「ヤハクィザシュニナ」 (Yahakwizashunina )
There’s actually an episode 00 that came before this one, but I’m still going to treat 01 as the pilot because 1) Less work for me! 2) I think it’s more appropriate this way. Episode 00 was mostly to demonstrate the work ethic and personal philosophy of protagonist Shindou Koujirou (and also to demonstrate casual government corruption), and while I’m sure some folks out there take great interest in the ins-and-outs of government R&D subsidies—seriously, I think that’s what episode 00 was about—I’m sure even less want to listen to me talk about it. So let’s skip it, and do us all a favour.
It’s also very clear that episode 00 is not indicative of the tenor of Seikai Suru Kado in general. There is certainly a break point in episode 00 where you can tell that Seikai Suru Kado is saying, ‘The show starts here!’: it’s when the main characters suddenly become 3D. As in, graphically. That’s right, KADO is CG, but a curious kind of 3D. I hesitate to call it ‘full’ 3DCGI, even though it’s kinda billed that way, because it seems that Toei Animation only made models for the main cast—the folks who are going to move around a lot on camera, I’m guessing—and for more disposable characters, we’re back to 2D. It’s definitely something you’re going to notice, unfortunately, especially if you decide to go watch episode 00, since it’s actually 2D for the most part, until it decides it’s done with that and decides to make its big stylistic shift for the show proper. So, yeah, for the most part I don’t think KADO will look like 00. For the most part, it will look like 01. And for the most part, I don’t think KADO will be about navigating bureaucracy. It will be about the giant alien cube.
That’s what’s going to sell the show right? You didn’t come here to watch bureaucrats chat and arrange meetings. You came here for science-fiction. And while the science part may be done in factories, the fiction is definitely physics defying alien technology. And it’s genuinely fascinating stuff. Science-fiction deals much in hypotheticals, and KADO‘s hypothetical is this: if some giant alien object just drops onto Earth one day, how will we respond? It’s human science versus the genuinely unknown on a much grander scale than what goes on in real life, in labs and computer models. Of course, human science ultimately loses, but the effort itself is interesting. The summer blockbuster alien movies usually just have them invading, and then we shoot them, and then explosions. KADO is more of the Arrival school, presenting aliens as genuinely alien. The response to first contact shouldn’t be, ‘Oh no, alien invasion!’. It should be, ‘What the hell is this?’.
Unfortunately, I think this episode mostly exhausts this angle of KADO, as the mystery cube conveniently decides to open up just as Japan’s options are exhausted. Something humanoid pops out, and it can even communique with us. When something has our shape, and our voice, it’s not really mysterious. At most, it’s exotic, or whatever ‘Yaha-kui zaShunina’ is supposed to be. It has a name, it’s phonetic, and it doesn’t drive mortals mad when spoken. The cube’s master isn’t nearly as cool as the cube itself.
Still, there’ plenty of other interesting avenues that KADO can go down, and it sure has hooked me with an intriguing start. I think we will have to give it another episode to truly grasp what it’s going to be about. Next episode I’m guessing they’re going to show us what had been going on inside the cube while the humans outside were trying to moisturise it. And with that we may find out what the alien cube’s intentions are, and then the plot can truly get rolling.
ED: 「永遠のこたえ」 (Eien no Kotae) by HARUCA