- 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
33 thoughts on “KADO – There is No Right Answer”
“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.”
Faster than a Russian bobsleigh team.
There were a lot of warning signs for me even before that last arc. “Let’s move Kado for 20 minutes” episode and festival episode were the worst offenders before it went off the rails entirely.
I actually liked the cube moving episode…It spoke to my inner urban planner…This said I don’t remember the festival one.
Oh this anime. I remember one of my friend recommending me this while it was airing. He gushed about how good it was for weeks. Didn’t look like my kind of series to watch from what I looked up about it. When he finally saw the last 4 episodes he the same reaction as you; pure disappointment it went downhill the way it did. Sounds like the 3D parts were pretty clunky animation wise. I dodged a bullet with this one haha
But but so much of it was good…..Hulk Smash!
You shouldn’t have told me that, Irina. Beware my many opinions. Muahahahaha.
In all seriousness, great review and many other people have shared my opinion on the comments 😁
Bring em on Scott! I Look forward to them
Dropped it because of the CGI. I stopped watching Western animation for the CGI explosion, might happen to anime, too. Seems like I missed a good first half, but dodged the bullet on bitter disappointment.
You may be stuck watching nothing but documentaries…I’m afraid CGI has snuck into pretty much everything.
I really loved it in ACCA 13 though – I thought it blended superbly well.
This season’s Hisone to Masotan did it well, too. I don’t always mind, and I can ignore even pretty hideous stuff. It’s just that I’ve never seen CGI I found special. And it’s not conducive to slice-of-life relaxation.
this is a very hard left turn but I always love how CGI was used in Futurama. I think that type of movement animation is where it’s at.
Rumour has it that Kado was meant to be a movie and got brought down to a 12 episode series, although I can’t remember where I read that anymore. Of course, a movie (with a fixed ending, to boot) did show up a few months ago, but even though I outright described the fixed ending as a “dream come true” to someone, at that point it was too little, too late…so I can understand why you didn’t want to watch it.
As for the series itself, I was in love with it from episode zero and stayed that way pretty much until episode 8, to the point where I was reading discussion and spoilers wherever I could…and due to all that reading ahead, I proceeded through episodes 9 – 12 with a combination of denial, confusion, sadness and anger (in roughly that order). Even after seeing the fixed ending, I don’t think I’ve gotten over how great this show could’ve been if it had only executed itself perfectly the first time…
On the bright side, Kado was one of the series that got me pretty much writing in the style I have now, so not all was lost.
I do want to watch the movie – I have no clue where to find it….
Unfortunately, I think it stopped being available on June 4th…
I’ll try to keep an eye out for it
My experienced mirrored yours.
For me, the worst part was Yaha-kui zaShunina. She could have been this amazing character. [ SPOILERS FOLLOW ] She was the offspring of human and anisotropic — that should have been an interesting study! But no… And I still don’t know why she sided with humanity.
I’m glad the show tried to so something amazing. But it so thoroughly destroyed my hopes that I can understand why edgyanimeteenblog (in another comment) mentioned rage!
I was very angry at it too. I mean it was a betrayal on so many levels.
As for te magical girl housewife god…in the end they just didn’t find anything interesting to do with her. It’s like they so desperately needed a romantic lead that they threw out everything that had made her interesting and fun just so she could fit the traditional mould
Even though I’ve written so many rage filled comments about this show, I’m still angry! It was SO interesting!
And. What. The. Hell. Was. That. ENDING!?
Why would a show give up creative economics for boring magical battles? 😑
I don’t know! I heard somewhere that a heavily reedited version exists that *fixes* the ending but I have not seen it
I’m not getting my hopes up again…
So much pain and disappointment-
I can’t do it again!
Boo for melodrama! I loved the art style and it sounded really interesting until that point. Sad panda… 🐼
sorry…. Maybe there’s a fan made better end ou there?
I ignored this show because it is obvious BL. You are the intended audience, not me. Still, I liked your description of the scifi here, and it sounds like “the Day the Earth Stood Still”. Probably crossed with the shower scene in Dallas “It was all a dream…” said JR Ewing. As far as scifi concerns aliens, I like to recall the Fermi Paradox, which asked the simple question: “Given the universe has billions of galaxies, and potentially millions of alien civilizations: where are they?” That’s the Fermi Paradox and its impossible to refute, though it can be partially explained by the Hump/Obstacle. Alien fans like to imagine there’s some difficulty that all civilizations reach and attempt to overcome and cannot, which either wipes them out or ends their civilization. I like to ponder the possibility that galactic scale black holes might be the result of civilizations attempting to access dark energy, and accidentally kill themselves, putting their whole galaxy inside the event horizon. That’s both ironic, and offers a good explanation, so is likely to be true. Real life is ironic, and if all civilizations have “hold my beer” moments, which on Earth is certainly true, this might be a requirement for all sentient life to become sentient and tool using.
All said I’m glad I avoided this show. I’m not surprised it failed to deliver. Lots of anime start with an interesting premise, then the author gets pressured by an idiot editor, or wants revenge on their publisher, and it goes off the rails into “suck” territory and destroys itself.
All the romantic relationships in the show as strictly heterosexual so I missed any sort of BL(?) you may be thinking of a different series?
This said the only reason to watch this is to get great prompts and then get frustrated… Not a must see but I did enjoy elements of it
It has bishounen on the cover art and no females. That’s a clear warning of BL. I appreciate them offering such clues so I can avoid that type of show as it is not to my taste. I also avoid any show with “Card” in the title, or anyone waving a card in the air, because those are ALSO not to my taste. I understand others have different preferences on those topics and that’s just fine by me.
Actually the character on the cover right next to the main guy is the main girl, it’s not super obvious but she is wearing a skirt. sometimes it’s hard to tell gender with animes.
The awesome part though is that you have some great shows to discover now! I think you might still enjoy Psycho Pass. And since you like classic anime maybe you could try some Lupin the III. It has some great comedic timing.
I have tried watching Lupin 3rd. I feel like I’m missing huge amounts of context, like they’re making jokes referencing earlier events I haven’t seen yet, since the show is being remade (and kind of mean, too), and the original dates back to the 80, possibly earlier. I suppose if it turned up on Crunchyroll I would try it.
It’s mostly a spoof of 60s shows but I always thought it had some great pacing and editing. That somewhat jittery old school stye that can get a bit confusing because it does’t insist on important lot points and you can easily miss something but at the same time it doesn’t talk down to the audience either.
This series has got to be one of the biggest letdowns I have seen in anime. I was watching it back in the day along with Karandi, who wrote her weekly episodic reviews for it, and we were both so enthusiastic for the series. It was a unique experience, something that really tried to do something different…well…until of course it all went downhill. For a series that had so much potential to end in this way, it still makes me sad (and a bit mad as well).
Sometimes I guess there really is no right answer: no matter how much horror, anger and disgust you throw at it. But in some way there was too: you wrote a great post as answer 😉
aww thanks Raistlin – I should go back an reread K’s episode reviews to see when it goes downhill for her
I’m still annoyed at this one, because I absolutely love the first half, almost first two thirds. That final third though… What really bugs me is I talked quite a few people online and in real life into giving this series a go at the episode 5 mark. Then had the uncomfortable notion that I should never, ever recommend an unfinished series ever again.
oh that is awkward…
The worst part is that – as you said – for the majority of the runtime it’s actually a very good show. Decent characters, great pacing, unusual look and fantastic tech/social issues. The apparently everyone writting it got fired at once….