What is evil?
It can be describe as something wicked, malevolent, sinister, ill, or something which holds responsibility for the bad things that happen in this world. It's a four letter word that strikes fear, anxiety, and many other emotions. In the real world, people commit deeds through free will. Some of these are good deeds, while others are evil. In the Code Breaker world, there exists supernatural beings who are able to judge deeds (good/evil) and carry out justice with an iron fist.
Rei Ogami: “An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth, and Evil for Evil”
Welcome to the world of Code:Breaker.
The series is written by Akimine Kamijyo based off the manga of the same name who is also known for her previous work, Samurai Deeper Kyo. It all begins one day when Sakura, a local high school student, witnesses some blue flames like she's never ever seen before. Likewise, from there on and out, her life is changed forever.
The hero or maybe better seen as the anti-hero of Code:Breaker is Rei Ogami. He is the local bad boy with a tough attitude who does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants as long as it gets the job done. In his mind, there is no justice for evil and as he quotes one more time, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and evil for evil”. He expresses a darker side of "justice" similar to those more like a vengeance hero rather than some ally of justice like we see in pop culture.
Code:Breaker doesn't avoid most of the cliches we see in most of today's themes. The common gag of 'boy meets girl' is employed but it doesn't just end there. Sakura Sakurakouji is portrayed as a school beauty and idol that is admirable by many of the students. Then, there's the mysterious transfer student Rei Ogami. Things like this is very common for anime viewers to see these days in the industry. To add on to this topping of cliches, there's an assumption that the two have a “thing” going on by nearly everyone at the entire school. They misunderstand their relationship and often misinterprets it as if the duo are dating.
From there on and out, the two seems to have a strained relationship. In every way, Sakura tries to explain Ogami that killing others is “wrong” because it's the wrong thing to do. She strives to get her ideologies to Ogami in order to convince him to be a good hero and do the right thing. However, her words are often deaf to his ears as Ogami kills to protect others, at least in his point of view. At times, Ogami even expresses himself as evil and that in this world, in order to save lives, sacrifices are needed. He presents himself as not a hero in this case but rather as someone who is trying to do what he believes is “right”. The question here remains though:
Would you kill to protect someone you care about?
The characterization of the other characters from the series is explored to a lesser degree although a few of them does stand out in particular of those associated with the Code:Breaker organization. Most if all of the Code Breakers has their own standard code of conduct (or rather their signature Code of Hammurabi) and coupled with them some supernatural abilities that makes them fearful of others. In fact, Code Breaker itself has become a term of both fear and hatred.
The Code Breakers themselves all have different personalities as well. Some are fun to watch such as the playful Yuuki Tenpouin while others are more straightforward and serious such as Rui Hachiouji. The most mysterious of the bunch are Masaomi Heike and Hitomi, two individuals who are very difficult to read. In fact, throughout the series they seem to be playing mind games with the other characters in particular Ogami. In the world of evil, there is injustice but in their eyes, they seem to represent evil themselves.
Luckily for the ladies, this series presents some good bishonen sketch work. The characters' designs all possesses a sense of style by the way they dress, act, and presenting their ideas not through words but by their actions. Most of the time, they engage in what they do best and that's to deliver “justice” to evil. At other times, they seem to be chilling around like ordinary people despite their feared status.
The series' theme itself also becomes a sense of philosophy. What exactly is evil and how it is defined? More importantly, how do we take actions against it? These questions often become ambiguous and may never have a direct answer. Nonetheless, the blue flame executed by Ogami seems to serve itself as a metaphor in which criminals are terminated by being burned to actions. Similar to how an individual goes to hell for wrong deeds, the flame itself manifests as a tool to destroy those who are evil, or at least those who are considered so under the eyes of the Code Breakers.
In the artwork department, everything seems quite generic. Most if not all the characters have the same design with different colored hair styles to match their themes. While pleasing to the female audience, it can become a bothersome after seeing it so many times. The backgrounds itself is just normal with nothing that really stand out as the setting is set in present time rather than a futuristic dystopia.
The soundtracks of the series is presented with mixed rhythms shifting from comedic, to action, to violence, and to mystery. The opening song, "DARK SHAME" by GRANRODEO has a rock beat and orchestrated with a montage of the main characters. From the song, a viewer can see some of the potential action and even foreshadowing of some events. It doesn't stop there though as it shows some of the violence in various scenes that are mostly presented by Ogami and his blue flames. As cliched as it sounds, the song does work effectively so no shame there.
Ultimately, Code:Breaker is a package of an action series that deals with the world of evil. It is cliched at many times especially with whole 'girl meets boy on a mysterious night' setting, the school life drama, the shounen like battles, and secret organizations. The drama and comedy also seems to be a bit forced as often times or not, they occur out of nowhere and tries to bring the audience a good laugh. It works sometimes but at other times just seems awkward. The series is just slightly above mediocre with the good premise and ideas but still contains too many overused tropes. However, if you're looking for some action packed thriller sequences with dark heroes, then C:B might be for you.