The Winter 2016 season did not have much in the way of yuri goodness when the schedule was revealed…and then this show popped up. Was it one worth the Nation’s time? Let us find out as we take a look at Koukaku no Pandora: Ghost Urn.
Alternate Title: Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn
Genres: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Yuri
Themes: Cyborg, Ecchi
Objectionable Content: High. Show contains lewd cyborg girl on cyborg girl yuri, cyborg nudity (Occasional and uncensored due to the cyborgs not having private parts) and busty babes.
Number of episodes: 12
Plot Summary: In an age when large-scale natural disasters frequently happen all over the world, when cyborgs and autonomous robots are beginning to appear on the market in technologically advanced nations, and major world powers compete for technology and resources, the divide between rich and poor grows and the future for the poor looks bleak. In this transitional stage, everyone wanders around in a self-indulgent daze and the way out isn’t clear… This is the story of how two cybernetically enhanced girls meet.
Despite the concept being an idea Masamune Shirow, the Ghost in the Shell guy, cooked up, which was then turned into a series, the connections to the aforementioned franchise are all superficial, meaning “Oh that looks like something I saw in GitS”. The actual story, as the show made clear very quickly, is one of “girl meets girl”…which also happens to contain a lot of futuristic technology and science-fiction babble, moments of philosophical jargon here and there and a terrorist plot.
The best way I can describe Ghost Urn’s narrative and pacing is that it is similar to the likes of Soul Eater NOT! and Hidan no Aria AA: The story does contain pretty cool action sequences but they are not the show’s primary focus. Like the aforementioned shows Ghost Urn is more about the daily lives of cute female protagonists interacting with zany people and eventually getting roped into a bigger life threatening plot by the show’s fourth quarter. Throughout the show’s run small portions of the main plot are slowly revealed until the big showdown is ready to roll. When not battling vandals and ruffians our leading ladies, Nene and Clarion (aka Cla-Ring) spend their time mingling and befriending the residents of the island locale and snuggling when alone. Also like the two aforementioned shows this one too has a terrorist plot. Lastly like the aforementioned shows Ghost Urn is a “manga lure”.
Since Nene’s ultimate goal is world peace there are several moments on the show where she and Clarion discuss topics that are important to possibly reaching the nigh impossible goal, such as difference between social classes, human rights, race and cyborg laws, etc. Interesting topics worth discussing outside of the show though they all play their roles well. They are not the main focus but are not pointless either.
The action sequences, when they do happen, are all pretty good. This is a message for yuri viewers who had watched Hidan no Aria AA before this one: The fights in this show are much better.
The show’s animation quality is an interesting one. When it flows naturally it looks pretty good. On the other hand as the above image shows the characters often make manga-like facial expressions during non-serious segments. Okay even during serious segments they have manga-faces and only when the situation is extremely dire do they stick to the default animation style. It is a choice that may chase away “animation nuts”, which would be a shame if that were the reason some would scoff the show but not unbelievable.
What is believable that would chase some viewers away is the ecchi content. Particularly the henshin sequences which is initiated the way the above image shows. Viewers will have to deal with the fact that Nene and Clarion power up by having Nene touch a compartment located near Clarion’s crotch. Not a problem for yuri fans who can handle moderate ecchi content but a likely nuisance for those who are bothered by loli fanservice or breast physics, though the girls do not look THAT young. Anyway keep on the lookout. Besides that the show also features beautiful women of different body shapes, sizes and races. Yup. That means dark-skinned women. Much appreciated.
My second favorite character after Nene just so happens to be a beautiful dark-skinned woman, codename Uzal. Why codename? That is something viewers will have to see for themselves. Some of the men and women do have darker skin so do not think they are all “tanned”.
As for the soundtrack, it is decent. The OP and ED are fine. nothing amazing but not bad either.
Besides my favorite sexy scientist the rest of the cast show off what kind of anime this is, a very quirky and zany show that is packed with strangeness around every corner. I am not joking. This show is weird, deliciously weird and hilarious. From beginning to end it is best not to question what happens because it all makes sense in a show like this. Bizarro world sci-fi at its finest. So yes, the cast are all delightfully quirky. Even the cliche big bad belongs despite being uber serious. It all makes sense in a head scratching way.
Last but not least let us talk about the yuri duo of Nene and Clarion, two mechanically enhanced lesbian cyborgs (Lezborgs). Nene does a HORRIBLE job hiding her “more than friends” interest in Clarion. In fact it becomes romantic very quickly. Clarion takes a bit more time to develop similar feelings but they are there.
What makes both ladies lovable both separately and together is that alone they each have their talents to face the world with their heads held high, Nene’s cheerfulness, optimism and incredible perception hidden behind a wall false naivete and Clarion’s badassery. However, when the two are together…OP TO THE MAX! That is the power of lezborg marriage. Oh yes, they get married…sort of.
Overall, Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn is a wonderfully wacky sci-fi show starring lesbian cyborgs with a lot of futuristic technology and science-fiction babble, moments of philosophical jargon here and there and a terrorist plot. The world is interesting, the zaniness is dialed up quite a bit, the cast is racially diverse and delightfully quirky and our leading ladies get married. It has GitS references but is in no way related to it storyline-wise. Yuri fans who can handle ecchi content and enjoy wacky sci-fi that is not meant to be taken too seriously will find a lot to enjoy in this show. Casual viewers though…as usual it depends on how open-minded they are and their tastes.