Maybe it wasn’t the worst time in the world for Zankyou no Terror to go on a break, because my esteem for the show had reached a low ebb after Episode 7. I came into this one feeling if not rambunctious and eager, at least strongly curious to see if the series could recapture some of the charm it possessed over the first five episodes. Of course there are one or two things that have changed since then, and the fact that those are here to stay likely limits the upside Terror in Resonance can aspire to. But on the whole, this was certainly a step up.
There’s nothing groundbreaking or revelatory about Zankyou no Terror – that ship sailed pretty early on. But absent the rampant silliness of the last two action-picture episodes, this one was solidly entertaining. The best thread here is the long-distance relationship between Shibazaki and Sphinx, and that was the main focus of this episode. I’m not going to say the plot is believable in this persona, but it does at least feel connected to reality in a way it doesn’t when Five is camping it up and the show is in full Bruckheimer mode.
What we have at the moment is Shibazaki in full rogue cop mode. It always seemed like he was destined to end up there anyway, so in a sense getting “indefinitely suspended” was almost liberating for him. I’m not quite sure how he’s getting in to talk to people without a badge to flash, but setting that aside he’s certainly having some interesting conversations this week – starting with his daughter Haruka (Ueda Reina). Conveniently enough she’s a university student majoring in
physics engineering, and along with weak barley tea she can give dear old Dad some advice on just how feasible it us for a couple of punters to turn Plutonium into a bomb (not too easy, but not impossible). In a better series the relationship between father and daughter might have been a major component – it would have fleshed out Shibazaki’s character considerably – but I was glad it at least got a cameo.
Shibazaki’s investigation of the boys’ past and his complicated dance with them has always been the most compelling part of this series, at least intellectually. Bits and pieces are being filled in – the key being the secret “Athena Project” that Rising Peace instigated to ferret out the top geniuses from orphanages around Japan. Shibazaki is using blackmail on witnesses and strong-arming friends still inside the department to risk their careers to help him – he’s definitely in “nothing left to lose” mode, and that makes him even more interesting. A lot of ink (and maybe not just ink) has been spilled to keep all this off the public record, and as Shibzaki inches closer to the truth he’s surely beginning to see Nine and Twelve as something more than simply terrorists.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel as positively about the role of Lisa and Five in the story. Five continues to compromise the verisimilitude of the show whenever she pops up, both with her actions and her behavior. But it’s Lisa that’s the real disappointment for me, because she seems to have been reduced to a stock role as the dojikko, and the one who gets Arata and Touji into trouble with her incompetence and bad judgement. I had high hopes for her – she was the emotional heart of the series at first. But as the show progressed it’s become obvious that there’s no “there” there with Lisa – the series simply doesn’t care enough about her backstory to explore it enough to make her into a real person. She’s not a character, she’s a prop, and as such there’s only so much that she can bring to the story.
As it stands now Lisa had managed to bumble her way into getting caught by Five, thus putting the boys in danger yet again – and causing a split between them besides. The sooner this is resolved the better, because I really want to see what happens when Shibazaki gets close to the truth and the boys have a moment of reckoning about how far they’re willing to go to expose it. But I fear that Five is going to be deeply involved in every aspect of the denouement up to and including the climax, and – while I seriously hope I’m wrong – right now it’s hard for me to imagine Watanabe putting together something really special as long as that’s the case.