Terror in Resonance Ep. 11 (Finale): Your hand in mine

Zankyou no Terror - 1101

Twelve will always have his signature goofy smile even though the world is about to end. Of course, the world doesn’t literally come to an end. But in a way, it did. No one will sit here and defend the two atomic bombings at the end of the Second World War with a straight face. But Fat Man and Little Boy did accomplish one thing: it allowed Japan to start over. At that point in the war, defeat was already a foregone conclusion, but the two atom bombs sealed the deal. In fact, the explosions were so strong, it figuratively knocked Japan back to an infantile state. Japan’s empire-building ambitions went up in flames along with everything else. All that anyone could do was pick up the pieces and rebuild the country. And even though Japan may have felt as though it has been politically emasculated by the US over the last few decades, the country did nevertheless rebuild itself into something impressive and majestic in its own right.

But once again, it feels as though Japan is starting to reach that symbolic age again where it wants to assert its own independence. Like a rebellious teenager, the country no longer wants to listen to its “parent,” i.e. the United States. Japan is tired of being bossed around, and it wants to do its own thing. On paper, there’s nothing wrong with this idea. Should the US really be allowed to meddle in Japan’s affairs forever? One could justifiably argue that the US should have left a long time ago. When the secret American operatives assassinated Twelve at the end of this week’s episode, Terror in Resonance merely echoes what many people have felt for a long time now: the US is only looking out for itself. But although this is a problem — and its a problem that Japan will eventually have to address in the long run — Terror in Resonance wants us to be cognizant of a bigger concern: Japan’s crimes against its own people.

Zankyou no Terror - 1103

Twelve was originally drawn to Lisa because she was him and Nine. She was also a victim of abuse, both at school and at home. Worst of all, nobody seemed to notice. Nobody seemed to care. Lisa suffered silently as her classmates tormented her at school. Lisa then had no one to turn to when her own mother became an emotional black hole. Likewise, Nine and Twelve suffered from abuse. Not only that, there were others like them. Thirty children in total were taken away to some mysterious institution. And at this institution, the children lost their youth, their innocence and their humanity. They were told that nobody loved them. They were told that they were nothing. They were even told that they had no name. By now, we know the truth. A secret faction in Japan had wanted to create its own race of supersoldiers by inhumanely experimenting on these orphans. Those like Shibazaki had tried to uncover the truth many years ago, but like with Lisa, the rest of the nation was oblivious. There were just too many distractions.

During the Second World War, the Imperial Japanese Army convinced its soldiers to die for the country. Above all else, duty to the emperor and Japan was utmost. Nothing else mattered. Even if the battle was already lost, you were not allowed to surrender. You were not allowed to save yourself. Instead, you had to sacrifice your life and try to take the enemy with you. But let’s be honest: there was nothing noble about what these kids had to do. They were trained to become murderers, and some even became rapists. Like Sphinx, these boys lost their youth, their innocence, and their humanity. And for what? At the time, Imperial Japan claimed it was merely trying to unite East Asia against the Westerners. The slogan at the time was, “Asia for Asians!” In truth, however, Japan and its soldiers were not liberators. Just ask South Korea if you don’t believe me. The point is, you can’t simply trust good intentions, and once again, Japanese leaders were exploiting the country’s youth in the name of good intentions.

Zankyou no Terror - 1104

Mamiya can sit there and claim that he did what he had to do to help Japan restore its independence. It’s just funny how he had to hide himself from the public eye. It’s just funny how he had to seclude himself in a private estate behind tall walls and a security system. It’s just funny how, once again, Japanese youth had to suffer for the sake of the nation. Yes, the US has politically emasculated Japan for decades now. Yes, Japan desires independence. Yes, the US is only and always simply looking out for itself and not its allies — thanks realpolitik! We should find a solution to these problems. No one’s denying that. But at what costs? At the cost of Japanese youth again? And have we forgotten what the two atomic bombings had done to the nation and its psyche? Do we really want to revisit that nightmare again? Nine and Twelve thus took it upon themselves to remind the country of its history. The atomic bomb did go off in this week’s episode, but it went off in the stratosphere. Unlike their abusers, Nine and Twelve are not murderers.

Sphinx simply wanted the slumbering populace to open their eyes and realize what was happening around them. As the inhabitants of Tokyo poured out onto the streets to evacuate the city, the bomb went off. People stood still and looked up to the sky in rapt attention as the bomb bathed them in a golden, almost divine-like light. It was as if Nine and Twelve were angels, and they had brought God’s judgment down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Tokyo didn’t go up in flames, but the resulting electromagnetic pulse did shut down the metropolis’s power grid as well as all means of telecommunications. For the first time in a long time, Tokyo had gone offline. For the first time in a long time, you could say that the country was allowed to look inward and reflect on its sins. There were no more distractions. Japanese people could no longer look away and turn a blind eye to the situation. Nine and Five were victims of abuse, and this was their cry for help. In the end, it’s too late to save their souls, but they might have prevented other children from being abused like them.

Zankyou no Terror - 1102

Again, the world doesn’t come to an end, but Sphinx’s actions nevertheless allowed the country to start over. The country thus purged itself of the evildoers, i.e. Mamiya and his ilk. More importantly, it’s a time to reflect, i.e. “How were we so blind to all of this?” Certainly, Japan’s relationship with the US continues to be problematic, but any proposed solution must be considered carefully. And all too often, those in power are ready and willing to leverage the lives of young people for their own selfish, short-sighted political gains. In a way, the story is about breaking the cycle of abuse. Japan saw and continues to see America as a bully, and in turn, people like Mamiya abused children in a misguided search for a solution to the previous problem. Lisa’s mother had been abandoned, and in turn, she inadvertently abused her own daughter. One can only speculate why Lisa’s classmates felt the need to pick on her, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they had their own troubles to deal with as well. The cycle of abuse will continue if people aren’t willing to make a stand.

One way is to remove yourself from the situation, which seems to be what Lisa had done. But in Nine and Twelve’s case, they can’t just remove all the youths from Japan in order to protect them from people like Mamiya. So instead, they created a loud enough ruckus to give themselves credibility. Otherwise, who would listen to a pair of troublemakers like them? Sometimes, children act out just for attention. That’s exactly what Nine and Twelve did.

Stray notes & observations:

— I’ll give my grade on the series as a whole in the next “Everything Else” post. I just want this post to focus on the ending and the ending alone.

— At first, I wondered if Lisa had called her mom to make sure her mom had evacuated. Turns out she was just trying to seek emergency help for Twelve. I wonder if the relationship between her and her mom are too far gone to mend.

— What I had written in a previous post still makes sense now:

Mukasa wonders out loud, “Anyway, don’t you think Sphinx is lonely, too? They probably just want attention.” It’s funny how the most clueless guy in these stories will typically to hit the nail right on the head. Shibazaki’s corpulent co-worker is right: the boys are an extreme example of attention-seeking teenagers. And as always, the problem on our hands is that they don’t care if the attention they get is good or bad. They just want attention period. They just want to open up a dialogue even if it ends up being an abusive shouting match.

— How do I feel about Nine and Twelve’s deaths? Well, it was a long time coming. Again, an excerpt from a previous post:

Lisa is jealous of the bond that Nine and Twelve share, but not in a malicious way. She just wishes she had someone she was close to. Twelve replies, “Well, we’ve been together for a long time.” He then looks wistfully off to the side. The anime immediately cuts to those white sheets swaying in the wind as Twelve continues to say, “Just the two of us.” We don’t get to see his expression. He sounds resigned as he says it, too. The anime then lingers on the white sheets for a short moment. It almost seems as though Twelve has accepted his and Nine’s eventual deaths, but on the plus side, they’ll die together, i.e. “Just the two of us.” Just earlier in the episode, there’s a peculiar scene where we see Twelve just standing alone on the rooftop, looking to at the sky as white feathers float up around him. There’s something angelic about the scene, almost suggesting that he’s looking forward to the peaceful release that accompanies death. For now, he and Nine have a mission to accomplish, but when they reach their destination, they will be free. In a way, he and his partner have always been prisoners. They were imprisoned at that institute, and even now, they are imprisoned by the memories of their past. For example, Nine frequently suffers from nightmares. As a result, the two boys — Twelve, specifically — may see death as a solace. What’s clear, however, is that Nine and Twelve are always prepared that they may die anytime they go out.

— Plus, I’m not surprised Nine suffered from those chronic headaches immediately after Twelve died. These are the same headaches that had afflicted Five, too. It turns out the music from a cold land was from Iceland. Furthermore, V-O-N means hope… Most of the children involved in the Athena Plan eventually succumbed to the side effects of the drug they had been given, but I speculated last week that these children had simply given up on life. The Settlement stripped them of their will to live, so they had no reason to keep fighting for their own survival. Five was an exception only because she wanted to beat Nine at least once in her life. When she accepted that she couldn’t, she lost hope and committed suicide before her body would give up on her. With Twelve lying dead before him, Nine doesn’t really have much of a reason to continue either. We don’t exactly get to see how he dies, but his vision blurs and it looks as though he falls backwards and loses consciousness. The point is, he no longer had any reason to keep fighting either. It’s telling that he sees three birds flying up to the sky. Does Five finally get to join the two boys?

— It doesn’t really matter whether or not Nine really had more bombs hidden around the country, and I’m inclined to think he didn’t. The important takeaway is that the US doesn’t care.

— Shibazaki represented Oedipus because he was willing to do harm to himself in pursuit of the truth. Unlike many of his peers, Shibazaki was never afraid of the repercussions. He knew his life could be forfeit, but he pressed on anyway. Others were understandably concerned about their own welfare and/or the safety of their loved ones. Still, these concerns can “cloud” our judgment, one might say. Shibazaki turned a blind eye to his own well-being, and that was the only way he could give himself enough courage to press on with his investigation.

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44 thoughts on “Terror in Resonance Ep. 11 (Finale): Your hand in mine

    1. E Minor Post author

      Wanted to see them alive, huh? I don’t know, I feel like even if they had survived the ordeal, they would’ve had a long, tough life ahead of them. They’d still be guilty of causing billions of yen worth in damage, hacking secure networks and stealing money from banks, perhaps treason against the state maybe, and various other charges. They’d go to jail for a long time, then what would be waiting for them when they got out?

      Reply
      1. mexicano21

        Also, I think Lisa would be tied to Twelve as long as he had lived. His death is her last “coming of age” trial. And as we saw in the epilogue, she passed. Lisa was a character too strong to end as a mere accomplice or hostage.

        Reply
  1. John Nash

    With Shibazaki being Oedipus the name Sphinx finally makes sense to me, since Nine and Twelve asked him the riddle that finally brought Shibazaki to the place where his “father” (if you want to address Mamiya and his accomplices that way) lived (although it doesn’t fit completely since Laios was already dead in the mythological version, while Shibazaki still has to “kill” his ancestors).

    Reply
  2. Flawfinder

    Resonance is definitely an interesting series with interesting reactions. Alot of people right now still struggle to see what the point is and it’s causing them to label the show as poorly written and all that. I myself had a shallower view than you when it ended, but I thought what I got out of it was enough. Even if you don’t really understand everything, I think there’s enough going on at face-value to like about it (plot moved forward at a steady pace, characters developed visually, the more obvious themes were interesting enough, etc.).

    Of course, quite a number of people find the characters boring. Ah well. Got nothing to say regarding that.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Alot of people right now still struggle to see what the point is and it’s causing them to label the show as poorly written and all that.

      I haven’t really read any of the threads that are linking to my posts. What do you see to be the primary argument against the show? Simply that they don’t see the point?

      Reply
      1. DP

        People are objecting to the fact that the show was tasteful, well-animated, masterfully scored and directed…and an absolute mess of poor plotting, characterization and stupid Hollywood blockbuster clichés.

        Forgetting about all of the issues of plausibility (teenagers stealing plutonium and blowing things up, but never killing anyone; playing chess on airport billboards; etc.) was there anything at all about the character of Five that made sense, except for the seeming need to introduce the Americans as big, bad and stupid? And, I suppose, padding out the middle section of the show?

        What was the purpose of Lisa, who has no agency, and drifts along through the whole show seemingly so she can be there to get Twelve to “care” about another person and then urge him to go help Nine at a key moment? Oh, and to further hit us over the head with the show’s lunkheaded themes by telling us what VON means at the end.

        And then there’s Shibazaki, the most trite character of all, the all-knowing, misunderstood-by-his-bosses detective, who is the only one who really understands that these brilliant, crazy kids are just trying to get an important point across to the nation. Oh, why won’t anyone listen to the only man in Japan who has figured out what’s going on?

        Oh, and let’s not forget the enormous plot holes, including letting kids who’ve stolen plutonium and set off innumerable bombs continually go free of police custody.

        It’s nice that so many people have enjoyed such a technically well-made anime, and that you’ve been able to wring meaning from its hectoring, manipulative blunderbuss of a plot. But don’t doubt for a second that there are plenty of reasons to see this show as little more than a beautiful piece of dreck.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          You’ve hated Samurai Flamenco, Ping Pong, and now this. I gave you the benefit of the doubt with Samurai Flamenco and thus engaged you in a debate, but you’ve shown since then that you only ever comment to complain. You’d have some credibility if you would comment on anything else I write, but you only ever show up to trash these shows. It seems like your main mission is to be contrarian and tear down these “elitist” shows, so why should I take you seriously? You’re just a troll at this point. Not going to bother with your nonsense this time around.

      2. Flawfinder

        I remember you getting linked to Digibro’s video before. Think he sums up what most people didn’t like about Resonance here: http://myswordisunbelievablydull.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/how-to-lose-the-audience-zankyou-no-terror-critical-analysis/

        If you don’t want to read all of that or watch the video, basically the characters were impossible to relate to, the themes were too vague, the surface logic was too stupid, and he basically failed to see the entire point of the thing.

        So yes, it’s mostly that people don’t get the point (or care to get the point because the surface is too dull for them) that turns them off from Resonance.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Strange. I thought the show was pretty straightforward. We’re not talking about a Jodorowsky film here. Bomb bad. Bullying bad. Don’t let history repeat itself.

        2. Flawfinder

          I’ve only seen The Holy Mountain (which I love) which is definitely more complicated than “bomb bad” and such, so I can’t really compare the show to Jodorowsky’s resume in general.

          And I’ve really got no idea why people are having a hard time getting into this, especially since it’s only a fraction as confusing and obtuse as something like Paranoia Agent (and we all love that show). Different tastes in what’s considered a good character definitely plays a part in it though. I mean it’s possible to get the point of something and still not care for it. I can’t stand Fincher’s “The Social Network” for example because the characters were too unlikeable for my taste, but I understand most of what it’s about and that the characters being terrible people is a big part of why the movie works. But that doesn’t seem to be the problem that most people have (and if it is, they don’t clarify it well).

          @eternia And yet you give a pass to Akame ga Kill’s bullshit. Why? Yes, it takes place in a more fictional setting, but it has no freaking plot and its commentary is shallow! And none of what you complain about has anything to do with what happens in Resonance at all.

        3. E Minor Post author

          Oh well. I’ve made my case for the show. If people aren’t convinced, so be it. I don’t feel the need to defend its honor or anything. Bring on the fall season.

        4. SP

          It’s a short plot driven story with a simple message. In fact, the only character that needed to be fleshed out were Nine & Twelve. And everyone else from Shibasaki & Lisa to Five were defining those to & adding more to the plot. Most of the cast , including one or two scene ones weren’t there just for show like half of Aldnoah’s cast (who never did anything for the plot nor help to understand or develop the main characters). So I’ll say the characters in this series weren’t bad at all when you look at the end product.

  3. akeem

    This post made me realize that maybe the citizens were so oblivious to what was going on was done on purpose to show how distracted people are. If they didn’t die the ending would have had less impact, I think.

    Reply
  4. Good Taste

    I was pleasantly surprised with that ending. The show really did come together thematically in it’s last 2 episodes, it’s still a little unfortunate about 5. I loved the atomic bomb sequence.

    Reply
      1. eternia

        She’s a stereotype and uninteresting character. A character whose motivation is too simplistic, behavior and way of thinking is too shallow, and doesn’t feel like human. If I were to compare this to Death Note, she would be the equivalent of Near, the most shitty character of the whole series.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Well, I obviously disagree on all your points, but I’ve written enough about Five in the previous two posts on the series. No point rehashing everything I’ve said.

        1. E Minor Post author

          What would the orphans have been like if they had survived? I think Five was an attempt to explore that idea. Nine and Twelve had each other, and they had escaped the Settlement. Basically, they weren’t the best examples. People say Five doesn’t feel human, and that her motivations weren’t good enough, but she never had the average human’s upbringing. So even though Five appeared at first to be on a mission to catch the two boys, she was really just trying to fulfill a childhood dream (of beating Nine). It was the one human thing she could hold onto. It’s bittersweet in a way. They couldn’t rid her of her humanity completely, so our humanity finds a way. But at the same time, her one human desire ended up spelling her downfall. So anyway, I find her character fascinating, but like I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve written enough on her so we’ll just agree to disagree.

  5. Senpai

    I would definitely consider Zankyou to have the strongest ending of this season. As you mentioned in an earlier post, light is a major presence within the settings, with overexposed hot exteriors and dark, claustrophobic interiors As Lisa and Twelve held hands in that golden, angelic glow, it seems like they had finally found the light, and everyone else looking up had seen the same, unhideable truth. Nine overlooks the city as the power goes out and the aurora comes back into view- a glowing light “from a cold land”. The music was surreal, just like the Ferris wheel scene soft and perfect. Anime of the season.

    I don’t want to make many general statements about the entire series yet, but in terms of theming and conflict, it remînded me of Grave of the Fireflies. *grabs tear bucket*. That story took place during WW2, as the nation sacriced it’s youth, following a pair of siblings without a family, without a country.

    Reply
  6. SP

    Without a doubt the best anime of 2014 so far, with none of the upcoming anime looking they could overthrow it. The ending somewhat reminded me of the ending from Stand Alone Complex season 2, with Nine being similar figure to the test subjects as Kuze was to refugees.

    Reply
    1. Senpai

      Possible good shows for fall: Psycho-Pass 2, Donten ni Warau, Kiseijuu, Fate/cashgrab, and Mushishi Zoku 2. Not spotting much else. It’s been a pretty awful year for anime.

      Reply
      1. SP

        I’ve been hearing positive things about Kiseijuu & Mushishi so I’ll check them out (I don’t have any anime to continue). I’m skeptical about Psycho-Pass 2 since Urobucher isn’t involved & except Fate/Zero, nasuverse has never grabbed my attention. And there’s SnB, which is unknown but the trailer has given me some hope for a good high fantasy. Although topping ZnT as anime of the year is going to be a hard job for any of them.

        And I’ll blame more reliance on otaku pandering & light novel adaptation (which mostly aren’t that good even in source material) for over abundance of awful anime. It’s like most anime production have some paranoia of getting bankrupt at any given time & don’t want to take risk at all.

        Reply
  7. BRK99

    You know what’s interesting? The characters names could be taken straight from the Mythopoetic stories on the arcana.

    Twelve as the hanged man who deals with betrayal. Sacrifice and letting go like in Episode nine.

    Nine as the hermit, one who is silent or making deep introspection and what not.

    Five acted as a Heirophant and in the negative aspects, a leader in a radical faction, USA right now. She also brought balance to an onslaught group called Sphinx.

    Even every episode follows the journey from the Magician up to the eleventh episode where it is JUSTICE! Which is what the two boys managed to accomplish.

    The words on the side are
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huginn_and_Muninn

    Which would make a whole lot of sense.

    Reply
  8. BoyTitan

    …The last few episodes made me actually care for 9 and 12 and want them to well succeed. I mean I knew they were going to die but this last episode really made me care for their existence and goal. That just takes good story telling no matter what medium you use. Epically since in the beginning I did not really care for any of em. Lisa was just a klutz and nine and twelve were just terrorist. Actually Lisa became very likeable which is hard to do because I can think of several series where I just want the pitiful klutz with a bad life to die. Honestly only issues I have are with 5 in her last episode.

    Reply
  9. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

    The show seems to have a lot of flaws but your interpretation of it’s themes on abuse and nationalism make it more interesting to me.

    I suppose my biggest gripe is the “America is a bully” aspect. It’s like it’s either “America is the greatest” or “America is the bully”.
    Here’s a link to a topic on the United States’s international actions as a superpower brought up during a discussion with Daniel Hannon, a member of the European Parliament:

    Now, disregarding the nonsense the interviewer said about Bush (which Hannon accurately dismantles later on in the interview), you can see that there’s more to America than just being some greedy, manipulative bully.

    I’m not under any delusion about our nation’s government, mind you. I have strong feelings against the PRISM spy programs which have yet to be de-funded, against the bootprint of the Bush administration’s lovely Patriot Act, against the Obama administration’s foreign policies and of course against the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) he put into being. I know as well as everyone else how our government acts in a self-serving manner and, as frequently as it breathes, in opposition to our constitution.
    _But it seems that Japanese narratives that take place in any political realm love to tout America as the selfish master of a battered, leashed hound when in reality Japan isn’t much better. America isn’t ONLY a bully, and Japan isn’t ONLY some “underdog seeking independence”. To me, this trope is just ludicrous and steeped in archaic agenda.

    Then again, while that subject was part of the plot, the story did also show Japan’s ability to commit crimes against its people (especially children) as well. Perhaps that’s why, despite how I feel about the “America Bully, Japan Underdog” trope, I can at least see what the show was going for.

    Great post, mate.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Terror in Resonance is not a term paper on American foreign policy. It doesn’t have to look at the whole picture. Nobody is saying that Japan hasn’t benefited greatly from their relationship with America. Just one look at Tokyo is enough to prove that. Certain things need not be said. Certain things are a given. Certain things can be assumed because we’re not idiots. The show does not need to reassure viewers that there are two sides to every situation, because anyone with half a brain wouldn’t jump to conclusions just from watching this anime alone. I don’t see anything in Terror in Resonance that suggests America is evil. It simply suggests that America is looking out for its own interests, which is true. And Japan is also looking out for its own interests, which is also true. At the end of the day, the show isn’t even about condemning America. The boys’ mission have always been about exposing Japan’s crimes and nothing more. America’s sudden appearance in the ending is more like a convenient way to make sure the boys don’t survive the ordeal.

      Reply
      1. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

        Fair enough, mate. That’s why I started off with how your perspective makes this show more interesting and ended on how the show didn’t latch onto that trope like most anime with modern-day socio-political themes do.
        I suppose I was just speaking in general about that annoying trope. Plus I suppose a bit of my reaction to Angel Cop’s moronic ending leaked into this. I had just finished watching it and WOW.

        If you ever want to annoy yourself (which I doubt you need more of since you’ve yet to endure whatever hell awaits for the finale of Sono Kuroki Hagane) then check out the ending to Angel Cop. The whole show is just some barely passable 80’s action fluff that literally ends on the most ham-handed, idiotic, politically retarded note I’ve ever seen.

        Thankfully the climax of Resonance didn’t close with the writer using one of the main characters to pour out their beliefs on the evils of America and the Jews. haha

        Reply
  10. Pingback: Did Terror in Resonance Need More Story And Characters? | Standing On My Neck

  11. catonwall

    As much as I liked this show, I find that Lisa’s character is a bit too shallow. The entire meaning of her character here is just to help Twelve and Nine. I don’t feel that she changes, that she suffers a transformation like Twelve or Nine, or even Shibazaki. She is merely the trigger… am I explaining myself?
    She didn’t even call her mom to see if she was fine… It’s like she lost herself and her own problems when she joined the guys. I can’t buy that she doesn’t worry about her mom.
    I can see Lisa helping the guys, giving them the “friendship” or “love” they didn’t know about, but in the end I don’t see her facing her problems or changing in any way. That annoys me, because that makes me feel that she fails as a character and that she’s just accessory. I wanted her to be more than a plot device to humanize the guys.
    Besides that, I liked the show very much. It wasn’t realistic, but we knew that since the beginning, so I didn’t care about Five and her omniscient being.

    Reply
  12. Michael Huang (@gendomike)

    Very interesting. Flawfinder pointed me to your posts about this show since you comment on it on a political and sociological level, which is where I thought ZnT was most flawed—it seemed haphazard to me. You seem to be presenting a case where it’s actually much more coherent than I had thought, and I need to think about that, especially as an indictment of Japanese nationalism. Good work.

    The main thing I’d say at this point, as I’m going through your past posts, is that one aspect which may throw a wrinkle: for the past few decades, the American government has been eagerly encouraging Japan to rearm. It does so for self-interest, of course: to counterbalance the rise of China and to contain the threat of North Korea, among other things. I don’t think it would go so far as to encourage a nuclear armament, though it’s assumed that Japan has at least breakout capability. Perhaps that is why the Americans seem to play a fairly ambiguous role in ZnT, rather than a plain villainous one: they don’t object to Japan becoming rearming, but the means by which it might happen would look bad for everyone involved, so they have to quietly put it to rest.

    To me ZnT still feels tentative and hesitant when it raises these issues, but maybe I’m missing some subtleties. The Battle of Algiers this may not be, and it’s not really fair to expect that, but I do suspect that a truly radical political work on that level would be both bracing…and impossible to make in today’s climate. But in a time when nationalism is on the rise, even in anime itself (Mahouka seems blatantly anti-Chinese, for instance, along with the veiled possible racism of Terra Formars), a clear voice would have been so refreshing…

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      To me ZnT still feels tentative and hesitant when it raises these issues,

      I think these are valid concerns. I don’t think the show is perfect by any means, and I would even point to the medium as one of the culprits holding the premise back. There’s just something about anime that can’t be taken 100% seriously. There’s just something about anime where you just have to expect super-capable children and sexy schoolgirls, which is what we got in a way. It’s like at the end of the day, the show reminds itself that it’s still an anime, so it can’t go all-in on the topic. There still has to be enough to it that is “fun” to watch.

      Reply
  13. SSJP

    Jesus fucking christ your write-ups are absolutely amazing. I just found your site and I’m in love with everything. You have a beautiful mind and it goes appreciated. I will remember you and continue to look through your posts, and if I ever have the resources, I will come back for you, and give you what I can! You are on my list of people to remember whenst I become rich!

    Reply
  14. eponine

    Ooh, thank you a lot for these reviews.
    I must admit I was puzzled (especially because of Five), and was blinded to all the great messages behind this story.
    I didn’t even think about all the political implications and philosophy behind everything. It took me a while to realize the real critcism the show was making (that made me feel really dumb, btw D:).
    I didn’t even know how to rate it, but now I’m much more confident to say this show was truly amazing.
    I must say I enjoyed the begining the most though.

    Reply
  15. Stanley Ching.

    A very informative and fantastic read, it definitely helped me understand and acknowledge the deeper running themes, the questions about morality and where do we draw the line between the good of the nation and the liberty of an individual is very interesting.

    I am considering following this blog but before I would like to ask what other animes do you plan to review in the future, briefly looking at your most recent posts, I haven’t heard of a single title.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  16. Stanley Ching.

    Also, I can’t no remember if you mentioned this in the original post, but VON wanted Japan to reflect inwards upon its actions. By using the threat of a nuclear weapon, the two teenagers got the people of the nation wondering about the consequences of such power for the first time. Once again the politicians or the people in charge could point to the power of the nuclear bomb as a reason to build a bomb or to harvest the country’s power off splitting the atom. Instead however, Japan and other countries have blindly turned an eye to the dangerous repercussions which could follow, repercussions which may never heal (like Twelve and Nine).

    Thank you.

    Reply

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