Anime Review: Code:Breaker
By: Jd Banks
Code: Breaker is that one series where, depending on your tastes, could be for the good or the bad. For this reviewer, Code: Breaker carried some good qualities but didn’t deliver in its localization and tameness.
Rei Ogami, the new kid at school, is an assassin who uses special powers to eradicate the city’s criminals. These assassins are called Code: Breakers. Most work alone, but for Ogami, he becomes unwillingly “partnered” with martial arts hottie, Sakura Sakurakouji. After witnessing Ogami’s destructive blue flames, Sakura decides to hold him responsible for the murders he’s committed. Unfortunate for her, he’s above both societal morals and laws, leaving her to stalk him in hopes of changing his ways.
For a 13-episode title, Code: Breaker has all the good qualities of a typical shounen series. The animation is decent without the moe undertones. No lasting tilted shots looking up Sakura’s skirt or zooms on boob shots. If you’re the kind of anime viewer who likes those things, don’t fret, they’re there. It’s just that those shots only flash for a moment, not enough to light a fire. The action scenes deliver the right amount of speed lines and interesting angles while taming the gore for younger audiences. Just enough blood and punches to the face keep viewers looking for the next episode.
Aside from the animation, the background music and sounds are good, and the voice castings match the characters. With Micah Solusod voicing Ogami, it’s easy to believe Ogami’s split personality between a normal teenaged boy and a flame-controlling hunter. Solusod’s presence helps all the scenes Ogami talks about assassin-hood. Ashly Burch does well in depicting a holier-than-thou yet caring young woman in Sakura. Burch doesn’t venture into an annoying powerless sidekick that some actors have for anime series.
While the voice actors match their characters, Code: Breaker’s localization doesn’t fare as well. Some lines only serve to fill the characters’ mouths. In the early part of the series, Ogami says, “I may be evil, but I’m not stupid.” Would an assassin who claims to have a dark heart actually say something so trite? And while the sounds come loud and clear, characters’ words are cut short to match the animation movements. I understand that localizations in general have problems, but shouldn’t a finished product be very close to perfect for a buying audience?
The other problem with Code: Breaker is as an anime, it adequately delivers the core story, but it doesn’t hold a flame to the manga. The original story was not tamed as it had Ogami being more assassin than transfer high schooler. The manga wasn’t afraid to actually show blood coming out of a yakuza’s enflamed face or Dog’s throat being snapped with bare hands. In the anime, there’s less blood and less sense showing the murders. Even small details such as Sakura’s feudal-era accent are overlooked, taking away vital parts of characters’ backgrounds and personalities.
Depending on what kind of anime viewer you are, Code: Breaker may or may not be for you. If you like good animation, sounds, and voice castings within the usual shounen genre, watch it. If you’re into something less tamed in bloodiness and more realistic in lines, don’t watch it. Read it.
The Wrap Up
- Decent animation
- Good background music and sounds
- Voice castings well-matched with characters
- Trite localized lines
- Overlooked small details from the original
- Tamed scenes (compared to the manga)