The Shout of the Silenced: Terror in Resonance Episode 11 [Twelve Days of Anime 4]

HEY KIDS, IT’S YOUR PAL HULK. THIS VESTENET GUY WAS TAKING AN INEXCUSABLY LONG TIME TO WRITE HIS FINAL EPISODIC POST FOR TERROR IN RESONANCE, SO RATHER THAN WAIT FOR WHAT COULD FEASIBLY BE FOREVER, HULK DECIDED TO STEP IN AND WRITE IT FOR HIM. OH AND MERRY CHRISTMAS. LET’S ANIME.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.02_[2014.09.27_23.54.59]

THE ELEVENTH EPISODE BEGINS BY ILLUSTRATING THE AFTERMATH OF NINE’S “FINAL BOMB” DECLARATION, AND ONE THING HULK HAS ALWAYS LIKED ABOUT THIS SHOW IS HOW IT HAS NEVER SHIED AWAY FROM DRAWING LARGE CROWDS. THE WHOLE POPULATION OF TOKYO IS ITS OWN CHARACTER, ALWAYS IN THE BACKGROUND, BUT ALWAYS THERE, REACTING AND ENGAGING WITH THE EXPLOSIVE STUNTS THE MAIN CHARACTERS PULL OFF. LISA WAS PERHAPS INTENDED AS OUR WINDOW INTO THE LIFE OF AN ORDINARY CITIZEN GETTING CAUGHT UP IN THIS CONSPIRATORIAL PLOT, BUT IT’S THESE REACTION SHOTS OF AN ENTIRE CITY PANICKING AND IN EXODUS THAT NAIL THAT POINT. IT’S ALSO ANOTHER GREAT EXAMPLE OF STUDIO MAPPA’S COMMITMENT TO ADAPTING CINEMATIC TECHNIQUES. CROWD REACTION SHOTS ARE A STAPLE IN LIVE ACTION, BUT THEY’VE GOT TO BE A PAIN TO COORDINATE FOR ANIMATION, SO MUCH RESPECT TO MAPPA FOR GOING THE EXTRA MILE AND MAKING TERROR IN RESONANCE ONE OF THE BEST-LOOKING SHOWS OF THE YEAR.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.29_[2014.09.27_23.57.35]

MEANWHILE, SHIBAZAKI SPELLS OUT WHAT EVEN THE LEAST PERCEPTIVE AUDIENCE MEMBER HAD ALREADY FIGURED OUT: THAT NINE AND TWELVE HAD CAREFULLY, METHODICALLY, AND EVEN UNBELIEVABLY ORCHESTRATED EACH OF THEIR TERRORIST ATTACKS IN SUCH A WAY SO AS TO PREVENT ANY FATALITIES. HE THEN UTTERS THE SPECTACULARLY DUMB LINE THAT SPHINX AREN’T “ORDINARY TERRORISTS” BECAUSE THEY HAVE “A GOAL” AND “SOMETHING THEY WANT TO TELL US.”

BECAUSE OTHER TERRORISTS JUST DO IT FOR FUN.

THIS EXCHANGE HIGHLIGHTS THE WEAKEST ELEMENT OF TERROR IN RESONANCE‘S WEAKEST COMPONENT: ITS SCRIPT. DON’T MISTAKE HULK; IT CAN STILL PULL OFF SOME BONE-CHILLING MOMENTS, LIKE SHIBAZAKI’S ENCOUNTER WITH SHUNZO MAMIYA, BUT IT ALSO INDULGES IN A VERY REDUCTIVE ATTITUDE TOWARDS TERRORISM. NOW, THIS CAN ACTUALLY BE RECONCILED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE SHOW, BUT IT STILL REQUIRES THAT THE AUDIENCE CLEAR A SIGNIFICANT HURDLE IN ORDER TO AVOID AN EXTREMELY JUSTIFIABLE FEELING OF FRUSTRATION.

THE PROBLEM IS THAT TERROR IN RESONANCE IS ULTIMATELY MORE CONCERNED WITH TERRORISM AS A CONSEQUENCE THAN WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF TERRORISM. TO ITS CREDIT, IT ESTABLISHES THIS ATTITUDE AS EARLY AS EPISODE 2 BY TELLING US THAT THE DESTRUCTION OF AN ENTIRE SECTION OF BUILDING RESULTED IN ZERO CASUALTIES. THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE. IF, HOWEVER, YOU WANT TO TELL A STORY ABOUT TERRORISM WITHOUT ADDRESSING THE FACT THAT TERRORISM ROUTINELY KILLS INNOCENT PEOPLE, THE BEST WAY TO DO IT IS TO CONTORT YOUR VERSION OF TERRORISM INTO SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T KILL PEOPLE. CONSIDERING THE ALTERNATIVE IS TO HAVE YOUR TERRORISTS KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE BUT NEVER ADDRESS IT, WHILE TREATING YOUR PROTAGONISTS AS TORTURED HEROES, HULK THINKS TERROR IN RESONANCE TOOK THE MORE EXCUSABLE ROAD. REQUIRING A SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF IS PREFERABLE TO BEING ETHICALLY NOXIOUS. NATURALLY, THE BEST WAY WOULD HAVE BEEN TO ADDRESS BOTH SIDES OF TERRORISM, HOW VIOLENCE CAN BE A VOICE FOR THE OPPRESSED, BUT ALSO HAVE DIRE AND REPREHENSIBLE CONSEQUENCES. PENGUINDRUM WEAVES BOTH SIDES OF ITS SIMILARLY-THEMED STORY TOGETHER BEAUTIFULLY. IT’S POSSIBLE THAT TERROR IN RESONANCE COULD HAVE TOO, BUT HULK THINKS THE DECISION WAS MADE VERY EARLY INTO ITS CONCEPTION TO NOT EVEN BOTHER. IT’S A SHAME, BECAUSE PART OF WHAT MADE ITS FIRST EPISODE SO STRIKING TO HULK WAS ITS APPARENT WILLINGNESS TO HAVE A PAIR OF PROTAGONISTS WHO WERE SET ON BLOWING UP A BUILDING REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES. HULK WANTED TO SEE THE SHOW DEAL WITH PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT TERRORISM WAS THEIR BEST COURSE OF ACTION, AND WHO WERE READY TO OWN UP TO ITS EVILS FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR GOALS, OR WHOSE MISGUIDED IDEALISM ABOUT TERRORISM WOULD BECOME AT ODDS WITH ITS REALITY. THIS ISN’T THE SHOW WE GOT, AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A NARROW LINE TO TREAD, BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE.

DESPITE THESE SHORTCOMINGS, TERROR IN RESONANCE REMAINS ONE OF HULK’S FAVORITE SERIES OF THE YEAR, AND THE REASON IS SHINICHIRO WATANABE’S SLICK AND POLISHED DIRECTION, WHICH TEASES BOTH SPECTACLE AND HUMANITY OUT OF EVEN THE SHOW’S SILLIEST MOMENTS.

TAKE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE USE OF COLOR. BOTH ALTAIR AND VEGA AND THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD HAVE GREAT POSTS EXAMINING COLOR. THE LAST EPISODE IN PARTICULAR IS RICH IN THIS LANGUAGE. THE OVERALL LOOK OF THE SHOW IS CODED IN BLUES AND DARK GREYS, GIVING IT A COOL, NEUTRAL TONE. ANY TIME IT STRAYS FROM THIS PALETTE IS SIGNIFICANT, AND IT HAPPENS A LOT IN THE FINALE. RED IS OPPOSITE BLUE ON THE SPECTRUM, AND THE SHOW RESERVES IT FOR DRAMATIC MOMENTS, USUALLY FILLED WITH FIRE OR A TICKING CLOCK. THE FINALE BUILDS TOWARDS ITS CLIMAX BY HEIGHTENING TENSION VIA A SORTA HAMFISTED CONCERN TO LAND ALL AIRPLANES BEFORE THE EMP HITS, BUT IT ALSO DOES SO MORE ELEGANTLY BY DIPPING ITS BRUSH DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO THE COLOR RED. IT STARTS SUBTLY, WITH CANCELED FLIGHTS, TAILLIGHTS, AND FAILED CALLS. THEN, RED BEGINS DOMINATING THE PALETTE ONCE WE FOCUS ON NINE.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.08_[2014.09.28_00.03.32][HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.21_[2014.09.28_00.08.41]

WITH ONLY MINUTES LEFT, EMERGENCY LIGHTS CAST A RED GLOW ON THE POLICE. SHIBAZAKI STARES INTENTLY, ABOUT TO WITNESS THE SAME EXPLOSION THAT SHAPED HIS CHILDHOOD IN HIROSHIMA.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.49_[2014.09.28_00.09.22] [HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.29_[2014.09.28_00.11.22]

FINALLY, BOOM.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.02_[2014.09.28_00.12.48] [HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.06_[2014.09.28_00.12.57] [HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.17_[2014.09.28_00.13.14]

THE BOMB ITSELF EXPERIENCES A SMOOTH TRANSITION FROM BLUE TO RED. THE HIGH ALTITUDE NUCLEAR EXPLOSION BATHES ALL OF TOKYO IN A RED LIGHT, EVERY EYE TURNED UPWARD, AS THE WHOLE WORLD BEARS WITNESS TO THE VOICE OF THESE ABANDONED CHILDREN.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.22_[2014.09.28_00.13.21] [HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.28_[2014.09.28_00.14.07] [HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.35_[2014.09.28_00.14.18] [HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.51_[2014.09.28_00.14.37]

AS THE LIGHT FROM THE EXPLOSION FADES, THE EMP FRIES ALL ELECTRONICS, SENDING TOKYO INTO COMPLETE DARKNESS. IT SEEMS THAT SPHINX HAVE EXACTED THEIR REVENGE, STRIKING A CRIPPLING BLOW TO THE COUNTRY THAT LEFT THEM TO DIE, ALONE AND UNLOVED. AND THEN,

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.19_[2014.09.28_00.15.33] [HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.23_[2014.09.28_00.15.38]

THE AURORA PAINTS THE SKY AND CITY IN A SOOTHING GREEN. GREEN IS HULK’S FAVORITE COLOR, BUT IT HAS NEVER HAD A DOMINANT PRESENCE IN TERROR IN RESONANCE (WITH A FEW IMPORTANT EXCEPTIONS). NOW, HOWEVER, IT BLANKETS ALL IN A QUIET SENSE OF HOPE. WATANABE’S CAREFUL CONTROL OF THE CINEMATOGRAPHY HAS TURNED THE FRANKLY RIDICULOUS ACT OF DETONATING A NUCLEAR BOMB OVER TOKYO INTO A MOMENT OF REVERENCE. NINE, WHO FOUND COMFORT IN MUSIC FROM A COLD LAND, GRANTS TOKYO THE GIFT OF LIGHTS FROM A COLD LAND. WINTER COVERS EVERYTHING. AND THE BOY’S EYES, ONCE LIKE ICE, NOW MELT.

FREE AT LAST OF THEIR BURDEN, THE CHILDREN RETURN TO THE SETTLEMENT. THE GREEN FROM THE AURORA CARRIES OVER INTO THE FOLIAGE COVERING THE ABANDONED INSTITUTION, AND NINE AND TWELVE ARE ABLE TO PLAY LIKE CHILDREN FOR PERHAPS THE FIRST TIME EVER. IT MAY APPEAR UNCHARACTERISTIC OF THEM, OR EVEN UNDESERVED AFTER WHAT THEY HAD JUST DONE, BUT HULK FOUND THE SCENE BOTH TOUCHING AND HEARTBREAKING. IT’S A GROUP OF KIDS MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME, A TEMPORARY RESPITE, AND THE AUDIENCE KNOWS THAT IT WILL BE SHORT-LIVED EVEN BEFORE THE NEXT SCENE HAPPENS. SO LET THEM PLAY.

SOON ENOUGH, THE BOYS RESIGN TO HAND THEMSELVES OVER TO SHIBAZAKI. THERE’S SOME NEEDLESS SPELLING OUT OF THE SUBTEXT ONCE MORE (SHIBAZAKI WAS OEDIPUS, DID YOU GET IT??????????), AND IT’S AWFULLY CONVENIENT THAT AMERICA SHOWS UP ONE LAST TIME TO FUCK THINGS UP. BUT THE SHOW HAS BEEN JUST AS CRITICAL OF JAPAN’S NATIONALISTIC TENDENCIES AS IT HAS BEEN OF THE UNITED STATES’ FREEDOM TO ACT WITH IMPUNITY WITHIN JAPAN’S BORDERS, SO HULK DOESN’T THINK YOU CAN ATTRIBUTE THIS TO JINGOISM. DESPITE ITS CLUMSINESS IN EXECUTION, TERROR IN RESONANCE MAINTAINS A MEASURED PERSPECTIVE OF JAPAN’S POLITICAL SITUATION, WHERE CONTINUED AMERICAN OCCUPATION CREATES CONFLICT, BUT ATTEMPTS TO SUBVERT IT THROUGH INCREASED MILITARISM ARE MISGUIDED AT BEST AND HARMFUL AT WORST.

ANYWAY, THE CHANGE IN TONE IS AGAIN MARKED BY A CHANGE IN PALETTE. GREENS GIVE WAY TO PURPLES AS TWILIGHT APPROACHES AND THE SUN BEGINS TO SET ON NINE AND TWELVE. THE COLORS ARE SOLEMN AND MUTED, AND THERE’S A SENSE OF SERENITY EVEN AS GUNSHOTS ARE FIRED.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.57_[2014.09.28_00.20.50] [HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.35_[2014.09.28_00.21.49][HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.01_[2014.09.28_00.22.31]

PURPLE IS ALSO AN IMPORTANT COLOR BECAUSE OF ITS RESONANCE FIVE AND HER EYES. IT’S IN THIS SCENE WHERE WE SEE THE LAST VESTIGES OF FIVE BE LAID TO REST, BOTH LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY. THE SOLDIERS SHOOT TWELVE, AND NINE REACTS WITH ANGUISH, HIS SADNESS AND ANGER FUELING A DESIRE TO FOLLOW HIS THREAT THROUGH AND DETONATE THE REST OF JAPAN’S SECRET WARHEADS.

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THE CAMERA FOCUSES ON NINE’S RIGHT EYE. THIS FRAMING ECHOES THE FOCUS ON FIVE’S RIGHT EYE, WHICH HAD BEEN USED SEVERAL TIMES AS A MEANS OF COMMUNICATING HER TUNNEL VISION, HER DESIRE TO FIND AND CAPTURE NINE AT ANY COST. NINE, IN THIS MOMENT, UNDERSTANDS FIVE, UNDERSTANDS THE FEELING OF BEING RIPPED AWAY FROM THE PERSON YOU CARED ABOUT THE MOST, UNDERSTANDS WHY SHE LOST HERSELF TO OBSESSION. AND HE ALSO REMEMBERS HER LAST MOMENTS, FINALLY CONSUMED BY THE FIRE THAT HAD BEEN LICKING AT HER BACK SINCE THE DAY NINE AND TWELVE ESCAPED FROM THE SETTLEMENT. NINE CHOOSES A DIFFERENT PATH.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.43_[2014.12.16_11.08.27] [HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.46_[2014.09.28_00.26.44]

THE SERIES’ CODA FINDS TOKYO MORE OR LESS BACK TO NORMAL. PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT GIANT TELEVISION SCREENS. THE NATIONALISTS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SETTLEMENT AND THE NUKES ARE BEING BROUGHT TO JUSTICE. SHIBAZAKI HAS BEEN VINDICATED. LISA HAS ESCAPED HER MOTHER’S TOXIC INFLUENCE (OR LET’S PRETEND THAT HAPPENED AND NOT THAT THE SUBPLOT WAS ABANDONED IN EPISODE 4). LISA AND SHIBAZAKI MEET ON A BRIDGE. THEY’RE FRIENDS NOW, TWO LONELY PEOPLE BROUGHT TOGETHER BY NINE AND TWELVE’S ACTIONS. THE SCENE IS GREEN AND BRIGHT AND FULL OF LIFE, FULL OF VON.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.22_[2014.09.28_00.29.21]

TERROR IN RESONANCE IS A FLAWED AND STRANGE WORK. A HOLLYWOOD POLITICAL THRILLER TOLD THROUGH THE LENS OF ANIME. A CONSPIRACY ANIME TOLD THROUGH THE LENS OF HOLLYWOOD CINEMA. ALTERNATELY AMBITIOUS AND BUMBLING, LITERARY AND ACTION-ORIENTED, ABSURD AND REFLECTIVE. BUT ULTIMATELY, IT’S A STORY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAD FALLEN THROUGH THE CRACKS. CHILDREN WHO HAD BEEN ABANDONED. VOICES THAT HAD BEEN SILENCED. TERROR IN RESONANCE SEES THESE SHADOWS OF SOCIETY GATHER, FITTING THEIR MISFIT LIVES TOGETHER AND FINDING THE STRENGTH TO SHOUT, UNAFRAID AND RELENTLESS, ECHOING INTO THE SKY.

[HorribleSubs] Zankyou no Terror - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.37_[2014.09.07_14.53.00]

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2 responses to “The Shout of the Silenced: Terror in Resonance Episode 11 [Twelve Days of Anime 4]

  1. I’ve really enjoyed reading your write ups for this series. There’s a lot going on with it, especially in the production design, and getting to read well-written examinations of it has been a lot of fun. I just wish I enjoyed the actual show more. This article touches on most of the problems with it and makes a compelling case for why they don’t compromise the whole thing, but for me its faults were too much and the whole thing collapsed by the end. Things got really silly once Five showed up (not to mention Lisa went from being the show’s emotional center to the Incompetent Domestic Servant/Perpetual Hostage comedic relief character), and by the time the show decided to declare that the difference between these terrorists and the rest is that “they have something to say!” I was pretty much done with it. You’re right that giving the boys’ terrorist acts the natural consequences (aka a whole lotta dead civilians) probably would have pushed them into the unlikable and irredeemable category, but rendering both their plots and the show’s message about terrorism effectively toothless, it felt like we’d spent 12 episodes watching the show spin its wheels. TiR is a very pretty and impressively designed show, but as a story it just doesn’t hold up for me. Which is a shame; I really wanted to like it.

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