- Genre: Action, Thriller, Crime, Drama, Mystery
- Episodes: 11
- Studio: MAPPA
Nine and Twelve have been together for as long as either of them can remember. They are each other’s only family, only friends, only allies and confidants. Twelve and Nine know everything there is to know about each other. They accept one another, they don’t juge. Nine and Twelve have been through a lot, too much really. More than the average person could ever imagine or endure and so Twelve and Nine are the only ones who can truly ever understand each other. After being used, mistreated and discarded, after having society turn its back on them, the only thing either has left, is their friendship. It has always been and always will be Nine and Twelve against the World.
I like the summary I just wrote. It doesn’t really give you much but this is the type of show that relies on its riddles. The problem with riddles though is that no matter how captivating they may be, if the answer doesn’t live up to the question, then the entire thing is a failure. Terror in Resonance presents us with a mystery. A high pressure enigma that raises the stakes with each episode and jealously guards all its resolutions up until the last minute. Let’s see if I can manage to do the same. The title gave it away you say? Oh phooey…
I was a little afraid to watch this show. I basically only knew the title, the cover art and had seen a few pieces of fanart here and there. For some reason I had decided this would be really sad and was afraid it would depress me. I turned to a few fellow bloggers for their spoiler free thoughts on the subject and the unanimous consent was: It’s a beautiful show that goes downhill in the second half because of a certain useless character but remains worth watching because of the soundtrack alone. I’m not sure why I’m still typing – there you go, review accomplished! These guys are really good at this stuff. I’m taking notes.
You know what, I got some time – let’s stretch it out a little. You know, give you a detail or two. You gotta add some padding before the dessert drinking game, that way people enjoy it more!
Firstly let me wholeheartedly agree, this show IS beautiful. It’s gorgeously illustrated, both character models and backgrounds are thick with details and I wanted to steal half of Nine and Twelve’s wardrobes. Those laser cut hoodies! The stunning artwork is combined with intricate and fluid animation. It’s obvious that they were going for realism in the visuals. The physics engines and muscle movements are all perfect, the proportions are plausible and the designs look like something you could easily find in the real world. It’s an impressive anime to watch but the trade off is a loss of spectacle. Everything is pretty but nothing is striking. All these characters look like perfectly normal people that would blend into the crowd. Well perfectly normal extremely attractive people that is, not that there’s anything wrong with that. You know I sort of forgot the point I was going to make at “attractive”… moving on!
The technical aspects are all materful. Camera work is a bit on the traditional side but still uses some interesting angles and distance shots to ramp up the tension during action scenes. Blocking is superbly done to draw your eye to the exact spot you should be paying attention to, ensuring that you never miss an important detail or get lost in the shuffle no matter how crowded the screen gets. Lighting is fantastic and doubles as an emotional cue in dramatic scenes and sound design…
Sound design is simply outstanding. Ambient and atmospheric noises have been diligently added to every scene, further enforcing that naturalistic feel. Voice acting is emotional but never strained and the cast all work extremely well together.
I’ve seen a lot of my fellow bloggers sing the praises of the fine ladies working as seiyuus and as well they should. Some incredibly talented (not to mention easy on the eyes) women are populating the field these days. If I ever get to Danganronpa 2, I will likely be dedicated my fair share of words expressing my undying devotion to Megumi Ogata. But it seems to me, the gents get a little less attention. At least on the blogs I visit. So let me take just a second here to mention Soma Saito (also the adorable Corteo in 91 days and even more adorable Yamaguchi in Haikyuu!!). From his impressive biography, it seems this guy has a penchant for playing optimistic, idealistic young men faced with difficult situations. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what exactly made his performance so great but I noted his voice acting no less than 6 times (in 11 episodes) until I finally had to look him up. He brings so much life and personality to Twelve that I feel safe in crediting his performance for creating a charming, endearing and extremely likable character that would have otherwise been bland and completely forgettable.
As for the music. Yeah, it’s amazing. All of it is amazing and all of it works perfectly in each scene. It’s one of the best soundtracks out there. Because I like you – here’s the OP:
With a storyline centered around terrorism and the moral implications thereof, it’s quite easy to draw parallels to Psycho Pass, and early episodes certainly sustained that illusion. The cat and mouse game between the boys and the police was also very reminiscent of Death Note at its best but the show is lacking both any real villain or masterminds to stand next to those two classics. Besides it’s not exactly that type of story. Seen from the terrorists’ point of vue, Terror in Resonance seems more interested in making a greater philosophical point (multiple references on Hiroshima and the long lasting impact of the tragedy litter to narrative) than keeping up the suspense. As a whole it reminded me most of Yumei’s breathtaking webtoon Fisheye Placebo (Please continue your comic Yumei, it’s incredible).
Since we don’t know any of Nine and Twelve’s actual motives, we can’t take sides based on an informed decision. All we can do is cheer for whoever seems nice. It forces the audience to take in the action in a very different way than for the above-mentioned shows. This is meant to be a much more emotional rather than cerebral offering. If those shows were thesis, Terror in Resonance is a poem. By leaving the the boys’ ultimate goal obscure until the very end, the audience is kept in an unsure and destabilized state, forcing us to sympathize with the protagonists even as we are not given the information needed to relate to or understand them.
The gamble worked on me. I cared a lot for these characters (most of them) and yet if I take a step back I’m forced to admit that they are half realized at best and have zero growth throughout the story. Just like most things about the plot, the characters are huge chocolate Easter bunnies. That probably only made sense to me. You know when you get a giant Chocolate Bunny for Easter all beautiful and delicious looking only to find out it’s nothing more than a paper thin chocolate shell with nothing inside. Well that’s what the characters are like.
I disagree with my comrades that Five was a useless character that brought on the downfall of the series. She’s not very well developed, neither is anyone else, her motives are not well established, neither are anyone else’s, and she’s irrational, just like everyone else. She really is no better or worse from a writer’s perspective than any other character but she is the least likable, and as the antagonist I think that’s to be expected. In y opinion one of the issues some people may have with this character is that she seems to change her mind and become someone else at the last minute, effectively undoing anything she’s done up until then and rendering her entire arc moot. Maybe they’re right. But the way I see it, everything turned out exactly as she had planned from the start. With limited option and running out of time, she devised a plan that would ensure that her last blow would be the most painful and devastating possible. Yeah, the lady was one vengeful b* but she played her part. If you want to rant about a useless character, Lisa is nothing but a walking damsel in distress trope used to motivate the actions of others. Her entire character could have been replaced with a phone call or a dog with almost no impact of the plot. I didn’t dislike Lisa but let’s face it, she was not that useful.
To me the problem with the story can be boiled down to two major failures. First, it simply cannot live up to its own ambitions. It’s presented as a deeply engaging puzzle, a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat but it doesn’t have the patience or the wit to pull it off. It resorts to either a few unbelievably omnipotent characters which can solve any riddle more or less instantly or contrived coincidence to sweep away any obstacles because PLOT. It completely negates any real tension the story manages to build up and makes the whole thing feel *cheap*. Since the story is trying to cram in so much action into the 11 episodes, the plot is compelled to dumb down complex situations in order to resolve plot points as quickly as possible. It doesn’t quite work for this type of story.
Had it not presented itself as such a lofty intellectual endeavour, and gone for a more lighthearted hooligan – criminal action romp, it could have been absolutely delightful. Even after becoming considerably less enchanted by the show, I still found car chase scenes and mindless running around with guns very fun to watch.
The second issue, which could have saved the story but instead completely sunk it, was the reveal. After sticking with these characters for 11 episodes and seeing them go through way too much really, you are finally granted the right to find out what all of this was for. Why these two brilliant boys would go through so much and put everyone else through it as well. And it’s just ridiculous. It’s not exactly stupid, it’s a motivation that makes perfect sense in the context of the story but how they go about it is completely unreasonable. These guys are accomplished hackers, a well established fact, and media savvy (YouTube is used as an actual plot device) and comfortable with modern communication grids. Certainly they could have found a better way to spread their message. Quicker and more efficient too. It was just too ill thought out to be convincing in any way.
And that’s a shame. This gorgeous, potentially heartbreaking story had a lot going for it but in the end, the narrative bit off more than it could chew and choked. It’s a beautiful show that goes downhill in the second half because of an unrefined narrative but remains worth watching for the soundtrack if nothing else.
Radom thoughts: Just once I’d like to see a story about a government agency trying to bioengineer the next generation of superhumans, that goes right! Children’s nursery rhymes are always creepy when sung at slow tempo but My Darling Clementine or Ring Around the Rosy are way scarier than London Bridge.
Favorite character: Shibazaki (i.e. Deus Ex Machina)
What this anime taught me: ALL men are suckers for the helpless act.
Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast.
Suggested drink: The Resonance of Autumn (I’m really proud of having found this)
- Every time Twelve is on a bike – take a sip
- Every time we see a YouTube video – take a sip
- Every time there’s an explosion – get some water
- Every time Lisa is victimized – sigh
- Every time Shibazaki solves it – take a sip
- Every time there’s a new riddle – take a sip
- if you solve it by yourself – get yurself a treat, you’ve earned it
- Every time there’s a thight shot of Nine – take a sip
- Every time there’s a watch close-up – take a sip
- Every time there’s a flashback to the institution – take a sip
- if it’s a dream – take another
- Every time Lisa attempts to cook – have a snack
- Every time there’s a feather motif – take a sip
- Every time there’s a chess motif – take a sip
- Every time Mukasa is shown eating – do a sit up
- Every time we see the word VON – take a sip
- if you know what it means- finish your drink