ID: Invaded – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Sakaido is a genius detective who can track down any criminal. But when his daughter is murdered, revenge lands him on the other side of the law. Now in prison, he helps the police solve mysteries using a system that invades a person’s identity. Little by little, a trail of blood forms, and it all leads back to his daughter’s murderer. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
Mid Season (7 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: ID: Invaded originally billed itself as a sci-fi mystery, set upon the efforts of Sakaido to unravel the mysteries laying in the minds of various serial killers, via a machine known as the ID well, in order to ultimately track down a most dangerous figure: John Walker, a man set upon crafting and unleashing serial killers upon society. While that is a feature to the series, at times it hardly feels like the focus. Every story begins with a new case, tracking down a new killer, but rather than acting as a sci-fi police procedural, as exemplified in episode one, instead ID: Invaded begins to feel more so like a character study, delving into what drives each of these killers, including Sakaido himself.
Linny: ID: INVADED has no interest in explaining the nitty gritty workings of its world. We are only given the bare minimum info for the ‘ID well’ and the device being used to scan for ‘murderous intent’, just enough to understand what is happening in the story but not exactly how these devices work. The show is, as Tom said, all about the psychological angle, exploring the inner mental working of the killers while also presenting all sorts of mysteries and puzzles in the form of the fantastical ID wells that can take all sorts of forms. It can even feel like the show is a more bit style and gimmick over substance due to the heavy emphasis on more abstract concepts and roundabout flashy story execution versus providing a more straight forward logic based narrative. This means the show demands that you have a penchant for more outlandish ideas and storytelling to enjoy the ride and it alienates those who prefer more solid and direct stories.
Tom: ID: Invaded is interesting. It feels like the creators took the concept of Psycho-Pass, but instead of examining a dystopian society we turned focus to the characters and their disturbed minds, particularly that of the killers of the week, Sakaido, or even Hondomachi, a female detective who gradually becomes tied to the ID well investigations. What’s presented is intriguing no doubt, and you likely won’t find your attention wandering while watching, But what throws me off the series is despite how interesting it is, it doesn’t feel like there’s actually a main character. Sakaido is routed, locked away in a cage whenever there’s no ID well for him to dive into. He’s at the mercy of the narrative, and typically main characters help to drive the story, usually by taking direct action and control of where things are going. That might make you feel like Hondoumachi, our up and coming detective, is the true lead, but she lacks screen presence and her fate is also so often left up to characters working around her. Even the ID well’s director, Momoki, who has a bit more control over his own actions, is never delved into enough as a character to make him feel like someone to latch onto. If anything ID: Invaded is more so than ever about the mystery of John Walker, and our investigative team is merely the vehicle through which we’re experiencing the story.
Linny: It’s true that the lack of a central character can be a bit of a challenge and ID: INVADED definitely makes it hard to truly get attached to any one of its numerous cast members. That said, if you get invested in the mystery side of the show, then diving into the minds of killers can be very interesting, especially for those who like to play along and try to figure things out. No two minds or puzzles are the same and often can be very creative. While the mysteries and their solutions can sometimes be vague, they are the undisputed star and central attraction.
Tom: For as interesting as ID: Invaded’s premise is, and the creativity of the ID wells, without a central character to pull for the show remains merely enjoyable, rather than captivating. While the mystery of John Walker is a potential reason to keep watching, I can’t help but notice I’m not really hungering for an answer to it. If the series found itself in a similar position to Interspecies Reviewers, abruptly pulled from Funimation, I don’t know that I’d feel an ounce of drive to seek out what I was missing. Half way through the run is a bit late to build characters, but ID: Invaded really needs to break from its formula for a second and let Sakaido or Hondoumachi take center stage. If we had a chance to experience the loss Sakaido has suffered, or grow to understand what even made Hondoumachi a detective in the first place, maybe things would finally feel compelling. But we are running out of time, and as it stands I think ID: Invaded might’ve built itself into a corner: An interesting show, but one many will forget once its run has concluded.
Linny: ID: Invaded isn’t the strongest show of the season by any means but it isn’t the worst either. If you enjoy mysteries and more mentally challenging shows, you could do worse. That’s not to say the show is highly intelligent or deep. It does put forth some interesting little twists but it also has some rather hammy, over the top moments that make it hard to take it all that seriously. If you go in with tempered expectations and a fondness for abstract crime mysteries, you might enjoy ID: Invaded and its never ending parade of mysteries and twists, even if it won’t have you on the edge of your seat with excitement and anticipation.
ID:Invaded is available for streaming, both subbed and dubbed via Funimation.