Dennou Coil is a 26-episode, one season Japanese Animation (Anime). It is a science-fiction anime occurring of the current world later in the future, where augmented reality has become heavily used in society. In Dennou Coil, the story centers in a town called Daikoku, where both legal and illegal technology is used to interact with the augmented reality. The common and most "legal" of the technology used by essentially everyone in the anime are glasses, which acts similar to smart phones by having functions such as cellphone and email capability. Little do the general public of Daikoku know that the glasses have hidden functions that are codenamed Imago.
Due to the series being 26 episodes, the plot summary will entail the gist of the plot. Therefore, be wary of continuing reading of this section because of spoilers.
Yuko Okonogi and her immediate family have returned to Daikoku to live with Yuko's grandmother because of her father's job transfer. Once in Daikoku, memories from her earlier childhood begin to stir and a mysterious individual named 4-4-2-3 is introduced immediately in episode one. Prior to episode 10, not much is told about 4-4-2-3 besides he helped Yuko Okonogi find her petmaton Densuke and later on be referred to by Yuko Okonogi as her girlfriend; additionally, 4-4-2-3 was the original individual to "codename" Yuko Okonogi as Yasako meaning "gentle girl." During this period, Yuko Amasawa becomes more mysterious by become powerful enough to destroy the Searchmaton with very little effort and hunting Illegals, creatures the cast hunts for they provide loot to make more illegal items or get more money, but for a different and unknown purpose.
It is eventually revealed that Yuko Amasawa was hunting Illegals to meet and "rescue" her brother, who lived in the Obsolete Space. It turns out Yuko Amasawa is 4-4-2-3, which was her patient number during her stay at the hospital Dr. Okonogi worked. The boy who said his name was 4-4-2-3 is actually a program Yuko Okonogi's grandfather made to console Yuko Amasawa a few years ago from an accident that caused her brother's death. As a result of Yuko Amasawa's meddling in the Obsolete Space, she is influenced by the legendary Illegal Michiko-san, who is also revealed to have been created by both Yuko's -- Yuko Amasawa's betrayal and Yuko Okonogi's innocent first love. By both Yuko's willpower or mainly Yuko Okonogi's, the two escape Michiko-san and the Obsolete Space's grasp. It is also later revealed the Illegals are previous data that has been destroyed or has ceased to exist in reality such as after Densuke's death, he too becomes an illegal; Yuko's augmented reality-self grandfather is also revealed to have become an illegal after dying.
For additional information such as summaries of each episode refer to:
Yuko Okonogi: the protagonist nicknamed Yasako meaning gentle girl, who inherited her current glasses and the petmaton Densuke from her late grandfather. Upon returning to Daikoku City, she gradually remembers a memory from a previous visit to Daikoku, which eventually haunts her to no end but is key to knowing the mysterious 4-4-2-3. It is eventually revealed that the memory haunting Yuko Okonogi is her first time in Obsolete Space. In the Obsolete Space, Yuko Okonogi had met her deceased grandfather after meeting 4-4-2-3 and witnessing the creation of Michiko-san.
Densuke: Yuko Okonogi's petmaton, which was given to Yuko by her grandfather. It is very protective of Yuko and Kyoko. Densuke is revealed to be the main key in opening the Obsolete Space Isako and eventually the rest of the cast are interested in.
Megabaa: Yuko and Kyoko Okonogi's grandmother, who runs a dagashi store. She crafts metatags from metabugs and is the founder of a club.
Fumie Hashimoto: Yuko Okonogi's first friend and an active member of Megabaa's club.
Akira Hashimoto: Fumie Hashimoto's younger brother, who currently hangs out with Daichi and his hacker club as either a double agent or to escape her old sister.
Yuko Amasawa: sometimes nicknamed as Isako meaning brave girl; she is known as an encoder, which uses glyphs made from chalk to interact with the augmented reality. She is collecting illegals for unknown purposes; the unknown purpose reveals to be to rescue her brother from the other side i.e. Obsolete Space. Additionally, it is revealed Yuko Amasawa is 4-4-2-3 and the boy who said his codename was 4-4-2-3 was simply a program modeled after Yuko Amasawa's brother to console her. Yuko Amasawa was a patient of Dr. Okonogi and a patient given cybercure in order to be cured of her mental illness caused by the loss of her brother in a car accident.
Daichi Sawaguchi: The founder and leader -- prior to Yuko Amasawa -- of the hacker club in Yuko Okonogi's school. He is forced to become Yuko Amasawa's lackey and no longer leader of his hacker club after losing a duel to her in coding. He is romatically interested in Fumie.
Ken'ichi Harakawa: nicknamed Haraken; he researches illegals more seriously in hopes of finding the real cause behind Kanna's death as well as Kanna herself in fear she is stuck in Obsolete Space. He is romatically interested with Yuko Okonogi but distracted by Kanna's accident.
Tamako Harakawa: Haraken's aunt who works under Yuko Okonogi's father. She seeks to ward off all illegal items and creatures from all of Daikoku City. Prior to Dennou Coil, Tamako had caused the illegals to enter Daikoku City from performing the original ritual to open Obsolete Space; she works under Yuko Okonogi's father in hopes to rid the city of Obsolete Space and illegals.
Searchmaton: the primary debugger and security of Daikoku, who clumsily destroys illegal and obsolete data. In reference to clumsily, he deletes both harmless and harmful such data indiscriminately. The Searchmaton sometimes serve as Tamako Harakawa's lackeys.
Kanna: a girl who was listed to have died from negligence of traffic. It is later revealed she was murdered by the Nekome brothers and she was another individual capable of using Imago.
Michiko-san: a legendary illegal said to take children's souls as to price to grant any wish. It is actually an illegal created from Yuko Okonogi's love and Yuko Amasawa's despair in regards to 4-4-2-3.
4-4-2-3: a mysterious entity Yuko Okonogi remembers from her earlier childhood and the original person to nickname Yuko Okonogi as Yasako and Yuko Amasawa as Isako. 4-4-2-3 turns out to be a program created by Dr. Okonogi to console Yuko Amasawa in hopes she can move on and free from the death of her brother -- the individual it is modeled after.
Sosuke Nekome: the little brother of Takeru Nekome; he helps Yuko Okonogi when trying to remember 4-4-2-3 and becomes good friends. By becoming good friends with Yuko Okonogi, he eventually betrays his brother and breaks his brother's glasses when his brother tries to kill Yuko Amasawa and Yuko Okonogi.
Takeru Nekome: the antagonist of the series. Takeru sought to drag all the cyber versions of every individual using glasses into Obsolte Space in hopes for the company Megamass to compensate the Nekome family by providing credit to their father, who had created the glasses.
Dennou Coil: The name of the series comes from the Japanese translation of "A Circle of Children" or "A Spiral of Children" for the illegals were known for gathering children and taking them to the Obsolete Space. The Obsolete Space is known as the C domain and the illegals that originate from that domain, were nulls.
Related Themes in Class Readings
Two key points from "The Winter Market" is traceable and applicable in Dennou Coil -- the street finds its own uses for things and the use of technology for medical purposes.
The technology found in Dennou Coil -- Imago and the glasses -- were experimentally tested in hopes to provide more aid for a patient's mental health, which was dubbed as cybercare. For example, Isako suffered a mental breakdown earlier in her childhood from a car accident and finding out her brother had died. Dr. Okonogi, Yuko Okonogi's grandfather, used Imago and the glasses to provide for cybercare. The treatment involved making a cybernetic reality -- later to be an Obsolete Space -- where Isako's deceased brother still lived and Isako could continue being a child until she was able to support and live on her own without her brother.
For the latter key point, the augmented reality in Daikoku City produces obsolete space, which is home to Illegals and both types of bugs -- meta- and kirabugs. The main characters strive to enter obsolete space in hopes to find metabugs and kirabugs for hopes of making "illegal" items such as metatags to interact with the augmented reality. Such uses of waste is similar to Rubin and his application of trash.
Wescott programs his late wife Carol as the voice of his OS; it is an act of preservation of his late wife even past death and the act leads to Wescott's further withdrawal from society when he is unable to relate with his girlfriend, who leaves him. Similarly, Dr. Okonogi programs Isako's late brother as a program within the cybernetic space during her cybercure a.k.a. Imago treatment in hopes that a more defined farewell will allow for Isako to accept her brother's death and live on with her life.
Sherry Turkle's research on human interaction with technology can be seen in action throughout the series. The main cast are "addicted" to their glasses and are never found without them. In one episode, Yuko Okonogi and Fumie remove their glasses for the sake of figuring out who Haraken truly was and they struggle to look at reality wthout a filter. Also, Yuko Okonogoi is often sleeping with them on and at times, the dreams she has with 4-4-2-3 occur at those instances. Another example would be the petmatons such as Densuke, which are digital creatures and cannot be felt or smelled, were often used by the children instead of real pets. Later in the series, the cast's parents confiscate their glasses and lecture at how they should play more in the playground, fight with their bare hands, and actually play with real things.
Michiko-san, the legendary Illegal, is the product of Yuko Amasawa's anguish and Yuko Okonogi's love in regards to 4-4-2-3, which was the program modeled after Yuko Amasawa's brother. In Neuromancer, Wintermute i.e. the AI Case and Molly work with is created by 3Jane's mother as the logical and closest resemblance to an avatar of technology. Wintermute is only half of a more complete being and would only become a complete entity upon uniting with the other AI Neuromancer, who embodied personality and individuality. Both examples expresses that technology can only serve as a skeleton or a shell for something seeking to be an individual. More is needed for the skeleton or shell to become an individual; a human aspect like personality or in Dennou Coil's case a sense of balance in emotions, is necessary for something not originally human to becoming an individual arguably human.
In addition to petmatons, the Searchmaton is also a virtual/digital creature that exists in Daikoku City's augmented reality but serves a more important role in its society -- the debugger and security. Initially the Searchmaton destroy both harm and harmless Illegals and data such as the main cast's items. However as the story progresses to the point when Yuko Okonogi needs help in Obsolete Space against the legendary illegal, the Searchmaton is modified by its creator -- Haraken's aunt -- in order to protect Yuko Okonogi and fights against harmful data -- be it legal or illegal. Another similarity between Yod and the Searchmaton is that the Searchmaton is later replaced in its task by a Searchmaton 2.0 but the difference is that Haraken's aunt simultaneously was fired from her job and in turn, the Searchmaton was also dismissed.
Streaming of Dennou Coil available: http://www.anilinkz.com/dennou-coil/dennou-coil-episode-1/
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