Terror in Resonance has fantastic talent behind it – director Shinichirō Watanabe, composer Yoko Kanno and studio MAPPA, but it doesn’t highlight their strengths.
Okay, I’m not a huge fan of MAPPA though they have created some fantastic animation, but it’s Watanabe that lead me to expect great things from Terror in Resonance. Whilst it’s far from awful, Terror in Resonance suffers from a poorly-paced plot and only a couple of characters who become remotely fleshed out, and despite being only 11 episodes long it feels as if it already outstays its welcome.
Terror in Resonance follows Lisa, a high school girl who has difficulty both at home and at school, as she’s caught up in a series of terrorist attacks carried out by a duo under the name of Sphinx. Lisa ends up with very little character development and ends up being a vehicle for plot points, and only the leads of Sphinx end up being truly focused on as Lisa’s story becomes less and less relevant over the course of the show. Maybe my hopes were too high, but it didn’t stop me from feeling disappointed although there are some breathtaking moments in the show which I remember fondly, and show how great Terror in Resonance could have really been.
Terror in Resonance is a visually stunning show with somewhat muted colours that match the serious events taking place, and the way they’re used come together to create weather and lighting that feels real – Terror in Resonance almost exclusively relies on being taken seriously with its grounded story, and they’ve definitely nailed the visuals in relation to this. Character design is realistic, reflecting the intention that this is supposed to be something that wouldn’t be a far stretch in the real world. Terror in Resonance is excellent in pretty much every aspect other than story and character development (seriously, Lisa is the biggest plot device driving character you can think of) but its visuals may be its greatest strength – honestly, they’re spectacular and one of the reasons I continued watching.
I initially watched Terror in Resonance in Japanese and had no issues with it, and the English Dub doesn’t disappoint. Some incredible voice-talent has been brought on-board including Christopher Bevins, Aaron Dismuke and Jad Saxton as Nine, Twelve and Lisa respectively, with Robert McCollum and Jamie Marchi breathing life into the two biggest side characters – Kenjiro and Five. Yoko Kanno composed the OST and she’s one of the most recognisable names in anime composing, and you might know her from her work on Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy, Kids on the Slope and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. I enjoyed the OST although it’s far from Yoko’s best work, but she’s still obviously talented and it’s no wonder that Shinichirō Watanabe keeps corroborating with her.
Terror in Resonance failed to impressive me narratively and, despite its strong start, it’s a slow journey with a cast that struggle to have more than one dimension – I really can’t overstate my annoyance with Lisa, who’s barely a character as much as she is a plot device. I remember many people having complaints with Five, a character who uses poorly spoken English in her lines (this is in reference to the Japanese voice-over) but I had little issue with her as one of the more interesting characters in the series. An intriguing concept has been wasted on Terror in Resonance where the true terror is putting up with a character as dull, boring and flat as Lisa for 11 episodes. There are two outstanding moments that show that Terror in Resonance could’ve been much more than it ended up being and whilst those moments took me by surprise, it quickly became a show which can’t be described as anything other than average. Well, apart from Lisa who’s just at dirt bottom – I think there might’ve been a background character or two, or maybe all of them, who had more personality than Lisa. Maybe Lisa is the most realistic character of all because I’d hate my life too if I managed to be this uninteresting.
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