Weekly Digest 4/23/17 – Atom: The Beginning, Clockwork Planet, Sekaisuru Kado

Atom: The Beginning – 02

I wasn’t as impressed with the second episode of Atom: The Beginning as I was the premiere, though on balance it was still pretty decent.  Ran, to be blunt, seems like a concession to modern tastes that Tezuka would never have resorted to himself.  I realize that’s not necessarily a fair criticism in that this series isn’t claiming to be “canon” in the sense of being the master’s own creation.  But when you swim into these hallowed waters, that’s the sort of analysis you’re going to invite.

Apart from that, I still think Atom is solid.  The production values are good and as an origin story the premise seems pretty feasible.  As we venture into the realms of sentience and self-awareness, things seemed much more grounded in what Tezuka was trying to explore with these characters in the first place.  Perhaps the next several episodes are going to be a tug-of-war between these two influences, we’ll see.

 

Clockwork Planet – 03

I’m not sure I’m going to cover Clockwork Planet beyond this week, but I still can’t help but like it.  The reason is pretty simple – I think Naoto and RyuZU make an adorable couple.  There’s something quite sweet and even distinctive in their interplay, which seems like a genuinely fresh take on the sort of relationship we’ve seen anime explore many times already.

Alas, the rest of Clockwork Planet – including the rest of the cast – doesn’t seem to be on that same level.  There’s a lot of cliche stuff here, but at least this week the pacing slowed down a bit and the narrative seemed to flow a little better.  Oddly enough the matter of an A.I. having free will was at the center of this series this week, too, though obviously in a considerably more tropey way than with Atom.

 

Sekaisuru Kado – 03

As many of you may remember, it’s my practice to jot down notes on a pad as I watch an anime episode (what can I say, I’m old-school that way). Well, my pad was overflowing by the time this ep of Sekaisuru Kado came to an end – and that was just from invented vocabulary.

Is that a problem? I guess not in and of itself – it falls on the audience to gronk what the narrative has to say, and this sort of thing is part and parcel of science fiction. It strikes me that Sekaisuru Kado is very consciously trying to be “classic” in its approach, and I kind of like that about it. But it crosses over into the pretentious a bit, at least for me. There’s a quality of a high-schooler’s self-published masterpiece to all this, albeit a talented high-schooler. A lot of what Yaha-kui zaShunina has to say feels like mumbo-jumbo for its own sake to me.

Still, Sekaisuru is kind of interesting, and there’s not much anime sci-fi these days working in this arena. If it follows the accepted template the next step now that zaShunina has offered mankind unlimited power (Wam!) is for mankind to start warring amongst itself over it, and indeed the preview seems to confirm that. If there’s anything sort of distinct about this story it’s the presence of Shindo as a kind of filter for the alien/God figure, and it will likely fall to him to try and keeps things from falling apart as humanity starts squabbling over this “gift”.

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6 comments

  1. Z

    Sekaisuru Kado – 03
    Part of my mind keeps asking if Shindo is indeed still Shindo or just a construct of Shindo made from the kado. so I keep having the same sort of existential questioning in the background that I had during the Shinya Nakamura arc of Ajin. And yes, the sci-fi part of it does feel juvenile. The Japanese style negotiation is the part I’m enjoying, even though that too seems like it is probably “less than accurate/over simplified”

  2. Z

    “Part of my mind keeps asking if Shindo is indeed still Shindo or just a construct of Shindo made from the kado.” So close!

  3. Series like Atom and Young Black Jack make me crave an actual modern Tezuka adaptation, although since all of his works have been mostly adapted there isn’t much chance of that…

  4. PLUTO

  5. That feel when we’ll never have Pluto.

    Though… apart from Monster, I can’t name any other Urasawa anime from the top of my head… Maybe it’s just that no one dares to try?

  6. …And then I actually look and hey, Yawara. Hundreds of episodes. Oh, Master Keaton. Super famous and renowned.

    But after Monster… nothing.

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