It’s somewhat hard to write a review about a series based on the concept of nation-wide terrorism, simply because this is not a thing of fiction. In contemporary times terrorism is a harsh reality, and it’s effects are more horrific than they ever have been before. I suppose this is what makes a series like Shinichiro Watanabe’s Terror In Resonance so relatable, because we as human beings living in this time do not have to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story.
That, in and of itself, is such a frightening truth. What makes a series, for me, so enjoyable is that it takes me away from this particularly harsh reality, to a realm I will never experience, but can appreciate through certain mediums. Though, as people, there are times when we need to explore a fictional world that is somewhat close to our own. This, I believe, is a way for us to be grounded, so as to not escape into an unobtainable reality forever. These stories also help us come to terms with things happening in our own lives, and while the payoff may be positive, it sometimes takes quite a depressing tale to help us reach that point.
Thanks to Madman Entertainment, I have been given the opportunity to review one of Shinichiro Watanabe’s more meaningful dramas, as we follow two young men who’s only goal is not to have the world fear them, nor to achieve the highest casualty count…but for their story to finally be told. This is not a story that centres itself around mindless acts of violence. This is a story about the truth, and a government that will do anything to cover it up. Terror In Resonance is not for those of you out there who want a simple series to watch in an attempt to kill time in your day, this is a series for those with open minds and the capacity to think about situations in an infinite number of ways. While it’s not Watanabe’s finest, Terror In Resonance will surely go down in history as one of his more thought-provoking works.
Legendary director Shinichiro Watanabe and famed composer Yoko Kanno are back with a suspense-filled intellectual thriller!
In an alternate version of the present, Tokyo has been decimated by a shocking terrorist attack, and the only hint to the identity of the culprit is a bizarre video uploaded to the internet. The police, baffled by this cryptic clue, are powerless to stop the paranoia spreading across the population.
While the world searches for a criminal mastermind to blame for this tragedy, two mysterious children – children who shouldn’t even exist – masterfully carry out their heinous plan. Cursed to walk through this world with the names Nine and Twelve, the two combine to form “Sphinx,” a clandestine entity determine to wake the people from their slumber – and pull the trigger on this world. – Madman Entertainment
This is, perhaps, one of Shinichiro Watanabe’s most realistic series’ to date. Terror In Resonance does not feature a large character cast, but what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in personality depth, and overall growth. The series starts off in an interesting way that practically forces you to instantly dislike the duo set to be the series’ protagonists. Every episode proceeding that fills your head with doubts, and second guesses, before eventually winning you over. This is, without giving anything away, once you are introduced to their pasts, and the plight they label their “childhood“. Terror In Resonance is a series that features no defining “sides“. While I used the word “protagonist” above, never is there a clear “antagonist” which leads me to believe that, essentially, there is no need for a “protagonist“. The series does not have “good guys“, nor does it have “bad guys“, just a thousand shades of grey that constantly cloud our minds as audience members, making us think about every character in multiple ways, be they good, bad, or something in between. The fact of the matter is that this series is a moving target, the likes of which you’re never going to hit. At least…not until the very end.
Terror In Resonance prides itself on intelligent writing, something I feel as though it mastered very early on. Unlike a great deal of modern Anime, there were no characters that did not play an important role, be they small or otherwise. No characters had unnecessary dialogue, with everything being said as concisely and succinctly as possible without the loss of any key information. This was, in part, thanks to the incredibly talented English voice talents, as well as the wonderfully-written script. Terror In Resonance never missed a beat, and anything that it seemingly does wrong is quickly fixed by some introspective though by you, the audience. Shinichiro Watanabe has never been the type of director that treats his audience like they are children needing to be spoon-fed, so if you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing his work in the past, you will mostly know how to tackle Terror In Resonance, albeit with somewhat difficulty. Remember, it isn’t like what he has done previously.
Much like all other Shinichiro Watanabe productions, Terror In Resonance features both amazing visuals, and a soundtrack that matches the vibe of the story perfectly. When Composer Yoko Kanno comes together with Shinichiro Watanabe for an Anime series, you know that it’s going to be quite the experience, and Terror In Resonance is no different. Unlike Cowboy Bebop, where you may know the name Yoko Kanno from, Terror In Resonance does not feature a Jazz-heavy soundtrack, in fact it takes quite a departure from that type of music and instead plays host to a soundtrack populated mostly by electro-fusion tracks, garnished with some classical music, but only on certain occasions. Backed up by, as mentioned earlier, the incredible cast of English voice actors each lending their very best performances to their specific roles, it’s hard to not love the auditory experience of Terror In Resonance.
Animated by the team at Studio Mappa, Terror In Resonance is a visual delight that uses a palette of mostly dim colours to portray a sense of ongoing depression felt by the fiction representation of Japan. The series uses a interesting mix of animation types to successfully pull of what is one of the most good-looking Anime series’ I’ve seen in recent times. Traditional, computer-generated, and rotoscoping animation is all used throughout Terror In Resonance but in incredible subtle ways that, until you sit back to think about it, you wouldn’t even recognise. Once again, Shinichiro Watanabe’s team have outdone themselves in every facet of this series’ production. Not a stone went unturned while developing the series, and it truly shows.
When first viewing Terror In Resonance, when it as a simulcast still in it’s original Japanese dub, I felt as though something was missing from the series. I suppose there was a sense of being “lost in translation“, and I never quite understood all the different layers being presented through the story. I was left…wanting more, to say the very least, but it was with the release of the English version of the series that I was able to obtain exactly what it was I was looking for. It seems as though the English version of the series let the English-speaking audience in on certain story points that simply never came through as subtitles while watching the original Japanese dub. It was thanks to the English script writers who managed to get across every single pivotal point from the series that I was able to appreciate Terror In Resonance for exactly what it was.
This caused somewhat of a snowball effect; understand that allowed me to further appreciate every other aspect of the series, from it’s visuals to it’s soundtrack. It seems odd, but it truly does prove that the mind can alter ones perception of certain things. Because I wasn’t following the story that well during it’s simulcast release, I subconsciously chose to practically ignore it’s other great features, instead only focussing on the bad. Well that’s all changed now with Madman’s home video release of the English dub.
Terror In Resonance is a fantastic series that makes one think twice about many true-to-life situations in ways that you perhaps would have never thought of before. Instead of making snap decisions, proclaiming that something is entirely good or entirely bad, it is with the help of Terror In Resonance that, perhaps, you will be able to look at even the simplest of things in many different ways. The series also comments on societies ability to block out what it chooses. As I mentioned; this story is not one of simple mindless violence, the acts of terrorism executed by these two young men are not for the sake of merciless killing but to gain the undivided attention of the world, and to tell it their story. One filled with, heartache, loneliness, torture, and a level of inhumanity unlike any other. The line between good and bad is one that is broken, no-one belongs on just one side, and there are many reasons why, it’s just up to you to figure them out.
It’s time to experience Terror In Resonance yourself. Buy it now through Madman Entertainment’s online store: Click Here