Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ando Lloyd

Kimura Takuya plays the dual role of genius scientist and futuristic android doppelganger in a CGI-laden science fiction series called, Ando Lloyd. Set in what appears to be an alternate version of present day Tokyo, the series takes on a clean, modern visual style which makes it feel different yet oddly familiar. With elements culled from a medley of works about sentient beings and technological determinism, it's a show that takes great pains to capture every bang and crunch of metal with aplomb while being totally oblivious to the importance of a coherent storyline.

Viewers get thrown into the thick of the action, making the series a high octane robot sentinel/assassin-battle extravaganza full of snazzy special effects, slow motion fight sequences and decorative fillers. It's the prime time equivalent of a tokusatsu with a bigger budget and pool of stars. But unlike its meager counterpart, the harried presentation of a back story and the aseptic relationship between its characters, rob Ando Lloyd of its tell-tale, mechanized heart. Things progress at such a rapid rate in the show without much rhyme or reason that viewers might even be justified in requesting permission for  its atomic disposal.


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As the story goes, Matsushima Reiji (Kimura Takuya) is a genius physicist who has made a breakthrough in his research on time and wormholes. He's come up with a theory that has given him access to the future, specifically, information on the place and time that certain people meet their deaths, including his own. Unable to alter the sequence of events, Reiji dies vowing to protect his fiancée, Ando Asahi (Shibasaki Kou), from the same group of assassins who got him. In his stead, an android dead ringer rises from the year 2113. Its mission is to keep Ando Asahi out of harm's way, under instructions that keeping her alive would significantly impact the future.  

Along with a cheeky repair unit called Suppli (Honda Tsubasa), the said android performs its task with unmatched certainty. Things, however, get complicated once its presence is discovered,  forcing it to assume the role of Reiji in front of a terrified younger sister (Oshima Yuko) and an inquisitive detective (Endo Kinichi). This proves especially problematic since it doesn't have any regard for the life of other humans, much less their feelings. 

The threats to Asahi's life keep on coming, while elsewhere, an unknown foe dispatches another android with higher technical specifications to watch and wait for an opportunity to eliminate Reiji's proxy. 

It sounds amazingly simple and forthright but the presentation of this story about how an android becomes the embodiment of love's transcendental nature is anything but. Ando Lloyd is such an ambitious series that it tries to pack in an unbelievable amount of detail and embellishments to a universe or mythology that is underdeveloped. A lot of the special effects utilized is indeed impressive for a television production but they're no more than accommodations---integrated to showcase the jdrama's coolness factor even at the expense of numerous continuity errors.

In this makeshift world, androids can wreak havoc and destruction without the notice of the general public, they can bend and break one moment, then inexplicably bleed the next. Equally puzzling is that human consciousness can be stored in a microchip even a hundred years after their physical death; much more, androids get decimated and miraculously resurrected without a backup system using a 3D-printer situated inside Reiji's desk drawer and a temporary OS upgrade can be triggered using an intra-cardiac injection, when in theory androids don't even have a cardiovascular system to speak of.  

The series looks and feels like it's written on the fly, operating under tractable rules, causing the viewer to raise questions, of which there are no satisfactory answers. The explanation provided to the compound question of why Asahi is so important to the future of mankind, as well as the why and how an android was utilized to protect her, comes off as hackneyed, sentimental blubber. In addition thereto, the love story in it doesn't really take root given Reiji's sudden departure. It takes five episodes before supporting characters are given something to do and another five episodes to sort out the main villain's agenda. And while it might be fun to see Kimura Takuya prop up and fall down like a broken toy without blinking, the whole cast is somewhat wasted in this because the whole project--- despite its gloss and energy---doesn't really make a lot of sense.



  1. It's been awhile since I visited! I've been remiss. I actually covered this series in its entirety and you are very spot on. You have a great way with words that I wish I had and really capture the heart of the problems with this drama.

    There is still so much that really doesn't take sense. Yes, it's Science Fiction, but as they said in a certain Elijah Wood movie, they concentrated too much on the fiction part and forgot about science. What was with this odd plot and ANDROIDS that bleed? Maybe I just mix up cyborgs and androids. There were a lot of great actors, but you are right in that they really were wasted in a drama that essentially made no sense.

    Oh, there were some funny moments and cute moments, but it was a pretty hot mess with a plot that didn't know where it was going.

  2. This blog is not regularly updated so I cannot fault you for not visiting more often. Unlike before, I can no longer seem to keep up with the latest dramas. I apologize for the late reply, this post was buried under a lot of draft posts that were never finalized. Thank you for your nice comment.

    I agree that there was hardly enough science in this show. Its such a shame though since it really looked expensive (the FX people really worked overtime) and it had a popular cast.