The Terror Infamy shines a dark light on history and Japanese ghosts.
The second season of the anthology series The Terror is called Infamy and just like the first season it mixes historical events with the supernatural. This time the story isn’t based on a novel by Dan Simmons, and the supernatural elements play a far much bigger part. It’s a complete new story with a different tone and atmosphere and different storytelling.
This second season of consists of 10 episodes with each a duration of 42-57 minutes. It has a continuous storyline that follows a Japanese American young man during WWII, his hardship in the interment camps, the war and the threat of a Yurei.
This time it takes place during World War II in America. When Japan gets involved all Japanese people are put in internment camps for so-called safekeeping, afraid they are spies. Although not officially prisoners they are treated that way not allowed to leave the camps. Unless some young men enroll in the American Army to fight the Japanese.
We follow two befriended families who lived in a small fishing town Terminal Island where they were already being discriminated against and had to deal with racism. But the younger generation is bound to make something of themselves. Now the war puts a stop to that. And what’s more, a shapeshifting spirit, a Yurei roams the internment camp and starts to wreck havoc with sinister but tragic reasons.
The story revolves around Chester Nakayama who fell in love with a Mexican girl Luz Ojeda and she gets pregnant expecting his baby when they all have to go to the camps. Luz decides to go with Chester and his family. There they not only encounter racism and maltreatment, power abuse, but also a vengeful spirit.
Why you should watch it
Infamy is a slow paced but full story told with great respect to the historical events. Actor George Takei who plays Yamato-san acted as an advisor, for he himself spent those years in an internment camp as a young boy. It’s a story about racism, prejudice, xenophobia and of people who abuse their power.
This story shows a somewhat forgotten group, Japanese Americans who were sometimes even born in America, but treated as the enemy. The harsh conditions, psychically and particularly mentally are very tangible and inhumane. The paranoia, the abuse of power, the xenophobia it’s all there in a horrifying way. It’s the background story to dive into the Japanese folklore of a vengeful spirit, the Yurei. This mystery is the core of the story, while Chester has to solve it before anyone else gets hurt, but also has to prove he is a patriotic American and goes off to battle.
Both the Yurei and the internment camps are cause for feelings of despair and maltreatment. They complement each other creating an enthralling and complex story, intertwined in an overarching theme.
Center of it all is Chester who is the hero of the story, who cares about his family and tries so hard to be a good son and husband and father and American. His personal story is intriguing and captivating. He is the embodiment of the struggle between two generations, his father’s who has accepted his inferior existence, behaves submissively versus his own future and take on things. And between two cultures, his Japanese heritage that he doesn’t want to deny, and the American culture in which he grew up.
The story of the Yurei is bound to his and is the big story arc that slowly unravels and takes more form, even literally. That ghost story is well-crafted and scary and truly brings the folklore and supernatural elements to life, sometimes even in a surreal way.
Infamy is beautifully shot, realistic but also surreal and dreamlike. It mixes different cultures, the Japanese, and Mexican folklore and the American way. It brings together different cultures, languages, habits, and folklore with a great result. Chester’s and Luz’ love bring these together. The romance, their love story should be an example.
My favorite part
It really like Japanese ghost stories, and although she doesn’t appear that often in the beginning she makes up for it in the latter half of the story. The Yurei is really spooky and the way she moves and acts is truly terrifying. But her background story is impressive too. It’s not just a mere ghost who is angry. She has a good reason and in the end every ghost story is about finding peace and that what was taken from her. It is not about vanquishing the evil spirit, but about understanding and helping her. The way Chester handles this threat is the exact opposite of what’s happening in the camps and even the bomb on Hiroshima is addressed in a most devastating and gripping way.
The plane, some kind of limbo where the Yurei, Yuko remains is beautifully created. It has a very surreal atmosphere and is a sharp contrast to how her deteriorating state is depicted in the real world. The way she manifests herself is creepy and original and adds to the horror. Although the supernatural horror is far more subtle than the horrors inflicted by men. It’s a heartbreaking story about overcoming fear and danger and discrimination, about surviving dehumanization in multiple ways.
Scare factor: ★★★★☆
Surreal factor: ★★★★☆
Gruesome factor: ★★★★☆
Originality factor: ★★★★★
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Cast and crew
The Terror Infamy is created by Max Borenstein, Naomi Iizuka, Alexander Woo. It stars Derek Mio (Chester Nakayama), Cristina Rodlo (Luz Ojeda), Kiki Sukezane (Yuko Tanabe), Shingo Usami (Henry Nakayama), Naoko Mori (Asako Nakayama), Miki Ishikawa (Amy Yoshida), George Takei (Yamato-san), Lee Shorten (Walt Yoshida), Alex Shimizu (Toshiro Furuya), Hira Ambrosino (Fumi Yoshida), Eiji Inoue (Hideo Furuya), James Saito (Wilson Yoshida) and C. Thomas Howell (Major Bowen).
Music by: Mark Corven. Cinematography: John Conroy, Barry Donlevy. Production company: AMC, Aquatic Wonders, Entertainment 360, EMJAG Productions, Scott Free Productions. Original network: AMC.