Clockwork Planet

A thousand years after the Earth is destroyed and then rebuilt as a massive clockwork-and-gears mechanism, Naoto Miura is a brilliant but eccentric engineer whose acute senses enable him to detect problems at the heart of even the most complex systems. Naoto dreams of one day entering the Meister Guild, the international corps of engineers responsible for maintaining the systems that keep this mechanical world operating; but one day, his life is changed when a beautiful young woman literally falls out of the sky and into his arms. But this woman – named RyuZU – is not a person, she’s an automata; and she’s not just any automata, but a member of the Y series, the original automata constructed by the near-mythical creator of the reconstructed earth. But far from being the fulfilment of all Naoto’s dreams, encountering RyuZU immediately places him in grave danger as hidden forces move to stage a coup d’état and overthrow the balance that has kept the world running for the last millennium…

Based on a series of illustrated novels by Yuu Kamiya and Tsubaki Himana, “Clockwork Planet” was produced by animation studio Xebec and aired on Japanese television in 2017. A notable example of the “clockpunk” sub-genre of speculative fiction, “Clockwork Planet” has a visual style that combines mangaesque character images with impressively detailed cityscapes in which the mechanical nature of the world is brought to the fore. The narrative arc is a little patchy – possibly the result of trying to reduce a more complex storyline from the novels into a simpler tale for the 12 episode anime – and the motivations of the main antagonist remain unfortunately opaque. Equally unfortunate is the annoyingly juvenile sexual humour – reminiscent of Benny Hill at his most puerile – that works its way into too many episodes, reflecting some of the weirder fetish aspects of Japanese pop culture. Nonetheless, “Clockwork Planet” is an entertaining tale with a fascinating premise which, if you don’t take it too seriously, constitutes the kind of popcorn viewing that will help fill in a few empty hours on a slow weekend.

© Text Copyright Brendan E Byrne 2020. All rights reserved.