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Anime: Dennou Coil
The principal cast of Dennou Coil

Dennou Coil (Cyber Coil in English), also known as Coil — A Circle of Children, is an Anime First sci-fi series animated by studio Madhouse and made its original run on Japanese television in 2007.

Dennou Coil is set Twenty Minutes into the Future (in 2026, to be exact) in the fictional Japanese town of Daikoku, which is the testing ground for an Augmented Reality project that involves crafting a cyberspace that overlaps the entire town. By using special glasses, people are able to interact with this overlapping cyberspace, allowing them to carry on their normal lives in addition to being permanently connected to the internet through their glasses, essentially concentrating all modern portable media devices (phones, MP3 players, laptop) into one set of non-intrusive glasses. With the appearances of 'glitches' in this augmented reality, a thriving hacker culture soon emerges amongst the children of the city.

The anime tells the story of Yuko Okonogi (nicknamed "Yasako"), a girl who moves into Daikoku together with her mother, little sister Kyoko and her virtual pet Densuke (an augmented reality dog that only people with glasses can see) when her father gets a job transfer there. Upon arriving in the town, she finds herself integrated into the glasses community of the local children, and discovers that her shrewd grandmother has become a focal point for a major club of these children, called the Coil Cyberinvestigation Agency. This leads to later encounters with the enigmatic Yuko Amasawa (nicknamed "Isako"), a girl with abnormally powerful hacking skills who seems to be hunting for computer viruses in the system known as "illegals" for her own unknown ends, and discoveries tying the various characters' pasts with the truths behind the city's cyber-network...

Dennou Coil could be described as "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex meets Hayao Miyazaki"; an extremely charming, high-quality story of children, for children, in a sci-fi setting designed to display the effects of this new technology that still manages to keep some 'magical' aspects. Despite winning several prizes, reaching cult hit status and being critically considered to be one of the best anime of 2007, the series was only licensed in 2011 by Tokuma Shoten for use in an iPhone app.

This show provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Justified somewhat, as the use of glasses is mostly a children's fad and most adults do not use them... Though the few that do are usually as competent as the rest of the cast.
    • Justified somewhat as far as the events of the story are concerned. Much of the plot is due to early adult experiments with cyberglasses.
    • Subverted towards the end - Mega-Baa and Yasako's dad are crucial for solving the crisis, even though Yasako still has to go to the frontline.
  • The Atoner: Haraken is this at the ripe old age of 11.
  • All Myths Are True: There are tons and tons of urban legends and myths kids make up about cyberspace. Many of the ones mentioned throughout the series are proven to be true to some degree.
  • Alternate Character Reading: The basis of the Yukos' nicknames.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Kyoko, to the Nth degree. She has an obsession with yelling the word "poop!" and always runs into trouble.
  • Arc Number: 4423
  • As You Know: Takeru gets one from his brother, Nekome, and we get some late exposition Nekome's motives in bringing down the company.
  • Badass: Isako, who at one point foils a spam attack by another classmate without even lifting a finger. Yasako gets here in the last few episodes.
  • Bag of Holding: Fumie has one; justified since the programs she carries in it have no actual physical space requirements.
  • Belated Backstory: Sousuke and Takeru's quest for revenge for their parents comes in the form of As You Know exposition rather late in the series.
  • Beam Spam: Satchii's ultimate attack mode. That it's virtual doesn't make it any less frightening, considering the setting.
  • Beard of Evil: Kinda-example: An illegal beard shows up halfway through the show. It's infectious. And sentient. The different characters' beards eventually start digi-nuclear warfare with each other using Inter-Facial Ballistic Missiles. I couldn't make this up if I tried.
    • Even performs a Heel-Face Turn after the ensuing holocaust.
    • The only thing is that the episode becomes a completely anvilicious author tract about war.
  • Biker Babe: Tamako is frequently shown driving around in a black sports bike.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Daichi's father seems to be this.
  • Blob Monster: The first illegals to show up are mostly indistinct 'blobs' of black.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Daichi.
  • Breather Episode
  • Butt Monkey: Daichi goes through more hilarious unnecessary suffering than anyone else.
  • But Now I Must Go: Isako, in the end
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: The teacher. She gets drunk off whiskey bonbons.
  • Context-Sensitive Button : The general effect of the glasses. Need a phone? Extend your pinky and stick your thumb in your ear. Need a keyboard? Stick out your hands and start Rapid-Fire Typing.
  • Cool Car: In the second half of the series, Nekome is almost exclusively seen in and around a (left-hand-drive, for some reason) red sports car that looks very similar to the Acura/Honda NSX. He is rarely shown actually driving it, though.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Coil Detective Agency badges. Specifically members one, two, and three.
    • The keyhole in Densuke's collar is visible from the earliest episodes.
    • The very first few seconds of the opening theme.
    • Kanna's glasses.
  • Cherry Blossoms
  • Chew Toy: Daichi.
  • Combining Mecha: Satchii and the "Kyuu-chan" drones
  • Cool Big Sis: Technically a 'Cool Aunt'; but Tamako otherwise fits this Trope to a T (no pun intended).
  • Cool Old Lady: Megabaa.
  • Crack! Oh My Back!: Mega-Baa, of course.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Imago, which enhances the already-awesome capabilities of the glasses with a Technopathic Unusual User Interface - you can manipulate Space with exponentially greater effect and without performing any outward physical actions. Price tag: getting hit with metatags or Satchii's format beam normally just wrecks your personal data. Imago users suffer brain damage and heart disease. The developers actually sealed Imago like an unwanted application for this very reason, and even Isako explicitly warns Yasako not to overuse it, or else risk death.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Isako, only with hacker skills instead of magic.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: Oh, Densuke.
  • Determinator: Yasako in the last couple episodes, namely in the lengths she went to to pull Isako back to reality.
  • Dueling Hackers
  • Dummied Out: This is what happens to any plot of Cyberspace deemed "obsolete". They're deleted periodically, but if you get to them before that happens, you might find Metabugs—items no longer considered valid, which by some accident are very useful in Item Crafting.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Yasako to Haraken in episode 20
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the first episode, Nekome and Tamako (who are introduced in later episodes) are seen in the Harburger restaurant where Yasako, Kyoko, and Densuke eat. In the flashback scene of the same episode, the Arc Number 4423 is seen at the background. The number is introduced in the second episode.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: And HOW!
  • Empathic Environment: In the sleepover episode, during the scary story telling scene, Daichi's ominous words are followed by thunder and lightning, though this was revealed to be his friend's doing. However, when Haraken tells his story, the lightning appears to be real.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Isako would be a prime candidate for this... If she was the actual minion of someone.
    • Couldn't she qualify as Nekome's?
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Digital plesiosaurs, for the win.
  • Everything Is Online: Well, it's set Twenty Minutes into the Future but still. Traffic lights and lift controls are a bit egregious.
  • Festival Episode: Episode 8.
  • Filler: Pretty much any episode without Isako in it can be considered to be either filler or to be giving background flavor.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Tamako, who controls the Satchiis and Kyuu-chans, gives them affectionate pet names, and even treats them as pets as much as servants.
  • Funbag Airbag: Rushing due to being Late for School, Daichi runs right into Tamako's boobs in episode 21.
  • Genki Girl: Fumie, to an extent.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Several characters, including girls, sprout sentient virtual facial hair for an episode.
  • God Guise: ...Did we mention that the above-mentioned beards start worshiping the people they're on as gods?
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Goggles!
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Isako's insecurity over her brother leaving her ultimately manifests itself into the form of Miss Michiko
  • Headbutt of Love: Between Yasako and Isako, of all people, in the last episode.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Takeru
  • Heroic BSOD: Yasako after Densuke died. Isako gets close after finding out the truth about her brother.
  • Heroic RROD: How Yasako's grandfather died.
    • Also self-induced by Isako to make her encode reactor unstable and interfere with Nekome's passage.
  • Heroic Dog: Densuke. Just Densuke. Considering he fights off a group of Nulls while being badly injured himself to protect Yasako, he's a pretty heroic dog.
  • Hold the Line: Tamako's task in episode 20, where she has to hold off the scheduled area formatting long enough for Yasako to return from the obsolete space with Haraken.
  • Holographic Terminal
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Denpa... Sort of.
  • Hyperlink Story: Oh, yes. With Yasako wandering into Coil Space kicking things off, we have Isako's search for her brother's cure, Tamako and "the incident four years ago", Sousuke and Nekome and their revenge scheme, and Haraken and his investigation on Kana's death. This links to Megabaa and Grandpa Okonogi's backstory and the founding of Coil Space, which loops back to Yasako wandering into Coil Space.
  • Implacable Man: Satchii, at least from the protagonists' point of view.
    • Plus, he can be stopped at least temporarily with the use of some hacking.
  • Important Haircut: Variant: While Isako's hair isn't cut, her hairstyle gets changed at the end of the series to symbolize a break from her dependence on her brother.
  • Interservice Rivalry: The Satchi are in the employ of the Ministry of Post. Since shrines, parks, schools and hospitals are under other ministries, it can't enter there. It also can't enter private homes and is basically only free to roam the street for "Space" problems.
  • Instant Runes: The metatags seem to function a lot like this, even though the setting is non-magical.
    • Subverted with Isako who actually draws patterns that perform all kinds of functions, like dealing with Satchii.
    • Manifested later on with Imago.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Daichi in the end.
  • Jerkass: Daichi in the beginning.
  • Killer Rabbit: Boku Satchii!
  • Kimodameshi: With computer-generated scares, no less.
  • The Load: Kyoko, most of the time.
    • Picture Mei-chan with poop jokes. And lasers.
  • Locked in a Room: Yasako and Isako are locked inside a storage locker in one episode. Nothing notable happens apart from showing that Isako isn't particularly villainous.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Isako in the final two episodes
  • Magic Skirt: except for Kyoko
  • Manipulative Bastard: Nekome, in spades.
  • Maybe Ever After: Yasako and Haraken - they're only 11, of course, but in the last episode they are seen to acknowledge feelings for each other
  • Meaningful Name: Both Yukos, 優子, "kind girl" for Okonogi, and 勇子, "brave girl" for Amasawa. Slightly lampshaded when the first one, "Yasako", explains her nickname and gives the other one hers.
  • Meganekko: Most of the female cast, for obvious reasons.
    • Yasako still can be labeled as one though, since her glasses have an ordinary shape, whereas most other girls wear goggles.
  • Minus World: Obsolete Space.
  • The Missingno.: "Illegals" are sentient viruses that subsist on metabugs. They might have been regular cyberpets once, but the material they were made from is no longer valid.
  • Mood Whiplash: Episode 12 is a Crowning Moment of Funny, while the next is an immense Tear Jerker.
  • Mohs Scale of Sci-Fi Hardness: While the theory behind the glasses themselves is very plausible, the fantasy elements present in the net are certainly not.
    • The manga version however is a lot softer in this regard.
  • Ms. Exposition: Tamako plays this role a lot.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Also Tamako... Not that she has a lot of competition here.
  • New Transfer Student: Yasako and Isako.
  • Never Mess With Mega-baa
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Averted, as it's at least part of the reason Yasako and Isako don't completely remember past events from when they were around seven until the end.
  • Not So Stoic: Isako. Oh, Isako.
  • Old Master: Megabaa again.
  • Ominous Fog: Of the virtual kind and usually an indication that something doesn't compute.
  • Once per Episode: Every episode will start with Yasako delivering an update on the latest rumors on the net, which are almost always relevant for the ensuing episode.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted by the two Yukos, but since most people use their nicknames it doesn't matter anyway.
  • Opt Out: Fumie, after an encounter with Illegals that almost costs them Kyoko, tells Yasako she doesn't want anything more to do with reseaching them.
  • Orphean Rescue: Getting trapped in Coil Space means long-time, if not permanent, coma. When Haraken and Isako find themselves trapped there, Yasako helps bring them back.
  • Pet the Dog: Almost all of the more morally ambiguous characters have one, to show they're not really bad people. It is a kid's show, after all.
  • Plucky Girl: Most of the female cast.
  • Post Cyber Punk: To the degree that there's not much punk left.
  • Posthumous Character: Kana, Yasako's grandfather and Isako's brother
  • Power Degeneration: Isako using/controlling the Imago along with a encoder is one helluva powerful thing and very few people can manage it, but it does severe damage to your nerves and body.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Pretty much everyone who types, though Isako has a powerful variant: Rapid Eye Clicking
  • Recap Episode: Episode 14 is mainly this, with some plot in the last minutes.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Nekome, in his growing desperation to destroy MegaMass
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: Parodied in Mega-baa's store. 10 seconds of Megane-beam costs three million yen (roughly 30,000 US dollars.) Fumie pays with pocket change. Mega-baa's idiosyncrasies are many.
    • To be clear, Mega-baa is just being weird by multiplying all the numbers she says by ten thousand. She asks for a total of 6.2 million yen, but the register actually says the total is 620 yen (about five dollars), and Fumie pays with recognizable Japanese coins that add up to that amount.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Isako's henchmen, or Mojo, are a sort of terribly adorable virtual fluff balls. The Micet are unspeakably cute as well.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Unusually for a shoujo action girl show, Isako and Yasako never quite get there, although they come awfully close at times
  • Sacred First Kiss: Daichi makes a huge fuss over the fact that his First Kiss is stolen without his consent... by Yasako's little sister.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Shout-Out: Most everyone (even Satchii at the end!) uses Mikuru beams, even if they call them megane-beams.
    • Obsolete Space seems to resemble the strange, otherworldly dimension in the Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost" (or the Other Side in the movie Poltergeist.) It's even said that the souls of the dead wind up in Obsolete Space, making it seem a lot like a realm between death and life). Kyoko's kidnapping and Yasako's having to rescue her with the help of the family dog even resembles the rescue scene from "Little Girl Lost."
  • Shrines and Temples: Daikoku city has quite a lot of these — handy, since Satchii is forbidden from entering them.
  • Shrinking Violet: Haraken and Denpa are male examples.
  • Spam Attack: Daichi tries to attack Isako by spamming her with email. Isako not only deletes the mail faster than Daichi can send it, but she also spams Daichi back, ultimately crashing his glasses and forcing an expensive restore.
  • Spanner in the Works: Yasako, her encounter with 4423 inadvertently messed up the therapeutic intent of the Coil Domain and created Miss Michiko
  • Spirit Advisor: Densuke — being a virtual pet, only people with glasses can see him.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: One explanation of what "Miss Michiko" is entails an onryo-ish death and onryo-ish behavior, but as the story is told, a pure black figure is used to represent her ghost instead of typical onryo garb and appearance, probably to liken her to an Illegal.
  • Taking You with Me: In the last episode, Tama Kamikaze-dives with a Nekome-controlled Satchii 2.0 in negative space.
  • Team Pet: Densuke.
  • Techno Babble
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The other urban legend explaining exactly what the mysterious "Miss Michiko" is ends with this.
  • Title Drop: The phenomenon known as Dennou Coil isn't referred to by name until episode 14.
  • True Companions: At the end of the series, Isako tells Yasako what basically amounts to "We may have had too many differences to be 'friends,' but we'll always be Nakama."
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Happens quite a few times in the later episodes,often involving Tamako.
  • Undisclosed Funds: Virtually every major expense by the children is simply referred to as "x years' worth of otoshidama". Even a single year of otoshidama is a significant amount of money to those without jobs!
    • Again they are only being half serious. Probably closer to a months allowance.
      • Hard to say one way or the other for sure. The few glimpses of in progress system restores we see through out the series appear to have a rapidly increasing cost shown in one corner as the progress bar fills. This troper distinctly recalls seeing one such restore having a price tag of around 25,000 yen(~$200) nearing completion. If that is accurate, then that really could be about two years worth of holiday-money("otoshidama") for a Japanese elementary school child.
  • Virtual Ghost: The Nulls.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 21. Holy crap episode 21.
  • Wham Line: The reveal that 4233 didn't refer to Isako's brother... it referred to Isako herself.
  • When It All Began: Kanna's accident one year ago, and Isako's accident 5 years ago.
  • Win to Exit: If you go deep enough into Obsolete Space to notice A Glitch in the Matrix, you really shouldn't take your glasses off before you walk out, or your mind will end up trapped there. And the authorities will not only do everything they can to keep anyone from even attempting to rescue you, but are engaged in an ongoing effort to destroy those spaces knowing that will kill everyone trapped inside, deeming them acceptable losses.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Isako. Big time.
    • Played with. While it appears to be played straight through out most of the series, the more you learn about Isako, Yasako, and "4423", and how they all relate to one another the more it becomes clear that Isako is really just a very lonely and angry girl. By the end of the series though, each of the three main protagonists (including Haraken) could be said to qualify, especially Yasako.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Normally averted - the primary users of glasses are kids for god's sake. However, there are things in cyberspace that can inflict severe damage. All spoilers, though.
    • Kirabugs
    • Imago
    • Cybercures
    • Miss Michiko

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alternative title(s): Denno Coil; Cyber Coil; Dennou Coil
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