Zankyou no Terror is probably going to ask you to think — and lead by the direction of Shinichiro Watanabe, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
The show’s premier opens with a wintery heist that sees two young men steal a device from a nuclear fuel processing facility with little more than a hand grenade at the front gates and a brilliantly animated snowmobile getaway.
Skip ahead to the summer where the two thieves (who cryptically call themselves Nine and Twelve when they’re alone and speak of a tragic past at some kind of institution) transfer into a high school and try to lay low for a few days despite attracting attention because of their polar-opposite bright and cold personalities. When a school field trip to a skyscraper in Shinjuku approaches, their motive for transferring becomes clear, especially after a YouTube video of the masked pair calling themselves Sphinx prophesies a black out the next day.
Amid the rocking murmurs of a Yoko Kano soundtrack that sounds like it’ll likely be at least a two-base hit — if not another home run — Nine and Twelve detonate explosives in the building after cutting the power and evacuating civilians. But as Nine heads to plant the last bomb, he runs into Mashima Lisa, one of his new classmates and a bullied girl who reminds Sphinx of their past.
They give her an ultimatum: Die where she stands, or in exchange for saving her life, become an accomplice in whatever grand terrorist scheme they have cooking. When she says she doesn’t want to die and follows Twelve’s instructions over the phone (a la Neo from Trinity inThe Matrix), the trio stands in the shadow of the skyscraper’s rubble and Twelve declares that “there’s no going back.”
And with the pedigree behind Zankyou no Terror’s production and the action-filled tease put forward in the first episode, I’m inclined to feel the same way about watching this show.
Once you’re hooked on this premier, there might be no going back.
Zankyou no Terror is currently streaming on Funimation.
Check out this header post for more Summer 2014 anime previews and for more on why I’m taking a stab at them in the first place.