ID: INVADED

ID: INVADED

ID: INVADED anime series cover art
ID: INVADED

Series Overview

ID: INVADED (イド:インヴェイデッド) is an anime-original, psychological thriller series animated by NAZ. And before I get into this series, I just want to make a quick point about how NAZ is simply not a good studio. It seems like they’ve learned a bit from their past mistakes, but they still don’t have a good track record.

I’ve seen three NAZ anime so far. The first was My Sister, My Writer, which I have a love-hate relationship with. And the second two both aired during the winter 2020 series: ID: INVADED and Infinite Dendrogram — which was probably the worst anime of the season.

Luckily, ID: INVADED is actually a lot better than both of the other NAZ anime I’ve seen. But also keep in mind that ID: INVADED is an original series while the other two are light novel adaptations. It definitely helps out when the source of a series is good from the start, which isn’t usually the case for NAZ anime.

Well, that’s enough about the studio behind the series. What about the series itself?

In my review of Pet I mentioned that Babylon from last year is a better psychological thriller, but I think ID: INVADED is also a fitting suggestion. The premise behind the series is that a division of the police is able to catch serial killers by entering their “ID wells,” which are basically remnants of their minds leftover at crime scenes.

When a crime is committed, special particles are left behind at the scene which the police can scan and then use to reconstruct the subconscious of the criminal. They then send someone into the ID well to figure out the MO (modus operandi) and identity of the killer.

Brilliant Detectives

Akihito Narihisago is the protagonist of the series and one of the people known as a “brilliant detective.” The brilliant detective is a title given to those who enter an ID well, but it’s also not simply a title — when entering an ID well, people physically change into the brilliant detective.

It’s a bit hard to explain, but upon entering an ID well, Akihito loses all of his own memories and is “reborn” as the brilliant detective. He then has the capabilities to solve the mystery surrounding the murder at hand.

Akihito inside an ID well from the anime series ID: INVADED
Akihito inside an ID well

Also, it’s explained that the only people compatible with becoming brilliant detectives and entering ID wells are those who have killed someone in the past. I think the idea here is that unless you’ve killed someone before, diving into the mind of a serial killer would simply put too much of a strain on your own mind.

There are two other brilliant detectives in the series, but in order to discuss them I’ll have to spoil parts of the series. Skip down to the next section of the review if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Koharu Hondoumachi is another brilliant detective, but a bit different from the other two. She’s not really a killer, but she has killed someone in self-defense, which still qualifies her to be a brilliant detective. Koharu also has a self-inflicted hole in her head which probably helps out with her compatibility.

Tamotsu Fukuda is the final brilliant detective and starts out as one of the serial killers in the series who Koharu arrests. Like Koharu, he has a self-inflicted hole in his head, and his MO as a serial killer was to drill holes into the heads of his victims — which is tied into how Koharu got her hole.

Psychological Thriller

I don’t think that ID: INVADED is one of the best series around, and this will be reflected in my final rating of it. But I do think it’s a pretty good psychological thriller. The series does a pretty good job of setting up how ID wells and brilliant detectives work from the start, and this is extremely important.

Of course, not everything is revealed at the beginning, but enough is so that you aren’t left lost and confused. The reason this is so important is that quite a few other psychological thrillers reveal information about how the world works as a “plot twist” later on. That’s not a plot twist, that’s just leaving out information.

A real plot twist is one that doesn’t alter the framework laid out by the series, but instead uses that framework in a way the viewer wasn’t expecting. Madoka Magica is one of the best series when it comes to true plot twists. How the world works is never altered; the plot twists simply reveal the true nature of everything we’ve seen.

Kaeru dead in an ID well from the anime series ID: INVADED
Kaeru dead in an ID well

ID: INVADED works the same way. There’s no point at which the way the world works is altered. The series instead explores additional possibilities within the world it initially sets up. We know how ID wells work, and every time a new ID well is explored, the rules within that ID well are set from the start.

And this is what makes it a good psychological thriller. Our protagonists are chasing after serial killers while using their knowledge of the world in unique ways to solve the puzzles of these killers’ minds.

There’s also a pretty interesting dynamic between the various brilliant detectives. Because they’re different people with different experiences, we get to see how those experiences shape the way they interact with what they come across within ID wells.

Conclusion

Despite how much I enjoyed ID: INVADED, I still think it’s only about a 6/10. There were a lot of small things I didn’t like about the series, such as the art and animation being pretty plain, or the fact that the main antagonist is literally the Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey mascot.

I think that’s the thing that ruined my immersion the most.

But, the best thing about this series by far was actually the music. And I don’t mean the regular soundtrack; I mean the OP, ED, and insert songs. In a season which had Eazy Breezy by chelmico as the OP song for Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! it may come as a surprise that the best song actually came from ID: INVADED.

The OP song for ID: INVADED is very good, but the real star of the show is Other Side by MIYAVI as the ED. I think that ED may still be the best ED of the year by the time 2020 is complete. And MIYAVI also had a number of other songs featured as insert songs throughout the series.

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