Code breaker made me fall in love. I wanted an anime with action, cool fight scenes and lots of awesome powers. This satisfied my craving for violence while having an interesting storyline and great characters. As an anime I loved it. Then I read the manga. I still love the anime but I realize they kind of destroyed the manga. Not that they were completely different but they seemed to have chopped it up and spliced parts together to introduce all the characters even if in the manga they weren't part of the arc they decided to make into anime. Also it's over 200 chapters; this short anime had nothing on the manga. Its good but in the same way the movies for resident evil were. Enjoy the links to the game but don’t expect it to match it. Choosing to look at it from that point of view I enjoyed this anime, I even watched it more than once. I did however curse the ending so badly that I decided to read the manga (as I hadn't yet) just to find out if the ending was different (because I am so hoping it is). The ending didn’t surprise me but the romantic/humanitarian in me was not satisfied. Then again this anime is not romance based so I shouldn’t expect a happily ever after, still can't blame a girl for hoping lol.
Code: Breaker is a standard superpower shounen and one should get into it without having many expectations. Proof of which is the very opening song. It’s a nice dynamic piece, but it shows nothing besides the main characters doing a demonstration of their superpowers. No context besides that; it’s just what it seems. There is enough bravado and flashiness to keep the average viewer somewhat interested to see what will happen but in the long run it is nothing memorable or special.
You get Sakura, a high school girl in the role of Ms Pacifism. She is presented as a Mary Sue, perfect in anything, grades, sports, martial arts, and with a perfect morality that makes even boy scouts to feel ashamed. Everybody loves her, everybody wants to be like her, her life is perfect. Until a transfer student named Rei enters her life.
Rei is in the role of the Bad Boy, and has the bad habit of killing people by incinerating them with magic blue flames. Meaning, he is a vigilante who fights fire with fire, an identity hidden by everybody besides Sakura. Who, of course, will do her best to bring him back to the light side. Although the people he kills are unredeemable scumbags, Sakura is still against killing and tries with all her might to stop fights, and make sworn enemies to be friends, and is full of friendship speeches, and I WANT TO STRANGLE HER!
She is so bloody annoying and nags like an old maid all the time. You almost think she is in desperate need of a good c*** to calm the f*** down and leave people alone; jeez! And sadly the show doesn’t kill her right away because she is plot-armored with a magic barrier that makes her immune to death and a secured way to stay alive forever and piss us off for infinity. The saddest part is that the show is not about her realizing that the world is not a perfect place that can turn into a fairyland because she nags a lot. She never develops and instead tries to turn the others into irritating bitches like herself.
Rei seems cool for a protagonist at first, for being amoral and willing to kill his enemies instead of letting them go or trying to befriend them. He is also willing to kill innocent witnesses just for the sake of not letting others know what he does. Not that this is taken as far as it sounds sadly, as he gets pretty mellow after a few monologues by Ms Pacifism and turns fast into a mediocre shonen lead who just wants to protect his friends. Also, despite his awesome power at first, as soon as others like him appear, he is in constant need of getting stronger with new power-ups. Meaning, all the development you get from this guy is turning from powerful amoral youth to sappy shonen who wastes his time in getting stronger. LAME!
As for the rest of the important characters, we get half a dozen more psychotic dudes with superpowers, who have a similar demeanor with Rei, and are also fond of Ms Pacifism. And that is all you get from them; shallow ambiguous morality, big explosions, excuses for fighting each other… and the Beautiful People’s Club. Seriously, there isn’t a single ugly important character in this whole show.
Made by Kinema Citrus, a minor studio with good budgets that has created the esteemed Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and flashy brain dead fun titles, such as .hack//QUANTUM.Nothing particular great in their roster but at least they try a bit to make their works to look interesting. There is nothing bad in the show; it has fairly clean outlines and nice coloring but also nothing particular great to stand out from the lot. It’s just that most are dressed as typical high school kids, with the bishies being trendy just to stand out. There are also lots of scenes where the characters look too cartoony, crudely drawn and with stiff motions, as if the animators didn’t bother much with them.
This anime really blurs the boundaries of shonen and shojo, since the protagonist is not Rei but Sakura. The whole plot unfolds through her eyes… and damn does she have big shojo eyes. The other dudes have narrow and sinister ones, which makes a very big contrast that feels almost comical. And since they are all pretty-looking bad boys in love with her, the whole thing could easily be seen as a date sim for girls. Which is lame since it’s nothing much in terms of both the demographics it aims for.
The story is based on the manga by Kamijou Akimine, who made the very good Samurai Deeper Kyo (manga, not anime). He is good when it comes to action but in terms of storytelling he tends to kick around a lot just for the sake of staling progress. Also, despite the big build-up that escalates for several episodes/volumes, the resolution is a typical brainless superpower showdown, which is what you could get right away and it wouldn’t make any difference despite the attempts at fleshing out. Also, Code Breaker is far more basic and commonplace than Samurai Deeper Kyo, having a very typical setting and a mostly generic cast of commoners; thus far more boring despite being made after it. I mean, for how long can they stretch the “Oh she likes him” misunderstanding gimmick? Sorry Akimine, you won’t be remembered if you keep acting like that.
The directing is done by Irie Yasuhiro, who is somewhat famous for his work on FMA Brotherhood. His roster is otherwise pretty short and full of forgettable titles; the current one being not something different. Sorry mate, you can’t make a good omelet with rotten eggs.
As far as hooks go, the series is supposed to attract you with ambiguous morality, flashy action, and steamy romance. And guess what, it offers very little since there is close to no actual or meaningful development.
- The moral dilemma is completely shallow and never goes beyond “might is right”. Sakura will start by bitching about something a criminal does is bad. Then the villains will start laughing and attack. Then Rei will pop in and trash them all. BIG DEAL!
- The action scenes are very simple and short. To the most part the fighters stand still and just throw energy beams at each other, with no choreography or tactics.
- And the romance part is to the most part just fascination and big misunderstandings. Sakura stalks Rei for making sure she won’t kill again and everybody immediately assumes she is madly in love with him. This becomes a running joke that gets old pretty fast.
Even if you try to see this as a basic story, there are lots of derp moments which easily reveal poor writing and directing. The hero will constantly be killing and destroying yet nobody around him will be giving a damn. He incinerates a whole gang of thugs, and you see nobody even noticing they existed in the first place. He trashes walls and windows, and nobody cares to even ask what happened. Why is he even doing all that if nobody cares? The only one who notices all those obvious events is Sakura, and she doesn’t even have heightened senses to excuse all that. She will also be the only one who constantly yells like an old maid and trying to prevent things far above her capabilities, with her shallow morality just making you to bitch slap her. Shut up and go back to the kitchen!
The ending is complete BS. Some super villain is about to blow up Japan, Sakura nags, Rei will get a convenient power up to beat him, the villain dies with everybody forgiving him for having killed thousands… and then nothing. We are back to square one like absolutely nothing changed after such a world shaking event. WHAT WAS THE POINT OF ALL THAT?
I also am not fond of the directing, or the storyboard. Most of what happens is presented in a very crude way, too slow or unexciting. So many people die, so many places get trashed, everybody acts like a retard, and nobody seems to care. Not even the protagonists. By extension, not even the viewer. Nothing much to see here; a watch once and forget show. I suggest you watch the much similar Full Metal Panic instead of this trash.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 5/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 1/3 (retarded talking)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but dynamic nonetheless)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 2/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 0/2 (none)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (completely pointless)
CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (cheesy)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch)
Memorability 1/4 (generic and forgettable)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical)
Sound 1/2 (nice songs)
Story 0/3 (horse shit)
Characters 0/4 (irritating cardboards)
Code:Breaker for me wasn't all that fantastic but at the same time it wasn't all that bad nothing really stood out to me in amazement but it was still enjoyable to watch. For this review sound and animation will not be commented on as far as I could tell there wasn't really anything wrong with them but again nothing really sparked any excitement.
The story ran along at a reasonable pace, it leaves itself open at the end which is typical of short based anime which sucks while some other animes continue onto their three hundredth episode where the story is either becoming dull as hell or it's using filler for some pointless reason. One of the things i didn't really get was why it was some people were born with these powers and this wasn't very well explained all I got was that some people are born with it and some are not and that's that which doesn't really seem like a good explanation. Another thing which didn't really add up was why sakura was this thing called a "rare breed" There was no explanation for this and it wasn't even explained on what a rare breed was, all that seemed to happen was she could negate special abilities that these code breakers and other people may have.
Most of the chrarcters in the show were good, you had your crazy bad guys, your minions for the bad guys with their twisted motives and your good guys with their sense of justice and stuff. However Sakura kinda stuck out like a thorn in this mix up of good versus evil. She has the paragon good attitude where no one should hurt anyone and that doesn't really work when all the code breakers are all about eliminating evil, not to say that she should have supported everything they do, but it did get annoying for like the hundredth time where she shouted to Ogami telling him not to kill the person and then he went and done it anyway, Burning them to nothing.
One more thing to add onto Sakura is even although she's a fantastic martial artist in her school she kinda sucks when it came do defend herself from the villians in the show, whether if it was just getting captured or getting strangled to death by someone she really didn't do much about it.
All in all Code:Breakers should be on people's list on things to watch for action or supernatural genre types but probably not on the first page anyway.
It is slightly above average for this sort of genre. It never totally screws things up but neither does it "hit it out of the park". Though you do not get to see Rei at his best agonizingly until nearly the very end, you get a bit rewarded however, it is cool to watch but the new things you see are not exactly that extremely outstanding or significantly different than what we had already seen. It is still a fair improvement over his previous demonstrations of his powers however, but then again, it was as if they dragged it out a bit too long and too much from around episode 10 to episode 13. It was not as agonizingly long of a delay to see the good stuff as it is in Seraph of the End but it comes close. I have to penalize it a bit in a sense for dragging things on a bit too much and unnecessarily so. There is only so far you can leave viewers hanging or have a good or bad guy character sort of waiting around as if he or she were waiting a little too long to say their lines in a high school play. Early on we get treated to one of the most annoying and common buzzkill cliches, "his parents are away on business". Ugh!! Hearing that makes me want to throw a shoe at the main character. The whole good guy/bad guy grey area attempt was a bit too far down the "evil" road to really bring much sympathy for as the creators were clearly trying to do. But they fail and quite miserably. We get a bit of a voice of reason from both Rei and Sakura but then we also get confusing bits of undeserved sympathy or empathy for the pathetic jerk Hitomi. I do not know about the other grey area easily moved to evil nut jobs but I could not see anything about his side because once he crossed that finite line essentially between good and evil, then nothing that idiot says or does will make a difference. And trust me, he and his ilk did cross that line clearly and big time. I understand trying to make some emotional case of it but I just do not get nor feel a thing for anyone who crosses the line. In other words, he crossed the line to evil and doing harm to others for the sake of doing harm, despite the clap trap garbage he was spewing. His actions spoke louder than words. So the emotional scene at the end hurts the anime a bit since it is so undeserving. Shows that make too light of serious issues like death, rape, murder, or other violent crimes of that sort naturally tend to lose a few points.
Though the show does not do it to a great deal, it's efforts to create some kind of misplaced empathy works against it and as such created a few moments where such violence implied they meant nothing. The moment the enemy really loses any hope of empathy is about half way through the series when Rei, Toki, and Sakura infiltrated the facility where gruesome children murder and heartless experimentation and mutilation were committed and you actually see strong signs of it. So if that sort of disgusting behavior bothers you, then you probably won't like this series. The powers of the characters and their interesting interactions and relationships were done pretty well and proved a great source of empathy (for the main good guy characters only that is) and entertainment. The flashbacks did far more to create any kind of sense of empathy or emotion for the main villain than did the ridiculous ending scene. There were a few plot holes such as where Hitomi's henchman came from or where Sakura was before she ended up in her current home. You usually do not feature such important unresolved questions if you do not plan to address them in a story. Even more of a mystery/plot hole, is where did that henchman go? Though the voice for the Japanese version of Sakura sounded way off (at least in the ova), the English dub version worked well. More often than not, English dub voices get it right where Japanese originals do not. Though there are rare exceptions.
Honestly, it is a pretty decent series dispite some of it's glaring flaws, but perhaps one of the biggest weaknesses is the opening episodes. Spurred on perhaps by the annoying cliche, it just does not stand out enough to draw viewers in all that well. Nothing about it looks all that exceptional or siginficantly different than animes before it. It is not that it necessarily does anything wrong in the first few episodes it is more like it just does not do anything that really grabs you either. There is no real "ah ha" moment like you might see in "The Irregular at Magic High" for example when one of the student council objects to Tatsuya being added to the disciplinary committee. Sakura becomes kind of stalkerish a bit too early as well. She maybe moral and all but the logic or reasoning why she suddenly starts stalking Rei and never really lets up just does not add up. Given how she first saw him too, and the police officer's witnessing to what she may or may not have seen further add to the questionable behavior of her. The so called moment she realizes it was not a dream after meeting that gang is another oddball element. It calls in to question why she was there if not to stalk or just find trouble.
While the characters are all more or less pretty interesting on the surface they also have significant or strange flaws like Heike's weird obsession with sitting at a table all the time and reading weird stories out loud. It is weird because it does not seem to fit let alone make much sense. Even if I took it as normal, seeing him do that so often gets a bit dull and repetitive. I have to picture him carrying around a table all the time just so he can do that. Kind of a joke perhaps? While Rei gets tired if he uses his powers to much, 2 of the others do things that seem to clash with logic. Not that there is no room for it but, it kind of seems out of place when there is just nothing else about it such as no suggestion why or showing even once what the others in the group do when they get "lost". The question of how they have powers or where they come from is a tad murky as well, I was never quite sure if it was somehow supposed to be natural and exploited or if it was artificial in origin through some illegal human experimentation. I might not expect any kind of detailed full exposure but, I would expect a bit more information especially if there are weird side effects. Other than Sakura's best friend the pony tailed blonde, we only really get to know two other none powered people, the prime minister and the support lady/teacher. Oddly, given how little is explained, the mystical way magic appears in the world in the Irregular at Magic High and all that oddball convulated explanation how it works is more revealing than what is seen in this series.
The animation is decent enough but does not stand out as exceptional either. Many of the characters could almost be a template from a mix of many other shows. Namely Sakura, Rei, Hitomi, the teacher, and the pony tailed best friend (I think I seen her in Orange for example) at the least look that way. The depiction of powers and magic is slightly better than average. The story is decent but I can not say it is all that original or grand. Many of the things I seen in the show, I have seen in so many other animes it is hard to count them all. For some reason, Sakura reminds me of Yukina from Strike the Blood, though they do not look quite the same even if similar. Hachiouji we hardly get to know compared to the other major hero characters in the series. Yuuki's suddenly near flying ability almost felt like it came from a different writer or something. Sakura is the best most all around character in the show except for her strange empathy for those that do not deserve it. Rei is nearly the same character as Sousuke Sakara from Full Metal Panic except with magical power. However in the Ova, he seems like a different character from the anime altogether.
Overall the show is slightly above average within the general magic/super power type of genre even if it at times at least seems haphazardly slapped together from parts of other anime before it as evidenced by a setting with a few missing elements, the most obvious cliches, or the oddball undeserved attempts at empathy for purely evil villains and not just the main one.
Right, it's confession time for me. If you have been reading my reviews than you may have noticed that I tend to rip the anime a new one. There is a reason for this though and it has to do with the fact that I can't turn my brain off when watching anime. I can't ignore the stupid shown in the anime and this is a problem as most anime are very stupid indeed.
In this case I'm not talking about a 90 pound girl catching a multi-ton cruise missile and throwing it back. Yes, it is stupid but it is a stupid that I'll allow. It's anime. Things like this are normal here and I'm pretty much fine with it. It annoys me to be sure but I will not rant about it.
So, having explained this lets rip into this anime shall we? Just a heads up: There will most probably be spoilers. The more I hate an anime the more spoilers there will be.
ART: The art is not the problem here. If anything it is to good for this anime. It looks clear and characters are easily identifiable. The action is also easy to follow. Nope, nothing to bad here.
SOUND: Again I have no complaints. I just watched it and I'm already desperately trying to remember any songs from the show but this is, in my case, a good thing.
CHARACTERS: Main character is Sakura. She is a young girl with a very strong sense of justice and will go to any lengths to achieve it.
Ogami is a transfer student who gets placed in Sakura's class. He is a vicious killer dedicated to ridding the world of all evil.
STORY: One night, Sakura, spots a young man standing in a field surrounded by men on fire. She jumps out of the bus but when she arrives at the spot there is no trace of the young man or the burning men. The next day she is shocked to discover him transferring into her class. She decides to follow him and quickly discovers that Ogami is not who he seems. He is a government assassin with supernatural powers. Not wanting people to die she starts to stay close to him in order to prevent him from killing anyone else.
RANT: Every now and then you get the rare anime that truly fucks up almost from the start. This is such an anime.
The story is fairly simple. Good guy meets bad guy and good guy sticks to bad guy in order to keep him from doing bad things. Meanwhile bad guy has a heart of gold and slowly becomes a good guy and they both live happily ever after.
Simple right? If you guessed from the start that Ogami and Sakura will develop feelings (somewhat) then you are correct. The story and characters are certainly pushed in this direction with Sakura being the good guy and Ogami the bad guy with the heart of gold that eventually melts for Sakura.
....And then they fucked it all up in the very first episode. Please allow me to explain: Ogami coming to her class is no accident. Nope, he is send there to kill her. And he does. Or tries to anyway. The thing is that Sakura is a 'rare breed' in that like Ogami she has a special power. Nope, she doesn't start farting lightning or stuff like that but she is completely immune to Ogami's power. In fact she is immune to the powers of all the code:Breakers.
So what is the problem? Well, normally you would think that, after spending time with her, Ogami would see that Sakura isn't evil and therefore NOT a valid target. He would spare her, find out why she needed to die and become her shield.
Instead what happens in the anime is rather different. Yes, they spend time together and he quickly finds out that she is not evil. The reason for her being targeted never becomes clear but is basically boils down to this fact: Ogami gets the order to kill her and does it.
THE ONLY REASON SHE LIVES IS BECAUSE SHE WAS IMMUNE TO HIS FIRE! Every time you see them getting closer and some fan girl sarts to scream OMG SakuraxxxOgami forever! I will play the clip where he grabs her by the face and orders her to FUCKING BURN TO DEATH!
How can you have a romance story between Ogami and Sakura when the male lead tries to kill the leading lady several times in the first 2 episodes? They do improve the relationship between the 2 during the coarse of the series but by then the damage is already done. All I could see was Ogami trying to kill Sakura and I wished very strongly that they would never end up romantically involved.
Sadly the weakest part of this anime are the characters. Some things get a pass from me as the picture of Heike lugging a table across the school grounds was to hilarious for me to hate. Oh, you don't see him do it but he has a habit of just popping up in the most odd places sitting at a table drinking tea.
No, when I say bad characters I mean the main characters. Sakura is shown to be a strong independent woman who has good grades and can kick some serious ass. The ass-kicking on her part is extremely lacking though. All she gets to do is watch Ogami do stuff or play the damsell in distress. Granted she also manages to save herself at times but this is usually because nobody pays her any attention once the purpose of her capture has been achieved.
Then there is her ..... family. Sakura has a very strong sense of justice and she goes out of her way to make those who feed off the weak back off. In the first episodes she confronts a violent gang in the park who killed a vagrant and are beating up another. She goes in alone and gets her ass handed to her.
Now why bring this up in relation with her family? Well..... Her father is the leader of a POWERFUL YAKUZA GANG! When she gets home there are literally dozens of gang members lining the hallway welcoming her home. If she so much as mentioned it once at home the guys in the park would have woken up in a dumster somewhere.
It also does not explain why she seems so shocked whenever she learns about the shady part of town. Literally everything shocks her when she learns about what people can do to each other. Considering her family this makes no sense. Even if they didn't dally into hard crimes anymore there is still the fact that she lives in a Yakuza run house.
Ogami isn't free from this either. As mentioned he tries to kill Sakura on multiple occasions. Like Sakura he has a very strong sense of justice and only kills those who are evil. It is his entire reason for being. This makes it so much harder to see him trying to kill Sakura as she had done nothing to deserve it. There is no way that he didn't know this.
The villain sucks. Sadly I'm getting rather weak villains lately. No matter what the villain does he MUST have a very good reason for doing it. The villain of this anime just plain sucks in his reasoning. The more you learn about him the stupider it becomes.
Here it is in a nutshell: Code:Breakers are rare and they are carefully cultivated. The villain was one of them, in fact he was their leader. Not wanting more of them to die he sets out to tak things over with the government. Things go south fast and he gets a spot on the hitlist.
So, what does he do? Well his plan is to reveal the Code:Breakers to the world so that they can walk around freely. For this he needs a threat level of national proportions so that the Code:Breakers can swoop in to the rescue. They'll be heralded as heroes and all is well. For this he seeds hundreds of bombs throughout the country and set them off with the aim of killing 50,000 innocent civilians.
Holy shit dude! Ever think of going onto live national tv and anounce yourself and your power to the world? That would work a lot quicker than what you are doing now. Why is it that villains always go for the elaborate and complicated plans when simple also works.
Then there is the government. As mentioned they regulate the Code:Breakers and they employ 6 of them. There are some issues with this though.
Why 6? Initially I thought that there weren't any more but this is not the case. There are dozens if not hundreds of Code:Breakers in Japan alone. They vary in strength so most would be useless but they could have dozens of active agents if they wanted to. When one of the Code:Breakers dies he or she is almost instantly replaced by another.
As I said above there are always 6 Code:Breakers active. Ogami is number 6 and the leader is 1. He went AWOL 3 yaers before and quit the team yet he was never replaced and it is never explained why not.
Initially I thought this was because there weren't any to take his place but no. I already explained that there are quite a lot of them actually. By death they get replaced immediately but going AWOL does not count? It meants that for the past 3 years the government only had 5 Code:Breakers working for them instead of 6. Did they need the dead body of the former number 1 before they could bring in a new one?
Then there is the ending. It is not really an ending but more of a closing of the arc. There is very strong hinting to there being more to the story with a mysterious group of people who are very powerful Code:Breakers.
They are only shown in shadow and you get the sense from the government that they are very powerful. It is around here that the anime just ends. They basically dangle this carrot in your face and then go to credits.
Maybe the story will be picked up in a second season. It definitely goes on in the manga but I don't have that here.
Knowing this you may be better off with the manga and not the anime.