If Serial Experiments Lain
and Ghost In The Shell
had a younger kid sibling, its name would be Dennou Coil
. However, it completely is able to stand on its own. Yes it's a kid's show. Kids are the stars. But even then, it's hard to believe it's a kid's show.
The two main characters are Yuko "Yasako" Okonogi and Yuko "Isako" Amasawa. The series has three distinct arcs in my opinion: two running simultaneously at first, then merging to make the third. The first one is Yasako trying to understand the world around her. She's been exposed to the augmented reality for some time now, but not in the testbed city for it. The second arc involves the actions of Isako and her hunt for kirabugs. Isako clearly has been exposed to a lot more of the augmented reality than Yasako and is much more competent than her (and everyone else really). Eventually the arcs merge roughly halfway through the series once Yasako (and the audience) have enough basic info to comprehend the surrounding world pretty well. Given that it is a kid's show, I can understand the reasoning for this, but I didn't see it as such until this review. Which brings us back to: "it's hard to believe that it's a kid's show". The third arc is definitely the most gripping part of the show, and once it started I could not stop watching. Overall, the plot is interesting enough that even through the slowest episodes it's enough to keep you watching. The more one gets in, the more they want the next as twists and turns keep coming out. The amount of plot holes is very low, and even one I thought was one ended up being a moment of fridge brilliance for me.
It does suffer through "Cerebus Syndrome
" if you want to call it such once the two arcs merge, but it was hinted at from the start that something wasn't quite right. If anything the earlier silly tone comes off as "ignorance is bliss" once the reality behind the augmented reality starts to get exposed (pun intended). I don't particularly agree with the canon pairing but eh, it's a non issue in the whole scheme of things (it's rarely brought up).
All in all, watch it if you can. It's a great series. Sadly it hasn't been licensed in the US, but hopefully it will be soon!
Oh, and regarding the manga version? Expect a lot
of changes. You have been warned.