Thursday, July 12, 2007

Code-E premiere episode: awkward and unamusing

You can get screen caps if you'd like at Moe Moe Rabu and Tenka Seiha, since I deleted the first episode immediately after watching it. Suffice it to say that it was extremely disconcerting, and I'm trying to articulate just what about the past twenty some odd minutes made it so. Diagnosis follows.

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There's a lot of screen time given to (I think it's safe to assume) the lead character, with a lot of head-on perspectives. The first thing that I picked up on was the fact that from that angle, there is no nose! Maybe I'm just spooked at the sight of a missing facial feature. It's a phenomenon not limited to just her, and every time I saw that angle — which is to say, a lot — I felt like I was looking at convenient caricature, a cheap attempt at being cute.

Case in point, image 47 from Tenka Seiha is like flood fill using MS Paint.

But it's not just the lack of a nose on Ebihara. Her glasses are so far down her face that they become an accessory to her face, as opposed to her eyes. It's not so much that it looks awkward, which it does, but she looks dumb, something only reinforced by her behaviour.

While Yomiko Readman was naive, she wasn't hopelessly inept at speaking, and she had a grip on her abilities. I could see Code-E spending over a third of its series length on frivolous gag moments involving awkward situations in the vicinity of electronics. Sketchy looking characters will probably be after our hopeless heroine but someone else will always have to bail her out because she's, well, dumb. But at least she's good at making nervous squeaks and various other irritating noises that may be construed as cute.

It's not good to make predictions on the first episode alone, which was nothing but awkward situations in the vicinity of electronics (plot-what-plot?), and it could wind up making interesting use of the world and its combat mechanics, but a lot of goodwill was lost in that first episode.