There have been many psychological thrillers over the years with Death Note being the one everyone seems to gravitate towards due to how it broke into the mainstream so easily. There have been other shows which tried to pull off this genre, like Ghost in the Shell, Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, and others and while some of them succeeded and others failed, we were still waiting for that next series to take the genre to the next level. The next entrant into this genre is ID INVADED. Did it achieve what the others could not?
Detective stories are usually in high abundance but not often do they do something like ID INVADED. They tell you nothing and just jump right into the world as if the viewer has prior knowledge of it. While this is risky, ID INVADED sets up this story by forcing you to pay attention. This ends up becoming a theme throughout the show as everything that happens could or could not lead to the next big reveal.
The story revolves around Akihito Narihisago, a former detective that has been selected to interface with a device known as a Mizuhonome. That’s only part one to this plot. The other involves field agents such as Koharu Hondomachi and Kokuryuu Matsuoka investigating crime scenes and searching for particles. These particles are generated by a killer’s killing intent. They can capture these particles and transmit them to their home base known as Kura. Kura will then take those particles and insert them into the Mizuhonome to create what is called an ID Well… aka a virtual world that Narihisago will dive into in order to solve the crime.
Every ID Well is different but they all involve one constant: the death of a girl named Kaeru. Narihisago cannot remember who he is until he sees Kaeru. It is then that he remembers his name… except, it’s only an alias. In Narihisago’s case, his alias is Sakaido, the brilliant detective. Once he realizes this, he must solve the mystery of Kaeru’s death. As Sakaido gathers more and more clues, the team at Kura analyze them as they pertain to the actual killer out in the real world. Once they discover an identity, the field team goes and arrests them. This can be challenging; however, as Sakaido can die in the virtual world thus causing him to eject back to reality. Reinserting himself into the virtual world causes him to start over with 0 memories of his last dive, meaning he has to start from scratch all over again.
As Sakaido dives into each ID Well, we come to learn of a being known as John Walker. The serial killers that they are trying to catch have a tie to John Walker. In fact, you could say that John Walker is the one creating all of these serial killers. While solving individual cases is one thing, the main story of ID INVADED is to discover John Walker’s true identity and bring him to justice.
It is a lot to wrap your head around and while the anime doesn’t do you any favors by explaining any of it upfront, by forcing you to pay attention, you end up getting sucked into the story and its characters. You become invested and the show keeps things interesting to the point where you want to keep watching to find out what’s going to happen next. It’s risky storytelling because people can end up getting confused and drop the show as a result because they don’t have the time nor the patience to try and figure things out for themselves… although, they don’t really need to. Just by watching, everything does get explained naturally. The only setback would be whether or not you can retain the information when it is given.
Akihito “Sakaido” Narihisago
Some slight spoilers here but Narihisago is a former detective for Kura who is now being held in confinement because he murdered the serial killer who, in turn, murdered his wife and daughter. I won’t say which serial killer it was but this is important to know due to one of the story’s plots: The MIzuhonome can only be entered by someone who has a strong killing intent. Because Narihisago once had that blood lust (and still does as he wants John Walker alone in a room for about five minutes, if you get my drift), he is the perfect candidate to dive into this ID Wells and solve the crimes.
His personality is rather gruff and monotone. He cares not about most things, including people. He is also cerebral and manipulative but he does begin to have a bit of a change in personality throughout the series. While it is a slight adjustment, he doesn’t lose the core of who he is as a character. He cannot let go of his detective ways despite having a personal agenda he wishes to fulfill. In the beginning, you could say his agenda is his only fuel source for participating in ID Well diving.
I really enjoyed Narihisago as a main character. He was really interesting although his motives were pretty black and white. Still, he added so many dimensions to the show by having his past tie into the main plot point. Very solid main character.
Here is your 2020 waifu alert. Yes, she looks like she could be 12 years old but she’s actually in her 20’s. A lolicon’s wet dream, if you will…
Hondomachi is a rookie detective that’s paired alongside Matsuoka and is part of the field division. This is all fine and dandy until a certain incident changes things for her. She begins to show just how brilliant she is in her deductions which leads her to becoming a full-fledged detective.
Hondomachi seems like an upbeat character but she’s very cerebral herself. She’s constantly thinking and piecing puzzles together in her mind… something that seems to come naturally to her. She’s also not afraid to get her hands dirty and just dives into any situation as long as there is a chance that she will glean some information to solve the case. After the incident, you realize just how far she will go for the sake of a case and just how tough she is for her small stature. While I do believe that her “brilliance” is just a vehicle for a trip to plot device city, she does become the focal point of the series as we progress and you can’t help but feel attached to her after a while.
He is a support character and Honomachi’s partner and senior for the first half of the show. Then, he kind of just disappears into the background until he’s needed. He’s kind of a father figure type character who looks after Hondomachi’s well-being as you can tell he deeply cares about her safety. It’s like he realizes just how reckless she could be so he does his best to keep her on a proverbial leash as much as he can. Still, there are times where he can’t really control what she does and that agitates him… especially when one of those times leads to Honodmachi’s incident.
Even though he becomes a background character in the end, you can tell from his personality that he is passionate about his work and cares deeply about his subordinates. He also seems to be your typical loyal character who will stand by your side no matter what. I just wish we could have gotten to know him a bit better.
He is one of the first serial killers they pursue known as the Perforator. He ends up chatting with Narihisago while in confinement and because as such, ends up playing a bigger role the more the series goes on. It’s very difficult to talk about this character without spoilers but someone who seemed like a secondary character ends up becoming such an important piece to the overall puzzle. To watch him grow into that kind of character was amazing to watch. In fact, he quickly became one of my favorites throughout the series.
I just wish I could explain why but that would just end up destroying the back half of the series for you if you hadn’t watched it by now.
Figure this one out for yourself. I’d like my head to not end up on a pike.
Sadly, the rest of the characters would have explanations just like Kaeru’s. There are some characters that start off as insignificant background characters and grow into much more prominent roles. Usually, an anime does the opposite with their cast. They will take important characters and fade them away and classify them as obsolete. Here, ID INVADED does just the opposite. They take background characters who only seem to have one function and make them more important than you think the would be. It’s refreshing to see.
Art, Animation, and Sound
Okay… let’s talk about the elephant in the room here. The art for this show is not going to win any awards. Sure, the characters look great in their designs and they really stand out in amazing ways but… the inconsistency and, sometimes, just downright ugly animation really hurts this show. I mean, it’s not Naruto vs Pain from Naruto Shippuuden bad but there were some really awkward looking stills that were there. Most of the time, I try to ignore it but there are just some scenes that are just jarring where the characters don’t look like themselves or their features are disproportionate.
Sometimes, the art looks as if NAZ had some new hires who were just learning how to draw fill in for some senior artists that took a vacation. I thought only XEBEC did that with the Rockman anime but I guess there are others out there as well.
Despite my gripes about the animation, the soundtrack easily redeems it. Everything from the background music to the insert tracks draws you into the world, plays with your emotions, and drives home the drama and/or hype moments perfectly. There are some tremendous songs on this OST and I can’t wait for when it drops on April 24, 2020. If you’re reading this post after 4/24, then go out and buy this OST right now!
The OP and ED songs are even more glorious in their own rights. “Mr. Fixer” by Sou has my attention for OP of the Year Contender. Of course, we have a LOT of 2020 left so this could easily change but it’s definitely my favorite opening of the Winter season. “Otherside” by MIAVI is also my contender for ED of the Year. It’s actually good enough to be an opening theme and mixes some hard-hitting rock with a slow and dark vibe!
I wanted to give this a 4.5 rating because the anime really is that good. It’s heavily influenced by Sci-fi, it’s actually not an isekai but still has virtual worlds, it is cerebral and, at times, pretty dark. The characters play off of each other so well and some background characters grow, develop, and become critical to the story later on. It’s a show that knows how to handle progression on all fronts and it keeps you entertained during the entire process.
I know I don’t watch a ton of shows each season but ID INVADED has my attention as an anime of the year candidate. It really was that enjoyable.
If you want a cerebral show that will make you think and force you to pay attention, this is a show I would definitely recommend that you watch. As for the rating, the animation dropped it a second. I have to give this a 4 just because of that. There were some obvious plot devices that just made you say “Okay, dude… okay…” but none of which were as glaring as some other works. The show is not without its flaws but there is definitely a lot more good here than bad!
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ID INVADED forces you to pay attention but rewards you for doing so. It is a cerebral anime that embraces science fiction and makes it enjoyable. While the art suffers from time to time, the story, characters, and soundtrack are all top-notch and worth your time!