Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realise something was actually strange. – Inception
When we are sound asleep, our subconcious thoughts take over the spotlight in our brain. All that suppressed emotions, our deepest thoughts and feelings are then projected in the form of dreams. Some are sweet, some are horrifying but most of the time, they are gone the moment we are awake. Locked right back into parts of our minds that we cannot conciously access. But, what if there’s a way to literally dive into these subconcious thoughts? To peek at others’ or your own deepest fear?
ID:Invaded solves crime with this idea. It has this ability to construct a mind-bending story premise by blending reality and fantasy while not succumbing to its own madness. It fully embraces the sci-fi element to mess with your morale, and mystery to keep you at the edge of the seat. A few episodes in, and you might have already figured out who the creator of serial killers, John Walker is. But, John Walker is merely a fraction of what ID: Invaded is about.
Because in a way, it doesn’t even matter who John Walker is (except for the element of surprise). It is the methods he used to influence the serial killers, the motives behind each serial killers that he could exploit, and the whole analysing process that takes place in a room of detectives. Solving one case doesn’t mean the whole thing is over, as it’s just fragments of a bigger picture. This is what makes the creation of John Walker amazing (in the plot sense) because each and every serial killing cases are connected through him.
A certain degree of meticulousness is needed on the reasoning and explanation behind all these subconscious mind theories. ID: Invaded knows this. The dots are connected from this one girl that keeps appearing in each of the subconcious world of the serial killers. This is done without altering the fundamental rules set in the story world, so it can trigger your mind to make connection alongside the characters. To deduce the little mysteries hiding inside the criminals’ mind.
Akihito Narihisago, aka ‘Sakaido’ is the brilliant detective that solves each crime by diving into the serial killers’ subconcious world, and deduce the cause of death of Kaeru, which help the team to uncover the traces and methods left by the serial killers in reality. He works together with the newbie detective and the director of the analyst team as a symphonic trio to push the story forward. He’s a legend that solve cases by literally, sleeping.
But in most cases, it’s a shame that only when tragedies struck, then the hunt for truth and justice begins. Because no matter what happened to the victims, it’s irreversible. The scar is permanent. This is painfully obvious to all of us, but it’s only at a three-minutes moment that I can truly felt the heaviness of sorrow Sakaido is enveloped in.
It made me realised that Sakaido … is just a normal human.
He is not the hero of his own story, but is the most ‘human’ character in this series. It’s not because of his tragedic backstory, but the fact that he is the one who has the greatest desire to escape the reality, into a virtual world where his wife and daughter are still alive. Yet again and again, he is forced to anchor himself to face the heart-breaking truth in the real world. Sometimes, he lies asleep in tears reminiscing the sweet moments with his family through the photographs he has.
He suffered the most, but no one else choose to embrace the reality as close as he does. Because as painful as reality can be, it’s the only place that is real, where his true home is. Not in his peaceful dream, but in the reality where he can no longer extends his arm around them. It is a painful realisation for me that even though he is carrying the weight of his own misery, he chooses to live, and smile.
It’s a real bittersweet moment and I’d never forget how his voice actor, Kenjiro Tsuda has that trembling, coated with sadness voice that is just perfect to portray his feelings at that moment. The dialogue exhanges also pierce right in the heart, riding on the waves of frustration and heartache that he’s been suppressing.
Other than that, NAZ studio has also done a stunning job in constructing the metaphysical visuals of world within worlds. The songs are also amazingly awesome. Yes, that’s double positive in one sentence. The opening ‘Mister Fixer’ by Sou flawlessly matches the agony of Sakaido and how his regrets have haunted him ever since that incident. The ending ‘Other Side’ by MIYAVI also has this J-rock rhythm that is really catchy and just good even on its own.
Even the side songs – ‘Memories of Love’ and ‘Butterfly’ are chosen carefully to blend in with the emotions evoked on the scenes. That just shows how serious the producers are with the OSTs to matches each situation with the right mood.
Overall, ID:Invaded is a mind-twisting mystery with its unique crime-solving method and at the same time, is able to capture the contrasting beauty of dreams and reality. It shows how much reality can be fabricated, and in times, evokes empathy and anger that just stings right into the heart.
I didn’t plan to watch it, but I’m really glad that I did. It is definitely one of the best mystery anime of Winter 2020 for me, and if you enjoy a sci-fi mystery with heart-warming stories, take a chance to experience it. Maybe you’ll find yourself encapsulated between its captivating dreams and reality.
As always, thanks for reading. I’ll see you next week on the review of another crime-solving mystery, Kyokou Suiri!