Sekai Suru Kado

Title:Sekai Suru Kado
Kado: The Right Answer
Keywords: , ,
Notables: Animation - Toei
Kōjiro Shindō is a highly-skilled negotiator working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As his plane at Haneda airport prepares to take off, a huge mysterious cube appears from the sky. 'It' expands rapidly, and absorbs the passenger plane and its 252 passengers. The cube's name is "Kado". A strange being called Yaha-kui zaShunina appears from within Kado and tries to make contact with humanity. Shindō, who was been absorbed by Kado, ends up taking on the role of mediator between Yaha-kui zaShunina and humanity. The Japanese government sends its own negotiator, Saraka Tsukai.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

12-episode TV anime that premiered on April 7, 2017.
Animated by Toei Animation.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 8 7 9 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:3332#1552]
Kado: The Right Answer offers up a unique premise for an alien-focused anime in that rather than the series being a typical action title focused on conflict between humanity and alien invaders, the series is instead focused on diplomacy and the questions that can arise if humanity suddenly gained abilities and technologies that it may not be ready to accept. These issues are present when human negotiator Kojiro Shindo takes on the job to work with the alien being, Yaha-kui zaShunina, in trying to express and comprehend the gifts that zaShunina provides to advance humanity's evolution.

In the issue of diplomacy, Kado focuses on the interactions between Shindo and zaShunina, as Shindo serves as a mediator between the Japanese government and zaShunina in working out the interests of both parties. Besides mediator, Shindo also serves as a sort of confidante to zaShunina who expresses his desires for what he would like to bring for humanity with his gifts and Shindo even gets first exposure to them before the rest of humanity. Still in spite of this diplomacy and zaShunina's apparent benevolence, hints are dropped in early episodes that his motives may not be as benevolent as they would seem on the surface and this gradually becomes more clear as episodes progress into Kado's second half. Even then, the series does enough to develop a character dynamic between Shindo and zaShunina throughout the series where Shindo's interactions with the alien being affect him mentally in leading up to the show's finale.

The other matter in the series, humanity's being unprepared for rapid advancements, gets explored in how the world would respond to such changes and zaShunina's influence in offering them. As zaShunina deliberately chose Japan as the starting point for introducing his technology to humanity, these developments don't exactly make the other countries of the world enthused as they grill political pressure on Japan to share whatever they are provided from the start of the series. The Japanese government also gradually starts to express concern with the rapid advancement in zaShunina's progression of the abilities he bestows upon humanity as Shindo communicates the alien's goals and trying to come up with measures to minimize the effect this would have on the populace at large. Also as mentioned earlier, zaShunina's motives with providing humanity's rapid evolution not being so benevolent contributes to developments in this element of the series as the tools he provides for the advancement serve as components for the plans he has in place.

I feel I should also address two rather controversial elements to Kado that need addressing, the first of which being in the form of the character of Saraka Tsukai, the Japanese government's own negotiator opposed to zaShunina's devices being bestowed upon humanity. There are some rather surprising revelations about her character that get revealed in the show's second half that some fans have assumed to be a deus ex machina of some sort. Granted the series doesn't provide any proper foreshadowing that hint to the revelations coming about. But at the same time, her concerns about zaShunina were brought about in earlier episodes and hints of zaShunina not being so benevolent were shown at points in earlier episodes as well. In addition, a case can be made where her stance on humanity's evolution is a representation of a naturalistic stance in allowing humanity's evolution to happen with time rather than speeding things up as zaShunina is attempting to bring about.

The second and most recent element would come in the form of the show's ending. Again, some may argue how it came about would be a kind of deus ex machina since hints of how the events come about were not hinted to in the anime's prior episode. I would argue in this particular case, enough was fleshed out in earlier episodes about the capabilities of the anisotropic where what came about was not necessarily so out of nowhere, especially with what is revealed about Tsukai. It also meshes up with the naturalistic views on evolution that Tsukai favors since the interactions between humanity and the anisotropic bring about a potential new path in evolution for both species rather than the rapid advancement that zaShunina was forcing about.

Overall, I can kind of see where the events of Kado's second half may cause viewers of the series to be divided in their reception of it with some of the major seemingly sudden developments that I brought up above. Still, I feel that there was enough fleshed out and explored within earlier episodes of the series where the developments didn't completely come out of nowhere and made enough sense once you picked apart the hints alluded from earlier episodes. The series offers a rather engaging and solid exploration of debating about following a natural path of evolution or attempting to speed up the process, and creates some engaging chemistry in the interactions between Shindo and zaShunina with their growing relationship that eventually turns confrontational due to their differing ideologies on human evolution. Kado won't be for those that prefer their anime to be on the more action-heavy side. But if you are looking for a unique sci-fi title, Kado is an easy recommendation I would make.

Last updated Friday, June 30 2017. Created Friday, June 30 2017.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3332#628]
(Five episodes watched):

Episode one ends with a cliffhanger in which this Yaha-kui zaShunina person reveals and introduces himself, but does nothing more; up 'til then, all we knew was that a giant cube had descended from the sky, and it had inexplicable physical characteristics. Curiously, the notion that it might be an alien spacecraft wasn't mentioned, even though that seemed pretty obvious to me. The synopsis above tells us a good deal of stuff which won't happen until episode two, if not later. Still, a story about something as momentous as this can't help but pique our interest, and I found myself wanting to know more. But, since the basic premise was still unclear, I couldn't conclude yet whether it would be a show worth watching to the end.

One problem: what is the worst thing that can possibly happen? ZaShunina seems pretty harmless to me; I'm guessing that he is just curious about earth and means no harm. But without something being at risk, it's hard to get excited. It turns out that the central issue will be Wam, which are devices which can generate unlimited, clean energy. ZaShunina wants to give these too-good-to-be-true gifts to humans, but he is uncertain if our political structure is a good way to distribute the benefits. The UN quickly demands that Japan turn them over, which makes some sense, though it should have been done more delicately. Why not allow Japan to keep a few for 'research' (a few would be enough to power the entire country, apparently) while giving up the rest? But the preview of episode five hinted that military action might come about already, which was hard to believe. Are the world's powers so greedy that they immediately fixate on free energy when the first ever alien visitor is standing by? Why not bypass Japan and ask ZaShunina himself to give the Wam to the UN? Would you want to risk ticking off an alien with inestimable powers? He seems to hold all the cards, being from what seems to be a vastly more advanced culture than us. Why doesn't the UN argue that ZaShunina should be negotiating directly with them, not through Japan?

So, the basic conflict is between different countries here on earth, not between humans and ZaShunina. I began to get the feeling that the message behind this show might be that Japan is wiser than the rest of the world combined and would have to save everybody from their own follies. With the story drifting in that direction, and moving at the tepid pace that it was, I became glad to see that the show will not extend beyond twelve episodes. Sure enough, the message I was getting in episode five was that poor Japan was getting beaten up by the rest of the world while it has done nothing wrong, and surely had been chosen by ZaShunina as his landing point since it's the best country there is. It takes a brilliant Japanese girl scientist to figure out the secret behind Wam, after all. This show might be flattering to someone who is Japanese, but it was seeming increasingly implausible to me. Perhaps the basic problem is that it's more about Japan and Shindo than it is about ZaShunina and our first contact with intelligent alien life. Perhaps that's why it never really thrilled me. I don't care all that much how Japan gets treated, since it is a good deal less interesting than ZaShunina himself. My interest petered out and I finally dropped this show from my viewing schedule.

Last updated Tuesday, June 06 2017. Created Monday, April 17 2017.

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