How ID:Invaded brought me on board and made me stick

{Spoilers for ID:Invaded episodes 1 and 2}

Winter season has finally stuck its nose out and crept back into its cave in my country, all while the anime winter season is well underway. Among other news is that I finally and properly started playing Honkai Impact 3 and binged the animations countless times gasping at both the animation and soundtracks for each one (Befall is my favorite btw); but that isn’t exactly anime, nor am I that far in the story to properly talk about it. I’ll also save the details of my gruesome exams that took place in the first two weeks of January, almost right after the New Years, and, instead, will bow in apology and bring a new post.

I’ve thought long and hard about what post should I make for the brand new 2020. A first post is like a first impression and therefore is immensely important after all! At first, I was planning to make a list of either top 2019 anime or what I’m going to watch in the upcoming year, as usual, I ended up writing something entirely different.

While I usually don’t strain myself to watch everything that a season has to offer, and usually stick with a few or more big hits and something different, this is not the case with winter of 2020. For the first time ever, I found myself having trouble to not start watching something, let alone putting it down to not cram my list completely. Whether it’s from some weird need to want to watch as much as I can not to miss anything or the anime this season being genuinely more engaging (as in, not sequels of anime I have yet to catch up to, as amazing as they may be) or more rich in the genres that I love. I have had a long lasting love for fantasy, action and mystery anime, so this season feels like a treat made for me. From the magical Somali and the forest spirit to the 4th season of Haikyuu and the wonder that is Magia record, slowly unraveling its mysteries and traumas before my eyes.

Of course, many others are worthy of praise: I could go on and on about how Dorohedoro caught me by surprise with its intertwining plot and interesting world building or the visual marvel and creativity that Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! brought with its very first action packed episode. However, this short review or rather, first impression is of a completely different show.

ID:Invaded is a mystery thriller that is shrouded in mystery, yet slowly reveals bits and pieces as you watch. It follows the brilliant detective Saikaido that dives into a criminals subconscious in order to help the police to track them and better understand their motives, all while following along a bloody trail of a murderer he is hunting.
Episode 1 begins with Sakaido just as confused as the viewers. Not knowing his name or purpose, he finds himself in a jumbled world divided into pieces and blocks. Even his own body is in pieces. While he tries to find some sort of reason for this or anyone else in this weird world, he stumbled upon a corpse of a young woman he instinctively knows as “Kaoru-chan”. Remembering that information, he recalls his mission of solving the crime.

The titular Kaoru-chan

What makes ID:Invaded interesting is how it shows us the story. We do not only see from Sakaido’s perspective, but also from the police investigators tracking both the criminals with the pieces that Sakaido finds in the subconscious of them and Sakaido’s own progress and train of thought, as he slowly builds the world back together and even figures out where the culprit is hiding among countless unreal images of people. However, this dive into the mind of a person does not come without a cost, Sakaido “loses” his memories within every such dive, meaning that he always starts from zero until he finds Kaoru-chan.

Almost naturally, ID:Invaded does not come without a clever twist. As it turns out, Sakaido is not some genius detective with an inherent talent to solve crimes, like some darker detective Conan counterpart, on the contrary, it is revealed that our protagonist chose this occupation. As one character remarks, it’s akin to suicide and not everyone can even perform the dive. Yet Sakaido is still imprisoned and locked in a cell, with pictures of his wife, as we learn the before mentioned Kaoru-chan, and their daughter, both of whom were brutally murdered by an unknown criminal.

Throughout the episodes that have been released, Sakaido does not act out of character. He’s calm and cynical, approaching each situation with a leveled head, focusing on solving the “mystery”.

Another part of the show, aside from the cool snarky protagonist, is the whole dive into the mind of the criminal and the different world that it creates. Each world is unique and usually has something to do with either the methods or motivation of each killer. While Sakaido comments on objects or bits of information with a puzzled look, the investigators fill us in on the gaps with details from the full picture or history of each individual, making the viewing experience satisfying in an unconventional way for a mystery anime.

Sakaido in the broken world from episode 1

While the thriller side and the characters are one of its strong points, another praise worthy point of ID is its opening and ending songs. The ending song is something out of this world, all thanks to the song itself and the visuals. The first time I heard it, not only did I get chills down my spine but immense Psycho Pass Monster without a name vibes. A powerful song with a clear beat playing along with striking still images of characters with moving and vivid backgrounds. Those who watched last year’s Kokkoku know what I’m talking about, but for those who missed out on a great opening song from 2019, its opening song is “Flashback” by MIYAVI, who also did the ending theme of ID:Invaded (“Other side”). The opening presents a really pleasant mix of shapes and colors, focusing more on Sakaido and his dives into different minds; a shot from which you can see here:

While I’m not implying that ID:Invaded is anime of the season from episode 1, it’s definitely way up there, I hope I cleared up what made me think so, with other strong anime series in this brand new season of 2020.

What shows are you watching from the Winter season? What are your favorites and why? Let me know in the comments below!

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