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Juushinki Pandora – 01

「進化する破壊者」 (Shinkasuru Hakaimono)
“The Evolving Destroyer”

ANIME BIGSHOT: Time to make a new mecha anime! I’ve been making these for decades now, let’s try something new.
SOME CHUMP: Do you have any big ideas, sir?
ANIME BIGSHOT: Okay, so we have transforming robots and a damsel in distress
SOME CHUMP: —That doesn’t sound very new.
ANIME BIGSHOT: But those are the two things every mecha anime need! Transforming robots and a damsel in distress!
SOME CHUMP: Really? How about—
ANIME BIGSHOT: —I’ve got it! The mecha are powered by the damsel’s distress! Now she’s got a reason to both be inconveniently present and constantly endangered.
SOME CHUMP: Very good, sir. Anything else?
ANIME BIGSHOT: Oh yeah, they fight crabs.
ANIME BIGSHOT: Giant crabs.
SOME CHUMP: Giant crabs.
ANIME BIGSHOT: Giant acidic combining-mecha hydra-crabs.
SOME CHUMP: Giant acid — er, how’s the robot supposed to fight those?
ANIME BIGSHOT: It’ll punch it.

I wasn’t going to write a post about Juushinki Pandora because Netflix was making my life difficult again, but I guess we may as well introduce this thing. I do love my dystopian post-apocalyphia, so I was definitely interested in Juushinki Pandora. The robots are a plus. As I mentioned in the preview, Juushinki Pandora is yet another brainchild of Kawamori Shoji, which at least assures that the mecha design will be interesting. And to be fair, as much as I make fun of Juushinki Pandora in my opener, there is a lot about it in this pilot that’s pretty cool. There’s the setting, which is the kind of thing I personally always enjoy. There’s the animal-machine hybrids which make for fairly unique foes and perhaps always a unique ecosystem. There’s explosions. There’s a grumpy cat. All those things combined with frequent action is enough for any episode of anime. But I still can’t really tell what Juushinki Pandora is going to be about. What ideas underly the narrative? What theme does it intend to explore?

Juushinki Pandora is not science-fiction. Sure, there is something like science and something like fiction, but science-fiction also requires some level of plausibility, and I don’t think Juushinki Pandora really intends to spend a lot of time establishing that. The explanation for why the world was warped was basically just ‘yada yada QUANTUM!’ aka anime science. I’m pretty sure that’s not how evolution works. What kind of evolutionary pressure results in an adaptation that shoots headcrabs? I guess that’s for the biologists to answer. To puzzle the physicists, there’s the ‘hyperdrive’, which you and I may associated with faster-than-light travel, but in Juushinki Pandora it’s a mecha-booster powered by… the human will? The power of love? DNA? LSD? No, I don’t think this research has been peer reviewed.

It’ll all come together a some point. Take the cast. It’s all over the place right now — we’ve got an accountant, some woman whose breasts were introduced before her face was, people who fight — but at least the central duo got a lot of time to naturally establish the nature of their relationship. If they can serve as the anchor, the rest of the plot can be assembled around them and we’ll get the general shape of the story in the next few episodes. For now, we can just go by visceral aesthetics. If a cross between Aquarion, Gurren Lagann and God Eater looks good to you, then by all means give Juushinki Pandora a go. Though, in practice, it may mostly depend on your knowledge of Japanese or your patience for subs.


ED0.01 Sequence

ED: 「シリウス」 (Sirius) by BUMP OF CHICKEN

April 11, 2018 at 7:26 am
  • April 11, 2018 at 7:33 amAngelus

    To puzzle the physicists, there’s the ‘hyperdrive’ … a mecha-booster powered by the human will?

    Just like the Lambda Driver in FMP, then?

    • April 11, 2018 at 8:48 pmPasserby

      More on that in two days.

  • April 11, 2018 at 7:51 amJames

    This season is highly disappointing, 5 of the shows that looked good on paper for me turned out to be total crap, this being one of them.

  • April 11, 2018 at 8:02 amSMinstrel

    Your review is actually more enjoyable than the anime! And I don’t meant to say the episode is bad!

    • April 11, 2018 at 8:47 pmPasserby

      Always thrilled to please.

  • April 11, 2018 at 8:11 amWayHey

    Great. Now I know what to get for dinner.

    • April 11, 2018 at 8:46 pmPasserby

      Yeah, show them who’s boss while you still can.

  • April 11, 2018 at 8:16 amOscar

    The visual direction is uninspired, monster design lackluster, some of dialogue is meh a and the exposition dump totally shameless.
    But I like the main character (it’s not every day you see a scientist as the hero), the mechas are pretty fun and I’m having an eargasm due to all of these VA gathered together. Joseph Joestar, Akane Tsunemori, Niino, and Charioce XVII hanging out together is freaking awesome.

  • April 11, 2018 at 8:21 amqwert

    Well at lest now I know why this never showed up subbed anywhere else. I take it Netflix is pulling the usual BS where they don’t understand how simulcasting works for the US?

    • April 11, 2018 at 9:16 amzztop

      I think Netflix has it.
      To my understanding Netflix only cares about its mainstream subscribers, normies who binge-watch. They’ve the numbers to prove it.

      • April 11, 2018 at 9:51 pmPuffles

        If Netshits buy up enough shows then maybe the fansubbing scene will come back from the grave in response.

  • April 11, 2018 at 9:35 amruicarlov

    Wait, isn’t that grumpy cat Neko-sempai from Animegataris?

  • April 11, 2018 at 11:47 amKoby

    Well this review certainly kills my motivation to watch it, lol. I’d have preferred it a bit more grounded to reality rather than the silly explanations for stuff they came up with (or didn’t come up with from the sounds of things). Seems like it’s going for the wacky aspects rather than something serious.

    • April 11, 2018 at 8:39 pmPasserby

      To be fair, Juushinki Pandora may certainly try to explain itself further in later episodes. And even as it stands, it explains itself enough that everything makes sense so long as you don’t think about it.

      • April 12, 2018 at 1:14 amSMinstrel

        From the explanation and visual effects (I’ve watched ep2), it seems like you can pretty much replace QUANTUM with parallel multiverse or something.

  • April 13, 2018 at 5:39 amOby

    Shoji Kawamori and a mecha anime that doesn’t makes sense? The last time those ingredients are used, we got hit by the disaster that is Nobunaga the Fool. Oh, the horror! Please, make it go away!!