Clockwork Planet

Clockwork Planet

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This news may seem sudden… but this world died long ago. Earth died a thousand years ago, and a legendary clockmaker known only as “Y” rebuilt it using clockwork. Naoto Miura, a failing high school student, encounters RyuZU, an automaton that “Y” left behind, and the genius clockmaker Marie. When the abilities of these three come together, the gears of fate begin to turn. The cycle of failure and success repeats endlessly as the three of them work to repair the endangered “Clockwork Planet” in this clockpunk fantasy!

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I wasn’t completely taken with Clockwork Planet when I first watched it. I couldn’t get on board with the synopsis and I didn’t really enjoy any of the first impressions I had of the main characters. A little bit of steampunk, a little bit of magic and a cute, human-like automaton… but what else was up for grabs here? I couldn’t see much else, but others in the community seems to enjoy it, and I have missed out on some good titles before now because they are ‘slow burners’ and often don’t have time to change those that don’t grab my attention in the first two episodes, so I decided to keep one title form being dropped for the Spring 2017 season, and Clockwork Planet was that anime.

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Mechanical wunderkind Naoto is a whiz with gears, so when he comes across seemingly broke female-styled android RyuZU, he manages to fix her (so far this seems to be a combination of Hand Shakers and Chobits). Meanwhile, the government is planning to sacrifice 20 million of Kyoto’s population for the greater good of a grid purge but pint-sized meister Marie (who has real short-man syndrome) and her partner Halter are doing their damnedest to make sure that this horrible purge never happens. When the two duos first meet, there is more than the usual amount of friction, but they are united in their common goal (Marie wants to save the city by fixing the gears at its core and Naoto wants to save the cute female automaton that is stations in the same vicinity. Whatever works…)

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There’s a lot of 3D moving backgrounds in some of the episodes here – usually massive amounts of cogs and gears rotating. They look good, particularly the ways they are blurred and sharpened to indicate depth and the way characters interact with them. But when the background is so detailed, it makes the character designs look a little basic and very two-dimensional. With only some basic shading, it looks like they have been superimposed on the background, almost cut-and-stuck. Once I noticed it, it became pretty difficult to ignore. Thankfully this background effect isn’t applied to most surroundings so it doesn’t completely spoil the art quality.

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As the stakes are raised, the group find that they have to resort to more drastic measure to save the city, but can the group potentially sacrifice one of their own on order to save Kyoto? Clockwork Planet looks to be an anime that examines if automatons should be treated differently to humans despite their human-like appearance and their arguably higher capabilities. In this way, I can see similarities between this and Elemental Gelade, particularly alongside the burgeoning relationship between Naoto and RyuZU and the back-and-forth between the couple and Marie (who’s a little like Cisqua, let’s be honest). Marie and the group begin to realise that there is more at risk than they first anticipated, and the Kyoto purge was only a singular part of an even more mysterious, sinister plan.

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There’s a lot that can possibly happen in Clockwork Planet. With Marie determined to save everyone from a corrupt government and military and the main antagonist still possibly skulking in the shadows, the plot has the potential to go in many ways. As AnchoR has now emerged on the scene I’m looking for some good automata fight scenes and a little more depth and story background from this clockwork world as well as its inhabitants. Who is the one that is behind all the dreadful things that seem to be happening? Can this really be passed off as just something ‘the government’ are doing? It’s rather poor storytelling if this is the case, so I’m hoping it isn’t. The characters are passable but I want to see more of what motivates them and who they are, which I’m expecting to eventually come out of Naoto and Marie’s bickering, possibly. I’m still waiting for Clockwork Planet to rise to my expectations, but I’m willing to give this series the time to do that.