Anime Review: Koukaku no Pandora

koukaku no pandora

If Robocop and The Terminator have taught us anything, it’s that cyborgs and androids are badass. Leave it to Koukaku no Pandora to teach us that cyborgs and androids can not only be badass, but they can also make for a fantastic yuri pairing as well~

Taking place on a leisurely artificial island known as Cenancle Island, Nene Nanakorobi is a full-body cyborg sent to live with her aunt. However, after crossing paths with a brilliant inventor (and her combat android, Clarion), Nene is swept up in a struggle for control of a rampaging robot that threatens to destroy the island and all those who inhabit it.

Year: 2016 • Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Action, Comedy, Ecchi, Sci-Fi

Bare bones is a good way to describe the story. There isn’t very much plot progression during this series, so there are extended stretches that feel like nothing more than filler. Matters get a bit more interesting in the final few episodes, but there was so little advancement earlier on that it seems like too little, too late. I’m not necessarily saying it should’ve been all action, all the time, but just something that better makes you feel like the story is actually going somewhere.

Without really knowing anything about the material of the manga, by series’ end, I’d say that there are enough loose story ends that it’s conceivable that there could be more on the way. Then again, considering how unremarkable the story was, I’m not sure that a potential second season is worth getting too excited over.

koukaku no pandora characters

Despite the fact that Nene is the main character, Clarion is the pride and joy of Koukaku no Pandora, or at least she is to me. Nene’s constant affection towards Clarion helps make her a nice character as well, but you can’t not love Cla-ring Clarion. Other than being adorable and impressive in her battle abilities, she’s also the perfect complement to Nene. As a team, they’re like the gayer version of Batman and Robin. Yeah, that explains them pretty well. The two of them get plenty of time to endear themselves to the viewers, but their uninspired escapades aren’t exactly the best vehicle to showcase them. That’s pretty disappointing, but that’s nothing compared to this next duo….

Takumi and B.U.E.R were dueling for the title of most annoying character, but they both deserve it, in my opinion. Yeah, I didn’t like either, but if I had to choose, I think I’d say B.U.E.R wins it. I think Takumi became a bit less annoying when the story moved on without her, but B.U.E.R was his extreme pervy-self all the way till the end. Bunny and Vlinda were entertaining—if for only comic relief—but I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of them. Same goes for Uzal. Lastly, the main antagonist and his motivations are pretty generic, and I don’t think he ever came across as a viable threat. All in all, there were some good and some not so good, but when it comes to the characters, Nene and Clarion are really where the bulk of the enjoyment lies.

koukaku no pandora clarion nene

You could have shown this anime to me and said it was from a few years ago, and I don’t think I would have doubted you. There isn’t really anything wrong with the visuals, they just don’t particularly impress in 2016. Something that should be mentioned is that the show is definitely on the ecchi side of things. From how Nene accesses the Pandora Device within Clarion, to B.U.E.R’s erection fifth leg, there’s no shortage of suggestive elements in this show. After what was shown in Valkyrie Drive, I guess it’s tame in comparison, but some people still might turn their nose up at the fan service. Some average-at-best visuals aren’t the worst thing ever, but if you’re looking for some eye candy, this show probably isn’t the one to provide it.

Alright, so the animation was so-so, and I think you could say the same about the sound. Almost by default, the themes were the most memorable aspect of the audio for me. Even though it lacked the sheer amount of Nene x Clarion compared to the ED, I’d say the OP was what I enjoyed most. I didn’t find the background music to be particularly noteworthy, even though the action scenes were certainly an improvement in this regard. Voice acting was fine, with Clarion’s seiyuu nailing the adorable android role perfectly. Overall, the audio is adequate, but I was hoping for something a little more memorable.

koukaku no pandora nene clarion

It’s obvious that KnP is skewed towards the yuri fans, and what a great decision that was. Nene and Clarion holding hands, them holding hands while sleeping, and just Nene’s continual embracing of Clarion are among some of the things that ratchet up the yuri score to a very healthy level. Like two peas in a pod, these two are just perfect together. It’s a bit of a shame that this show premiered in January, because I would have liked to have seen the girls included in our Yuri Tournaments from last year. Then again, as entertaining as they were, these two don’t seem to be that popular. There’s a distinct lack of yuri doujinshi, so it’s a shame that they haven’t received enough attention. Maybe I’m biased, but the yuri moments between Nene and Clarion were the number one reason to watch this show. Everything else may have been “meh”, but the affection between a little cyborg girl and an android girl is what I’ll most take away from this anime~

I have to say that other than the Nene x Clarion pairing, Koukaku no Pandora underwhelms. Even though I don’t think it’s quite as mediocre as last year’s Hidan no Aria AA, I can’t help but be reminded of that show after watching this. The story is very forgettable and the production values are modest, but at the heart of it all are two girls (albeit a cyborg and an android) that prove to be the biggest reason to watch this show. As a yuri fan, it’s easy to like what Koukaku no Pandora has to offer, but as an anime fan, I don’t think the results are nearly as positive.

STORY: 5.5
CHARACTERS: 7
ANIMATION: 7
SOUND: 7
YURI: 6
TOTAL ENJOYMENT: 6.5

koukaku no pandora

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10 thoughts on “Anime Review: Koukaku no Pandora

  1. I’m a little surprised about two things. First, I’m surprised you actually watched the whole thing, as I can’t recall you mentioning this like at all. And second, after reading many (okay only two) more or less positive reviews about this one, I’m also surprised about your end rating. I would never doubt you though 😉

    Well okay, what can I say, I dropped it after just 2 episodes, so I should probably shut up 😛

    Okay, I didn’t actually intend to do that, but… yeah, it happened anyway 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also dropped this after 2 episodes. I would have dropped it during the first but I try to always give things until episode three but I did not even make it that far through this one.

      Like

      • Had I begun watching this when it first started airing, I may have dropped it as well, but it was yuri-ish enough to motivate me to keep going and see it through till the end. It didn’t end up being that good, but still, I’ve seen worse. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • I gotta be secretive sometimes, L! I can’t let you know ALL of my secrets, now can I? It kind of makes you wonder what else I may be planning…. 😛

      And I guess you can say that I’m kind of hard to please when it comes to certain genres. But since you couldn’t tolerate it beyond 2 episodes, it seems like you’re closer to my side of things. 😛

      Like

  2. I don’t know, I personally liked it. Of course the yuri was blatant, but not to the point of being just out there, which can be annoying, and the plot could be seen as all over the place at times, and lagging in others, I think the overall feel of the show got to me.

    It had it’s funny moments, like ignoring the villain’s blatant one sided monologue, and the UI with the tech was very cool, it felt like the lighter side of what Ghost in the Shell could have become, if it wasn’t so political and dark.

    Yes it had fan service, but was tame compared to many other anime out there, and they fit it into the story, not just “Here, look at these girls, enjoy it?” They gave some of the fan service, like accessing Clarion’s Pandora Device, an actual purpose. In fact, they kept Nene pretty fan service light, and focused really on Clarion, which I guess is okay because she’s not a human(?).

    But it did bring up some ethical issues, like at what point does an entity qualify as a person, as we see the yuri pair constantly harassed because they look like “fake” people, and would B.U.E.R. count as a person, with rights as well, even though he was created. I think there is deeper meaning in this yuri android ball of fluff, if you can see past the light facade.

    But that is my opinion, and you have yours, I just thought I’d say why I liked the show.

    Like

    • It had some things going for it, but at the end of the day, the story really dampered my enthusiasm.

      Yeah, I didn’t really have a problem with the fan service, as it’s fairly light compared to some other shows. But thanks to BUER, there’s an ecchi, sophomoric vibe that kind of got on my nerves at various times. Maybe my disdain for him is clouding my judgment. Who knows? 😀

      I think bringing up issues like that is probably giving the show more credit than it deserves. Still, it’s a fascinating topic that would be great to see in other, more serious, anime. Especially with where the world is going~

      Like

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