The Plot So Far:


  • Nine and Twelve steal nuclear materials from a processing plant. Posing as students, they successfully demolish the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building six months later.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Five enters the picture, turning the tables on Sphinx and the Police Department.

“There’s nothing but misfortune waiting for someone who gets involved with us.



As the fifth episode brings the fitting arrival of Five, Zankyou no Terror hits its halfway point with a literal bang. Considering the significance of the Sarin Gas Attacks in Japan, the latter comes as something I didn’t expect to see, but if there was a show to challenge the norms of expectation, this would be the one to do it. At this point, it’s clear Watanabe’s not holding back, an ironic notion considering the revelations regarding Sphinx, who clearly are doing quite the opposite.

As suspected, Sphinx’s goal isn’t to cause casualties, but to intentionally draw the police in and either use them for or led them to something. This episode gives our protagonists their first major setback in this regard, and it showcases just what happens when there’s someone capable of not only calling their bluff, but doesn’t care what happens in the process. With the Police Department getting side-stepped during this entire process—they really can’t get a break in this series can they?—Nine and Twelve are forced to (ironically) go all out to try and stop a bomb they themselves set. The thing is though, while I can’t argue against the skillful development of the episode as a whole, I can’t help but feel that something also felt off this week.

It could just be because the first few episodes had Sphinx as such as unstoppable force that I got used to things being this way, but no matter the reason—even if Five has superior skills—it’s still strange that our protagonists were so thoroughly dominated. It got to the point where they were being pushed into a trap, yet still decided to go into it, and it was highly uncharacteristic for them to have done so considering the risk they were putting themselves in the process. Granted, it isn’t the first time they committed an act of such a nature—picking up Lisa was another—and they clearly don’t intend to get out of this situation unharmed at the end, but it makes you wonder what exactly they’re trying to do here.

Throughout the series’ run, our main cast has acted like terrorists despite clearly not being terrorists in any stretch of the normal definition, they’ve acted like adults and as kids, and they’ve also acted like they’re people that have lost their innocence yet still bare traces of that same innocence. There’s a sense of incongruity here in more ways than one, which makes it possibly more apt to say that it isn’t so much that there’s something off this week, but something off overall with how things are in Zankyou’s world overall.

And as I say this, I guess that’s really it with this show. It’s easy to try and use the mythology to pinpoint some kind of actual hint or link between everything, but when you consider the multiple interpretations between different versions, it’s all still shrouded in smoke and mirrors. Every time you think we’re getting some major revelation, you realize that you still ain’t that much closer to the truth than you were before. Needless to say, it’s a testament to how well this series is executing things overall, and there’s much to be said about how twisted things are here in Zankyou.

As I mentioned last week, there’s just a certain poignancy when you consider how Lisa can only find a place to belong with people who find value in terrible food the way Sphinx does, and it’s emphasized further by how normal they actually can be together when the latter isn’t busy building bombs and trying to prove a point. There’s really a fine line between maintaining a sense of innocence and losing it outright, isn’t there? Here’s looking forward to the role Five plays in the future.


  1. This episode was like a roller coaster you kinda never knew what was gonna happen. Five seems like a evil genius waiting to capture her prey. I really want to know more about nine and twelve back story. Also the other numbers might be interesting to a few more come out. All in all I will always like the “booms” you never know when one might go off. Here to more Sphinx fun next week.

  2. It’s funny that so far, Nine and Twelve have been these sort of clever villains/anti-heroes that you enjoyed watching, and yet in one episode, they make the jump to full protagonists with Five as their new nemesis and full antagonist.

    You know that quote about “the evil you know”? If I had to choose, I’d take Nine and Twelve over Five any day. That girl is just plain psycho evil!

    1. The surprising part for me is how Sphinx actually didn’t end up getting captured this time around. Five was clearly one step ahead the whole time and she knows what Nine/Twelve’s final destination would be in terms of the train car. All things considered, it looks like she’s the one stringing them along like she’s playing a game (along with the Police), and it’s definitely an interesting flip in dynamic.

    1. I thought it was a really good twist on the standard “oh, this girl can’t cook haha!” kind of trope/punchline.

      Although she was pretty much in the background for most of this episode, I really liked Lisa here. She was very grounding with both the protagonists (like how Zephyr mentioned, showing how normal both Nine and Twelve can be) and the show in general. Her attempt at cooking, and its rather pathetic and obvious ploy was a big contrast against the exponentially more dangerous Five. It makes me wonder what a meeting between those two characters would be like!

      1. Ah, now that you mention the contrast between Lisa and 5, there are other differences between the two that makes sense of the contrast. Lisa, despite her bleak family/school life, still has that desire to connect with people, to feel loved. Looking back on institution life, 5 was essentially taught to reject love by the institution so it’s no wonder that she’s a little “off.”

  3. 9 + 12 seem much more symathethic to me now with going the extra mile to prevent deths by their own bomb…
    in contrast, 5, and by extension the people she is serving for (the mysterious organization that Shibazaki has run into) seem quite ruthless, willing to incur civilian fatalities to… what purpose? set the public against Sphinxes? catch them? (but then why didnt they have a SAT waiting for them to show up at the rail car?)
    and the police gets no breaks, being ordered to stand down and generally being the butt monkey of the series…
    and dont let Lisa make bombs, 12… if she is as good with explosives as with cooking this would end the series prematurely!

  4. 9 and 12 have “abnormal” qualities but seem to be relatively sane (12 shows his wild side once in a while), whereas 5 is much more unhinged. Whereas 9 and 12 covers their bases and sticks to a plan (no deaths, deactivate bombs if plans don’t proceed as planned), 5 either takes more a risk, or just doesn’t care about collateral damage as long as she gets what she wants. These differences are important considering that she was the one out of the 3 that didn’t get away. What happened between the time of the attempted escape and the present? Or I guess a better question would be, what did 9 and 12 acquire in that time frame that 5 never got that lead to such differences in personality? Given that they supposedly played ‘hide and seek’ as children at the institution, we can infer that the three were friends somehow. The show is about isolation, the fact that she’s the one that 9 and 12 essentially “abandoned” is all the more fitting.

    So some questions that I would like to see answered eventually:
    – What is 5’s relation to 9 and 12? Her feelings towards them?
    – We have a vague idea of what 9 and 12’s goals are, but what of 5?
    – Why is shibasaki so attached to this case? Is it the thrill of solving the riddles? the thrill of exposing government conspiracies? Or is it a sense of mutual understanding between Shibasaki and sphinx? It’s been said many times: Sphinx wants to play, you play with friends, and shibasaki is more than willing.

    1. Don’t forget Nine and Twelve escaped from the institution while Five didn’t (and they thought she died in the attempt, but clearly they were wrong), so Nine and Twelve recieved only a “part” of the intended training/brainwashing (or whatever the institution was doing to them) while Five recived the full package .. that’s why they feel human and could pass for normal teenagers (who are a little unhinged) while Five feels and acts like a psychotic sadistic bitch (letting the bomb explode to frame Nine and Twelve and toy with them).

      Remember the quick flash-back we were shown this episode .. in it we can see young Five actually playing hide & seek with young Nine (hence the title of the episode) .. she is doing that again now .. except in a more sinister dangerous way .. it seems she was brought up to hunt them down ever since they escaped .. and she seems to really enjoy this game of cat and mice.

  5. Liked how everyone was shocked that the new (American) force on the scene was ready and willing to let the bomb go off. It’s not that hard to understand why, get Nine and Twelve to kill a few people and that game of cat and mouse turns into something much more sinister. The police will be usurped by more thorough and absolute powers that will not hesitate to kill and cover up whatever it is that Nine and Twelve are targeting. Five catalyzes the thriller feel of Zankyou as the game now becomes a three way free for all, revolving around the institution which Nine, Twelve, and Five hail from. For all the moving parts, Zankyou at its core retains an incredibly and refreshingly simple story.

    It’s easy to try and use the mythology to pinpoint some kind of actual hint or link between everything, but when you consider the multiple interpretations between different versions, it’s all still shrouded in smoke and mirrors

    Zankyou is turning into one of those thriller shows that has a simple story at its core (the mystery around Nine’s and Twelve’s origins), but tells it through diffuse imagery and abstract speech; the objective is to make you think and see the forest for the trees. It’s like Evangelion in a sense, it’s all about relishing in the references and identifying the general direction of the story through its choice of medium. For Zankyou, that choice is (primarily) Greek mythology. We know pretty well who Nine and Twelve are thanks to the Oedipus riddles, now it just remains to be seen which character Five is chosen to represent.

    Definitely looking forward to next week.

  6. ENGLISH VOICE ACTOR (Or is it South African/Australian?) in an Japanese Anime un-dubbed, what is the world coming too! That’s the biggest thing that caught me off guard this episode. Even with all the drama, the entrapment, and the utter domination of the protagonists, both Sphinx and the Police for the matter, an English voice actor just really threw me in a loop, that just says it all in one word, quality.

    This Anime has it all, great story, great characters, great premise, great plot lines, and just loads and loads of good mystery. For instance what’s the deal with the albino(?) girl. At the start of the series I had written her off as dead, but perhaps that would have been a kinder fate because right now she’s being setup as a some one very dangerous to look out for. And the organization she must represent, to kill a train car full of people and not giving a damn really says it all. This is not an organization you fuck around with. Which indicates why Sphinx are being so circumspect and clever in using there attacks to start an investigation into said organization.

    It’s axiomatic that this Anime is going places where no anime has ever gone before in at least my memory, this is the type of production that breaks the mold and bring psychological thrillers into the next generation. It’s addicting, it’s intelligence and damn does it do stuff right.

    1. Yeah, I love that they used an actual English speaker for the part, as it played a big part in keeping the immersion and highlighting the “arrival of a new (technically old) adversary” vibe. Definitely a plus.

      Speaking of quality, they also had actual actors play Sphinx on YouTube videos for some contest the other day. Lost the link, but yeah, they’re doing a lot here.

      Also, when you consider all the obvious issues behind depicting certain events, this anime definitely goes where few have gone before. It does make you wonder how the Japanese fans are taking this though, as I’m actually quite surprised parts of this were allowed to be broadcast.

      1. Dude, I fricking knew it that they’re gonna pull no punches with this series at all… I just knew it!

        I’ve talked about how they might just end up making references to that gas attack decades ago and now we have it. Though of course, it’s portrayed differently with a few twists here and there.

        Also the character Five making her debut appearance in episode 5 = WTF? LOL

        I’m telling you man, while most of the Japanese folks on Twitter that I know so far don’t even wanna look at this series (ugh, I just don’t know what to say to these people anymore. It just merely reinforces their refusal to acknowledge the really hard things in life, I dunno), it’s us ‘Gaijin’ that seem to really, really pay attention to this series.

        And oh yeah, I remembered reading parts of the Japanese site regarding the OST (now on sale for around 35$ I think?) and according to it, some of the tracks were fricking recorded in ICELAND! Damn, seriously man… Watanabe is seriously going all out, it’s like he’s releasing all his pent-up anger/thoughts regarding his home country or somethin’.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
      2. Yeah, I used that OST as a basis to translate “Von” into hope a little while back. It makes you wonder though, if the use of Icelandic musicians ain’t symbolism in and of itself considering how the country doesn’t have any standing army despite being allowed to do so, the police don’t go around carrying guns there, and it has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

        Can’t quite tell if there’s a link there yet, but it’s kind of feeling more and more like some of the themes here in Zankyou have some kind of relation to the aforementioned.

  7. I figured it was a trap to either let the bomb go off so they’d be villainized by the public, or get Nine and Twelve to reveal themselves to be caught or be traced while attempting to disarm the bomb. either outcome I think was the goal of Five.

    Funny, I completely forgot about the white haired kid until Nine had his migraine flashbacks.

    One thing bothered me about this episode was Nine’s consistent mean remarks about Lisa to Twelve. Seemed like he was over doing it (I think Twelve gets the point), as I felt like it’s clunkily setting up Lisa to be the one who brings them down since Nine keeps bringing up she’s not to be trusted or will get in their way – it feels like they’re hitting us over the head with foreshadowing. Or, it’s the trope that Nine and Lisa will be best buds before the show is over.

    Impel Down Hippo
  8. Maybe their names are also a ranking system? It’s like Nine is more of the mastermind btwn him and Twelve and so Five may be even more dangerous. Also this time around she could strike them from the shadows and she probably knows them welll enough to hit at the weakest points. I feel like she expected that they would do everything they could to save the ppl and so like how they’ve been trusting the police, she trusted them to be able to do a complete U-turn in their plans. Yes their plans could have been a little more backed-up just in case, but they rly weren’t expecting Five’s return so it justifies things in my mind.

    1. That’s definitely possible (the ranking system). I mentioned it before in a previous comment, but the scary part (for Sphinx) is how Five was clearly one step ahead the whole time. She had to have known what Nine/Twelve’s final destination would be in terms of the train car, so I’m actually surprised they didn’t end up getting captured as a result.

      Feels like she just wants to play games with them… quite the ironic twist, isn’t it?

  9. “Throughout the series’ run, our main cast has acted like terrorists despite clearly not being terrorists in any stretch of the normal definition, they’ve acted like adults and as kids, and they’ve also acted like they’re people that have lost their innocence yet still bare traces of that same innocence.”

    Well you have given us a definition of a TEENAGER, no? 😉

  10. For what’s worth the series has been relatively realistic barring a couple logic leaps but this episode really just threw all that out the window.

    Who thought it was a good idea to just let the bomb blow up when you have so many police who knew where it was and wanted to stop it? Gee nothing bad is going to come of that right? Just letting a bunch of innocent civilians die isn’t going to cause a stir in the media eh? I guess this is going to be a government conspiracy where they will do anything and everything to cover up what happened in the facility. Even if they have to pull their out their super powered hackers to stop our “noble” terrorists who don’t want to hurt anybody! Again this is what i was a little afraid of by them trying so hard to make 9 and 12 out to be good guys in this situation.

    Now I can understand the thought process in just letting the bomb go off. But if they knew that the terrorists were going to attempt to stop the bomb themselves shouldn’t they have had their personal waiting for 9 or 12 to show up and try to stop the bomb? Nine pretty much gave himself away with how he acted at the station. Yet i don’t think anyone noticed at the station. That being the case it’s pretty clear that they didn’t think this plan all the way through. I suppose it could mean 5 is merely toying with them but that alone would just continue to add to the logic leaps.

    I can see this turning into popcorn entertainment but not much more. Rather disappointing.

    Lisa still being useless while the show is awkwardly trying insert comedic humor through her doesn’t help.

    1. Ehhh…

      5 merely toying with them would merely be another proper step in the process considering how 9+12 have been essentially playing with the police the entire time. I thought about it myself and mentioned it above in comments about how it’s quite obvious they could have been caught, but that doesn’t seem to be the intent here, and in fact, it might just be they need them around for them to be scapegoated into something in the future (or if they failed, scapegoated into causing the deaths in the train station).

      All the sides are essentially trying to use the other side for a goal of their own, and it definitely seems like keeping them alive is a key part of it (collateral damage be damned in some respects). We won’t know the payoff of it all until the end, but I don’t know, it definitely seems like there’s more here than you’re willing to give it credit for…?

      1. Oh no I agree. There is quite a lot going on here. In fact i think this situation works to 9 and 12’s advantage since the detective is going to be even more interested in looking into what they want him too. To that end the possibility that they will be on the same side is becoming easily feasible.

        Still i feel like the show is starting to resort to a “Bombing of the week” formula while not really focusing on the main cast that much. The police figuring out the puzzles has been given much more screentime than they have. Lisa has probably had the most of the three (at least recently) but i have yet to really feel anything for her. As far as 9 and 12 are concerned we see them for a couple conversations, 9 has a flashback about the faculty and that’s about it. In a way I feel like I’m watching CSI or something as they simply move from case to case uncovering little by little what 9 and 12’s true intentions are. That’s not a bad formula but I’d just like them to focus on a bit more on the characters too since besides the detective are rather unnoteworthy.

  11. I’m interested in how they’ll do against her, now that they know she’s their opponent. In this episode, I attribute most of Five’s success with the fact that she caught them completely by surprise. They had actually been going easy on the police this time, they never expected someone on their level, much less “one of them” to be their opponent this time. They weren’t prepared and they suffered for it.

    However now that they know of Five’s presence and that the organization she works for is trying to stop them, how will they change their tactics going forward? Are they smart enough to outmanuver them?

    1. Great questions. ^^

      Those are what I’m curious about. Though this is hopeless wishful thinking, I do think Lisa could be a great piece in their plans. But the thing is, she’s not too dependable with all the things we’re being shown about her. What is she good at? I hope she can help beyond the emotional aspect of the show, and I hope she won’t just be some wallpaper all the time.

      Lisa could be helpful, if not in just giving them a different perspective or giving them hints like Shibazaki’s adorable assistant. She’s eager enough to help, and I think, they could benefit in teaching her. (Wow, I sound like such a mastermind terrorist. What is this show doing to me—)

    1. Indeed. This was one of those shows where you really, really needed the person to be an actual, fluent English speaker, or else it’d break some of the immersion.

      With that said, the use of non-fluent English speakers does have its perks for other shows though… for comedic value that is. Haha.

    2. It is great to finally see that. It always behooves me when they have either Americans who all speak perfect Japanese, or speak weird Engrish, and I either laugh or roll my eyes.

      It was nice to finally have a character that speaks English as an English-speaker actually would. And what’s so funny is, we don’t even know his name. 😛

      I wonder if he’ll continue to speak English the entire time or will he change to Japanese later on?

    3. Leave it for Watanbe to respect his English/international viewers … he is one of the few anime directors who truly realizes the impact and popularity of anime outside Japan .. and it seems he takes that in account .. remember Space Dandy (another show he is directing) was released dubbed in english along with the Japanese release.

  12. Five is depraved. Completely and utterly. Hopefully we’ll get to see how she became like that.
    As for Lisa, I can’t help wondering if she’ll be helpful to Sphinx as an unknown element. She hasn’t even been reported as missing(as far as I can tell), and nobody else seems to know of her connection to them. Besides, I cannot see Twelve kicking her out, no matter what Nine says, and I cannot see her walking away from them, no matter how bad things might get for her while staying. Because at the moment, I feel as if it’s with them where she’s been the happiest in the longest time.

    1. I agree, I think maybe Lisa might be the key to getting around Five somehow. Five know how they work because she knows Nine and Twelve, but Lisa is an unknown factor. Also, maybe there is something to that early observation that the boys made of Lisa reminding the of the girl that died at the institution. Perhaps there’s more meaning to it?

  13. This ep kinda blew it for me, to be frank. Everything in prior eps had a somewhat realist feel to it (even the hacking was partially credible). Note, I said realist, not realistic, since it’s anime after all.

    But now we get one girl trying to live a slice-of-life and another one behaving like a shounen manga antagonist while painting her nails? Eeeh??

    1. One would think Five and especially he gaijin guy would try to keep a bit lower profile when pulling the strings of another country’s police and essentially risking the lives of its citizens but still it was just an exposition. Hopefully coming episodes will give Five a bit more depth.

    2. Yeah I agree. For the first 4 episodes, I was led to believe that Zankyou no Terror was a detective anime, but from the view point of the antagonists. We are put into their shoes, and the new POV is refreshing. Especially in ep 4 when we had that laughing motorbike scene, that sent shivers down my spine. But all of a sudden all these archetypes that have been set up are completely reversed.
      Nine isn’t trying to distance himself because he’s looking for the greater good, but rather because he’s traumatized by his past. Sure they eluded to it in previous eps, but from the way he handled the conversations, it sounded like he was getting over it. It’s like what he’s doing now is petty revenge. We have 5 who’s dead, but wait for it she’s not actually dead and now she’s come back to haunt the pro-antagonists as a greater evil, and so we have a complete role reversal where the main bad guys are now just… the bad guy

      1. my expression is bad, I know, I’m sorry, and the show has already finished (late to the party I know), but from what I have watched, yeah it’s a great show and yes it has some really great elements in it, but I felt like the tension was building up to something even more spectacular that what was shown in this ep, like sherlock holmes where you have this one big final case and one final showdown between nine and shibazaki, with semantics and deductions that would blow my mind or like kobayashi from The Usual Suspects where there’s this one giant twist at the end. To me it had that sort of potential to become amazing if it went down the detective route, especially when Nine and Twelve kept foiling the police’s every move like they were 10 steps ahead. But all of a sudden the show takes a turn to go down another path and introduces (reintroduces?) an even bigger bad guy who’s 10 steps ahead of 9 and 12, who’s ten steps ahead of the police. Pretty flat and shounen to me.

        Who knows though, it might get better.

  14. I’m getting this impression here:

    1: Five does not know about Lisa. I’m sure that’s going to be a key element.

    2: I think that Nine and Twelve follow some kind of master plan which Five knows about for some reason. This is why Five could act so precisely against the train bomb thread. She knows what they’re trying to say with their bombs, so she can predict where they will strike.

    1. Dammit. My writing is too vague. It must be all this stress causing it!

      What meant about point one is that Five is unaware that Lisa is with Nine and Twelve. This makes it seem likely that Lisa will be a key part in how they get out of this mess.

  15. “There’s nothing but misfortune waiting for someone who gets involved with us.”

    There’s a word I’m looking for here… I don’t really know. Irony? It’s just quite interesting that Twelve would mention that in spite of the fact the viewer strongly feels that Lisa’s situation could not possibly get any worse. If anything, becoming an accomplice to these alleged terrorists who mayn’t be terrorists is the best thing to happen to her. At least she has non-psychopathic people who actually appreciate her, in spite of the fact that they appreciate her in an odd sort of way.

    It only serves to show how messed up this world can be.

  16. I love it when a third party shows up.
    I also love it that that Sphinx’s own intricate plan was used against them. Seeing megane-dude getting pushed off his horse of hubris was quite delicious.
    Also, useless damsel in distress is still uselss. I was almost afraid of her popping up in the middle of their live video stream.

    Petit Orenji
    1. Personally, I don’t think that she is completely useless. At least, she won’t remain that way. Take into account the fact that she is a bit ill and that she is not used to their way of living. But I agree that it seemed as if she’d pop up in the video.

    2. I half worried about her showing up as well, it would have been very typical after all the other trouble she caused them. I do think they pre-record them though, doing a live stream would be more risky for tracing and put their schedule under more pressure if they need to do things before or after uploading the video.

  17. Contrary to others, I feel that Five’s introduction is a timely one. We really know too little about her to call her a shounen villain or whatnot. And given that the bombing of the week was gonna get too formulaic, I feel that we need a crazy villain like Five to throw in a few curveballs and spice things up.

  18. I looked up who Five is working with, so I already know a little at least. But it just makes me curious as to why people (supposedly) from another country get involved here; although, of course, of course, there will always be calls (or not) for help or what from higher ups to other countries…Or something. Whatever.

    Anyway, did I miss it, or was this train bomb the hidden bomb they say will go off last ep? I guess I need to rewatch.

    Tokyo has become a playground for Five. As to their names being a ranking system, it’s cliché but possible. But if it’s like that, it makes me curious what 1-4, 6-8, 10-11, and those beyond 12 are currently doing. I mean, there SHOULD be more of them. Possibly more skilled than Five.

    I have to say I like the e-interference bit. Although, I was somehow thinking that the bomb won’t go off because the phone connected to it must be dialed/button-pressed (switch on/off), and with the interference, it can’t be dialed(?–>I thought it was because Lisa almost touched it earlier). But since it was a timed bomb, it went off. (Well, it’s an underground subway, of course; rickety connection?)

    This ep was indeed a shift from the past episodes. More so because the terrorists who seem to be ruthless are holding back. It’s like Five calling them as sad examples of terrorists, cowards who are still soft enough to try to prevent deaths. She’s exactly driving them to become real terrorists. Scary woman.

    The thought of a female antagonist is good though.

    ~Thanks for the review.

    1. The guys from another country that took over, are the same guys that always take over if they’re from another country: those dastardly Americans! 😀
      However, we’re almost sure that these guys also work for the Rising Peace Academy and are here to make sure that what Nine and Twelve are trying to reveal, stays buried.

      1. I was actually trying not to accuse Americans, although it’s of course a reality some(often)times. As to the agents’ connection to the Academy, the bets are strong on that one. It seems like the Academy has a global backing/backup on funds or any kind of support too. I mean, those kids in the institution/Academy(?) may come from different countries. Though we still have to see if it’s like that. ^^


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