Fans of the fifteenth episode of Rahxephon can rejoice: its director, Mitsuo Iso has embarked on a new project called Dennou Coil. Having done the animation for major Ghibli-movies such as Porco Rosso, Ocean Waves and Only Yesterday as well, this guy had the potential to create a masterpiece. Thankfully, he actually pulled it off, and many consider this series as one of the best of the entire year.
The thing that’ll probably immediately catch your attention when you start to watch this series is the immense amount of creativity that’s put into the series. It takes place in about twenty years, where a cyber-world exists that people can only see if they’re wearing special glasses already is something you don’t think of quite easily, but Mitsuo Iso created a world that consists out of much, much more than just that. The first half of the series carefully builds this up, and makes sure that the viewer has been accustomed to the many sides of the setting, only for this series to really get fired off with the second half, and the final quarter of the series has some incredibly emotionally charged climaxes.
To make this even better, Dennou Coil has amazing production-values, second to only Seirei no Moribito. What you usually see with series is how their first few episodes have amazing animation, only to switch to a lazier animation-style after a few episodes, but Dennou Coil is different. The animation is of a consistent high quality, and there are no signs of outsourcing at all. The character-designs may look simple, but the animation and integration with CG make them look beautiful.
The characters may not be among the best points of this series, but they do work effectively when they have to, due to the careful building-up of the storyline. One point of critique would be that most of the side-characters could have gotten more development. Daiichi, Denpa, Fumie and Kyoko are wonderful characters, but if feels like they weren’t used to their full potential, and their roles became smaller and smaller as the series went on.
One thing that irked me, but will probably have little effect to those who plan to marathon the series is the overabundance of recap-episodes. In total, there’ve been three of them for a 28-episode series. The final episode could also have been a bit less rushed. Finally, there are three episodes in the middle of the series (11, 12 and 13), which I guess were meant to flesh out the world of Dennou Coil a bit, and they’re excellent standalone episodes, but they really feel out of place with the rest of the series, and only throw in more potential that unfortunately had to be ignored in the end.
Apart from this, though, we’ve got ourselves a masterpiece here. It’s one of the highlights of the year, and apart from Kaze no Shoujo Emily, it’s the most consistently good series of 2007 for me. It’s anime like these that show that even stories focused at children can be awesome nonetheless.