Some anime aspire to greatness: ambitious themes, epic sagas, references to literature, religion, and mythology. And some shows, like Code-E, are the wallflowers of the season: seemingly unassuming, modest, soft-spoken and having few goals but to tell a decent story with decent characterization. Just like, in a way, its bespectacled protagonist, Chinami. She wants nothing more than to handle her walking EMP-bomb powers and to understand the bubbling feelings inside her for Kotaro. The show’s job is to simply take us to those destinations with her, and it does so with imperfect charm.
The Read or Die team strikes again with another show featuring a megane-ko. This one, though, looks like it’s more focused on the humor in the plight of Chinami, the bespectacled protagonist, with the promise of quirky romance.
I actually first tried this show out several weeks ago, when only the first episode had been fansubbed. I put it down after 5 minutes–it was slow and I was in a hurry to get somewhere else. The premise didn’t seem all that interesting to me–a high school girl who gives off EMP waves when she’s agitated and disrupts electronics around her? I should have seen the first episode all the way to the end, as I did when we showed it at our last anime club meetup. I then would have realized that the relatively sedate first episode is really just setting you up for one of the very best punchlines I’ve seen in a good while. It rivals the last line of Full Metal Panic Fumoffu in sheer, succinct humor.
Chinami, as a protagonist, is cute–she’s definitely Yomiko Readman’s little sister, and Yomiko is the patron saintess of humanities geeks like me!–but the nature of her power forces her to be rather passive as a character. She spends a good amount of time either running away, or being “experimented” on by the computer/science geek who is shaping up to be a potential love interest. Sooner or later Chinami needs to learn to harness her powers, and it looks like it’s heading there with the arrival of a blond German couple who are interested in using those abilities (probably for evil).
One of the more appealing things for me is the plausible near-future technology, especially in the school. The show is set about 10 years in the future, and overall the future doesn’t look all that different–the main thing that stands out is the even greater ubiquity of LCD panels. The entire classroom blackboard, for instance, is a LCD computer panel (we see its boot/BIOS screen several times), as are gym scoreboards and even the floor layout; live TV is on the bus and train schedules are posted on screens. Class attendance is taken entirely electronically as well. I remember my reaction was, I want all this stuff when I become a professor! (Which, if all my plans work out, should be in about 10-15 years, the time frame of this show.)
Plus, I can’t forget the awesomeness that is Kannagi’s machine room. It looks just like the machine room I worked in when I was a sysadmin at University of Maryland–rackmount servers, rows and rows of Blinkenlights. The computer nerd side of me says: must…acquire…this…awesome!
Of course, a world with ubiquitous LCDs and computers is a nightmare world for Chinami. Kawaisoni!
This is an interesting, if low-key, comedy that I’ll keep an eye on. It may even replace Hayate as my regular comedy watch if that show continues on its rapid descent into endless mediocrity. Maybe, if the creators decide to go the route they took in R.O.D. the TV, we’ll even get some real action and drama too by the end of it. That’s always a good thing.