「天才の理論(セオリー・オブ・Y)」 (Tensai no riron (seorii Obu Y))
“Theory of Y”
Ahh Clockwork Planet, you were great this week. A near perfect mix of intrigue and aggravation, simultaneously showcasing just what I like about you while throwing the bad back in my face. Development mixed with ambiguity, characters switched roles, and the steampunk world quite literally flipped in on itself. How we didn’t manage working “people die when they’re killed” into this mess of contradictions I do not know, but Clockwork certainly tried.
While I’ve been relatively tame discussing Clockwork’s faults over the weeks—that’s what final impressions are for—this episode succinctly highlights my main gripe with the show: the writing. At times it works quite well (i.e. the character relationships as mentioned later), but some of Clockwork’s narrative choices are a hard swallow. Take Naoto’s speech of remembrance and forgetfulness here, the purpose for me seems to be hinting that the world is an illusion—backed up by Gennai all but calling Naoto out as a Y impersonator—but it came across as confusing and amateurish. If Clockwork is walking the path of the Matrix (as I suspect), isn’t there another way to show these illusionary effects? Beyond Morpheus’ infamous red pill/blue pill speech, Neo largely observed the contradictions of the Matrix himself after all, lending strength to the audience’s idea that something is terribly wrong. Clockwork could easily have done similar here—like with Konrad’s blurb on missing gears—showing the problems of the world without the need for weird Naoto teachings. It might be an issue of pacing and adaptation choices, but I think the plot development could have been more efficiently handled, particularly Gennai’s belated introduction. Besides reducing confusion, such a move would have also yielded more hints earlier on, helping build suspense. No guarantee of course, but a likely improvement over the current arrangement.
On the other hand, however, we had the Marie-Naoto development which nearly counteracted the above for me. Besides Marie’s ability surprisingly mirroring Naoto’s—I definitely did not see that coming—both characters now perfectly complement one another. Marie’s momentary bouts of depression are neatly checked by Naoto’s headstrong attitude, while Naoto’s self-inflicted doubt is easily erased by Marie’s faith in his abilities—both mentally and physically. Even RyuZU helps by bridging the emotional extremes between Naoto and AnchoR. It’s all around excellent chemistry which organically builds on itself, keeping characters true to their base personalities while fleshing out those components bringing them into their own—basically a sign of the immense trust they now have in one another. Under this development the changes (i.e. completion) of Marie’s and Naoto’s power then make sense—it was a natural evolution fleshing out those areas they both have long neglected. Quite cute how RyuZU noticed this too and subtly approved of it, paving the way for some strong relational ties being forged later on, particularly between mother and wife. Without a doubt for me this character cast and its consistent evolution is what keeps Clockwork intriguing. No matter the plot issues here, I am going to miss the tales of the Naoto family harem once this show is over.
With only one episode left I think we all know how Clockwork will end (*cough* robot destruction), but there’s no reason we cannot have a bit of entertainment too. Some uncertainty regarding AnchoR’s fate, testing out that new Naoto-Marie Y-related power, learning just what Gennai is after, lots left to explore in the big finale next time. We may not get all the answers, but there’s no doubt Clockwork will leave a noticeable impression. After all, AnchoR demands it.