Captain Phillips gave us insight into the life of a Somali pirate, and here, in the latest from Shinichirō Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo), Terror in Resonance, we look into the mind of terrorists.

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Terror in Resonance Review


By: Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Despite how much we know about the world, about life, and about humanity, there is still so much we don’t know. It is true that we’ve come a long way in the last thousand years, in the last 100 years, in the last decade. And it seems that we continue to evolve across the board almost annually now. But when it comes to the actions of humans, often times we are still left stunned. And more often than not, it is in regards to the evils that human beings do to one another. How do we come to understand the thought processes of others who commit unspeakable acts? Captain Phillips gave us insight into the life of a Somali pirate, and here, in the latest from Shinichirō Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo), Terror in Resonance, we look into the mind of terrorists.

In an alternate day Tokyo, a terrorist act has been committed within the city. The culprits send out a cryptic video providing a clue (of sorts) as to the location of the inevitable bombing, giving authorities an opportunity to arrive and stop it from happening. The two culprits, wearing masks in the video, go by the name “Sphinx.” Behind the mask, they are two teenage boys who go by the names of Nine and Twelve. Prior to the first bomb going off, a young girl named Lisa bumps into Twelve as he is placing a bomb, causing him to take her with him. Now Lisa is an accessory to the bombing. But what are the motives behind the actions of Sphinx and what is their ultimate goal? And will a bright police detective named Kenjiro Shibazzaki be able to stop Sphinx before more innocents are hurt? The clock is ticking…


Terror in Resonance is vastly different from Watanabe’s previous anime series. Both Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo had plenty of action and their fair share of drama and great comedic moments. Here, Resonance focuses primarily on the drama and the characters involved. It also isn’t afraid to push the envelope, tackling the subject of terrorism, which is still difficult for many to think of, even today. Terror of Resonance goes so far as to create an almost 9/11-esque scene with a collapsing skyscraper having been decimated by a bombing. But, instead of focusing so much on the terrorist actions, we focus more on these teenage terrorists, their relationship with each other, what drives them to do what they do, and how their history has brought them to this point. As with most things, we are often presented with only the tip of the proverbial iceberg and fail to see the foundation that has brought us to this point.

Nine and Twelve are the antagonists but also the protagonists. We start out rooting against them for their acts but end up rooting for them in a weird change of heart. Nine is the elder of the two boys, very secretive with a calm demeanor. He has played the role of a mentor, almost an older brother to Twelve. Twelve, on the other hand, is much more personable with a childish nature. He is the yang to Nine’s yin. Twelve doesn’t necessarily see the world the same way that Nine does, leading to some conflict as the series goes on. Lisa, on the other hand, is a young girl dealing with her own problems both at home and at school. And it is these problems that draw her more and more to Nine and Twelve, as it gives her a purpose and people who actually like her. In the end, whether they are terrorists or police, they are humans with wants and needs just like everyone else. And, often times, wants and needs change our initial intentions and later stage objectives.


Terror in Resonance is a drama with moments of lightheartedness thrown in. But it also provides an insight into the mind of people not many can relate to. This by no means encompasses all radicals or terrorists, but reminds us that they, too, were born and were small children like you and I, and something in their life led them, or pushed them, on to this path. The anime reminds us that terrorism is still a palpable thing in our world and one that isn’t going away anytime soon. But the way in which the story is presented, the development of the characters, and the impressive visuals provides a fresh take on the subject. The series does have its flaws, and can be a little disjointed at times, but it is still a well-crafted story and one that will leave you thinking well after the final credits have run. Terror in Resonance can be streamed on Hulu.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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