The following story contains minor spoilers.
Kado: The Right Answer is proving itself to be one of the most unique and interesting series to be released this anime season. In theory the show’s premise is a familiar one; first contact with an alien species, but in practice Kado has turned this familiar narrative into something much more original and unpredictable.
The show’s central protagonist is Kojiro Shindo, a bureaucrat and skilled negotiator working at Japan’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He is on board an airplane in the process of taking off when suddenly an enormous cube appears on the runway, absorbing the plane and everyone on board. A strange alien being named Yaha-kui zaShunina appears inside the cube and after some confusion Shindo offers zaShunina his assistance in communicating with humanity.
The show’s tone is much more subdued than most science fiction tales, especially those involving first contact. The focus is not on military so much as on politics, negotiation and scientific study. The show asks some very interesting philosophical questions as well, about what it means to truly communicate and how difficult communication can sometimes be.
The story ramps up when zaShunina offers humanity a priceless gift; that of unlimited energy. How humanity reacts to this gift quickly becomes the main source of contention in the show, and while such a conflict might result in all out war between nations in a more action-focussed show, Kado, without spoiling too much, provides a much more surprising and intellectual solution.
One thing that immediately stands out about the art for Kado is it’s use of CGI, or 3D animation. While the transition from mostly traditional animation in the first episode was a bit jarring, Kado is certainly doing something right. The CGI isn’t nearly as off-putting as some previous attempts in anime to combine the two techniques, and some of the more complicated objects, such as the cube and the technology surrounding it, are a feast for the eyes.
Kado is hardly going to be everyone’s cup of tea however. With it’s slow, thoughtful pacing and lack of action it definitely differentiates itself from many other science fiction anime, but it would be incredibly easy to view the show as pretentious, and hardcore sci-fi buffs are probably going to be disappointed with how unrealistic and fantastical the ‘scientific’ elements of the show are.
We are currently half way through Kado: The Right Answer, but after seven episodes it’s still hard to say where this show will lead us next or whether it’s pacing and unique art style will hold up over the course of the full season. I for one can’t wait to find out.
Kado: The Right Answer is currently available for streaming in Australia on Crunchyroll.