The first two episodes of ID:INVADED (I keep misreading it as “ID Invalid”) aired back to back as an hour-long special so I’m reviewing them together. Also, these did in fact stream temporarily a few weeks ago. Why didn’t I get to them? …I don’t know.
I was a little bit interested in this show since it’s the latest anime directed by Ei Aoki. Post-Fate/zero, I don’t think he’s been involved in any masterpieces or anything but his direction is never the problem and there’s no denying that he’s good at attaching himself to projects with potential.
ID:INVADED certainly starts off on an intriguing note. Sakaido (Kenjiro Tsuda) wakes up with amnesia and in a strange world that’s literally broken into pieces that are floating around in a white ether. He himself even starts off with his body in pieces. After putting himself back together, he discovers a dead body. Suddenly, he can identify the body as Kaeru and remember that he’s a detective tasked to investigate her death. The confusing and surreal beginning is easily the premiere’s highlight, hooking the viewer and making them interested in what the big deal is.
Then the show kept going…
You eventually learn what exactly is up. Sakaido is actually a virtual avatar for an incarcerated man named Narihisago. Narihisago is tasked by the police to take control of Sakaido and enter ID Wells, virtual worlds based on the minds of criminals the police have yet to identify. There’s some stuff that you currently have to suspend your disbelief over all this. For one, the show explains that the police can reconstruct the mind of someone they’ve yet to identify thanks to “cognitive particles” left by the person at the crime scene(s). And two, they apparently also have a device called the Wakamusubi that can somehow read the killing intent of individuals. It doesn’t help that the show is evidently more interested in the etymology of its mythos than the actual mythos itself. One scene for example takes the time to explain how the name “ID Well” came to be, coming across as the writers flexing their cleverness to the audience.
A bigger problem I have though is that when you think about it, the actual detective work presented in the show is kind of weak. There’s no suspect apart from just the one. Kaeru’s death actually has nothing to do with the killer of the weak’s other victims (more on that in a bit). Sakaido comes to the conclusion that the killer perceives the world and people as broken apart because the ID Well literally presents it as such to him. He figures out where the killer generally lives by putting some of the well’s pieces together until it forms kanji that flat out states the general area. Funnily enough, it’s not even Sakaido who ends up reading the killer like a book but rather Hondocmachi (M.A.O.), a rookie field agent who gets kidnapped by the killer and is able to directly question his motives (as well as apprehend him in an admittedly very clever and bold way). To summarize, the mystery in the first two episodes is painfully straightforward and considering that Sakaido is considered to be some genius detective, that’s a huge problem.
There are some ongoing threads that do interest me. There’s apparently a common thread to all the ID Wells Sakaido has been – a mysterious and most elusive figure named John Walker. The second episode heavily implies that Narihisago lost a daughter and that Kaeru is some representation of her that consistently appears in every ID Well Sakaido visits. Another curious tidbit is that while Sakaido starts every virtual experience amnesiac, Narihisago is able to remember everything once he’s pulled out. I can see these things creating an interesting arc for our protagonist. Perhaps some conflict of identity is in store for our protagonist?
As critical as I’ve been this whole post, I do hope for this show to be. The script and mythos will need to be ironed out a lot but I do like the idea of a detective going inside the minds of his suspects. One or two moments really do stand out to me (case in point: the opening scene) and some of the threads could honestly go somewhere interesting. I’ll give this show a little bit longer to win me over but it better do so soon.
Thanks for reading!