Hey, Kaushik here with another review. This time it’s Code:Breaker, a 2012 series done by Kinema Citrus. A story about a girl and a super powered assassin. Pretty simple. Kinema Citrus is a fairly new studio, but they’ve done some series I’ve enjoyed, such as Yuyushiki and the currently airing Barakamon. Code:Breaker aired from October to December 2012, for a total of 13 episodes. It’s based on a longer-running manga series that ran from 2008 to 2013 for a total of 26 volumes, making it pretty long. Obviously it’s close to impossible to cover 26 volumes worth of content in 13 episodes, so the anime is only covering a small portion of the manga story. I’m only familiar with the anime series though, so I’ll be covering it from that perspective. Without further ado, let’s go~
A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment
This is one of the first series I watched from start to end without any preconceived notions going in. I’d never heard of Code:Breaker, and picked it up almost on a whim. My initial thoughts upon finishing the series were not very positive, but looking back on it there are definitely some elements I can pick out and say I definitely enjoyed. Let’s start with the plot.
The story to Code:Breaker is pretty simple, and struck me as a little tired. The main character is a girl named Sakura Sakurakouji, the daughter of a Yakuza head. She starts out as just your normal girl (who of course is perfect in everything she does) but is soon revealed to be a rare existence, as Code Breaker powers don’t work on her. The main hero is Rei Ogami, a super powered assassin from a secret organization called Code Breakers, who seek to bring justice to those the law generally cannot. They answer directly to the Prime Minister of Japan.
Sakura’s original intent with Rei is to try to reform him, as he’s a killer and she believes everyone is capable of reformation. That’s the focus of the first few episodes, but as Sakura goes through some of Rei’s missions with him she realizes that the world isn’t really painted in the black and white she had originally envisioned. People have a variety of reasons for doing the things they do, and just because people do evil does not make them necessarily evil. These are the hard facts Sakura learns in the early episodes. The plot later transitions into a larger story arc which involves the past of the Code Breaker organization, and a Code Breaker who went rogue.
The story for this show starts tired and cliched early on, and as the plot develops and the show hits its primary story arc, a little bit of that is lost. Still, at the end of the day it still feels like a story I’ve heard many many times before. Secret government organization, normal girl suddenly surrounded by attractive super powered assassins, normal girl manages to change the antisocial hero into a more loving guy. Something about all of these points bother me, and while I can’t give you any specific examples of shows where all these kinds of plot points happen together, the way Code:Breaker presents them to you breaks no molds and comes off as pretty generic. There were some strong moments in the plot, particularly when Sakura was confronted with the fallacies in her black and white worldview. Nearly every other interaction was either boring or cringe-worthy.
A lot of what bothered me in this show can be summed up by the two main characters. Let’s start with Sakura. She’s described as something of a “perfect” girl. Athletic, powerful, sought-after, beautiful, intelligent, she literally has it all. Worshipped at her school by men and women alike, she immediately struck me as annoying. Her personality outside of school is somewhat simple too. She’s a strong believer of justice, and believes good and evil to be a 2-sided issue with no in between.
On the other side of the coin is Rei. Somewhat antisocial, definitely rough around the edges. He’s dark and brooding, and accepts himself as a killer. Sakura’s goal with Rei is to reform him into something of a productive member of society, and while she doesn’t have too much luck on that front, she does manage to change him into a slightly more personable human being. The relationship between the two is another cliched point of interest, with Sakura trying to be forceful and Rei trying to stay this dark and brooding persona, but really a little softhearted inside. It just becomes annoying after a while, honestly.
As far as the art and animation go at least, there’s not much to complain about. I’m not entirely used to watching blu-ray versions of shows, so when I do watch them (like this one), it’s still kind of shocks me how good it looks. As far as 2012 anime goes, nothing about this show wows me. Ogami’s blue flames always look cool, but most of the action is pretty average at best. The character designs as well are pretty uninspired. Rei and Sakura in particular come across as pretty generic-looking, which I suppose is a testament to their personality. The music is also pretty okay. The opening theme is called “Dark Shame” by Granrodeo. Dark Shame is exactly the kind of song I’d think of applying to this show, even though I generally enjoy Granrodeo. The ending theme is “White Crow” by Kenichi Suzumura. Not a huge fan of the ending theme, but I do like the opening theme a decent bit.
– Some of the morality discussion was engaging or interesting
– One or two of the side characters were interesting
– Plot is tired and cliche
– Main characters are tired and cliche
– Very little in the show presented well
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Chief Director: Yasuhiro Irie
Character design: Yukie Akiya
Music: Takayuki Hattori
Original air: October 7, 2012 – December 30, 2012
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