Zankyou no Terror does not waste time getting into the thick of things this week. Not only does it deal with the aftermath of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building bombing, it launches right on into another one.
This episode introduces the idea of a generational disconnect with the Oedipus Rex riddle. Oedipus Rex is a story about adults who fear that their children will overtake them, and I definitely get a sense of that in the actions of Nine and Twelve and the adults of the First Investigation Division. Nine and Twelve are children, and they use childish tactics in their acts of terror. Whether they’re playing rock-paper-scissors to determine who sets the bomb, or tormenting Lisa by dropping mentos in her soda cup, everything they do has a juvenile edge. The fact that two children have the ability and the skills to commit reckless acts of terror undetected is frightening to the adults seeking to stop them.
“Call and Response” revealed that no one was seriously injured or killed in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building bombing, but it seems unlikely that the Roppongi Police Station bombing will yield the same results. Even though the riddle misdirect clears the building of most of the police force, there’s no way that the stationary employees could have evacuated in time. As the Chief Kurahashi of the First Investigation Division points out, the second bombing feels like a declaration of war.
Both Shibasaki and Chief Kurahashi seem to recognize Sphinx’s calling card, “VON”, even from before the Plutonium theft. It’s possible that there’s some kind of government conspiracy at play, likely to do with Nine and Twelve’s past. While Chief Kurahashi seems competent enough, it’s Shibasaki who solves the riddle, resulting in a call to action which could cast him in the central role of protagonist against Sphinx’s terrorist opposition.
Lisa didn’t feature as much in this episode, but what scenes she was in were telling. Her home life is a wreck, as she’s constantly troubled by her mentally unstable mother. Now on top of her usual troubles, she has to deal with the crushing anxiety of being accessory to an act of terror. Nine doesn’t believe that she has the guts to turn them in, but I think Lisa is severely underestimated. I predicted last week that she could end up being incredibly dangerous, and I hold to that. It’s just a matter of who she ends up opposing.
So far, Zankyou no Terror is doing a great job of balancing action with characterization. There weren’t too many scenes with Nine, Twelve, or Lisa this week, but it’s easy to get from them a sense of who they are. The calculating Nine seems to look to Shibasaki as a potential rival, while Twelve acts as a deceptively nonchalant enforcer to Lisa. It’s his character that chills me the most, as he takes the “childlike underclassman” trope and turns it on it’s head.
Next week will presumably deal with the Roppongi Police Station bombing. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress from here.
All images and properties are copyright of MAPPA.