Zankyou no Terror Episode 3 Notes – Game, Set, Go!

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Last episode had a very distinct purpose. It was there to show us that Nine and Twelve are taken seriously, and to introduce to us what every Thriller Mastermind needs – a mirror, someone on the other side who can understand them, provide an adequate challenge, and will provide said challenge. That’d be Shibazaki.

Now the only loose ends is what will the show do with dear Lisa. Well, let’s find out.

Screenshot album.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Callbacks and Call-outs:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 3 - Nine hopes

1) Like last episode, this one as well opened with Nine or Twelve talking to Lisa. Same as each of the previous episodes ended. Both times the message is, “You can’t go back, you have nowhere else to go. It’s just you, alone.” – I think they’re priming her, or at least making her even more similar to themselves, even as their similarity is what drew them to her to begin with. No connections, except to one another, though right now they’re making her feel her separation from them as well.

2) Welcome to anime-world! Where cops are fat and whiny, or too proud of their positions to work well with others! Last episode we’ve already had bigwigs covering their asses. Well, we also have Shibazaki. Shibazaki who looks like he needs the razor from his nickname, eh?

3) “Don’t you think the riddle was too hard?” – Yes, we as watchers know only what is in the narrative matters, but please, we’ve heard the same riddle, “The next bomb will be all yours?” – They’re detectives, they should’ve thought of it, if I did.

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 3 - Shibazaki wonders

4) “What will you do if no one solves your riddle again?” – And “Someone might have figured out what we’re after.” – Thriller-protagonist-villains! They want people to understand them. They want to engage in the cerebral give and take of a discussion. It’s a game, and no one has fun playing in a game alone, with no opposition. Besides, it seems they’re trying to send a message. We simply don’t know what it is just yet.

5) The police doesn’t underestimate the kids anymore. The discussion between Shibazaki and the chief was an interesting one. On one hand it felt like something out of Damages, that perhaps we shouldn’t take seriously – but he related us to his childhood, after remarking Nine looks like a kid. Kids want fun, and when adults hide from summer, kids can’t have fun. The Chief, like me, tried to analyze Shibazaki’s motives, but Shibazaki himself doesn’t know what motivates him.

All he knows is that he hated summer as a child.

2) Loneliness Connects Us:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 3 - The Children are lonely


1) Lisa is walking alone, and we keep seeing shoes. As we switch back and forth, it should be clear to us that they are hers. By the time she opens her shoe-locker and sees it empty, we’ve been expecting it to either be empty or have soggy shoes within. The sense of expectation is what Lisa feels. They want us to be faced with her situation, to know as she does what she is likely to find. A sense of alienation.

2) Here we have our super-detective, Shibazaki, basically walking all over the person they interrogate, and then the new person who didn’t appreciate him, who tried to speak during his presentation. Shibazaki is the mouthpiece of the author, drawing our attention to what Nine and Twelve had accomplished, and what are the true signs of their superiority, and what’s just “business as usual” – the trail of breadcrumbs left, what still needs solving.

And then, in this game, how could we continue without a new riddle? Something to keep tensions up? But there must be a sense of impending doom, of the stakes rising. What do you mean, you can’t tell? As each bomb is announced, the tensions of the population rise, regardless of casualties, it’s the sense that their lives aren’t safe. That this summer is fragile.

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 3 - The children are afraid

3) Riddles. Connections. Mythologies. So much fun! Yes, Nine and Twelve are having fun, this is a game. Riddles had always been games, and often games where lives hung in the balance. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, specifically the third and fourth book, were good examples of this.

4) Lisa’s mother clinging to her. Lisa staring at a tool meant for communication. These serve to heighten rather than assuage the sense of loneliness, of being apart from others that she is beset by. This Summer is so fragile. Her life, which she nearly lost, hangs in the balance. But is it a life worth fighting for? She answered yes in the conclusion of the first episode. Floating, without support.

3) Making New Connections:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 3 - Shibazaki's act

1) Prophecy was given to the fools and children, eh? Shibazaki’s oafish friend helped him realize his answer, but he also told him things Shibazaki was not yet ready to hear – kids trying to form a connection to others. And then we switch to poor Lisa, who’s ready to cut her ties loose, at long last.

All the slow and deliberate actions that leave-taking require. This is predetermined. But in the end, you’re still running away in the night. No clean break. There are none to be had.

2) “Names are signs of love. You’ve been abandoned, so should lose all such pretenses.” – Again, with cutting one’s ties. When Nine holds his head, he is beset by resonance. He is beset by his past. We all resonate with our names. We all resonate with the relations we form with others. We all resonate with our past, of which memories are a signifier, and our names a symbol. And now Nine and Twelve resonate with Lisa.

3) A threat is only useful if the other side believes it, or is forced to take it seriously. Now Nine and Twelve can make a threat of Plutonium, without alerting the population to it, should they so choose. Yes, the reveal of the answer to the riddle was very dramatic, for effect, but this is basically an invitation to the game. Unlike the story of Oedipus, I’m not at all familiar with this piece of Japanese mythology, and as such I’m not going to say anything, including whether it is obscure information or not – I frankly have no clue whatsoever.

It was interesting to note that Shibazaki takes it personally, and that he is either infused with inner purpose, or at least wanted to give off that appearance. Nine and Twelve certainly seemed happy at the notion. A game is always more fun if everyone gives it their all. It’s impossible to know if it’s all part of a game though, whether he is playing with them as they play with him – his own form of a “threat”, perhaps?

Miscellaneous Notes on Style:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 3 - Nine is hurt by the resonance

1) The shot of the “leaping secretary” mirrored that of Lisa walking through school. We come closer to the window, but we already know how it ended. A foregone conclusion, but what we don’t know is why, and how it affected people. I’m really liking these shots. Yes, they’re all style, but what does it hurt? It doesn’t come at the expense of substance. An ending we cannot escape, a corridor that is life. We escape the heat, until we have no option but to leave to it again. Summers aren’t Shibazaki’s friends, are they?

2) Nice, OP got lyrics, which are tied very well into what we see on screen. A summer, are they like cicadas, here just for a moment? A story of balancing between being of this world and being an outsider. A story of reaching to others. OPs. You can read as deeply as you want into them, but for the most part if they sound good and seem even somewhat related to the series, it’s all good.

3) ED – also with subtitles for the lyrics! Now that it opens with a mention of the ocean I know what it reminds me of, a tiny bit – of Regina Spektor, specifically of all the rowboats, but it reminds me a bit of her style in general – also, that piece is so very fitting for this show, isn’t it?. It then reminds me of another singer I know, but I can’t place it just yet. The opening song is definitely Nine and Twelve’s, one of summer, of life, and of connections. The ending is Lisa’s song, one of drowning, of being alone, of beingcrushed by life unto death. Makes one think of how we first met her, of how she had been bullied. Even this episode, her bullying was marked by the water of the pool, and twice she had taken refuge in another altar of water – the toilet.

Post Episode Thoughts:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 3 - Shibazaki is hot

This show is giving us nothing new, and it’s fine. We’re getting a true-blue thriller. It feels as if I’m watching a good film, or watching a high-end television production like the first season of Damages. Last episode we, the audience, met the one who will oppose Nine and Twelve, and this episode they met him as well. The game is now officiallyunderway.

Cat and mouse? More like a set of riddlers. And anyone who ever played a game of riddles knows that after one side asks their riddles, it’s the other side’s turn. That “accusation” of Shibazaki’s in the end, the anger which he might not feel? All part of the performance, these might be the riddles themselves, asking, “Are you willing to pay the price? Why are you doing this? Are you willing to play this game with me, truly?”

Lisa continues to be the mirror of the world. Nine and Twelve had connections, which they had lost. Now they still have connections, to one another. Shibazaki had a family, which he seems to have lost. He still has a connection to his commanding officer. They are now connected to one another.

Lisa, Lisa is finally cutting her connections loose, but what will we learn of everyone else through her journey to finding her place in this fragile summer world?

Return to the Zankyou no Terror Episodic Notes page.

9 comments on “Zankyou no Terror Episode 3 Notes – Game, Set, Go!

  1. James says:

    Hey, just ran into your blog randomly.
    GREAT post. I was thinking nobody understood the fucking themes of the show (with people calling it ‘similar to death note’ everywhere on the internet).

    Consider me a reader from now on,

    • Guy says:

      Glad you liked it!

      Also, why is it not similar to Death Note? In some ways it very much is. Both are thrillers, and what I said about the narrative structure of thrillers, and wanting “worthy opposition” can be seen for both. About “change the world”, that still remains to be seen, and even in Death Note, it’s more of the premise to get the story rolling, rather than what the story is actually interested in covering, which is the game of cat and mouse.

      • James says:

        I think the similarities are very superficial. Much of Death Note was the one-upping and deductions, but I don’t think ZnT is about that at all. If anything it’s to drive the plot forward to another phase of the story. I don’t think this dynamic is going to last the whole series.

        • Guy says:

          Hmm. It’s possible. In the end, “one-upmanship” isn’t a goal, it’s the method. The method of giving you a thriller. Opposition is there to give you suspense. You can do that with a clock ticking down as well, or fearing you’ll be revealed.

          I don’t think it’s superficial, at least, not more than two works working within the same genre and seemingly adhering to the genre conventions can be. But we’ll see. I’ll also note I didn’t watch Death Note, but read the manga.

      • James says:

        I’ll also note that I haven’t watched Death Note in a while, so my opinion can’t be trusted 100% :P
        It’s just from my memory of what I saw in Death note and what I’ve seen in 3 episodes of this.

  2. Lucas says:

    Your reviews really does help me figuring some things out, and widen my perspective of the characters! So far this show is great, but I seem to be slipping through good part of the symbolism it shows us between the scenes, hah;;

    I’m curious to see how the relationship between Lisa, Nine and Twelve is going to develop. As well as their past, and that kid they couldn’t save. Hope the story lives for the potential it has!

    • Guy says:

      I wonder. Will story be the vehicle upon which the thriller rides, or the thriller the vehicle upon which the story will ride? I suspect it’s more interested in being a thriller, myself.

      And yes, I think Lisa will be at the core of the story, and the “key” through which we would understand the themes and relationships. The white-haired kid right now is a symbol, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if somehow that kid is shown to be alive at some point.

  3. xthorgoldx says:

    New reader (though I’ve been following your stuff on r/anime for awhile… technicalities), loved this episode.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that the references to Oedipus, both in the riddles and in the overarching progress of the story proper, are becoming more and more apparent. How far do you think the parallels to the myth itself will go? I wouldn’t put it past Watanabe to have crafted the /entire/ story to be somewhat analogous to the myth, in part or in whole.

    • Guy says:

      You might want to read the my post-episode thoughts for the last episode, where I sort of discussed the same thing – what do we take to be the Oedipal story? And who’s Oedipus? I think the “Generational Story” thing is present. You can view the adults of WW2 as creating atom for peace, and it now coming back to haunt them as a weapon of war. The children in the facility who had been told they have no connections to others, so now nothing inhibits them from attacking said others.

      And if the children are Oedipus, what sort of “sight” will they lose by gouging out their eyes, and what will they obtain?

      I think you could see many stories of revenge of “super-children” as taking on it. I actually think it might be “neat”, but it’s not what the show seems to really care for at this point, which would be the thriller itself. But sure, we might get more references as we go along.

      If you think of it, the children didn’t depict themselves as Oedipus, but as the Sphinx. They pose a riddle, and if you manage to answer them all, they’ll end up dead (perhaps in captivity). The one who will answer their questions is Oedipus, and his reward? A truth he did not wish to see.

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