First Impressions – Koukaku no Pandora: Ghost Urn


Let’s take a trip back to the 90s

 I quite honestly think that this show has a little bit for everyone; action, slapstick humor, wry – yet oddball – social commentary, and all in a very bright little retro package. But I guess It can’t really be for everyone everyone….sooooooo…..
I’m not gonna dance around this, I have to just come out and say it. Koukaku no Pandora is a show about finger banging a loli cyborg for world peace. WOW.

You can’t be disappointed if you don’t have expectations

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Samsura// As a general rule I like to know as little as possible for my anime unless I already have experience with the source material. So all I knew about this show was it has the minds behind Excel Saga (never watched) and Masumune Shirow (who cycles between making introspective works of science fiction and straight up porn; and you better believe the is some overlap between the two). I knew there were gonna be robots, cyborgs and lolis. Aside from that I was going in blind. So when I say this episode blew my mind, well I think you might know where I’m coming from.

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We are introduced to Nene, a full body Cyborg who is a master of what appears to NOT be a Nintendo DS. The circumstances that led her to become a cyborg haven’t been explained, but I’m pretty sure it involves her not having parents anymore. She meets Uzal, a (probably) mad scientist who is either funding terrorists or fighting against them and Clarion; another full body Cyborg with cat ears cause Anime.

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They go to a paradise island that is both a super high tech city and a super classy resort. And Nothing can Possibli go Wrong. Then building start blowing up and a bunch of HIDEOUS looking robots start threatening Nene and company.  Clarion unleashes the Pandora device which allows her to be super strong and a force to be reckoned with.  I can’t call the fight visually impressive, since the show is trying to be funny while the fight is going on, with the weird poorly drawn character shtick.

Being generous, this show is funny maybe 20% of the time, the gag where Nene is putting together the gun flawlessly while saying “I can’t shot nobody” was pretty great.  Other gags like the reporter chick falling off boats and buildings just falls flat for me….No one?  Fine I’ll move on. Clarion gets damaged in the fight, so Nene needs to power up and beat down the cosplay terrorists (don’t ask).  And to do so she needs to access the Pandora Device, which she does so by Finger Banging Clarion (I wish I could say don’t ask).

The show has already done this twice in one episode, which leads me to believe this is going to happen many more times before the episode ends.  Look, I am 80% certain this method of power-up came directly from  the mind of Masamune Shirow.  I could literally feel the gears in my mind screeching to a halt at the half point of this episode.  Getting over my initial shock, all I can say is if this is your gimmick Pandora, FINE.  If you want to be the cyborg variety of Valkyrie Drive I want stop you or watch you.  I can confidently say this show is not my cup of tea.

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Well, I’ll just be packing my stuff and going then!!!

Cute Cyborgs Doing Naughty Things

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skylion//  To be honest, not to much happens plot wise; but then not much really needs to. Which is good thing, as most shows that have a complexity to them often misspend a first episode on front loading the cour with way to much information anyway. Nor does Pandora fall over itself cramming the screen with too many characters in a vain attempt to make sure everyone had a Wikipedia-tight intro right off the bat. Method and a bit of madness was enough to paint the characters the way they needed to be.

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We have some names, we get some opposition, we don’t exactly know which side is good, which side is bad, nor do we know if there is such a simple binary. Which is a hallmark of both Shirou and Koushi stuff. We know one side is kinda nuts and the other side is even nuttier. The nuttier, the more fun they have, the less nuttier the more stable and maybe even evil, but in the end we all crave stability, and there is always a price. Which is probably what Cenancle Island and Vulcan City is fighting for and about. So who’s nuttier? Well, the race has just started…

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Uzal, Nene, and Clarion all have enough of an established personality base to work off of, and all three seem to work well both with, against, and off each other. The opposition, who can’t decide or not whether to fully commit to their GitS like robots, look to be daffy enough for team rocket, yet serious enough to be a threat if they tried a bit harder. No one looks to be faffing about, as they all cut into the show giving us a clear idea about who they are. Which is critical, cause in a 90s show, they loved to set you up and drop the floor out from under you about 2/3 into the production. That’s part of that time period I remember most. Funny and slapsticky, until it gets seriously weird, or weirdly serious….

Nostalgia Boom

skylion get’s a bit cranky despite the cute kickass loli…

Show ▼


If I was to chart out my emotions for this show, it would be Boredom to Intrigue to Interest to SHOCK to Acceptance. I can’t include disappointment because I honestly wasn’t expecting much. If you like outdated anime comedy, almost interesting sci fi, and a shtick that puts a giant middle finger up in the face of subtly than I implore you to come watch this show. To me this represents the kind of anime that isn’t made anymore; though probably for good reason.

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Optical Camo Mode Magical Girl Mode….


I’ve been doing level best so far to hide it, but if you cannot tell as of yet, I have a clear love of both Nene and Clarion, especially Clar-ing! This is probably what’s going to sway you to once side or the other at the outset. Is there enough cute, is the cute doing enough cute things, and are they doing those cute things in a retro-90s fashion enough for you? Yes, then welcome. No, then let the doors hit your arse on the way out. I love a show that doesn’t want to slap you upside your face with how serious it is. I like it when it can give us conflicts as messy, weird affairs where the color of the hats hardly matter, and the conflict itself is called into question, where silly parroted idealism it shown to be just that. Yeah, there was Finger Banging of sorts, but that got us under the hood of this show at the outset to get into a fun groove.  World Peace won’t be what is seems, and conflicts will get sharper. I’ll be seeing ya….


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24 Responses to “First Impressions – Koukaku no Pandora: Ghost Urn”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Nekomimi – check
    Meido – check
    Illegally located repository – check

    I can now see the comments of putting things inside of her…

    *hums nekomimi meido~ nekomimi meido~*

    • skylion says:

      A person could hide some sizable assets in that port cover….if you know what I mean, right?

      • Di Gi Kazune says:

        “Shiro is 11. Shiro doesn’t understand these sort of things” *cute shiro innocent smile 0:3

        On the other hand, 3 kilos worth of TNT seems about right, though in her case, maybe 2.5kg?

  2. Foshizzel says:

    I knew Samsura would hate this after five minutes I don’t think he does the whole “cute girls doing cute things” types of anime so no surprise there.

    I dunno why but this was so much fun! I loved the 90’s vibe and it even made me think of Mahoromatic since both series have a badass maid android character! That and yes the comical elements of the dumbass reporters and goofy “cosplay” terrorists and I am totally assuming Nene’s group are evil and their brand of world peace is basically world take over much like Zvezda? Either way I will be watching more Pandora!

    • skylion says:

      Yah, it’s still early days yet, so we don’t know what the stakes are or who is fighting for what. But I would totally dig a Zvezda like vibe to Uzal’s side; cyborg maids take over the world!

      I don’t know what to say about folks that hate the show. I guess they just hate fun.

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      There is a saying: “Cute makes right!”

      Lets see if this show has enough sugary cuteness to last.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    What a horribly “meh” opener. On par and maybe even surpassing the irritating and lame Lance N’ Masques from Fall 2015. Instead of its attempts at being humorous, it just felt sad and pitiful.

    I was cold on the entire run. The developments were so childishly stupid and poorly done they were embarrassing and insulting to watch along with the flat choice of character types. From that annoying actress-wannabe announcer to the ditzy, airheaded Nene who’s too naive and trusting for her own good. Not to mention that whole world, the talk of prosthetic bodies and those drone-like machines… All were deliberate rip-offs of Ghost in the Shell that had me grinding my teeth.

    In the end, this is a show I won’t bother following this season given the way it’s rubbed me the wrong way in a handful of areas and I’m not inclined on giving it second chances. Well, that’s one off my list and darn quick, too. So I guess that counts as being impressive.

    • skylion says:

      …and yet some folks think that a split cour or 24 episodes for a bunch “accused of being vampire” and “accused of being human” charters to do FAFF ALL before walking along a beach like then actually did something interesting is pretty “meh”.

      Luckily there are plenty of shows to balance out the fandom.

      • BlackBriar says:

        The entirety of Ghost Urn’s first entry is terrible as already stated but I’ll be specific on certain points. The issues I have with Nene are half the reason I had problems with the insipid female lead of that utter festering failure I dropped like a hot potato back in Summer 2015. Which was one in a long line of unpleasant notes which made it unbearable to even try continuing. It wasn’t soon enough.

        Same situation with Gakkou Gurashi’s lead girl. Were it not for the psychological aspect brought on the whole zombie apocalypse setting, that series would’ve scrapped just as easily and sooner rather than later. Blatant air headedness combined with moe purely for the sake of it is simply not a thing I’m into. Especially in a setting that already fails to please.

  4. Highway says:

    I thought this show was pretty fun. I really like the ambiguous nature / alignment of Uzal and Clarion. Are they good guys? Are they bad guys? Do they care? Nah, they’re just doing their stuff. And they’ve got a fun new toy in Nene.

    • skylion says:

      …that would be about my only real complaint. That the one mad scientist for robots and cyborgs just happens to run across the exceptional cyborg. But most fiction is built around such coincidences.

  5. akagami says:

    This was… weird. Like a very light-hearted GiTS with moe and less political intrigue, with random gags and ecchi stuff. It’s a very odd combination.

    The interactions between Nene and Clar-ing are cute, but some of the serious bits and ecchi bits contrast a fair bit. I’m not a big fan of the mahou shoujo nekkid transformations and that Pandora port is just… yeah.

    It’s not like what I recall from Excel Saga, which I tried to watch and couldn’t (too much random). Or maybe it is and borrows some and mashes it with ideas from GiTS so I don’t recognize them anymore (like the ideas of humans going cyborgs and what makes them human, and those ports at the back of the neck (seriously, that’s a huge design weakpoint, you would think someone would make the ports less accessible to outsider)).

    One part that bothered me was the sci-fi circles popping up around Nene and her targets when she was using the weapons. I believe it’s what Nene sees, not outside observers… unless she’s projecting some special effects all over the world so others can see what’s happening.

    • skylion says:

      I can remember both early GiTS (reading some of the first manga that Dark Horse Comics imported and translated which is how I became acquainted with the rest of Shirow’s work to that point, including Orion) and Excel Saga enough. I would really say that Pandora is much closer to Dominion Tank Police in both it’s humor and it’s weird cyborgyness. But I can see how people just want to compare it to GitS and call it a day.

      Well the port on her neck is probably not accessible to just any outsider. You have to be a crazy cyborg scientist or her crazy cat-eared cyborg to get at it. As for why they go for the back of the neck. I think I recall some talk about early cyberpunk back in the late 80s and early 90s. It used to be that in the novels characters “jacked in” in ports located on the temples. But later on further generations of writer’s and artists thought that would look artistically stupid, so they started going for neck ports.

      As for the targeting displays that Nene has that we can see? It’s artistic license for us to see them, it wouldn’t look as dynamic to cut away to much, it would break the flow.

      • akagami says:

        Yeah, I get why they did the visual targeting displays, it just stood out to me as a bit weird.

        I’m only familiar with GiTS, so I can’t comment on Dominion Tank Police. Looking at Wiki, I’ve only seen the anime version of GiTS, haven’t see or read any of his other works.

        On the ports, the back of the neck is pretty visible unless you have long hair… or unless you wear a scarf around 24/7. And it’s a hard place to defend, especially when you can’t see it. Don’t want some random passerby walking by and sticking some USB into you. A stomach port would make more defensible sense, in my mind. Since you’re already a cyborg, distance doesn’t really matter as much.

        • skylion says:

          I’m pretty sure my neck port would be safe, as I wear my Doctor Who scarf as much as I can when I’m out and about. But maybe they live in a pretty safe world where, “sticking some USB into you”, isn’t thought of much.

          Shirow’s work can get really dense, and GitS is about the high end of the middle of the road. Orion is about space travel, Shinto-gods, karma and quantum physics and goes very far of the deep end, but has been hailed as being “very well researched”. DTP is written as a comedy first and foremost, using gags to highlight rather than explore all the high-minded ideals that GitS ends up mining….and it’s probably worth finding.

          • akagami says:

            But maybe they live in a pretty safe world where, “sticking some USB into you”, isn’t thought of much.

            Maybe… although that’s a pretty big risk if a quick download can overwrite your entire OS and make you different, which isn’t possible as a natural human. Granted some people are susceptible to external influence, but it’s not direct and won’t always work.

            • skylion says:

              Well, we shall see if that is a more-GitS like world than not….If it is then body-hacking is a worrisome thing…

          • akagami says:

            I think I had a comment here but spammy ate it. Except I don’t remember what I wrote so I can’t regurgitate it from memory =/

            • skylion says:

              I can’t see it in the spam folder. Did it come up in the proper section, or not?

  6. akagami says:

    I’ll probably move this down to my trial (~3 episode) list. Looks like my initial projections are being thrown around so far… stuff I thought I would like are being marked down, and stuff I thought was passable fare ended up right in my good food bucket – nothing groundbreaking, but you need the good stuff to keep the world rolling along.

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