「進化する破壊者」 (Shinkasuru Hakaimono)
“The Evolving Destroyer”
INT. ANIME PRODUCTION COMMITTEE
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.
SOME CHUMP: …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.
SOME CHUMP: Genius!
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.
ED: 「シリウス」 (Sirius) by BUMP OF CHICKEN