Series Review: Code-E

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"In your body...in your body...I have a great deal of interest!!"

Code-E was the little one that couldn't.

It certainly was a hopeful to be the underdog show of the summer, a little secret known only to a few that could enjoy the slow yet purposeful motion of the show, and the endearing yet not overly moe characters.

It was a solid entry into the common field of romance slash comedy shows that managed to get a good piece of slice of life into the mix as well.

Code-E centered around a girl named Chinami Ebihara who, aside from being a mysterious transfer student, had the uncontrollable power to release electromagnetic waves when she was flustered. It was a relatively novel premise and with a mysterious cast including a Quiet Girl, two comically inept German spies and some guy with a pocketwatch, Code-E certainly had the chance to impress.

And it did.

For the first few episodes, perhaps. Then it hit a sophomore slump that nearly every romance anime has to get tangled with; the falling of the main characters for each other, a tricky task to pull off in a believable and refreshing manner.

Nevertheless, Code-E worked out of the hole in the closing stages, introducing an overarching plot and building up to a thrilling climax.

And then, in a sense, it stopped. Because it was over...

(Disclaimer: Hot drinks are hot, and spoiler-filled recap posts contain spoilers after the jump.)

Many anime leave us clamoring at the ending credits for just a few more minutes, a few more episodes. This is usually because we are particularly in love with the series and we don't want to see it end. In Code-E, we need more because it's not over.

Well, it was. But not with any closure at all. The final episode felt like it should have been the penultimate one, or maybe the 3rd from the end. But certainly not the LAST one.

Code-E has always been called kind of an old-style anime and I suppose in the conclusion that's true more than ever. Remember back in the days of romance shows like Cardcaptor Sakura where you'd have to wait the whole series (~40 hours) just to FINALLY get the confession from the girl?

Well, as you may have surmised from actually watching the series, Code-E true to description does save both confessions for almost the very end, splitting them with a fake death sequence, which, amazingly, also smacks of the end of Cardcaptor Sakura (2nd movie).

And then some music plays, the helicopter comes in, the credits roll and we skip forward to the usual Normal Life After sequence. Which isn't too horrific yet.

Until you realize that, outside of Chinami x Kotaro, nothing really was resolved.

(At least I felt the confessions were done well. I enjoyed Kotaro's confident-as-ever look)

First: Mils, crushed by random falling rocks. Is she dead? Injured? Out without a scratch? For the comedic, barely serious duo of Mils and Adol, it seems almost cruel to have actual Bad Things happen to them.

Second: Guy with pocketwatch. What was he researching on? What was his goal? What is his name?

Back to the Brinbergs: I'm sure they had some evil motive as well, y'know.

And what about Yuma? Her past? Her backstory? Her powers coming back?

Why did the powers come back?

All sorts of questions. Supposedly the story was to continue in the Code-EX manga, which I assume would resolve some of the holes, but that's a cop-out of epic proportions. I prefer my stories resolved in the current form they're in, thank you very much.

The ending episode, in a sense, hurt the series a lot mainly because it didn't "end" very much at all. The series was really kicking into gear with all the buildup, introducing Guy With Pocketwatch, the head of the Brinbergs, and evolving the characters of Yuma and Chinami. And then it sort of cuts off. I feel like I should be writing about The Sopranos.

Other than that, Code-E really had promise. I've said time and time again that I like the characters, and it's still true. They feel like they could be somewhat believable characters as opposed to 1D sheets.

Chinami is a meganekko of the clumsy regard, and while she does clout into things a lot, it's not so much of a comedic afterthought as a genuine trait. She's shy and has low self-esteem but you can certainly see her warm up to the people around her.

Yuma is your typical Quiet Girl Who Learns to Like People, but I can't really find too many complaints with her character. Maybe it's because I have a soft spot for this type, but also because of the inferring that one can do on Yuma's past - how she locked herself away and is finally learning to really show emotion again.

Kotaro was annoying for the first few episodes, but when he stopped using the phrase "your body" every other sentence he seemed like an above-standard protagonist. His socially naive yet energetic/confident personality felt more at home in a shonen anime but having it transplanted here worked fine as well. Maybe it's the backlash from months and months of spineless characters.

Sonomi was somewhere between a childhood friend and a tsundere, two dangerous personality tropes to get stuck in. As such I regard her as one of the less interesting characters. She certainly has the heartwarming, if not typical, development of stepping aside to let the main couple through, but sometimes I wish she just tried a bit harder at the end. I'm always an advocate for A Confession in Every Person.

And as a plus, Chinami's parents decidedly exist, and even have most of an episode to themselves, along with dedicated screentime. Adults are a race quickly becoming extinct in anime, but Code-E manages to hit all age groups relatively well.

There are a few other hitches with Code-E aside from the ending, though.

Continuity and confusion are two of the more harming ones, although they're not horrific.

Some of the plot twists at the end didn't make much sense, such as Kotaro's explaining to Sonomi that he only spends time with Chinami for her body (i.e. EM powers). He doesn't seem like Makoto the type that would stretch the truth to placate people.

Or how about the fact that in 2017 (20 years later? Someone can't do math.) nothing has changed except for the fact that everything conveniently uses electricity.

Also, near the end, despite all the stuff that was getting pulled on Chinami, somehow we'd start out the next day with her being perfectly normal, at least for a little bit.

More holistically, the music and graphics in Code-E were average, for the lack of a better word.

The electrical effects (both the static and the funny slow-motion things at the end of the first few episodes) were pretty nifty looking but otherwise nothing stood out graphically, aside from the fact that people had no noses from the front. Not a major detractor, anyway.

The music had some memorable pieces, if only because oddly enough some of the background music was recycled from the OP and from the eyecatch (or vice versa). But again, nothing spectacular. The OP, I must admit, grew on me after a while though. Instrumental pieces, they never disappoint.

In the end Code-E feels like it'd be one of those shows that embodies the phrase "budget ran out," taking a big piece out of the storyline pie and only finishing about half of it. Which is strange, because as mentioned on AnimeSuki it was slotted for 12 episodes the whole way.

It can't possibly be too bright of a move to have a totally original story take two forms of media to complete. It's just not established enough to make a backwards jump, especially given the underdog status of Code-E. Even sola, which is getting a visual novel produced for it (can someone confirm this? I remember hearing it but can't find the proof), managed to have some decent closure on it's story.

Code-E is still what can be called a good romance show, and certainly a great throwback to those tired of the moefests and harem shows of today, who want a simple yet surprising story. It's just that it could have been so much more, could have worked so much better if there was just another 25 minutes to it.

Maybe it's that we complain the most about what we love best. In that regard, my dissapointment with Code-E should be a compliment.



It definitely feels like it was cut short at the last minute, and probably against the wishes of the creators. There are so many obvious loose ends that it's the simplest explanation. Somebody in Studio DEEN is probably very unhappy.

I also don't like it when, like with .hack, you need multiple media to complete the story.