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  • Joined Jul 6, 2016
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Clockwork Planet

Jun 24, 2017

Clockwork Planet is bad. Really bad. I daresay that there will be others who disagree on this point (I've watched some REAL SHIT which has its enthusiastic fans, and I don't necessarily mean to dissuade them from their opinions) but leave it to Xebec to, on this occasion at least, create a series which is simultaneously derivative and which sabotages its own potential.

On the face of it, Clockwork Planet has a fun but silly premise; after a scarely-explained apocalyptic event, the world is rebuilt from scratch, in cog-and-gear form, by the mysterious Y. Some time later, an automaton with a hot female body crashes through protagonist Naota's cieling and, using his auditory skills to find the problem in her mechanism, fixes her. She becomes his servant, and the two eventually meet a young meister (person who does gear things) and her bodyguard, who enlist them in stopping the military from dropping an entire region of Japan into the core of the planet. Under other circumstances, this might make for a simple but entertaining series full of clockwork people fighting other clockwork people. A more ambitious team might even pick up on the themes of authenticity and embodiment which the show occasionally picks at before putting them down abruptly in favour of more shooting at faceless robots, and endless repetitions of the word 'master'.

These aren't other circumstances.

Essentially, the show feels about eight years older than it really is. Events, character motivations and visual elements seem cobbled together by focus testers who seem to have taken the idea of working together bits and pieces, cog-like, to heart. Everything is here, from an inexplicable beach segment to a little girl character who seems to have little to no personality beyond being 'cute', but who paradoxically seems LESS cute because the show tries so hard to make you think that she is. From the animation style to the gross oversexualisation of most of the female cast (RyuZu forms a contract with Naota by enthusiastically sucking his finger, for some reason), everything feels cheap and tacky. Attempts to engage in dark or psychological matter end up seeming forced and are dropped so quickly in favour of robots shooting blandly at each other that they're almost not worth bothering about. In one scene, one of the female leads has a breakdown in a lift in which she shakes, punches things, laments and laughs uncontrollably within the space of what feels like ten seconds, which might actually be the most Clockwork Planet thing about Clockwork Planet; things happen quickly and without much thought put into them.

There's not a whole lot else to say. The MC feels dime-a-dozen, the kind of sort-of-perverted, actually-genius, optimist-to-the-last young boy protag who you've seen countless times already and wasn't great in any previous iteration. Most of the rest of the cast is uninteresting and forays into the realms of romance prove unconvicing at best, creepy at worst. Among other things to look forward to are a bizarre radio transmission which accuses a young girl of having a 'sad hole' in need of 'cocks', a villain who (again) might have been an interesting look into concepts of authenticity and humanity elsewhere but who is sorely underdeveloped, and a lack of any kind of real emotional investment, leave this as possibly the worst so far of what has actually been a pretty disappointing year for anime up to this point, IMO.

Tl;drClockwork Planet seems like it might be a bit of silly fun but is actually misjudged when it tries anything new, and dull and derivative at every other turn. Bland characters, bland villains and an ultimately woeful experience. Avoid.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
2/10 overall

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