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« Clockwork Planet – 11

Clockwork Planet – 12 (END)

「終焉機動 (スティール・ウェイト)」 (Sutiiru Weito)
“Steel Weight”

Well Clockwork Planet certainly pulled no surprises in its last big outing. The big giant robot (because that title never gets old) was soundly defeated and Gennai learned what happens when you make naughty with a loli, all the while still ranting about Y and his world twisting. Quite funny how we learned nothing further on Y or his relation to Naoto/Marie, but there’s enough hinting towards reincarnation or power transfer to keep me satisfied. No point getting hopes up too far.

The best part though was AnchoR who once again stole the show, fighting hard and actually showcasing some surprisingly serious pain and suffering. Sure we’ve already seen some serious consequences before, but ripping hands off of preteen girls definitely leaves a mark. At least AnchoR’s sacrifice was worth it once Marie finally reconciled to the fact AnchoR is her daughter and is not going anywhere. Obviously sucks for Naoto and his healthy delusions, but the kid benefits from Marie’s art of persuasion when RyuZU isn’t around to keep the peace. Plot irritations or not, the Naoto family life never gets boring. Plus we got Halter back in proper form and the sexbot along for the ride, cannot complain about that. With a happy(ish) ending and an opening for further adaptation if desired, cannot fault Clockwork’s way of wrapping things up.

Final Impressions

Out of all “hyped” shows this season, I’d argue Clockwork Planet is the most disappointing. By this I do not mean the show is objectively terrible—far from it—but that it failed to live up to preseason expectations. With Clockwork being the brainchild of Kamiya Yuu, most people were probably anticipating something similar to NGNL. Not an exact copy obviously, but features such as a hilarious protagonist duo, a quirky premise, and a focus more on comedy than stark realism. Clockwork certainly hit on parts of these ideas during its run (particularly the character chemistry), but it never emphasized the components needed to raise it above typical light novel ware. Take the clockwork setting for example, by itself it’s incredibly interesting and far out from the normal settings, but the show arguably underutilized it. Beyond some well-researched science and plot-related functionality (ex. Naoto’s and Marie’s abilities) the steampunk was largely relegated to background scenery. We saw gears all over, were constantly told of their importance, but never saw the full impact. Why is Y so controversial? Why is the world fundamentally flawed? How does half this crap work without electromagnetism while functionally identical? Yuu had some fantastic conceptual ideas, but they were never elaborated on enough, whether due to the material adapted or the adaptation choices.

Now to be fair the aforementioned is a common problem of adaptations, particularly those with heavy world building, but it’s acutely felt in Clockwork because the story as presented does not make up for it. Undercurrents of conspiracy, political upheaval, and a world wrong at its core were barely espoused on, and the big bad in Gennai became more of a minor monster of the week than a true evil. The connections back to Gennai and his motivations were poorly handled, hints were few and far between, and any sense of understanding aggravatingly held off until the last moment. It’s flawed writing requiring one reads the source material for understanding, let alone closure—more than enough to turn the anime-only viewer off from both show and series. You need a coherent plot viewers can connect the dots in, something condensing focus and allowing the unfamiliar to quickly latch on with. Busou Shoujo with its simple, singular plot showed the possibilities, while last season’s Youjo Senki—even with all its cut material and arc rearrangements—indicated how well a tight story can carry an otherwise superficial premise. All Clockwork needed was to better tie its disparate plot pieces together to avoid the pitfalls that turned many viewers off initially.

What kept me committed to Clockwork though and saved it from being a net negative was its characters. I’ve discussed it lots over the weeks, but Naoto and RyuZU really saved the day here. Yeah their relationship was cliché, cheesy, and total wish fulfillment, but it was funny, honest, and quite endearing. Naoto slowly morphed from an utter dweeb into a staunch and loyal protagonist who, while never actually kissing RyuZU, did actually ask (voicelessly) for her hand in marriage. You do not see that all too often. Marie only helped round out the picture by filling those traits Naoto lacked, and by morphing herself out of a tsundere stand-in into strong-willed blondie. Both characters had personal flaws, and only through the assistance of each other could overcome them and find new strength—textbook character development. I’m quite sad we won’t get to see the fruits of their evolved relationship—especially with a concrete plot to now work with—but what we have here is enough to leave me satisfied. Not the best characters or development ever seen, but a fun, enjoyable experience worth the price of admission.

Considering all the above, is Clockwork really worth it? Depends on what one is looking for. If you want a well thought out science fiction story capable of capturing and keeping your attention I’d peruse elsewhere, but if quirky and fun character casts are your thing I’d consider giving it a go. Clockwork’s ridiculous Naoto family harem may not exactly save the show from serious criticism, but with the right mindset it’s enough to keep things amusing and patch over the more glaring faults. I may dislike a fair bit about Clockwork’s execution and setup, but I will say it never once failed to entertain. Considering how bad some light novel adaptations can be, it’s hard asking for more.

June 23, 2017 at 12:14 am
17 comments »
  • June 23, 2017 at 12:38 amKinai

    I don’t know how long the LN of NGNL are, but be aware that this first season only wrapped the two first novels of Clockwork Planet, from a total of 4 LN by now. I don’t know how long the author is thinking to make the story, but it’s clear that it still too early. You only have to compare CP to longer series and check how far the plot went during the first twelve episodes.

    I found a few animation mistakes, and they have to be big mistakes so that I can find them. ^^U But not so bad as to distract from the show.

    Interesting there had been things cut from the end that would show a deeper plot. Any way, I am not so dissapointed. Perhaps because I read the manga and parts of the LN before watching the anime.

    I would like to point that a deeper look to the setting could showcase its contradictions.

    And talking as contradictions, aren’t characters one of the most important parts of a story? So I don’t think that it has been saved by the characters.

    Here we have an interesting setting that you don’t have to think a lot about it (It’s a planet made with clockwork, ok? Following up…). A more than interesting characters better fleshed than other animes but an average quality, or low budget, animation.

    Overall I like the series and I would give it a 7/10. :”>

    • June 23, 2017 at 3:04 pmPancakes

      Definitely agreed it’s too early to judge the plot, but that’s only if taking Clockwork as a whole once complete. The main issue with these adaptations is they only represent a fraction of the total story, but are judged on the material they present. Clockwork’s story could easily improve later on–as has been hinted the past few weeks–but what we received here is not enough to ameliorate the main problems of the show. It’s not the first adaptation to run into problems though, just look at Berserk’s latest anime offering :P

      • June 24, 2017 at 5:35 amKinai

        I agree, but I don’t understand what you meant about Berserk.

        I love the manga and the history. But I am not able to watch the anime. I tried, I really tried but I can’t. :’(

        And the problem is the animation. It isn’t that I am very fusspot with the animation, but Berserk has to be one of the few animes that I didn’t watch because the animation threw me back.

      • June 24, 2017 at 3:26 pmPancakes

        You pretty much answered the question :P

        Berserk’s recent adaptation problem has been budget, and to a minor extent staff. It’s demanding material needing experienced handling, and wound up getting adapted by the wrong sort of people for cheap. I brought it up as an example because Clockwork was similar, it too had a small budget and certain demands which impacted the show we received.

        Personally I don’t mind Berserk’s latest offering—just like Clockwork’s adaptation—but I can see why people would be completely turned off by it.

      • June 25, 2017 at 1:20 amKinai

        I don’t know how you know about the budget and the staff. But I think that you are completely right.
        Unfortunately, because I really really want to watch it. :(

  • June 23, 2017 at 11:40 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    RyuZU is best waifu, lol.

    • June 23, 2017 at 3:04 pmPancakes

      She certainly is gunning for perfect wife material, that’s for sure :P

    • June 24, 2017 at 12:25 pmMagnus Tancred

      Not for me. She has good traits, but the sharp tongue (to which she’s oblivious to) isn’t one of them.

      • June 24, 2017 at 3:29 pmPancakes

        To be fair to her though she does understand when to tone it down. Marie’s improvements did not go unnoticed for RyuZU, and though she still talks down to her, it was to a lesser degree than upon their first meeting.

        Not enough to make up for it of course, but it shows RyuZU is capable of learning.

  • June 24, 2017 at 9:47 amMagnus Tancred

    1. I want to strangle Y for placing the burden of “the one who annihilates” on a sweet, gentle girl like AnchoR. Glad that Naoto is a sensible master and that Marie eventually warms up to her.

    2. Take note that Clockwork Planet is a collaboration between Yuu Kamiya and a debuting author. I had no expectations coming in because I was not aware of the authorship, and even if I did, I’ve only seen 3 episodes of NGNL, which is probably not enough to embed bias for or against this series.

    3. This moment makes me want to know more about Hoshinomiya:

    http://randomc.net/image/Clockwork%20Planet/Clockwork%20Planet%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2021.jpg

    Too bad it’s the last episode.

    All in all, it’s a flawed, but enjoyable adaptation.

    I won’t say it’s bad, because honestly I’ve endured much worse (Qualidea Code), and one truly terrible one that I wasn’t able to endure (Mahou Sensou).

    • June 24, 2017 at 10:01 amWorldwidedepp

      the Anime here try to be two Faces in one Body

      1. The Fanservice of Automatas. As if they try to build Sexy “Robots” from nothing
      2. Then they gave the Sexy “Robot” an new Body, to take some steam steam from RyuZU

      The Anime seems not to know the direction they wanted to go, when they began to give RyuZU ecchiness and introduced AnchoR. For me it seems like the introduced the Sexy Fembot to protect AnchoR from “loli” vibes

    • June 24, 2017 at 2:43 pmKinai

      About adaptations that were horrible, I only can say one:
      The two last series of Berserk.

      Why? Oh my god! Why? :’(:’(

    • June 24, 2017 at 3:34 pmPancakes

      Agreed, this holds nothing to Qualidea Code or Mahou Sensou, but it’s certainly not in running for top tier adaptations. More of a typical release IMO that simply meets the advertisement requirements. I wouldn’t mind getting more just to find out how the plot progresses—especially with all the hints popping up the past few weeks—but I can easily see this being all we get.

      • June 25, 2017 at 6:00 amKinai

        Are they as bad?

      • June 25, 2017 at 6:34 amMagnus Tancred

        @Kinai

        Are they as bad?

        They’re worse. A lot worse.

        Clockwork Planet has quirky but lovable characters.

        Mahou Sensou has none. Its pacing is so compressed that you can’t connect with any of the characters.

        Qualidea Code suffers from animation worse than Clockwork Planet, half of the 6 main characters are annoying– arrogant “I’m the hero” guy and his airhead female childhood friend, gung-ho brash girl and her devoted best friend (borderline yuri), and laidback oniichan and firebrand imouto combo (borderline incest).

      • June 25, 2017 at 3:25 pmKinai

        @Magnus

        Oh… I see. Thanks.

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