The Plot So Far:


  • Six Months Prior: Nine and Twelve steal nuclear materials from a processing plant.
  • Present Day: Posing as students, the two members of “Sphinx” successfully demolish the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.


  • Sphinx’s attack is revealed to have caused no casualties as they successfully launch a second attack on the Roppongi Police Station.


  • Shibazaki re-enters the fray, solving the newest riddle and preventing another bombing.


  • As Shibazaki manages to solve the next puzzle, but violates Sphinx’s guidelines while doing so. The Police Department reels as they are led to a false bomb and their investigation documents are leaked to the net.

“Using a type of illegal website from Russia or China, a regular (credit) card can be obtained for a dollar.


“It makes one wonder if the guy even exists. He’s like a ghost.


“No matter how you erase records and tracks, you can’t erase a person’s memory.




As the investigation progresses, Sphinx continues to string the police along—that is, everyone except Shibazaki, who they seemingly want to get closer—and it’s a story of how not to judge by one’s looks. As we’ve seen time and time again, the members of Sphinx might “just” be kids, but they’re far from incapable. The question is, where does that leave the adults? Should they be judged as incapable because of their failures in the investigation? Undoubtedly the people in the Zankyou universe believe so, and one can’t blame them for such an assessment.

The thing is though, correlation does not imply casuation. That is, just because they’re unable to obtain a breakthrough (a fitting episode title), it doesn’t automatically mean they’re all incompetent. And that’s the point. The way I see it, the theme of Zankyou isn’t so much about the failure of one group of people or a failure in one incident. It’s about failure on a grand scheme, a systematic combination of apathy, carelessness, naivety, and complacency on everyone’s part that led to the events we’re seeing right now.

And they’re things you can see it all the way back in episode one—in those that were running the facility Nine/Twelve were in, in Lisa’s family, in those that failed to investigate more into Shibazaki’s case from years back, in the police department of the present, in the classmates that spent their time making Lisa’s life hell, and in the everyday people you see depicted with their smartphones, watching on from afar and merely laughing as the police try to take down Sphinx. Boil it all down and one could say Watanabe’s going for a commentary about society here with Zankyou no Terror, and it arguably wouldn’t be too far off the mark in some respects. All things considered, it might just be that the whole bit about Sphinx trying to “wake the people from their slumber” may not be so much about revealing the past as it is trying to force people to realize the stagnate life they’ve become accustomed to.

With that in mind, I can’t help but feel there’s a kind of poignancy here with the events of this episode, because by all means, Nine, Twelve, and Lisa seem like they could’ve grown up to be great individuals. Yet, here they are—half-halfheartedly laughing at the notion of bringing the world to an end—finding solace as victims of a society that let them fall through the cracks. Put it all together, and it’s a tale that’s as sad as it is ironic. The only way for Lisa to find someone who understands her is in a group of terrorists, and while I personally don’t feel like any of this excuses Sphinx from the things they’ve done, you have to say that they’re doing a good job of portraying how they’re not entirely at fault here. Still, there’s blame to be shared on the part of our Sphinx protagonists, and perhaps the saddest part of it all is that they seem to know exactly what they’re doing. You get the sense that they decided on this course of action knowing that they’d be foregoing a normal life for a path that will eventually lead to some sort of punishment, and it’s likely one that’ll come at the hands of Shibazaki, who likely won’t come out unscathed from this either.

At this point, it looks like Lisa’s the only one likely to survive the ordeal in some way, and in ways it’d be quite fitting given the circumstances. One gets the sense that she won’t actually ever end up committing any crime herself—Sphinx themselves’ll make sure of that—and in that sense, she becomes the one person who arguably deserves to come out of this unscathed. At the same time, she’ll come out as the likely the beneficiary of the “wake-up call” that Sphinx is aiming for—even if the latter doesn’t succeed in its ultimate goal of waking up the nation, which seems quite likely at this point.


Looking Forward:

  • It’s all about Sphinx vs. Shibazaki and Lisa’s effect on the equation. I find it unlikely that anything actually happens to her following the events at the end of this week’s episode (it was probably just exhaustion), and it’ll be interesting to see how things develop from here. Four episodes in, Zankyou seems to be getting better and better, and here’s hoping it can keep it going for the rest of its run.


  1. I like your view of Lisa not being allowed to be involved in any acts of terrorism; it would mean that twelve (and possibly nine) would only want her around as some sort of way to connect with a fellow human being and for them to essentially not feel empty inside rather than involve her in any of their shenanigans.Well, people wanted the human aspect of the show and they got it in spades this ep. There was some top notch directing here both in the art, animation, and the characters. I cite the motorcycle scene as the perfect example of exemplary directing in this ep.

      1. @ Name (required)
        Was probably a virtual machine/console he was running. That prompt was probably the console of the Windows machine of the police which he gained control of…. or at least that’s what it could me if the creators knew about it.

  2. The most annoying character for me is that young newbie police investigator. His constant criticism and berating of Shibasaki is just stupid when he (and all the other policemen) only give useless input. His elitism seems to be a culmination of the bureaucracy of the higher ups in the police department. During that meeting about the explosives and fake account, all the brass seems to be blaming the scientist dude for not finding any hints, but what can they do better?

    Random thoughts:
    – I find it funny that Shibasaki has his “Gregory House” moments when his friend keeps dropping key words for him.
    – Now about those “illegal” websites with burner credit cards…where might one…*cough* find those…

    1. I think the annoying newbie officer is doing a fantastic job of symbolizing how the average person would be. It’s only because we viewers could read shibazaki’s thoughts that we are able to sympathize with shibazaki.

      What shibazaki is doing is gambling and based on intuition alone, which is naturally irritating for those trying to work with him without understanding his thought process.

  3. Well if there was any doubt the myth of Oedipus is definitely the foil for Nine and Twelve. Only a minor quibble with the riddle and its answer this episode, it was not Antigone and Ismene who accompanied Oedipus down to the Underworld, it was likely Theseus of Athens. Both of Oedipus’ daughters were not witness to his death, only Theseus (Antigone and Ismene were dismissed beforehand); the reason for this was the sanctity of Oedipus’ burial site which only Theseus and his heir were allowed to know the true location of. Unlike the Sphinx riddle there is no alternate version of Oedipus’ death that we know of as only Sophocles produced a surviving play detailing its events.

    And if there were any remaining questions about Nine and Twelve killing I think we have the answer: they are deliberately avoiding murder at all costs. Considering both the references to Oedipus and Sphinx’s avoidance of killing the main theme can likely be considered fate, specifically the inability of anyone–no matter how innocent–to avoid those events they have been predestined to live through. Sphinx are Oedipus, the man who for all his good intentions and honourable rule still slew his father and married his mother. Little piece of evidence this episode helps to support this hypothesis in that discussion Sibazaki had with the store employee. Nine (IIRC) in his brief talks with said employee fell silent when talking about his father which the employee said “hit a nerve”; big tell something’s missing here and that Nine likely remembers his father which considering the Oedipus imagery may not be pleasant thoughts.

    With Oedipus as a basis then Sphinx aren’t looking to avoid their fate, they’ve already experienced it (i.e. the “orphan” story alluded to). Their goal, as indicated by the word Von (hope) is to repay for their actions by giving back to those who have helped them. Like Oedipus’ grave became the blessing of peace for many years upon Athens, Sphinx looks to become the hope of a people feeling shackled by laws, rules, and expectations, to break them free from the chains of a rigid society. This is why Lisa is present, she shows exactly what Sphinx is freeing, a girl among many whose life feels increasingly static, rigid, and suffocating. Destroy the world? In a sense, more like enlighten the world, break it free from its self-imposed destiny. Sphinx, like Oedipus, are attempting to serve as the martyr for their own actions.

    1. Some people view Nine and Twelve as Oedipus in that their fathers are not two individual people, but rather the institution itself. In fact all the children at the facility could be considered Oedipus.

      Like Oedipus’s real father, the institution possibly foresaw that it’s son (the children) would kill him so he decides to kill them instead. In the story, we saw flashbacks of fire, but we never really found out what happened. Were they escaping from the facility still in tact? Or were all the children being killed at the compound for the fear of their superhuman intellect coming back to “kill” the institution? (Or in the case of the story, perhaps it would result in the downfall of government. Assuming the diet member knew of this, killing all the children the diet member would destroy much of the evidence of that incident ever happening).

      The characters are going through very similar experiences, so it’s actually pretty hard to keep track of who could symbolically be Oedipus, sphinx, etc. XD

      Putting the Oedipus story aside, the story continues to stress the isolation of the characters. Lisa stares blankly at her mother calling as people around her talks to friends/family over their own cell phones. Twelve, despite what he says, seems to yearn for a connection with Lisa. Shibasaki wants to play along with sphinx’s games, going so far as to “feel what they feel” in order to get a better understanding of his adversaries.

    2. But Antigone and Ismene do accompany Oedipus to his death though. In the story of “Oedipus at Colonus”, in Oedipus’ last moments, he is accompanied by his two daughters Antigone and Ismene as well as Theseus during his final hours, stating that athens would forever be protected by the gods, the condition being that no body learns of his grave. Oedipus humbles himself and acknowledges the almighty power the gods have in pulling the strings of the world, and in doing so he his forgiven for the crimes that he was responsible for all those years he lived. In a sense, all three of them accompany Oedipus to the underworld, but as the emotional weight of the story lies with Antigone and Ismene and how they have to handle the results of the sins committed by Oedipus, it makes sense that the riddle would give them precedence as to who took accompanied Oedipus to his afer life. The riddle was not implying that Antigone and Ismene truly escorted Oedipus to the underworld (although they were involved). It’s that the theme of the riddle and what is implication was required that the person solving the riddle realize that while Theseus was the only one who was allowed to truly accompany Oedipus to the location of his grave, Antigone and Ismene accompanied Oedipus long enough to see him bathe himself and pour libations. Though yes, theseus is the only one allowed to know the location of Oedipus’ grave and is technically the one who does take Oedipus to the underworld : ). In the context of the riddle and the location of the bomb, the answer Antigone and Ismene is the correct one

    3. Perhaps the most interesting thing here for me is how due to the the many possible interpretations and versions of the mythology, I’ve chosen to focus more on the actions and mindset of the characters minus the mythology, yet ended up at very similar conclusions.

      There’s a mix of obvious and subtle messages that come together to guide viewers to these conclusions no matter what you choose to focus on in this show, and there’s much to be said about the series’ accessibility to viewers that may prefer one perspective over another.

      Gotta say, put it all together and the show’s shaping up into a series I feel many of us will remember for quite a bit.

      1. I definitely agree. t]These first four eps have felt like extremely good build up with lots of pieces that just work together. I feel like tensions are about to go into overdrive now and that the series is about to get darker.

    1. No doubt. Are you really surprised at this, though? It’s the great Kanno at the musical helm!

      For those interested, the song that plays at the climax is NC17 and is included on the OST. It is one of the most awesome songs I’ve ever heard in anime… or ever, for that matter.

  4. the story would be 200% more fun if there is 3rd hand join the game later. like random guy on street who so smart that he can solve riddle before Shibazaki.

    i have wild card character fetish :/

    1. There is in fact Show Spoiler ▼

  5. I love how they Are going out their way to establish that this is taking place in OUR world. I mean all those realistic references and attention to detail. It makes this series even more amazing

    And is it weird that I totally started shipping twelve and lisa…. couldn’t help it.

  6. I’m no hacker, but do understand wget and know it can be used as a supplementing tool when hacking (eg; grab lists oof a page you’ve accessed and/or mirrored), but can someone explain to me how the heck putting a wget command into a webshell automagically gets you control of another system?!!

    Also, the MPD abbreviation was funy to see. Sure, it’s Metro Police Department or whatever, but to most in unix/linux/bsd-land it usually means Music Player Daemon. LOL

    1. wget is used to copy hacking tools and scripts from a remote site onto the local machine once you have shell access. That’s probably the most realistic representation of hacking I have seen in anything to be honest.

  7. Even with the explosions and tensions, I find myself thinking of this as a ‘quiet’ drama/thriller. Which sounds ridiculous, I know, but Zankyou no Terror isn’t very in-your-face. Instead, it has subtleties, and as such has got under my skin.
    This is shaping up to be something amazing.Waiting a week between episodes feels too long.

  8. As a computer engineer, the “hacking” in this episode was face-palm. It’s as bad as the Hollywood hacking you see on shows like CSI.

    I also love how clueless the police persist to be episode after episode. What? You can obtain stolen credit cards? Whodathunk?

    Nonetheless, this show is entertaining if you turn off your brain and ignore their failed attempts to be trendy with today’s computer world. Granted, most anime’s audience probably have no clue either, so it works out.

    1. Oh, lo and behold, the mighty lord Euphoric have descended from his glorious heavenly vainglory castle to educate us mere clueless anime loving mortals about the great secrets of the universe, oh lost sheep, don’t forget to get your sunglasses or you will be blinded by his glorious light of wisdom XD

    1. Shame is, variously, an affect, emotion, cognition, state, or condition. The roots of the word shame are thought to derive from an older word meaning “to cover”; as such, covering oneself, literally or figuratively, is a natural expression of shame.[1] Nineteenth century scientist Charles Darwin, in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, described shame affect as consisting of blushing, confusion of mind, downward cast eyes, slack posture, and lowered head, and he noted observations of shame affect in human populations worldwide.[2] He also noted the sense of warmth or heat (associated with the vasodilation of the face and skin) occurring in intense shame.
      A “sense of shame” is the consciousness or awareness of shame as a state or condition. Such shame cognition may occur as a result of the experience of shame affect or, more generally, in any situation of embarrassment, dishonor, disgrace, inadequacy, humiliation, or chagrin.[3]
      A condition or state of shame may also be assigned externally, by others, regardless of one’s own experience or awareness. “To shame” generally means to actively assign or communicate a state of shame to another. Behaviors designed to “uncover” or “expose” others are sometimes used for this purpose, as are utterances like “Shame!” or “Shame on you!” Finally, to “have shame” means to maintain a sense of restraint against offending others (as with modesty, humility, and deference) while to “have no shame” is to behave without such restraint (as with excessive pride or hubris).

      For more information check

  9. It seems that Nine and Twelve are deliberately leading the police to face the faults in their system by using all sorts of different illegal methods to achieve their goals. As the MP uncover Sphinx’s trail, they’re also reminded of what potentially dangerous resources the average citizen has access to. Brilliant.

  10. Sometimes, the biggest explosions don’t come from physical bombs. Perhaps nothing was tangibly destroyed, but the leak of the investigation documents arguably has done the most damage out of all of Sphinx’s attacks.

    A hidden bomb, indeed.

      1. As of now, BD sales are around the 1000s. That is pretty dismal. That is not to say that the sales won’t rise, they probably will, but given the high production values Zankyou is probably gonna struggle to break even.

  11. I feel the following conversation might be relevant…

    Darth Vader: Obi-wan *is* here. The Force is with him.
    Governor Tarkin: If you’re right, he must not be allowed to escape.
    Darth Vader: Escape is not his plan. I must face him, alone.

    I presume the Sphinesx actually want to get caught, to bring their (and the other inmates) plight at thenameless facility to the public knowledge…


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