Posted on 23 September 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mission-E



A major theme of the past season is fooling the viewer: going into an entirely different direction than what would be normally expected. Mission-E definitely has these themes: its predecessor (Code-E) was a cute little love-triangle set in a high school, so naturally you’d expect something similar for its sequel. As it turns out: I can’t remember a direct sequel that was more different from its predecessor than what Mission-E showed us.

Mission-E takes place five years after the end of Code-E: every character has grown up, and changed and matured significantly. Annoying love-triangle? Gone. High-school-antics? Gone. Lots of quiet moments? Gone. Instead, Mission-E focuses much more on action, and much less on slice-of-life. The pacing is much, much faster, and the overall storyline has a much larger focus, now that the characters are openly fighting the bad guys.

And therein lays the problem, though. Because five years have passed, the characters have developed tremendously. And because Code-E has already fleshed them out, they become really fun to watch. If it weren’t for those bloody bad guys that keep GETTING IN THEIR WAY. These guys lack so much in terms of development, they are evil because this series simply needs a villain, but they’re uninspired, stereotypical and generally useless.

The characters are at their best when they’re just interacting with each other, but too often they’re just busy fighting against this useless organization of bad guys. As a result, a lot of potential that was in them is never really realized, because the series is too damn busy in a desperate attempt to flesh out its story a bit. In addition, the new main character of Mission-E is someone who only appeared once or twice in Code-E, thus she doesn’t really live up to the others in terms of development.

Thankfully, the production-values are still solid, and the creators know how to make fun action-scenes. The graphics are typical Studio-Deen, with nice poses and simple but very stylish character-designs and nice poses. Everything gets accompanied by a spunky and energetic soundtrack, and the ED is probably the best ED of the past summer-season.

Overall, if you liked Code-E, like myself, then Mission-E is going to disappoint, because it takes the focus away a bit from the character that were so much fun to watch in the first season. However, if you hated Code-E, then you’ll have much less reasons to hate Mission-E, because it’s a lot more accessible than its predecessor with an increased pacing, no silly teenaged love or angst, and enough fun action-scenes to last through 12 episodes. This really is a franchise with a lot of potential, but due to its crappy villains, not all that potential got realized.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 7/10
Posted on with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: Mission-E ends as Oz rushes in to prevent the foundation to carry out its plans.
Highlights: Predictable, plot-holes, but overall better than expected.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7/10
And so it has ended. I wasn’t expecting too much of this episode, because there isn’t much you can do with the underdeveloped villains of this series. There was a plot-hole here and there (who would actually buy that random television-broadcast of that foundation-guy? Why was nobody arrested?) and in the end, this was just a typical “Here she comes, to save the daaaaaaaaaay”-ending.

Still, there were quite a few things I did like. Especially the ones who were just watching and didn’t do anything: Kirik, Keiko and Akane, who just watched television and never had anything to do with the action. Especially Keiko, sulking because her Christmas date ran off was very enjoyable. I also really liked that the creators chose to not revive Mils, and instead keep her in the state she is. Yuma’s boyfriend also was a nice little twist, which I appreciated a lot. And finally, the few small references to Code-E also fitted nicely, and gave this series at least a decent closure.

Overall, the past season wasn’t the best for Studio Deen. Ever since Amatsuki ended, they’ve been in the background. Thankfully, they seem to be getting back on track for the fall-season with the start of the third season of Jigoku Shoujo. Mission-E overall was fun, but I still find it strange that it was the result of when the studio’s best directors came together to create a series. I dunno, but you’d expect something a bit more epic and well-written…

Posted on 17 September 2008 with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: The calm before the storm-episode, where Chinami and Kotarou’s engagement gets celebrated
Highlights: Hilarious banter.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Ah, now I understand! I finally realize why Mission-E has disappointed so much, thanks to this episode, which probably was among the best of the entire series, along with the first one. The thing is that this episode probably had the most time spent away from the story out of all the episodes so far, and incidentally, those moments also were the most enjoyable of the entire series. The banter between some of the characters was hilarious, and Adol’s reaction to being in the enemy’s camp was awesome.

So yeah, the big problem with this series is that the story downright sucks. I originally hoped that the creators would shed some light on the practices of the foundation, but eleven episodes in and they’re still the evil corporation that plots the destruction of our heroes (and now, the country). The entire storyline had just been taking care of these goons, and the eloping-parts never really tried to solve this. The reason why Code-E didn’t suffer from this is because the story there was engaging: you could see Chinami, as she tried to make sense of her own powers, and her classmates that helped her in that. It was cute, and that’s why the climaxes worked so well.

The big problem is that the creators needed enemies that were more interesting than the current foundation. This could provide a story where the characters were able to shine more, and allow for more banter (BY FAR the best thing of this series). What we have here is a series with an identity crisis: it thinks its story is awesome, while in fact it’s the characters who rock, but the characters are hardly given any chance to shine because they’re TOO DAMN BUSY SAVING THE WORLD!

Posted on 9 September 2008 with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: Chinami does what more anime characters should attempt: try to talk things out.
Highlights: A bit forced, but it’s good to see this series heating up.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10
So what first seemed to be a standard calm-before-the-storm episode turned into the introduction for the finale of this series. While there is some potential, I do admit that I’m rather afraid of what this series is going to turn into. Mission-E was at its best when it focused on its characters and the fun action-sequences, so I’m not sure what a dramatic climax can add to that.

At the moment, I still like Code-E better. But then again that’s just me, since Code-E was hated by just about everyone else, it seems. It’s a bit hard to explain, but I feel like Code-E’s dramatic climaxes had more impact than what we’ve seen in Mission-E, where the whole issues around Maori and Adol may have been interesting, but just a bit too much on the clichéd and predictable side. You can especially see this in this episode: like expected, Milsslowly starts to awaken after Maori visits her.

Then there’s also the new suit, that arrives exactly at the right time when the bad guys have found a way around the original power-suits, and Adol, who was just about to switch sides, but dies instead. It all feels just a bit uninspired. The thing I appreciate about this series was that it really tried to be different. Instead of Code-E’s slow style of combining the mystery with its short but effective climaxes, Mission-E has chosen for a more upbeat style, and a more solid sort of storytelling. It takes GUTS to do this, but at the same time, it’s also very difficult, as this series has shown.

Looking back, this series wasted too much time with Maori’s conscience-crisis. She’s an interesting character, but unfortunately the overall storyline had to take some huge sacrifices for this. When looking at the small picture, this is a very entertaining series. It’s just that the big picture has a few problems deciding what it wants to be.

Posted on 2 September 2008 with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: A calm-before-the-storm episode, mostly aimed at Maori.
Highlights: Maori’s development.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Aah! It’s been too long since I’ve watched Code-E. To think that Maori actually made a small appearance there. It was hardly a moment that stood out: a dog ran into Chinami and she freaked out, but now that this series has mentioned it, I do vaguely remember how Chinami once zapped a strange building behind fences. It’s nice to see that the creators managed to put such a cross-reference in this series. It makes the series feel more complete.

In any case, I’m glad to see that the creators clearly knew what they were doing with this series, because Maori finally starts to develop. The past few episodes have really pushed her character in a different direction, and she finally has the ability to let go of her doubts. At the same time, Adol’s doubts only increase. I’m glad to see that the foundation is also suffering from inner struggles, by the way. Even Adol’s boss has trouble with his superiors, which is a nice little touch.

As it turns out, Mission-E is only going to have 12 episodes, which means that there are three episodes left. It’s here where this series needs to prove itself. I think that the reason why the ending of Code-E felt so weird (apart from the questions it left behind) was that it went into a completely different direction from what it had been building up for. After watching Mission-E, it makes perfect sense, but I wonder whether the creators are going to pull the same for Mission-E. I think the best way to end this would be straight-forward action, though.

Overall, I must say that Code-E and Mission-E both have their great points and weaknesses. Code-E’s climaxes were much better than in Mission-E, but at the same time, Mission-E has much more solid characters and it doesn’t get held back by annoying romance. Overall, I admire the guts of the creators to go with something entirely different for Mission-E. It’s often tried, and I really like it when a series does attempt this, but it does have a nasty tendency to fail (with the most notable case Nanoha StrikerS), but it worked out pretty well here.

Posted on 26 August 2008 with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: Chiyoko Soraizumi and Nietzsche Kafka may have eloped together, but Chinami isn’t planning to end things that way.
Highlights: Great opportunity to see some different sides of Chiyoko and Nietzsche.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Oh boy, it’s hard to believe that we’re still talking about the tough Maori and Adol (or as they introduce themselves in this episode: Chiyoko and Nietzsche) in this episode. They were totally different persons from what they usually were, though it does make sense in a way. Some people can show very different sides of themselves, depending on the people they’re with. Maori usually has to deal with Chinami, which requires her to be the responsible one. Amongst her classmates, she neither finds the chance to really open up, but with Nietzsche, she finally has someone to look over her, and shows a much more female side to him.

But really, did neither of them recognized each other? I originally thought that Adol was trying to lure her into some sort of trap somehow, but it turns out that they just coincidentally ran into each other when they were both having troubles with work. It takes away a bit of the believability, but I’ll forgive this series for it, since this episode did flesh out both of them really well. It was fun to watch, despite being nothing more than a dating-sim.

And it really seems that Adol’s biggest reason is revenge against Chinami for what she did to his sister. I wonder whether the creators will be pulling the famous plot-twist of bed-ridden major characters: will Mils regain her personality at the most convenient/inconvenient moment. With this series, it could really go anywhere, but I hope that the creators will go for the less clichéd way and make her get back to senses, a few years after he major climax in this series.

On a side-note: the graphics looked really nice in this episode. Lots of nice poses and facial expressions. Glad to see that the animators are trying to experiment a bit.

Posted on 19 August 2008 with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: Chinami and Maori “try” to retrieve hacked information from the foundation.
Highlights: Outsourcing ftw.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
That was an interesting fight-scene, and it looked actually really nice. A changing animation-style can either work really well or completely flop, there’s no in-between, but it looked very nice here. Mission-E’s artwork is perfect for a bit of experimenting, and I hope to see more of it.

In any case, there was a lot of good stuff in this episode. First of all, it turns out that the woman from Osaka and Mils Brimberg were two very different persons. Mils seemed to have suffered serious brain-damage from that accident at Amazawa village, and still remains at the hospital. Well, I guess that makes sense as to why Adol wants revenge for Chinami, although I wonder where the woman from Osaka fits in all of this.

Maori running away and running into Adol was perhaps a bit forced, but I do like how Maori can use her head, and be critical of the situation. I do wonder whether the creators are going to pull a Wellber and make her go back to Chinami, or that she’s going to be eloping with Adol. It’s probably going to be the first option, but I’m secretly hoping that the creators will pick that second option.

Posted on 12 August 2008 with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: Chinami “tries” to rescue the kidnapped Maori.
Highlights: The plot thickened yet again.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
I’m still not sure whether the red-haired lady in this episode was Mils Brimberg or not. On one hand, she could have easily died her hair and adapted a kansai-ben accent, but on the other hand, she met Adol in this episode, and their meeting was nothing like the brotherly reunion that you’d expect, and when Adol talked to Chinami later in this episode, he talked as if Mils was still in coma. The entire existence of this woman is filled with mysteries right now: first she captures Maori… only to help her escape again… what point was she trying to prove anyway?

I also loved Chinami in this episode, and how absolutely hopeless she was when Maori disappeared. I’m beginning to see more and more of how her character changed so much: because she spent so much time together with her friends, trying to set up their organization in the time between Code-E and Mission-E, she became very outgoing towards her friends and people she trusts, but she’s still really bad in unknown environments, and when she feels intimidated.

This episode also revealed that… Yuma also has her own power suit. It does make sense, she’s a Type-E as well, but I’m still wondering what her exact role in their little organization was. My guess is that she was Chinami’s partner before Maori arrived, and then moved up to do more behind the scenes work when Maori got hired.

Posted on 5 August 2008 with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: This time, a woman with a Kansai-ben accent is being chased by the foundation.
Highlights: Fun chase scenes.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Definitely the best episode of Mission-E so far. It really was one of these episodes that was fun to watch, and ended with a powerful cliff-hanger. It was interesting, seeing how Maori at the beginning of the episode got talked to by one of her classmates, and she got invited to spend time together, which she only hastily declined because a sudden mission popped up. That is indeed the perfect way to get yourself separated from the rest of the class.

And god… it really took me a while to figure out that the shades-guy from the foundation was actually Adol Brinberg, simply because his personality probably made the biggest shift out of all the members of the cast of Mission-E. There’s absolutely nothing of his playfulness that was seen in Code-E. This is probably because he lost his sister: because of her, he could goof off, because she’d keep him in line so that they could still finish their missions.

I’m not sure whether the woman in this episode was Mils Brinberg or not, but the signs point towards yes. She wasn’t just a regular woman, being able to outrun the foundation for so long, she had a suspicious mole that I could have sworn Mils had as well, and she could have died her hair. I’m just not sure why she was speaking in Kansai-ben, but I can imagine how she could have received Type E when the resort went haywire, back at the end of the first season. What’s also interesting is that she doesn’t seem to work for the foundation, or at the very least Adol doesn’t know about her, and yet she kidnapped Maori at the end of the episode.

Posted on 29 July 2008 with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: It’s character-building time when Chinami and Maori pay a visit to the research facility where Kotarou works.
Highlights: A Cow?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Fun episode. It’s nice to see Kotarou back in detail, and at the same time this episode also showed the difference between Chinami and Maori in the ways that they grew up. It’s very much like Telepathy Shoujo Ran: Chinami had an understanding family, who supported her through her problems, while Maori probably had much less luck, and had to endure strange looks from her classmates by herself. Chinami always tried to stay in the background (probably also transferred schools here and there), while Maori’s powers became infamous through the entire school.

It’s interesting how Chinami is pretty much an airhead, both in Code-E and Mission-E, while Maori has a much more down-to-business personality, even though they were just as shy when they first appeared. Kotarou seems pretty much the same as he ever was, perhaps a bit maturer than what we saw of him in Code-E. He really does form a cute couple with Chinami, even though they’re apart very often. In any case, I’m glad that the creators made no attempts at creating another love-triangle with Maori. There was enough love-tension in Code-E, and I’m glad to see that Mission-E’s focus is about something entirely different, and knows it.

The new bad guy Kiriku in this episode was… interesting. His biggest purpose was most likely to flesh out the yellow-haired bad guy whose name I forgot at the moment. The latter has a sense of business, and doesn’t like to act when there’s nothing to gain for him, while the former likes to eliminate any potential threats for the future by force. In a way, this series likes to play with different characters who are put in the same situations: there’s Chinami and Yuma, Chinami and Maori, Kiriku and the other guy and the Brinberg-siblings in a way too.

Speaking of which, Adol (at least, I think that was her name) appeared this episode in a coma. I remember how in the first season, they were a great source of comic relief while trying to overcome all the cultural differences, and I’m really interested to find out what she’ll be like when she wakes up from this coma, especially since she lost her brother just like that in the first season.

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