I recently saw the series premieres of Terror in Resonance and Aldnoah Zero.
It’s hard to say much about Terror in Resonance since its first episode contained nothing but opaque hints at a story that could equally conceal either complexity or shallow-minded literalness. There are these two teenaged boys, they’re mysterious, they forcibly recruit a classmate being bullied. Props to Funimation for the crispness of the HD streaming. That’s it, that’s the episode.
Oh yeah, they blow up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which I mostly know from Digimon Tamers. Despite being a show with terrorist protagonists, the anime is very careful to show that no people were hurt in the attack. I suppose it’s so we can still root for the two heroes.
I dunno, terrorism is inherently a political act, the show better not end up spouting the rote cliches about justice and protecting your comrades that end up getting repeated over and over in anime. Though if the comrades aren’t nakama but are instead tovarishch and the two protagonists are actually part of some Baader-Meinhof communist uprising? That would be a pleasantly surprising twist.
And thinking about it further, it’s been a while since I’ve been wowed by an anime’s opening episode. They seem to be mostly slow burns. I think the last anime that I absolutely wanted to rave about after just one episode was Bakemonogatari.
Aldnoah Zero, however, at least manages to get to the fireworks factory. You see, human colonists of Mars, armed with superior alien technology, invade the Earth and bring the planet to its knees. Meanwhile, a plucky band of high school students use giant robots to defend their tiny part of the world. The anime is basically War of the Worlds with human invaders. In a later episode there’s even a boat full of refugees and a Martian war machine that Earth’s defenders have to hold off. I could almost hear Richard Burton narrating the last battle of HMS Thunder Child.
More deliciously, the tagline for the show is "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall". The self-serious connotations of using such a phrase – the Latin original is most widely misattributed as being quoted in the legal decision that found slavery insupportable in England – clashes so much with the subject matter that I immediately started laughing my ass off. Sweet crap, this looks like an awesome show to watch while drunk. This anime thinks it’s profound! Aldnoah Zero, your hubris is inspiring.