[Meta context: First published on June 24th 2017, this post delves into the positives of Seikaisuru Kado, which was at the time being shunned for a particularly bad plot twist. The post is edited slightly for consistency. You can find the post on Tumblr here.]
(This was an article I’d typed a few weeks ago, but didn’t have the time to post. Now that everyone’s given up on Kado, it almost seems too sad to post it…)
Kado is seen by many (Redditors) to be a hidden gem of spring 2017, so here’s how this lil’ sci-fi wormed its way into people’s hearts and minds…and it’s spoiler-less, so you can make a decision on whether to watch the show based on this.
First off, for the uninitiated, here’s how Kado is described by Crunchyroll:
Koujiro Shindo 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. Shindou, who was been absorbed by Kado, ends up taking on the role of mediator between Yaha-kui zaShunina and humanity. Who is Yaha-kui zaShunina? What does he want?
On the surface, there’s the sci-fi appeal, which is interlocked with how it handles the sociological aspects. Its content asks the big questions, like “What if humanity could have unlimited energy all of a sudden?” and “If an alien came in 2017, what would we do?” with mutual understanding on zaShunina’s and the people’s parts, unlike other media where aliens are bent on destroying humanity. It’s not possible to cover every aspect of the lofty questions in 12 episodes, so some of the focus has to be acknowledged then drowned out, but the show does a good job of trying to be as impartial as it can, like zaShunina himself. The “science” bits are also explained in layman’s terms, with an emphasis on “show, don’t tell” (as hard as that is for a show of this kind), so the concepts used by zaShunina make sense to even a person of non-scientific background. However, its pace is quite sluggish and may make you scream at your screen, so be prepared for that.
The CGI may have turned some people off, but Kado (both the cube and the show) benefit from the otherworldly visuals created by the 3D aspect. Some of the major characters are rendered in CGI, and while a lot of shows fail in their CGI, Kado does a better job at it. Take a look at this PV – watch the movement of the 3D characters and the plane. Not everyone takes a shine to the blend of 2D and 3D though, and if you don’t, that’s fine.
More implicit types of appeal
Even though the genre of sci-fi means the show normally doesn’t warrant humour, the show incorporates little moments of humour seamlessly into its plot threads and…it’s good to have a small moment of levity between plot-critical parts.
Of course, this show was made to sell, so in the end some of the lighter moments include a lil’ fanservice. It’s not enough to point out the obviousness of the tactic and again, seamless writing and directing means it doesn’t stand out. zaShunina and Shindo have moments that make them seem a lot closer than an alien and his negotiator should be, which really gets the fangirls going, but…if you have a show full of gorgeous men and you want a show to sell, wouldn’t you have merchandise of them too?
For those that don’t want to watch for the men, there’s Saraka, the negotiator who challenges Shindo (and lowkey tsundere) and Kanata, the perky childish scientist. Admittedly, Kanata has been accused of being lifted from some other anime and she’s just a guy magnet (meta-wise), but you can get used to her and her childishness is plot-relevant.
So, there you have it. I think there have been quite a few articles championing Kado already, but I wanted to add my ten cents. If you want to argue with me on this or gush together with me, use the comments section. My reactions to Kado’s episodes are here.