「ワム」 (Wamu)

When we talk about the art of negotiation, I’m familiar with two branches. One is the stuff police do, hostage negotiations, which is art of pacifying a hostile and defusing volatile situations. The other is diplomatic negotiations, where there are two or more sides, they all have their interests, and they must hammer out some kind of broadly acceptable deal. And in terms of anime, there’s on recent one that I would like to talk about: Joker Game. I mention it not (just) because I’m obligated to plug it at least once a season, but because it raised a very relevant point about negotiations that Seikai Suru Kado also briefly alluded to: the issue of imbalances.

Yes, Joker Game is first and foremost about a fictional WWII espionage operation, which seems a distant subject matter to Kado. But the reason why the spy agency in Joker Game was established in the first place was to enhance Japanese diplomacy, because it had a huge information deficit. To borrow Joker Game‘s metaphor, diplomacy is like a poker game where all the rules are decided in secret.. Forget not knowing each player’s hand, without information you don’t even know who is helping/sabotaging whom, what each player is betting, or what the win condition is. Going in blind is akin to not even playing the right game.

In Kado, one of the players has all the information, and the other doesn’t. Hint: it’s the omnipotent, extra-dimensional alien. For one, there’s the power imbalance. His super cube that he’s left parked in Japan is for all intents and purposes invincible. He can fabricate whatever he wants at will. He still holds 250 passengers hostage. On humanity’s side, they have, at most, sticks and harsh language. They have absolutely no leverage over Za. They can only sit and nod while Za displays his wonders.

And then there’s the information disparity. Za claimed to have wanted to alleviate that with his little public tea party, but even after explaining who he is, where he’s from, and what he is offering, how much do we actually know about him? Why did he choose Japan, and not some Scandanavian socialist democracy? Heck, why Earth? If we can only understand him and his motivations at 51% accuracy, what chance to we have in any negotiation? How are we supposed to play this hand of poker?

Also, in our metaphor, it doesn’t help if you have a poor poker face.

Mainly, we still don’t know what Za wants. If he doesn’t want anything, doesn’t expect any quid pro quo for his offer of infinite energy, then what are we supposed to make of it? Do we take his word for it? Accept that he is God, showering down gifts from on high? One does not negotiate with God, though. If Za is God, then this is no negotiation. This is a test.




  1. Za has presented our delegation with a treasure trove of riches that look like pretty glass beads, I cannot help but be reminded of certain negotiations with the American Indians that did not turn out well for them.

    Also infinite energy is one way of solving resource scarcity problems, but a rather blunt one that ignores the simple factor of human spite. For an unfortunate number of people it is not enough that they have everything they could want but they must also see others have less than them to truly satisfy their desires. Their true desire does not lie in having things and services that they want, but in justification for placing themselves above others, only with an imbalance of power in their favor can they feel happy.

    Also Za should really look at solving the issues of resource distribution if he wants his little infinite energy balls to work to anyone’s benefit, but I doubt that is his true aim, much like Passerby I think it is a test, an experiment to see how we react.

  2. I love how believable and consistent the world of this show is, how the government’s (and the people) reactions seems like something that could actually happen given the situation. Even with this giant alien-like cube in the airport, my suspension of disbelief hasn’t been tested at all, and that’s not an easy task. (I’m the kind of person that can’t enjoy action movies like Fast and Furious for it’s dreadfully unrealistic physics).
    My only concerns are the scientist, the more annoying character so far, and that shindo is a little too OP, but still a really interesting character.
    I can also understand if some people find this show boring, but for me is the most interesting anime I’ve seen in a long time, I’m always hook to my seat, thinking in the future implications for the world of what’s happening (unlimited energy?, holy sh*t). I’m so eager to see the next episode, and ohhh boy that preview seemed awesome…
    Sorry for bad English

      1. Are we watching the same show? Even Saraka noticed that there was something inhuman in Shindo’s reactions to the whole situation. Shindo is the same level of OP as Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero.

    1. Given that the very setting off the story eerily resembles another famous historical event* I don’t think the beads allusion is a coincidence.

      *A weird-looking alien appears in Japan with technology and military power way beyond Japan’s, and starts making demands of the government… Where have we seen this before? At least Yaha didn’t come in a black ship.

      1. Pretty much that. Also Why did he choose Japan, and not some Scandanavian socialist democracy? Because Nationtionalism? I mean its pretty damn obvious. This is the hand of God(Japanese Writer) here of COURSE they’re going to do it like that. Also really, this is not realistic of all countries. IN fact, no country would demand the “Wam” why? well because Japan would have no reason to care about “Sanctions” . . .if you have infinite energy and a cube that can’t be destroyed.

        That and the fact that the U.S. would not consent to sanctions + attack on Japan as it’s an apply as important as England and Canada. Instead, they’d probably send scientists or suggest sending delegations of scientists from all countries(or at least all five security council countries) to study the wam. . .like NASA does with the ISS.

        Seeing as the U.N. is pretty much RUN by the U.S. and it’s military, the U.S. would have no reason to attack Japan, and the people DEFINITELY wouldn’t stand for it, no matter what corporations would say.

        The suggestion that the possibility exists for infinite energy itself is good enough, the governments of the world (especially the U.S. and Europe) would be scrambling their SCIENTISTS together, not their aircraft carriers and fighter jets.

        It’s obvious that these writers have NO idea about the Geo-political/economic state of the world when they wrote this POS. As it’s obvious that commiting acts of war would pretty much END each country, as their economies would crash overnight. That and the U.S. is NOT the Puppet of the U.N. in fact, the U.S. military is so powerful, they would take on the whole world and win.[Wikipedia Rainbow Protocol] So basically, this anime ends here, at least for me with how stupid the writers are. It doesn’t take that much to do research on this stuff.

  3. Infinity Energy with no other side of the Coin?

    Like Infinity Energy from Atom reactors? We know now the other side of the coin when this Reactor goes out of control. We know the risk and reward, but this new Infinity Energy is a black book. Where is the hook?

    Someone has to explain him. Also we Spectators here knows now of Dimension W. this infinity Energy dry some other Dimension dry and to extinction or not?.. i mean this kind of Hook.

    1. example: Infinity Food.. but somewhere on Earth others are starving

      We know, Food raise on farmland. The benefit of the harvest is sold elsewhere. Its like Oil or Gold or Diamante Industry. There peoples on the spot do not benefit from it

      I hope i could bring in my thought

      Is there really no downsize where this Infinity Marbles come from?

  4. Never accept candy (or free anything) from strangers. Infinite energy (Clark’s Third Law) sounds good except it’s outside of human control. If you start powering everything with his marbles what’s to stop Za from cutting it off anytime he wants? Everyone becomes his hostage and not just the people that were on the plane. Even if he wants to trade for something we have, we don’t know what the ramifications are. We’re in a situation as if someone from the 20th century went back to say 1600 and negotiated for the rights to oil. The locals have no use for that black smelly stuff, right? Why wouldn’t they give up the rights for some cool tech like led lights and solar panels? Of course if they break they’re sol.

    1. It is easy to counter any cutoff by designing a system around making fuel using the infinite energy and storing massive amounts of it. Because you have infinite energy for a time you can literally run oil rigs and all fossil fuel operations in reverse and just start re-fuelling earth rapidly while you have infinite energy. This way you keep all your existing infrastructure and when you run out of space to put fuel created by infinite energy you go into space and store more fuel there.

      At a certain point you could get probably a few hundred to thousand years worth of stored energy from those infinite energy balls. It is also more efficient to use them in nuclear processes that require massive amounts of energy and since energy can be converted into matter you can literally make anything using the magic balls. They are magic because normal infinite energy balls would be pretty dangerous to just plug a lamp into them or various electrical cords to high tension power lines. (They obviously are smart infinite energy balls)

      Infinite energy is kinda something that isn’t physically possible in reality but if you have it you can basically transmute anything you want for free so even if it is a limited time offer it should be used. Also if the extra-dimensional wizard giving them to you has that much power (beyond infinite) your probably screwed anyways if they want to mess up earth.

      While the in universe characters are sceptical that the alien is a god technically speaking your basically dealing with a god since they have more control over reality than is physically possible and can freely ignore things like all fundamental physical laws that underpin reality. None of the “alien technology” your getting is really real its for all intensive purposes reality breaking magic technology that can never be made and are explicitly said to be from outside reality. (You can’t really say it is sufficiently advanced technology magic but more like it literally comes from a higher plane of existence)

      Although the balls must be very smart because if you made a big pile of them and they are pairs it would be really annoying to sort them out. I guess they just automatically pair with the nearest ball or something.

      1. Interesting idea. But the cost of energy is the maintenance of the infrastructure to produce and distribute it. If you run the infrastructure in reverse there is no advantage to use wan in the first place.

      2. They can do that but would they? Essentially, you’d just be acting assuming that Za is not to be totally trusted. Besides that, historically civilizations that bring their technology to cultures that are far behind them wind up destroying those cultures intentionally or not.

  5. I don’t think there’s much negotiation going on now. ZaShunina is simply showering the humanity with freebies because he can and because he wants to, there is hardly any chance humans would reject it. The energy deal may well turn into a Pandora’s box later on, but the only ones to blame for that would be people and their shortsightedness. It isn’t a game of poker much, rather the game theory between countries and between politicians and citizens.

    1. I think it’s preemptive to assign blame quite so quickly. Access to infinite energy is cool, but it would also cause incredible upheaval to the world economy. Things may go south even with the best intentions.

  6. I think i get it now, this infinity Energy is a Japan thing. Right now they are importing Energy to keep their Lights alive (liquid gas), but this is not the 1 real Problem. Japan landmass is to small to feed all on this Big Island, right? And you need to eat and drink every day. Because there are spots on earth that do not have any kind of Energy and there are still living peoples

    So if they would now have infinity Energy, they have now many “credits” free for other use

    1. I very much doubt Japan would be allowed to monopolise the wam, especially since Za has announced their existence to the entire world. And if they truly provide infinite energy, then energy is no longer a resource.

  7. Very Interesting concepts.

    The interesting thing about the glass ball trades were the ignorance of the people in civilized nations of the capitalistic system. People put the Indians down for trading Manhattan for goods including glass beads not worth that much in Europe. More recent examination of this incident realized the Indians doing the trade did not live on Manhattan, were just traveling though and did not need it for food supply being that it was a low lying swampy type area prone to flooding as part of a river delta system. So in fact the Indians might have been doing the ripping off selling what they did not want or use for stuff they could not make. Stuff you cannot get locally is often quite valuable to the people there no mater the original manufacturing cost. Remember this stuff was shipped over on risky long sea voyage that cost a lot. Basically the view the Indians got ripped off insults the Indians for not making a good deal when to the Indians the deal was a good one.

    It a myth that Indians did not claim land. Indians fought many wars frequently with other tribes over who’s land was who’s. The fact that many tribes held land as a group for group use not as individuals might have confused this issue along with other factors.

    The crazy scientist saying this could be very dangerous type of power supply clued me into we may be talking about zero point energy. Mainly dangerous in controlling the flow once opened. Zero point energy is everywhere in the Universe and at the higher levels of intelligent guess a room full would boil off the oceans. It is not unlimited but the amounts are vastly greater than our planet could ever consume. I use this partly in my sci-fi it working like tidal energy but in my sci-fi it a lot harder to tap it safely and must be done in rather huge engines to generate the anti mater needed for planet size anti mater drives.

    1. In my opinion it was a fair deal. You have also to take into account, that it took lots of time and effort to developed Manhattan. Some people say if the indigenous Americans invested the wealth they got in the London stock marked they have made enough money to buy back Manhattan.

  8. One cannot ignore that possibility that Za, as he said, simply felt generous and just wanted to give humanity freebies. This story can easily go down in a family-unfriendly Aesop, that humans are inherently greedy and irrational, that some of us will still keep “more breads than we can eat” from other human beings. As Za is expecting humanity to extend his generosity to the rest of our species, he will soon learn that we’d like to have monopoly over something everyone can share and would not hesitate to blame him for a WW3 over his McGuffin marbles.

    I wouldn’t say no to a Wam-powered nuke, though. That would make good fireworks.

    1. I believe the show will explore the possibility of a bad outcome to a certain extend. On the other hand I feel that seikai sure kado is a genuine optimistic show that is more interested in exploring how a mutual understanding can archived in the most difficult situations.

  9. I think the whole infinite energy thing is a reason why Za is pressing them to make a good choice.
    It sounds great and all, having infinite energy. But it also comes with sudden massive changes to how the world works that the world may not be prepared for. Let alone the possibility of abuse. Making not a good choice to take it.


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