Image source: アニメ クロックワーク・プラネット on Twitter

Clockwork Planet continues on its brisk pace, with the intrepid gang of rather unique protagonists guiding us through its mechanical world.

The four main protagonists are each highly skilled in some particular area, and they often split into two pairings: Naoto is the guy with super-hearing, able to pick out a wonky gear in a faulty mechanism, while RyuZU is his robotic servant, loaded with weapons, and special “bullet-time”-like abilities.

Conversely, Marie is a genius engineer with almost-superhuman skills, both technical and physical: For example, she is able to throw special screwdrivers like darts, which will then proceed to tighten a screw in a hard-to-reach area. Protecting her, in turn, is Halter, an incredibly strong, agile man with seemingly-cybernetic enhancements, who functions as her bodyguard and also as a partner of sorts.

[This article contains spoilers for Clockwork Planet.]

Within this hodgepodge of a team, the character of Marie herself is worth a look because, although she has a very high social status as the daughter of the Breguet family and heir of the company, yet at the same time she also seems the most capricious, underlying some very child-like traits.

At first glance, Marie looks very much like a young child, and in a way—despite being sixteen—she is. She is something of a prodigy, and her achievements very early in life have led to a prestigious position putting her in charge of teams of adults. Conversely, her personality is actually somewhat “tsundere,” in the sense that she appears rather petulant at times, but soft and perhaps even vulnerable at other times.

Image source: アニメ クロックワーク・プラネット on Twitter

These two conflicting sides are kept in check through the interactions with the rest of the group. But when Naoto appears to perish during a battle with another automata (a robot like RyuZU), Marie’s personality gradually goes down a trajectory we have not seen before. Immediately after Naoto falls, seemingly to his doom, into a void-like pit, Halter grabs Marie and proceeds to flee to safety, to Marie’s protest. Here, he acts as the voice of reason, trying to convince her that there could have been no escape from that oblivion; thus, the priority of the moment is fleeing, since Naoto cannot be saved. Later that night, Marie lies in bed in a depressed state, prompting Halter to encourage her in an interesting way. He reminds her that she is but a child. “If a young girl cries like the young girl she is,” he says, “nobody would complain.”

This is notable as an acknowledgement that a child prodigy is still a child, and is not expected to immediately adhere to all the norms of the adult world. It is an interesting and rare occurrence with such types of characters that their childlike-ness is, instead of either being played for laughs, or used as a symbol of innocence and purity, and therefore a driver for a more honest moral justice (like in Tetsuwan Atom/Astroboy), is rather seen as a virtue which has the power to absolve them from responsibility.

Image source: アニメ クロックワーク・プラネット on Twitter

But after she comes to the realization that perhaps Naoto sacrificed himself to save her, Marie does exactly the opposite of Halter’s advice and instead of simply crying like a child, actually goes full-on terrorist. She breaks in to an office and tortures a government official (the governor of Mie) while threatening to murder his family, in the hopes of gaining more information surrounding a deadly, secret underground weapon. (Oddly, Halter is not shown as harboring much objection to such an outlandish move.)

Eventually, she learns much more than she expected to, and uncovers the terrifying truth that her previous endeavors to save Kyoto may have led to an even worse fate, this time for the region of Mie. It might be next on the government’s “purging” agenda.

This “expectation to behave like a child” driving her to act even less like one, and instead turn to horrific measures, is not only an interesting character trait, but also a testament to how much she needs to be balanced out and grounded by the rest of the team. Halter will usually talk some sense into her—or at least break up the commotion when she is fighting with Naoto or RyuZU—and similarly, Naoto’s calm analytical skills will sometimes mitigate Marie’s irrational, emotional outbursts.

Image source: アニメ クロックワーク・プラネット on Twitter

All in all, the team functions together as one well-oiled machine, almost like the titular “clockwork,” and the loss of one or more members leads to a crumbling of this delicate balance.

Clockwork Planet is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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