One of the things or, really, the thing which defines this age is information abundance. This abundance, essentially, creates a world where anybody and everybody is an expert on everything. Long-term exposure to information could in theory make a person an expert on the information they are exposed to, but there is a catch. The information has to be true. False information will forever be useless and any conclusions based on it will be useless as well. Regardless of its genuity, any information can be spread. If that information is believed by the masses then it’s the TRUTH. A lie becoming the truth is how Chaos is born.
In a world where information is abundant the way people interpret it becomes as important as the information itself. Chaos;Child is a story about how information is dealt with. Information as a theme is rarely touched on, despite how important or fascinating it may seem. This is, mostly, due to a lack of precedence and the relation information has with communication.
To start with, art in general is developed through imitation. Therefore, previous works that are similar are used as a basis to move the ideas further. As a result, creating a piece with nothing to base on would be near impossible due to the amount of work which would be needed. This could be interpreted as C;C being original, which is false.
In the late 1990s to the early 2000s works which focused on the way humans dealt with Technology thrived. Works such as Serial Experimental Lain, Ghost in the shell, I/O to Cross+Channel managed to provide commentary on how technology changes the way the world is perceived. The commentary provided mainly centred on communication as an issue. Technology changes the way people communicate. Modern Technology allowed for mass communication, which in turn allowed for information to be abundant.
Information is communicated. Thus, a work where information is discussed can not do so without commenting on communication.
Chaos;Child uses communication as means to advance its narrative. This is done by using the mystery as a source for ambiguous information which needs to be communicated and deciphered by those interested in the case. The information itself is inconsequential, it’s the way those information are interpreted. Simply put, C;C centres on the way people deal with the information they are presented with.
The mystery in C;C is a fair one in that you can solve the case by yourself, and far earlier than one might expect. For that to be possible, however, would require the reader to discern the truth form the lies. Thus, it’s possible to see how the theme extends to the reader as. Moreover, reading peoples interpretations and hypotheses can be pretty interesting, since no two people will have the same experience.
As mentioned, C;C uses its murder case as a source of confusion by continuously providing more information than needed. This is, also, used to show the information divide present in society. There are the Masses also known as the Wrong-Siders, and the self proclaimed, Seekers of the truth, Right-Siders. Truth is a burden, only those worthy shall carry. That’s what a Right-Sider would say in the face of a great mystery. Therefore, it’s Takuru’s duty to uncover the mystery and make the truth known.
Takuru is a great character, and a fitting protagonist for Chaos;Child. Takuru is someone who’s fascinated by information. An awkward teenager who finds it hard to even talk to people. An elitist nerd in search for a way to make his superiority known. Takuru manages to be a representation of the internet nerd, which is something Takumi manged to do with the Hardcore gaming crowd. That’s what makes him work for the central theme of C;C. Someone who’s always exposed to information, constantly dealing with information.
It would be a stretch to say that the whole cast is as strong as Takuru. For starters, Hana and Uki are extremely boring and feel more like an after thought than proper people. This is not, however, detrimental to the Narrative of C;C, thanks, mostly, to the way the character are set-up. C;C centres around information. Thus, everything about the characters is related to the way we process information. From their motivations to the way they react to stimuli. This Also includes their powers. One seeks a world of Truth, One dreams a world of lies, one speaks nothing but Truth and one who sleeps on a bed of fragile lies. You can find lies and you can find the truth, but which will it be, Senpai. Your love for yourself or Your love for the world?
That might not have been an in-game quote, but It still manages to sum-up the cast perfectly. Truth is a burden, and once you know the Truth there’s no going back. knowing that will you still reach out to the Truth, or will it be enough for you to sleep in your bed of lies rotting away without ever knowing the Truth.
Takuru will develop throughout the story, and so will his relationships. In theory C;C is not expected to have that many slice 0f life segments, but it still manages to do so. This is a result of the mystery’s integration. I claimed that the mystery is used for information abundance and this means that Chaos;Child will have a lot of information for the reader. This works with the slice of life segments to produce a structure where all the scenes feel relevant. Whenever a scene is presented to the reader the scene will provide more clues or will debunk some previously mentioned information. This is supported by the fact that your interactions with the female cast are not, purely, romantic.
This can also be seen as the area where the adaption fails. The adaption for C;C is poor as a result of adapting C;C as a murder mystery. C;C uses a mystery, but doesn’t revolve around that mystery. By adapting C;C as a murder mystery the anime manages to mirror the adaption of C;H, in how unrepresentative of the actual product it’s adapting. Reading Chaos;Child, even after watching the anime, will be a new experience.
Lastly, C;C is strengthened by its music and visual works. they don’t enforce any of the main themes but just by being there they can make the experience a lot more lively. I will never forget how peaceful the eyes of that person become the moment they finally confess their lie to you. It left a strong impression on me, despite how small it was. The soundtrack was, also, great. As is always the case, a strength of Visual Novels as written media is that they have access to music, which is why they are more visual than just written, this can elevate some of the scenes found in them to a higher level. I can say with confidence that the soundtrack played a huge role in getting me to shed tears three times during my time with C;C. C;C can be emotionally damaging and my chest still tightens whenever i listen To Silent Wind bell (C;C’s ending theme).
In a way the concept suggested by I/O which aims to deal with the children born in the era of information. People who can not feel at ease away from their source of comfort, information. Which is a bit of a stretch to the idea but that’s the way it’s applied in C;C. Information and the ability to find it then use it, is a way to enforce a sense of elitism. Those who only get their information from the mass corporate media or don’t bother to actually worry about their information are considered “Worng-siders”, while those who love their information are the self-proclaimed “Right-Siders”. Right-Siders are like their Imaginary Children counter part, detached from reality. While it’s unfair to compare the right-siders to the ICs, the ICs are still comparable to some of the fair citizens of Shibuya. This segment is not meant to mean anything to you unless you were done with C;C honestly and it’s my way of telling you to read I/O.
For the finale, I will say that C;C is a strong enough standalone title. Chaos;Child is written in a way which rewards C;H readers without punishing those who didn’t. This makes C;C to be a good place to get into SciADV, Athough starting from the best SciADV might not be a good idea. Nonetheless, C;C is a strong title by its lonesome, and it rewards C;H readers by being a parallel to C;H. The thing is that you can get the parallels by reading C;H after C;C too, which means that you are not missing out on anything. You can say that C;C is a sequel to C;H without being an actual sequel.
Chaos;Child always hits hard, it always hurts. What hurts more is that you could have always been happier, were you to ever know the truth. That’s why C;C is beautiful.