A Smile Like Sun, Eyes Like Ice


Zankyou no Terror

Zankyou no Terror (Resonance in Terror) is an anime series that ran in summer 2014 – as a matter of fact, the final episode aired just about two weeks ago, much to my immense grief, seeing as it is one of the best anime I’ve seen.

Set in an alternate version of the present day, Tokyo has been hit by a series of terrorist attacks, leaving the people in paranoia. The only clue to the identity of the terrorists is a video on the Internet, by a pair of teenagers in Power Ranger-esque masks. Known as ‘Sphinx’, the duo pose riddles to the authorities, detonating bombs when the police fail to answer them correctly with one clever twist- nobody is hurt in the ensuing blast.

Meanwhile, high school student Lisa Mishima is has a problematic family life, and is often bullied by her peers. One such bullying attempt is interrupted by two mysterious boys: one with a smile like the sun, and the other with eyes as cold as ice.

These two mysterious boys, known as ‘Nine’ and ‘Twelve’, are also collectively known as ‘Sphinx’- and this meeting is a catalyst for the subsequent events of the show. Throw in disgraced detective Shibazaki, with his sharp mind and wit, and the mysterious US operative Five, who has a mysterious link to the pasts of Nine and Twelve, and you get a twining web of intrigue that really makes you want to know more.

It’s an intricate web of riddles and games, of the real reason why these two boys would want to bomb Tokyo, of what lies hidden in plain sight in the city.

Now, I’ll not spoil the series for you, because what makes it so brilliant is the plot twists. The truth is, throughout the entire series, you never quite know how it’s going to end- will they really blow up the city? Will the truth ever come to light? Will these two boys who “should not exist” ever find peace?

And I admit, I can be quite the cynic- while the idealistic part of me fervently wished for Nine and Twelve to get their happy ending, another part of me was certain without a doubt that things would end in tragedy.

The ending wasn’t what I expected, and admittedly, I found it rather anticlimactic- but that’s because I’m fond of anything action-packed and fast-paced, and Zankyou no Terror ended on a slow, bittersweet note.

It is a commentary on how sometimes, adults manipulate children for their own ends, and how tragedy ensues.

If you’ve got a fondness for dystopia, and you’re looking for something more serious (think Neon Genesis Evangelion, but with a lot less trauma and mindscrew, and of course, no giant robots), give Zankyou no Terror a shot. Who knows, Nine and Twelve may very well capture your hearts, the way they captured mine.


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