Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ – Anime Preview
Synopsis: 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? (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Code: Realize is based upon a rather popular Japanese Visual Novel. While ripe with fans, I personally found the game a slog, limited in narrative choices and held back by an exceedingly slow build. I made it about four hours before I lost interest. Despite my trouble enjoying the original version of this story, I’ve actually found the anime much more engaging.
Linny: As someone who’s never played the game, I immediately found Cardia to be your cliche, mopey lead, a classic for these semi-tragic otome visual novels. Good news for fans of that but bad news for everyone else. She is so selfless too because she gets all upset and guilty when she causes the death of a dog that was clearly frenzied and would have ripped her to shreds otherwise. Can you hear me rolling my eyes? She feels like a cliche in so many ways, the poor, tragic heroine who only wants to be cherished and loved but alas is denied it because of circumstances completely out of her control.
Tom: Our lead’s emotional state is one of the ways in which Code: Realize doesn’t feel particularly original, content to offer up a tragic Mary-sue character for women to self-insert as they watch pretty boy after pretty boy fawn over her, even if she’s an emotional basket of trouble. But the series succeeds at turning your attention away from this with a quick pace, introducing threats, explanations, and heightened tension over the original Visual Novel, making it a tight twenty-two minute ride. So while it may not be all that original, it is fun.
Linny: Sure, I’ll give it that it doesn’t stall or waste too much time on unnecessary, emotional or otherwise, scenes. Code Realize utilizes its minutes well, setting itself up without being too over dramatic (save for Cardia’s emotional outbursts) or trying too hard to sell its parade of pretty boys. The main focus is on the plot and getting the vital information to the viewer. Also the art is pretty top notch, especially when compared to other sloppily and cheaply made visual novel adaptations. If you’re a fan of the game who had their heart set on a particular pretty boy, it seems like the show is already very certain about which is the one boy for Cardia so you might be disappointed if your choices do not line up.
Tom: Outside of our emotionally stunted heroine, the show offers up three pretty boys in this introductory episode. While the visual novel was a dating sim, allowing you to romance any one of the many male characters, Linny is right that the anime seems to have pegged one as the favorite. That’s our suave and handsome lead, Lupin. He’s the classic perfect hero, classy, jovial and alluring for the female viewer. The other characters don’t stand out from their types much either. The mechanic, Impey Barbicane is the silly, overly flirty, messy boy. A third makes his appearance, Victor Frankenstein, a more straight laced hero, but both these two seem sidelined in favor of painting Lupin and Cardia as the true couple.
Linny: Viewers looking for a more solid and competent adaptation of a visual novel will do well to try out Code: Realize. Even if you’ve never heard of or played the Visual Novel it’s based on, the anime does a great job of turning what sounds like a slow nightmare into a mildly entertaining and well paced show. Everyone else though might find the female centric approach and Mary-sue heroine to not be to their tastes.
Tom: Code: Realize isn’t for everyone. I imagine many male viewers will find its portrayal still too female centric. But there’s been a lot of improvements here over the visual novel, namely in tightening the flow of the story and keeping things moving fast. It’s a solid adaptation, at least so far, and I think holds as the better way to experience the narrative Code: Realize has to offer.