Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ Series Review: Nowhere Near As Impressive As The Amount Of Punctuation in the Title Suggests

Overview:

Set in the Victorian era, Cardia is alone in a tower when the military come for her. She’s then kidnapped by a thief. Turns out she has some weird poison in her that burns pretty much everything and there’s some terrorist plot to destroy London and then the world. However this is based on a game and at times that probably shows.

Review:

There’s a lot about Code: Realize that makes you think this anime feels it should be more epic in nature than it actually is. Firstly, the overly grandiose and punctuation filled title. Secondly, the scale of the conflict. Finally, the large and mostly under-realised cast of characters. Basically this story has a lot going for it but ultimately ends up pretty mediocre as it plods through introduction episodes of the cast of pretty-boys who seem to exist only in reference to source material before we finally get around to a fairly run-of-the-mill defeat the bad-guy kind of conclusion with a bit of romance thrown in.

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That isn’t to say there is a single thing wrong with any of that. It actually works fairly well and as a story and an anime it remains highly functional. It is visually fairly appealing and while the sound track is forgettable it isn’t bad and even the characters work well enough even if none of them are particularly exceptional. And that’s where reviewing this show is challenge. Everything is there and works well enough and yet nothing stands out or makes you want to take note.

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I would have liked more of Van and Drac’s story. Learning more about Fran rather than one episode of focus and then fade into the background would have been great too. Less of Nemo (and there wasn’t much) would have been fantastic. A narrative more focused just on Cardia and Lupin could have been amazing. Yet, what we get instead is superficial skimming over a range of characters’ and a plot that will get us from A to B but not make you want to remember the how or why of it.

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I could continue but basically the end result is everything about this story was pretty average. The one complaint I will level at it is a personal one and that is Cardia’s personality. She starts almost completely blank and it takes about four episodes before she’s really exhibiting anything close to a personality and then she essentially stalls for the remainder of the series wavering between damsel in distress and tragic heroine. Neither is particularly appealing though her interactions with Lupin remained fairly entertaining.

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All and all, if you really like this style of story with the girl who is loved by all the guys and you happen to be a fan of kind-of Victorian settings, than you will have some fun with this. If you are after a deep and meaningful story line or characters with some depth and substance, look elsewhere.


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Episode Reviews:


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Karandi James

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Sengoku Night Blood Episode 8: Pass the Parcel?

Review:

So Yuzuki has now officially met all of the important characters as she’s been taken for visits, been abducted, found, abducted again, abducted from the abductors, etc, etc, etc. I’m not sure that any of this makes for a plot that makes sense but at least someone finally put together the basic point that everywhere she goes monsters attack.

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It almost makes you wonder why they want her. Oh yeah, her famous blood which so far only one vampire has even tasted in this entire series. It is almost like they just needed an excuse for all the pretty boy warlords to all fall for the same girl…

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Despite the absolutely transparent set up and almost non-existent plot development, this still isn’t actually bad to watch. Just pretty ordinary to forgettable. It doesn’t actually have enough personality to be all that bad to watch.

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But hey, they finally remembered she was supposed to be from another world so possibly this might become a plot point of significance again. I’m not really expecting much at this point though.


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Karandi James.

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Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ Episode 1: Back in Victorian London

Overview:

I want you to touch me. I want to feel your warmth. Cardia is a girl who possesses a toxin that melts everything she touches. Feared as a monster, she spent her days in isolation. One night, just as she is about to be captured by the British army, she meets a man who calls himself the gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin. She arrives at London, where she meets many people and experiences many things. In her adventures with Lupin, she comes close to discovering the truth about her body and her missing memories. What is the truth that this so-called “monster” of a girl finds?’

– From Crunchyroll

Review:

I’m kind of thinking more time was spent on punctuating the title than writing this episode. I agree with the argument that generic doesn’t mean bad, and yet this is just incredibly dull to watch because it is almost as if we’re just copying and pasting the same characters and dialogue from another story into Victorian London.

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This isn’t aided by the show throwing in Lupin and Frankenstein as characters and the endless humming renditions of London Bridge is Falling Down in creepy fashion.

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Actually, my main issue with this first episode, as with so many of these types of stories, is Cardia the female protagonist. Spacey, completely lacking in agency, parroting random words of dialogue back at people in a vapid tone… I do not get the appeal of this kind of female lead at all and yet they are pretty prolific in these types of stories. Not even remotely surprised that she went back with the guy who kidnapped her from the army (who were also kidnapping her) after he said one nice thing to her. That’s pretty much expected from this type of show.

I’m going to give this another episode (two at most) to find its own feet and story but I don’t hold high hopes of following this one through to the end.


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Karandi James.

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Princess Principal Episode 4: Lost and Found Identity

Review Episode 4:

This episode gave us another case with the girls (although Chise has been added into the mix) and they are once again infiltrating and finding their target with a few hijinks along the way. Still, a large part of the dialogue this episode was given to the characters trying to find a name for the team, which is interesting given that at this point the team is clearly lacking cohesion with Chise being left out at key moments, Ange trying to protect the Princess and keep her out of anything, Ange and the Princess trying to keep their former friendship a secret, and Dorothy having been tasked with keeping an eye on the Princess in case she turns out to be a double agent.

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However, the Princess is clearly unwilling to take on the passive role Ange has in mind for her and takes matters into her own hands. Despite their former friendship and genuine affection for one another, the Princess isn’t willing to wait in the tower for Ange to rescue her.

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As for Ange, she clearly states she hates her past self, which is odd given how hard she is working to save a friend from her former life. She continues to be a character full of contradictions and it is kind of interesting to try to figure out who she is beneath the many layers of lies she’s piled on top of herself. Depending on how she goes for the rest of the season I may need to write an article on her at some point.

I’ll admit that I’m kind of loving this show at this point. I’m not sure exactly where I think it is going in terms of the whole narrative arc but I don’t think that matters at this point given how much fun and how interesting the journey so far has been.


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Izetta: The Last Witch Series Review

Overview:

In a world torn apart by totally not WW2, soon to be Archduchess of a small European nation Fine travels to find allies for her country against Germania but instead finds an old friend of hers who happens to be a witch. I reviewed this week to week here.

Review:

Here’s the thing, after episode 1 I genuinely expected Izetta to be one of my must watch shows for the season. The first episode was dramatic, interesting, tiny bit of fan service but mostly a spunky young girl in a horrible situation and then we threw some magic in because who doesn’t want a world war with magic in it. It was perfect. Or at least as close as you expect from a first episode of an anime really.

So imagine by disappointment when by episode 4 any sense of tension or drama and been leached out of this flat story about a witch and her friend playing at war (and dress up and politics). Izetta has a fantastic setting and a great premise that it utterly fails to utilise to create anything of note.

Midway through a character is sacrificed. He’s kind of shown up a couple of times. He’s sweet. He’s loyal. He conveniently overhears something he shouldn’t, hints this to a friend who turns out to be a spy, is attacked by said spy, saved by his own people and then mercilessly shot through the head to preserve a secret that is found out less than two episodes later anyway. Sure it makes us realise lives are lost during a war and it paints a bleak picture but the execution (no pun intended) is dreadful.

We don’t care enough about this character for this to have that kind of desired impact. He’s a background, face of the common soldier kind of character who raises that many death flags for himself you are just wondering who will pull the trigger and when. The way in which he ‘overhears’ the conversation is the usual contrived nonsense that is really just plot convenience and his blurting this out to the one spy in his unit is ridiculous. Yep, he’s naive but he isn’t painted as a moron so why? The shooting itself is pretty dramatic. We get a nice lingering show of his face as he realises what is about to happen and that’s probably the most affective moment of this sequence. And as a positive, they use this later in the final episode where his killer faces another soldier who he sees with the same face. Then the aftermath of this drama is entirely washed under the bridge and we move on because there are more important things than actually building an emotional connection apparently.

Actually, my biggest issue isn’t the wasted potential of every possible dramatic moment but the introduction of Sophie. Seriously? Let’s just throw a clone of another witch at Izetta and they can fling things at each other while screaming about their personal philosophies. That will be fascinating. Not.

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Pretty much from the minute Sophie arrives the story falls apart. No more care for the soldiers, the spies, the alliances, the technological differences, or anything else. Just two overpowered juggernauts having at it while a few of the other characters scramble around trying to maintain relevance. It’s all just very trite. Plus, Sophie is a crazy lady with nothing but revenge on her mind so even if they wanted to go this way, she doesn’t carry her weight in the story. She’s boring and predictable.

Okay, positives. It is pretty. Very pretty. Good music. Some great action pieces scattered throughout. It just could have been better so while what is here isn’t broken you’ll just feel cheated of the better story you could have had.

Recommendation is to watch if you watch more or less anything or are just mildly curious but I’m not going to seriously recommend this to anyone is you haven’t watched it yet. Let it disappear into the vast vat of forgotten mediocre series.

Izetta: The Last Witch Episode 12

Review:

I’ll give Izetta this, it at least resolves. It may be rushed, the final villain nonsensical, and the final battle may be completely boring to watch but I can’t argue that the story did not finish. I’m annoyed that they seemed unable to commit to Izetta actually sacrificing herself. I’m also annoyed that essentially they allowed the war to end exactly the way the real world war ended rather than allowing the magical sacrifice play a significant role (what is the point of alternative history that isn’t). However, I kind of liked Sieg’s fate as I felt it made that earlier death slightly more meaningful.

Come on, Sophie was throwing trains and they broke the Eiffel Tower for no reason other that because the could. That fight was over-extended rubbish full of action set pieces with no tension just stretching out the conclusion that actually could have been the opening move. Frustrating.

Izetta is available on Crunchyroll.