I finally figured it out: this is the kind of show you’d get if Hayao Miyazaki directed a show about hackers. The most obvious clue, of course, are the Mojos, who are almost exactly like the dust bunnies from Totoro and Spirited Away:
Then there’s Kyoko, the little girl, who behaves much more like a real little kid than in most anime (though…they are starting to overdo the whole “poop” thing–just like a little kid would!). Miyazaki is famous for his believable and loving depiction of young children, which again was particularly strong in My Neighbor Totoro. I wonder if the main pair of sisters in this show was in fact explicitly modeled after the two girls in that movie.
This episode introduces some more complicated and potentially darker aspects that are promising: though, I did kind of blanch when the Encoder, Yuko Amasawa, turned out to be no older than the main characters and joining the class. She was hitherto depicted as seeming much older, and in a similar kind of role as Kirima Nagi in Boogiepop Phantom. It almost seems too coincidental and convenient to have all three in the very same classroom…but aside from that, the next episode looks even more interesting as it appears the girls start a computer club of some sort, perhaps to compete with the Investigating Agency run by Megabaa. Maybe they could call it the Homebrew Cyber Club or something. <–massive computer nerd joke/reference. We also now understand something better about the significance of keyholes, which, probably, is going to take on some sort of metaphorical significance eventually if this show heads into Lain territory like I think it will….
….especially with the kind of director we have at the helm. You see, through Wikipedia, I learned a little bit more about the director and creator of this show, Mitsuo Iso. He was a key animator on several Studio Ghibli projects, including Porco Rosso and Only Yesterday–which explains the Ghibli-like flourishes in this show. Also, he was responsible for most of the digital effects in RahXephon, in which he also wrote and directed one of the most notable and moving episodes of that series (specifically, ep. 15, “Childhood’s End”), and helped write one of the more clever episodes of Evangelion (“Lilliputian Hitcher”–which, with its focus on organic networks, computer evolution and hacking, shares some common themes with Denno Coil!) That track record makes this a lot more promising than I even thought before…I’m definitely going to be following this show with interest.