So last time on Do You Remember? we discussed French and Japanese made animated series, Oban Star Racers; unique project due to both its origins and art style and if you missed out on that one, make sure to check it out.
And since we are on the subject of weird french shows inspired by Japan and crated by Thomas Romain… Let’s talk about Code Lyoko!
Airing in the United States on Cartoon Network as part of several of its after school programming blocks, the premise for Code Lyoko is a slightly bizarre one. Set at boarding school, four students come across a super computer containing the digital world of Lyoko and a girl named Aelita, who is trapped in the computer. The four students, Ulrich, Jeremy, Odd, and Yumi, decide to help Aelita by freeing her from the computer and giving her a body, a task only possible by defeating the evil computer program called X.A.N.A.. Xana is a computer AI trying to take over Lyoko and ultimately the world. He is able to infect and take over outside elements and objects, including electronics and people through the use of his specters.
The kids fight back by digitizing themselves into Lyoko and fighting on the digital front, deactivating towers controlled by Xana. Any damage he does to the real world gets wiped clean as the super computer Lyoko has the ability to turn back time. Each time they activate it though, Xana gets stronger and it doesn’t bring back anyone who dies.
Now, the kids that make up our heroic team have some pretty fun, albeit weird powers linked to Japanese culture. The characters themselves and the supporting cast are all fun and unique, but their voices are a bit annoying for a cast that is suppose to be made up of children. As a children’s show I can actually see it causing some suspense for its intended audience while the deep mystery of who created the computer, Xana, and why Aelita is in Lyoko. Adding onto the mystery the team slowly begin figuring out who they can trust and even end up gaining new team members along the way. All of that would even make older viewers happy. There were even some tie in novels that helped flesh out the story.
By the time its original run had ended, it was a fun and slightly bizarre experience. Everybody thought that the youngsters were done with their quest against Xana, until…
Just a few years later, a part live action/ part CG series was created in the original show’s country of origin, France.
Code Lyoko Evolution was weird and not in the fun way. It continued a narrative that had truly, for the most part, felt finished and left those original fans from the first series unsatisfied and new fans had no reason to stay for the lackluster series.
Code Lyoko Evolution felt like a reboot more than a proper sequel to the original Code Lyoko. Its plots were not truly grasping (admittedly at first, a later mole plot line was good) and because it was not aired worldwide on television like the first series, its one season run wasn’t widely applauded or even known by the fans of the first series.
So, should you go out of the way to find and watch it? Yeah, it makes for a fun party watch, those pieces of media that you can call some friends over and laugh about, but also some how end up caring about the characters progress and growth.
And we will see you next time when we ask Do You Remember?