Zankyou no Terror – Episode 8

A new Zankyou! And it couldn’t come soon enough – with both Barakamon and Zankyou on break, last week was pretty much a barren anime wasteland. I’ve had to sustain myself by actually paying attention to what’s happening in videogames, which is something I would never recommend to any human being. Anyway! The last episode of Zankyou was Hollywood as all hell, but I doubt the entire show is suddenly going to tumble into meaningless action movie territory. I’m guessing this episode will be more of a cooldown, and Zankyou’s generally at its best when it gives its ideas room to breathe – plus, I’m very interested in seeing how the events of last episode impact both the relationships of our three young terrorists and Shibazaki’s career prospects. Let’s get down to terror!

Episode 8

2:38 – And the feathers return. A beautiful, ominous image – it makes me think the story really will end with ashes falling across the city. The show’s constantly contrasting white and black, so these rising feathers eventually being replaced by a falling black rain would not surprise me

This song’s also interesting – a very loud and attention-drawing choice, fitting with how much Watanabe likes to let his stories ride on music

Zankyou no Terror

2:59 – Nicely composed shot

3:25 – The lack of casualties so far is certainly improbable, but it’s pretty important to this story. Not only does it illustrate who our young terrorists really are, and how little they understand of the world, but it’s also reflective of their larger status as “children” to both the police and society. The repressed are allowed to act out in certain ways, but once they cross a certain invisible line, they switch from being children to being monsters

4:07 – “You stepped outside of the system. If you disobey it again, there won’t be reentry for you, either here or elsewhere.” I’m sure many of my readers understand the absurd job system of “you can’t get a position without experience, you can’t get experience without a position,” but it doesn’t get that much easier when you’re older. Jobs are precious in a world where our population is outstripping our labor requirements

4:50 – Unsurprising. I’d say this show has an unrealistically cynical view of the police, but… I mean, you seen the news this last month? Individual people are good, but organizations often lean towards preservation of a dominant culture

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4:57 – Lighting again. The chief staring into the white light, Shibazaki now fully in darkness

5:30 – Wonderful shot. The police chief stares out from the shadows, surveying the bright, beautiful surface of his society. At least the modern world looks pretty

5:45 – Thanks, Nine

6:02 – Like Nine and Twelve, Shibazaki is unsurprisingly disconnected from any idea of family. Does this confirm he’s not Lisa’s father? I guess we don’t quite know yet

6:08 – Yep. Can’t even remember his daughter’s major – a nice character detail that also pushes the plot forward

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6:39 – I live how he’s framed against the calendar here

7:03 – This show has wonderfully specific expressions. Instead of relying purely on the eyes, we actually get a lot of work with cheekbones and whatnot

7:07 – Lisa nooo

7:30 – Well that’s not suspicious at all. It’d be pretty like Five to discover where her enemies are hiding out, and then only use that information to kidnap Lisa just to fuck with them again

7:42 – Goddamnit Five. I think I’m actually kind of accustomed to the extra level of troll she adds to this narrative

8:00 – Very pretty shot

Zankyou no Terror

8:09 – Yep, Lisa tried to cook again. At least she saved the ladle!

8:45 – That painting really helps the visual composition of this shot. Whiteness emanates from Five, but there is blackness outside of her halo

9:13 – She’s not getting the game she wants, and even her allies treat her like the unruly child she is


10:05 – Shibazaki at his books again

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10:45 – True friendship

11:24 – As Five said, their friendship with Lisa is a weakness. Nine wants to accelerate the plan, which makes sense, but at this point, Twelve actually has something to lose. It’s easier when they themselves are simply weapons, figments of a cause – the cruel truth is that the human connections that make live tolerable within inhuman systems also make us less able to throw ourselves against those systems. Like in The Handmaid’s Tale, if we can find some measure of human comfort even in the worst circumstances, we often no longer possess the resolve to challenge them

11:36 – Yep. Though extreme actions are often born out of indoctrination into a hardline philosophy, they can also be born of isolation, and Twelve no longer feels alone

12:20 – Man, I love Shibazaki’s visual design

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12:30 – Speaking of “ties making us vulnerable”

12:45 – “You’re a detective! How dare you say this!” The interaction between the labels we put on jobs and what they actually entail is pretty funny

12:50 – And now Shibazaki’s in the opposite position of Twelve – because he no longer has any attachments to the society he was just barely clinging to, he can move against it in the way Nine wants to

12:55 – I love the contrast between his expression here and his false smile on the poster. When it comes down to it, he cares about his actual family more than the system he’s supporting

13:32 – Learning to forgive or forget is the enemy of conviction

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13:38 – Making the cynical, practical call

14:12 – A cute detail. That’s one way to avoid the system!

15:00 – Also a nice detail. Of course they have their fans

16:15 – And again they make this episode’s fundamental conflict clear. He wants to help, but he’s not only responsible for himself

16:40 – Lisa gets so many of the best shots

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17:33 – Yep. It’s just a function of how good we are at deligitimizing unrest, or sanitizing it over time

17:48 – Back to the same spot where she first met Twelve after running away. There’s still nowhere else to escape to

19:11 – Yep. They’re still in the category where they’re allowed to be likable, where they are a safe threat. If they go too far, they’ll become inscrutable – from “boys with a cause” to “what could have brought people to do such a thing?” It’s easier if these instincts are inhuman


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19:58 – Again, the framing of this shot is great

20:33 – Yes, it is. But that’s still important

21:08 – Very different from last time. It’s not the calculated “we should distance her from ourselves,” it’s “please, as my family”

And Done

Whew! I was a little worried after last episode, but this one returned us squarely to this show’s big thematic concerns – identity in modern society, trying to create a “home,” the dehumanization of culture, the “other-ing” of unrest, etc. All great stuff, and all handled very well here, with this particular episode hanging on that idea of “what ties you to the system, what makes you vulnerable” – as Twelve becomes more unable to let go of his life here, Shibazaki falls further into not-giving-a-fuck. At this point, I’m feeling pretty confident the show will end well – it’s exploring its ideas, we know its characters well, and all the narrative pieces are lining up. I’m very happy to see it holding together.

9 thoughts on “Zankyou no Terror – Episode 8

  1. My first reaction to the deliver was “don’t let the guy in! don’t accept the delivery!”. Man, considering the chance the guy would have left it on the doorstep or taken it somewhere else, that would have been terrible! That bomb plan Five made had /so/ many potential things that can go wrong with it…

  2. Man I love reading these. They are so much easier, and more enjoyable to read when they flow orderly like this then the wall of text you have going at the other site. I really hope you go back to doing this for the rest of the shows, its a real shame to restrict you to just vomiting words at us.

    • Sadly, I don’t really have the option to do that – ANN have their formatting, and all I can do is adjust and try to do my best within it. I’m still getting used to those, though, so hopefully I can get that to a place where you’re also able to enjoy it.

  3. Just caught up with ZnT. Personally I am a bit baffled by the portrayal of Five’s actions in collaboration with FBI. I mean, lots of civilians were endangered by them – are we supposed to believe that this is just a consequence of american secret services simply not giving a fuck or what? It really looks like pushing the envelop a bit too far (also because the small fries like Shibazaki aren’t fed outright lies, they’re just told to keep out of this with threats and that makes the corruption and the questionable things going on very transparent). Of course if there was some explanation to them later on (is it a rogue division of FBI? Is the danger posed by whatever was stolen even greater than we suppose it is? What’s Sphinx ultimate target?) I could be happy with it and call it a day.

    Small aside, am I the only one who thinks Five looks like a fusion between Near from Death Note and Ragyo from Kill la Kill?

    • It definitely does push the show further than anything else, and she definitely does look like a combination of those two characters. Five is just very unabashedly the most absurd thing in this show.

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  5. Bit late here, yay for simulcast delays, but one thing stood out to me in the episode and you mentioned it as well
    “17:33 – Yep. It’s just a function of how good we are at delegitimizing unrest, or sanitizing it over time”
    And I disagree with this! While there certainly are violent and non-violent protests the vast majority that people think well of later on, which is what the characters here are doing, thinking of a hypothetical future past, start out nonviolent. Twelve and Nine’s terrorism is not only a different sort of protest than the student protests alluded to in this episode (and like the kind you saw in France and the US at the same time) but they also dance with the idea that they could hurt people if they wanted to, they aren’t fighting on behalf of others but threatening to hurt others for their own fight. I do wish the series had focused more on that and all of Nine and Twelve’s moral ambiguity, the problem with these short shows is that it feels like everything clears up way too fast and these ideas really feel unexplored right now…. (and tell if me if that didn’t make sense and I can rephrase it, attempting to comment with a headache was not my smartest idea)

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