You awake on a bed in an unusual room. As soon as you gain consciousness you realise something is wrong. You start to fall apart. Your limbs split into a dozen pieces, your whole body splinters and you can’t even remember your own name. It’s not a dream, but it’s not real either. You’ve awoken in a broken world shattered into pieces, just like you have been. You’ve woken in an ID Well. A simulated space using the “cognition particles” of a serial killer. You are a brilliant detective and your job is to solve the mystery of the well.
That is the basic outline, in my own words, for the opening scene of ID: Invaded. A 13 episode anime series by NAZ that I watched recently on Funimation Now. It’s a Sci-Fi, Detective, Mystery series that often utilises the visual medium of its production to its fullest effect. Often in interesting ways. The first episodes are a two-parter dealing with a serial killer known as “The Perforator” and, as I described above, it’s a fascinating introduction to the whole concept. I implore you to give those first 2 episodes a watch, that’s less than an hour of runtime, to see if you enjoy it. If you don’t, fair enough. But if you do, you’re in for a wild ride so pay attention.
You might find it strange that I’ve said the show uses the visual medium of anime to its fullest, at times, when it’s a very real world based design. You could just film it in real life like a regular TV detective mystery show and get something workable out of it. However you’d lose a great deal or have to spend a lot of money on effects to mimic what the show does. The first ID Well in the show, The Perforators, encapsulates my point really well. One look at the myriad pieces of that environment that makes it look like an Earth sized jigsaw will tell you that much. In animation it is so much easier to play with those environmental factors which add another layer to the distinctive character models and smooth animation.
The Sci-Fi element comes from the ID Wells and how they are created. Field agents gather these “cognition particles” which are given off when the killer’s drive to kill is on display. When enough are gathered, from crime scenes etc, they can construct an ID Well which is a simulation of the target’s psyche. Then, a “brilliant detective” is sent into the artificially constructed ID Well to search it for clues. Real-world analysts supervise whichever “brilliant detective” is in the Well. They then work the data gathered, directing the investigation and the search for the actual serial killer they are looking for. Everything in the well could be important in some way or another. It’s a fascinating idea and how this works is one of the mysteries that the series slowly unravels.
All of the ID Well’s are interesting and well constructed to serve the narrative and characters but the first well is the one that impresses me the most. It’s a literal jigsaw of pieces from the serial killer’s life. It’s brilliantly crafted, is visually interesting and used in compelling ways. The visual design isn’t just interesting to look at, it is an integral part of how the story is told. The Perforators ID Well is a highlight. I like how the pieces eventually fall into place to resolve the mystery; but all of them have intriguing elements that draw you in as a viewer.
I hope I’ve piqued your interest. Like I said, that first two-parter shows off exactly what the show is. So, give it a chance.
You can stream the show on Funimation Now right now! More importantly though, I think you should.