Zankyou no Terror Episode 7 Notes – Hard Choices, Obvious Decisions

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Two weeks ago we’ve had the best episode of the series to date, full of smart writing, showing how everything’s connected, and addressing the appearance of both plot elements and scenes. Sadly, last week might have been the show’s weakest episode to date. It wasn’t terrible, or “randomly bad”, but it was an intermission episode, which is what you get when you try to stuff 10 minutes’ worth of content into 20 minutes

Why did they do it? So that this week’s episode would get to start with a bang, and get to continue full-steam ahead, without the episode-break coming at an inopportune time. Well, let’s see how they managed. I expect a pretty brisk episode.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) Adult Problems – Kept in the Dark:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 7 notes - Shibazaki Kenjirou

1) Considering that my biggest complaint with last episode is how much of it felt stretched, that up to 4:12 minutes into this episode it’s all content from last episode aside from the OP feels like adding insult to injury. You make that content take even more time, eh? Well, I guess it fits with how they need all of the content shown to fit into one episode, and were wary of splitting it up. Show me what you’ve got, show-makers.

2) “How are we supposed to search this huge airport with so few people?” – “You’re cops, why aren’t you going to the control room?” you might be asking, but don’t forget, they’re all disobeying orders in order to be here at all. Shibazaki is right though, if it is Sphinx, then they’d give them more details so they could solve the riddle.

3) So, the police is leaving the messages on the screens, which means they’re the ones sending the messages, meaning they’re the ones who sent the SMS, and thus, the ones behind the “bomb”. This sadly fits with how the police are the ones who forbade them from disarming the bomb on the train. The police are the ones placing the bombs, and the “terrorists” are the ones disarming them. Shibazaki is in a nega-verse, and his sense of justice will not abide it. But hey, while he’s here, there are definitely games for him to play.

4) Why chase the terrorists when you can just observe the police? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, eh, my dear Shibazaki? (“Who watches the watchmen?”)

2) The Youth Strike Back:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 7 notes - Lisa calls for help

1) So, Twelve isn’t necessary for the game, so he can be removed from the board. But of course, that’s part of the game outside the game they’re playing, of who will catch whom, and how the bomb will be dismantled. But are they playing that game? Because Five could capture Nine if she wanted, and he’s playing using her rules. Is this just to make sure Twelve doesn’t cheat and disarm the bomb bypassing the Chess match? I wonder.

2) That’s modern thrillers for you, showing you data cables and going “Bingo!” – It’s a sad and dreary world we live in :P

3) Cameras are giving her a feed from five minutes ago, well, it’s ye olde “fool the guard room” trick. So, what are Nine and Twelve up to now that they’re off-screen? Those little sneaks, those cheats.

4) Five knew she’d win, and not only that, she knew where she’d make her final move. So many steps ahead of Nine and Twelve. That’s part of the message, of how superior to them she is right now. Makes you wonder about plans within plans. And what if things hadn’t gone according to plan? She could’ve always used the screen at the final location to reveal the true location, assuming she wouldn’t have been a sore loser, of course.

3) Passing By:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 7 notes - Five doesn't believe in friendships

1) So, Lisa caught, how will Nine act? Will he leave her behind to the fire, admitting that just like in the past, he’s not strong enough to save anyone? That’s what they discussed in the first episode, when they compared Lisa to Five, and how they couldn’t save anyone back when they escaped the facility.

2) Five makes light of friendship, or rather, she treats them as a weakness to avoid. But what did she tell him, “I came to settle things for you.” I wouldn’t be surprised if she saw him as a friend, and felt abandoned, and thus her treatment of things now. No, that she refused to leave in the past does not make it into a contradiction. She could still have felt abandoned.

3) I’m pretty sure Shibazaki knew it was Nine running past him. It’s interesting that Five let Nine go. Five believes in destroying her opponents so badly in the game that they can never defy her again, but the real game here is still ongoing, and it’s about the bomb. That Nine threatened her with a gun shows he’s not been destroyed just yet. Five can’t let the game end before her dominance is displayed for all to see.

4) Bomb, on a plane. Did Five foresee their cheating, or that perhaps she didn’t win where she thought she will and not being there Nine missed the final clue, which might have only been given had he won? I wonder.

Also, notice how Lisa is contacting someone else via the cellphone. The cellphone where all calls were unwelcome to her, and only served to accentuate her loneliness. Now she has nowhere else to turn, and when she’s alone, she tries to summon her guardians.

5) Well, that works. Five might have lost, and the checkmate could be someplace other than where she foresaw it, what do you do? Move the bomb! Well, I guess sometimes the simplest solutions are the best, and otherwise you’re just overthinking it.

4) Hard Choices. Obvious Choices:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 7 notes - Twelve is worried about Lisa

1) Five’s choice, for Nine and Twelve. This is her final test – will they rescue the helpless masses, or their one friend, who’s a criminal like they are?

2) Shared goals, allies for the moment. “Don’t tell me you’re going to use us?” – Do you mind being used to stop a bomb on a jetplane that’ll decimate the whole terminal, Shibazaki? No, I didn’t think so. Also, you’re an adult, you’re constantly “used”, but you agree to it because the goals align with your own, or are neutral to you. Does it really matter by whom?

3) Five was surprised, she thought it’d be Nine coming up those stairs, but just an old man? Disrupting her plans? She didn’t see this coming! Unacceptable! What’s unacceptable, him meddling in her plans, or her not seeing it coming? I’ll let you think that over. But she’s angry now, that’s for sure.

4) “I’m going to make you regret this.” – Greek Tragedy, remember? Characters can’t go against their nature, and in the dilemma, the battle between two differing ideals, two differing systems of justice, being true to their personal code will lead them down to ruin. Shibazaki can’t let injustice be done, he can’t let it go. And so, he did his duty, but not his job. Just like in the past. But I don’t think he’ll “regret” this Five, he did what he thought was right, and some would say that might be the greatest tragedy of all in Greek Tragedies, how characters are happy to go to their graves, for what they believe in.

5) Shibazaki, so distraught over having Nine connect with him. He can’t let him go now, they need further bonding! He’s still a terrorist, after all. I do wonder why he’s so distraught, he knew he’s there. Guess it reminded him of how close he’d been.

Shorter Notes / Asides:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 7 notes - Interesting cables

  1. Yeah, all the officers’ English is actually solid. It’s Five, who’s a Japanese voice actress, whose Engrish is… Engrish. At least it’s still grammatically correct, which is much better than what most anime manage.
  2. BTW, take note, for the last few minutes (Note taken at 06:52 in) there’s been this almost tribal beat constantly playing in the background, adding to the sense of tension, perhaps mirroring Nine’s heartbeat as he keeps running around. It’s the small stuff that unconsciously gets you tense.
  3. And now Saga begins playing, another piece that keeps the “beat” going and thus the tension keeps rising. I also really like that piece because I’m pretty sure it’s based on Bach’s Crab Canon, which isn’t surprising considering Yoko Kanno is a pianist.
  4. Now I know why Twelve is so cute, he reminds me of a chipmunk (ala Chip and Dale) with his smile. Squeee! He’s the cutest lil police officer! Nine though would look like someone about to do a Striptease act, or taser you.
  5. Lisa is holding a red rod out of which fire will erupt in the toilet and is telling us she’s nervous. I couldn’t just pass without comment, could I?
  6. Lisa is going to jump off of the plane. Is this Die Hard 2? And this isn’t even the finale, or the penultimate episodes, we still have four whole episodes to go after this one, huh.

Post Episode Thoughts:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 7 notes - Five holds a grudge

Well, as predicted (hoped?), this episode sure was hopping non-stop. It certainly helped that it was accompanied by an almost constant stream of music from the soundtrack, especially of the sort that’s more repetitive, more of a “beat”, and thus gives more urgency to the scenes it accompanies.

Choices, choices for everyone. Why did Five get so angry with Shibazaki? “I can’t believe you’re doing this.” Five believes in people looking out for themselves, because friendship is a weakness. On the first layer, she’s angry at Shibazaki because she couldn’t foresee his action, and this is how he could disrupt her planes, without allowing for Nine to surprise her from within the game, which she’d accept. However, that’s only the first layer, what really got her was that Shibazaki is acting in a manner that is self-sacrificing, and shows the power of trust, and thus in his actions is making a direct attack on Five’s beliefs. People have issues taking kindly to that.

The action was standard in terms of what we saw, but it was well-handled. I liked that I bought into the show’s lie, as Nine and Twelve fed it to us, that Five saw everything from the first move and predicted or manipulated the final move to be at a specific location, while she was considerably less sure of herself and thus had to use a bomb.

Lisa’s “movement” here was subtle, calling to help on the cellphone, her old symbol of loneliness, and jumping – trusting that Twelve would rescue her from her life and offer her a new life. That’s exactly what she’s done in the first episode, but now she’s reaffirmed it, after Nine and Twelve have shown once more that they will not abandon her.

Shibazaki though, his most interesting part in the show is only just beginning. Choices are only meaningful because of ramifications, and what they tell us of the characters who made them. He will never give up, and will do the right thing. What more can he teach us?

Return to the Zankyou no Terror Episodic Notes page.

8 comments on “Zankyou no Terror Episode 7 Notes – Hard Choices, Obvious Decisions

  1. Frank says:

    Awesome analisis and fun episode. You are right on about Shibazaki’s and Fives personality IMO .

    You know, the animators actually messed up the chess game. They set up the king and queen in the wrong square and the first move of the knight is not possible (a square too high.) but well… The thing that strikes me the most is the FBI. No law-enforcement agency would do that kind of operation (much less the FBI, on foreign soil). So is this just a mess up from the writer or perhaps that is not the FBI…? mmm questions.

    Hope shibazaki is able to teach us in the future :) Oh, and I get the feeling that Twelve has a crush on Lisa… maybe…

    • Guy says:

      I don’t think the plausibility here is the strong point, especially when you add in american officers for the sense of foreign mystique (this is a Japanese series, after all), and also that perhaps it’s a global conspiracy.

      As for Chess, a possible explanation is that as Nine and Twelve said, Five is continuing the game from their past, but even if not, it’s not the animators at fault here, but what can you do?

      Those things don’t really matter, in the end, they aren’t really related to what the show’s trying to do, with its narrative focus. I’ve long ago learned to stop looking at chess within anime hoping for any realism.

      • Frank says:

        Yeah, you are right, those small thing like chess and Engrish VA really don’t matter in the big picture. But it’s the lack of attention to detail that grates me the most. Honestly, each anime episode costs 100.000-300.000 dollars to make and animation lets you control every frame so there’s no excuse for not being meticulous.

        Also with the VA, she had to say only 4 sentences in english, and considering that speaking it’s her JOB, there is no excuse for not making her practice pronunciation more.

        Anyways… chess on anime, or any medium. Geez… many writters don’t seem to know that there are other ways of showing your character is a genius and a planner than by chess (At least Shibazaki used Shogi)

        And you are right about hoping realisim in chess. Most of the time we can tell it’s lazy writting. (“Why make an effort characterizing someone as smart in original ways when you just can make a few half-assed references to your character being a good at chess.) Five’s character and the whole airport scene would have been fine or better without chess, so that’s a bit of a downer for Zankyou.

        IMO the specificity of chess is way to high for it to have a direct effect on most activities. It will make you smarter but reading will too. (Points for Psych-Pass and BTW it’s a privilege to have a person with a degree in sociology write this kind of blog. It shows in your writting.. So thanks!)

        I have in my mind a scene I would love to see. Two friends are playing chess when the genius walks in on them and tells them

        “I know who is the murderer. And also…” —looks at chessboard and moves a piece— “Checkmate”

        One friend suddenly says “I’m glad you solved the murder, but that’s not a checkmate. It’s an ilegal move. Have you ever played this?”

        Pretty cool subversion of the trope lol

        • Guy says:

          1) Megumi Han, who plays Five, is playing in 8 currently-airing shows. Also, I’ve seen people train to lose accents in their own language, and have a hard time after 4 or so hours of training for a day over two weeks. Training to speak another language, not in terms of grammar, but pronunciation? Please, and no, they don’t necessarily have all this endless time to get her to train for it.

          Yes, those things impact fun, but they’re not a big deal, so shouldn’t be treated as such.

          2) Showing someone is smart is exceedingly hard, especially with limited time. How do you show someone is smart without the audience going, “You just made everyone else really dumb?” – You either have to have a stroke of genius in writing, or come with a method that clearly shows the character’s superiority. Here, they sort of went for both. They showed us over time how smart Nine is, and then use a competition, which they skim over, to show Five blew him out of the water.

          When discussing narratives, it’s really important to find out what’s important to the story. Other things are annoying and distracting, yes, like Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero, but them “failing” isn’t a plot-ruining plot-hole. How they show us Five is a genius doesn’t matter, what matters is that she is one. So, problems with chess game? No big deal. Five acting in really stupid ways or fails to consider the obvious? Big deal.

          3) That bit in the end is amusing!

  2. On Five’s Engrish: Don’t you think it might be deliberate? As far as we know she grew up in Japan and we don’t know how long she’s been in the US. While you could say she’s a genius and could’ve learned it in a short time, correct pronunciation is more of a practice thing in my experience.
    Five doesn’t strike me as one who is very patient and she does only seem to speak English when she has to. She always talks in Japanese to her handler or whatever he is, as far as I recall.

    • Guy says:

      Engrish.

      No. The other English speakers were chosen for the roles for being able to speak English. Five’s voice actress was chosen for her ability to act in Japanese. Sadly, that meant they also stuck with her for the English that she, the actress, wasn’t able to speak. That’s just how anime Engrish happens. It’s grammatically correct at least, which is better than most anime manage, but it’s really not for any in-world reason.

      They also have her speak as much Japanese as possible because that’s what they got the actress for, and where she can actually act.

  3. kswartz2014 says:

    Gosh I love bad-ass Shibazaki. Also loved the echo of Lisa’s first jump. I know jack about chess, and I couldn’t understand how anyone could figure out which part of the airport corresponded to which square, or how you actually moved a piece from one square to another, so I just let all that wash over me. Also suspending disbelief about any law agency putting a girl in a plane with a bomb as part of their strategy. Setting up the authorities as corrupt bad guys, I suppose. Is that really the FBI or an organization affiliated with that group Twelve and Nine escaped from?

    • Guy says:

      I know Chess, and figured out how they cut it into parts, but they hid away so many moves, and I knew it didn’t matter, so I just ignored it :)

      I’m not suspending disbelief about the law agency, the show keeps calling for realism, as people called out, so this is important. It’s important to show how far Five and her handlers, and the people behind them will go. It matters because it also shows how far Nine and Twelve will go. How far isn’t the question though, the question is for what – how far they’d go will show how much they care for it, and well, we don’t know the specifics, but it’s for their past.

      Though I guess I’m not having issues with “This couldn’t be done”, though the characters do, which motivates Shibazaki, and the others, so it matters that it’s “over the top”. If it weren’t, the characters wouldn’t act as they did.

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