ChaoS;Child episode 10 sees this series continue to chug on at the level of quality it apparently is satisfied with – namely, better then Occultic;Nine, but, still far short of being good. So, in that respect, there’s nothing noteworthy about this episode. However, the flashback scenes in this episode crystallized to me one of the problems this anime faces.
That problem is the production staff doesn’t care enough to try to make ChaoS;Child a good anime.
To see how I reach this conclusion let’s examine a few screenshots from the flashback scenes. These purported flashback scenes take us back to the far distant year of 2004. In America, George W. Bush had just beaten John Kerry to be reelected President and the Boston Red Sox ended their 86 year curse to win their first World Series since 1918. In Japan, our main character of ChaoS;Child was a neglected elementary school student who finds solace by surfing the internet and from the friendship of a fellow neglected kid living in the same apartment complex. And, btw, Youtube didn’t exist yet.
I say “purported” because there is little evidence that the year shown in these scenes is actually 2004.
Let’s start with little Taku’s drink of choice.
Commercial logos can be a strong way to anchor a scene to a time period since they are so popular and are time sensitive. Taku is obviously drinking Mountain Dew, but, as a fellow Dew drinker, I knew the logo is wrong for 2004. It took 30 seconds for the internet to confirm that the logo used was a newer version. This is what the Mountain Dew logo from 2004 looked liked.
I wonder why the production staff of ChaoS;Child wouldn’t spend that 30 seconds to get the logo correct and help make these scenes feel like 2004.
Moving on, little lonely Taku likes to surf the internet on his old laptop. The next screenshot shows that this laptop runs on some special magic.
That browser window does not look right for 2004. Something told me that I was looking at a newer version of Microsoft Internet Explorer but I wasn’t sure; I haven’t used that program since around 1999 (Netscape then Mozilla then Firefox). I did a little searching and the below screenshot makes it look like Taku was using IE9 which didn’t get released until 2011.
Chances are Taku would be using IE since in 2004 it had over 80% market share but it would be a much earlier version. Taku would probably being using IE5 if his laptop was running Windows 95 and IE6 if it was running Windows 98 or Windows ME.
Once again, very little work was needed to dig up what should have been shown in the anime.
Beyond merely getting something correct for the time period, the production staff could have also taken it a step further. Firefox 1.0 was released at the start of November 2004. Having Taku use this browser when over 80% of everyone else was using IE would have said something about his character. It would have communicated, at a minimum, that he was more tech-savvy then his age and peers would suggest. It could also have been used to show that he thought of himself as smarter then the sheeple using IE or that he wanted to be independent or that he thought of himself as special and better then other people. Yes, it’s a minor thing, but, it’s attention to little details like this that great anime gets right that lesser quality shows don’t.
And here’s what Firefox 1.0 looked like.
There’s other issues with these scenes taking place in 2004. One is the “old laptop” that Taku uses. Look at this screenshot. Can you see what’s missing from the laptop?
I’m willing to let the lack of a power cord slide since it’s possible that he has an alternate place where he’d recharge the battery. However, I’d like to know how this laptop connects to the internet. There is zero chance that an old laptop in 2004 that was passed on by Taku’s wonderful parents had Wi-Fi. So, to reach the internet, Taku would need some sort of modem on that desk and a wire connecting the laptop to that modem. And, beyond getting this right, including this detail would have further reinforced that these scenes were taking place in 2004. Bonus points could have been earned by watching him start a dial-up connection for his laptop because that would have been a subtle way to show that his parents didn’t care enough about Taku to pay for a higher speed connection.
The final glaring non-2004 item I noticed is shown in this screenshot (which I brightened for ease of viewing).
That flat screen TV does not belong. In 2004, if one wanted a large screen TV it would be almost certainly be a rear projection TV of some form, even more so if the TV was a couple years old. And I don’t see Taku’s parents as even that interested in having a nice TV. It would make more sense to show a smaller CRT TV that was at least 5 years old.
Taken together, there’s a clear pattern that the production staff can’t be bothered with making these scenes correct. Which is extra bizarre because they lived through 2004 themselves and should have ample memories of the differences. And these scenes also show that they are not interested in using little details to help flesh out their characters and make them feel more real people.