Check-in Station: Zankyou no Terror ep1 (I wouldn’t have jumped)
Not bad at all. Though it’s very early in the story line, I see elements that I really do like. It’s a positive all around.
Looking at the teaser for this story, it sounds pretentious as hell. Two kids with a tragic past and numbers for names are sent to put the world on tilt. They do something horrible and the rest of the world is left to put together the mystery. “YAWN!” Yawn I say! Nothing at all draws me in about that. But in execution, this show works for me.
The opening scene, which is a heist of some ‘scientific thing” of apparent importance is done pretty well. Not spectacular, but it does have some nice cinematography. I don’t see a lot of chase scenes done in the old, over-the-shoulder way in anime much anymore. And it did get across that these two kids were very cavalier and very professional as well in the way they got things done.
Skip forward several months, and these same kids go from that barren, high security zone in the snow, to the summer of Tokyo. They have school uniforms and all, but neither really fits in. Arata is the silent, brooding type who always needs to adjust his glasses. Touji is the smiling, idiot – though he’s more playing the fool than actually being one. I believe their names are Nine and Twelve. And they’re awkward in normal society. On their way to their first day at school, though I believe being a transfer student in Japan makes you the most conspicuous person on the planet, they go over their plans to blend in and get ready for the upcoming operation. Along the way, Touji smells a pool and follows it to the source, where a very interesting scene awaits him. Even to someone who is likely far outside the realm of everyday endeavors, he can recognize the scene of some bullying, as a girl named Lisa is being “pressured” into taking a dive into the pool, despite having her school uniform on her body. It was a strange and transient moment, but the memories of Touji hopping into the pool with his clothes on in front of her, and then the gaze of Arata’s icy stare stick with her. And it’s pretty much impossible to forget once Touji arrives in her class. Matter of fact, both of these guys are impossible to forget because, much like other transfer students in an anime, they’re instantly popular as hell.
Things don’t get any more spectacular as we get a peek into Arata’s psyche as his recurring nightmare is witnessed. Something about kids climbing a fence, and some white haired girl not being able to make it. He wakes up in a panic, and Touji is right there to answer him.
Before I skip too far ahead, there is a parrallel narrative getting to play out as well. In the same school that the three main characters attend, we see that the school happens to have a ex-detective in its faculty. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, and not important at all.
The crux of this whole episode is the scene in the skyscraper. We see Arata and Touji skulking the building and weirdly placing little stuffed dolls around the building, and who is it that they come across in the building? None other than little Lisa again. Man, she has some anxiety issues. Something about her and bathrooms that isn’t a great combination. She manages to take time out of her panic attack schedule to leave and find Touji as he’s setting up his cute little bombs. Touji tricks her into holding onto one, as a set up for a little gambit of his. He leaves the building and informs Arata of his way of dealing with the only person who saw them with the bombs. For some reason, he thought it was OK to give Arata the choice as to who wins or loses. And maybe it was because of the recurring nightmares, but Arata agrees to it and gives the girl the choice as to whether she wants to be an accomplice in their crime, or die in the building. Lisa shows a little more courage than I would give her credit for (though I’m sure there wouldn’t be much of a show without her), and she actually follows all of the way through. Touji even saves her once she’s done.
Friends to the end? Forever?
Overall, not that striking except for a few scenes, that attack making a large portion of a skyscraper collapse brought back some eerie 9/11 memories, probably on purpose. The show seems well set-up though. It keeps a good amount of mystery without becoming needlessly confusing, a fine line to walk. It doesn’t bog down the viewer with too much information or jargon, something that admittedly is much more of a problem for mecha series. And I didn’t really find anything boring or annoying about the cast or setting. The trick for this show will be to step out of this solid first episode and grab the audience. The atmosphere and set-up are nice, but after a major attack like that I expect to see some death and carnage. Sorry, I don’t have much more to say about this, the episode was too solid.