When inside a person’s id well, Akihito Narahisago becomes the Brilliant Detective Sakaido. Within this mental plane, Sakaido is able to venture into the unconscious minds of serial killers and assists the Kura Department in finding clues to the to the identity of the killers before they can strike again. Sakaido is assisted in his investigations by Kaeru, a mysterious girl who is always found murdered within the id well and whose cause of death acts as a clue for uncovering information about the owner of the well. Following the murder spree of several serial killers, Sakaido and the Kura Department become aware of an enigmatic figure lurking within the id wells – a man named John Walker who is stoking the murderous desires of serial killers.
Id: Invaded is an original anime series from director Ei Aoki and Studio NAZ. Conceptually, the series feels like a combination of Psycho‑Pass and Christopher Nolan’s Inception, with a couple of modern Sherlock Holmes-inspired procedural crime shows thrown into the mix. But this is not to say Id: Invaded is derivative – its approach to its concepts is entirely its own and Id: Invaded feels exceedingly fresh and brilliant in spite of the copious murder mystery thrillers that have preceded it.
Id: Invaded is a show built on layers of complexity, and excels in portraying these complexities simply and in extremely satisfying ways. The layers of mystery and pay-off that the series pulls off across its 13 episodes is remarkable, with each concept leading into and supporting the next in a masterful balance. The objective of catching serial killers extends to hunting down their creator, John Walker. Even the concept of the id well brings its own set of mysteries to uncover – who created the Mizuhanome system that allows entry into the subconscious? What does it mean to be able to enter an id well? Who is Kaeru and why is she always found murdered within the id well? Often, concepts like this in other series would be raised to hint at the larger mysteries carrying the show forward, but all too often they fall by the wayside as the series progresses and are ultimately resolved in the final episodes briefly and lazily through throwaway lines of dialogue. This is not the case in Id: Invaded, which in contrast build its narrative atop these questions and concepts, weaving them into how its world works and the overall direction of the series. As a result, the themes and mysteries of the show, such as the function of the id wells, the role of Kaeru, and Narahisago’s place inthe Kura Department (as well as many,many other significant plot points), coalesce together in a really strong way, delivering an intricate but satisfying whole.
If it isn’t apparent enough already, Id: Invaded is an excellent show conceptually, and very good at running with its concepts to the benefit and enjoyment of its audience. The concept of the id well and the role it plays as a tool in the show is astounding and functions on many levels. The id wells that Sakaido delves into function in narratively engaging and uniquely puzzling ways, with their rules and mysteries becoming apparent as the series progresses. Each killer’s mind functions in a unique way, with the memories and subconscious thoughts of the individual determining the rules for how each id well functions. This results in each world visited by the Brilliant Detectives feeling new and exciting, with vastly different challenges and encounters to face with each dive into a new well. Additionally, the concept of Brilliant Detectives as avatars in the subconscious is such a fun inclusion in the series, and their function and role within the id wells are played with just as much as the concept of the id wells themselves. Id: Invaded could have easily suffered from an oversaturation of rules and concepts that burdened its concept at the expense of its narrative. But this doesn’t happen. Instead, Id: Invaded focuses its efforts on a core cast of characters facing a series of complex issues, making sure that these challenges remain engaging, dramatic, and fun with a very healthy dose of action and adventure, without getting bogged down in expository dialogue.
I also need to touch on the excellent soundtrack for the series, with songs performed by artists such as Miyavi and Kenmochi Hidefumi (Wednesday Campanella), which punctuate some of the most exciting sequences in Id: Invaded. Personally, I’ve been listening to Miyavi’s Butterfly on repeat since hearing it in the series, and it has been ringing in my ears the whole time I’ve been writing this review. Thus is the impact it and its corresponding scenes in Id: Invaded have had on me, with the music working effortlessly to further ramp up even the most interesting and exciting of action sequences taking place in the subconscious – where the action often takes on incredibly imaginative and explosive properties.
I’ve spent this review for Id: Invaded avoiding specifics and instead focusing on the craft of the narrative in an effort to avoid spoilers for a series that I genuinely believe deserves everyone’s attention. The maturity in its delivery of concept and the edge of darkness underlying its mystery and characters without forgetting the fun makes this show a must see and I would be loath to take the experience of watching the series’ copious mysteries unfold from anyone. Id: Invaded is an explosive and refreshing anime that uses its concept to its fullest extent. I wholeheartedly encourage all fans of anime, mystery thrillers, and anyone who just likes a good story to grab a copy and dive in.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.