ID: Invaded – Anime Review

Japanese Title: ID:Invaded

 

Similar: Psycho Pass

Real Drive

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

 

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Mystery Science Fiction

Length: 13 episodes

 

Positives:

  • Great concept
  • A nice blend of “hype” and “mystery” music
  • Weirdly awesome mental landscape

Negatives:

  • The abstract mind makes the mysteries unsolvable ahead of time

(Request an anime for review here.)

Every great crime mystery has three components to success. The first is an interesting crime that generates plenty of questions and mystery. This doesn’t mean it has to be something crazy like a dead clown hanging from a chandelier with foam sword in one hand and nuclear detonator in the other. It can be something as simple as a shot to head during lunchtime, dead body in the apartment, yet the neighbours heard nothing. The second component is engaging characters, most notably for the detective protagonist and the main suspects. You want to look forward to these characters parrying words. And lastly, to engage the audience fully, the crime must be solvable before the big reveal. You don’t want to make it obvious – keep them guessing, unsure of their theories – but the pieces must be present.

In this third component, ID: Invaded fails.

ID: Invaded is about a detective agency that can investigate cases by diving into the unconscious minds of criminals by using a machine called Mizuhanome. Our main detective, Sakaido, is a murder himself after avenging the death of his family, for only a killer can safely enter into the mind of another killer. While he investigates on the mental plane, rookie detective Hondomachi hits the streets to interview witnesses and suspects.

The look of the virtual world in the target’s unconscious is cool. The opening scene has Sakaido in pieces with digital cube particles instead of blood. After he pulls himself together, he needs to reconstruct the scene physically from the fragmented reality that is the human mind. It recalls games like Ghost Trick and Remember Me. I love this representation. There is no denying the visual engagement. It’s weirdly awesome. However, this very concept is also ID: Invaded’s greatest flaw.

What Sakaido is looking at, these pieces to a murder mystery, are abstract. Even the faces on the people in the unconscious realm aren’t accurate. They are an amalgamation of faces remembered from one’s life, just as it is in your dreams. This means that the clues don’t mean much until we see the answers. It’s like solving a 1000-piece puzzle of pure white that doesn’t reveal the picture until all pieces are in place. The audience doesn’t have the opportunity to solve the case ahead of time – as you would in an Agatha Christie novel – without relying almost exclusively on guesswork, and in a crime story, this drops audience engagement to a level no author wants.

Now, the visuals do make up some of the loss, as mentioned earlier, as do the unusual characters on both the law enforcement and criminal sides. One of the criminals, called “The Perforator”, likes to drill holes in people’s skulls. Always delightful. Sakaido is also an interesting protagonist with his status as both criminal (still in jail) and detective. Sorry, “brilliant detective” as the mind detectives call themselves. Side note: it took me a while to realise that brilliant detective refers to their job title and not a token of praise. Poor choice of name.

I’m not sold on Hondomachi. She feels like a character design first (adult that looks like a teenager) and personality second, though her role in the story is interesting. The Inception-like system of her in the real world on the job while Sakaido is in the brain finding clues works well. It adds a nice dose of tension when everything is parallel in real time. Incorporating the Mizuhanome in the crimes itself is another good choice that heightens the stakes. It isn’t just a tool. One could almost call it evidence in the grander story, similar to the PreCrime unit in Minority Report or the Sibyl System in Psycho Pass. I like it when wild science fiction concepts go all in on the unique selling point.

ID: Invaded is a good anime, all aspects considered, and its unique nature means you aren’t looking at “more of the usual”. So I do recommend it if you liked any of the titles that I referred to throughout the review. It’s a story I would like to see the author take another crack at to elevate it to greatness.

Art – High

ID: Invaded has one of the most distinct art styles for faces, notably in the eyes. Oddly successful. The abstract design of the unconscious is great.

Sound – High

Several solid tracks accompany the series – I’ll be listening to the OP & ED beyond the final episode. The mystery music of ethereal piano notes and sinister violin adds much to the scene. The acting is strong too and you can go with either language to suit your preference.

Story – Medium

A former detective turned criminal investigates cases by diving into the minds of criminals via a machine. This cool concept is a little too abstract for its own good, as it doesn’t give the audience the information needed to solve the case until the big reveal.

Overall Quality – Medium

Recommendation: For sci-fi fans. I recommend ID: Invaded to fans of Psycho Pass and Ghost in the Shell for its unique take on the exploration of the criminal mind to solve mysteries.

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Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None

Negative: None

8 thoughts on “ID: Invaded – Anime Review”

    1. I’ve been thinking about diving into that franchise soon, though there is a lot of material, so I will need to consider it after research. There are a few other franchises (such as Macross) that I want to tackle first.

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  1. Although I love the show, I have to agree with your point on the mystery. It’s a bit too abstract. I think this is one aspect of the show that improves with a rewatch: you can then look at stuff in the mindscape and say “oh, so that’s why it’s like that” now that you know the details of what’s happening in the real world. Although I still think it’s a great first episode, I love cold opens like that.

    And yes, I have listened to the tracks a good number of times, especially the OP: like the sequence for it, too.

    The one point on which I might disagree is Hondomachi. I think her character design is intended to make you underestimate her as a mere cute kid, just like the people around her, only for her to reveal herself as a cold and calculating character. I can see a sequel set years down the line where she is the lead, with Sakaido in a ‘senior cop’ advisor role. There is apparently a sequel/spinoff manga, so I’m hoping there’s the chance of a sequel happening.

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  2. Also, regarding “brilliant detective”: I found that a little cheesy, too. However, it could be a case of the original (meitantei) sounding good and the translation (brilliant detective) not being the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They should have made up a word for it, some sort of compound word. I kept thinking that they loved praising each other all the time – “brilliant detective” this and “brilliant detective” that.

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  3. This was one series that I really enjoyed. I agree that the settings of the wells were quite awesome. They just sucked you in to the different worlds and the unique elements of each were a great reason to keep coming back. I actually liked the fact the mystery aspect was tough to solve. For me some mysteries can be too simple to figure out and because of that can be boring. But I can understand that criticism of this series. The abstract nature of the mysteries does hinder it’s mass appeal.

    I also thought that Hondomachi was an interesting character, her character arc was certainly interesting considering that many of the characters really didn’t get that much development. I would be curious how the series would of played out on that front if it was longer. Overall though I thought the series was great. I had a lot of fun watching this one and would love to see more in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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