Anime Recommendation: Dennou Coil
-written by kireblue-
Dennou Coil is by far one of my favorite hidden gem series. The story takes place in Daikoku City, which is the world’s #1 source of advanced technology. The setting is somewhere in the near future where the physical and virtual reality cease to be individual spaces. In this series, the virtual world and the real world are almost perfectly fused with each other and can be viewed through AR (Augmented Reality) glasses.
It follows the adventures of a group of elite super hackers that that use their not so expert detective skills to unravel the infinite number of mysteries that surround their half real/ half virtual city. Although some of the members of the Coil Cyber Detective Agency aren’t identified in the beginning of the series, you are immediately informed that there are currently nine of them. The hilarious part is that most of them are under the age of 13. Yeah, that’s right! This show revolves around an elite hacking society of twelve year old children. In their world, AR technology is so easily accessible, that its actually very believable that children would readily adapt to and eagerly explore it. And even though the concept of a bunch of little kids committing acts of cyber terrorism on a daily basis may seem a little ridiculous, this show does a very good job at making it enjoyable. It’s especially hilarious whenever they walk down the street and get attacked by the virtual police called Satchii that are designed to destroy any illegal software, hardware or viruses that it sees. Satchii can’t really hurt the children, but it’s lasers have the function of overloading their AR glasses and leaving them in a completely exhausted and stupefied state (kinda like Ash whenever he gets shocked by Pikachu). This also causes them to lose large amounts of data and the virtual treasures that they find within the city.
Although the main characters often face great peril when confronted with zombie-like viruses called illegals, it all seems pretty inconsequential when you consider that simply taking off their glasses will fix many of their problems (in the same way that simply turning off the television will cause a scary movie to end). But a very powerful moment in the later half of the series serves as a clear reminder that the main characters are just kids. When two of the main characters get cornered, and it seems like there is no way out, they consider taking off their glasses. But they realize that their virtual and physical world are so entwined that taking off their glasses won’t actually cause the monsters to go away. They’ll simply lose the ability to see their attackers. And not being able to see them would be even more frightening. I feel that this scene is actually a perfect example of why the series is so believable. The mindset of the main characters are very similar to a child that has difficulties differentiating real life from the world of a scary movie. And in their case, the two worlds are pretty much identical and equally real. This actually becomes a very major theme and plot element towards the end of the series.
Since the basic functions of the AR glasses that the children use aren’t really that more advanced than the AR features of a Nintendo 3DS, the show is very easy to understand, and the plot doesn’t get boggled down with unnecessary tech-babble. And as the main characters start to unravel the urban legends that plague the town’s history, their battles become more and more life threatening. Also, the constant reappearance of the numbers “4423” seems to be at the center of everyone’s back-story. Hey….doesn’t that seem like LOST?
Dennou Coil is a 26 episode series that’s animated by Madhouse Studios, and has a mellow art style that looks wonderful. I highly recommend everyone to check out.