scene in particular, Lisa asked a weird question to Twelve wondering if he is intending to annihilate the world.

Twelve’s response implies that they don’t mind about anything anymore, but to do what they want.

It’s at this point in the Terror in Resonance anime series that viewers may see the interpersonal relationships characters developed by their mutual interest.

Unlike most series, Zankyou no Terror’s characters are ambiguous and can be interpreted in different ways.

Zankyou no Terror Nine & Shibazaki

Zankyou no Terror Nine & Shibazaki

Nine’s connection with Detective Shibazaki leads them both into a world of twists. Here, we enter a field where the hunters may be the hunted, but with understanding that comes from compromising others to accomplish goals.

Zankyou no Terror anime series can be seen as a detective series even though it lacks the forefront of storytelling by a first-person point of view.

With the cat-and-mouse game in place, we got many scenes where detective Shibazaki comes close to catching “Sphinx” in particular “Nine”.

At one interesting point, Nine and Detective Shibazaki even worked together because of a common aim.

Zankyou no Terror visuals & chara-design

Zankyou no Terror visuals & chara-design

When it comes to visuals, Terror in Resonance anime series deserves praise as it illustrates the realism of terrorism and destruction.

The breathtaking graphic design depicts the consequences of that with great precession. The chara-design also have a feeling that makes you think they are outsiders.

Nine and Twelve are designed with simple characteristics to make them look typical.

On the other hand, Five has a mischievous look that fits her role appropriately considering her hacking skills.

Finally, there are Lisa and Detective Shibazaki who are designed to look very human.

Zankyou no Terror OST

Soundtrack also plays an important role thanks to the talented Yoko Kanno. Her music delivers the message of a formal tune with lethal preciseness when it comes to portray a theme of loneliness.

The slow pacing of the OST has a significant purpose that it’s trying to depict. In particular, numerous scenes creates a gloomy atmosphere that matches flawlessly with the OST.

Finally, both the Opening and the Ending songs creates the thriller-like vibe to give what the viewers expects: a convincing tale of mind games.

Terror in Resonance Review Conclusion

In conclusion, Zankyou no Terror’s premise prevails despite some of its expected plot points and pacing.

What started as a terrorist plot ends up as mind games and as relationship building that develops naturally.

If you’re looking for an anime series with awesome visuals and OST as well, then you’ll be in for a nice treat.

For a mystery thriller anime, Terror in Resonance definitely requires attention and patience.

And in the end, it’s worth every minute.

Mannou-Sama

A self-proclaimed otaku who have watched more than 1300 anime and aim to watch more than 2000. Japan and its culture intrigue me. I will be recommending you anime that will add both value and entertainment.

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