“The police have concluded that this was not an accident, but an act of terror,” says a reporter, “and have announced that they will do everything they can to find the truth.” But what is the truth? Throughout the episode, both the police and the media are determined to discover the identities of the two masked terrorists, but would that really get us closer to the truth? Don’t get me wrong, though. I understand the need to identify and apprehend the two boys before anyone can get hurt. Nevertheless, nowhere do I see an earnest discussion with regards to why this is all happening. Japan has made a lot of enemies outside of its borders, but it is clear that these attacks are not from a foreign threat. Rather, the threat is coming from within; two individuals are lashing back against their own nation. “Why?” thus becomes one of the most important questions that no one seems to be asking. It becomes clear why this week’s episode has such a heavy emphasis on the Greek tragedy of Oedipus Rex.
Oedipus swore that he would find the truth behind King Laius’s death, but one of the play’s many ironies is that he could not see the truth until he had physically blinded himself. In other words, despite being clear-eyed, Oedipus is actually blind to the truth whereas Tiresias, the blind seer, could “see” the world for what it is: “So, you mock my blindness? Let me tell you this. You with your precious eyes, you’re blind to the corruption of your life…” The media in Terror no Resonance, like the media in the real world, is quick to move. As soon as the investigators had made their way to some DNA research facility — they think the second bomb is planted here — news stations are immediately at the scene with multiple camera angles: “Is the bomb set by the Bomb Devils really in this building?” But as I’ve said, the irony here is that for all their clear vision, they are no closer to the truth. Instead, the media have been led astray because they are reliant on one of Japan’s many power structures, i.e. the police.
We used to think of journalists as being investigators in their own rights. These days, however, the media has become a show, a circus, a farce. They’re not actively seeking the truth for themselves. Rather, they’ve become complacent; they’ve become leeches. In an ideal world, a journalist would seek to understand why this is all happening. In last week’s post, for instance, we had talked about how one of society’s many sins is turning a blind eye to the abused. The media plays a part in this. The media has a responsibility to shed light on any potential corruption or abuse occurring around them. These two boys are trying to send a message, and someone should try to understand what that message is. It’s clear, however, that the news are not interested in anything but the standard, ratings-grabbing type of reporting. Calling our perpetrators “Bomb Devils” is a perfect example of this. In some twisted way, they’ve glorified the terrorists’ actions. The media is thus blind to the truth.
There other parallels to Oedipus Rex in this week’s episode of Terror in Resonance. For instance, we watch as the investigators lead themselves down the wrong path. The bomb is not at some DNA research facility. Rather, the bomb is within their own “home,” so to speak. It’s almost like how the terrorists are not some exotic, foreign threat, but rather, the terrorists are Japan’s own children. As a result, we have for ourselves a bit of dramatic irony. The similarities, however, don’t end there. Our two boys serve as twisted prophets, giving people a glimpse into where the next attack will occur. The investigators think they have stumbled onto the truth, though. After all, their cursory research into the Sphinx’s riddle have yielded an answer: man! More importantly, the number of legs in the riddle corresponds to some street address! They can thus find the bomb and prevent any more casualties from occurring. But like in Oedipus Rex, there are limits to our free will. And sure enough, the prophecy from our twisted prophets come true when the bomb goes off anyway.
I can’t help but wonder, however, if waking up a slumbering nation is even worth it. I mean, let’s assume the boys are aiming to open Japan’s eyes. The boys have suffered at the hands of their abusers, so now they’re saying to the rest of the nation, “Open your eyes and see the corruption that has festered within your own country!” There are merits to this, I must admit. Nevertheless, a certain scene in this week’s episode gives me pause. At one point, Nine disguises himself as a ramen delivery boy, and plants a bomb deep within the police’s headquarters. You can’t help but think, “Wow, any one of those cops at the station could’ve caught him, but they didn’t. They were too trusting.” But were they really too trusting? Shortly after the “Tokyo subway sarin attack,” I believe the nation went into a bit of a collective shock. People couldn’t believe something so terrible could happen in their own nation. There’s a certain innocence here that has to be admired. Do we really want people to be so cynical that they begin to suspect a ramen delivery boy?
Speaking from personal experience, the incidents of 9/11 changed America for the worse in a lot of respects. Ridiculous security measures, limitless wiretappings, growing mistrust and fear of Muslim-Americans and foreigners, etc. Like in the anime, few people asked why 9/11 happened. Instead, most people were concerned with preventing something like it from happening again. The boys in Terror in Resonance may think they’ll eventually open the nation’s eyes to the truth, but they may very well end up creating a worse situation. They may very well create a nation full of fearful, distrustful people. This is why I found it odd when a lot of viewers referred to Nine and Twelve as potential saviors, especially with regards to Lisa. No matter what these boys have been through at that mysterious institute, terrorism can’t be the answer. As the series progresses, and the boys continue to get away with their crimes, I’m curious to see how the Japanese government will react. It may take extreme measures and overstep its boundaries. If this happens, then the Japanese government will become tyrannical and thus echo yet another theme from Oedipus Rex.
— The start of this week’s episode evokes some rather stark ground zero-esque imagery:
— I thought Lisa’s mom was way over-the-top, and as a result, her character took me out of the story just a bit.
— Nobody died? None? That’s silly. Like I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t need to see bloodied bodies and severed limbs, but I think it’s ridiculous that nobody died.
— Nine can’t help but ask about Lisa, so Twelve casually asks if Nine is worried about her. I wouldn’t say he’s concerned about her just yet. Yes, she reminds him of the children back at the institute, so as a result, he and Twelve spared her life. It’s clear, however, that they don’t intend to recruit her into their fold since Twelve insists that she is not like them. He even uses the word ‘nakama’ for added effect. As such, I maintain that the two boys are her abusers and not her saviors. They are using fear, after all, to keep her from talking. In a twisted way, however, you could still call them saviors ’cause a lot of abusers see themselves in this light.
— I found it somewhat amusing when one of the characters exclaimed, “This is a direct challenge to the police force!” It’s like he couldn’t believe anyone would dare to do such a thing. It’s clear, however, that most of these investigators are too limited in their perspective to get the job done, i.e. they can’t see the truth even if they tried. On the other hand, Shibasaki represents this wizened veteran who’s willing to think outside the box, which is why he’s being pulled back into the field one last time. Still, why has he been working in the archives department up until now? It must have been some sort of self-imposed “injury” to his career, ’cause otherwise, I think he’d be in some cushier office job. Instead, he gets to perform menial task of… whatever it is that you do in the archives department. Probably cataloguing… lots and lots of cataloguing.
Assuming that Shibasaki has, however, done a number to his own career, is he thus the “blind seer” who will help lead the rest of the investigators to the two boys? Or maybe he’ll lead them to an even bigger truth.