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[Clockwork Planet Review] Time Waits for No Machine

 
[Clockwork Planet Review] Time Waits for No Machine


 

 Introduction and Story

From the creator of light novel and anime series No Game No Life, Clockwork Planet is another adaptation of his works. Thousands of years ago, Earth was left unsuitable to sustain human life. A mysterious inventor known as Y rebuilt the planet out of gears, giving humanity a chance to survive. Now in the present, young high schooler Miura Naoto opens a mysterious box that fell from the sky into his home. Inside is one of Y’s powerful androids, in the guise of a beautiful young girl. After repairing her, she informs him that her name is Ryuzu and she has lain dormant for centuries. The two forge a connection while uncovering the secrets of Y’s Clockwork Planet and hope to save humanity from those who wish to use it for their own greed.

On their journey, they are joined by the brilliant scientist Marie Bell Breguet and her mechanized bodyguard, Halter. The two of them are investigating troublesome disturbances in the gears that are jeopardizing millions of civilian lives. While Marie herself is a genius, she is stunned by Naoto’s ability to detect and hear the most minute differences in gears throughout both machines and the planet itself. Together, the two work to save the inhabitants of the clockwork planet before the gears plummet to the depths of core.

What We liked about Clockwork Planet

The relationship between Naoto and Ryuzu is sudden, but it doesn’t feel forced. Naoto genuinely appreciates the craftsmanship present in her, as well as her own beauty. It isn’t long at all before he pushes against his own hesitation and falls madly in love with her. Ryuzu herself is 100% dedicated to him from her awakening, as she believes that only someone truly magnificent could have repaired her at all, freeing her from an eternal slumber. It’s an interesting romantic dynamic that cuts a lot of the needless fluff out of the way, and is entertaining every time it’s utilized on screen.

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Ryuzu also has a younger sister named Anchor who Naoto promptly rescues. He is instantly smitten with her cute appearance, and she immediately takes to calling him father, despite his young appearance. Naoto genuinely cares for the two of them, calling Ryuzu his wife and Anchor his daughter. During the show, he sacrifices a great deal in protecting them as they do for him. This, if nothing else, is a strong point of the show that is enjoyable when on screen.

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Discussion

Coming from the amazing series No Game No Life’s same author, I had high expectations for Clockwork Planet. At the onset, things moved as expected; Naoto and Ryuzu are introduced and instantly bond with each other. Later on, Marie and Halter meet up with the pair and struggle to uncover the reason behind the gears failing. However, many times the plot just doesn’t make sense. During the confrontation with Anchor, Naoto and Ryuzu fall into the abyss beneath the gears which is supposed to be certain death. This isn’t shown, but before they return from this fall, a pivotal scene with Gennai -who becomes an antagonist later- was revealed in a flashback. Also towards the end, the motivations and means of saving the world are mainly lost. All in all, it feels like a churn and burn adaptation. Clockwork Planet has so many serious scenes with details thrown in, but without any meaning as to what’s going on or a reason for them. If it wasn’t mentioned in pre-release information, you would most likely never have had any idea that this work shared a creator with NGNL.
 

Why you Should Watch Clockwork Planet

--Naoto and the girls
Naoto is a very likable protagonist. He’s, in fact, one of the least cowardly main characters I’ve seen when it comes to ecchi situations. In episode 1, he’s fully willing to take advantage of Ryuzu’s lap pillow when offered, and by episode 4 he’s asking her to marry him! Ryuzu herself has a sharp tongue, and uses it without remorse in both praising and belittling Naoto, with a smile on her face. She has little regard for anyone or anything aside from Naoto, so they typically receive verbal lashings. On occasion they may even incur the wrath of her back claws when they need to be threatened with violence. The two of them are an interesting pair, and throw in Ryuzu’s little sister Anchor, who no one could hate, carry Clockwork Planet wholly.
 
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Voiced by Nanjo Yoshino, a female voice actress, Naoto is quite effeminate himself. At one point during the show, he crossdresses to avoid suspicion, and enjoys it so much he keeps it up for a while. He’s endlessly amused by his own cuteness, and from an audience standpoint the only thing that really changes is that he’s wearing a skirt. The show has its moments where it’s very cute in regards to Naoto, Ryuzu and Anchor, and these moments are gems within the series.

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Why you Should Skip Clockwork Planet

--The Plot Makes Little Sense
The characters are introduced very quickly, and the motivation appears to be saving a city from its impending purge. That is resolved, but the show keeps going aimlessly. We know Naoto is interested in meeting Anchor, Ryuzu’s little sister, and for whatever reason, she has begun attacking explorers in the underground labyrinth of gears. It seems a bit coincidental from the anime’s portrayal that a lot of events happen as they do. We don’t really know why Marie and Naoto stay together for so long, they aren’t working together or have a common goal, they just happen to be the main characters of the same show.
 

The show loses its focus a few times. Towards the end, it’s impossible to track what Gennai the antagonist is plotting, and Naoto and Marie are using an unknown method to combat him. As an anime-only viewer, it’s messy at best. Action is taking place constantly, but aside from knowing what the immediate objective is, its relevance to the overall plot of the episode is vague.

--Many Unlikable Characters

Aside from Naoto, Ryuzu, and Anchor, the other characters are either forgettable or annoying. At two points during Clockwork Planet, Ryuzu is incapacitated, meaning her interaction with Naoto, which is the sole saving grace of the show, is absent. The secondary characters mainly consist of Marie, Halter and another character, Vermouth. These three really don’t have anything memorable to say or do during the show. Vermouth is a male android in the body of a female sex bot due to losing his main body to an attack by Anchor. He is constantly spewing innuendos to amuse the audience. Very rarely do they make sense, but it is very rare to see a beautiful woman with the crassness of an old man.

Marie, who has even more screen time than Ryuzu throughout the show, is just not very interesting. She often behaves like a tsundere, or at least is overly violent towards Naoto for various reasons. For whatever reason, her interactions with all the characters just seem off-putting in general. She also refuses to acknowledge the affection of Anchor, who believes her to be her mother, pushing the girl away quite harshly. Her only positive interactions are with her mysterious bodyguard Halter, which is kind of creepy seeing such a small girl flirting with a gruff-looking old man. All in all, the show just isn’t as interesting to watch when Naoto, Ryuzu, and Anchor aren’t interacting with each other.

 Final Thoughts

Clockwork Planet may have suffered from a case of poor adaptation of good source material, but it’s hard to tell from the anime alone. As a setup, it’s not bad at all, but when it starts gaining momentum, it runs wild without any structure, rhyme, or reason. From the creator of the exciting and smart No Game No Life, it stands a poor mark for an entry. Time is the enemy of us all, but it is especially cruel for Clockwork Planet.

Did you have any favorite scenes from the series? Did you like crossdressing Naoto more than regular Naoto (I mean, who wouldn’t)? Let us know in the comments section. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Writer: Hercule SSJ

Posted in Anime on July 31 at 02:36 PM

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