KADO: The Right Answer – Anime Review
Synopsis: The fate of the world lies in the hands of one negotiator when a commercial jet is abducted into a massive, unknown structure. Inside, a strange being appears claiming he will intervene in Japan’s internal affairs. That’s when Shindou Kojirou, a Japanese official onboard the plane, steps forth to greet him, spearheading the communications that will dictate the future of mankind. (Official Funimation Synopsis.)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: By season’s end the best thing that can be said about KADO is its animation. While the end result isn’t something that’ll have animation purists changing their tune, KADO’s attempt to blend both traditional 2D and 3D animation is commendable. It never quite achieves a perfect, indistinguishable blend, but there’s several places throughout the series when it gets very very close and otherwise remains easy on the eyes.
Linny: Another positive I’d like to point out is that while it is very different in nature from the rest of the series, Episode Zero of the show does a great job of giving audiences a feel for its main characters and players, helping to establish just what kind of a person they are. Unfortunately , the rest of KADO then pretty much pigeon holes everyone for the rest of the series, restricting them to a very specific characteristic trait, like how Shun Hanamori, Shindou’s co-worker/subordinate seems to be there mainly to panic over everything at the first sign of trouble. Also, Shindou himself is elevated to ‘god like’ status through the series which could irk viewers as this kind of character inflation can often easily come off as corny or try hard.
Tom: KADO’s greatest failing is perhaps its character work. As Linny said Episode 0 was excellent insight, though ultimately squandered throughout the rest of the anime’s run. All that information we learn about Shindo feels generally useless for the majority of the season, only sort of factoring into events in the final handful of episodes. Other characters are definitely feel pigeon-holed into whatever role the series requires of them, or suffer intense personality shifts in KADO’s final episodes that feel entirely at odds with the atmosphere, style and tone of early on. This all plays greatly into KADO’s next greatest failing: Its massive tonal shift.
Linny: There’s a lot of simulated international political conflict and tension, which is done mostly well as the show’s take is generally believable. KADO does a decent job of portraying the international scale of stress and clashes that would arise as a result of the events in the show. Unfortunately, KADO may have set out to tell a story it just couldn’t execute properly within its 12 episode limit, or perhaps couldn’t have even with more episodes. Furthermore, the show has a lot of pseudo scientific elements that might frustrate more scientifically minded audiences finding it hard to just accept whatever pseudo physics the show throws at you.
Tom: After episode 6 all that was good about KADO gradually fades away. Episode 7 begins the fall as KADO treads water with a bland, and unneeded episode, followed by Episode 8 introducing an alternate viewpoint with the sole purpose of forcing a conclusion to a story that really could’ve been expanded over twenty-four, rather than twelve, episodes. From there it’s then a hard descent away from everything KADO had been building and working with.
Linny: What utterly and completely dooms KADO is its completely ridiculous and WTF deus ex machina ending. Whether pre-planned or made up on the fly, the solution to the show’s ultimate problem comes flying out of nowhere and is extremely hard to swallow. It’s an ending that’s so laughably out of the blue and contrived, it makes the whole show and story lose any gravitas it once possessed.
Tom: The complete collapse of the series begins with episode 9, starting a stark shift away from Kado’s slow, hard scifi nature into something much more character focused, with twists and developments entirely unearned. It undermines the great promise of the series, in part with the heavy usage of typical anime tropes. It doesn’t end there however, as a final episode more in line with KADO’s earlier efforts may have saved the series. But what follows is absolutely insane. Ideas are introduced, and focus is shifted from a grander story to a far more personal one between Shindo and Zashunina. Personalities shift and change wildly all to bring KADO to a twisted, action packed, increasingly absurd conclusion with developments almost maddening in their purely bizarre nature. It is a true mess of a finale.
Linny: KADO starts off brimming with potential, especially for those craving a more intellectual tale. However, the longer it goes on, the more inane and idiotic it becomes, introducing new elements and characters that are never properly established or utilized while shafting its cast of any and all character development, not to mention the inflation of its main character to God like status. Any dignity it had is further crushed by its ridiculous ending, which makes it clear that ultimately and unfortunately, KADO is a show that will struggle to please anyone overall.
Tom: Stories often need to stick their landing, crafting an ending that if not wholly satisfying, is at least passable. So many television series, anime, and movies have gone from intensely impressive, to hard passes based on an ending that fails to deliver. KADO is out and out a perfect example of that. A series that was near to the definition of ‘critical darling’ garnering universal praise upon its first airing. But its ending squanders all of that and changes its own narrative from that of a unique, must watch of the season, to a hard pass for audiences looking back for their entertainment. KADO isn’t worth going back for outside of acting as an example: Of what not to do.