Shards of Summer: Code-E

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With many of this summer and spring's hot shows finally going into their final phases it's time to play catch-up with some of the overlooked shows that have been tagged as watchable, to see if they turn out to be hidden gems or just a lump of coal after all.

Code-E is first up on a list packed with comedy and magical girl shows, and so for once the romantic show stands out in a typically harem crowd. I won't deny my tastes. This show practically defines the word "overlooked", as its presence is next to none with only 3 pages on Animesuki and little to no blogs following it.

Why? A few reasons. Code-E is another original concept and so it can't easily draw in people who were fans of corresponding visual novels or manga. Many people don't have time to watch the trailer for everything, so usually the only possible hook for shows like this are word-of-mouth and summaries.

The plot summary seemed passable, if not a bit basic. The genre's put down as "comedy and romance", which really almost seems to be code for "show is like everything else." If you think about it, there's a LOT of comedy shows. Romance shows are dime a dozen as well, although the non-harem variety seem to be slimming as well.

The supernatural premise of the heroine, Chinami, being able to emit electronical pulses - although it's not under her control - seems novel and different.

And, well, for overly moe judgemental people like me, all they needed to say was "meganekko + dojikko + romance". Sold.

But is this one that should be returned to sender?

Code-E made it's debut with the roaring sound of a pin dropping on the floor. Most of the people who watched the first episode and blogged it thought it a rather forgettable show, with a slow first episode with not much content.

Or noses.

As usual, being Eternally Optomistic Blogger Man, I find it hard to pan the series so hard based on the first 25 minutes of it. It's not world shaking by any regard, but it can definitely be classified under "watchable."

Although, it is true that really, nothing happens. 90% of the episode is watching Mysterious Transfer Student Chinami panic her way around school while trying not to short out the entire place.

Not to mention, apparently the only thing different about being twenty years in future is that everything's convienently electronic. C'mon, where's my teleportation, flying cars, and telepathy? Perhaps this isn't a show that's that sci-fi, and as such the setting and funny powers like that won't be overly important.

On the plus side, what we saw in the other 10% of the episode introduced some interesting premises that I haven't seen in a bit. There's plenty of characters show n in the story and the intro, and I look forward to seeing how they set up the 'conflict' in this show, if any. It might not be a 'good vs evil' thing but more a 'girl vs herself' type thing.

Chinami is a character with, as a stockbroker would put it, a lot of growth potential (not like that!). She seems like the type with very little self-confidence, probably stemming from her uncontrollable ability. The secret to taming her electric potential appears to be controlling her surprise, as she seems to let off more current the more gets unnerved, such as at the end of the show when pretty much all panic broke loose. I look forward to hopefully seeing her mature over the episodes into an assured, self-confident character.

The techy guy who, uh, 'confessed', to Chinami at the end seems to be the main male protagonist and an interesting character. His personality is tough to pin down, unlike most of the male leads I've followed recently. He seems like a kind of genius delinquent, skipping class to go work in his awesome computer shelter place. All that technology seems to have gone to his head as he clearly isn't one of those 'good with people' things, ignoring both Random Tsundere-Type's obvious hint dropping and ignoring the fact that "being interested in someone's body" just might not come across in the right way.

I'll admit, I laughed at that line. He's not horribly out-of-touch with social life like a lot of geeky types (swirly glasses, you know the kind) in anime, but more of the good-intentions-gone-bad type. Socially naive, maybe. I like that. He does seem to have at least a passing curiosity in Chinami outside of her power - shown when he sneaked a glance at her when they got off the bus. Nice that he cares - or at least wonders about - the well-being of her.

Speaking of Random Tsundere-Type Girl With Crush On Main Protagonist, I'm not sure how she's going to factor in yet. The focus of the story seems to be more on Chinami than the male lead, and so it doesn't quite fit to have presumably two girls (you can probably count Chinami in, eventually) going after the same guy. The whole situation seems like it would be one of those Misunderstandings Happen things, which hopefully will get pulled off well for once.

There's Mysterious Quiet/Strong and Silent Girl who is always an interesting archetype, especially since from the intro's look she doubles as a shrine maiden with a bow (hopefully I'm not getting her confused with that one girl from DCSS). She seems the type to know more than she leads on.

Then there's the blonde characters in the intro, the parents who probably won't play a major role (but you never know), and Sakura Kinomoto.

No, seriously. Photoshop those eyes green and you'll know what I mean.

And that whole bit with the meteor thing seems to almost be setting up for a bunch of other characters with strange powers...

On the negative side the music was one of the duller things I've listened to in a while. None of the soundtrack really seemed that memorable - although we'll see later on when they start reusing pieces - but the OP just doesn't seem to click at all. I'm all for an instrumental piece like Tsukihime's but the one for Code-E feels like it's trying to give off more of a 007 secret agent feel when really the anime seems to be nothing of the type. It just feels sort of disjointed with the rest of the show, which is more relaxed and amusing.

Not to mention, in the OP, why don't we see the main characters...or anything interesting...for the first twenty seconds? Commuter...bus...stoplight...oh, there's the title. Finally. Strange choice, that.

The show doesn't seem to have a lot of direction at the moment, which is why I keep saying above how "it seems to be..." or "it will be interesting to find out..."; what this means is that if things are executed well Code-E could be a bit of a hidden gem, but if not, it's a lot of meh material.

I don't expect it to be another sola (which was a great if not mildly flawed show), but I hope Code-E can be an interesting original concept in a pile of adaptations. While there is always a place for great conversions of heavy-harem eroge, or amusing manga or 4-komas, something it's appealing just to have a show where you really can't cheat and find out what's around the corner.


Subs were erratic after episode 3, which is where I stopped watching it. Nothing in it really compelled me, unlike, say, Zombie Loan. Have fun catching up on it. Let me know! (:

I'm up to episode 11 (raws and Chinese subs), and this is one of the shows I look forward to every week. It does move slowly, but it has actual characters and actual feelings, as opposed to just surface pretense. And the plot is odd enough to be unpredictable. It's not perfect, but it's more interesting to me than 90% of the shows that are on right now.

Don't look for the normal hooks, however: no fanservice, no fighting, no fancy animation, and no stupid jokes. Like the opening theme (which I enjoy) it's rather old-fashioned. In a good way.

Before I continue with my comment, I'd like to point out that Jeff Lawson ( http://anime.jefflawson.net ) did mention it, and he had his own ideas about why it didn't seem that popular (he compared it to R.O.D). Might be worth you checking out.

I saw the first few episodes of it, but what really made me lose interest was the speech that the guy gave about what science was "for". It just seemed really silly, of course.. that's no good reason to dismiss an entire show, just because of one character, but it's obvious he was the love interest so if I found him annoying, the show probably wouldn't do much for me.

Like hashihime said, the subs are a bit eratic too, mostly done by 'anon' now. I may give it another go after reading this post.

P.S. I should probably clarify, when I said that he compared it to R.O.D, I meant he compared it favourably, but he just said that the anime community as a whole seemed to be veering away from shows like that.

Owen: Yay for anonymous subs. XD Hopefully the quality will be high enough.

Haven't taken a look at Zombie Loan since I'm not even sure what gender it's targeting. The premise sounds interesting and has shades of Tsukihime (in the main character) but I'll probably only pick it up when I run short on anime.

Hashihime: That's what I've been hearing a lot of, that Code-E is a very old-school style anime. Luckily all those hooks you mentioned don't appeal to me drastically so I'll have to look forward to the next few episode.

Anon: Read up on Jeff Lawson, and he didn't seem to mention it a whole lot. Haven't really watched R.O.D. either so can't speak of any comparisons to that.

Will agree that the male protagonist is bordering annoying; he seems good-intentioned but his naiveity/density is almost becoming cliched at times.