Within Cardia Beckford's hazy memories, she can recall her father Isaac and the home where she lives alone, feared as a monster by the townsfolk—for in her body, she carries a deadly substance. Embedded in her chest by her father, the eternally beating heart—also known as Horologium—has the capability to produce infinite power. However, it also makes her skin destroy anything it touches.
Many in London seek the Horologium, including the terrorist organization Twilight, with whom Isaac is rumored to have close ties. To obtain the Horologium's power, the British military forces Cardia to leave her home as their prisoner. But on the road, she is whisked away by the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, who says he will steal her heart. Joining Lupin and his companions, Cardia begins a journey to discover the truth behind Isaac's connection with Twilight, her missing memories, and the Horologium within her chest.
Please note this review is intended to be read by those that have finished watching Code Realize and while care has been taken to minimise spoilers there may still be spoilers within character analysis.
Intro and premise
One girls journey to find the truth of her existence
Based off a well-known visual novel of the same name Code Realize Guardian of Rebirth is a romance, adventure anime that is set in Victorian London that is in the midst of an industrial revolution that has brought the country great prosperity as a result of the invention of a mysterious but powerful resource that allowed
the creation of technological breakthroughs like airships. But even in this era of prosperity, it can be seen that not all is well as beneath the shadows dark forces are at work hoping to engineer change within the world situation and twist it to their own ends.
The overall story follows the life of Cardia a mysterious girl that resided in a mansion on the outskirts of the capital that was widely labelled as a monster after she is rescued by a band of enigmatic thieves that is determined to keep her safe and use her as a means to locate her father and stop a plan that had been in the making for years. Joining Cardia in her quest to discover the truth of her identity is a band of unique characters that include Arsene Lupin the self-proclaimed gentlemen thief, Barbican Impey a self-proclaimed genius but a gifted mechanic, Abraham Van Helsing a former soldier hell bent on redemption, Victor Frankenstein a former alchemist determined to avenge the pain his inventions have caused and Saint Germain an enigmatic count that seems to have a mysterious reason to provide support to the group. As Cardia and her friends fight to find the truth of her origins they soon find themselves caught in a terrifying plot by a mysterious organisation that seeks to change the whole order of the world a plot that is intertwined with Cardia’s mysterious origins.
Impey Barbicane voiced by veteran voice actor Shoutarou Morikubo of Naruto fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the team’s chief mechanic. A confident, positive and carefree person Impey acts as the chief mechanic of the team capable of fixing a variety of vehicles that range from an automobile to an airship. A kind-hearted and loyal person by nature Impey while a self-proclaimed genius is actually someone that is able to back up such claims as his skills allow the cast to use many different modes of transport as the series progresses. While Impey may look like someone that doesn’t like to take things seriously it can be seen that this is not actually the case as Impey takes everything that he does with great care and when sufficiently motivated can be relied upon to work hard and provide the support the rest of the cast needs.
Cardia voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Saori Hayami of Owari no seraph and Yamada Kun and the Seven witches fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the main heroine of the series. A young teenage girl that at the start of the series was labelled by others as a monster and was imprisoned in a mansion that sat at the edge of the capital before being rescued. In the beginning of the series, Cardia as a result of having little to no contact with humans was someone that was at first unsure on how to deal with humans and as a result was also wary and guarded around people. In the beginning, Cardia was an innocent, calm and kind person that as a result of her virus kept a distance from the other members of the gang even as they tried to get to know her. Despite that Cardia at this time was well mannered and polite to everyone that she met. In the beginning of the series as a result of not having any memories as well as her isolation from the rest of the world Cardia was someone that knew nothing about what a human is and how they should normally act in the world and as a result knew very little about them and of the world as well. she also wrestled with the thought that as a result of the virus that is housed inside her that she is lethal to anyone that approaches her bringing them misfortune.
As the series goes on and as Cardia got to see the world that lay outside of her mansion and got to know the members of the gang on an emotional level her personality starts to gradually change. While Cardia, in the beginning, was a withdrawn, indecisive and fragile young woman this starts to gradually change as the series goes on. As Cardia got to know more about the world and saw how determined the rest of the team is in wanting to protect her Cardia’s personality starts to gradually open up becoming more positive, cheerful and friendly and willing to speak to others and try to understand the problems that they are burdened with arguably becoming more human as she does. While still conscious of the curse that lays within her Cardia gradually starts to realise that letting her curse restrain her was merely limiting her life and destiny shackling them to Twilights plans. As a result of this Cardia gradually starts becoming braver, more determined and more willing to take the initiative as she tries to find a purpose and a role for her in the world that only she can control. The character of Cardia I felt was an interesting and well-designed one and her gradual change from a young quiet and easily rattled girl to one that had resolved to take control of her own life and destiny and in the process becoming more human I felt was well done. I felt that her seiyuu Saori Hayami really did a fantastic job in voicing her.
Victor Frankenstein played by veteran voice actor Tetsuya Kakihara of Occultic Nine fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of the thieves’ gang. A calm, quiet and honest young man Victor though intelligent and logical is also someone that seems to be more at home in a lab creating some new mysterious element that can be used to better humanity than being part of the gang. While Victor is a quiet person by nature it can be seen that Victor is not someone that is scared or awkward around people and indeed can actually be a pretty good negotiator in the most unusual of times. As the series goes on it can be seen that Victor is someone that views science and technology as a means to advance humanity and as a result fiercely opposes its use in military matters which caused him to resign from his previous position within the kingdom and come to help the team. As the series goes on it becomes clear that Victor’s reason for helping the team in their fight against Twilight and their role in guarding Cardia was a more personal one as it can be seen that he felt immense guilt at creating the poison that caused Cardia to experience immense emotional and psychological pain and seeks to atone for his mistake by helping her get her life back.
Arsene Lupin voiced by veteran voice actor Tomoaki Maeno of Kiznaiver and Log Horizon fame is one of the main characters of the series and is part of the thieves group that protects Cardia. A kind, calm and logical person by nature Arsene emphasises the ideal image of a gentleman thief not just because of his combat outfit but also because of his mannerisms and how much he prides himself on being to steal anything without killing. On the surface, Lupin is someone that is intelligent, perceptive and is someone that takes his role as a thief rather seriously. Beneath this, however, it can be seen that Arsene is someone that despite being a thief is someone that believes firmly in the idea of justice and freedom and is also someone that can be surprisingly loyal to his friends and allies as well. In line with Lupin’s belief of justice and fairness, Lupin is someone that treats everyone with respect and kindness regardless of their social standing something that was influenced by his guardian and mentor that he held in high esteem. In the beginning of the series Lupin and Cardia had a rather sudden first encounter as she was rescued and in a sense kidnapped by him to protect her. As the series goes on and as they interact and get to know each other more it can be seen that the two of them gradually bond with each other and form a strong friendship. Though Cardia at first was guarded around him as she was around everyone else it can be said that as a result of Lupin treating her like a normal girl instead of as a monster that their relationship started to improve and cause Cardia to gradually open up to the others paving the path for her to break out of her shell.
The character of Lupin I felt was an interesting and well-developed character that showed that despite being a thief Lupin was still someone that believed firmly in the idea of justice and freedom and unlike many of the characters that the cast meet along the way treated everyone with respect and kindness proving that one should never judge a person by their profession alone. I felt that his voice actor Tomoaki Maeno really did a great job in voicing the character of Arsene Lupin.
Saint Germaine voiced by veteran voice actor Hirakawa Daisuke is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of the thieves’ gang that protects Cardia. A calm, composed and collected person by nature Saint Germaine initially served as the groups mysterious supporter providing them with both their main base of operations and intelligence but not showing his face until much later. After this reveal, it can be seen that Saint Germaine despite being a member of the countries nobility displays none of the arrogance that they usually do and instead Saint Germaine is shown to be someone that cares about people and treats all with humility and respect. While a quiet person Saint Germaine is shown to be someone that is very intelligent and adept at both analysing situations and creating plans that can be used to deal with them. This aspect of having a noble that actively cares about the people of the kingdom be part of the team that’s secretly protecting it I felt was an interesting move as it symbolises the fact that the battle against Twilight is one that transcends social classes.
Abraham Van Helsing voiced by veteran voice actor Junichi Suwabe of Bungou Stray Dogs and Fate Stay Night fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of the thieves’ gang that protects Cardia. A veteran soldier of the crown Abraham is a calm, composed and serious person by nature that fits the ideal image of someone that had seen military service and seen the realities of what war is like. A quiet person by nature and one that doesn’t like to speak unless they have someone useful to offer in addition to being quiet Abraham is also someone that is also rather direct in the way that he deals with people and threats and is someone that dislikes cutting corners. In the beginning of the series Abraham was shown to be someone that was fiercely antisocial and because of his past experiences trusted others warily which often caused some element of mistrust within the team after he joined them. However, it can be seen that beneath this attitude of his Abraham is also using it to mask his true feelings of the matter as well.
As the series goes on and as more of Abraham’s past and backstory is revealed it can be seen that Abraham is actually someone that hates injustice dearly and is someone that believes that everyone should be treated with fairness no matter what social standing or life form that they are. As a result of his rather tragic backstory, it can be seen that Abraham is someone that bears a great deal of burden upon himself and indeed he is someone that looks upon his title as Van Helsing the vampire hunter with something that approaches hatred instead of the pride that they feel he should feel. This tragic backstory was what ultimately caused Abraham’s personality to change from loyal member of the crown to someone that is determined to eradicate Twilight and get atonement for the part that he played in exterminating an entire race. Though this journey of atonement and revenge forms a large part of Abraham’s reason for joining Cardia and the gang it can be seen that as the series goes on that it slowly diminishes as Abraham got to know and understand both Cardia and the rest of the gang. While still determined to end the head of Twilight who gave that fateful order to him it can be seen that as a result of the interactions with Cardia and the rest that Abraham’s personality gradually changes becoming more talkative, caring and more willing to help his friends and comrades and slowly begins to break out of his shell. While still wanting to atone for the grave crimes that he had helped Twilight enact it can be seen that Abraham after meeting Drac has determined that the best path would be to live on and honor the memories of the past and do not let a repeat of what happened then happen once more. The character of Abraham Van Helsing whose namesake is that of a well-known daemon hunter I felt was a well designed and developed character that as the series went on saw a great deal of development that really fleshed him out. His backstory that ultimately caused him to change his personality and focus it around revenge and atonement and its conclusion I felt was done really well as it not only served to show us how evil Twilight was but also showed the effects that its actions had on people as well.
Finis voiced by veteran voice actor Yuki Kaji of Accel World and Black Bullet fame is one of the main characters of the series and serves as the series main villain. A malicious, rude and blunt person by nature Finis serves as the leader of the Twilight a secretive intel organisation that works from the shadows orchestrating events in the kingdom from behind the scenes. While seemingly childlike in both appearance and personality it can be seen that Finis is someone that is arrogant, haughty and looks down on people quite easily and is someone that is loyal only to himself and to no one else. Throughout the series, it’s also apparent that he is also someone that does not bow down to authority even when in the presence of the queen of the realm Queen Victoria herself. While rude, malicious and arrogant in the beginning as the series progresses it can be seen that Finis is also someone that’s sadistic, cruel and manipulative and has a rather interesting relationship with Cardia as he loves to torment her both physically and mentally. As the series goes on and his role in Cardia’s mysterious origins is revealed it can be seen that Finis only see’s Cardia as something akin to a tool to their plans and as such doesn’t see her as a human being something that Cardia is extremely sensitive to. Despite only being loyal to himself it can be seen that by the latter half of the series that Finis is also pretty loyal to the idea that his father has created and indeed is someone that is willing to sacrifice everything that he has in order to bring that plan into fruition even if it meant bringing destruction to the kingdom that he was supposed to be serving. The character of Finis I felt was an interesting one as his manipulative and cunning personality along with his seemingly strange obsession with Cardia made him a character that was both challenging to deal with in both combat and in determining and foiling his many plans.
The animation for the series I felt was pretty good especially the portrayal of Victorian-era London that was in the throes of the industrial age. The character designs for each of the main characters I felt was also well done as it highlighted the roles that each of them played within the team pretty well. The combat scenes of which there were many within the series I felt were well designed and developed particularly the ones that showed multiple members of the gang engage enemies in combat. The designs of Twilights main henchman who wore bird shaped masks and looked like medieval doctors I felt was an interesting choice given that the role of Twilight in the story was to destroy rather than heal. In terms of music the opening and ending themes for the series which was Kalmia which was sung by Mia Regina and Twinkle which was sung by Cardia’s seiyuu veteran seiyuu singer Saori Hayami I felt were both very good and contrasted greatly with the feelings that they invoke with the former invoking mystique while the latter of calmness. In terms of voice acting I felt that Saori Hayami, Junichi Suwabe and Tomoaki Maeno who portrayed the characters of Cardia, Abraham and Arsene respectively deserve particular praise as I felt that they did an excellent job in portraying their respective characters.
In overall Code Realize was a series that while starting slow started to get more interesting as the series progressed and was one that I actually really enjoyed watching. The series main strong points I felt was its interesting premise, excellent story, characters and voice acting. The premise of the series itself I felt was interesting as Victorian-era London is one setting that’s not often seen in anime. In the great industrial revolution that brought great prosperity to the kingdom inserting the creation of a mythical new substance and resource that can be used to create things that range from military-grade nerve gas to airships I felt was an interesting aspect as it resonated well with the age of great breakthroughs that took place in that era. While the premise of a semi-fictional Victorian London was interesting the fact that beneath this advancement existed beings that co-existed with humans yet were feared and hated by all I felt was an aspect that matched well with the theme of human advancement as even as humanity advances in tech traditional human feelings like hatred, jealousy and superstition will continue to exist within the world and that even the most peaceful of products can also be re purposed to deal with beings that the public fears. Matching well with this premise of a great industrial revolution that is paired with a shimmering fear and distrust of beings that are considered monsters by others is the overall story of Cardia and her journey to reclaim the life and memories that she had lost and in the process of discovering what it meant to be a human being.
The overall story of the series itself I felt was one of the series main strong points as not only did it allow us to see how Cardia a being that was widely considered by many to be a monster gradually evolve as she got to see the large world that lay outside of her prison but also get to see her gradually learn to take control of her own life and destiny. And in doing so gradually become more human as she learned to forge friendships and bonds with people and develop trust for everyone that she encounters in her journey to find out the truth of her existence and later to stop Twilight from enacting their plan. While the overall story was split between discovering the truth of Cardia’s identity and stopping Twilight’s plans its important to note that the story also incorporated a number of themes that defined it foremost among them is what makes a human being one. Is it our emotions, feelings, mannerisms or physical appearances? What separates us from the monsters that the army protects us from and that society fears of. These themes and questions I felt were skilfully woven into Cardia’s backstory as well as in her development and served to only enhance her journey to develop into a human that’s willing to stand up to the stigma and prejudice that society have against her due to her origins.
Overall, I felt that the series had an interesting premise that was paired with an excellent story that was populated by some well-designed characters. Cadia’s gradual development from a girl that was insecure, indecisive and fragile to one that was both strong-willed and understanding of others and was determined to live her life the way that she wants while defying her father’s plans for her I felt was one of the main highlights of the series. In overall, I would say that as a final score that Code Realize would deserve a final score of 8/10 as though the series had an excellent premise, story, characters and voice acting I felt that some characters were underdeveloped and the setting of Victorian era London while interesting to see I felt was lacking in effective world building and as a result it didn’t particularly stand out something that i thought was a waste.
''Whether you’re a man or a woman, when you truly fall in love, you want to touch the one you love. When you feel their warmth, this [heart] starts to beat.’’
Code: Realize is about a young woman named Cardia who has been living in isolation in 19th century’s London because of a deadly poison that resides in her body. Because of this curse, anyone or anything she touches with her skin rots or melts. As one might expect, Cardia has been shunned by everyone throughout her life so she’s never experienced friendship or romantic intimacy. One day a witty thief, Arsene Lupin, saves her and
decides to embark on a journey with her to unravel the mystery of this curse and to possibly find a cure. Gathering fragmented clues in every episode, both the characters and the audience start piecing them together to shed light on Cardia’s past.
This sounds like a very refreshing and novel premise, right? I was really intrigued by it having not read the visual novel; loving someone and having friends but not being able to touch them sounds heartbreaking. This show had tremendous potential for greatness despite the record of unsuccessful or dull adaptations of otome games. However it’s exactly because of its potential greatness that I was let down. Being a one cour, Code:Realize unfortunately suffers the same fate as most visual novels’ adaptations do: the pacing is unsteady and in order to skim through the whole plot quickly within the strict time limit of 12 episodes, it sacrifices vital character development, depth and analysis of numerous plot points. In other words, we get no significant insight into the characters’ perspective or feelings other than some fleeting moments at the beginning or end of the episode.
The atmosphere of the show is quite unique and being set in industrial London really compliments the mystery. Cardia, our female heroine, is very kind and sweet. She might seem like your typical dandere at first but her intriguing background reveals that she’s far more than that. Along with Arsene, Victor, Saint, Van and Impey she discovers the warmth of friendship, developing strong bonds, relying on others and being supported. I would have loved to be able to examine her feelings and thoughts more thoroughly, but unfortunately we only got a few (but heartwarming) glimpses at them. Lupin, our main male character, is a very witty and cool guy. He’s romantically interested in Cardia and he has vowed to help her get rid of the curse. He’s the first person to treat her with respect and affection. However his character is not explored any further than the usual caring and fun, boyfriend-material type of guy. The rest of the gang is not given enough screentime either, with the exception of Van Helsing. Lastly, the villain, Finis, is not engaging either because, despite provoking sympathy in a few scenes, he remains a quite bland and forgettable type of villain.
While you want to unravel the mystery and see Cardia fulfill her wish, I’d say the most satisfying and exciting thing during my watching was not the showdowns but rather the intimate, heart-warming moments between Cardia and the rest of the group. And obviously the romance. That being said, it is still an entertaining weekly watch; it gets you interested in getting your hands on the original source, so I think it has fulfilled its purpose.
Ok, so Code:Realize comes to an end, and to be honest, even from a guy's perspective, it feels very paltry compared to those who have played the original game on the PS Vita.
Set in Industrial London (the exact setting as in Princess Principal), Cardia Beckford, raised by Issac Beckford, the father who created Code:Realize and even as to go as far as using brother Finis as a starting tool and herself being the catalyst for having the Horologium acting as her heart, was labeled a monster for her ability to poison anything she touches. Enter Arsene Lupin the gentleman thief, and Cardia sets off on
a journey with Arsene and his gang to eradicate her father's plan to save the whole of London from the (initial) attacks of Twilight (aided by Finis) and as far as confronting her father to stop his plan.
As you would for any Otome fan: 1 girl, many guys, a reverse harem. But even for a romance sucker like myself, I know that Cardia would only be attached to that one person (end card spoilers) for eternity. Honestly, nothing to write off about.
The single girl, Cardia Beckford, unassumingly is not active, but always becoming the damsel in distress, but that's the trait in otome games, so I'll pass it up there.
The guys however, are a part of the problem. You know it when you have characters named after historical figures (which surprisingly enough work just like the counterparts), showcase their best talents and hopes that the girl can rock her boat towards them in each single way.
M.S.C, the studio famous for the Prince of Tennis series, seems very underwhelming for them to undertake a project based on an otome game where they don't have any doubt of the final product of the anime and assumed it's just the game developer, idea Factory, who wanted what's contained in the game to explicate itself in the anime adaptation.
Sorry to say that they quality is very bare bones in conducting itself to people watching it, even for fans of the otome game. Sure, nothing is ever constructed consistently, but somehow they are able to pull off a nice, looing visual all the way through towards the ending, and yes, this adaptation has an ending.
The OST and BGM are nothing noteworthy to say of fortunately, because it feels like its all filler and no substance...with one exception, and that being the ED "Twinkle" by Cardia's VA, Saori Hayami. That was the only good tune out of the entire OST and sadly nothing more is being portrayed as good, or even decent for the matter.
It's quite obvious when otome fans on that regard tell you to stay away from the anime adaptations of games because it doesn't feel justified, and the same could be said for myself being a romance sucker. This does not come close to anything noteworthy of the season as a whole, and it's an easy skip.
Code Realise never quite lives up to the promise of it's setting. The art is... both bland and interesting. Incredibly awkward. The color both never lives up to the visual novel, and I'm not sure if it could. Visual novels just have such a fundemental different aesthetic from anime.
And that the main character's design is fairly nice. It's one of the few designs that really works. The guys just seem generic, especially in design.
I didn't hate it. The types of aesthetics it tries for just never truly works.
Never quite commits to the rich chocolate browns that are it's best feature. Sherlock Hound, Kino no Tabi,
Baccano! are shows that do the steampunk aesthetic better. No matter what you think of it, Vampire Knight does 'shoujo with a dark aesthetic' a lot better. Ayashi no Ceres too.
There's just nothing this show does better than anyone else, in any way. Without my joy of otome and shoujo, I don't think I would have made it through.