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This is a review of a 24-episode science fiction kodomo anime series entitled Dennou Coil. Although the main target audience of this anime series is “kodomo” or children below the age of 12 (i.e. pre-teen primary school children), at this point I have to clearly state my doubts as to whether children of that age would be able to fully appreciate the story and learn something from it. Those children who are able to understand and fully appreciate the moral of the story of Dennou Coil, I’d dare say, would have had the understanding and appreciation of a normal teenager, or even perhaps an adult. What I meant was that it is normal for such appreciation to surface only during the teenage or adulthood. Indeed this is one anime many members of the targeted audience would easily find boring, while late teenagers would enjoy. The story of Dennou Coil is set in a fictional city Daikoku in a future not too distant from the present where technology had advanced to the stage where computer monitors, computer keyboards and even cellphones have become nearly obsolete due to the invention of special glasses that can directly perform the functions of all the above gadgets. With the glasses on, the wearer (and also other wearers of such glasses) could see virtual items as if they were real and these items blends in perfectly with reality. When I use the term ‘items’ I am being very general as I am referring to non-living things like virtual iPads, walls, explosives, etc, but also ‘other living’ thing like virtual pets, viruses and anti-virus units (Satchiis). Apparently such a technology has become so advanced that it is deemed safe to have even children wearing them on a daily basis, only taking them off when going for a shower or sleeping – our protagonist Yuko received her glasses and her virtual cyberpet, Densuke, when she was only four. I personally thought that children shouldn’t be allowed to use technology as a tender age – they’ll end up being dependent onto it for the rest of their lives. Anyway, back onto Dennou Coil, the main story revolves around Okonogi Yuko the protagonist and her virtual cyberpet Densuke. I shall refer to Yuko as Yasako so as not to confuse with another major character also with the name of Yuko. The first episode of the story starts off with her family moving into Daikoku because her father was job-transferred into the city. On the first day in the city itself Yasako and Densuke were separated from each other. Fortunately Yasako managed to obtain the services of one Hashimoto Fumie who manages to rescue Densuke who was trapped in an ‘obsolete space’. Later they further found out that Densuke was infected by an Illegal, another word for computer virus. The story further expands from here onwards and it gets more and more interesting. It appears that Fumie is a member of the Coil Investigation Agency which is headed by one old lady by the name of Megabaa, who appears to be none other than Yasako’s grandmother. Surprise surprise! Megabaa owns a ‘cybercandy’ shop and also appears to be a specialist in making Metatags. Metatags are mainly used in the virtual world where certain effects can be achieved, like making a brickwall or beams. In return for Megabaa’s help in creating a Metatag to cure Densuke from the computer virus, Yasako joined the Coil Investigation Agency as member no.8 – Megabaa herself is member no.0 and Fumie is member no.7. Later in the story other members of the agency would be known, but I shall not reveal them here as to do so would amount to revealing juicy spoilers, but I can safely reveal that Yasako’s father is member no.1 having being coerced to join by his mother, lol.Fast forward to the middle of the series, the audience is introduced to more secondary characters like the other Yuko (also known as Isako) and Haraken, the person whom Yasako has romantic interest in (despite being shorter than her, ahaha). Throughout the series Isako is treated like a protagonist for her actions in seemingly going against the ethics of the cyberworld by targeting Illegals and Metabugs. Metabugs are the raw material for Metatags and are therefore very valuable in the cyber market. However, it was later revealed that she was doing so to bring back her brother who she thought died in the cyberworld. A twist in the plot turns things absolutely upside down when it was revealed that Isako was merely a pawn being used by another former member of the Coil Investigation Agency to carry out his revenge against those who have stolen his idea. In the midst of all the conflicts are lots of juicy plots and heavy emotional scenes that I shall not discuss here to prevent revealing too much spoilers.Let me just make it clear that this is anime series is one serious stuff, no joke or comedy or fanservice or any of that nonsense new anime series nowadays would have. On the contrary it is jam packed with all the educational good values that any parents would want their children to have, i.e. friendship, family, healthy competition and rivalry, etc. More importantly it makes you think critically, that there is always another side to a story and not to take things at face value. Anyway since we’re already there, I’d like to note that this anime also dwells in how humans being emotionally attached to virtual cyberpets. Well actually the anime itself never raised the issue – I am the one raising it as my discussion here. So, what’s the issue? Well, think about it this way: cyberpets not even real – they’re mere data and you cannot touch them! For some of you out there you may think that this is not a problem at all and you might find it acceptable – if so then you might enjoy the visual novel “Digital: a love story” where you’ll find enjoyable the eerie similarity of the protagonist being emotionally/romantically attached to artificial intelligence he met on the internet in a BBS. I personally find it creepy, somewhat like how the protagonist in Eve no Jikan felt initially towards robots, that he shouldn’t treat them like human for the simple reason that they’re not humans. (I’ll review Eve no Jikan soon and you can read about it later.) Anyway, the question for you readers to ponder upon: why take care of virtual pets when you should instead put that effort into taking care of real and live animals who are suffering out there, some fighting the real risk of extinction?Anyway back on topic, there is only one ending and one opening theme song throughout the 24 episodes. I enjoyed its opening theme pretty much, but I thought that its ending theme is pretty bland. Art is pretty decent (you’d think of Sazae-san or Doraemon) and would appeal mainly to children more. As a conclusion, I’d give Dennou Coil a 7.9/10 and would recommend it.
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