Before you read any more of this post, I want to let you know there will be SPOILERS to the show Terror in Resonance. This posting is in response to the recent Anime News Network podcast, it is meant to provide my point of view on the series. Enjoy the discussion!
I recently reviewed the show Terror in Resonance on my site and mentioned about how I enjoyed the show. It was sometime last week I was catching up on my podcasts, including the ANN Cast, which I listen to regularly. The crew at ANN had a different perspective on the show and since listening to the episode I have thought about what I enjoyed about the show and how I perceived it. The goal of this post isn’t to defend the show, but simply to provide my own perspective and maybe open up another avenue for a viewer to enjoy the show.
The story centers around 2 youths who are terrorists but don’t kill people in their bombings. The two characters posses a nuclear weapon and play some games with the police. Eventually a special force is brought in to oversee the operation. The leader and the 2 terrorists all were experiments of a government program to raise super intellects.
Some of the criticism from ANN I can agree with. I thought it was a bit convenient for the main detective to have someone who studied nuclear technology in his circle. There wasn’t much set up in this aspect and seemed a little sloppy without any kind of set up or foreshadowing.
ANN said Terror in Resonance “was a wasted opportunity that clipped its own balls by making the 2 lead characters not kill other people”. At times, I agreed with this statement, it wasn’t until the end of the series that it made sense to me. I believe that the two characters are actually eco-terrorists. Eco-terrorism refers to acts of violence committed in support of ecological or environmental causes against persons or their property, from Wikipedia. Before you roll your eyes and close the browser window, hear me out.
Eco-terrorists don’t kill people, which would be in-line with the 2 lead characters belief systems. Some of ANN’s criticism of the series was that the series didn’t offer anything new to the concept or notion of terrorism, which I disagree with. I felt that Terror in Resonance’s main theme wasn’t about terrorism at all, but the over reliance on technology in society.
Throughout the show, there is the element of the nuclear weapon which I thought (and undoubtedly many other fans thought) was going to be used to either destroy a city or was going to be recovered by the police. There lies a common misperception in nuclear terrorism. Would terrorists detonate a nuclear weapon in a city and kill millions of people? Or would they target a high level detonation (such as seen at the end of the series) where it would disable an entire country’s electronic infrastructure?
If you want to learn a little bit more about Electro Magnetic Pulses (EMPS), this article from USA Today is a good start.
It’s an honest question to ask and one that I think the series tries to ask and start a discussion. Would one kill millions of people or kill them slowly by destroying their infrastructure and causing a massive rebuilding effort at home, one that would potentially limit the reach of a country on the international stage.
How would a technologically advanced society react to having no electronic infrastructure, meaning no cell phones or other means of communication. I don’t believe the show was framing terrorism from past events in the US or Japan, but to point out how fragile our society is to terrorist attacks.
The characters detonate the nuclear weapon at the end of the series to unplug all of society from their devices and get them to focus more on nature and living with it. There goal was never to kill people, it was to save them from technology and to save the planet.
It is with that lens, I look at Terror in Resonance. The viewpoint of the characters as eco-terrorists, which is why I find the series powerful and with a story worth telling.