I want to start off by saying I have thoroughly enjoyed every work that Shinichiro Watanabe has ever done. He is by far one of my favorite directors not just in anime but as a creative artist. Masaaki Yuasa creates an obscure way in how he delivers and animates his stories. He for one has set a standard for his anime works. When you see a series you will know that it has his influence written all over it. He really delivered strong with Ping Pong the Animation last season. For Watanabe every piece of the anime production process is crucial to his vision. Voice acting, sound effects, music, in-between animation to key animation, down to the characters and the plot. I could go on with this list.
Every aspect in telling a plot correctly and coherently is crucial with Watanabe’s sense of style. I am a fan. Cowboy Bebop was a paramount of a science fiction series that took the old days of western films and space opera novels mixing them together. Samurai Champloo gave us the culture of edo-era japan and integrated the sounds of hip hop that delivered a refreshing take on traditions of the past. Baby Blue a short excerpt piece within the Genius Party Collection was more of a teaser of Sakamichi no Apollon than anything else. Most of which explored the romance genre. His influence on Michiko e Hatchin [one of my favorite series and lands in my Top 10 Best Anime Series] with the soundtrack makes me think that wasn’t the only part of the series that shined through with his artistic style. The story and its characters were so full of life and felt like Watanabe persuasion towards Yamamoto. Which come to think of it Sayo Yamamoto is turning out to be one of the more unique directors in the industry. Looking at you Fujiko Mine. Kids on the Slope [Sakamichi no Apollon] adapted Yuki Kodama’s manga was a faithful coming-of-age story one in which developed life-long friendships, blossoming love, and the power that music can have on the soul. Space Dandy a spirited comedic rendition of Cowboy Bebop. Not in the way that it was told or even portrayed but in how it’s a spiritual counterpart of that series. Episode 8’s scene with the refrigerator from Bebop’s Toys in the Attic episode is a perfect example of this. Tackling the comedy that we know of today with sexual humor and combining it with a certain admiration of old science fiction films. Space Dandy has been a great change for Watanabe to turn to.
Zankyou no Terror [English interpretation: Terror in Tokyo/Terror in Resonance] is a strong drama series for adults that addresses today’s issues of acceptance, ideologies of technology, and terrorism. This was a brilliant first episode! Hands down the best show to watch this season! So much was going on! At the forefront of it all is Lisa Mashima a lonely girl and as I could tell from the swimming pool scene and the numerous phone messages from her mother she is a girl with a lot of personal issues.
As it is normal to have a ton of questions after the first episode, this beginning story provided so much background. Understanding, Nine and Twelve not much dialogue really needed to be called for. At the beginning its quite noticeable these kids have a motive for pulling off everything they did in this episode at such magnitude. Given how well prepared they were for stealing the petroleum at the nuclear fuel reprocessing facility it is with no doubt in my mind there is a lot more to them than just your average school kids.
What was fantastic about this episode is from start to finish it did not let up! Even in the moments where no action occurred you knew something was going on either in the background or in between the lines. Lisa’s mother text messaging her while she is in the bathroom stall. The dream sequence that Arata [Nine] had. The video that the detective recalls unusual after the blackout. The segment where Arata and Toji [Twelve] question on saving Lisa. Showing without telling and how well everything merged together was astonishing.
That snowmobile scene in the first part had to have been the most fluid scene out of the entire episode! I have to hand it to MAPPA here. They did a tremendous job animating the people running and handling objects. Looked like the budget an animation studio would have for a feature film. Amazing stuff right there! The voice acting was down to a tee as well.
When Shinichiro Watanabe said he had been working on projects for years, I can certainly tell with this episode that this series was conceived a long time ago. It has been a work-in-progress ever since. All the animation felt like Cowboy Bebop, so old-school. In the end the way it turned out provided even more of real feel for the animation than if this series had been done 10 years ago. Yoko Kanno is a gift to the anime industry. Providing some strong soundtracks over the years of with Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop, Kids on the Slope but this was very different. I can see the jazz sections flow through in the soundtrack, but there were only about 2 pieces that showed up from that in this episode. Can’t even imagine what else she has in store for the rest of the episodes. A work of brilliance in this first episode, and whole heartedly the best episode of the summer season. I would jump the gun on this and say this might possibly be best anime of the year after watching that. Perhaps that’s jumping a bit too far ahead? Haha.
OP: What an unusually bright song to play for this series. Somehow with Kanno’s score and Yuuki Ozaki’s voice it works and the animation was awesome here. Can’t wait to hear the rest of this song.
ED: Hands down best ED of the season. Not only was the animation awesome but the song rocked! Animation was unique and Aimer finally provided a dark chromatic sounding song. One that they’ve never tried before thanks to the composition skills of Kanno. This was really different for the band!
LIKELY TO BLOG: 100%
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 100%