It’s cold here in Charm City, but hey, we haven’t lost one bit of our charm because of it. Ravens took down the Chargers and we’re rolling towards Christmas. So why not treat yourself to an early present. December 14th and 15th, Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker will be coming to the Hippodrome Theatre. It is definitely one heroic event that should be checked out if not once. So don’t miss your chance. Speaking of heroes, let’s take on this week’s anime, Code: Breaker.
Code: Breaker presents an interesting view of our society in a warped kind of sci-fi view. Covering the first volume as per tradition, Code: Breaker presents the reader with a much darker side of Japanese society.
The story starts out with the girl Sakura Sakurakouji witnessing a murder by a boy in a school uniform. The next day she’s finds out that no one knows about the crime. Oh, and the boy that perpetrated the crime, he’s transferred into her class. Only he, Rei Ogami, seems different. Even after she drags him to the roof and everyone think she’s confessing his undying love to him, he denies the validity of what she’s accusing him of. It isn’t until after Sakura witnesses a crime and is in turn dragged into the company of victims, does she get to see the Ogami that she witnessed that first night. She watches to see Ogami setting more people on fire with blue flames, and watching them burnt up in seconds without a trace. And that’s who the story starts out.
Let’s start out with the characters, because it needs to be touched on before we touch the plot. Firstly, two main characters are introduced in the first volume, Ogami and Sakura. Ogami is the real thing that hooks the reader to the story. When you first witness him, he’s just a boy standing amidst people being engulfed in blue flames. Then next, you find him in the classroom. He’s really hard to pick up on at first. But as the story goes on, you begin to see the darker side to his soul, the cold, unfeeling monster with the supernatural ability to burn people alive without any remorse. Yet at the same time, while he’s being terrifying and merciless, he has pity as he gives swift relief to those in their death throws. Sakura on the other hand is the stereotypical popular girl that everyone loves but only a few seem to truly know her. She has an almost unrivaled sense of justice and is staunchly against murder as she tries to get Ogami to stop several times. In this respect, she’s stubborn to a fault. And in the midst of the story, Ogami discovers something about her that she herself doesn’t seem to understand or play into. Other than that, she doesn’t seem to be overly interesting in the first volume and just appears to be a small shackle on Ogami as she can’t stop him from doing anything he intends to do. For all the power they boast about her having, she can’t seem to be anything but a damsel in distress. It is kind of disappointing with the buildup they have on her at the start.
As the plot goes, it’s not too original. Boy has a secret job after school to eliminate criminals that the law can’t touch or simply won’t. He’s found out and story progresses. This is pretty much the core of Code: Breaker. The difference is their powers in this case. Sakura for all her pointlessness to stop Ogami seems to be his moral conscious and tries to do her best to represent “justice”. However, Ogami always makes it clear that he’s evil and he doesn’t need her redemption. In the first volume, you’re brought to get a glimpse of the people that are backing Ogami via his phones calls with them. After the resolution of the first part and the introduction of “Puppy”, the second story seems to be rather rinse and repeat of the first except on maybe a grander scale of crime. The end of the chapter does leave a lot of question that you want to see answered, but as said. The reason for this is because of Ogami, not really Sakura.
The art of the series isn’t really something too spectacular. It’s quite on par with what you’d expect from a shonen manga series like this one actually. One thing of note is that the artist has a thing for utilizing thick black lines and shading to make everything seem very clear. Compared to other mangas that involve intense fight scenes, this one is not as great, but that is fine. You can follow along with what’s going on a lot easier than those shonens that focus on the scene and suddenly forget the story.
To wrap it up, Code: Breaker is a very good anti-hero story. Volume one leaves some things to be desired, but as the story goes on, you learn to love the manga, from serious to silly. As recommendations go, this one comes with a 3.7 out of five. It’s not the best, but hey, it’s not the worst either. But you know, no one knows your tastes better than you. So take a minute and check it out for yourself.