KADO - The Right Answer
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 8 of
KADO - The Right Answer ?
It's time to send zaShunina's next big gift out into the general population. Gonno and Ward decide to broadcast footage of the Sansa around the world, allowing anyone who watches to experience the device's effects and be freed of the need to sleep. Meanwhile, Tsukai takes Shindo to her hometown and spends the day trying to make him understand her point of view. She's at least partly successful, as Shindo begins to express his own doubts about zaShunina's plan for humanity. As the broadcast airs, Shindo heads to the cube to sit down and talk with zaShunina.
This isn't the first time Tsukai has been cast as the show's voice of dissent, but it feels like she gets a better chance to make her case this time around. Tsukai's objections to the introduction of the Wam were brushed aside pretty quickly, but the script takes more of a neutral stance this time. Ward's conversations with Gonno act as the argument in favor of rapid advancement, while Tsukai's outing with Shindo pushes for letting humanity move forward at its own pace. For the moment, there's room for the audience to fall on either side of the debate. It's interesting to see Shindo starting to question his own stance on the issue, and this is arguably the first time that Tsukai has come out ahead in her negotiations with him.
As the clash of ideas plays out, it's worth noting that the series has managed to set up this conflict without creating any obvious villains. Ward is overly ambitious and zaShunina remains as inscrutable as ever, but no one has been cast as an obvious antagonist who must be proven wrong by the other characters. The dramatic tension comes from our uncertainty over which path humanity should take, rather than an obvious showdown between good and evil. As this episode points out, all of the major players are simply pursuing what they perceive to be the best path forward. Characters on both sides of the argument even admit that they could very well be wrong. Kado The Right Answer is doing things the hard way by creating narrative conflict without any kind of physical confrontation, and the result makes for a much more intriguing story.
For everything that this episode does right, it does suffer from an uncharacteristic plot hole created by the global broadcast. If Ward's intention is really to give all of humanity the chance to experience the Sansa's effects, then he's leaving out a lot of people by sticking with traditional methods. Anyone who doesn't have a TV or an Internet connection is apparently out of luck, so this gift is limited to developed countries for the time being. Given that zaShunina has already demonstrated an ability to broadcast his voice across great distances, wouldn't this have been the perfect opportunity to show off some more anisotropic wizardry? That's the problem with omnipotent characters; when you can do just about anything, any limitations begin to feel silly and arbitrary. The occasional blending of animation styles also remains an odd aesthetic choice, but at this point it no longer comes as a huge surprise.
Small missteps aside, this episode is mostly Kado doing what it does best. We're presented with multiple perspectives on an extraordinary situation, and each side is given enough attention that the frequently referenced “right answer” remains open to the viewer's interpretation. This episode also boasts more of an emotional appeal than we often get from this series, thanks to the very personal way in which Tsukai presents her point of view to Shindo. A formal negotiating table is all well and good, but sometimes you have to bring the other person into your world. Now it's time to see if Shindo can do some persuading of his own in his latest chat with zaShunina.
KADO - The Right Answer is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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