KADO - The Right Answer
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 12 of
KADO - The Right Answer ?
Kado The Right Answer has reached its big conclusion, and the results are, well, kind of underwhelming. Shindo and zaShunina have their big confrontation as Kado continues to expand, and zaShunina is able to kill Shindo by exploiting a weakness in his Fregonics armor. As zaShunina places Shindo's body on a pedestal, presumably to send him to the anisotropic, a teenage girl appears. She is Shindo Yukika, the daughter of Shindo and Tsukai who has grown up in an accelerated bubble of time. Yukika uses her combined understanding of the universe and the anisotropic to defeat zaShunina and dissolve Kado. With the cube gone, the anisotropic devices on Earth stop functioning and the world returns to normal.
This episode packs a lot of plot points into a short window of time, which may explain why so many of them end up feeling rushed. When zaShunina reveals the built-in weak point of Shindo's armor, it seems more like a trump card pulled from thin air than the result of a carefully crafted story arc. Not to be outdone, Shindo somehow pulls off a plan that relies on having a previously nonexistent teenage daughter show up to save the day at the last minute. Yes, there are explanations for both of these plans with connections to the previous episode (at least we knew that both Shinawa and Hanamori had roles left to play). Still, the sheer magnitude of these last-minute twists makes them difficult to buy into.
Part of my frustration with these swift reversals of fortune is the way in which they seem to work against one of the show's central themes. From the very beginning, this series has repeatedly championed the power of negotiation and compromise over the simplicity of resorting to force. When both of the main characters decide that finding common ground is impossible and force is the best option available, it undermines that message. This episode didn't necessarily need to end with a friendly agreement to live and let live, but it would've been nice to see something more original than a simple contest of power. It seems wrong for Kado to go with such a typical ending after walking its own path for most of the season.
The only area in which the universe and the anisotropic do manage to find common ground is in Yukika's existence. While the whole “we made a fast-forward time bubble and raised a super-kid in it” setup is a tough sell, Yukika herself does at least represent a kind of understanding between the two worlds. She's the result of a union between the human Shindo and the anisotropic Tsukai, and her connection to the two different dimensions allows her to do things that neither Shindo nor zaShunina could accomplish alone. Looking at things through that lens, you could argue that Yukika embodies Shindo's ideal of a resolution that benefits both sides. If that's the case, however, then perhaps Kado should have brought her into the picture more than a few minutes before the end of the series.
Calling this an imperfect ending would be an understatement. It's messy, convoluted, and not entirely aligned with the central theme of the story. On the other hand, it's not a total disaster. We get some closure for the complicated relationship between Shindo and zaShunina, and at least the writing keeps trying new ideas up until the very end. That's always the risk with ambitious stories: the answers they offer may not be as satisfying as the questions they pose. If Kado The Right Answer came up short at the finish line, at least it came up short in pursuit of a lofty goal.
Overall, I'm glad I watched this series. It took a big risk by embracing a premise that's outside the norm for anime, and it was able to do some very interesting things by working in that creative space. I'd rather see a series try something unusual and come up with a slightly muddled result than stick with a proven concept and coast through on autopilot. Kado's blending of traditional and CG animation also proved to be a fascinating choice; whether it was successful or not, it at least gave us an opportunity to directly compare the two methods using a shared set of character designs. That's a lot of talking points for a mere twelve episodes (thirteen if you count episode zero), and I feel like this could be an interesting series to revisit now that we can look at it as a unified whole instead of a dozen separate parts.
KADO - The Right Answer is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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