Zankyou no Terror – Episode 11

Welp, here we are. In spite of everyone’s best wishes, the bomb’s been set – nobody wanted this, but this is where alienation has brought us. I’ve really enjoyed this show, and I’m confident it’ll end well, but I can’t say exactly what that ending will be. I doubt it’ll be happy – the context this show is stabbing at isn’t a happy one, and our actual world doesn’t offer any easy solutions to the questions of power dynamics and societal disconnect we’re dealing with here. All I’m hoping for is an ending that stays with you – I think one of art’s highest purposes is holding a mirror to the world, and I think Zankyou is as angry and driven a show as I’ve come across in recent memory. Let’s see it through to the end.

Episode 11

2:15 – Good shot choice. Even before any bombs go off, inciting panic creates casualties. Nine and Twelve are firmly “terrorists” now

Zankyou no Terror

2:41 – He has a pretty great smile

3:28 – In reality, most terrorists are never so conscientious, nor would they be able to get away with something like this for so long. Violence might be the only way to get people’s attention, but it’s nowhere close to a viable answer. It’s the last charge of a cornered animal

3:36 – This doesn’t actually make them any different from normal terrorists. It’s just with most terrorists, the means through which they tell us things are so horrific that whatever their message may be gets lost. But Zankyou is proposing that terrorism and youth activism are just different points on a spectrum that is dictated not just by your actions, but by how those actions are publically framed – not a hard point to make in a world with stuff like WikiLeaks

5:09 – Lovely background

Zankyou no Terror

6:33 – Even if it’s not a physical explosion, a massive EMP would still result in many, many deaths

6:54 – That doesn’t seem reflective of them – that seems more reflective of Shibazaki’s feelings. Nine and Twelve are very good at abusing technology to spread their message, whereas Shibazaki’s the one who constantly sticks to analog, and has to have technical things explained to him

7:11 – Alright, good, they’re addressing it. Along with the obvious problem of all hospitals going dark, and traffic accidents, etc

7:20 – Nine and Twelve’s victory will make Japan even more of a helpless child in comparison to the States. Karma

7:49 – The lighting reminds me of when Shibazaki visited the first project director’s home. A small patch of light in a world of darkness

Zankyou no Terror

8:02 – I love the music they’re using for this finale. No one is happy with this ending

8:59 – Great shot

9:25 – An echo of her earlier line, when he first rescued her. At that time, it felt like a freeing idea, like an escape. Not anymore

9:53 – Key line. Maybe some actual connection between generations could have prevented this

9:57 – And he specifically describes it as “dark”

10:49 – Yep. Destroying the world still doesn’t make anyone happy, but this did

Zankyou no Terror

11:28 – What a moment

12:07 – And now the whole world is dark

13:26 – Aw, jeez. Instead of getting to tell the whole world what happened, this is all that’s left

13:55 – Like on the Ferris wheel, affection through violence

14:20 – And now they actually get to be kids for a moment? This is kind of heartbreaking

Zankyou no Terror

15:11 – You’re killing me Zankyou

15:53 – So maybe they’ll get their wish after all

16:01 – “Broad daylight”

16:59 – Fuuuuuck nooooo. Nobody wins

17:30 – Again, perfect music choice. This is a sad, desperate moment

17:48 – A strangely beautiful shot

Zankyou no Terror

17:57 – Yep. They don’t actually care about the facility – that plays into their power

19:37 – Aw, it kills me

20:18 – So they get to die as heroes, and the incident falls into the past

21:22 – All we got!

And Done

Whew. Yeah, that’s about as optimistic of an ending as I was expecting. It didn’t hit the transcendent peaks of the show’s best moments (Twelve and Lisa on the bike, the Ferris wheel scene, the first episode), but it ended well, and said everything it wanted to say. Nine and Twelve got their “victory,” but the ending doesn’t really provide any answers for the larger questions it raised – and that’s how it should be. I don’t know how we deal with the fundamental societal problems a story like this articulates.

This wasn’t a perfect show, but it was a very good one. An enjoyable, wonderfully articulated ride with a bunch of angry, very relevant themes. I’ll take more of these any time.

23 thoughts on “Zankyou no Terror – Episode 11

  1. Yes. Everyone should turn to terrorism against innocent people if they feel marginalized.

    You’ll ‘win,’ be vindicated, and nobody will forget you. Ever.

    A lesson for the ages.

    • I don’t think the show was actually condoning the violence. But it was also criticizing society, for driving people like Nine and Twelve into such a horrible situation that they were forced to use violence just to be heard.

      • “Forced to use violence just to be heard” Sorry, but if they were smart enough to steal a nuclear bomb and make all those bomb attacks, then they are smart enough to find another way to be heard without killing inocents and destroying Japan.

        And no, having a traumatic experience as a child and being used as test subjects is not an excuse. That’s why humans have values and free will. No one put a gun in their head after they escaped the facility and said “Go terrorize.” There is always another way to be heard and they didn’t take it. Think of the people who died because of the panic and the blackout, what did they have to do with their cause?

        They are naive and childish. Just like Guy Shalev said. After Nine evacuated the subway and was back home, Twelve told him “That explosion wasn’t our fault.” ????? THEY set up a BOMB in a public place. And just because they were expecting someone to defuse it, doesn’t make it any less their responsability. Also, even if they didn’t kill anyone, there is always PTSD and psychological damage that they left in the victims. Just look at the Tokyo subway Sarin gas attack.

        I’m sorry if my reply comes off as ranting, it’s just that I don’t like how self indulgent the show is with it’s premise of terrorism. And also they didn’t show any of the negative after efects of their They were not heroes, they are despicable criminals. They didn’t do anything but make things worse for everyone. Well, maybe it’s just my opinion….

      • @Frank lol sorry but there are exactly no casualties from their motives. And it seems like you missed the points what they did, sadly.

        >> there are no dead victims happened after they done the bomb crime, it’s not all about destroying japan, but rather waking up the japan, revealed the darkness (corruption, the behind project of athena plan) that had been hiding inside of them. Basically the protagonist didn’t have any other way to make people pay attention / seeking on what “the darkness” beside did all the terrorism. No matter what they did other than that, it will just become voiceless.

        The fact they’re naive and childish? Yes. Because what do you expect from the teenagers who are still 17 years old, what do you expect from the orphanage kid who was being the lab experiments that can even resulted them have mental-psychological damage to them. You can’t say they’re not normal and not even feel human, But Still you can’t ignore the fact that they even prepared to discontinue the bomb via mobile device but ended up failed because of five’s interfere. And even they have ended up struggling to find where the bomb was.

        You may seeing them as despicable terrorism, but on the other hand people can see them as revolutionary heroes who revealed behind the “darkness” had happened in japan so they can start over again. The consequences of them doing this is “death” and I’m pretty sure even the protagonists are aware of those thing. This is way they being labeled as anti-hero.

        or probably it’s just basically not your taste to see terrorism use as “bait” to save the world (?) well that’s perfectly fine tho.

  2. It really surprises me how negative the overall response to this show has been. It’s definitely not a perfect show, not even close, but I agree that it definitely said all that it wanted to say pretty ardently. I guess I am somewhat predisposed to message-driven detective thrillers, but I didn’t really have any significant problems with TiR outside of Five’s somewhat mishandled character arc. Even that I don’t think “ruined” the show. The fact that it was was able to tie its messages back to its individual threads was pretty impressive. Echoing the Oedipus mythos by way of youthful rebellion against the state, personifying Japan’s post-WWII nationalism as an aging old authoritarian parental figure, paralleling the cycle of abuse with Japan’s resentment of mean ol’ Grandpa America, the way both Lisa’s parents and Shibazaki’s dead-end career parallel Nine and Twelve’s backstory. I thought that stuff worked really well!

    I see a lot of people complaining that TiR didn’t make any significant or profound statements on terrorism, but I guess I don’t see why it should have to. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really see why bombs and crumbling buildings deserve more reverence and austerity than guns or ninja swords. Gunfire results in magnitudes more deaths per year than terrorism in the US, but nobody accuses Psycho-Pass of not “earning” it’s gun-violence. I remember 9/11, hell I even remember the Oklahoma City bombing and the ’96 Olympic Bombing. Terrorism is a horrific thing, but I don’t think it’s innately more horrific than “conventional” violence. Maybe that makes me a terrible person, I don’t know.

    • I guess people just have crazy expectations of anything Watanabe’s involved in, or something? I also thought the ways it reflected all its various elements off each other was really smart and effective. People seem to be demanding very strange, specific things of this show.

      • Part of it is that the first half of the show veered one way. With sinister characters, grim and gritty atmosphere. People expected commentary on par with Patlabor 2. And it used incredibly charged imagery. The fact that some of the writers were using psuedonyms also added to the “controversial” hype of it.

        And we got some commentary… But honestly that was the weaker part of the show. Then the second-half came and the show veered in the other direction. The show became more about these kids, disenfranchised by the society that’s supposed to protect them, shouting at the world. And I really enjoyed that part of it.

        People are also alot more used to shows… well telling character’s backstories in detail, characters shouting motivations full of passion. The hammer approach to character development rather then the more minimal approach Zankyo took (although I think they revealed enough).

        Well… I like the hammer approach too. I like “Eden: It’s an Endless World” and “Attack on Titan”. But the way the show handled it’s characters just worked for me. Tastes? I don’t know.

      • I suppose that’s entirely plausible. I’m admittedly not a huge fan of Watanabe, so maybe my expectations were tempered a bit. I adore Bebop, but most of his subsequent projects have left me pretty lukewarm overall. TiR is probably his first show in over a decade that I thought was unequivocally good.

    • I think it was a mix of factors. Besides expectations – which are, after all, in the mind of the beholder – the show set up its own premise in a way, and then steered a slightly different one. It never stopped taking itself extremely seriously yet it pulled off some rather ridiculous stunts and most importantly, it strived extremely hard to make the supposed moral conflict not even a conflict. Had it been said that 9 and 12 killed people, which in reality they could not have avoided to, it would have made their position more nuanced. Instead, by the end, Shibazaki, which was horrified at the thought of an atomic bomb, is actually understanding of them. You can be angry against the corruption and still not think that killing thousands of innocents is a viable option to fight against it, right?
      Also, Lisa. Lisa was the viewer’s perspective in all this. And by the end she gets, what? The US helicopter doesn’t try to kill her. (Why? Isn’t she a witness to, oh I dunno, US Air Force illegally operating on Japan’s territory and killing people?) Shibazaki doesn’t arrest her. (Why? Did he really gobble up the ‘hostage’ thing? Did the police not even interrogate her?) And she gets to walk free, both physically and morally. But she shouldn’t be – she made choices and had responsibilities in what happened. She truly was, in all senses, an accomplice. But in this vanilla terrorism that doesn’t kill anyone and therefore is a-okay (never mind the property damage, and all the looting, the rapes and other crimes committed with the help of the complete anarchy caused by the EMP), she gets to come out of it with no guilt and only a bit of sadness and regret for her friends. It’s simplistic. Even a flashy show like Code Geass managed to pose a better moral dilemma by making Lelouche the focus of the story and an overall sympathetic character, yet staining his hands with the blood of lots of innocents. You had to kind of deal with the fact that he had killed Shirley’s father, and Euphemia, and who knows how many others, in the name of his overall just cause. But here the writers were just too afraid that we would suddenly become entirely deaf to 9 and 12’s plea once they stepped out of the comfort zone.

    • Someone on Twitter put it best that Terror in Resonance is a matter of how much you appreciate good characters/story over everything else. Now I thought the show did enough because I believe in “less is more”, but I know some people who thought “less was too little”. You might disagree though.

      @malcolmloo7 Patlabor 2. THAT’s the other anime besides Eden of the East/Un-Go that deals with Japan’s domestic/international issues with its own government I wanted to recommend to Bobduh. Admittedly, whilst it’s ALOT different from its preceding material and stands on its own fine, you might want to watch a bit of the prequel OVA to get familiar with some of the characters. Not so much the first movie.

      • That is an excellent way to put it. I’ll add that I think the past me (let’s say, five-siz years ago) would have probably liked Terror much more. Somewhere along the line I lost the appreciation for points of view that sound too simplistic, on either side of the debate (and specifically the one around terrorism/armed resistance and the likes), and that probably affects heavily how I see this series. Had it been less historically relevant to our present international situation, I would have probably been more lenient towards it.
        Though if seen through the lens of how relevant it is to JAPAN’s specifical situation, then I can’t help but appreciate what was done here, in a time in which anime seem all to push nationalist messages which yearn for Japan’s old glory (from Mahouka to Attack on Titan).

        • Well it’s all a matter of whether you think the stuff it’s saying is delivered in an interesting way. Granted, I think the surface elements are fine on its own, as my most recent post on the anime should indicate, but that’s neither here nor there.

    • Shows don’t have to actually “solve” all the issues they engage with! Zankyou apparently wanted to highlight them, contrast them against each other, and put them in a human context, and I think it succeeded in all of those things.

  3. really great ending in my opinion, brought every single theme explored in the other episodes into one sad climax, and leaves enough questions in your head about morality, communication and rebellion, which is a good thing.
    My only real problem with the show was the intent on making the protagonists very sympathetic.
    Had they killed people with the bombings, it would have raised the tension and stakes, and the Terrorism themes would have been much more insightful, I guess they were just a bit afraid of the audience reaction I dunno.
    Also, Five really seemed like a shoved in villain, she needed more character development, and ironically, more sympathy from the audience.
    All in all, great show, one of the best this year so far, finally an anime with some content and intelect, unlike all the shovelware that has been plaguing anime for so long these last years…

    • I see your pint,but 9 and 12 killing persons would have been completely against everything them and the show stands for.
      This may have been better or worse, but it would be a fundamentally different show.

      Their key world was “Hope”. They had a hopeless life in a desperate world.
      They didn’t have any future (their life was on a timer. They were on a urge).
      This show tries to mix idealism, with a grounded, dark setting. I’m not sure if it did it perfectly, but I think it ws not that bad.

      It was the only way to be heard, with their limited abilities.
      In such a world nearly no one would have listened to them, and even less people wuld have believed them.
      Conversely, If they caused damage to people no one would have listened to their message, and this attention would have been for nothing.

      I can understand the guts reaction against terrorism, especially on the period we’re in (especially for americans, or British), but I think it was a courageous move to make this show now.
      Hope is valuable only because it’s the only thing left for us. It’s the only thing we have to move forward. And this show demonstrated trhis brillantly.

  4. I really enjoyed the show overall, really the one I was most looking forward to each week. But this is a perfect example of how good music can totally change a show. I don’t think I would of enjoyed it nearly as much without the soundtracks that they had picked. It was the highlight for me each week seeing what way they would use the sounds to set the tone for the show.

  5. Oh and I realized something when thinking about this show. They did destroy the world or at least the world around them. All the people in Tokyo gone, they’re the last three people in existence.

      • Not literally the last three people. But the three of them being the last ones in Tokyo, the whole soccer scene. It’s meant to tie into Lisa’s two lines on whether Twelve/Nine was going to destroy the world. The world that disenfranchised all three of them.

  6. I actually don’t think the characters were all that great, TBH, contra many above. This show mostly just has such amazing cinematography that it makes everything else about it appear more profound.

    Seriously, the entire sequence where they are trying to prepare for the EMP is fantastic.

  7. Glad to find a much more nuanced way of portraying this show on this site than what a lot of those guys on ANN have to say about it. “It’s a bad show because Americans are the bad guys and it demonstrates Japan’s inferiority complex towards us.” Yeah… Honestly, did they even watch the show? It was clear from the start this show would end with them going out Antigone-style and someone else having to take over and implement the lessons (hopefully) learned, although quite painfully. What else was the mythology there for, after all? Did anyone not see this coming?

    What a beautifully executed episode of a very good series that sometimes struggled a bit on the way, but provided me with images that will not leave me for quite a while. The only real nuisance and disappointment was Five, being utterly annoying from the very first moment she appeared on screen.

    Watanabe has yet to disappoint me. The images (and the moods attached to them) he can create are pretty much unmatched for me. Lisa and Twelve holding hands while their civilization gets blown to pieces, Nine falling with the feathers falling into the sky (both in the opening sequence and the finale), Nine and Twelve allowing themselves to be kids for 5 minutes before certain doom comes knocking at their door, boy, that was beautiful. If they’d actually DONE something with Five, I might rate this show higher than I would now, but there were so many perfect moments in this that I find it impossible not to like.

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