Zankyou no Terror – Episode 9

Time again for terror! Lisa’s been captured, Twelve’s made his choice, and Nine stands alone. With three episodes left, it seems unlikely this will all end in smiles and rainbows, but I’d sure like for Lisa and Twelve to get out of this, at least. That may defeat the show’s purpose, though – Nine’s anger is just as understandable as their connection, and no one can really escape the world they’re born into. All you can do is adapt or burn the damn thing down.

Incidentally, vestenet made a great post about Zankyou’s historical context over at Isn’t It Electrifying. I’d definitely check that out to see some of the more specific unrest and political circumstances Zankyou’s building on!

Alright, let’s get to terror.

Episode 9

0:34 – I like this line. It works for her while also striking at the common fear here. Kids can be rebellious, but only for so long

Zankyou no Terror

1:40 – And I always love this transition in the opening – Twelve’s boyish smile in the first shot turns menacing when viewed through a sterile camera. The difference between a boy and a terrorist is a matter of distance

3:10 – The police in light, looking through the bars

4:00 – This man’s home is the first “traditional-looking” Japanese home we’ve seen

4:16 – And this is his first line. He’s the opposite of a child, a member of the old guard

4:20 – And even as a representative of the structure itself, he’s now simply an old man living without family. Nine and Twelve aren’t monsters, but neither is he

Zankyou no Terror

5:18 – Wonderful framing for this shot. Light represents the illusion of safety and transparency, but we are always surrounded by darkness. Not to mention the voyeurism implied here

8:31 – It’s very easy to just let things continue

8:59 – You’re powerless as long as they hold the threat of expulsion over you. That sort of makes Hamura the bravest of them, since he has the most to lose

9:31 – On the nose, but yeah. Dehumanization etc. And they continue to call each other by those numbers. We perpetuate what society makes of us

10:20 – Hamura wants to believe life is not like this

Zankyou no Terror

10:32 – I always find the fear of “inhuman AIs dictating our society” pretty funny, because we’re more or less already there. The diffusion of human responsibility across massive organizations removes empathy from the equation – corporations and governments essentially already are our robot oppressors. And nothing is anyone’s fault

11:03 – And again with the framing. A small window of light in the darkness

12:36 – A nice shot

13:33 – The music helps a lot. I’ve never seen a bomb defusal framed as an intimate scene before

Zankyou no Terror

15:30 – Loving this scene. They can only have this conversation in the context of the violence Twelve has learned

16:04 – This shot feels like a companion to this one. The acceptance of family is its own kind of freedom

17:56 – Like with Hamura, it’s much harder to sacrifice when you have something to lose.

19:10 – All she really seems to care about is pulling apart the bonds between them

19:37 – Yep. Just wants them to feel what she felt

Zankyou no Terror

20:38 – Nice shot. Not surprising the lights shut off the moment he betrays Twelve

And Done

Our family is in ruins. That was a strangely lovely little scene with Twelve and Lisa – I really liked that their closest emotional moment was basically mediated by the bombs themselves. And now that the (fairly obvious) full story has been revealed to Shibazaki, it looks like we can move towards the big ol’ finale. I’m ready for the bombs to fall!

13 thoughts on “Zankyou no Terror – Episode 9

  1. Zakyou no Terror has always been really on point when it comes to beautiful shots and framing, but this episode seemed especially lovely to me. In fact, I’d say this episode has been among the best of the series to date. It’s a little odd to think that there’s now so little left to go – I think only 2 episodes? I could be wrong, but I thought ZnT was only going to be 11 episodes in total.

  2. So why do you think a happy end for Lisa and Twelve would go against the shows purpose? I actually thought the opposite myself, since it was the only genuine human connection anyone’s made so far..

    Also, If you look at the lights on the Ferris Wheel, you’ll notice one side was Yellow and the other Blue. Twelve was standing on the yellow side. I thought it was very clever way to frame his choice.

    • Not in any thematic sense, but this show seems very angry, and a happy ending might dilute its point. It doesn’t seem like Zankyou wants to coddle its viewers.

      Didn’t notice that point about the Ferris Wheel, nice catch!

  3. A great episode. The framing, shots, suspense, OST. You name it.

    I’ve read a lot of backlash about Lisa’s character. A lot of people feel the ‘damsel in distress’ element brings an uneeded element into the story. I tend to disagree. I think that it shows how despite the atrocities commited to them during their childhood, Nine and specially Twelve preserve a capacity for empathy and ultimately love that clearly Five lost in the process. Lisa might be a bit of a plot device, but she serves an important purpose.
    Like you, I don’t expect a happy ‘lovey’ ending. Watanabe rarely delivers those. Bittersweet might be the best he can do.

    • Yeah, I think Lisa’s extremely important to this story. And even if her being captured twice isn’t interesting storytelling, she actually has made strong personal choices throughout the narrative, so I think calling her a damsel in distress is too much of a simplification.

  4. Very nice job talking about the production design/framing for the show. TIR has been one of the best directed shows this year, if not the best directed one. It brings a lot to the show.

    I’m pretty impatient for the show to end. I haven’t enjoyed the back half of the show as much as I did the first part, but there’s still room for the last few episodes to seal the deal. How the show ends is going to have a very big impact on my final opinion.

    • Yeah, this show’s direction is fantastic. It’s pretty absurd comparing stuff like this and Ping Pong to… well, pretty much any other show.

      And yeah, I also hope it ends well. I don’t know what that ending would be, but I guess I’ll know it if I see it.

      • Yup, both Yuasa and Watanabe are pretty singular talents. Their level of craft puts them in a class that most other anime just doesn’t really compare to, direction-wise anyway.

        As for the ending? I’m not really sure how it will end either. But I imagine it won’t be a happy one. Things didn’t end well for Oedipus OR the Sphinx. Usually goes the same way for terrorists, too.

  5. Zankyo no Terror is definitely well-crafted and says some interesting things. But… the conspiracy plot is hampered by the fact that it’s been done before. Maverick detective, pairing an older experienced detective with a younger more by the book one. Asked to leave his badge behind. Political conspiracy. Even the Athena plan has been done before…

    But the bomb-defusing scene was pretty brilliant and more then makes up for it. It’s still a well-written, extremely well-directed show.

    The last episode split between Twelve and Nine made me thought the show was going to try to have it’s cake and eat it. With Twelve staying the good guy, and Nine pushing his way to the villain part. Now… well… not so sure. Oepidus was a tragedy about how a king learning the truth caused him to gorge out his eyes…

    • Eh, “been done before” doesn’t really matter to me, and I don’t think the overt plot matters so much as both its execution and what it’s used to talk about. Actually, I think the simplicity of the overt narrative kind of helps, because there’s no real confusion even from the beginning for the audience – the show can use broad narrative strokes to avoid being caught up in its own plot details. I think it’s when the show does get caught up in its own plot (like the airport episode) that it falters.

      • Hm. I think it was because of the expectation the show put on you. It seemed like it was trying to build up a reveal that would be horrifying. IE Oepidus, the truth behind the creation of his state was too much for him to bear. Just as the duo are trying to reveal the truth behind the state of Japan. The big reveal wasn’t as impactful as it should’ve been. Although you could argue that was the point, after all they telegraphed it pretty hard.

        And I generally don’t care for stock-characters… which is what the two detectives seem to still be. The only truly interesting thing about Kenjiro is probably his experiences in Hiroshima. Which I hope gets a payoff tying in to whatever the hell Nine is planning with the bomb.

        It was less of the plot stuff and more of this moment should be horrifying, why isn’t it horrifying?

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