• Titles: 异度侵入 ID:INVADED
  • Genre: Criminal, Science Fiction, thriller, action, psychological, drama, serial killer
  • Episodes: 13
  • Studio: NAZ

Sakaido is a brilliant detective. He will put all of his powers of deduction to the test and risk life and limb to solve the mystery of Kaeru’s death. It’s his singular goal and nothing will stop him. That’s just how dedicated an officer he is. In the Mizuhanome at least. A technological miracle that allows people to dive into the minds of serial killers. In real life, Akihito is a broken ex-homicide detective who lost his will to live along with his family. The tragedies in his life finally pushed him over the edge and now, he might as well be one of the killers he used to put away. So he’s doing the only constructive thing he can think of and lending his skills to Kura. The organization currently using Mizuhanome to try to catch killers on the loose before it’s too late!

I remember when ID: INVADED aires. I didn’t have FUNimation yet so didn’t get to watch it. Instead, I jealously read all my fellow bloggers loving reviews. I don’t know about the general public but WordPress certainly was a fan of this show. And why not? A brilliant criminal investigation story with heavy psychological themes There aren’t that many animes in the genre and the ones that come out are often really good.

If I had a nickel every time I said that…

Production

ID: INVADED looks more striking than anything else. The character designs are unusual and instantly recognizable. It’s a signature style that’s difficult to mistake. Whether you like it or not is a different story but I did. Moreover, the anime features a bevy of imaginary worlds. Which gives illustrators a chance to create all sorts of different and odd backgrounds, and animators a chance to play with physics.

It’s not perfect. For instance, the CG is sometimes great but other times a little invasive (ha!). I found a lot of the imaginary worlds in question (called id wells in the show) to be a bit disappointing. Not bad just kind of baren. Even though the production could have come up with literally anything they wanted, there’s a lot of mostly empty landscapes with just a few key features.

no, she isn’t the key feature

Personally, I would qualify the ID: INVADED production as interesting. There were some really great ideas and some attempts to set the show apart but not all of them succeeded.

As for the voice cast, they are independently good. What I mean is that found most characters to be well-acted. The voice actors really suited the characters they embodied. Kenjirou Tsuda‘s gravelly voice in the leading role perfectly communicated the weariness and depression of the character. But the cast had very little chemistry to my ear. In the context of ID: INVADED, it didn’t break the story or anything. It just occasionally felt like the connections between characters were a bit forced.

get ready for a lot more questions

Story & Characters

ID: INVADED is the type of show that I like. But there were a lot of problems with it. For one, it’s riddled with plot holes. The character evolution is super inconsistent as well. It’s a plot-driven story so it is normal that the characters aren’t all that developed but some of them do change pretty drastically with fairly little justification from the events in the show. And although I did like the core idea behind Mizuhanome, the science is mostly babble that can get in the way at times.

I have seen the show compared a whole lot to Psycho-Pass, but I don’t really agree. I see why though. The two main characters really mirror Kou and Akane in background and general description. But that’s as far as it goes and the personalities don’t match up at all. To me, the first thing I thought of was this old Jennifer Lopez movie called The Cell.

I think that it’s a much better comparison, both in what the story is actually about and in how the narrative gets messy and seems to favour style (both visual and dramatical style) over substance at times.

don’t worry, she’ll be fine in about a minute and it will never bother her again

It might be hard to believe after all this, but like I said. I liked ID: INVADED. I watched the whole thing after all. And I was often really looking forward to the next episode. Part of it is that I like both crime stories and mysteries. I say that but I didn’t put mystery as one of the genres and I don’t think it is.

ID: INVADED essentially follows the cast as they capture a series of serial killers by finding clues in virtual representations of their psyches (their id to be more specific) in a quest to find an ultimate mastermind called John Walker who is believed to be somehow creating these killers.

The two great mysteries of the show are: Who is John Walker and What exactly is the Mizuhanome. I guessed who John Walker was maybe around episode 3 and I figured out pretty much exactly what the Mizuhanome is about halfway through when we get introduced to a certain character.

me too!

As much as I would love to feed you some flattering tale about how my history with mystery fiction has honed my deductive skills, I can’t. I figured out who John Walker is simply because I thought the characters really looked alike. I’m not sure if that’s just me or if we were simply supposed to know and it was never a mystery in the first place. As for the Mizuhanome, it’s telegraphed so heavily it might as well have been explained to the camera.

But you see, that doesn’t matter. The way that ID: INVADED is constructed, the thrill isn’t in figuring out who John Walker is, it’s in seeing how the characters will react to that information and what they will do about it. It’s the same for the Mizuhanome. This leads me to believe that they weren’t really meant to be mysteries in the first place. Just plot beats. In the same vein as the revelation of Akihiro’s personal history.

it was a bit dramatic for me but man, it was powerful

One of the things that ID: INVADED does really well is pay tribute to serial killer movies. I think that serial killer is a genre on to itself. And there is a rich history of them in fiction from high concept psychological dramas to schlock horror. And ID: INVADED subtly references a whole lot of them. It’s one of the rare tales where there isn’t just one serial killer for instance, which allows them to show all the popular archetypes.

We have the tormented genius who’s calm and collected at all times and speaks pleasantly and eloquently while saying horrific things. There’s to quiet stoic that seems entirely disconnected from the world, the narcissist who believes that killing others is his right and privilege, the masochist who truly enjoys watching people suffer as well as the intellectually deficient one who is tortured by a drive to kill they can’t control or even really understand. There’s even a copycat thrown in for good measure. And of course, the idealogue who believes they are doing something to make the world a better place!

It was great seeing the same cast react to all those different archetypes and even having the killers occasionally react to each other. That’s not something that’s been done a lot and I hope it gets explored again because the potential is amazing.

unfortunately, most of the cast doesn’t have much of a role to play

Now this isn’t a classical investigation series. There’s not much chance that you will figure out the identity of the serial killers before the story tells you as most of them are introduced when they get captured. Besides, what we do see of the investigations are the id wells which are more or less dreams. Logic and physics sort of break down in them so drawing your own conclusions is very difficult. At least it was for me.

But the pacing and narrative beats still follow an extremely fast-moving investigation series and it draws the audience in. Like I said, I really wanted to know what happens next on more than one occasion and I think a lot of my fellow bloggers had the same experience.

Ultimately, ID: INVADED is an action-heavy psychological drama with a few cool ideas that aren’t always executed very well. But when they work, it can be quite compelling.

You might like this anime if:

You enjoy tortured characters. You like serial killer stories.

My favourite character:

I hate to say this because he is a bag of butts but I have to give it to Fukuda. He’s the comic relief for most of the show. You guys know I can’t resist that. This said, I didn’t mention it in my review but Hondoumachi is a fascinating archetype. Her development is not detailed enough for me to really go into it too confidently but there is so much about the character that subverts the traditions of the genre and I would love to know more about her.

Suggested drink:

Johnnie Walker obvs!

  • Every time anyone says “brilliant detective” – open your notepad
  • Every time anyone mentions John Walker – raise your glass
  • Every time Kaeru‘s dead – gasp!
  • Every time Sakaido dies – take a sip
  • Every time there’s a new well – take a deep breath
  • Every time Akihito dreams – take a sip
  • Every time any of the officers show sympathy for Sakaido and get told off – take a sip
  • Every time they manage to save a victim – cheer
  • Every time a characetr has everchanging features – take a sip
  • Every time they fnd cognition particles – try to figure out exactly how that would work
  • Every time we see Muku – pour some out
  • Every time there’s a new hospital room – take a sip

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

15 thoughts

  1. I watched and reviewed this show way back in May 2020, so I’m running off memory here a bit. I personally really liked the visuals, especially the stark, angular character designs. I also thought the barrenness of the internal worlds was actually an acute psychological insight into the interior lives of serial killers: that despite the “richness” of the internalised fantasies that drive their crimes, they are in truth sterile and empty vessels devoid of inner depth and structure. So to that extent I thought the empty visuals conveyed a deep truth. Like yourself, I picked who John Walker was relatively quickly; but like yourself, I don’t think his identity was actually the point. I think “ID:Invaded” is less a “mystery/crime” piece than it is a philosophical meditation on “the nature of reality, justice, time and memory, whether ends serve as justifications for means, and if there is any possibility of redemption for those who have committed heinous crimes” (to quote my review). To that end, I think it works quite well. And, no, at no time did I think it was in any way comparable, or similar to, “Psycho-Pass”.

  2. I watched this one just like a month ago, and I really liked it. It was different, and unlike most detective shows, I didn’t know what was going to happen or how things were going to end. I really liked the main characters, but I think your right Irina, they didn’t go deep enough into the characters personalities so it made it difficult to really connect with them. I really think ID:Invaded needs a second season to flesh out the main characters more.

  3. I didn’t watch this. I don’t remember why. I might have watched a few seconds? I can’t remember. For me, the bare visuals are very much a turn-off, especially combined with the weirdness of severing limbs and such. I have this problem with CGI that I tend to “see” the algorithms (I think?), the odd regularities in movement. And when you combine this with such abstract weirdness it doesn’t feel weird, because on some level these weren’t characters to begin with; they were just geometry all along. So the weirdness just re-inforces the trend. I’m not sure that’s actually true about myself, but it’s probably something along those lines. It’s hard to explain. Actually, it’s hard to even understand. Anyway, it didn’t look appealing, so I didn’t watch it. Maybe I’d actually like it? None of the reviews I’ve read so far motivated me to find out. Have to say you provided my favourite screenshots for the show yet (which still isn’t saying much).

    1. As you know, my screenshots are my greatest source of pride so thank you!.
      I understand what you mean. I have to say that for me, the fact that it’s all geometry is a plus rather than a drawback. It’s part of what I found appealing but this isn’t a show for everyone. That’s for sure.

  4. While I loved Psycho Pass , I still didn’t finish this show . There were certain parts where I got bored and it was more police show than I wanted , but I did like the futuristic aspect and the main character was certainly interesting. Plus his Japanese voice actor has been one of my favorites from recent years .

    1. Like I said, I don’t think ID:INVADED is much like Psycho Pass at all. I get the comparaison but I don’t think that just because you liked one you’ll also like the other. And it has a lot of issues. I understand why you decided to move on.

      1. I’ll probably try watching it again , as it was made very well and the voice acting was really well done . But I have to get either Hulu or Funimation. I let my Funimation slide and only have Crunchyroll atm . Well and Netflix .

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