Zankyou no Terror – 08

Zankyou - 08 -2 shot0043 10.01.23 pm Zankyou - 08 -27

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they say.  Does it work here?

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.

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12 comments

  1. R

    Just to correct, Haruka is actually an engineering student, she just happens to have physics subjects. I also would have loved to see some more of Shibazaki's family story earlier on.

    This ep agave me a sigh of relief, since it felt like the series is finally returning to the main plot points they have presented earlier on. Though I am curious how as to how the "Athena Plan/Rising Peace Academy" plot will play out. Will it be just your typical "evil organization creating supermen" deal or will it be something more intriguing?

    On Five, yeah, still find her a loose piece. But I must say that Megumi Han singing London Bridge actually sounds okay, better than her English speaking lines. That makes me wonder though: If Clarence is a native English speaker and Five is supposed to be fluent in the language herself, then why the heck are they speaking in Japanese when they are by themselves?

  2. N

    This is my first time reading your blog. Any way, I don't feel the need to explore Lisa's back story. It just isn't that interesting from the start. I think Lisa 's role is to humanize Nine and Twelve, showing that they're still care for people and not a single hive mind smart being. What Lisa needs is some character development.

  3. D

    Yeah, I liked this episode better than some of the previous ones as well. Mostly because, well, I like Shibazaki. He's always been a compelling character, and to see him go around and do some old-fashioned police work about the Athena project was pretty interesting. Even if the story has thrown realism out the window, he's still relatable, and now that he's risking it all he seems to be in his element.

    It's almost enough to balance out the tiresome Lisa. All I see when I look at her is wasted potential, as she really hasn't done anything useful yet in the entire series so far. Even at the very start of the episode I already had the feeling she was going to run off and get herself captured again or something. And as the episode progressed, I was proven exactly right. *sigh*

    And Five…ugh, I sincerely hope she dies or something before the end, because I'd very much prefer it if it was just Shibazaki versus Nine and Twelve in the climax. Not much chance of that happening, though…

  4. Z

    Yes. Shibazaki is the man. An actual man to be precise.

  5. A

    Shibazaki should get his own spin-off series. A hard-boiled serious detective show with Shibazaki as the lead would be excellent.

  6. Z

    I would definitely watch a show with our dishevelled detective in the lead role. Great character, just in the wrong show.

  7. Z

    Then again there's always Master Keaton.

  8. J

    That Wilson-ish number after the OP was a surprise. Seems it is "22," with vocals by Ryo Nagano. Too bad his English isn't better.

  9. Yeah, I immediately thought "Some Japanese singer is a huge Beach Boys fan".

  10. H

    Might just be me, but Five is an ESP.

    She must be!

  11. S

    Just as an aside, building a plutonium bomb strikes me as being rather hard, especially if compared to building a "simpler" uranium one – at least if the objective is to have it explode with its full might rather than fizzle (which would still be a pretty bad explosion and would double up as a 'dirty bomb'). On the other hand, plutonium has a lower critical mass than uranium – 'only' a dozen kilograms rather than the 50+ of uranium, though you still need more than that to go 'supercritical' and have an actual full-blown explosion. So how heavy was that ball that Nine and Twelve stole from the nuclear plant at the beginning anyway? At least 15 something kilograms of plutonium (God knows why you'd want to keep more than a critical mass of Pu smashed together in the same place, even with a neutron absorber…), plus the shielding, probably lead (another 10 kg at least), plus whatever they used to stop the reaction, probably boron so that at least isn't much more heavy. But yeah, probably around 30+ kg of stuff that they lifted rather effortlessly. Or they aren't actually going to build a bomb out of it and the show is aware of these limits.

    …sorry, I'm a physicist, I tend to go on tangents U_U.

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