This is review number one hundred and twenty nine. Its part of the Fall 2012 lineup and it’s an anime with hot dudes in it. It’s not an Otome anime, thank god. I do worry in despair about the fact that Hiiro no Kakera got another season but let’s stay on focus here. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Code Breaker and it’s a twelve episode anime about people killing with their super powers. It’s a different kind of superhero, I guess. Let’s read on.
One day, Sakura Sakurakouji is riding the bus home after school. She suddenly saw a bunch of men being burned alive with blue flames. She got out of the bus and rushed to the park only to find nothing. There were no dead bodies, no flame debris and the guy watching the men burn is also gone. He suddenly turned up the next morning as the new transfer student to Sakura’s school. Rei Ogami is a nice guy with a pleasing personality. He approached Sakura though and threatened her that if she tell anybody of the incident then he will not hesitate to burn her or her friends. Sakura got the message but then decided to follow Ogami around making sure he doesn’t kill people again. She doesn’t realize that Ogami is a Code Breaker. He is one who “doesn’t exist”.
Taking the Pants Off
Code Breaker had an interesting premise and it had a pretty nice progression for such a short anime. I write this though, and I feel a bit jaded after finishing the anime. I’m not saying that it’s bad, I actually admire the anime for doing something remarkable, but it’s just so…bittersweet I guess. It’s pretty good though because it had a cast of bishies and it was able to flesh these guys out with a decent character development. An anime with a lot of hot dudes is usually trippy because the characters are bland. This anime was actually able to give us hot dudes with a deep personality. That’s pretty rare considering how many Otome anime f*ck itself up with the same type of characters. It just goes to show you just how good an adaptation is if you have just one story to adapt. Anyways, Code Breaker is good but, for me, it wasn’t engaging enough. I find the anime contradicts itself a lot and it had a lot of raw themes with not enough emotion to convey it. It felt hollow despite being good. Yeah, that makes sense.
The anime had an interesting premise of people with super powers killing bad guys under the order of the prime minister of Japan. They’re allowed to do whatever means necessary to dispose of their target and the government is sure to clean up after them. These guys are known as Code Breakers and they function as assassins. For being such a deadly force though, they are people who “do not exist”. They’ve fallen off the grid, vanished and their identity is not known by the public. The anime is about people known as Code Breakers, their basic duties and beliefs, and a girl named Sakura who forced her way in the world of these unknown killers.
The anime had a nice idea about evil people getting their deserved justice by being killed by a Code Breaker. There was some pretty intense scenes in the first half of the anime about the ugliness of the world. The first episode featured a nice display of animal cruelty. There are episodes that portray the cops working along the yakuza, ordinary people being reduced to a wreck after massive drug abuse, secret government conspiracies and underground researches about little kids. These are all pretty grim scenes and sadly, close to reality as you can call it. It’s safe to say there is so much evil in the world that there is nothing anyone with a clean conscience can do about. The Code Breakers enter the picture then and they do only one thing, eradicate evil. Nothing is more symbolic than a man burning to death and reduced to ashes to atone for his sins. For all their evil cleansing though, Code Breakers have also embraced the fact that they are evil themselves. It’s such a neat idea that it easily intrigued me.
The first half of the anime features Ogami doing his duties as a Code Breaker. It has the basic rundown of who these people are and how they do their job. There is also a lot of time spent on Sakura convincing Ogami that he shouldn’t kill people. She would often just stand helpless though as drug lords and corrupt cops burn to their death. For Ogami, there is no gray line. It’s only black and white. It’s only good or evil. You can’t be a corrupt cop and be a loving father. No, you’ll burn and it’ll be horrific. Despite his cold personality though, Sakura still believes that there is good in him and she wants him to one day realize that.
The real plot begins in the second half where a villain and ex-Code Breaker appears and the rest of the Code Breakers gets introduced as well. The whole theme of the first half about the world being evil is strengthened in the second half. The plot was focused on the internal conflict between the Code Breakers though and Sakura’s involvement being more than just a person caught up in something secretive. I love this part of the anime because this is where a lot of the fighting between two cool Code Breakers happens and their entire purpose is being questioned. The main villain of the anime is pretty interesting as well. He is a former Code Breaker and his reason for defecting is one of the pretty interesting plot points of the anime.
The characters of the anime are pretty interesting. I saw the opening sequence and got scared a bit because the anime looks like a reverse harem. It looks like one but the story was able to steer it away from that. This is the best thing about the anime, the characters. There was enough character development and fleshing out to give the hot dudes depth and some complexity. Most bishie filled anime doesn’t even try to give their pretty faced guy some personality but Code Breaker was able to give each and every character a decent introduction. All of the hot guys have a unique personality to them that is pretty rounded. I like Ogami’s personality because he is gentle and friendly among normal people like his classmates but then he turn dark, cold and serious when he goes out killing people. He have two different personalities and it’s a bit chilling he plays both attitude well. Sakura is pretty interesting as well. She is a straight laced person who believes that even evil people have good in them. She often clash beliefs with Ogami and even though he doesn’t listen, she is headstrong and just keeps on nagging him about not killing people. In the second half, there is a pretty interesting side story to Sakura that caught me off guard and her role got a bit more exciting.
The rest of the characters play their role well. There are six Code Breakers in the anime and everyone got some decent screen time. Not everyone was fleshed out but there is enough to determine where they stand. The main villain of the anime is a former Code Breaker and I think he is pretty good. He could’ve been better though but as an antagonist, he plays his part well. There were certain things the anime could’ve done better to make him more evil but it also bothered to explore his position and reveal he’s not really such a bad person. His grand plan at the later parts of the anime was pretty amazing though.
Despite the positive aspects of the anime, I do feel that it is a bit hollow. As I said before, my experience is a bit bittersweet because the anime had a theme of “the world is evil” but I felt that there were never any convictions in the characters and they often contradict themselves to suit the situation. In the first half of the anime, Ogami threatened Sakura by endangering the lives of innocent bystanders then Ogami went on a rampage in the second half claiming that innocent people shouldn’t die. That doesn’t make sense. Even with a clear character development, he shouldn’t be so wishy washy. Sakura’s beliefs are also a bit hollow. When Ogami is about to kill a guy, she’ll scream “Don’t do that!” and I think to myself: yeah, scream louder, he’ll obviously listen to you. It was a bit frustrating hearing Sakura going on and on about how Ogami shouldn’t kill people but she doesn’t have a strong conviction about it. When someone dies, she often just stands there helpless and I think it was a wrong move. She should’ve been clawing and punching Ogami. You often never feel her hard headed belief coming through.
The anime had a strong sociopolitical stance yet the characters are so weak hearted. I feel the anime had a raw enough theme like Death Note and it just needed some really effective characters. Instead, we have weak ones with conflicting beliefs. It’s pretty annoying to watch because you hope for something more intriguing. The main villain had a nice stance at the beginning and it crumbled later on. It started out as a strong message for the rest of the world soon turned into a petty personal rebellious act because of something so ordinary. Everything else in the anime is good but it had the potential to be much better.
Oh gosh, here we are again talking about potential and all the missed opportunities. Here I am also once again proclaiming that there is nothing we can do but complain about it. The anime had a nice story, decent characters and some stand out action scenes which I guess is enough to enjoy the anime. I still think there is room for improvement because the overall experience is a bit bittersweet.
Sight and Sound
The character design is one of the anime’s stronger points. For god sakes, they’re hot dudes. The characters all have a pretty nice look to them and I love it when the characters face is focused on the screen. You can tell just how beautiful they are. I love Ogami’s face when he gets serious with his serious face and those piercing eyes. The characters all look nice that you’d mistake this anime for an Otome anime.
The animation isn’t consistent though and quality drops from time to time. The one thing that I personally hate is when the characters are shown in a distance. You only see figures with no face talking and it’s pretty bad. If it’s close up though, the characters all have nice features but then they lose it from a distance.
The fight scenes are pretty good though. There aren’t a lot of them but they are pretty flashy for what’s their worth. The later parts had a lot of the fight scenes and they do not disappoint. There is a nice pacing to them and the effects used during the fights are nicely incorporated. The super powers of the characters were nicely incorporated to the fight scenes to give us something new. I personally wish the fights could’ve gone longer but they’re all great nonetheless.
The anime’s OP is “DARK SHAME” by GRANRODEO. It’s a nice song with a rock out beat to it. The singer’s voice is very high and I love how he mixes the English words in. The OP sequence is pretty great. It features the hot guys and a little bit of the action of the anime. I think the OP had better animation that some of the anime’s parts, to be honest.
The anime’s ED is “Shiroi Karasu” by Kenichi Suzumura. It’s a nice song just like the OP. Once again, the singer’s voice is a nice stand out and the guitar riffs at the end were a nice touch. The ED sequences features all the hot guys once again and the animation is pretty smooth in this one as well. Especially the roof top scene because it’s so clear and the animation is so smoothly transitioned.
7/10 “A nice anime about the evils of the world but it sadly needed characters that can discern it.”
I think the anime could’ve been better but I really admire the way it handled the characters. There is enough her to keep you intrigued as you watch and the positives does outweigh the negatives. If you love watching hot guys w/ super powers then this anime is for you.