Aired: Jan 2016 to Mar 2016
Also known as: Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn, 紅殻のパンドラ GHOST URN
Summary: In Koukaku no Pandora, two young cyborgs cross paths on a cruise heading towards the stunning Cenacle Island—a popular tropical destination that not only offers world-class vacation luxuries, stunning scenery and services, but also cutting-edge technology. During their short voyage, the two are somehow able to create an unconventional friendship. However, their fateful bond is soon threatened when an unexpected explosion, upon arrival, brings about chaos on the island.
Nene Nanakorobi, a young and bubbly cyborg who wants nothing but universal peace, tries to overcome her fears to find her new friend, Clarion. Postponing her initial plan to visit the island, she courageously faces her limitations and weaknesses in order to save her buddy because that’s what friends are for. Can Nene and Clarion find their way to each other again? Will they be able to stop (or even find) the bringer of disorder? Or will they be destroyed in the process?
Review: I think I’ll save everyone time if I start off this review by listing why one might consider this show a bust. It’s not exactly Gokumi’s magnus opus.
The animation is actually pretty bad until there’s an action scene (which is the opposite of what I’m used to, but I digress). In my opinon this show has three levels of citizenship in regards to its citizens (by which I mean characters). If you’re either Nene, Clarion, Uzal, or Takumi, you are never shabbily drawn (but Clarion sometimes becomes a cat silhouette with eyes to play off her skittish nature and the fact that she has cat ears). If you are a named character, your features are not as well drawn, but you still definitely resemble a character. If you’re a nameless mob character, you will look like crap.
If you dislike perverted mascots that are also not cute, BEUR might ruin the show for you. While he does play an important role in the story since he’s the Central Nervous Unit for a huge weapon of destruction, he dominates many episodes with his stuffy, lecherous remarks. Plus his fifth leg looks…weird.
In fact, the whole show is defined by very sexual imagery. Nene gets to become an instant expert at virtually anything by accessing the Pandora Device. In order to do that, however, she has to finger Clarion (well, Clarion is actually just letting Nene access to something-or-another in her body through Nene’s F-port, which is her finger. But it really does look like Nene is fingering Clarion). This happens almost once an episode at the very least and the almighty Pandora Device nearly always saves the day.
The bulk of the yuri comes from Nene fingering Clarion, but there’s a few hugging and hand-holding scenes. Actually, some of Uzal’s thugs are seen acting very friendly towards one another whenever a huge crisis is averted, but I don’t even remember their names since they were such minor characters (save one particular thug who everyone called Bunny despite that not being her actual name).
At any rate, Nene is overly affectionate and touchy-feely with kuudere Clarion, who initially merely tolerates the physical intimacy. There were also “fanservice scenes” but since they are both full cyborgs (which means their human brains have been implanted into cyborg bodies), viewers are basically just seeing naked robot bodies. Nothing to censor or complain about here, folks!
A lot of the character kept remarking how incredible Nene and Claion are, and I can’t deny that. Their abilities are put on full display many times throughout the series. It just makes me wonder how screwed the island and the plot would have been if our main characters were less talented and exceptional.
As for the rest of the characters excluding Nene and Clarion- most of them were rather boring or one-note. Oh, little girl with a prosthetic leg has her first crush on her doctor. A reporter idol from the countryside keeps trying to make it big but she’s incredibly unlucky. However, three other characters, Uzal, Takumi, and Robert, were slightly more interesting.
Unfortunately Uzal disappears early into the series and communicates via pre-recorded messages throughout most of the series, so we’re down an intruiging character! But we still have the flat-as-a-board and self-proclaimed rival of Uzal, Takumi! Her self-interest causes a lot of problems throughout the series and her verbal tic becomes annoying by the 5th episode, yeah? But at least she’s entertaining.
Meanwhile Robert is a good military officer who is unknowingly working for the antagonist of the show. You can count on him wrapping things up after Nene and Clarion do most of the work!
However, the villian, Ian, is kind of flat. I don’t think we learn his goal or motive until the very last episode. I’m glad he got what was coming to him since he was just very boring.
Speaking of which, the last episode was super chaotic. All these sudden developments happen and the viewers are supposed to accept the flimsy signs of foreshadowing in previous episodes as hints. It was a race to the finish line for that particular episode, I’d say. The pacing in the other episodes were decent enough, though. The episodes didn’t felt particuarly rushed or had extraneous scenes, so I’m not sure what could have been to work out the kinks in the twelveth episode.
If all of that didn’t scare you away, well, now here’s why you might want to consider watching the show. The sci-fi elements of the show were alluring. I found myself wondering what it would be like if I lived in a world where cyborgs and prosthetics are common. I bet everyone would be suffering from viruses and glitches due to porn, wahaha.
The writer definitely pulled all the stops in regards to gags: toilet humor, girls suddenly having extremely detailed and masculine faces while they try to do something, abrupt stylistic changes in general, slapstick humor (the poor reporter and BEUR), black humor. You have to give that kind of effort credit, in my opinion, even if you don’t consider the show to be great or particularly funny.
The story also had Nene learn some interesting aesops without becoming too preachy. She’s just a young girl in a cyborg body, after all. The OP and the ED, by the way, were very catchy. They’re definitely going on my playlist so I can work at my desk without getting too bored. The instrumentals didn’t particularly stand out, but they did their job.
It’s a light-hearted sci-fi yuri show with many flaws. More flaws than strengths, to be honest. If you turn off your brain and watch it, you may find the show to be enjoyable.
The ending left the possibility of a second season open (plenty of loose ends, as well), but it seems rather unlikely at this point of time.