Ph for Philosophy – Sides of a Coin

SILLY.WRONGSomehow I’ve already gotten several scathing comments about my opinions about Zankyou no Terror, one of them telling me I’m a lonely, depressed weaboo (I’m still not sure what that means) who only wants to see titties in anime. This person obviously did not read anything I’ve ever written on this blog, so that one found itself in an Aperture Emergency Intelligence Incinerator. I hope it’s screaming. Another comment I got, which I did approve, basically asked me unironically if I’m taking this whole anime thing way too seriously. I have a long answer to that which can be summarized in the comic to your left. Read on if you are so interested.

First: go read the Gundam Wing review I have linked at the top of the screen, then look up the meaning of the word “sarcasm” or “bombastic.” If you think my soul is writhing in anguish over how much I thought Zankyou no Terror sucked, you need to put more points in your Perception skill. This is something I do for fun, and as any critic knows, lambasting something in a dramatic way is loads of fun, especially when it unequivocally deserves it.

Two: look up the word “passion.” This is the other side of the coin of slightly-feigned rage you see on here. I love anime. I grew up on it; it’s influenced me greatly and I respect and adore what the medium can and has achieved. This means, interestingly enough, that I have some expectations and standards towards the medium, and while I can appreciate a mindless Dragon Ball Z here and there, much as I can watch something as dumb as True Blood for shits and giggles and think nothing of it, I do go into my viewings with a sharpened critical edge. From what I’ve seen in anime fandom, this is something of a rarity, as most people who watch anime on a regular basis, for one reason or another, do not use their brains when watching and eat shit up regularly.

The biggest problem with anime today is its fans. No, not the otaku who supposedly live in their parents’ basements and collect every action-figure of Love Hina you can think of. There are dorks like that for everything; I’ve met nerdy sports fans whose worship of their favorite activity would shame those of any otaku. Frankly, more power to them. I speak of those just below that level of commitment and passion:  the people who “love” anime in the most shallow and self-indulgent way possible, the ones who will buy anything with the term “anime” attached to it and love it to death because reasons. There are the legendary “250,000 otaku” in Japan who buy the same DVDs and stuff over and over again, but across the sea in Europe and America, there lurk their brethren of only a slightly different sort. These people have been watching anime for decades without learning a significant amount of Japanese or bothering to study up on the culture that so profoundly shapes nearly everything you see in the medium, stuff that, to me, sticks out like a sore thumb every time. These are the people who shout “kawaii!” unironically, actually sport some cat-ears and think it’s really funny/cool, think they know the difference between -san and -kun and how oh-so important they really are in English translations, think the Gundam franchise is still something worth watching, and yet somehow never develop any sort of sense of criticism or insight into the medium they profess to enjoy. These people infuriate me, because they have actively contributed to the continued decline of anime as a medium over the past decade.

I know this makes me sound like something of a hipster. Feel free to call me such, although I was watching anime when it started getting cool, not before. I have no memories of the pain of getting subs off VHS tapes or other legends I’ve heard of. I grew up in the Internet age of anime just fine, thanks, and I came into the anime on one of its waves of popularity. I do think I grew up in one of anime’s golden ages: the decade from 1995 to 2005, when shows like Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, etc., were all typical examples of what the medium was. This was anime at its best: a different take on so many themes combined with generations of cinematic and storytelling skill. None of these shows were without their flaws, but I can guarantee you that if Zankyou no Terror had been released in this period, it would have been laughed out of the room. Nowadays, though, Zankyou no Terror is “high anime.” Apparently “high anime” qualifies as plots that can’t even pass Storytelling 101, and all you have to do is fill out a form of vaguely intelligent tropes to make it seem kinda-sorta-thoughtful, and then everyone loves it. Geez, I don’t know how many times I rolled my eyes during Zankyou no Terror’s premiere: I knew basically what the story was before the first episode was finished. These are flaws that, in a Western book or show, these same anime fans would lampoon and deride as fiercely as I have, but since they view anime through an obfuscated cultural lens, they can’t recognize crap if it sits on their heads.

These anime fans are incapable of recognizing bad anime. Worse, they cannot comprehend why anime would be bad. They don’t even know what something like that would look like. Their worship of anime is truly insidious: that zombie-esque adoration that comes from not understanding another culture. When I talk about Japanese culture in Sword Art Online, I’m pointing out the grinding flaws and injustices of modern Japanese society that lurk between the lines. These reflect real problems that contribute to real suffering. When I point out how anime tends to offer only two options for a person–normal/conforming or psychopathic murderer–I’m perceiving a debilitating message reinforced to the Japanese viewer that these zombie-fans dismiss or miss because of culture. That message wasn’t meant for them, but their minds don’t even recognize it. It’s just normal or Japanese-y or something. It’s as blatant and insulting as typical racist stunts in American TV shows, something I know people are insulted by, but then again, that’s their culture and they grasp the implications. Japan is just another world, so they turn off their brains and let even the most brazen shit fly under their radar. Shows like Girls und Panzer, which have prepubescent schoolgirls driving tanks around in silly scenarios, reflect the creepy, misogynist sexual culture of Japan. The fans I speak of look at that and giggle: “Oh, it’s just Japan! They’re crazy!” Meanwhile, I see “Oh, look, way to degrade women in a new and innovative way yet again, Japan.” Those kinds of shows are bullshit, and you wonder why poorly developed female characters like Lisa show up everywhere.

Speaking as someone of Asian descent, I find it hilarious when people go to Asian countries or behold Asian antics on the Internet and get a taste of real Asian culture, all the dark sides that sit beneath the well-lacquered surface of saving face. Take the League of Legends World Championship. People are shocked, shocked, to find out that most Asians are horrifyingly racist, misogynist, nationalist, jingoist fucktards, but then they watch Girls Und Panzer or Zankyou no Terror while gleefully shoving popcorn into their mouths. I’m sorry, what didn’t tip you off to this? The fact that nine-year-old girls in sexualized military outfits are driving tanks? You think that’s a healthy thing to depict? Uh, no, you idiots, and culture doesn’t fucking excuse it. Or how some random Americans can bully the Japanese government around without any explanation? What do you think that said to the Japanese viewer? What do you think that said to you? Hey, did you ever think about how the Americans might have a legitimate reason to be concerned about Japan building nuclear weapons in secret? Did you ever bother to analyze what was going on? Because it’s not gonna change if you keep letting this horseshit get away scott-free.

I’ve been reading other people’s reviews of Zankyou no Terror. They’re exactly what I thought they would be: “the finale was flawless, everything was resolved, no threads hanging. What a fantastic show!” Oh, really? By what standard? By what measure was Zankyou no Terror good? Because Yoko Kanno wrote the music? Can you give me a damn good reason why this show was worth our time? You ate it up because it tickled your brain, not because it made you think, and you sure as hell didn’t consider how the show could have been improved or how its message and plot made no sense whatsoever. You liked it because it was “anime.” That’s it. Not because the anime gave you anything substantial. It’s anime, so it gets a free pass on anything and everything.

I criticize anime so mercilessly because I love it. I have passion for it and really want to see it surprise and astound me with its potential. Few shows changed my life more than my first viewing of Stand Alone Complex sometime back in 2005. A futuristic show that explored social changes in the light of technological advances? It was mindblowing. Now we get this crap, and even anime directors are recognizing the medium is spinning its wheels at best. I’m pretty sure it’s not my semi-hipster brain imagining things. Anime is not what it used to be, and it’s fans like these that perpetuate the cycle. If you keep acting like nothing in anime is ever wrong, if nothing is worth ridiculing, if nothing is worth writing pointed blog posts on the Internet, then those studios will keep cranking out the same nonsense. I have standards when I watch anime, and if those standards aren’t met, I speak my mind. Episode 9 of Zankyou no Terror was superb; that makes me even angrier when I realize the ten other episodes of the series weren’t worth the paper they were printed on.

Excuse me for caring.

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Zankyou no Terror – 11

It’s settled: this sSILLY.FUCK-YOUeries is a complete piece of shit. Not even Yoko Kanno’s music could save it.

Nothing paid off. There were no answers. No resolutions. Zilch. Jackshit nada. Nine and Twelve just fucking die, and that was the best part of the episode: these two crazed, psychopathic, murderous fucks finally bit the bullet (in Twelve’s case, literally) and got what they fucking deserved. Meanwhile, they detonate a nuclear bomb in the stratosphere under impossible conditions (did you know a simple hot-air balloon can outclimb a fucking F-16 or its weapons components?), scattering radiation all throughout the earth’s atmosphere, destroying dozens if not hundreds of satellites, blinding tens of thousands if not millions of people, horrifically damaging Japan’s geopolitical position and social stability, and destroying the country’s entire electronic infrastructure, thereby sending the whole country plunging into a massive economic depression and wreaking untold suffering and havoc on over one hundred and twenty million innocent people for years. WHAT FABULOUS HEROES. WHAT PARAGONS OF VIRTUE. HUMANITY APPLAUDS YOU.

Oh, but “Von” means “hope” in Icelandic. That all makes up for it, right? That was the payoff we were all waiting for, right? I forgot that Shibazaki somehow represented Oedipus. To which I answer: HOW? HOW THE FUCK DOES SHIBAZAKI REPRESENT OEDIPUS? HIS CHARACTER AND ROLE HAD NO RESEMBLANCE TO HIM WHATSOEVER. DID YOU EVEN READ THE GODDAMN PLAY, YOU FUCKWITS? OEDIPUS IS A COSMIC TRAGEDY. THIS IS A FUCKING COMEDY OF STUPID.

This inane statement by Nine totally fits with Sphinx’s whole MO of incompetent terrorism that ultimately had no rhyme or reason behind it. It was just a childish tantrum of revenge against Japanese society for crimes a handful of politicians inflicted on them in secret. I was happy when Twelve got shot. I really was, even though there was no reason for the Americans to shoot him over the guy holding the detonator. Why not just shoot Nine instead? Oh, wait. They had to kill off Twelve first so that everything would be tied up in a neat little bow and seem poignant to idiots watching this show. This is not how you make an anime. This is never how you should make an anime. No one must ever make an anime this insultingly pretentious and grossly ill-constructed ever again.

Yoko Kanno can do wrong. I’m sorry, but it’s true. No one’s perfect, and some people are going to hell, specifically all the people whose names flashed onscreen during the last three minutes. Excuse me, I have to go call Light Yagami and tell him to get on that shit.

Zankyou no Terror – 10

What a fantastiSILLY.LOST-THE-PLOTc penultimate episode, closing out some lingering plot lines and using characters to their fullest to create a dramatic connection with its viewers, all the while setting the stage for Le Finale Grande. I was truly impressed.

The above is a very bad joke.

Yeah, this episode sucked, probably because the series tried to pull out a climax out of characters it never bothered to develop past the outline stage, since it was so busy distracting the viewer with LOL WE READ OEDIPUS plots. Maybe I might have cared a bit about Five and her relationship with Nine had it actually existed. You know, had we seen it played out in some concrete fashion. Had we been shown why she was so obsessed with Nine, why they had a connection, what kind of past they had, etc. Maybe we might have cared about Twelve’s depression after “betraying” Nine had we seen any sort of friction between their characters before the ninth fucking episode. Maybe all of this might have worked had the writers of Zankyou no Terror gone back to school and learned the basic structure of a plot and the basic mechanics of character development.

But fuck that. Once again we have a plot that makes no sense, all of which would have been prevented had the fucking police had bulletproof glass in the van carrying Nine. This is a standard feature of police vehicles, I’m pretty sure. This would have stopped Five’s measly handgun from shooting out the driver and setting up the absurd situation in which the episode ended. In the space of about three minutes the characters die multiple times but continue living anyway because of plot inertia. And then finally Five kills herself in her last throes after kissing Nine (meaning what?) and shooting the leaking fuel with her gun. Okay. Was that supposed to carry any emotional weight whatsoever? Because it didn’t. Who fucking cares.

Our grand climax turns out to be another absurd scenario where Nine lets loose a fucking atomic bomb to float in a hot-air balloon above the streets of Tokyo. How is this supposed to be a problem for the authorities to resolve? Hey Joe, what’s with the hot air balloon floating smack dab in the middle of the city? That seems kinda odd. Maybe we should go check on it. And how does this make Nine anything but one of the most monstrous terrorists in the history of the world? Threatening the most populous metropolitan area in the world (40 million people and counting!) with a fucking atomic bomb. Oh Yay! I’m totally rooting for him now! Who the fuck is the main character in this series? Who is the protagonist? Who is the antagonist? What are they doing? Why are they doing it? What the fuck is going on? How about some fucking answers?

Let me guess: Nine’s gonna teach the people of Japan a lesson about their terrible government and blah blah blah blah blah blah. Fuck you. You don’t have to whine whatever sobstory about how the government mistreated you or preach some forced geopolitical mantra by threatening forty million innocent people with nuclear annihilation. Fuck you, Nine. Fuck you, Zankyou no Terror. Fuck your shitty writing team and its hack, undergraduate prose. Fuck this pretentious bullshit.

I’m gonna go do something fun and wait for next’s week batshittery.

Zankyou no Terror – 9

Had every episode SRS.TRAGEDY-COULD-HAVE-BEEN of Zankyou no Terror been like this, it would have been a great series. There was tension, drama, cinematography, compelling choices, solid exposition, and real character development. In particular, I highly enjoyed the slow, careful pace the episode took with the bomb sequence, adding weight to it while simultaneously allowing both the viewer and characters to step back and consider what was going on among Nine, Lisa, and Five. Instead of turning this into some mind-numbing, last-minute-disarm-the-bomb action trope, we got to see some character development finally deliver on its promise, with each player, even Five to some degree, revealing new things about themselves. At last, the series sets itself up for its finale and throws the characters into their final confrontation.

Amazing how it failed to do this effectively for the past nine episodes, wasting all that time to accomplish so little. You might as well watch the first episode, maybe the fifth, and this one, and you’d end up at the same point as if you’d watched all the others in sequence. We just found out that Japan might have been developing a nuclear weapon, a shocking thing to say the least, given the country’s geopolitical position, popular sentiments, and the Japanese constitution that forswears the right to wage offensive war ever again. This single idea carries more substance than everything else that’s happened in the entire series, especially the cliched Unit 731 shit about savant children that was telegraphed into the ground. Why didn’t it just capitalize on this concept? Seriously, does anybody still remember those stupid Oedipus plots? Or the references to the Apocrypha? Or the fucking airport sequence? Anybody still care about those elaborate plots to blow up buildings? Nope.

I don’t think you could have asked for a better lesson on the importance of execution. Zankyou no Terror had all the trappings and foundations of a good series, but missed the forest for the trees. Characterization and drama are more about potentially small, yet deep moments between characters that you set up over time, rather than flashy sequences to get the adrenaline flowing and the brain shut off. Moments like what happened between Nine and Lisa here make a series memorable, not clever nods at obscure texts to make things seem revelatory to the dull-edged mind. The framing, the pacing, the simple-yet-impossible challenge presented to Nine, Lisa overcoming her insecurities somewhat, and Five revealing she cares way more about driving a wedge between her two rivals, the only two people in the world she has any connection to, than the legitimate concerns of the American government–all of that was light-years ahead in quality compared to Clarence the Henchman locking Lisa away on an airplane in some cockamamie scheme. And we didn’t even need Five grinning and painting her nails to make it serious and threatening.

God, kids, maybe this series might have a decent conclusion. It’ll still be a disaster, but we might be able to salvage something out of this trainwreck. No putting the breaks on the Crazy Train now. Only two more stops.

Zankyou no Terror – 8

SILLY.BORED

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORED.

If I want to entertain myself by watching people talk for half an hour, I’ll go rewatch Stand Alone Complex. This is not that. There was nothing redeeming about this episode whatsoever. It dithered about trying to be pensive, foreboding, and tense, but didn’t get close to any one of them. To make matters worse, despite all the nominal “exposition” we got in this episode, none of it amounted to anything that we didn’t already know. Shibazaki gets fired and blackmails some Cliche Corrupt Japanese Politician, whose face looks like they copy-pasted some old Japanese dude’s Facebook profile, to find out that the Japanese government did some Unit 731-type sociological experimentation on orphans. Man, what a scoop! If only this episode had given some real details about anything about the backstory of this setting. If only.

So Hazuki Nagisa the Insane and Aizen Sousuke the Younger finally have some interpersonal conflict that feels incredibly forced and stupid. Why exactly does Twelve care so much about Lisa? This would work had this anime actually spent time developing the relationship between these characters, but it hasn’t. So now, once again, we’re told he cares about her and we’re supposed to accept that. We’re also supposed to be afraid of Gasai Yuno the Evil’s kidnapping of Lisa. How did she know where the terrorists lived? Lisa ran away from home and didn’t tell anyone where she was going. Can you say “plot hole”? Because I can. I can say it a lot. This anime has three episodes left and I can just barely be arsed to keep watching thanks to the sunk cost fallacy.

Ugh, way to waste a two-week hiatus, Zankyou no Terror, not that you were worth much of anything to begin with.

Zankyou no Terror – 7

It took 16 FUSILLY.EVACUATECKING minutes into this episode for them to figure out that evacuating one of the busiest airports in the world might have been a good idea, i.e., the one thing that would have singlehandedly derailed all of Gasai Yuno the Evil’s convoluted plans.  Of course, they don’t actually do that, thus putting tens of thousands of innocent people at risk.

In fact, there were tons of ways both sides could have done things smarter. Let’s start with our genius terrorists:

  • Contact Shibazaki before the very last second and coordinate with him more so you have a better chance of succeeding.
  • Set off mass panic in the airport, forcing an evacuation that the local authorities, including the evil police working for the evil Americans, would have no way to resist and would have no choice but to ensure proceeded in an orderly manner, thus taxing their resources and allowing our genius terrorists to move more freely throughout the airport. Think that facial recognition software is going to work when thousands of people are running through the hallways?
  • Predict that Gasai Yuno the Evil wasn’t going to play by her demented little rules in the first place and consider where she might end up actually placing the bomb in order to create the most destruction possible. This is called “reading your opponent.” Maybe you didn’t pay attention in that class at Unit 731’s School for Gifted Psychopaths.
  • Tell Lisa to stay in hiding once her part in the plan was done. Since they switched the surveillance camera footage, all she had to do was remain out of sight of the cameras so that Clarence the Henchman wouldn’t know where to find her. Instead, Clarence the Henchman finds her in like two seconds and puts on her a plane in five seconds without anyone noticing. How did they get onto an empty plane with no one noticing?
  • Lisa, have you ever flown on a plane before? Use the emergency exits. I’m pretty sure Clarence the Henchman had neither the time nor the tools or expertise to disable all the emergency exits on an international airliner that are expressly designed to require no knowledge to use and be almost impossible to disable or impede? I was laughing the whole time. Why was she in any danger in the first place? Why was this supposed to be a tense scene? All she had to do was use her brain for three seconds and take a sled ride outside of the aircraft. Woop dee doo.
  • Hey, idiots: you can memorize detailed floor layouts of huge skyscrapers and play chess-games in your head in an international airport while running as fast as your legs can carry you. (This is biologically impossible, by the way. Your higher brain functions shut down whenever you push yourself past your aerobic comfort zone, so to speak.) Why don’t you just instruct Lisa on how to stop the plane? Remote auto-pilot can be overriden by the manual controls in the aircraft because simple engineering. How come you conveniently don’t know the controls for an airliner when you need to? You have for the other six episodes.
  • How do you even know there’s just one bomb? What if Gasai Yuno the Evil put, like, five more bombs around the airport just to be a dick? Or as a pretty basic backup plan? What would you do then? It’s almost like everyone just read the script in advance.

With that in mind, let’s talk, Five:

  • Why not carry your gun with you to the control tower just in case someone makes it up there? You know, the gun you had with you in the previous scene? Where did it go? Did it run off on its own two legs? What, did you just leave it with your Token Black Henchman down in the Surveillance Van for some inexplicable reason? Why didn’t you have your gun? That would have prevented Shibazaki from stopping you. What the hell?
  • On that note: where was Clarence the Henchman after he dropped Lisa off on the plane? Where did he go? Why didn’t you just tell him to meet you at the control tower?
  • Place more than one bomb at the airport as a backup plan and make no indication of where they are. If it really bothers your addled brain so much, just use Aizen Sousuke the Younger’s self-serving logic and say he was cheating by having a third member he didn’t announce. You win no matter what they do. That’s what I would call “checkmate.” If you know your opponent is going to make a billion stupid assumptions about your mindset and plans, use that to your advantage.
  • Why put Lisa on a plane unattended where she could easily get off had she had functional grey matter? Why not just capture her and use her as a hostage? Or kill her to make her an example and blame it on Sphinx? Say she found one of those other bombs by accident and foolishly tried to disable it in a naive act of heroism, thus painting Sphinx as the brutal terrorists they almost are anyway. Seriously, this is Subterfuge 101, here. Did you skip that class too?
  • Predict that your foes, being skilled in electronic warfare, might think about infiltrating the server room and secure it before they ever get the chance. Derp.
  • Notice with your insane genius brain the security footage was changed instantly, as opposed to five minutes later for some reason we call “Shitty Writing.”
  • Capture your foes right after they leave the airport when you know exactly where they are.

Shibazaki, you’re not guiltless here either:

  • Call in an anonymous bomb threat to the local authorities, thus forcing an evacuation of the airport. This bypasses any political strings the Evil Americans can pull and drastically reduces the gravity of the situation.
  • If that doesn’t work, point out the strange messages being flashed on screen–which would unnerve everyone in the airport anyway–and get your fellows to set off mass panic.
  • When you figure out the terrorists or whoever are planning to ram a bomb-laden airplane into the terminal, get one of your people to set off mass panic so people leave. I’m pretty sure people will catch on that the plane heading straight for the terminal with no guidance is bad and should be avoided.
  • If you have a visual on one of the terrorists on a particular vehicle at a particular geographical location, call it in via the control tower and tell people to secure that vehicle and to lockdown the airport–which would be happening automatically after a plane exploded on the goddamn runway. Then you can apprehend them and put an end to the whole mess.

My only explanation is that everyone in this show is addicted to stupid pills.

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.