Note: There may be spoilers below! Be careful!
First, the Good News
I just finished watching the last episode of KADO: The Right Answer. If you didn’t watch the series, you missed an intricate and earnest attempt to portray human’s first contact with an extra-dimensional being. The series tries to be realistic and smart, and for the first ten episodes, I was really impressed.
In the back of my mind, I was afraid that the show would stumble. Similar shows where humans are faced with such an overwhelmingly superior being tend to fall into three categories:
- The invaders make a stupid mistake, like allowing an unauthenticated (what, no two-factor?) asynchronous connection from an Apple PowerBook to a subsystem connected to vital systems, and humans win.
- Humans acquire alien technology and learn it quickly enough to be victorious.
- The aliens decide to engage humans on the human level and lose; after all, humans are better at being human!
Seeing Wanoraru (episode 11) and previews for the last episode (Yukika), I was afraid KADO would fall prey to 2 and 3. I was happy to see the show sidestepped those issues. However, I’m sorry to say that it still stumbled.
Here’re some of the reasons I say that it stumbled:
When did Saraka Tsukai give birth? Did she slip away to the temporally-isolated dimension, carry Yukika to term, then return to our time line? I suppose that makes sense, but I would have liked some narrative indication of this.
More seriously, when did Yukika’s anisotropic power manifest? If she was born with it, why did she decide to help humans at all? I understand that Shun Hanamori tried to raise her (a clever detail!), but any parent who’s tried to raise kids knows that they’re willful. Combine the anisotropic powers with the terrible twos, and I can’t see that ending well for humanity. In other words, the narrative glosses over the whole idea of power corrupting. For me, this undermined the show’s emphasis on “smart.”
Other little details bothered me. For example, how did Tsukai and Koujirou Shindou know how their child would turn out? What if the child’s powers favored Shindou?
Why did Yaha-kui zaShunina lose so much of his self-control? There was some foreshadowing that he was acquiring some human feelings (he missed Shindou), but I thought the transformation was too extreme.
Why did Tsukai lose her power at the end? She was still this cocoon’s administrator, wasn’t she? Her power should not have been connected to zaShunina (in any way I saw the narrative suggest). If there is an explanation, like maybe she reverted to a mode where she didn’t know about her powers until she needs them again, I didn’t catch it.
I also thought the show missed a huge opportunity to explore what it meant for a being like Yukika to be both human and anisotropic. There are obvious parallels in many world religions, like the concept in Christianity that Jesus the Christ was both human and divine in nature (the Hypostatic union for those of you following along at home). Dropping a bomb like Yukika on the world, showing her wield power far in excess of zaShunina, then having her just fly off was a major disappointment.
I prefer a show set high goals for itself and stumble than watch re-hashed plots and characters. I think KADO’s in the former camp. I give them full credit for not resorting to the three errors mentioned above. I like little clever details like the 16 year time loop and their anticipating that trying to use anisotropic technology would fail them. I even liked why it failed: it’s advanced technology that had implications they didn’t understand. That’s just how that sort of thing should work!
So even though I’m saying I think it stumbled, I’m still glad I watched it.
What do you think? Did I miss something that would explain some of my concerns above? Do you have a different opinion? Let me know in the comments!