Beards, Dinosaurs, and Cyberfish; Dennou Coil Episodes 11-13

Dennou_Coil_13_(1920x1080_Blu-ray_FLAC)_[9DB3E1FF]_Apr 3, 2013 6.35.21 PM

I was warned ahead of time that there would be three certain ‘filler’ episodes that would break away from the general mytharc of the show and be filled with laughter. And yet, I still underestimated how hilarious and great this trio was.

Episode 11-13 are all episodes that don’t necessarily have to do with the ongoing investigation of the Illegals, and yet, at the same time, they provide enough subtle information to give us an idea of what the Illegals are in the first place. It’s these kind of episodes I tend to enjoy the most – a sort of mix between regular filler and the general mytharc. They not only tend to flesh out the world that the characters live in, or provide us with essential information that will be used later on, but they also give some depth to side characters that may not have necessarily been fleshed out in previous episodes.

With those facts in mind, we start off with Episode 11, which is about Daichi and his continuing pursuit of trying to obtain metabugs to the point where he feeds an Illegal fish just so he can get a kirabug. (I’m still a bit hazy on Coil‘s terminology, but if I remember correctly, a kirabug is basically a really big metabug) Unfortunately this fish turns into a whopping monster and starts to devour buildings and flood the town. Yasako, Fumie, Megaba, Daichi, and Tamako must all pair up to form a rather unconventional team to try and stop the fish, which results in pretty hilarious antics. There are also some really sweet bits here – specifically, the reveal of Tamako being the first person to join Megaba’s investigator group, and Fumie and Daichi’s taunt game.  While it’s all fun and games, I particularly enjoyed how these characters, all with different interests and motives, manage to finally cooperate for once to stop a bigger threat. It also fleshes out Daichi at the same time, making him less of the ‘annoying brat’ and more of boy who acts his age and is reasonably mature in times of need.

I really love the bond between Denpa and Daichi and how they help each other out in times of trouble. That said…it’s a bit too late for Denpa to actually advise Daichi this time.

Newsflash: I love Fumie.

Also newsflash! It’s great how these filler episodes tend to have tidbits of information that’s important and valuable for later on.

Also, this dude (who we STILL don’t know about)

What’s really creative is the solution to the problem – rather than going for some complicated, cybertech explanation, Dennou resorts to a simple and yet more effective resolution. If you’ve got an overload of water, well, pull out the plug to the sink!

Daichi, I hope you never change.

Episode 12 is probably the best mix of weird and hilarious I’ve seen in anime yet – something I don’t say often, and yet, Coil manages to be just that. It’s one thing for Daichi (who is the victim of Illegal affairs again) to grow an Illegal beard, it’s another for the rest of the gang to grow them, and then it’s downright strange when our team starts to talk to them. Of all the people I expected to stay away from this sort of behavior, Yasako is the one who actually starts it, and grows obsessed with becoming a sort of godlike advisor for the Illegals residing on her chin and cheeks. Insert some self-parody of human nature (see: the nuclear wars, which create blisters on the kids’ faces) and excellent facial reactions as usual, and you’ve got some really great comedy here.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder….

It does. 

This is seriously contrasted by the emotional punch of Episode 13, which focuses on Denpa’s Illegal pet, a dinosaur who is the last of its ‘kind’ and needs to be safely transported to a new home before it is either vaporized by the Satchiis and Co or destroyed by the new building that will soon take its place. Unlike the previous episodes, this one doesn’t exactly end on a hopeful note, as the Illegal sacrifices itself knowing full well that it will die anyway, despite the team’s efforts. What’s perhaps the most heartbreaking is Denpa’s relationship with the dinosaur and how much he really cares for the thing. Up till now, the show has treated Denpa as this kind ‘giant’ companion of Daichi, but it’s this episode where his kindness really shines as he cries when the Illegal perishes under the sunlight. Teamwork also plays another important role in this episode when this time, it’s up to Fumie, Denpa, Yasako and Haraken to help out the Illegal, using their combined efforts (along with Haraken’s handy dandy Satchii prevention techniques) and coming up with some really creative ways to find a home for the Dinosaur.

The power of imagination and youth. Teamwork in Dennou Coil is critical and yet sometimes fruitless; Episode 12-13 prove this.

(It doesn’t help that the Illegals have such cute critter faces that can break your heart as well.)

I think what’s really admirable about this episode is that despite how depressing the outlook is, Dennou Coil reminds us that there is a certain reality vs imagination conflict rooted within children. We assume that kids don’t understand the consequences of their actions, or the sadness of death, but they are very aware of their surroundings, and Coil demonstrates that exactly.

While it’s all great comedy, connecting these three random but entertaining events is the certain theme of humanity. For the first 11 episodes, we’ve been taught to perceive Illegals as vicious, scary viruses that inhabit our beloved pets and cause mayhem to the general environment. They eat away “normal” and thrive on mishaps. But with these three episodes, we not only gain the understanding that the Illegals may be as malicious as we thought they were, but they are sentient and childlike – which may be connected to Isako’s theory about how Illegals are children with lost souls. WIth these three episodes, we’ve not only seen how Illegals interact with one another – bombarding nations via being on children’s faces, or sacrificing a life of loneliness to be with the ones you’ve already lost – but with the main characters themselves. There is a certain and profound connection that is shown here, from the way Daichi nurtures his cyberfish to the way Denpa connects with his dinosaur. Even the moments where Yasako interacts with the Illegals on her face are human, despite the odd circumstances. With that in mind, it’s curious that Illegals – bits of information – can act so naturally, in contrast to the Satchiis, who are robotic and inhuman in nature. Are Illegals really just data? What are Obsolete Spaces, and how are they connected to human memories? I think we’ll leave that to future episodes to explain, but what’s great is how these three episodes have still managed to make the cyberworld – and thus Dennou Coil itself – both a more real and a strange place to live in. It’s once again thanks to effective storytelling, and with only 12 more episodes left, and I’m already excited to see what Coil has in store for me.

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