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Adaptation and sacrifices : From CL to CLE
 
 Welcome to this article.

The question of the transition from Code Lyoko to Code Lyoko Evolution is a delicate question in the community with which the fans are very split. Whether one agrees or not, it remains a difficult question due to all that was at stake. Having to reconcile with the scriptwriting choices, the autonomy of the new series compared to the old series, the technical constraints of the adaptation, the budget constraints, and above all that... the sensibilities of the fans was quite the dilemma as well.

This article is divided up into two pages. This first page, of which you are currently on, was created immediately after the airing of the first episodes of Evolution. Its objective is to point out the main changes as soon as the start of the new series and to comment on those changes in order to evaluate if Evolution is a successful adaptation or not.

A second page completes the article. Written at the end of Evolution, its goal is to list the whole of the changes within Evolution in comparison to Code Lyoko. Some comments are meant to be lighthearted, but overall, the page is empirical and objective.

[Access the second page of the file]

[Page summary]

[Introduction] [In Short] [Stating the Obvious 1: 2D to Live-Action] [Stating the obvious 2: The new 3D CGI] [The evolution of the design of the virtual world] [XANA, power and spectres] [Small script-writing tricks] [Conclusion]
 
 

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Introduction
 
The Transition from Code Lyoko
to Code Lyoko Evolution

Adaptations and sacrifices

Code Lyoko

10 November 2007 : Airing of the last episode of season 4 in France

100% 2D/3D animated series

Cartoon aimed at children

4 seasons with a stable team
Code Lyoko Evolution

19 December 2012 : Airing of the first episode of Code Lyoko Evolution as an advance-premier on the Internet

Hybrid 3D/Live-action animated series

Youth-targeted series aimed at new & old viewers

New team of directors & script-writers

All these elements made so that Code Lyoko Evolution couldn't be Code Lyoko. The same definition of Code Lyoko Evolution compared to Code Lyoko isn't evident...
A season 5? No, Moonscoop repeated: Code Lyoko Evolution is a sort of new series and in no way only the “5th season” of the well-known cartoon. Though the script is the logical continuation to season 4.
A new series? Surely not. The heroes remain the same as well as the concept.
A spin-off? Not really. The environment and the narrative framework preserve the guiding line of Code Lyoko.

And so here we have our result that this succession is not a new season. This new series is in the exact continuation of the previous. This little brother is the twin of the older.

The season has started with its lot of surprises, so good or bad, it is now time to take stock of all the changes that were established during the transition of Code Lyoko to Code Lyoko Evolution.

Is Code Lyoko Evolution comprised of so many novelties that it can be considered a new series?
Or is it so little different that we can consider it as a full-fledged succession to Code Lyoko?
Or conversely, rather than questioning the number of differences between the two, would we be better off considering the nature of the changes and the reason for the modifications? Maybe this path will lead us toward yet another conclusion: Through all the changes, maybe instead we should see Code Lyoko Evolution as a simple adaptation of Code Lyoko to a live-action series.

 

In Short
 
ImageJustified or justifiable by the scenarioScript-writing or artistic choice of the creatorsConstraint due to budget and/or live-actionNo explication
Changes in the appearance and voices of the heroesX
Blonde Sissi – White Samantha – Young Mrs. HertzX
Disappearance of secondary charactersX
Weaker XANA spectresXX
End of “large” XANA attacksXX
Changes in the appearance of placesXX
New 3D-CGIX
Disappearance of the Ice sector and the Forest sectorX
(Suuure...)
X
Changes to the virtual outfits and vehiclesXX
Variations to weapons and powers (Odd & Aelita)XX
New design for the towersXX
Tarantulas shoot from their eye
Crabs ricochet attacks off their backs
X
Everyone can deactivate the towersXX
Impossible to enter the towers without XANA's source codesX
 

Stating the Obvious 1: 2D to Live-Action
 
First of all, let's start by noting that this file is not intended to cover the entirety of the existing differences between Code Lyoko and Code Lyoko Evolution. Given that all the 2D/Earth parts of Code Lyoko were replaced by live-action, the differences are, of course, innumerable.

Quickly, let's use this first part for “stating the obvious” and making a point on the most evident changes linked to the transition from 2D to shooting in live-action.

  • The main characters

  • Exactly what Code Lyoko Evolution was awaited for: The adaptation of the series' characters to their real life counterparts, and with beginning actors for the most part. From this standpoint, it's a real “all or nothing.”

    “All” because we can only applaud the casting of the main characters. When the leaks of the actors had started to appear and the casting was revealed little by little, the return of old fans and their opinions were very varied. Love for Diego's angel-face, the scandal over Gulliver's hair. Ovations for the pretty Melanie, worries about the “dense” hairsytle of Quentin. Enthusiasm for the striking resemblance between Marin and Jeremy, skepticism in regards to Aelita's hair.

    Everyone had their own opinion on such-and-such a character that they thought transitioned well and another where they didn't. The second time around, over the discovery of the voices and of the role of each actor! Starting from this moment, the young actors had managed to win over their audience. Despite some grumpy fans (who are surely more talented than the actors...), the critics have become largely silent.
    This silence is owed to some rather significant points. Several actors match their character down to their pores. Gulliver is a replica of Odd Della Robbia by behavior and personal profile (and furthermore, the voice doesn't differ too much from the original) whereas Diego embodies a perfect William due to his sometimes serious, sometimes nonchalant air. Marin, one of the younger actors, without a doubt plays the most difficult role: the one of Jeremy. Often only at the screen (since the other characters are virtualized,) he must shoot sequence by sequence, having only his console with which to share the entirety of his expressions and emotions through his role as an actor. Surprise, fear, worry, enthusiasm, etc... A very complicated role that he fills quite well, improving himself episode by episode.

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    Does something shock you?
    A single element catches the eye of the most demanding of fans: the difference in height.

    We can, on the subject of casting, largely commend the choice made by the two directors to have extended the casting and to have given it extra attention.

    Our final words go to our two unexpected revelations: First of all to Pauline Serieys who embodies the new heroine Laura Gauthier, and who has the difficult task of forging herself a new place within the minds of fans, that we know, oh how well, is narrow.
    And above all to the wonderful Bastien Thelliez who took the role of Jim to an even greater level within the Code Lyoko universe.

    Today, we can consider the casting of Evolution's main characters as the one of the largest successes of the new series. I said, however, that for this casting, it was all or nothing.


  • The secondary characters

“Nothing” as well, since if the casting for the heros was strong, we wouldn't really have as much to say about it for the secondary characters.

There are two ways of looking at this.
The financial constraint was the decisive factor here: Indeed, a multiplication of secondary characters inevitably leads to a multiplication of actors and so of salaries to pay, which would have considerably increased the cost of the series.
Another decisive factor: The young characters of Code Lyoko. The recruitment of minor actors poses a certain number of complications at the legal level. As it happens, Marin, Gulliver, & Pauline were, for example, put in a house with a paid person specifically to supervise them on weekdays except when they were shooting.

So, the Code Lyoko universe must lose some of these characters.
Herb, Nicolas, Hiroki, Kiwi, the parents of all the heros (besides Aelita,) the non-recurring people at Kadic and all the extra students thus disappear from our screens, without explanation (besides Kiwi.)

However, we're yet to come to the immense problem of this casting: The secondary characters still remaining in Code Lyoko Evolution.

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Hardly need to add more.
This “adaptation” is without a doubt the hardest to accept for the traditional fans for the good reason that it doesn't seem to present absolutely any coherent explanation. Enter Mrs. Hertz, professor of science henceforth rich for having invented a giga-effective anti-wrinkle, Sissi, user of hair-dye more genuine than nature, and Samantha, pioneer of the whiteoplasty, there is reason to be perplexed... Of course, these characters have been relayed such very secondary roles that it isn't ultimately shocking. But all the same, much ink has been spilled over this topic and numerous “What the fuck”s were uttered.
 

Stating the obvious 2: The new 3D CGI
 
Second part of the evident changes: The improvement to the 3D. Not worth going into too much detail over, don't forget that we were familiar with the same thing during the transition of season 1 to season 2.

Among the most striking of elements: A drastic augmentation to the speed of the animation and combat. The 3D is maybe the only element which everyone can be unanimous on. In this respect, Evolution has surpassed its predecessor.

And in particular, whether we like it or not, the facial expressions have greatly evolved.

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Finally, of course, there were changes made even to the conception of the virtual universe, but that we'll talk about below!
 

The evolution of the design of the virtual world
 
An explanation for the changes that were made to the virtual world exists half-way between logic and the script-writing choices. The majority were made by Vincent Ferrier, the 3D director for Code Lyoko Evolution. A complete interview with him and Luccio di Rosa is here. Questions on the changes to the design are addressed there. In short, some are simple personal script-writing choices made by the directors, the others were made to simplify the concept of the virtual world for the new script-writers and the new viewers. The goal was to remove any inconsistencies.

Simple example for clarification: As soon as episode 3, we are officially told that a 12 hour delay between each revirtualization is necessary.
Another point, now on vocabulary: The part of the network that enters the virtual worlds is named the “Interior Digital Sea” to differentiate it from the “Digital Sea” that is the network.

The removal of the sectors was a director's choice. The Forest sector was victim “to its lack of originality,” and the Ice sector was axed to avoid making two sectors that were shades of blue (with the 5th sector.) The latter has also been simplified even though the series hasn't talked about it much yet. The towers changed in design for no particular reason.

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There is a big error, on the other hand, regarding the rights to entering the towers. It wasn't shocking that some of the other heros have acquired the ability to deactivate the towers, graced with XANA's source codes. However, it is totally false to imply that they couldn't enter the towers before having this ability. They did so on several occasions.

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The monsters evolved. From now on, the Tarantulas shoot from their eyes and not in bursts from their legs. The Krabs have been equipped with backs that bounce back force fields. Even more in general, the monsters no longer seem to need to be hit in the eye to be destroyed.

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Finally, the heros have also changed outfits, including Odd whose weaponry has been completely redesigned.

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XANA, power and spectres
 
XANA's spectres seem to be less “spectral” than before. They had the ability to walk through walls and to “dematerialize” themselves, but from now on they have to break down doors. Will they still be weak to electrical attacks?

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Moreover, many people complain about the absence of large-scale XANA attacks. This is by no means an error: First of all, XANA is weakened and not as strong (which also explains his gentle spectres,) well, his goal is no longer to kill the heroes but to recover his codes.
Of course, the gossips say that that is rather convenient for the creators who have no reason to do large-scale attacks... But it's also by this type of “pirouette” that we adapt a cartoon in a consistent manner.
 

Small script-writing tricks
 
Let's end with a listing of some small inconsistencies left in or intended by the script-writers to give some energy to the series.

Before

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“Sorry, William. But I don't think you can be trusted.”

#59 The secretImage

“I knew it was a bad idea to bring you into the group.”

#65 Final Round

After

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“It's just that... we were a little hard on William, weren't we?”
Translation from the French episode


#02 Cortex

...

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Needless to say, although time has healed any bad feelings by Evolution, we can only notice the large script-writing “pirouette” that allows the revival of the love triangle between Ulrich, Yumi, and William, which had been mostly resolved since season 3.

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“And it's gonna take months before we can reprogram it.”

#70 SkidbladnirImage

“Great! You were able to reprogram the Skid?”
Translation from the French episode

#02 Cortex


Once again, the need to discover the Cortex accelerated the pacing very quickly... and the reconstruction of the Skid with it!

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Finally, genuine violation of Jeremy's character, our genius who drew a blank in high school arithmetic yet who operates a quantum computer. Gosh darn it!
 

Conclusion
 
For new fans, Code Lyoko Evolution isn't presented with inconsistencies. The concept is laid out right off the bat and is without a doubt difficult to comprehend at first, but it remains consistent. Of course, the problem lies with the old fans. However, apart from the nature of any easy criticism (because it is always easier to take something apart than to defend it,) the result is mixed. The chart at the top of the page and a good understanding behind the scenes of the series allows us, however, to qualify our feelings.

So, what to respond to the question:
Was Code Lyoko well-adapted to live-action in Code Lyoko Evolution?

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“On our part, we sincerely believe we have made the best possible... At least... Let's say rather that I think that we couldn't have done better with the amount of time and the means that we were given. The amount of time that we had was very short...”

Luccio Di Rosa, live-action director, during the interview with CodeLyoko.fr

Whether we wanted it or not to be an American blockbuster where XANA would blow up half the city in each episode, of course not. Now, if we adopt a realistic point of view.

Code Lyoko Evolution presents obvious successes. The main character castings very much resemble our heroes. The new 3D is very successful. The aspects of the show unadaptable for live-action were able to get around this obstacle by the script-writers “pirouettes.” A weakened XANA and his spectres. A new goal for the artificial intelligence that no longer needs to make large-scale attacks. And especially the novelties (dynamic sequences, new music and animation.)

Finally, the chart at the top of the page proves that the majority of changes and “inconsistencies” tied to the adaptation of Code Lyoko Evolution are justifiable by the constraints of the shooting or even the script-writing. This adaptation has been generally successful, even though there are still serious problems: The secondary castings, the disappearance of two sectors... and finally, some occasional script-writing mistakes.
 

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