- Genre : Science fiction, drama
- Episodes: 12 (+1)
- Studio: Toei Animation
Humanity has long been plagued by the doubt that we may be alone in a cold dark universe. That this is all there is. So even though we may be fearful by nature, the sudden appearance of a being that comes from somewhere else and brings the possibility of a whole other plane of existence beyond our wildest dreams, should be a joyous occasion. Even more so when they freely share knowledge and tools that could be used to advance humanity exponentially, help countless people and generally make the world a better place. Of course we must be cautious, too much too fast could be dangerous. All tools hold the potential for misuse and when they’re such powerful tools, the consequences could be disastrous. And can we trust or even communicate with a creature so inherently different from ourselves. We humans need to sit down and give this all some serious thought so we can come up with the best possible answer for all. Or we could just drool over the cute guy at the office. Yeah let’s do that one.
First, Scott, if you read this, yes you were right but it’s not your fault. Please don’t stop giving me your opinions. I always appreciate their incisiveness and accuracy.
If you guys are curious, while I was watching Kado, I told Scott how much I was digging it, and he answered something along the lines of “you’re still in the good part”. I shot back with a “shhhh, don’t do this to me…” since I was really feeling the show and didn’t want it to go downhill. It was meant in jest but I may have not made that clear because Scott has been blaming himself for dampening my enthusiasm. He didn’t. Kado manage to squander all my good will without any outside help at all. The series has skills.
Thinking back, I am stricken by the fact that the experience of watching Kado was probably very similar to what it would have been to experience the events of Kado on the ground.
Right off the bat, I was suspicious, filled with doubt and confused. Exactly as I would have if I witnessed first contact. See, Kado is a pretty decent looking series. The designs, aside from Yaha-kui zaShunina lack in detail but are pretty enough. Kado itself, the big cube, clashes appropriately with everything else but I found it disappointing empty . And remaining production values were decent if not flashy. A nice interplay between the actors for Shindo and Yaha-kui zaShunina added emotional depth and engagement to their growing friendship as well as their individual developments.
However, the huge amount of cg was baffling. Occasionally, characters would look as if they were a rendered 2d/3d, like I was playing a persona game.
It was perfectly justifiable for KADO itself or any of the alien tools and effects, but it was also occasionally used to make characters look like they were 2d/3d renders, like I was playing a persona game. This effect seemed to be completely random, used on one character in a scene then a completely different one 3 scenes later, and clashed with backgrounds or other characters. It was just do odd and kept throwing me for a loop. A sort of destabilizing sensory discordance that kept me off balance and worst, made me doubt it was even there to begin with.
If the point was to harbor uncertainty, then brilliant execution!
The most disturbing for me though, was the uncanny resemblance between Yaha-kui zaShunina and Shiroba. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the design….
However, as the episodes wore on and Yaha-kui zaShunina seemed nothing but helpful and magnanimous, I saw my qualms alleviated and replaced with hopeful anticipation. Can this really be the dawn of a new and better age for mankind?
The story progressed smoothly in classic sci-fi fashion. Despite all the grand themes and first contact shenanigans, the narrative favored a throughout intellectual approach. Light touches of physics and quantum theory were mixed in with good doses of world economics and international diplomacy. The show seemed to be attempting a fairly realistic depiction of the potential impact of interacting with a truly foreign intelligence.
Instead of weaponry we try to wrap our minds around the wonders and dangers a source of infinite energy could represent. What are the philosophical and existential implication of fundamentally changing our brain function. How does the very notion of higher dimensional space change everything we know and think about the world.
The questions are set up nicely, with enough information and competing viewpoints to create engaging debates for the audience. Characters aren’t too developed, but they are established enough to feel whole and create a balanced cast. We see so many interesting angles, the responsibility of governments and media towards the people are discussed even more extensively than the implication of scientific discovery. Mild theological and existential musings are peppered through but seem to be presented for the audience’s consideration without moralizing.
I soon forgot whatever misgivings I had towards the creative animation choices and started devouring the series unable to wait for what happens next. I finished it in two sittings. There were just so many themes and topics introduced, and the series was doing a great job laying a seemingly solid foundation down that I simply couldn’t help raising my expectations.
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
But then of course, the horrible truth of the situation was revealed. Horror, anger and disgust flooded my mind. Ok, maybe that’s a mild exaggeration but I did get a little mad at the show.
After such a great and careful buildup, the last few episodes were an active effort to go as downhill as possible as quickly as possible. It’s not just that the conclusion didn’t live up to the rest (it didn’t), it’s not just that the final climax was dumb (so…so.. dumb), it’s that the series went out of it’s way to undue every good element it had put in place.
People started acting completely out of character from everything that had been established about them. A romantic storyline was uncomfortably shoehorned in. Suddenly, it seemed that the story was trying to fuse every possible romantic leading lady stereotype into Saraka, which became hopelessly useless and was relegated to being a womb, despite also being essentially a god.
The measured and oddly tense tone of the show was unceremoniously tossed out the window to make way for overbearing melodramatics. I realize that sentence is redundant, but I cannot stress enough how duh-ram-MA-tic things got. As for the big reveal, aside from being, all together now, so dumb, actually implies that the protagonist carried out a monstrously cruel plan, involving having a child grow up parentless and turning her into a killer at the age of 16, because they didn’t want change?
I’m gonna stop. There’s no point…
I don’t know what the right answer was, I’m not even sure if one existed, but I do know KADO didn’t find it. Better luck next time.
Favorite character: Shun Hanamori
What this anime taught me: Get off the ship before it sinks
Work is the curse of the drinking classes
Suggested drink: Alien Brain Hemorrhage
- Every time we see all of KADO – take a sip
- if we see a companion cube – take another
- Every time we see the situation room – take a sip
- Every time we see a negotiation – take a sip
- Every time someone says Yaha-kui zaShunina full name – drink some water
- Every time we see a member of the press – take a sip
- Every time we see wam – take a sip
- Every time anyone says Anisotropic – take a breath
- Every time we see zaShunina’s floating arm – take a sip
- Every time we see army men – take a sip