And now we’re grown up orphans
And never knew their names
We don’t belong to no one
That’s a shame
But you could hide beside me
Maybe for a while
And I won’t tell no one your name
And I won’t tell ’em your name
After the thrilling action in the last episode of Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror), episode eight tunes down the action, while still keeping the tone nervous and tense. Five discovers the apartment at which Nine, Twelve, and Lisa are staying and blows it up. And though the group relocates, a guilty Lisa leaves the guys, and in the process gets herself captured.
Meanwhile, Shibazaki, now effectively forced from being a detective, continues his investigation, and finds out what the audience had likely guessed, that all this can be traced back to experimentation on “gifted” orphans – namely Five, Nine, and Twelve among a host of others taken from orphanages.
The vileness of the actions against these kids, seven years ago, is obvious, but maybe expected. This is, after all, what crooked politicians do in anime and movies – immoral things to advance their goals without thinking about how it destroys others. Their tinkering has come back to haunt them, of course, in the forms both of Sphinx and of Five, a monster they’ve unleashed.
Their target made sense – after all, who would miss a group of orphans? That must have been the officials’ pattern of thought as they took children away from churches andp other institutions. They experimented on them, hurt them, and stripped the children of their identities, so much so that they didn’t even keep their names, hence the numbers by which they know one another.
The significance of names is obvious – it’s an important part of who we are. In Japan and in other cultures, it plays an even more important role than here in the west, so close is it tied to identity. If our names are stripped away, we lose a portion of who we are. Knowing this, it was a humiliation that the Japanese used against the Koreans during colonization in an attempt to take away their cultural identity and hammer in a new one. For the orphans of Terror in Resonance, it was done at such a young age that it became just another part of a process that ruined their lives. None of three we know have had a chance at living normal existences, and instead, are adolescents who are running from or causing terrible violence.
How would things have changed if any or all of the three experimented children been adopted? If they had been treated with love instead of as lab rats? If they had been brought into a loving family?
In Christianity, the imagery of adoption runs strong through the New Testament. Born-again believers are described as being adopted by God. The cultural context is this – we have been taken in as heirs, along with Christ – heirs of God’s kingdom. Instead of being shunned, we are allowed to share in the greatest gift of all – God Himself.
As I look back at Terror in Resonance, I feel as if it’s largely too late for Five, Nine, and Twelve. But in this story, there’s one more de facto orphan, one who longs to belong somewhere, to a place where she’s needed. Lisa Mishima has been searching for grace, for people who will take her in despite her lack of redeeming characteristics. And though Nine chased her away with harsh words, this story isn’t over. Episode eight ended with Twelve leaving to rescue her, knowing that he is entering into a trap that may cost him his life. But he’s going to show Lisa what she needs – adoption into his “family.”
And ultimately, that is what we all need – affection we don’t deserve, sacrifice for our sakes, and adoption by one who truly cares.
Though Nine chased her away with his harsh words, Twelve is going to try to rescue her, knowing that it may cost his life. He is going to show Lisa that there is a place that she belongs – that she has been adopted into his family.