Zankyou no Terror’s Handy Guide to Teenage Terrorism
So want to be a terrorist. Great!
… Okay, not so great.
You’re reading this, because you either liked or were terribly disappointed by Zankyou no Terror. Feedback in the fanbase is split: while some appreciated its dark themes, there were others who thought everything between the first and last episode was garbage.
Count me in with the second camp. There’s a bunch of reasons why I wasn't as impressed with this as most others – for example, there was that messy plot that got way out of hand midway through the series. There were characters that didn't go beyond their first impressions. And then, there was that useless chess match in a crowded airport.
Seriously, don’t do that.
But because there are way too many reviews out there that already go in-depth into these problems, I didn't think it was productive to chime in with virtually the same opinion. (Seriously, there are six links in this sentence alone. Check out those reviews!)
And so, this rulebook was born – a rulebook of sorts on the ins and outs of terrorism, inspired by the amateurs seen in this series and my very weak handling of the terrorist’s psyche.
But hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? Think about that the next time you see some angry white guy flying off to the Middle East, after spending the last few days on the internet and converting to some bastardized version of a foreign religion.
Do: Seek out a parental or authority figure.
The first thing to keep in mind about terrorism is that it’s all about seeking attention. But because you’re a high-class, cream of the crop kinda guy, you’ll want this attention from someone worthy. While it’s always satisfying to have the general populace stare at you in fear and shock, having some real competition is what really makes the ride worthwhile.
And what better place to smoke a true rival out, than in the headquarters of the authorities you want to bring down so badly?
Those guys who issue threats directly to the President of anywhere – they've got the right idea, even if they might be aiming a bit too high. Take a page from their radical manifesto, but be sure to keep things grounded. In this case, you’ll want someone who will get where you’re coming from, but lacks the high ground to call you out on it.
Luckily, there always seems to be one of these fellas hiding out in the Records and Archives Division in all the world’s police stations. In those offices, getting re-assigned to the Reading Squad is given out as a demotion, because then, you wouldn't get to beat up your fair share of criminals. The dusty room of the Archives is the furthest place away from the scene of the crime, which, by police standards, makes it the least exciting scene to be in. As such, only losers and deadbeats occupy the haunted halls of the Archives.
Here’s where you’ll find your guy.
Bonus points if your designated rival is old enough to be your parent. See, we all seek validation from our parents – and once you get the same kind of approval from your professional rival, then you’re practically made for life. You’ll want him to be amazed at your skill, your wit, and your charm. But at the same time, you’ll also want him to show some disappointment in your actions.
How else are we going to know people care for us if they don’t get mad at us first? If you’re acting out against the world and want to get attention, you might as well aim for the big fish: your parents. If not, then you’ll just have to make do with the next best thing: that loser deadbeat from the Archives Department.
Don’t: Make attachments.
Terrorists ain’t about this life. Instead, they’re after some higher and much grander form of reward waiting for them in the afterlife. Very rarely do you see a terrorist with a relationship more passionate than his innate bloodlust for violence. You see them with a hook-up or maybe even a fling. If he's pressed for time, then there's always that one-night stand to get him through to his last dying mission.
Once that bomb blows, so do all their earthly attachments. From there, they move on to life’s next phase, where a legion of holy virgins or a choir of sexless angels will be there to greet them and pleasure them for the rest of eternity.
It’s a dangerous, dangerous thing to form attachments in this world – especially ones that come in the form of other people. People are unpredictable, and you never know when they’ll flake on you at the last minute because they suddenly decided they weren't turned-on by explosions after all. Even worse, maybe you’ll be the one who’ll end up flaking at the last second.
Bad things happen to those who think they've found true love. They lose control of all their thinking faculties and start relying on their hearts instead. What this means is, they lose sight of the logic that turned them on to the idea of a surefire, glorious death. Instead, they become emotional and revert to their base animal instincts, forcing them to start living and enjoying life.
In the terrorist’s world, it’s better to die in a fiery blaze than to live with the humiliation of wussing out. Survival is for the weak and the coward. By dictating the terms of your own death, you become strong and immortal. What better way to make a parting statement than exploding like a million fireworks?
Do: Make sure you’ve dealt with all those burnt bridges.
You’ll never know when a friend from your past shows up out of the blue to throw a wrench into everything you've worked hard to destroy. If you’re going to launch some kind of terror attack on the people, you have to make sure that anyone else who could've been on your level is either with you or dead.
Well, okay, so maybe killing them would be taking it too far. But remember that there are a lot of risks that come with leaving a childhood friend unchecked. For one, you’ll never know for sure how much they’ve improved in smarts and skill before it’s too late. Even worse, you’ll never know how badly they’ll screw up the story of your life and distract everyone else from the real reason you’re causing terror in the first place.
And the worst case scenario? They know everything there is to know about you, back when you were still at your most vulnerable. Think about your mother bringing out your baby pictures every time your friends came to visit. Now re-imagine this in the form of someone you can actually hit in the face, and you’ll see why taking care of your childhood friend is so important.
Keep a handle on those childhood grudges. Otherwise, there’s a huge chance your boring, run-of-the-mill terrorist backstory will get buried under the stark new-ness your friend presents. People will no longer remember your legacy the way you wanted them to. Instead, they’ll remember that weird sore thumb (yes, this is what we’re calling your childhood friend now) that stuck out during your brief run as a teenage terrorist. They don’t even have to remember that sore thumb as a hero – to piss you off, all that needs to happen is that the thumb gets remembered at all.
And you, the upstaged one? Blown to smithereens and still no better than a lousy finger. Definitely not a good look for any terrorist worth their ammo.
Don’t: Count out computer know-how.
These days, terrorists worth their salt wage their wars online. Technology marches on, and so do methods of modern warfare. Since practically everyone is on their phone, tablet, screen, and pretentious-looking tech watch, it’s only reasonable you spread your terror there.
Everything’s online, if you know where to look. Take advantage of the convenience and ramp your ideologies up to all the levels you never dreamed of. Bombard your petrified audience with videos. Make accounts on all the relevant social media sites so they know you’re legit. Stream all your rants and thoughts through a blog so no one takes you for granted ever again.
Most importantly, learn how to hack. Considered the bread and butter of your average terrorist, hacking can, quite literally, open a thousand doors to a million opportunities. Once you master the art, you’ll never have to learn how to do a single thing again.
With a more sophisticated battleground taking over the world’s wars, there’s nothing more terrifying than an expert who looks like they know what they’re doing. Since the average person hasn't taken the time to learn the ways of hacking, they’ll cower in absolute fear once they know you have their Facebook profiles by the virtual gonads.
Do: Brush up on your history, mythology, and languages.
Nobody likes a smartass, but stupid terrorists pretending to know things are just as bad. Proper knowledge of ancient facts makes all the difference when you’re looking to blow things up and shock the world.
Remember: it’s one thing to be smart and another to be educated. While smartness is something you have to be born with, education is something you can always get on your own. Smart is knowing that it doesn't matter how many watermelons Oedipus brought home for his mother if he only had two cows and one sister to trade. Educated is knowing the exact figure anyway even if it’s impractical, because sometimes, mothers have feelings too and want nothing more than to watch their children enjoy the perks of fruitful trades from both sides of the trading block.
It pays to be educated – more so an educated terrorist. A degree is just a piece of crummy paper that never really matters at the office, but because you can’t afford to show any weaknesses, you have to have some hard proof of your intelligence. The degree’s a product of the system, yes, but once you succeed in blowing it all up, you can throw the stupid thing away afterwards.
Wannabe terrorists shouldn't be content with just being smart. Instead, you have to take things a step further by figuring out that you must play by society’s rules first before blowing it the hell up. Pair this knowledge with your degree, and you’ll know what it means to be a legitimate terrorist.
In a business that relies on shock and awe, you can’t leave any stone unturned. All facts are important, because the only thing that matters is using as many specifics as possible to get your general ideas across. See, it’s all about the medium, not the message. Think about it: would you rather threaten governments with fancy references to dead Greek heroes, or with piss-poor Pepe the Frog memes?
Don’t: Kill anybody – unless you absolutely have to.
Again, the main point of terrorism is to attract the most amount of attention possible. You’ll be fixing to inspire panic in a great group of people, and whether you’re doing it to get famous or rage against the system, you’re really only doing this for the attention.
This is why killing people will be a monumental waste of time.
Show the people you’re serious by blowing up a few buildings. But at the same time, get everyone out in time, just to show them that even if you could've killed them all, you didn't. That’s right: you chose to let the poor suckers live. See how powerful that thought makes you feel?
Terrorism is an industry that runs and relies on fear. To keep the fear alive, you gotta have people around, because who else are you going to scare when you’re the only one left? This is why wannabe terrorists will always choose to get rid of themselves first instead of anyone else. It’s what Nine and Twelve wanted, even if they couldn't quite pull it off on their own terms.
Besides, killing a lot of people all in one go is so primitive and so unproductive. What you want to do instead, is plant the fear of Holy You in them, until they bow down and submit to your every whim. Where’s all that effort gonna go once they’re all dead?
So want to be a terrorist. Great!
… Okay, not so great.
Hopefully, you've learned a bunch of stuff from this short checklist. And if not, well… maybe you shouldn't have been lurking on an anime forum for some real tips anyway. You sure as hell won’t be finding any inspiration in Zankyou no friggin’ Terror either. Who are we kidding? Nine and Twelve aren't even professional terrorists anyway. For serious, dude, go get a real hobby or something.
Zankyou no Terror’s Handy Guide to Teenage Terrorism
Terrorism is bad and no one should ever think to do it. But in case you've always wanted to try it out, here's a short guide to help get you started.
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