The rules and structure of the early episodes of Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror) have long been forgotten. We’re now on a tense, thrilling ride to the end, where uncovering of the truth and simply guessing what will happen next leads to breathtaking moments as much as the action sequences.
Episode nine of Terror in Resonance follows our three heroes, who only a couple of episodes ago were briefly brought together, as they go separate ways. Nine speeds up Sphinx’s ultimate plan; Shibazaki finds out the horrible truth; and Twelves dives into a trap to rescue Lisa.
First, let’s talk Shibazaki, whose heroics continue to enthrall. Though his storyline could be mundane and boring, Shinichiro Watanabe uses his character well to uncover the past of Five, Nine, Twelve, and the other children (who we now know did not survive). It’s a wonderful plot device, as we grow to root for another character whose journey garners our interest, when more conventional anime storytelling would have just revealed the entire background in flashback sequences.
Shibazaki’s investigation in this episode also further reveals the deep, troublesome questions at the heart of the series – the depths of evil that humanity is capable of. Indeed, the comparison is made to the awful experiments that the Nazis conducted on undesirables, which fits more than just at a surface level. The older gentleman that Shibazaki and his partner question seems quite reasonable, and indeed, he tries to subtly shift blame for his activities. But Shibazaki directs a question to him, and to the audience as well – at what point are we complicit, where standing idly by, or just following directions, makes us culpable in wrong? The depravity of humanity is such that too many people, both in the past (particularly during World War II) and today, cross that line and never turn back.
That storyline, with the confrontation between a middle-aged detective and an older man of note, works as a nice counter to the youthful Twelve and Lisa, and their unusual predicament in which romance almost blooms on a Ferris wheel…while a bomb is about to kill them both (on a ride reminiscent of that – or exactly the same – in the background of the facility in which the orphans were raised). But it also takes the depravity expressed in the other segment and shows the solution to it.
As I watched Twelve and Lisa interact, I saw signs of grace that pointed toward that expressed in the gospel message, but I couldn’t place one person in the character of Christ and another in that of humankind, especially with both apologizing for their mistakes and with Twelve telling Lisa it wasn’t her fault. But then I realized that both were expressing (and receiving) a love expressed through Christ.
Most notably, I saw in Twelve an image of Christ, of one who had to die for others’ sins, and the pain it caused him knowing that he would have the wrath of God upon him at the cross. And yet, out of love, Christ did it for us, and like a born-again Christian, Lisa tearfully confessed her sins and expressed her appreciation. But then Lisa offered a love toward Twelve, later, when he told her the situation was instead his fault, and her strength reminded me the power we have when we give grace to others, a power that can change even the hardest of hearts.
With this series nearing it’s end, I’m eager to see this powerful gospel theme again – to see how it continues to be expressed. Because, frankly, I don’t think that we’ll have seen the last of gracious sacrifices in Terror in Resonance, and that both fills me with anticipation, and, for these characters I’ve grown to love – a little bit of terror.