What They Say:
The entire world is stunned when a massive alien structure appears out of nowhere and absorbs a commercial jet. Fortunately for mankind, ace negotiator Shindo Kojiro is onboard the plane and bravely confronts the being which calls itself zaShunina. Though he seems to come in peace, zaShunina incites tension between nations by sharing incredible gifts that humanity may not be ready to accept.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English track gets the 5.1 boost, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec.The show is one that’s very much focused on dialogue with little in the way of anything resembling action. We do get a few tastes of it but that’s nowhere near the focus. The dialogue is what drives things here and there are some creative uses to it, from how it operates inside of the KADO as well as through various screens and other methods. Placement has some really nice moments here and there and the movement of a conversation is well-handled. It’s a show that’s just not going to stand out in this regard but it’s also one that succeeds well as you’re easily drawn into it with the incidental sounds and the score while the dialogue puts you in the midst of it all.
Originally airing in 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes are spread across two discs in a nine/four format. Animated by Toei Animation, the CG series is one that works really well in this form and shows the continued progress of how CG characters are being done. The show works largely real world settings other than the KADO itself and there’s some really good detail to be had and some great color solidity when it comes to the KADO and its shifting nature. The materials are problem free in terms of noise and solidity and the end result is a very clean looking show that lets the details stand out while the color design draws you into all the weirdness and the simplicity of numerous scenes.
The packaging for this release brings us a slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case with an o-card that replicates the case artwork. The front cover uses the familiar key visual of Yaha-kui walking through the crowd that has a few other main characters in the mix. I really like the way it uses the background image of the government building and the looming KADO further behind that, but it’s obscured here with a soft approach compared to the original key visual that had more color to it. The character designs stand out nicely and it has an interesting look with the costume design. The back cover goes with a minimalist approach that has some of the cube-like elements soft in the background while the main piece is the premise itself that’s covered clearly. The extras are clearly listed as is the way the episodes are counted. A few shots from the show adds a bit more color and we get a clean and easy to read – plus accurate – technical grid. No show related inserts are included and the reverse side of the cover is kept to a simple grayscale variant on the KADO.
The menu design for this release goes with a very simple approach that includes using the same piece for both discs. The static screens uses the front cover artwork but eliminates everything except for the three main characters with Yaha-kui in the center. The look of it is certainly good as the character designs are strong and the colors work really well with some nice vibrancy. It’s also a bit subdued since we get the logo and navigation strip done in shades of gray that’s not often used with Funimation’s releases. Navigation is simple and straightforward with it being easy to move around as the main menu or as the pop-up menu during playback.
The only extras included with this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences. The 6.5 episode is here as well which is a recap of the first six episodes.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
An original series that aired during the spring 2017 season, KADO: The Right Answer is a thirteen episode series directed by Kazuya Murata with a screenplay by Mado Nozaki. With CG animation by Toei, the series is one that wasn’t going to capture a lot of people just for the style of animation but it’s one that I think really worked well for it here. Original stories tend to get my attention a bit more anyway and this one, with a zero episode that sets some of the stage with our understanding of the lead, hit a certain sweet spot for me. It’s a dialogue-driven piece to tell its story and it reminded me of more serious films about first contact such as things like Arrival and Contact. There’s a lot to like in exploring how both sides interact with each other in such instances that can go any number of ways.
The show revolves around Kojiro Shindo, a government employee in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that’s known for his exceptional negotiating skills. Shindo has that kind of very controlled and analytical feel about him but he’s able to balance that out with the creativity of doing the right thing to move people and society forward as opposed to the more cutthroat side of hack and slash government. The zero episode is a critical piece to the story in the end but at the start it works to show him and his partner Hanamori as they deal with negotiating the closure of a metalworks facility. There are hidden reasons as to why they’re assigned to it and the goal of it, none of it nefarious, but it’s intriguing to see how invested Shindo becomes in an outcome that works out well for all parties and society in general with what’s produced.
The real focus of the series is when a giant glowing cube descends out of nowhere to land at the airport with a plane that Shindo and Hanamori are in. The massive cube does no damage but it begins the first contact with humanity and something not of Earth, which is why Shindo is ideal to be trapped inside. It’s a fascinating first thirty hours that happens here as we see the response and planning side to it, especially when it’s revealed that Shindo has taken to a kind of negotiating position with the being inside, a newly formed humanoid creature that names itself Yaha-kui zaShunina. The first thirty hours focuses on Shindo and Yaha-kui getting some basic understand of this space that they’re in and some of its properties and how it’ll take thirty days to fully process the 252 passengers from the plane so they can go back into the world itself. It builds some neat ideas there but the real draw is in watching how Shindo engages with Yaha-kui.
The thrust of the series is simple from then on as we learn that Yaha-kui is an otherdimensional being that has come here to help advance humanity to the next level. The worldwide geopolitical implications are handled well at the start while apan becomes the focus of events as they learn that their country is just an ideal place for those from this other dimensional can interact with this one. It’s brought about in amusing form when the first meeting happens on the tarmac at a negotiating table under full cameras and lots of light at night and phrases like “bread” are used to describe the special thing that Japan has over other places in the world. With Yaha-kui revealing that he’s part of the anisotropic place and the end goal is revealed over time that he wants to help accelerate humanity to being a part of it. There’s a neat twist and fuller reveal that comes in the last couple of episodes that ups the scale of events in a direction I love but that’s not the focus of the series in full.
What it wants to do is work through the challenges of introducing new technologies to humanity to try and bring them to a better place. With a view of borders being outdated and a view of humanity being one that needs to unify, Yaha-kui introduces things like the unlimited power source in the Wan devices that would alter everything in what could be done, though plenty view them as incredibly weapons of war worth going to war after. We also see ways that humanity can move forward with versions of themselves they can access that would eliminate the need for sleep as well as the ability to control and alter mass and gravity. These are all huge game-changers to how humanity operates and exists and while it doesn’t showcase it in a big way it is something that’s touched upon several times, particularly in the negotiating aspect and in seeing how Japan handles the United Nations.
Again, there is a bigger play here with the reveal of what Yaha-kui is looking for but it doesn’t devolve into gunfights or using weapons of mass destruction to deal with him. It’s very much a thinking person’s kind of show with what it wants to do and that’s thoroughly engaging – even if I think it’d work better as a novel because of how information is presented. The series has a lot of appeal for me in how it approaches things and I really dug the character designs and the overall approach to the animation. And that, for the most part, it avoids inserting an unnecessary romance in the mix. It’s the kind of series that plays to the Japanese side with its government well in showing how it handles a crisis, which we’ve seen in works before that can run the gamut. But it’s appealing just to see a show dealing with a big crisis that doesn’t involve teenagers.
KADO: The Right Answer is a show that I’m a bit sad that I missed out as a weekly series but also glad that I got to binge the whole thing and enjoy it as a singular experience. It’s the kind of series that I wish went bigger in showing the ramifications around the world but it handles more of it than many shows do and it plays it all on a thinking level as opposed to rash action and incredible distrust constantly. It’s not wholly realistic of course but it leans very hard in that direction. It’s a great looking release with a solid dub and a standard package that will please fans that want to own it and revisit it regularly.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: April 24th, 2018
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.