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« Seikai Suru Kado – 11

Seikai Suru Kado – 12 (END)

「ユキカ」 (Yukika)
“Yukika”

Coming into the finale of Seikai Suru Kado, I can’t tell for sure whether it has gone completely off the rails, or if I just haven’t been paying enough idea. I thought the Prime Minister of Japan was swallowed by Kado last week, but here he was in this episode, with no ado. I’m still not sure why traveling to the anisotropic would destroy what makes us essentially human, except that it just does. And I missed the part where human + anisotropic = omnipotent god child. Since I really could pick at the finale all day, and I’m not sure if it’s just me, I think it would behoove as all to take a more holistic look at Kado instead, and try to puzzle out the series from there. Therefore, straight to the finale impressions.

Final Impressions ~ I think I’m missing something

People watch anime for all sorts of reasons. An asinine statement, perhaps, but it’s important to remember that the medium is broad, and even amongst ardent fans (those who would read an anime blog, for example) there would be a wide array of reasons why they consume Japanese animation. With all the shows that are available to us each season, we can afford to pick and to choose a bit. I don’t know how you folks do it, but as an anime blogger, I try to sample a spread of the season, and so I let each show sell me on why I should watch it. That’s what pilot episodes usually do; they essentially make a pitch to the viewer, attempting to quickly communicate to us what the show’s about and why it’s good before our attention span expires.

Most anime will try to do this. Even if they don’t do the hard sell, they usually at least take some time to flag what sort of show it’s going to be. That’s because we usually make some broad-stroke judgments on what a story is going to be like just from the introduction. Humans are for the most part pretty good with stories—by the time we get to anime-watching age we’ll have come across hundreds of them, whether in books, or in oral traditions, or in passing from some mate about catching a fish this big. Therefore an introduction doesn’t just have to grab our eyeballs to stop us from changing the channel (or… close the browser window? whatever kids do with technology these days?), it also has to telegraph what the show will be about because if it doesn’t we will make assumptions anyway and make watching decisions based on that. It’s like what they taught us in Essay Writing 101: the intro should set out the argument running through the entire piece, so that everything said from the point is looked at through that context. Sure, anime, unlike an essay, may work in a big twist or whatnot, but even then there would be no twist without something established.

All that was a very long-winded way of saying that I came away from the first few episodes of Seikai Suru Kado with an idea of what it was doing, and I don’t think it unreasonable that I did. And I think that, whatever Kado was to begin with, it eventually threw that all away and went in a very different direction. I’ve been trying to justify that decision in my head, and I can’t really find a good way to do it. I mean, I don’t mind big plot twist per se. Laser swords are cool. And I had been saying from the beginning that it’s only natural that Za has his own agenda, benign or otherwise, and he will have to reveal it at some point. What I didn’t predict, though, was this agenda eventually undermining everything else the series had been about before that point.

At first, the Za landing in Japan was about reacting to a non-hostile alien encounter, about diplomatic and bureaucratic responses, about the world society being confronted with sudden new technology, about balancing the thrill of advancement with caution about its dangers. It was about humanity, our place in the universe, and it being shaken. The scope was wide, there was a lot of underlying philosophy to discuss, and as science fiction Kado asked many interesting questions about about technology and geopolitics. I thought laying out those uncertainties was going to be the main intent of Kado—after all, as Za said himself at the beginning, the only right answer is to constantly question.

For most stories, the scope expands as it goes, but for Kado, it’s almost as if it shrinks. Global politics eventually take a backseat. Then the Japanese government basically abdicates all governing. Then eventually all of humanity is reduced being just Shindou (even though he was supposed to be representing Za while Tsukai was supposed to represent humanity but we forgot about all the formal arrangements in no time). And the entire Za affair is solved not by any united human effort, but by another physical god with a nuke. By the way, that was a stupid plan with too many uncontrollable factors that just happened to work, but let’s be as generous as possible and say that Kado was trying to play the human angle. Maybe something about the unique thing about humanity that Za was trying to grasp—what we inevitably lump under something like ‘the soul’—can only be seen on an the individual level. And I wouldn’t mind the human angle, if only Kado had spent more time developing it earlier. Shindou is very bland overall, never managed to establish much romantic chemistry with Tsukai other than one-sided blushing, and never really justified the unwavering loyalty of his friend who raised his kid, single dad, for 16 years. Yet this entire finale hinged on those things, and without the development lacked the maximum emotional impact.

It felt to me that in the end the two halves of the show ended up as very different stories, and the second undercut the first. It certainly didn’t have to, it just ended up doing so, with much of the philosophy espoused in the beginning left by the wayside or contradicted entirely. Certainly, at times Kado tried to remind us of its philosophical underpinnings even in its second half, but the effort, in the greater context of the show, sounded almost farcical. For example, you have the journalist saying that all that matters for him is the truth, which is a noble sentiment until you remember that he spectacularly failed at finding any of it, too distracted by Za’s shiny Sansa to ask him any questions of import. And we have Shindou’s philosophy about negotiating, that it’s about both sides getting what they want, except both sides end up dead and nobody really gets anything they want. I think that counts as a fail?

Maybe we’re supposed to look at Kado ironically? That it is in fact making a cynical point about media easily sidetracked by sensationalism instead of truth, or about the naiveté of Shindou’s thinking. But it also ends on a positive note, so that shouldn’t be it either? It could just be me—I don’t get it. Make no mistake, Kado was for me a very interesting show, and I enjoyed many aspects of it. But I wished to come out of it inspired, with some new ideas about the human condition. Instead, I find myself mostly bemused and unconvinced. Perhaps Kado is just a strong piece of evidence to support an old criticism about science fiction: it’s very good at asking questions, but much poorer at actually answering them.

July 1, 2017 at 5:42 am
44 comments »
  • July 1, 2017 at 6:00 amMicheleuno

    I was quite disappointed with the turn the show had in its second half, with what they did, they avoided to answer all those so interesting questions they raised in the first half, but to the show’s merit, the music was awesome, the visuals outstanding and in overall was one of the most interesting and creative shows I’ve seen in a long while, and being one of the few original ánime is not short of praise-worthing.
    Is kind of sad that it didn’t live to all its potential (actually it makes me remember about Suisei no Gargantia, another show with so much wasted potential) but was a hell of a ride anyways and i really enjoyed it.

  • July 1, 2017 at 6:18 amET

    Turns out that the right answer for advancing humanity and knowledge as a species is not about depending on yandere aliens or sudden influxes of hyper-technology, but by having sex and pumping out babies. Or at least I think that’s what the show was trying to go for. Maybe. I dunno, I was too confused at what unfolded in the last half.

    Still, Seikaisuru Kado was pretty decent and a good example of a thinking man’s anime, one that will make you contemplate about the current state of things as well as the future. It also had some really fantastic CGI, probably the most convincing yet.

    • July 3, 2017 at 7:44 amAni_BEE

      To be 100% cynical here, that might be the message all along for this anime.

      The age of 20-40 gap is more concerned about work than getting together/starting a family (with a tonne of marriage stereotypes/social stigma making it unattractive for both Men and Woman). This could be a really offhanded way of promoting family/marriage in Japan.

      https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21706321-most-japanese-want-be-married-are-finding-it-hard-i-dont

      I think the message is “Government: I don’t care if you wife makes more money and want to go back to work or if you even get married… JUST… MAKE… BABIES for service us dieing olf fools later!”

    • July 4, 2017 at 11:49 amKinai

      It could be. Japan has a very important population problem.

    • July 16, 2017 at 5:41 ama1saucer

      >Still, Seikaisuru Kado was pretty decent and a good example of a thinking man’s anime,

      What? no dude. Unless you mean thinking man’s anime in the sense that a THINKING MAN would have realized that the writers had NO IDEA what they were doing at around episode 3 and 4 and stopped watching.

      Someone mentioned that the production team must have fired their writers after ep 4 and went with new writers. Thing is,(if this was true) BOTH writers sucked. All this show did was look pretty “Oooh a cube with tesselated teseracts, and a bishounen alien this must be GuuuuD!!11!!” I mean really, come on here. Anyone with ANY awareness of geo-political and economic realities in Today’s world would have realized these guys(the writers) were full of it. This is one of the reasons why Anime is so hated online: There is a shortage of DECENT WRITERS. A script like this would have been laughed out of the studio if they put out this B.S.

      Anime as a whole just needs people who are capable of writing GOOD stories.

  • July 1, 2017 at 6:30 amPanino Manino

    At least that was a funny train wreck to watch.
    Never a living being was, and never again will, cucked/netorared so hard into oblivion.
    That’s the only thing we need to think about.

  • July 1, 2017 at 6:44 amWorldwidedepp

    Seems like the Story flew way over their own heads in the Studio.. Nobody, even themselves, now what to do with this story line.

    • July 1, 2017 at 5:59 pmNishizawa Mihashi

      Except me, they must all learn to make way for the Nishizawa bullet train~~~ wwwwwwwwwww

  • July 1, 2017 at 6:53 amMaou

    The right answer: “doesn’t matter, had sex”

    http://randomc.net/image/Seikai%20Suru%20Kado/Seikai%20Suru%20Kado%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2030.jpg

    The face when you see you’re ex getting married XD

    • July 1, 2017 at 7:38 amAex

      Personally I loved Za’s expressions after the phone came out. A straight split between being ecstatic and pissed as hell!

  • July 1, 2017 at 7:20 amNamaewoinai

    And rightfully so…that anistropic seem to be more “emotional” after accumulating human (or any sentient creature) knowledge…Well i guess those guys aren’t really worth to be afraid at all!

    Also, This show somehow remind me of this one, Except, This one is more ambitious and more menacing, and seek a lot of attention!

    Overall, yeah the ending is kinda dumb, but it’s worth it!

  • July 1, 2017 at 7:48 amAex

    Shindo and Saraka did the deed, their kid turned out okay, the jealous ex got the shaft, and they found eachother again in the end to never seperate and live happily ever after. A good ending for a romance anime!

    …Huh? No, I didn’t miss anything. That show about philosophy and what it means to be human ended weeks ago, right? Too bad about that cliff-hanger, was interested to see where it would go.

    XD

  • July 1, 2017 at 7:53 amstarss

    I wonder why they chose to draw some characters (main extras) in drawings, and others in CGI. I’d like to know the creative process behind that. Regardless, this has some of the most convincing anime CGI character work I seen yet, and if they can just make the characters more expressive, find a way to make the hair and clothing more organic, and embrace some cartoony ascepts of acting too, I would totally warm up to the trend!

  • July 1, 2017 at 8:11 amAngelus

    Welp, that was the biggest asspull I’ve seen for a long time. I mean, I’ve seen deus (dea?) ex machina endings before, but this one takes the huge Kado-shaped biscuit. That said, I still really enjoyed it! But how, you say? Well, read on.

    My headcanon is that we are all missing the fact that when Saraka is in anisotropic mode, she can move through spacetime – so not just 30 spatial dimensions, but also time as well. Of course, even she needs the Nanomis-hein to seriously screw with time, but even without that she can move between the past and the future, or at the very least, see it and even send objects there. So the god girl wasn’t a big shot in the dark, Saraka knew it would work. She also knew Shindou would die, but really he knew that too because Saraka says just after his death that his plan was complete and so the Fregonics nullifier was actually a double-bluff.

    Her abilities might also explain the ring that appeared on her finger at some point after she left home for college – it was her wedding ring from the future, but she also used it as a limiter to hide that knowledge. She’s very vague about the ring when she’s wearing it, something about a promise she made (so her wedding vows), and it shatters the first time Shindou is in mortal danger, signifying that it’s about a promise she makes with him.

    Anyway, whether I’m right or not, there’s a whole lot more thinking needing to be done about this series before writing it off as a disaster.

    • July 1, 2017 at 11:09 pmPasserby

      As a writer of an anime blog I’m tasked with thinking too long about anime, and the best case I can make for Kado is that’s there’s a meta irony to the whole thing. Perhaps we are as the anisotropic, bored and looking for stimulus, wanting a ‘surprise’, and maybe that’s not always a good thing.

      Your headcanon is as good as mine, though.

  • July 1, 2017 at 9:26 amSol

    Was kind of expecting this to be wasted series in the moment Saraka transformed into a mahou shoujo, but the sheer level of wastage was still shocking.

    • July 3, 2017 at 2:05 amtanz

      Yeah :\ I still like the series though. It just…drove itself off a cliff really fast.

  • July 1, 2017 at 10:22 amNishizawa Mihashi

    Wait…

    Wa-ta-pak just happened?

    Ken sambadi plis eksplein dis mess?

    Samwan? Eniwan?

    MY MIND IS FUCKED!

  • July 1, 2017 at 11:40 amSeikaimybutt

    Poor Za, could have accomplished everything it wanted if only it had chosen to incarnate in female form (preferably a loli, because Japan) and seduced Shindo before Saraka could. Or if it had ignored the trope of having to fixate on the very first person it met and paid more attention to the scientist girl, who by all evidence would’ve been extatic about getting the proposal.

    Or if it’d simply met better writers. I sincerely hope that the writing team was either changed mid-anime or for some reason forced by the powers that be to deliver this final travesty, because if they really thought this was “the right answer” to the original story line, I can’t help but worry about their mental health.

    On a positive note, judging by various discussion sites, it seems quite a few people were able to set new personal records of groans per minute during these last few episodes.

  • July 1, 2017 at 3:29 pmKerozenpy

  • July 1, 2017 at 7:31 pmBear

    I’ve read a boatload of SF over the years and what I find is that for some reason TV, anime and movies just can’t seem to get it right. Sometimes they pull off a good story but only if you don’t look to close at the consistency of the plot and the scientific background. Mostly they fall into this category. In this case they started out with a good premise and just went off the rails. If you compare it to other shows and movies it’s not that bad, but that’s relative to the media. I was expecting Za to have some ulterior motives from the first. DIdn’t disappoint me there. The motives and intentions, however, were absolutely silly. Here’s a higher level being who is willing to take a risk at destroying the very beings that are providing him with the new information he craves. Then he gets driven nuts by residing in this universe? Has to kill Shindo? Can’t create a true perfect duplicate? Sound like he’s a rather incompetent god. Oh, and why does Shindo have to die? His daughter is so hax that Za can’t even come close to matching her and she destroys him with not much more than a snap of her fingers. The writer had a good premise at the start but just tried to make it too profound at the end.

    • July 1, 2017 at 10:58 pmPasserby

      I sometimes wonder if part of it’s not our fault, that hard sci-fi doesn’t sell well, and what does are big dramatic set pieces and showdowns with mad gods. And perhaps, in an attempt to be both profound and satisfy the corporate committee, Kado lost its way.

      • July 3, 2017 at 10:23 amBear

        Too true about trying to be profound. I’ve heard the term “High Concept” used. Water World was one of the worst in that regard with having to throw in the Exon Valdez to bludgeon a point to death besides flooding the world with more water than exists even if everything melted. My feeling is that these shows lack an objective editor to force the writers to make their stories consistent within the universe they’re attempting to create. Even when there are big set pieces and mad gods things should adhere to some basic rules of story telling. The visual media seem to be really lacking in that regard.

  • July 1, 2017 at 7:42 pmIgniteous

    I am getting tired of protagonists dying. I admit it. I’m a happily ever after sort of person and I know it doesn’t happen often in the human experience. But killing the protagonist to me isn’t just not a happily ever after; It’s a middle finger to it and I get irritated whenever writers utilize it as a tool. Sure, she’s talking to papa so he’s not gone, just further on in the journey… bla bla bla. He died.

    • July 2, 2017 at 7:43 amK

      What is death?

  • July 1, 2017 at 8:11 pmlol at Passerby

    All that was a very long-winded way of saying that I came away from the first few episodes of Seikai Suru Kado with an idea of what it was doing, and I don’t think it unreasonable that I did. And I think that, whatever Kado was to begin with, it eventually threw that all away and went in a very different direction. I’ve been trying to justify that decision in my head, and I can’t really find a good way to do it.

    Some of us pointed out the very same things the moment the show obviously went to crap and at the time someone was real smug about us whining because of wrong personal expectations and shit. Just desserts for that tbh.

    To hell with that naturalist b**** Saraka who literally f***ed this show.

    • July 1, 2017 at 10:54 pmPasserby

      I don’t know by what skill you never fail to always miss the point so completely yet so consistently, but it’s quite impressive.

      • July 2, 2017 at 6:08 amlol at Passerby

        It’s you who’s missing a clue that it doesn’t matter if people are disappointed for exact same reasons when the point they share is that the show went wrong. You don’t get to ridicule others and then do the same thing yourself. Don’t pretend you didn’t have your own expectations when you just wrote many paragraphs about them. Using more words in a fancier way to say the same thing doesn’t make you any better.

      • July 2, 2017 at 7:18 amPasserby

        I will attempt to explain this to you once, and only once, so that we may be done with your rabid frothing. Nobody has ever denied you the right to be disappointed in a show in any way you please. That is a subjective matter and nobody can force you to feel differently. Every week, commenters come here and talk about this development or another in some anime, and they may like it or they may not. What they usually don’t do, though, is hold that vision aloft as sacrosanct, lash out at others irrationally when things don’t conform to their vision, and treat disagreement with their tastes as a personal affront to them and them alone.

        In any case, we aren’t even talking about the same thing. You don’t like how the plot. You don’t like this character or that character for their actions and choices. You don’t like the fact that Za turned out to have his own agenda after all instead of just being a static gift dispensary. On my part, in both my posts and in replies to comments, I have always been looking for thematic consistency. Any plot developments can be played in a number of different ways, but they should serve an internal consistency. For example, I thought all along that Za had his own agenda, not because I want him to be an evil alien (why must an agenda be malicious?), not because I’m ‘negativistic’, and certainly not to go out of my way to irritate you. I thought so because that would match the themes of the show, since it talked about negotiation, about finding common ground between parties with different interests, about questioning, and about actively seeking the right answer. You may certainly come at me from that angle, and disagree on what the underlying themes of Kado are. I have always welcomed fruitful debate. What I will not entertain is you flailing about childishly because you did not get your way.

      • July 2, 2017 at 9:10 pmlol at Passerby

        You’re making an awful lot of wild assumptions about me from the few lines I’ve said here. Also still bringing up what I already said was a deadpan joke as if it was dead serious. Get over yourself. Not everyone has the time to write long essays about something they don’t seem to have any passion for one way or another, but good job putting on self-congratulatory airs of superiority my friend. You weren’t being negativistic (o rly mister?) but when I’d like a positive spin for a change it means I’m an idiot manchild? Never mind that the spin actually was pretty positive or at least not negative until the whole thing suddenly went to shit in every way because geniuses couldn’t tell the difference between plot twists and total asspulls. I say f*** Saraka because she happens to be the embodiment of violating the ‘thematic consistency’ you seem to think you alone can grasp. I’m not going to dignify the mofos who dicked up this show with analyzing their turdly moves at length and it’s not because I didn’t get my way. It’s not my problem if it’s too much for your delicate sensibilities to spell it out that the ending sucked, because of course what you said in your belles lettres meant nothing of the sort, right? Get out more and go see what other people are saying about this show if I’m too extreme for you.

    • July 3, 2017 at 2:08 amtanz

      I’m sure you believe yourself to be quite intelligent. So why talk so aggressively? Why not just be calm and civil? :u

      • July 3, 2017 at 4:44 amlol at Passerby

        Yo tanz
        That is an excellent question. Maybe I’m written like Za: calm and civil all the time, except when I suddenly want to kill everyone who disagrees with me? Try thinking about it in terms of thematic consistency and you’ll reach a superior understanding worthy of an ivory tower academician. Unless you’re someone who fails to understand a joke even after it’s pointed out to you and prone to assume nonsense like as though I’d in all seriousness think Passerby is in cahoots with Toei (that’s Japanese for We Suck) and out to get me personally. That would be irrational, and Passerby has taught us that irrational is bad. Except when it turns out to be the underlying theme of a deceptive anime. Then we can write long dispassionate essays explaining it away.

  • July 2, 2017 at 5:44 amdean

    I don’t think the series was bad. It sadly had just much more potential than it realized. It’s true that philosophical and political aspects were not realized, but if one watches Kado as a story about a god trying to learn about humanity and how that affects him, then in that aspect it did a really good job imo. The evolution of Za was well done imo.

  • July 2, 2017 at 5:50 amRedRocket

    Wow. I still cannot think of any reason for murderous feelings. Massive trying to force a twist train wreck.

    I try to remember these are good writers on an individual level, after all, you don’t walk in from the street to get these jobs. It is the committee creative process added to executive modeling that can really blow up. I have yet to see strong signs that the training and hiring of executives are very productive. I am sure executives get an extensive education and good grades but the process in any media seems very flawed. Of corse, some executives come over from business and accounting type courses and seem to ruin things way too often in all sorts of businesses.

    Here I see one of my favorite massive error. The error, Trying to make your story have a big twist! Yes everyone loves a great twist, and great twists sell well, but I have seen so many good concepts fall totally apart because they try to force the twist.

    Great stories that do well do not have to have twists. So my rule is “If you can think of a great twist idea wonderful, but never lose your hopefully great concept by making the story have a twist” Second rule, try to write around a twist idea.

    Separate rule. Never try to force your concept into a too short format. It is too bad your concept might never get off the ground but it better wonderful but undone in your mind than actually done badly that hurts your chances at future idea’s being done. Here I had to conclude that the wonderful start was leading to a type of story that would never fit into a 12 season. So I understood the need for a reason to force negotiations fast with another powerful being but that was botched for a twist even.

    And then we end on the millions starving to death and possible billions lost in global warming ending that would have occurred without the alien. At least some hope in that research is pointed in the right direction.

    There really is a lot more to our universe than we can see, and there probably is a wham like energy out there in Zero point energy, but we have to wait probably for a book to cover dealing with it better.

  • July 2, 2017 at 7:33 amK

    ???? WTF?

    Is it an isolationist ending after all? Isn’t it because people are just scared to push further – to go beyond what is, to what could be!

    A reset is too shallow. Change is inevitable. Too deny this is in itself hubris!

  • July 2, 2017 at 7:43 pmPO

    Is every anime going to portray marrying oneself off and procreating as the ultimate resolution now?
    Is the Japanese government really trying THAT hard to increase the birth rate?
    Sigh…
    I want my 6 hours back. I was so hyped up by the first episode!

  • July 3, 2017 at 1:08 amJHN

    In the end, I’d rather have this and be disappointed. Yet still actually be surprised by the original premise and the dues ex machina for example. Than have moe-blob girls harem ecchi high school anime Z+ Season 234 ft. stealth perv MC causing panty shots every nanosecond.

  • July 3, 2017 at 2:04 amtanz

    Okay, episode 11 and 12: just disappointing. I’ve defended the series for its progress, but the dialogue, direction, impact – everything just fell too short. It was, quite frankly, lame.

    I think it would have been better if this had 24 episodes for better build-up.

  • July 3, 2017 at 4:34 pmhoao

  • July 4, 2017 at 4:33 pmConspiracy theorist

    It was a good show up to the last part. I felt unconvinced by za’s actions. Why be fascinated by the human singularity known as the soul only to destroy it moments later. I felt the ending like you said conflicts with the story it wants to tell. I’ll only assume the director or producer changed the ending to be more mainstream.

    • July 5, 2017 at 1:57 pmEnan84

      “I’ll only assume the director or producer changed the ending to be more mainstream.”

      Quit ironic, a show prising conservatism is hurt by too much conservatism.

    • July 19, 2017 at 5:05 pmXeltas

      He become human-like and when he could not ,,have him” he wanted to destroy him to feel less pain (because he just ,,fall in love” still knowing this is irrational).

  • July 19, 2017 at 4:52 pmXeltas

    You are all missing one thing. This is no longer about our universe, time, dead and live.
    There is ,,something” beyond ,,information” (maybe call it ,,soul” (?) )
    They are ,,dead” but exist in same time in ,,different form” and his daughter could speak with him.
    This ending is giving hope that our life is not just about information, but there is ,,something” more hided from us. Series is great, ending just good.

  • July 19, 2017 at 4:57 pmXeltas

    Right answer is ,,hope” that we are immortal beings and your world, this life is not all.
    After ,,end” there is something more. Not in religion way. Real question is not about humanity progression but same question everyone of us is asking. Meaning of life.

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