Image source: 「正解するカド」公式 on Twitter

How many times have we gone through the same motions and tropes in movies and TV shows involving aliens coming to Earth? You know the drill by now, an unidentified flying object or spacecraft of some sort comes to this world, aliens declare conquest of the planet and demand control of Earth’s resources, so it’s up to the righteous humanity to stand together and send these monsters back whence they came.

The inherent sense of justice within humans is never really discussed; it’s instead accepted as fact. The motivations of the “invaders” are not focused on in any depth, and any inner struggles or differences of opinion within that group are rarely depicted. It is often the richness, diversity and innate good of human beings that triumph against the faceless, expressionless, emotionless killing machines that are coming to take our home.

You will be relieved to know that KADO: The Right Answer is not like that at all. Instead, KADO takes a different, more intellectual approach, taking on a more realistic angle at what our first contact with alien visitors might be like, and—perhaps more importantly—what it might mean for humanity. It not only presents the initial establishment of relations with outsiders, but it also depicts how our already-precarious international relations may be thrown into disarray because of such contact. Nobody is infallible, and nobody is inherently righteous—it is up to each of us to communicate, work things out between ourselves, and find the best way forward (the titular “right answer”).

We follow Kojiro Shindo of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a man known as a “tough negotiator,” as he, along with over 200 other passengers on an airplane are sucked into a mysterious cube that suddenly appears on the runway at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Inside the cube, he encounters Yaha-kui zaShunina, a being from outside of this world who has taken human form. The mysterious cube is revealed to be the KADO, an object capable of connecting this universe to other planes of existence, with technology far more advanced than anything imaginable on Earth.

Image source: 「正解するカド」公式 on Twitter

As opposed to just blowing away the aliens with a Hollywood-style “Welcome to Earth!” KADO: The Right Answer attempts to give a less kinetic, yet still suspenseful, outlook of this first contact. There is some juxtaposition and foreshadowing in episode zero, before the KADO arrives, where we see Shindo pull some smart negotiation skills to come up with a coalition between the researchers and government investors to develop a new metal, bringing about a win-win situation for all parties involved. So when it comes to an unknown “alien” entering the scene, it is interesting to see how his skills are applied to that situation and how much resistance there will be, what the bargaining chips are, and what can be considered a worthy sacrifice.

Even during the first contact, some form of establishing equal footing is required. We see how zaShunina struggles to find a method of communication. First he appears to cause Shindo pain by sending out some strange telepathic waves that prove too much for the human brain to take. Then he opens his mouth and attempts to make sounds, but they are nonsensical until they form something close to words in human language. This can also be seen as a form of negotiation in a sense: We must first understand each other and be on equal footing before we can make any kinds of discussion.

The next step is that zaShunina appoints Shindo to be his envoy of sorts to the outside world, namely the Japanese Government, so that they can begin to hold a meeting and negotiate the procedures of getting the passengers off the plane, out of the KADO and back into society. zaShunina wants these talks to begin as soon as possible, so begins to suggest a time frame beginning in minutes, then an hour, two hours, and eventually settling on three hours, as per Shindo’s expressions as to which is most appropriate.

Image source: 「正解するカド」公式 on Twitter

This highlights a continuing trend. Though we may know very little of zaShunina, his world, and his technology, we do know that he appears to be willing to learn of ours. He is not completely confident in getting his message across without any obstacles, so he needs somebody to act as a proxy. He is finding his way around the systems of diplomacy through the guidance of Shindo, whom he trusts. And Shindo gladly takes the position of negotiator on the side of zaShunina to make a deal with the outside world, interestingly calling his job “localization.”

At one point, zaShunina is described as being “more like a natural phenomenon than a human being,” which makes us think that the real negotiation here is between humans themselves, rather than humans versus aliens. Indeed, zaShunina arrived unannounced, as an earthquake or hurricane would strike without warning, and it is up to us and our mutual cooperation to deal with the after-effects of the impact.

Image source: 「正解するカド」公式 on Twitter

This time, we are already seeing potential for conflict in international politics, as zaShunina provides Japan—and only Japan—with a seemingly-infinite power source known as the “Wam.” Needless to say, as far as the international community is concerned, this is akin to one country hoarding all of the nuclear weapons in the world, and the UN passes a resolution demanding that Japan give up its ownership of the Wam. Thus the struggle is not with extraterrestrials; it is with ourselves. What is the right path to take?

The key topic in KADO is about negotiation skills and diplomacy. It forces us to think about the greatest good for the greatest number, as it were, rather than simply defeating our opponent.

KADO: The Right Answer is currently streaming subtitled in English on Crunchyroll, and dubbed on FUNimation.

Comments (2)
  1. Obviously, this anime must have been being worked on for a while, likely well before the movie “Arrival” premiered, but its definitaly a close cousin to the same concept.

    Given that this is far more singluar sounding at the moment, with a single KADO in Japan, it will be interesting to see if their biggest struggle ends up being that no one trusts the humans inside the KADO because of, you know, corrupting alien influence or some such.

    Thanks for the good intro to the show’s conceits!

    • Thank you!

      Yes, this has been in production for a really long time, because even as early as 2015, the first promo video was already completed and being shopped around to potential investors for serialization; you can view it here: https://youtu.be/1JFRmFp4s60

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