Clockwork Planet – Preview
Original Air Dates: April 6th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: Naoto Miura is a machinery nut. He spends every moment of the day with his mind on gears and his hands tinkering with delicate mechanical motors. But nobodies quite sure how he can hear and feel gears in operation, even long distances away. But one day Naoto’s life takes a sudden turn as a clockwork maiden falls from the sky, starting Naoto on a journey that could shake the very world apart.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Clockwork Planet’s initial first impression isn’t flattering. Clockwork offers ugly, stilted art that fails to impress at every turn, save for when the show decides it wants to get a little sexual. It doesn’t help that even the character designs are too busy and generally unappealing, offering up leads that are either off-putting or unmemorable in appearance.
Linny: A big issue is how cliche almost every character feels, especially the leads. Naoto Miura is the typical goofy, not that talented, but actually very talented and gifted lead while Marie Bell is the brash and vain female lead in charge of introducing us to the grander plot as royalty of this clockwork world. There’s no crime in being cliche but this episode doesn’t do much otherwise to make them feel fresh or particularly engaging in other ways unfortunately. The only other characters who get decent airtime is the expressionless clockwork android(?) RyuZu and Marie’s bodyguard, Vainney Halter but neither are that memorable either. Vainney’s most memorable moment this episode is a cliche ridden one where he gets to see Marie without her panties because she is in such a rush/fit, she apparently forgets she doesn’t have anything on below her waist. Then there’s RyuZu who practically deepthroats Naoto’s finger because that’s how you register owners in this world…oral fetishers (not a word I know), rejoice!
Tom: Our introduction to Naoto doesn’t help him grow on you either. Rather than try and establish Naoto’s world and life, to give us a starting point to understand his character, we’re thrown in the deep end with only Naoto’s own incredibly stilted monologue to catch us up on the world and his role within it. It’s a forced beginning, one the show never recovers from. Then there’s RyuZu who spends entirely too much time on sexual humor and implications that she’s viewed as a sex bot to make her feel appealing in any other fashion. It’s also that oral servicing of Naoto’s finger that gets the boost in animation and visual quality, really giving the impression that the fan service is where Clockwork Planet believes its dedication and attention is needed.
Linny: Clockwork Planet employs the flash forward then flash back to the present method of story telling as a way to try and suck the viewer in. This type of opening can be risky as it means it’s got less time to build its cast as it offers a glimpse of what’s to come. But if that glimpse doesn’t impress, it can be hard to stay invested. It needs good dialogue and interesting characters to engage the audience once we’re back to the ‘mundane’ set up and unfortunately, Clockwork Planet doesn’t perform very well in that department as most of its set up is boring, cliche and disengaging.
Tom: Naoto’s opening, as I mentioned before, is delivered through a heavy monologue that serves no other purpose than to introduce the audience to him and the world. It feels lazy, uninteresting and entirely self-serving. Something can be said for a series wanting to rush into the action and get the story moving, but cheating us with monologues and stilted dialogue isn’t the way to do it.
Linny: Now granted, this is a personal pet peeve of mine when it comes to anime, so it is partly biased but Naoto is yet another below average lead who turns out to actually be super special. This does nothing to add to the show’s charm. It’s a stereotype that’s meant to appeal to shonen audiences and make them feel like anything is possible and that they’re rooting for the underdog (who really isn’t the underdog.) While it should work great for the intended youthful audience, if you aren’t part of that, it’s just another tired cliche you’ve long outgrown.
Tom: After you’ve grown sick of the characters is when Clockwork Planet decides to refocus on its grander plot, but it’s too late as we’ve run the course of tired cliches with Naoto and RyuZu. While the plot may in fact get interesting, I struggle to imagine myself being able to sit through another twenty-two minutes of Naoto and Ryuzu’s tired, tropey dialogue and antics.
Linny: Clockwork Planet’s grander plot is actually a decent one and has the potential to make for a truly good action packed conspiracy unveiling. It feels serious and consequential but whenever we go back to Naoto and RyuZu getting to know each other, the mood becomes rather silly and mundane again. Then there’s also the fact that Clockwork Planet’s huge reveal is going to affect a fictional nation it has barely touched upon, choosing instead to focus on its unimpressive cast. This makes it all the more challenging to care when we barely know anything about the nation in question.
Tom: Clockwork Planet, looks bland and could be more accurately described as ugly. It’s writing is cliched and lazy, leaving us with the only positive, the grander plot introduced towards the back half of the episode. I don’t think that’s enough when everything else feels so weak and uninteresting.
Linny: At it’s best, Clockwork Planet teases of a nation shattering conspiracy that might engage viewers of all ages who like a good action packed thriller/mystery. Unfortunately the ugly animation and bland characters could prove to be the show’s undoing as you’re forced to sit through cliche after cliche. You might still enjoy the show if you’re new to anime, enjoy action packed stories and don’t mind CGI animation but for the older or experienced viewer , Clockwork Planet doesn’t offer enough to make it a must watch.
Clockwork Planet is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com