I had high hopes for Terror in Tokyo. The buzz surrounding it, and even the first few episodes got me all giddy with appreciation for something different from your typical anime series, and something potentially realistically terrifying. But then the character known as "5" entered the fray and... Well, let me back up. Let me start from the start.
Terror in Tokyo is about two very intelligent, slightly disturbed, 17 year-old boys (who we only know as Number 9 and Number 12, or as Sphinx 1 and Sphinx 2 when they start spreading fear and loathing to the populace) who one day start blowing up buildings in the titular city. They send the police and media warnings about their bombings before they happen (in the form of very creepy YouTube videos), and they actually do their best to make sure that nobody dies in any of their explosions, which really makes the police wonder what the fuck is going on. These two kids also never seem to make any demands, they just make things go *KABOOM*.
Into this mix comes the totally pointless character of... Oh fuck, I don't even remember her name. Nameless is this really pathetic, overly bullied, high school girl with a psychotic mother who gets mixed up with 9 and 12 when they take down a government building early on in the series. You kind of think that she'll be important to their cause, or egg them on to set the whole world on fire for the shit she's been through in her life... But no, she's utterly, totally pointless, and is only useful (plot-wise) as a damsel in distress in one of the last few episodes of this short series. She brings less than nothing to the plot and I detest her.
There's also the old and wizened police detective who was demoted years ago for standing up for his beliefs against his superiors' crooked wishes. He's the only one in all of Japan prepared to dive into WHY these crazy Sphinx kids are doing what they're doing. He's so fucking cliche that it hurts. He's always calm (especially when all the young'uns around him shout and spit their ideas and disapproval every time they talk), he's always smoking ('cause smokin's coo'!), and he's apparently the only one out of the entire Tokyo PD who has more than a half-dozen brain cells to rub together, seeing as he's the only cop who can figure out what the Sphinx kids are hinting at in their video threats. Everyone else just stares at him slack-jawed and in total disbelief whenever he works out the (sometimes strange, sometimes child-like simple) clues.
That's pretty much the gist of everything here, so now let me talk spoilers in order to tell you just why I found that this show disappointed me much more than it should have.
Okay, so the teens known as Number 9 and Number 12 stole some plutonium from a secure nuclear facility, and 6 months later they start seemingly randomly dropping regular (non-nuclear) bombs in buildings and sites all over Tokyo, but first they do their best to make sure that all these locations are clear of all people. They're cool like that. It turns out that 9 and 12 were both orphans, and when they were very young they were taken away by the government to a hidden facility for something called the Athena Plan, where they were doped up on some new super drug that turned them into super villain savants because why the hell not? That's what shady governments do, right? Sure.
Out of 26 tiny tots who were first inducted into the Athena Plan, only 3 survived the drugs they were being pumped full of, and two of them escaped 7 years prior to the start of the show. These escapees were 9 and 12... Number 5 remained in custody, and we find out later that she was sold off to the CIA because governments be crooked and vile, yo. This is when things just got dumb (even by anime standards).
About 1/3rd of the way through the series, the tables get turned on the Sphinx kids when number 5 shows up in their lives again. The US Government sends in help to stop the Sphinx bombings and the grownup 5 comes with the group of tall, blonde, dark-suited G-men. For some inexplicable reason (seriously, we're never told or even really given any good hints as to why) 5 HATES 9 and 12. For some other inexplicable reason, 5 (who's just a 17 year-old girl) is allowed free reign by her handlers to hide even MORE bombs around Tokyo than the Sphinx kids have already set off in order to draw 9 and 12 out... She's supposed to be extremely brilliant and resourceful, but apparently her writers were not. And in the end, when 12 gives himself up and is being transported to a press conference that he wants to give in exchange for NOT setting off the nuke he still has in his possession (and every single one of his promises had been kept previous to this point), 5 somehow convinces all of her handlers to attack the police convoy that's moving 12 to the TV crews (why they didn't just hold the press conference at the precinct 12 was originally held at I'll never know). I don't remember WHY 5 wanted to attack this convoy, other than she is crazier than a fecalpheliac running loose in a port-o-potty cleaning facility. She rants about wanting to be as smart as 12 is, and to finally beat him at something in the last seconds of her life, but up until this point we were never given any indication that they were ever any sort of rivals. In fact, 12 kept having a repeating nightmare (that they felt the need to show over and over and over again in the first few episodes) where he felt terrible remorse that he and 9 couldn't get 5 out of the Athena Plan facility because she tripped at the fence like a dingus and got caught. They were on good terms. Ugh... Lazy writing.
The one thing about the CIA subplot that I was grateful for was that even though they were painted as rootin' tootin' shootin' rough and ready douchnozzles, they really were trying to help Japan contain the issue of the missing "plutonium" that 9 and 12 stole. They weren't secretly trying to overthrow the Japanese government, nor do they have their own agenda, like they're usually portrayed as having. And, most importantly, they're not the real true bad guys. The real true big bads are all Japanese government officials. I think this is the first time Americans have been introduced in the plot of an anime and they're not the real assholes of the show.
After all is said and done, I have to admit that the last 2 episodes really pulled this thing up from the nosedive it was involved in up to that point. Terror in Tokyo started off intriguing, then became lame and almost boring, but then it tried hard to redeem itself near the very end. Not that the ending was a work of art, or something as glorious as say a Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex season finale, but it was better than I thought it would be going by how shitty things were originally turning out in the middle episodes. Still, there are two things that bugged me that weren't directly related to the plot:
Number 1) Jesus Christ.. That one young cop just pissed me off like nothing I can think of before! Are there truly people out there in important professional roles that are that incredibly stupid in real life (other than Jimmy Carter)? That one young cop would fly off the handle and start yelling at people (colleagues and superiors) over the smallest things. "You don't believe the Chief of Police when it's obvious he's lying to us?! How DARE YOU!!! *POUNDS FIST ON TABLE*" "There were 26 kids involved in that project!?! I'll MURDER YOU!!!! *POUNDS BOTH FISTS ON TABLE*" "You didn't put cream in my coffee!?! OH MY GOD!!! BWAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Fuck the world! *POUNDS HEAD ON TABLE*" How did this putz not get fired for opening his big fucking retarded mouth before the events in this show even started?
Number 2) Why do the blonde American CIA handlers have Japanese/Australian accents? It is one of the funniest things I've ever heard in my life, especially when I was not expecting it. Heavily Japanese-accented speech, yeah, I'm used to that for my American characters, but this was something special.
I am unsure if I followed this program correctly. There may be spoilers of surprises in this review that I am writing, just in case you are worried of such things, in case you may not have witnessed this story's natural progression for yourself yet.
So two children are allowed to either work in an advanced Japanese nuclear facility, or break into that same facility in order to break out the other child. That seems like rather lax security to me. On top of that, these two children did not in fact steal plutonium, as we and the police department were originally led to believe, but in fact a working nuclear bomb. I fail to see how this is possible. First of all, why is Japan developing a suitcase-sized nuclear device. Second of all, how could a government that developed such a high-tech device not be able to track the radiation output of it? There shouldn't be too many radiation signals being put out in Japan at this point in its history. I mean, Nagasaki and Hiroshima had cooled down by 2014, yes?
There were so many unanswered questions in this series, and so much left to chance in the plot. On top of that I did not find myself attached to any of the main or sub-characters. They were all either written as silly sods, or they were annoying.
I think that's all I have to say about it. Now to get back to my soufflé!
This Tokyo Terror show was awful. It reminded me of that time my friend Julian got me to drink the Kool-Aid (literally drink some doped-up Kool-Aid) and join that dumb cult he was in. They were all about taking down the Canadian government or something, and they went about it by cutting down a bunch of maple trees and turning them into battering rams that they tried to use to pound in the Canadian Senate (or whatever it's called) front doors.
Unfortunately for the anti-government cult, after the trucks dropped the trees off in the parking lot, they found that they were just to heavy to move without any Orcs to lift them and so they then tried to turn them into one giant bonfire of anti-capitalist oppression... But they wouldn't lite. Too much maple syrup. After that I noticed that there was a Tim Horton's across the street and I just led everybody over there to start a quiet sit-in powered by donuts and coffee. It all broke up when one of the cultists said he had to pick up some beer for his old man, 'eh, and he really like had to get goin'. Sorry, 'eh. Then we all just left. I think those giant tree trunks are still there to this day. People think it's some sort of modern art piece and they're just too polite to say how ugly it looks or remove it.