A battle of words and ideas between the finest diplomats of Japan and a being from another dimension that comes from a cube.
Please be aware that there are slight spoilers in character analysis and story analysis.
Once every anime season there is a chance you will encounter an anime that has a premise that is completely new and hasn’t been seen before and one that completely engrosses you in both its setting and story and can keep you entertained until the end. In this case Seikaisuru Kado certainly fits that bill as its one anime that I have yet to get bored off and indeed continues to intrigue me episode by episode.
The premise behind Seikaisuru Kado is a relative straightforward one but one that is exceedingly rare within the anime industry. When you think of aliens or being from another dimension visiting the planet most people would imagine that ok this is going to be an action anime that focuses on the soldiers pushing the alien back right. Not so in this case. The main premise of this anime is diplomacy and how new technology that is gifted by an alien should be used and viewed and whether is it right for humanity as a race to use it. The combination of Diplomacy between the alien and the people of Japan and their relationship with the countries of the world with regards to the alien and his gifts I felt was interesting as was seeing the effects of the gifts on humanity as well.
The anime’s Theme of focusing on diplomacy as well as focusing on the larger picture of humanity as a race and not individual countries I felt was an interesting one and this was one anime that really hooked me in when I saw the trailer for it.
Seikaisuru Kado’s main story takes place within modem day japan and follows life of Shindou Kojiro a veteran diplomat of the Japanese Governments ministry of foreign affairs who whether by chance or not becomes the first person to meet an alien from another dimension and from there act as the intermediary between him and humanity. The overall story focuses on the negotiation between the alien being ZaShuNina and the government of Japan which is watched by countries around the world and ZaShuNina’s attempt to help humanity by providing certain gifts.
Kojiro Shindou voiced by veteran voice actor Hiroaki Miura is one of the main characters of the series and is the main protagonist of the series. A veteran negotiator from the governments Ministry of foreign affairs Shindou is a calm, collected and composed person that thanks to his many years of service to the ministry has a detailed knowledge of not just how Japanese society works but also how governments and countries around the world work as well. As a result of both his experience and knowledge Shindou is well liked by his co-workers and well respected by them and by his superiors. Apart for being calm and composed which is no doubt his prominent trait Shindou is also a smart man and well versed in making quick decisions after finding out all the information that he needs for a given situation. Shindou seems to be a person that takes great pride in being a diplomat and seems to value the job that he has immensely which is best exemplified by the fact that he’s always eager to see things to an end which indicates that he is also very dutiful as well. As a result of this personality Shindou is someone that understands how negotiations work on an intimate level and as such he will always try to get the best deal for both sides of one.
It’s important to note that Shindou also has a softer personality that he shows when he’s not in diplomat mode and is used when he’s interacting with friends and family. Unlike when he’s in diplomatic mode Shindou’s other personality tends to be softer and more respectful but at the same time have less pressure behind his words. In this personality Shindou seems to be a bit of a joker and will often use humor to deal with people that are either too serious, nervous or uptight. This is best seen in his first meeting with Saraka. As a main character and the main protagonist of the series Shindou develops and forms a relationship with many different characters in the series as part of his new role with his relationship with ZashuNina and Saraka being the most important. Both of these relationships I felt were pretty well done and were built on the most important element that any negotiation would need to have which in this case is trust. Shindou’s relationship with ZaShuNina is arguably one of the cornerstones of this series and forms an important part of the overall plot of the series.
In the beginning of the series Shindou as a result of being on the plane that ZashuNina absorbed was the first human that he encountered and as a result of both ZashuNina’s curious and inquisitive nature and Shindou’s sense of responsibility and adaptability they soon established a bond that is built on understanding and trust. As the series progresses it can be seen that Shindou’s advice and observations are highly valued by ZashuNina and that there was a genuine bond of friendship that had been forged between them. Their relationship from the outside could be seen as something akin to that of a normal friendship though naturally one that transcends the human race. Though as later events occur I do wonder whether this bond was indeed real or not. Still I felt that the relationship between the two and the effect that it had on the overall plot was both well developed and was integrated very well into the main plot. As a character Shindou I felt was an excellent character as despite a veteran diplomat that was accustomed to dealing with fellow humans Shindou was due to his personality able to adapt well to the most unusual of situations and be able to act as the link between the people of Japan and ZashuNina which arguably made him one of the most important person on Earth at the time of the event. At the same time Shindou’s compassionate personality while certainly not on the level of Saraka’s also served as great qualities that ensured that his decisions while logical also ensured that he also thinks of the effects that it will have on normal humans as well. All in all, I felt that Hiroaki Miura really did an excellent job voicing the character of Shindou.
Saraka Tsukai voiced by veteran seiyuu Mao Ichimichi of Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio and Digimon Adventure Tri fame is one of the main characters of the series and serves as the main heroine of the series. A negotiator that works for the Japanese governments Ministry of foreign affairs that handles Japan’s relationship with other countries Saraka is an intelligent, fast thinking and composed person that looks and behaves similarly to Shindou. Despite working in the same ministry Saraka and Shindou never met before the events of the plot. Like Shindou Saraka adapts a mask of professionalism when she’s working as a negotiator that is both composed and reserved yet this mask does sometimes break when she’s exposed to situations that resonate with her humorous personality. This aspect of her I felt was quite funny and helps differentiate her with Shindou who rarely laughs. Despite being young Saraka is both earnest and hardworking and treats her duties seriously which indicates how she got to her position and rank at her age. Indeed, while Saraka and Shindou have not met each other before the events of the plot it can be seen that he has at least heard of her. Like Shindou when Saraka is in diplomat mode she tends to be overly serious and uptight at times that manifests in a variety of ways. When under a lot of stress which in the series is actually quite often Saraka’s overly serious personality manifests in the form of lectures to people that tries to remind them how important this is. Rather than reassuring others this seems to have the opposite effect on her which I felt was rather funny. As a result of her uptight personality when dealing with people that have a humorous side to them such as Shindou Saraka can be embarrassed quite easily which has the effect of causing her to look rather cute as she blushes quite heavily when she is.
Like Shindou Saraka’s personality outside of her role as a diplomat is very different to what you will expect from her but the difference here is that in this series Saraka’s personality outside of her role is explored more so than Shindou’s. Saraka’s normal personality is akin to that of a free spirit and is one that loves to learn new things and explore similar to explorers of old and can be said to be similar to an adventurer. As a result of this personally Saraka has a rather interesting view of how evolution and human evolution should be handled that contrasts a great deal with her role in the story. Saraka is of the belief that evolution should be natural and that it should be left to advance at its own pace and not meddled with which contrasts a great deal with the gifts that ZashuNina brings to the table and makes for interesting conversations between her and Shindou. This belief of hers I felt was interesting not just because it serves as the opposite to ZashuNina’s role in the story but also because this kind of belief is not often seen in anime as well. As a result of this belief Saraka is very firm in her belief that human evolution should be left to them and them alone and that they should only advance when they are ready for change. This causes a number of plat developments and revelations in the overall plot that were surprising. Saraka’s determination to protect human dignity that was used as her reason for her beliefs I felt was really appropriate and fitted well with her personality of always putting the needs of humanity first. A prominent trait of Saraka is the fact that she has a great deal of empathy and as a result she is rather sensitive to the feelings and emotions of people around her and as a result she tends to have a more sympathetic view of people that have views that are not in line with what the majority of people think which I think was interesting as it contrasts both the official position and also Shindou’s personality as well.
As a character Saraka in addition to being the main heroine and female lead also functioned as a contrast to the main character and Protagonist of Shindou and helped in showing him a side of the argument that was different to the logical side of things that he was accustomed to. On his own the character of Shindou though a very capable negotiator was a person that leaned on the side of logic a bit too heavily and as a result it can be said that he did view feelings and the larger picture of the human race as readily as he should. Considering the stakes for the whole race I feel that this is something that he should be more invested in. The addition of Saraka though and her partnership with Shindou as negotiators for both ZashuNina and the government respectively I felt really helped matters as this allowed them to interact more with each other. This had the effect of allowing Saraka to not just share her concerns to Shindou but also allow her to show him the feelings of others as well as the larger picture of the human race that he had missed when he received the job. As a result, this allowed Shindou to both be logical but at the same time more understanding of the feelings and concerns of others and more importantly the concerns for the human race as a whole. All in all, I felt that the character of Saraka was one that was well designed and had a clear defined role in the series. The contrast that she had with Shindou I felt was pretty well done. In a way, I felt that as a character Saraka functioned very similarly to a female version of Shindou though one that had both empathy and a belief that was unique to her. The relationship between Shindou and Saraka is one of the main points in the overall plot of this series and I felt that it was pretty well done. From the beginning of the series it was apparent that between the two there was a great deal of chemistry between the two as both had an equal amount of respect of each other. As the series progresses and both learn more about each other this is only intensified the bond. The idea that both characters changing as both learned more about each other is not anything new but the fact that Shindou learned a to be a bit more empathic and more human thanks to Saraka’s advice and her beliefs I felt was done quite well and ultimately helped in ensuring that he had the conviction to stand against ZaShuNina when the time came. The idea that the two as a result of their shared beliefs actually becoming a couple was something that I thought was executed pretty well.
The true nature of Saraka however I felt was a pretty good twist and one that came at a really opportune time with the plot line. I felt that Mao Ichimichi really did an excellent job in portraying the character of Saraka.
ZaShuNina whose full name is Yaha Kui ZashuNina who in this series is voiced by veteran voice actor Takuma Terashima of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei and Log horizon fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the main antagonist of the series. A being from a separate space time that arrived on Earth on a cube shaped object in a most dramatic fashion ZashuNina despite looking like a human being is in fact an alien. ZashuNina adapts two different persona’s that he makes use of in the series which is markedly different from each other though certain traits from one side do transfer to the other side. In his default persona that is used from the start of the series ZashuNina is a calm and quiet person that seems to adapt a neutral stance with regards to his relationship with humanity. Though powerful it can be seen that at this point in his personality ZashuNina acts somewhat like a child as still learning about humanity and its customs which I felt was interesting and kept it within this anime’s main theme of diplomacy. As the series progresses and as ZaShuNina meets new people and learns more about humanity via dialogue and books and media his knowledge of humanity grows and from there the plot moves into the gifts that he is willing to provide to humanity. Though stemming from his second personality and his overall goal the gifts that ZaShuNina provides to humanity do stem from the many limits and struggles that his observations of humanity has told him and these gifts I felt were pretty well thought out and designed as each was created solely to address one issue that is dire to humanity. From a civilian point of view, it’s easy to see why people want to use these gifts so much and why countries around the world are so willing to integrate these into the workings of their countries. I guess its human nature that they will believe everything that someone will say if that person appears to be benign to them and at the same able to help the race advance.
ZaShuNina’s second personality was revealed near the end of the series and was anything but benign and indeed was a personality that I didn’t really expect him to have. In this personality which I would imagine is his true nature ZashuNina in a departure from his first personality is a calculating, determined and ruthless person that’s also deceitful and well versed at subterfuge. While his initial personality can be described to be that of a child this new personality can be seen to be that of an adult and a scheming one as well. In this personality ZashuNina is very determined to enact his own master plan and his own designs for humanity even if it meant that it will cost them dearly in terms of life. Indeed, from ZashuNina’s initial personality only his hunger for knowledge which can be said to be his prominent trait is transferred from that personality to this one. In the beginning of the series though I did have suspicions that ZaShuNina would be the main villain for the series the gradual transformation from a benign alien that was seen as a great inventor by humanity to a villain that was dead set on uplifting humanity so that they can provide him with knowledge was so unexpected that it shook even me.
The character of ZaShuNina I felt was a really interesting character and made a pretty good villain for the series. The character of ZaShuNina I felt was a very well-designed character that underwent great changes in his behavior and personality as the series went on. Indeed, the changes were such that it’s almost as if there actually two people that have the same name but yet differing personalities in them. Due to this it was not easy to see what his motivations and aims were in the series until his true plan was revealed which I think was the point of this. I felt that Takuma Terashima really did an excellent job of portraying the character of ZaShuNina and that this character contributed greatly to how excellent this story was.
Kanata Shinawa voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Rie Kugimiya is one of the main support characters of the show and is one of Shindou and Saraka’s allies in the series. A genius level scientist that works at one of the many research labs that the government manages and oversees Kanata is despite her young age an excellent scientist that apart from being smart is also hyperactive and positive and indeed can spend her days researching new things without a care in the world. Though eccentric and tending to get way too immersed in her analysis’s Kanata is someone that is more than willing to help others if the request itself is something that hasn’t been done before. Kanata is someone that loves to challenge the unknown. While certainly eccentric and easily excited Kanata’s main personality trait is her determination to figure out and determine how something actually works and when combined with her childish wonder at new things this is something that actually makes her pretty endearing. While representing the science side of the story Kanata due to her positive nature is also able to cheer people up with her attitude which I felt was pretty funny to see. Though young it can be seen that her superiors and fellow scientists at the lab trust her immensely due to her intellect and determined nature. Though only a support character I felt that Rie Kugimiya really did a great job at portraying the character of Kanata and that she brought not just intelligence but also determination to the field that proves that human intelligence is also something that should not be underestimated.
Arts and animation
With regards to the art that was used for this series I felt that the environments that used and shown in the series was pretty well done with the interior of Kado being especially impressive. The character designs for the characters in this series I felt was also pretty well done with ZaShuNina’s design despite taking the form of a human also looked like a hybrid that’s between a human and an alien. The other environments such as Haneda airport, the Diet building and Saraka and Shindou’s home towns I felt were also well done. With regards to the animation because this series isn’t actually a true action anime the animation in the series is focused more on the showing of how the gifts actually work which I felt was well done and showed just how powerful they were. It wasn’t until much later in the series that the anime featured combat scenes and I felt that these were done pretty well especially the fights between Saraka and ZaShuNina and the final fight in the end.
The music for the series I felt was pretty well done with the opening and ending themes for the series being especially strong. The opening theme for the series which was called Tabiji was sung by the character of Saraka Tsukai through her seiyuu Mao Ichimichi and I felt that this song along with its visuals did a pretty good job of setting the mood for the series while also showing the evolution of humanity through its visuals. The ending theme for this series which was called Eien No Kotae which was sung by Haruca had a more positive tone to it that for some reason had a calming presence to it. Individual scene music I felt was pretty well done throughout the series.
Voice acting for the series I felt was excellent throughout the series with each of the characters that were featured in the series being portrayed to the best of their respective seiyuu’s ability. In particular the characters of Koujirou Shindou, Saraka Tsukai and Yaha Kui ZaShuNina who were portrayed by Hiroaki Miura, Mao Ichimichi and Takuma Terashima respectively I felt did an excellent job portraying their respective characters. In addition the characters of Kanata, Takumi Gonnou and the Japanese prime minister Kouzou Inutaba who was portrayed by Rie Kugimiya, Takuya Kirimoto and Hiroshi Naka I felt also did a great job portraying their characters.
In overall, I thought that Kado the right answer as it is called in the west was a pretty good anime that was actually interesting and indeed was something that really surprised me because it provoked a lot of interesting questions into the world that we live in. it’s not every day that an anime would feature so many real-world questions and challenges inside it though and use that as part of its main plot. The strong points that made Kado the right answer such an excellent anime in my opinion was its interesting theme and the fact that it made use of real world problems as part of it, strong story that provoked questions about the current world, excellent characters, Excellent animation and voice acting.
First thing to address is the theme of the show. The main theme of the show apart from contact with an alien race also lies inside the realm of negotiation and diplomacy. At the same time, another thing that was part of this series theme was the gifts that the main villain provided that was designed to help humanity as a race overcome some of the challenges that they currently face. The inclusion of real world problems like energy, time and transporting objects I felt was really interesting and the way that it was revealed to humanity was both intelligent and well done as the thought that any of the three problems that beset them and limit them can be dealt with these gifts will surely find a lot of people who is willing to use them. The main theme of this series however is undoubtedly that of diplomacy and negotiation which I felt was interesting and was a well-designed move on the creator’s part. In animes that feature contact with beings from either parallel dimension such as this one or aliens from other planets or galaxies the line largely lies with either fighting a war to defend the planet or forcefully integrate their resources into your own race with diplomacy largely being ignored or at least seeing limited use. As such it was actually pretty refreshing to see that this anime’s main theme while also dealing with aliens makes use of diplomacy as its main theme. Though like most people I have limited knowledge on the concept of diplomacy and negotiation I felt that depiction that negotiation is built on a degree of trust that was shown between Shindou and ZashuNina was really well done. Watching the two of them gradually learn about each other and at the same time cooperate to create gifts that would benefit humanity as a race while also forging a bond built on trust was something that was nice to see and begs the question why isn’t this concept used more in anime. I felt that the diplomacy side of things in the anime was pretty well done and was a pretty accurate portrayal of how negotiations between parties actually take place even though this party to which Saraka and Shindou talk with is far from anything that both have encountered in their careers. A real game changer there lol.
The overall story of the series is another strong point and was one that I felt was done really well. In line with the main theme of the series the overall storyline focuses on first the introduction of the alien being to the world via his most dramatic entrance on to the planet by literally landing on one of Japan’s busiest airports followed by his gradual reveal of what he was and what he represented. The gradual evolution of ZaShuNina’s role from that of an unknown life form to that of a major celebrity and then to his reveal of the gifts that he is willing to gift to humanity I felt was pretty well done. The concept of using the relationship that he has forged with the government of japan and use this to determine the challenges that face the race as a whole I felt was interesting and played alone with the theme of diplomacy as diplomacy and negotiation is always focused on understanding what the other party needs and providing what they want versus what you yourself want from the. The gradual transformation of this relationship as well as ZaShuNina as a character I felt was pretty well done. Arguably the transformation of ZaShuNina from a benign alien being to one that proved to be a scheming and manipulative alien being that had his own nefarious plan was also well done as was the twist of Saraka’s identity as well. Indeed, transformation and twists also changed the dynamic of the story near the end but in a good way I think. One thing about the overall story that really interested me though was the fact that ZaShuNina’s entrance and the effects that he has is not limited to Japan on its own and indeed affects humanity as a whole. As a result, when deciding on his next moves ZaShuNina and Shindou had to consider the larger effects that bind the world namely its structure. In the world that we live in its easy to see that even as a race humanity is not united entity and that we are divided in both culture, countries and borders that are unique to each country. Though logically it can be said that ZaShuNina and Shindou could have used international organisations like the UN to get the gifts to the people of various countries there also lies the next problem. Humanity as a race is as diverse as a rainbow that while also giving us strength and unity also creates problems like greed and control and points to the fact can these governments and organisations really get the gifts to the people and not hog them for themselves. Its issues like this that really make the story worth investing in as it provokes some really interesting views on the world that we live in. With regards to this question I loved how they actually ended up bypassing them entirely and solving the problem their way. The true purpose and plan of ZaShuNina’s however doesn’t come into play until much later in the series but it was done in such a way that it really could be said to be one of the best twists that I seen in an anime for a long time. The clash of ideas and convictions that served as the main plot in that part of the series I felt was pretty well done and loved how Saraka and Shindou’s relationship as well as their shared beliefs were used as the main plot here. The clash of ideas between them and ZaShuNina was something that I was looking forward too and was something that was excellently done.
There are a number of things that I felt really stood out in this series with the first being how well thought out and how well executed both the twists in the story and the plans to counter them were created. A great example of the latter is the last plan that Shindou and Saraka used to finally put a stop to ZaShuNina in the end. The thought that they had made use of the same tech that he himself had created for his plan to engineer his destruction was funny and had no small amount of irony to it as well. The ending fight which led into the ending itself I felt was pretty well done and demonstrated the fact that when humanity and the anisotropic being work together they can even beat someone as formidable as ZaShuNina. Though the cost of victory was indeed high I felt that as a race humanity can still learn to advance but at a suitable pace and not losing sight of what makes them human.
It’s been a while since I seen an anime that in addition to having an excellent theme and story as well as excellent characters and voice acting was able to provoke some really interesting questions that I had never once thought off. All in all, Kado the right answer was really one of the best animes for this season because it was intelligent and made use of real world issues in a way that only served to enhance its main plot line. The core lesson for Kado the right answer is naturally that while advancement in tech is important whats more important that that is that we should never lose sight of our own unique identity that makes us human when doing it. And probably not trust every alien that shows up on the planet as well.