Nene Nanakorobi is a special girl, one of the lucky few to be able to make the transition to a full-body cyborg. As she makes her way to her aunt’s house on Cenancle Island she catches the eye of an inventor, Uzal Delilah, who takes notice of how special she really is. Through this encounter Nene meets Clarion, Uzal’s combat android, and quickly forms a bond with her. Together these two girls will work towards accomplishing Nene’s lofty goal of world peace, but not without encountering a bad guy or two.
The back of the box of Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn proudly proclaims that it’s from the mind of Shirow Masamune, yes that Shirow Masamune, the same person who birthed Ghost in the Shell. Do not go into this one expecting anything resembling that classic title. The only similarities between the two is that cyborgs are somewhat common in the worlds they’ve built for themselves.
Right off the bat viewers will know that they’re in for a completely different experience. The main character Nene is a ditz with an upbeat, positive attitude. She is quickly paired up with Clarion who is as mechanical as an android can get. This is a typical setup with one type of characters there to balance the other one out. It also attempts to use the disparity in personalities as a comedic lever. Nothing innovative to see here.
The plot doesn’t do much to help its case, either. It starts off by throwing Nene into an action-packed situation, seemingly setting the tone for a more adventurous affair. However, the anime quickly transitions into slice-of-life at what seems the drop of a hat. This segues into Nene using her various abilities in daily situations to help people in need, so she can get closer to achieving her lofty goal of world peace.
The jarring turns aren’t done there, though. The last three episodes quickly try to integrate a sinister storyline that is brewing in the background as all the happy=go-lucky moments are happening. This leads to what feels like a rushed conclusion, where a group of bad actors are stopped just in the nick of time. Although it’s hard to feel that great about the ending when the bad guys are barely given any screen time throughout the series.
This anime even manages to bungle its fan service, even though it felt as if it would be an important aspect of the show from what’s seen in the first episode. It namely relies on delivering the goods when Nene synchronizes with Clarion, and the process is starts when Nene slides her fingers into Clarion’s…abdomen? Sure, we’ll go with that. It ends up being a bit awkward and very much a disservice to viewers.
Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn comes in at 1080p courtesy of Funimation. It has a variable bit rate that mostly stays in the low to mid 20Mbps range, while dipping into the upper teens. The only slightly noticeable anomaly was some light color banding. It mostly likely won’t be caught by most viewers.
The English language track on this release is delivered in Dolby TrueHD 5.1, while the Japanese language track comes in Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Neither audio track stood out more than the other, so viewers should choose whichever they’re more comfortable with.
The extras in this release are rather anemic, although not surprising considering the quality of the anime itself. Viewers will get the clean opening song, clean closing song and some Funimation trailers.
Ultimately, Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn just couldn’t get it together. Its story is disjointed, it’s characters aren’t at all interesting and it couldn’t nail the comedy it was going after. It would be far better to watch this streaming on Funimation’s website before deciding to add this to the collection. However, if you need to own everything with Shirow Masamune’s name then you can pick it up here.