Shibazaki is put in charge of the investigation as Nine and Twelve reveal a new riddle to the world. Meanwhile, Lisa tries to run away from home.
Clever and utterly unpredictable, this episode, if anything, showed that we need to stop worrying about what Terror in Resonance might become, and start appreciating it for what it currently is. Any worries about the show unconditionally picking the side of its villainous protagonists have been professionally cast aside by the competent portrayal of Shibazaki and his team in this episode, cleverly figuring out Sphinx’s riddle and linking them to the plutonium theft six months earlier without the show having to resort to mythological revisionism like it did last week. Believe it or not, everything Shibazaki said this episode is a hundred percent mythologically accurate, which makes his brilliant analysis of Nine and Twelve’s riddle that much more satisfying. It’s obvious that, given their penchant for riddles and seeming lack of killing intent, Sphinx seem to be fighting the system rather than the people living in it, specifically targeting the police, rather than innocents. I can’t help but think that their shared past in what seems to be some sort of secret, obviously government-funded research facility has something to do with the point they’re trying to prove, and Twelve’s joy at seeing Shibazaki making himself known implies that the two have been using riddles to draw out an intellectual equal to play their game with. In any way, it’s safe to say that now Shibazaki has managed to prevent a third explosion, the possibility of next episode being just another riddle of the week has become very unlikely.
By pitching two well-intentioned criminal protagonists against a brilliant, heroic antagonist, Terror in Resonance isn’t going to get rid of its similarities to Death Note any time soon, yet Nine and Twelve’s motives seem to extend beyond the twisted sense of narcissistic self-importance they share with Light Yagami. For starters, the Sphinx boys have a specific goal in mind, a point they are trying to prove. As I mentioned before, the facility they grew up in looks like a government program to create some kind of übermench, which would make the riddles a way for Nine and Twelve to demonstrate their intellectual superiority. The mysterious unsolved conspiracy haunting Shibazaki like the textbook rogue cop he is obviously is the very same program the Sphinx boys escaped from, making this story more of a conspiracy thriller than an orgiastic apology for terrorism. Once again expertly delivered to the surprisingly competent cops, the backstory linking Shibazaki to Nine and Twelve might eventually even turn their direct antagonism into a struggle for the same cause through different means. The mysterious and, in this relatively down-to-earth universe, rather conspicuous white-haired girl who tried to escape alongside the Sphinx duo seems to be the central factor in all this, and though no such relationship has yet been established, I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up being the reason why Shibazaki sunk his teeth into this case as well.
Another, and maybe even related, point of interest is Kurahashi mentioning Shibazaki’s family, more specifically the fact that he talks about them in the past tense. While this could just be referring to his motives for not fighting the discrediting he had to go through fifteen years ago, this hand-off comment gets a lot more interesting when you consider the fact that Shibazaki’s family has never really been mentioned up until this point. Put two and two together, and the one character who still seems a bit out of place suddenly has a lot more reason to be in this show. Speaking of Lisa, I’ve been a bit disappointed by her relative lack of screen time in these last two episodes, though her very brief — and almost exclusively heartbreaking — appearances serve as a perfect indicator of her routine life and extremely passive demeanor. It’s been obvious from the start that she’ll become the lynchpin of this entire story, and the show makes a good case for why hanging out with a duo of vicious terrorists would in any possible way be more wholesome for her than continuing to live through her current life. As I’ve said before, Lisa could end up either becoming a nihilistic monster worse than Nine or Twelve will ever be, or be the one mistake that will end up thwarting them, but suffice to say, her subsequent character development and the role she will play in the unfolding conflict will have me continue to be hooked on Terror in Resonance more than any other of its many draws will.
- One particular detail I like about this show is how unapologetically modern it is. Most anime are fairly well-versed in today’s society, but few other give off the impression that their story simply cannot be told without the existence of several modern-day commodities. Both video distribution and streaming services play key roles, last episode’s police conference actually mentioned TOR, which is a thing that actually exists and that most criminals would definitely use in this day and age, and Shibazaki’s archive partner actually spends his days browsing YouTube and playing games on his smartphone like a real office drone would. In fact, the game he’s playing seems awfully similar to Puzzle & Dragons, the hit mobile game currently taking Japan by storm.
- Bit of an idiot quote from Twelve at the end there. If you leave the same message at the site of two different crimes, of course the police are going to link them together.
- I can’t help but think that the Oedipus symbolism is somehow related to Sphinx’s motives. The most obvious interpretation would be that they want to kill their ‘father’ — most likely referring to the mysterious facility or whoever was in charge of it — but then how does the ‘marry their mother’ part tie into it?
- I called bullshit on Shibazaki’s claim that Oedipus’ mother Jocasta was a descendant of dragons, but this is, in fact true. Jocasta was fathered by Menoeceus, a descendant of the Spartoi (or ‘sown man’), who according to myth, were born from dragon’s teeth given to Cadmus, the founder of Thebe, by Athena in order to defeat a dragon sacred to Ares. If this story sounds familiar, that’s because in the story of Jason and the Argonauts, Jason is given the other half of the dragon’s teeth and ordered to defeat the Spartoi brought forth by it, as made famous by Ray Harryhausen’s iconic stop-motion animation in the 1963 film based on the myth.
Alright, so first things first, I must tip my hat and admit Terror in Resonance did a great job of addressing some of my fears about this show. Shibazaki and the rest of the police have proven themselves to be at least worthy opponents to Nine and Twelve. Rather than just having them play catch-up, it was supremely satisfying to see that our protagonists have antagonists of equal caliber. That said, I do wonder how things will escalate from here. Simply having the two sides play cat and mouse for the remainder of the show would be rather boring, but I’m curious to see how Nine and Twelve will up the ante. I’m of the mind that Nine and Twelve may attempt to go all the way with an even greater bombing, one so drastic and terrible that Shibazaki will end up spending the rest of the season trying to stop this big one. I could see a lot of great intrigue and mental chess being played in a plan that elaborate.
Additionally, it’s clear Lisa will have a role to play. What that role is though, I don’t think we can so easily deduce. If we’re going to follow some of the tropes of thrillers like these, Lisa could either end up being the one who ruins Sphinx’s plans, or be the one who ends up saving them from the wrath of the law. I honestly hope neither of these occur, as both are very well-worn clichés in the genre. However, what I’d actually want from Lisa’s development, I’m not even sure myself. And perhaps that’s what makes Terror in Resonance so interesting for me. It’s a show that’s managing to do just enough fresh things that I can’t simply rely on my encyclopedic knowledge of anime cliches and archetypes. While I can’t say I’m truly optimistic about everything Terror in Resonance is showing me, I can’t be pessimistic either. Instead, I can only continue to watch. And that excites me. After a couple of lukewarm episodes, Terror in Resonance manages to find its voice in its stellar 3rd episode. While I still think the narrative is going to be a delicate balance that could be easily ruined by a heavy-handed approach, I’m wholly ready to witness what Watanabe bring to the table.