Zankyou no Terror – 6

BADDO ENGURISHU, LOSILLY.ENGRISHL.

It’s actually funny, since the English itself was decently written. It’s just that Japanese studios still haven’t figured out how to hire English voice actors for more than one or two lines.
 
As usual, Zankyou no Terror fails to notice its internal contradictions and other bullshit. For the past five episodes, the genius terrorists have been setting off bombs in public buildings and areas. Let me say that again: they bombed the Tokyo Metropolitan Building, bombed an unevacuated police station, almost bombed a shrine, and now they just bombed a major metropolitan subway station. Despite this, multiple times in this episode they remark on how they’re really NOT mass murderers who aren’t playing a game. I lost count of how many times I remarked “you mean just like you’re doing?” when they condemned Five’s antics. Her actions and the terrorists’s actions are more or less indistinguishable; the only difference is that she doesn’t possess the aegis of the writers who have written off all their poorly-conceived bombings as somehow death-free, which automatically makes them “good” in their mind. Even this last one where they set a bomb in one of the busiest subway stations in the country in one of the most densely populated areas of the world results in only a few dozen injuries. No deaths. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
 
Do you *still* think this is a good anime? Because it’s far from it. This show fails in every literary facet. Last week’s scenario was somewhat exciting and tense because it was a change of pace from the one-sided puzzles that failed to establish our protagonists’ motivations or reasons despite having a third of a normal anime season to do so. Now they’ve just revealed a villain who is only a villain because of writer fiat. So this episode crumbles into boredom. To wit, I don’t know why these protagonist genius terrorists are supposed to be “good”; I don’t know why Five is supposed to be bad. Is it because she giggles? Is it because she’s American? It is because she’s playing chess with an airport bombing scenario–you know, just like our terrorist duo have done four times in a row on national television? Hey, idiots: if you’re worried about your actions being misinterpreted and hijacked to cause mass murder, it’s probably not a good idea to take actions that lead directly to mass murder. Like bombing public institutions. Why should I care about this conflict if the main enemy is doing something only slightly different from what these protagonists have been? The question “what if something goes wrong?” rears its screaming head without ceasing. Lo! Something goes wrong and the protagonists are fucked. Pardon me while I muster up some tears.
 
So it’s episode 6 out of 11 and I still don’t know what’s going on. What is Aizen Sousuke the Younger after? Why did they steal nuclear material and get America involved? Why is America even involved in such a capacity? In a more practical scenario, you might have some American experts working alongside their Japanese counterparts in an advisory capacity; they would not be heading up a secret team of American operatives with EXTREMELY TOPICAL MASS SURVEILLANCE EQUIPMENT operating inside a foreign country unless the Japanese government expressly requested their direct aid. And this is what I hate about this series the most: it doesn’t take much thought to devise a similar scenario that’s far more plausible. Have the Japanese government innocently request American help, then have just Five and her handler come in and subtly manipulate the Japanese team. Do you really have to insult both Japan and America by acting like the Japanese Cabinet just swallows orders from America without question or protest?
 
It’s really sad to see Yoko Kanno working her magic on such a useless series. In quaint irony, I was just listening to some Cowboy Bebop songs the other day. What I really miss in anime is that mature ring of majesty it used to hold its head high with. There’s none of that here. No Ballad of Fallen Angels, no Real Folk Blues. Just dull, somber, trite commentary trying oh so hard to be relevant. It’s the perfect example of putting the cart before the horse. No amount of social commentary can make Aizen Sousuke the Younger interesting; no amount of badly Engrish’d hacking scenes can make Five a compelling foe. If you hit upon a creative spark and forge a cast of memorable characters that we care about, everything else tends to fall into place on its own. Zankyou no Terror tastes like ash, with all its tropes, easy choices, and unremarkable characters. Anime has such incredible potential to ponder things in a way no other medium can. It’s always a crying shame to see it wasted so carelessly.

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