Koujiro Shindo is a highly-skilled negotiator working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As his plane at Haneda airport prepares to take off, a huge mysterious cube appears from the sky. “It” expands rapidly, and absorbs the passenger plane and its 252 passengers. The cube’s name is “Kado”. A strange being called Yaha-kui zaShunina appears from within Kado and tries to make contact with humanity. Shindou, who was been absorbed by Kado, ends up taking on the role of mediator between Yaha-kui zaShunina and humanity. Who is Yaha-kui zaShunina? What does he want?
Straight away I thought that KADO would prove to be an interesting watch because of is reality-meets-science-fiction concept. A human-looking alien descends to Earth, arrives in Japan, and wishes to negotiate with its government. It takes a very realistic approach to a supernatural twist – the government send a delegation to meet the alien and speak on their behalf, the media become involved, processes are put in place and the airplane passengers within the cube are initially treated like hostages.
The negotiations are very interesting to watch. As a seemingly extraterrestrial being, Yaha-kui zaShunina, as he calls himself, is very cool and calm as he explains his existence to the Japanese government. He tries to explain where his dimension exists, the giant cube he calls Kado and why he has appeared in Japan. In answer to the last question, he replies that he wishes to offer mankind ‘advancement’, and shows them something that mankind have been looking into for hundreds of years – an infinite energy source, of which zaShunina calls ‘wam’.
While this appears to be a great gift, nothing is known about it. Whilst Japanese scientists investigate this new source, the UN demands that Japan turn it over immediately lest the socioeconomic balance of the world is upset. zaShunina’s gift to mankind is being perceived differently from country to country, and Japan is under pressure if they do not comply with orders.
I think one of the main elements of this story is using zaShunina to examine how humanity would deal with something that is arguable a gift to increase everyone’s quality of life. How a gift to humanity is torn down and made to look like more of a cure than anything else. It shows how beauracracy and greed obstructs humanity’s path to bettering itself. Is humanity capable of breaking down its international borders in order to surpass national interests and prosper as a whole? And is a ball of infinite energy, particularly one that humanity have now discovered how to replicate, really a good thing? What of energy and fuel conglomerates? The third world? What would happen if this knowledge got into the brains of terrorists? The possibilities – and terrifyingly – endless.
The backgrounds and surroundings are so lifelike in this one. The shots in the opening scene could very well have been pulled straight from Japanese towns and cities and also applies CGI to certain aspects. Usually when I learn that an anime is using CGI I begin to have my reservations. However, the level of quality in this one is high and it’s not overused. Particularly when used on the textures and movements of Kado. It makes zaShunina’s technology more ethereal and alien. It’s even a little hypnotic to watch the surface of the mysterious cube react to zaShunina stepping on it – the way it ripples as if it’s walking on water and yet still manages to look like a literal cub of foreign technology – it’s beautifully jarring.
When the crisis of finite energy has been resolved, zaShunina says that he wants to move onto the ‘next’, meaning that he has another ‘gift’ for mankind that will means that humans will no longer have to sleep. How many more gifts does he have, and just how much are they going to change humanity? Is constantly accepting zaShunina’s gifts the way to choose ‘the right answer’? Or are this gifts a curse concealed by a supposed blessing?
KADO: The Right Answer is certainly one of the most thought-provoking anime of this season and draws you in almost immediately with its ability to play out hypothetical ‘what ifs’. What if aliens existed? What if they were peaceful? What if they offered mankind a gift that could change the world forever?