English: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Japanese: コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュ
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 6, 2006 to Jul 28, 2007
Producers: Sunrise, FUNimation EntertainmentL, Mainichi Broadcasting, Bandai EntertainmentL, Sony Music Entertainment
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.881 (scored by 210381 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction clamp drama mecha military school supernatural
Jun 5, 2008
STORY - Before I saw this series, it was described to me on multiple occasions as "Death Note with mechas." After seeing it, however, I am inclined to disagree. The similarities between the two series are superficial at best, and though I can see why people would draw the comparison, I don't really think that dis/liking one means that you'll dis/like the other. But anyway, unlike Death Note, I wouldn't say that the story in Code Geass is particularly notable or unique. It's actually rather straightforward and even a little cliche, but that's exactly why this is such a well done series -- the barebones storyline is handled in a refreshing and new way that grabs the viewer's attention. There are enough twists and turns involved to keep you on the edge of your seat. The pacing is excellent and nothing feels rushed or drawn out. Indeed, the progression up to the conclusion is especially brilliant. (It's a cliffhanger "ending," but oh, it's just a fantastic cliffhanger.)
The series is also appealing in its uncanny ability to mix genres. Yes, this is a mecha series, but it really doesn't have to be. Yes, CLAMP did the character designs and there are some very shoujo elements (read: homolust), but there are very shounen rivalries and some pretty epic battle scenes too. Everybody wins! Additionally, because of the number of characters, the story allows for a number of small subplots. I was very happy with how this was handled in particular because all of the subplots relate and affect the main plot directly, whether by revealing some bit of information to both the characters and the viewer or by pushing forward interesting character development. Everything is well thought out and wonderfully executed, so despite the fact that "strong-willed person with plans to change the world receives mysterious power that helps facilitate his goals" isn't a very unique storyline... Code Geass makes it work.
Also. Code Geass utilizes the "best friends trying to kill each other" plotline, and I'm a sucker for that plotline.
CHARACTER - The characters in this series are rather varied. Some are very plain and one-dimensional, while others have an amazing complexity to them that makes them very life-like. I'll be honest. I've become somewhat infatuated with Lelouch as a character (and am rather biased as a result). To me, he is very much a human character -- he has emotions, opinions, a unique point of view, and some very serious flaws, all of which make him incredibly easy to relate to and to sympathize with. He is easily the most complex character in the series, and he feels real to me, even with his supernatural powers and his genius-level intellect. This ability to make the audience relate to him is also probably the series' greatest strength and the main reason why the story is able to remain relevant and interesting despite the fact that there aren't too many new ideas plotwise.
Suzaku would probably be second in line for complexity after Lelouch, though his sense of justice might be called cliche at first (along with Nunnally's and Euphemia's), and his hax-level physical prowess is somehow harder to accept than Lelouch's genius-level intelligence. It's harder to appreciate Suzaku's depth at first, partially because he is presented as Lelouch's main obstacle and the audience's sympathies are with Lelouch, but a great deal is revealed about his character throughout the course of the series, and he becomes an amazing foil to his rival. Their conflicting ideologies and philosophies are fascinating if you really look into it, and gay as it sounds, they really do compliment each other very well.
Much of the rest of the cast seems to fall into typical archetypes -- there's your adorable little sister, your mad scientist and his assistant, your cheerful schoolgirls, your best friend, your most loyal soldier, your second-in-command, your village idiot, your... really creepy lesbian girl? Despite the generic-sounding descriptions, most of the characters are actually pretty fun, or at the very least, interesting. C.C. provides snarky commentary. Shirley spreads innocent schoolgirl love. Nunnally is so moe you'll die. Jeremiah is a good butt of all jokes. Little bits of backstory are tossed in here and there to separate them from the crowd, but it's never enough to actually intrude, and the wide range of characters lets you settle into the world pretty well too; after all, what universe is complete without an animal mascot that shows up now and again?
ARTWORK & ANIMATION - I wasn't too impressed with CLAMP's character designs at first (noodleboys!), but as always seems to be the case, they gradually grew on me, and I remembered just how pretty X was. CLAMP just knows how to make everyone look amazingly sexy, male or female. I really loved how they did all of the facial expressions in the series though, especially for Lelouch. Seriously, that guy had some of the most awesome crazy expressions, some of the most amazingly touching sadface expressions, and of course, some of the most amusing WTF expressions. The mecha designs for the Knightmare Frames were also pretty awesome. I dig the whole rollar blade thing, and some of the technologies they come up with are neat, if a little over-the-top. The animation is fluid and smooth for the most part and very few things stood out as being bad.
MUSIC - Initially, I wasn't particularly fond of any of the OP/EDs for Code Geass except the first ending by ALI PROJECT because 1) they're awesome, and 2) Yuki Kajiura's style seemed to suit the series very well. The screaming violins both convey the high status of Britannia and the intensity of the emotions in the series. The rest of the themes seemed lackluster in comparison, but though I was never a huge fan of FLOW, "COLORS" kind of grew on me after a while. The final insert song, "Innocent Days" by Hitomi is pretty nice as well. Very thoughtful, very poignant, very fitting. The background music during the series was negligible for the most part; there is some pretty generic battle build-up type music and other appropriate, but rather typical, themes. Still, there's some neat classical/opera stuff, and the "All hail Brittania!" theme is definitely awesome.
VOICE ACTING - I've seen all of Code Geass subbed and most of it dubbed. Although I was incredibly turned off by Johnny Yong Bosch's role as Lelouch initially, it kind of grew on me, and now I think it fits well enough, though I do wish he'd change his voice a little more when Lelouch is Zero (make it a little deeper?). Suzaku's dub voice surprised me with how appropriate it was too. One of the things I really wish we could replicate in English though, is the subtle differences in manners between characters, between Lelouch and Suzaku at various stages of their lives, and between Lelouch and Zero. In Japanese, when Lelouch and Suzaku are children, they refer to themselves with "boku" and "ore" respectively. As teenagers, the pronouns are swapped, with Lelouch using "ore" (Zero uses "watashi") and Suzaku using "boku." Euphemia uses "watakushi." I'll skip the grammar lesson (go wiki "Japanese pronouns"), but suffice to say that these differences provide a lot of very interesting insight into each of the characters. It's really too bad English isn't nearly as interesting.
The rest of the voices in the dub are pretty average, perhaps the low end of average, with a stereotypically high-pitched girly voice for Nunnally that is amazingly annoying, and very forgettable voices for virtually all the female characters (Milly, Shirley, and Kallen all kind of sound the same). I was very impressed with Lloyd's dub voice though, even if nothing will ever amount to his amazing original voice, which is uh, amazing! Seriously. One of the most amusing voices I've ever heard. Jun Fukuyama's voice for Lelouch I found to be a bit too deep/old sounding initially, but that grew on me as well, and I really love the badassity of his voice for Zero. Suzaku's original voice sounds a little generic at first, but it grows with his character. There's a good bit of Engrish in the Japanese version as well, which is always fun. I don't think you can ever get tired of their "Yes, my lord(o)!" or their "All hail Britannia!"
Overall, I'd say the original is damn awesome, and the dub is pretty watchable -- always a plus, right?
OVERALL - I really love this series, and I definitely did not see that happening. Honestly, I found the first episode incredibly underwhelming: the opening sequence made it look like a series I wouldn't be interested in watching at all, and all of the expository really turned me off...but the second episode? That was so much more epic than I could have ever predicted, and I was pretty much won over after that. I'm just a sucker for chess analogies, I guess! Seriously though, good story, good characters, good animation, and good music! Mechas, politics, rivalry and comradery, strained friendships, love and hate, complex ideologies, and blowing shit up! What more could you want? :D
Aug 31, 2008
For some people, the plot, characters, and music alone is bad enough to make the show unwatchable. For others, the high action, flashy animation, and drama will be more than enough to make the show a favorite of all time though I like everything about Code Geass.
Story: Lelouch Lamperouge appears to be a typical high school student at Ashford Academy in the Britannian controlled Area 11 (formerly named Japan.) But he's actually a prince in the Britannian imperial family, and seventeenth in line to the throne. He develops a hatred for the emperor of Britannia and the entire imperial establishment, vowing to one day destroy them for the death of his mother and cripple of his sister. After an encounter with a mysterious young woman named C.C., Lelouch gains the power of Geass, which grants him the ability to force anyone to do what he wishes. With this ability, Lelouch becomes a mysterious figure named Zero and begins his battle against the Britannian Empire.
Code Geass have too many loose and cliff hanging ends. The end are always left unexplained, leaving the viewer with questions not only about various subplots but also about several key elements of the storyline. However, what makes up for this is the plot and character developments. Every episode is surprising and leave you eager to watch the next episode.
It seems Code Geass mainly focus on the drama, emotion, and the heart-breaking moments. Geass ends up being not so much a story with a certain plot and characters but rather a series of exciting, exaggerated but well-crafted, incredulous and definitely memorable scenes.
Characters: The characters, are so great and awesome that it's hard to stop enjoying them. There are characters that are a goody too shoe, outright intolerable that will make you want to strangle and kill them off the show. The characters are all so great that something unexpected might happen to them. There are also characters that are naive, filled with too much hate and/or love but in the end, you'll have a character you like or maybe even love. My favorite character, of course, are C.C., Kallen, and Lelouch.
Art & Animation: Another good thing about Code Geass is its high production values and colorful animation. The character designs, created by CLAMP, are great and well drawn. The animation may not be great but it is detailed, vivid, and lively. The fights aren't as smooth or fluid as it could be but it's flashy, colorful, which is very much fitting considering the nature of the series.
Sound: The voice acting also plays a role in the show's success. Characters like Zero and Suzaku may be outrageous or cliched but their voice actors fit the characters so well that they are able to sell the characters. One of my favorite voice actor, Jun Fukuyama, does a great job playing the key character of Lelouch/Zero. His performance, especially how well he change from the carefree high school student to the more sinister and manipulative rebel is vital to keeping the series enjoyable and entertaining. Fukuyama is usually playing two characters and does it absolutely convincingly. There's nothing to complain about of the music either as the background music is very good and it fits right in it. The openings for Code Geass are my favorite. It's very paced and exciting.
Enjoyment: I've seen Geass more than 5 times in a row already. (Not counting season 2) This is a nice, great anime. With the non-stop action, you'll be wanting to see which side will win and lose. For one moment you can be smiling, then crying the next. Happens to me sometimes.
Overall: Code Geass is a awesome anime that will surely gather different opinions from viewers and other reviewers other than myself. I've seen and heard a lot of people saying SUNRISE has done an awesome job and it's not because of the use of mecha, action or drama, but rather how effectively it appeals to that certain aspect of anime that is not often addressed and yet is one of the main purposes of anime: entertainment. If your main interest in anime is in the quality of the storytelling or the characters, then Geass is probably not for you. However, if you're in it to have fun or for some good laughs, then take a look at this anime. You wont be disappointed. Indeed Geass is a rare accomplishment. read more
Nov 7, 2013
Code Geass is over the top. The characters are over the top, the setting is over the top, the dialogue is over the top, the performances are over the top, the music is over the top, and the battles are over the top... everything is over the top. If it's not over the top at any given moment, something's wrong--you've probably hit your pause button by accident or something. There's no such thing as a non-dynamic entry in this series, or a conflict that doesn't conclude with an epic twist turning the tables grossly in one side's favor in a wild display of military tact. Some might call this hammy. I call it thespian. And man oh man, I do love me some thespianism.
Code Geass is powerful... which is not entirely separate from its over-the-topness. Characters live (sometimes die), breathe, and interact, each with their own lives, goals, values, and motivations--and more than often, these wills clash. Everyone is out to change the world for the better, and each in their own unique way, leading the viewer to a good bit of philosophising. This also creates some damn powerful scenes liable to pull a tear or two unless you really find yourself detached from the characters. Some people might find this overbearing. I, myself, love really powerful and over-the-top series (like Death Note), and this more than qualifies.
Code Geass is moody. At times it wants to be a political drama series, and at times it wants to be a school comedy series, like jumping between Gundam and Ouran High School Host Club. I think this is what turns a lot of people off--some just don't like their peas and mashed potatoes touching, I suppose. The political drama aspects are much more prominent than the "school hijinx" aspects, which only occupy one or two scenes per episode with an occasional filler-esque episode thrown in (though, truthfully, there's no legitimate filler in Code Geass--good news for those who dislike filler), and the contrast makes sense in terms of the plot, given that the main character is the leader of a terrorist faction leading an undercover life as a student. Because of this, and because of the fact that I enjoy both drama series and school comedy series, I have no problem with this stark contrast. Others might.
Finally, Code Geass is pretty. This series is kind of the poster child of the "new wave" of animation, with its angular jaws, bright colors, pretty boy character designs, and shiny... well, everything. I'm a pretty hip old codger myself, but many seem to hold a very bitter resentment for this modern style of animation, so if it's something that really eats at you, you're probably not going to be able to sit through the entirety of Code Geass. If you're like me and don't really care one way or the other what kind of style a series employs as long as it looks good overall and is reasonably unique in its own right (which Geass is, with its exceptionally wiry and "idealized" character designs and well-constructed mecha frames), then this shouldn't be a problem. I think the designs add to the thespian style of the show, myself, looking at how medieval artwork often idealized the human form.
If you're a thespian with a love for emotional character interactions, an interest in all genres of anime, and a tolerance for different art styles, like me (or, if you enjoyed both Death Note and Gundam 00), then stop reading this and go watch this series right now--nowhere else will you find entries more dynamic, scripts more powerful, and plot twists less expected. If not? Well, maybe this show isn't for you, but it's worth giving a chance anyway. Code Geass is my personal favorite series of all time, with--in my opinion--the most powerful ending of all time, and while that's not until the second season, the first still ends on a pretty damn powerful note... albeit a cliffhanger. For that reason, I'd suggest waiting to start the series until you have both seasons available to you so you can go the whole distance. Once you do, though, you (hopefully) won't regret it. read more
Mar 27, 2007
These are titles that attract us to the newest animes, but Code Geass, much like our beloved Suzumiya Haruhi was (and is) a fall/winter sleeper success. This anime, backed by Sunrise, director Goro Taniguchi (s-CRY-ed, Gun X Sword) and scriptwriter Ichiro Okouchi (Azumanga, RahXephon, Eureka 7) showcases an excellent engine of entertainment.
A key part of any mecha/action anime. Code Geass is set in an alternate reality in which it appears the American Revolution during the late 1700s was quelled and Britain went on to conquer the rest of the Americas. Thus, the Holy Britannian Empire became the world's largest superpower, covering 1/3 of the world. On August 10th, 2010, a.t.b, Japan is conquered by the Empire, renamed to Area 11 while her people are designated as 'elevens' and have their rights stripped. Thus begins the story of Code Geass, the tale of Lelouch Lamperouge, eleventh prince of the Empire and his ambition to obtain revenge on the Empire through whatever means necessary. Through the use of this alternate reality setting, we’re definitely given something out of the ordinary. Code Geass brings a new spice to an old genre. Code Geass hops along with an arc to arc system with a few lighthearted episodes to mix things up. The story builds with each arc (obviously) to the climax. Although the rising action allows for few breaks, the viewer is never overwhelmed with information or under whelmed by a standstill. As each arc progresses to its end, we’re given answers to previous questions yet new ones always arrive – it’s this sense of mystery that really gives Geass its draw for attention.
Pros: Intriguing political, action, dramatic and moral oriented story. The questions never stop – the viewer is always left wanting to discover and see more. Light hearted episodes here and there, placed very well (ex..The School Festival).
Cons: A few scenes may turn people off on the series – something parts may seem excessively strange (read: some to some people). Again, I’d like to reiterate that for a mecha fan, I’m assuming you’ll be watching this for either story or super awesome mecha battles – you’ll get both from this.
The main characters are all extremely well devised by the hands of the all female group, CLAMP. Besides their high aesthetic appearance, each character harbors a separate and distinctive personality essential to the story. For example, Lelouch and Suzaku, opposing main characters and best friends both suffer from a very Machiavellian, " Do the ends justify the means," syndrome. Lelouch is willing to do anything to further his goals however Suzaku remains wary of what must be done and what should be done. Code Geass shows us the characters inside the mechs; they're not clean cut: "I fight to protect someone I care about." Each character must weigh the morality of their options as influenced by their past where the correct decision may place them farther from their goals.
Pros: Large cast of balanced characters providing a wide arrange of personalities and moral conjectures. Characters are quirky and enjoyable.
Cons: Only the main characters matter; anyone else is pushed to the sidelines (i.e. their stories are never a main focus).
Code Geass delivers during its extremely well devised battle scenes. Battles seem as if they were an entirely seperate anime; lines are drawn, ace pilots face off and the battlefield is real. Geass takes a new twist on "main-characters-destroy-grunts-then-whoever-else-battles" and puts us right in the intensity. As said above, there is a large array of characters, interesting on both the "good" side and the "bad" side (which is which is up to you). The battlefield pits them against each other in a deatch match where we know one has to lose yet we are sympathetic to characters on both sides. This sort of conflict draws out the most amazing and interesting battles you can get from a mecha series of this time. Battlefields are led by commanders (obviously) who must make judgements based on his or her opponents's tactics and information - the strategem of battles only adds to the entertainment. The complexity and chaos of a battle give the illusion that you are watching a real war happening right before your eyes.
Not much to say here; Sunrise puts money into this, characters look great, mechs look great, everything looks great. However, the art design may put some people off; characters are very tall and lanky (as expected from CLAMP) while grunt mechs are generally unimpressive. Overall though animation is on the high end of the spectrum even during low budget episodes.
Code Geass is probably one of the few mecha anime's that will appeal to more than just action fans. Battles are kept to a minimum: the main attraction consists of Japanese nationalism against foreign invaders, their actions which undoubtedly cause bloodshed in the name of peace. One of the themes I enjoyed was the balance between cause and effect. Characters were constantly victims of their and others’ actions this although a given in the real world seems to slip past many other story boards. read more
Dec 27, 2008
Let me take a step back for a moment, because the truth of the matter is that Code Geass brought with it a genuinely compelling concept, one that could have done wonders if the creators at Sunrise had known what the hell they were doing. It takes place in an alternate universe where a version of the British Empire called Britannia, through various quirks of fate, manages to endure and thrive into the 21st century. After witnessing the assasination of his mother and having his and his sister’s lives ruined by his father, an exiled Britannian prince living under the assumed name Lelouch Lamperouge, out of a desire for revenge against the emperor, rises to become a revolutionary leader in an occupied Japan.
This concept could have gone in any number of directions and in the right hands could have been turned into something truly remarkable. Unfortunately Goro Tanaguchi and his team at Sunrise either didn’t realize the potential of what they’d come up with or were simply too caught up in making a commercially successful product to care. For, you see, although the basic premise survived to see the light of day it has been chained to and obscured by a wide variety of disparate concepts and ideas, none of which add anything of substance to the proceedings. This is a program that wants to be a mecha action series at the same time it wants to be a war drama at the same time it wants to be a romance/harem series at the same time it wants to be a high school comedy while above all else its trying to be Death Note with a copy of V for Vendetta in its pocket. It all gives the impression of a program that’s so terribly frightened of being disliked by any one subset of the anime fandom that it rushes to appeal to every conceivable kind of viewer and as a result is never truly exceptional at any of the things it attempts.
Giant robots, for example, are thrown in for no better reason than to draw in and satisfy the needs of the giant robot fandom. I don’t have anything against mecha per se but neither do I have any great love for it leaving me rather indifferent to it overall. All I ask is that it adds something to the experience, that there is some concrete purpose for their presence motivated by the narrative, that the giant robots aren’t merely props easily interchangeable with any other fantastical weaponry. Full Metal Panic provides, in its continuity, a fairly detailed justification for how its variation on the giant robot concept came into being. Patlabor provides a similarly believable rationale as well. Ride Back would have had a wonderful thematic connection to its motorcycle/robot hybrids had the creators had the sense to utilize a specific scene outside of the end credits. Code Geass has no such virtue. The “Knightmare frames” come across as a ploy just as empty and cynical as Gonzo’s additions of giant robots to their adaptations of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo.
The story itself runs into trouble fairly quickly. In the first episode, Lelouch is inspired to begin his campaign against Britannia when he obtains a supernatural ability called Geass from a mysterious girl wearing a tight-fitting straitjacket. This ability allows him to control the will and actions of anyone he chooses with very few actual limitations. All he needs is direct eye contact with his intended victim and that’s it. By comparison the Death Note has a whole page full of rules and restrictions on its use. As a result, a lot of Death Note’s intrigue is generated from the various ways Light Yagami finds to work with or around those rules. The Geass is almost too powerful by comparison. As a result it makes his decision to start a rebellion in Japan as a means of gaining revenge against his father in Britannia seem a very roundabout way of doing things. It would seem more effective to simply hop a plane home, Geass his way past security to get to his father and that would be the end of it. Its not like Lelouch doesn’t accomplish much the same thing with his brother Clovis at the end of the second episode. Of course, if Lelouch were to actually follow the course simple logic would dictate then he wouldn’t have started his rebellion and Code Geass wouldn’t have had the opportunity to indulge in enough overblown spectacle to shame Michael Bay.
This problem is further compounded by the revelation in the second episode that Lelouch is some sort of super-genius strategist. It’s never explained to any degree where his ability comes from, whether the creators want the viewer to assume that its some sort of blood inherited trait or that he was simply educated on the subject. The most the viewer is allowed to understand is that Lelouch’s “strategic brilliance” has something to do with the fact that he’s good at chess, which, if you actually accept that, only explains a fraction of the schemes that he devises. In the end, as a character Lelouch comes across as little more than a plot devise, a strategy generating machine that provides the series with its single greatest source of overblown spectacle.
Out of the rest of the cast the only character who made, or I should say had the potential to leave in impression on me was the anti-Britannian rebel Kallen. She receives an entire episode devoted to her background as the daughter of a Japanese mother and a Britannian father. Much is made of her identification with the Japanese side of her parentage and how her deceased brother figures into things and there is indeed potential for something interesting here. Unfortunately nothing is ever done with any of these elements. Everything that was brought up in that episode is quickly shelved and never brought up again.
It should be noted that a good portion of the issues I have with the show stem from the fact that [i]Code Geass[/i] possesses all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the skull. The result is a heavily calculated experience where the hands of the creators can be clearly seen picking and choosing which ideas or scenarios would have the greatest impact regardless of whether or not they make any sense (coincidences are invoked to the point of absurdity). The first episode alone depicts an ethnic cleansing (a scenario the series portrays twice in its first season) and a bloody mass suicide sure to satisfy the more ghoulish members of the viewership. Fanservice is plentiful and obvious with only a scant few female cast members escaping the first season with their dignity, if they ever had any to begin with.
On the technical side of things there isn’t really a whole lot I can complain about. The animation is smooth well done. The color scheme employed can be a little too bright and cheery for its own good with purple mechs and a city that is lit with pink lighting at night but that is a minor complaint overall. Character designs come courtesy of CLAMP so if you like their artwork you’ll like what you see here. If you don’t like CLAMP then there isn’t anything in Code Geass that will convince you otherwise. The soundtrack, credited to Hitomi Kuroishi and Kotaro Nakagawa, isn’t anything spectacular but it is nonetheless serviceable. It is a competent presentation overall, if only. read more
Sep 8, 2013
Story 9:The series takes place in an alternate universe where Japan has been conquered by the “Holy Britannian Empire”, the world’s only superpower. Under Britannian rule, the native Japanese have been subjected to a cruel and oppressive foreign rule. At the heart of the conflict is the protagonist, Lelouch, who is a Britannian prince who hates the Empire. The story begins when he receives a special power from a mysterious girl.
What I appreciated most about the story was the moral complexity and ambiguity. Nothing is clear cut and everyone (who survives) undergoes a significant character change. It’s one of those morally grey narratives where it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Britannia is an evil empire, yes. I mean they ruthlessly execute Japanese civilians and their soldiers follow orders like Nazis, yet many of the series’ most likeable characters are Britannian students/citizens. The Japanese resistance on the other hand may stand for a noble, underdog cause, but they conduct terroristic bombings and execute Britannian hostages too. Ok, so who’s the “good guy”? If that’s an answer you need to have then this is not the anime for you.
The story is exciting and engaging and it definitely does a good job combining action with strategy and intrigue.
Characters 10: It’s rare and great when you have an anime that has exciting and well-developed characters along with a very cool plot. Often you have to choose between one or the other…or neither. Code Geass has both. The characters are complicated and don’t follow typical anime clichés.
One of the predominant themes that keeps surfacing is the challenge of fighting evil without becoming evil.
I’m reminded of a famous quote from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago (which I was coincidentally reading at the time I watched this anime):
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
The protagonist, Lelouch, embodies this good/evil dichotomy. He is intelligent, self-righteous, ambitious, vicious and powerful. The viewer can’t help but respect him and his obsessive, driven personality. However, this admiration becomes progressively more uncomfortable for the viewer as Lelouch’s hands become bloodier and bloodier in his quest to eradicate the evil empire of Britannia. Can one fight evil without becoming corrupted? Is it wrong to kill in the name of a righteous cause? Are people guilty by association? What are the dangers of seeing the world in black and white? These are some of the questions that are explored in Lelouch’s journey and (in my humble opinion) allow the anime to transcend just being a cool story and, instead, give it some philosophical depth.
While Lelouch is the centerpiece, he is surrounded by very interesting characters too. And while these co-mains and supporting characters serve to give Lelouch more complexity, they are also very interesting and unique in their own right.
For example, when CC is rude or unreasonable it’s not part of some cutesy tsundere flirtation scheme…no, no, sometimes she can just be a major bitch…which is delightful to watch. Then there’s Suzaku, who I disliked at first for being a one of those over-powered, one-dimensional, annoying, simple-minded, pure-hearted idealists that pop up in anime so frequently, but even he turned out to be more complicated and flawed than I gave him credit for. And of course there’s Shirley, Episode 1: just the cheerful, preppy bimbo; Episode ???— Think again, she’s complicated too. Haha, I guess a good way to sum it up is that everyone in this anime has issues, which makes them interesting. And it’s through these unique characters that we get to see the different facets of Lelouch.
Art 10: the art is beautiful, from the action sequences to the futuristic/Victorian scenery to the characters themselves. The animation takes a very strange approach to depicting the human body. I noticed that most of the characters have very androgynous body frames and are usually tall and oddly slender. In faraway shots people look almost like well-drawn scarecrows. This isn’t good or bad but it’s unique. What’s not unique though is the absolutely shameless product placement. In an alternate universe where Britain rules the world, battles are fought using mechs and where magical powers shape the course of global events, only one thing remains constant…Pizza Hut. That’s right, kids eat Pizza Hut. CC eats it in 90% of the scenes she in and still manages to maintain that slender figure I was talking about earlier. And despite Pizza not even being Japanese or British, Pizza Hut still shows up on buildings, in parties, on desks and even as a password during a crucial moment. I was seriously waiting for the Mechs to start entering battles with NASCAR-style Pizza Hut logos slapped on their guns.
Sound 8: Catchy intro but not my favorite. None of the other music stood out in a big way for me.
At some point, every 17+ anime has to answer the simple question of how wrong is it to kill someone. Compare Elfen Lied and Psycho-Pass. Both are dark shows but Elfen Lied put very little moral weight on the masses of people Lucy slaughtered, and even portrayed her as a misunderstood and sympathetic character. Whereas, in Psycho-Pass, despite a great deal of violence and moral ambiguity, the death of a single anonymous person is still treated as something horrific, evil and thought-provoking. Code Geass is inconsistent and they kind of swing back and forth. Sometimes they’ll explore the psychological effects of a single death on different characters, but other times these same characters kill without so much as an afterthought and go on with their merry lives. I would have preferred more moral consistency.
Satisfaction/Overall 9: I was very satisfied with the first season. I'm looking forward to season 2.
Blood/gore: There is some. It’s not stylized or overdone but they are also not afraid to show death and violence.
Love/Romance: Lelouch develops special connections with a couple of girls throughout the series but the focus isn’t on developing a particular romance. As I said earlier, different characters = different sides of Lelouch and he’s able to interact with each of these girls in a different way. Likewise, these girls each see something different in him. I know it sounds weird but we bypass, a lot (but not all) of the jealousy/love-triangle/harem stuff despite everyone going to the same school. In my opinion, this is largely because these girls see Lelouch’s obsession with achieving his goal (rather than each other) as their greatest rival.
Sex/nudity: While there’s a fair amount of fan service in the form of “whoops, I didn’t realize I was naked”, there were a few (usually non-graphic) ‘mature situations’ where I had to ask myself what the fuck did I just hear/see? Seriously Nina, wtf…
Nov 15, 2008
The story skips along at a fast pace, taking the viewer through one event after another, spending neither too little time nor too much time on each event. And skipping has a more literal meaning here too; the story tends to take small jumps here and there, not explaining the events in between until a bit later. This may come off as a little confusing, but it's also a nice way of keeping you wondering what's going on and what's going to happen next. It doesn't lack twists and turns either, and especially towards the end will you get some unexpected yet pivotal twists.
One of the things I love about Code Geass is that it frequently delves into subplots, something which would've normally been bad for a two-season series. However, despite their initial prospects of irrelevancy towards the main story, in the end they serve a purpose in the grand perspective, either by moving the plot forward or by presenting character development. These subplots also help keep the show a refreshing and interesting watch.
On top of that there's a lot of ideology in the picture, both on a political and a personal level. The Britannian Empire has their share of - in my opinion - wrong beliefs. The most obvious one is the racism they're displaying towards the inhabitants of the territories Britannia has conquered - or Numbers, as they call them. They also follow social Darwinism, which is basically the principle of natural selection implemented into human society. Stupid beliefs, if you ask me. But not everyone thinks so, it would seem.
The more intriguing ideologies are found when we move down to the personal level, though, with Lelouch and Suzaku's differing beliefs being the root of a ideological conflict. While their goals are more or less the same, they differ in their views on which methods should be used to accomplish the goals - Lelouch believes that the end justifies the means no matter what, while Suzaku believes that peace by murder is wrong. This conflict between two best friends (when not in battle) is a really interesting one, because it is so representative of the moral conflict that's presented - who is good, and who is bad? Britannia - or Zero? Decide for yourself who you want to sympathize with.
Many people have compared Code Geass with Death Note, saying that it is the same, just with mecha. While it is easy to see where that is coming from, it is only on the surface that this is true. Both series' main characters are very intelligent and analytical fellows who believe that the world must be changed through bloodshed, and they both have some supernatural power. But that's all there is to it. Aside that they're as different as day and night. As a character and human being, Lelouch is a thousand times more believable than Light, mostly because he is explored much more than Light is; all we got to see in Death Note was Light's intelligence and analytical capabilities, while in Code Geass we actually get to explore Lelouch as a human, and partake in his emotional experiences, be it love or interaction with his friends, victory or defeat. And aside the two of them, I couldn't really find any similarities between the two shows. Hence, you may like one and not the other, so if you've watched Death Note and did not like it (:o), you may still like Code Geass.
Code Geass also presents a huge array of supporting characters. Some are more one-dimensional and cliché than others, yet they all have their defined personalities and roles in the story. Some of them are developed in a great way, and come off as believable during their exposition. The subplots mainly focus on them, and either develops the characters or the story, and it's interwoven with the main story in a truly great way.
Code Geass, both story- and character-wise, builds up more and more towards the end; the impending climax becoming more and more evident after each and every episode. Finally, in the last two episodes, the fuse has run out, and the bomb blows. In the end however, what one will see is the smoke and not the results of the big explosion; you are left with one massive cliffhanger that'll make you long for - no, need to watch the second season.
Character designs are done by CLAMP, and anyone who've watched or read one of their works will know what to expect in this department: Tall and lanky characters. It's a style that may be new and unusual for many, but it really grows on you, and you can't help but think that it looks good enough, even though their proportions are off. The animation isn't anything spectacular in other departments, but it's good. Great special effects and detailed surroundings help on the aesthetic pleasure too, and aesthetics is something which is important to me when I watch an anime. The coloring is fresh and vivid, however often too much so; at times it could've probably gained from having a darker color tone. Nevertheless, it was well done. The action scenes are made out well, with smooth animation and great mecha movement, and just the right effect of chaos that's needed during intense battles. There is some reusing of the "Geass-effect"; the special effects they use when Lelouch uses the Geass, and while cool the first few times, it gets a bit annoying in its persistence.
I have to admit, I'm a sucker for the type music they used in Code Geass. Utilizing voices instead of instruments makes for an experience that I just fall completely for, and several insert songs make it even better. Some background themes are reused a lot, but my, are they effectual. The opening and ending themes aren't especially noteworthy, unless you're a fan of the artists performing the songs, that is. The first ending theme is made by Ali Project, and I have to say, I've grown to like their style a lot.
Code Geass can be summarized to an anime that doesn't produce anything that's over the top or exceptional, but it does give us is one helluva experience with great characters, intriguing ideologies as well as a twisted plotline that ends in a cliffhanger so massive it could kill you! read more
Aug 19, 2007
Story: While Code Geass had an interesting premise that seemingly got off to a good start, it`s unfortunate the creators of the show had no idea how to handle the mass of ideas they had, or perhaps they simply didn`t care. New plot elements are introduced while at the same time are others are pushed back and delayed, sometimes by many episodes, and sometimes taken out of the show entirely, left to be settled in the 2nd season yet to air. The writing completely flat lines half way through and instead of the gripping and fast paced war/revenge story we had, we then dive headfirst into utterly inane romance drama with a resolution so incredibly bone headed that the series has almost turned into a comedy. As the series moves on, almost as if the romance was a checkbox on a "to do" list of the plot, the series gradually builds up again, making you think it may yet recover, despite the still omnipresent idiocy, but the show sees fit to deliver a "plot twist" so completely over the top and ridiculous, the writers have wrecked absolutely everything that the series had built in it`s first half, only to deliver one of the most stupid and pathetic twists in recent years. I can`t imagine the writers had any other intention rather than having the audience laugh at the absurdity of it all. The series seems to want to be so many things at the same time. It wants to be a gripping war story, a drama about revenge, it wants to include romance and tragedy, but without foregoing humour. Unfortuntely it was unable to do any of these right.
Sound: Music wise, the show's soundtrack doesn't impress much if you're familiar with Kotaro Nakagawa. His music here is essentially a rehash of mostly every other show he's done and remixed into one soundtrack. The only stand out area are the vocal tracks by Hitomi and Mikio Sakai, but even those are all too familiar if you're aquainted with their previous works. As far as the OP and EDs go, Colors by FLOW is a great accesible song, and Hitomi no Tsubasa by Access is perfectly catchy in that "I wouldn't admit in real life that I like this" way. The rest of the shows selections vary from the uninspired (2nd ED), to mind numbingly awful (ED1 and it's usual Ali Project rehash and the often hated OP2).
Character:Just as the plot of the series completely crumbles midway through the series, so do the characters. Completely intolerable and annoying side villains are introduced while other much more interesting ones are left to languich and not to reappear until much later. The constantly annoying Suzaku throughout the show is barely even a character, so much his personality and intentions are a joke. Some characters have their personal development completely eradicated from the series, again only to delay it into a second season, while most are barely given even a cursory look, including even supposedly main antagonists. Worst of all is Lelouch, whose descent into a sort of machiavellian evil was purportedly the series main selling point (Episode 1 "the day the devil was born"), is reduced to an utter half wit, commiting imbecilic mistake after another and constantly proving to be all talk and nothing more. A complete let down in every sense.
Value: A seemingly promising series that eventually degrades into nothing more than fanservice and idiocy. Whatever points the series seemed to want to make in it`s first half are utterly invalidated by it`s second. The lack of any sort of resolution, for anything in the series is as confusing as it is aggravating. Being made to wait 4 months for a completely lackluster "ending" only to find out we`ll have to wait even more for any kind of resolution is ridiculous. Knowing that a second season is in the making is irrelevant, there needs to be some kind of payoff for sitting through 25 episodes of this, and all we are left with is having to wait for another 25 episodes.
Enjoyment: As far as rating this show as an enjoyable new series with promise from a once great director, I`d be hard pressed to give it anymore than a 4. Nevertheless, the shows stupidity and constant excesses at least made it worth watching for a few laughs. Laughing at it of course, not with it. Sunrise seems to be stuck in a rut in terms of how it plans out and executes it`s shows. Mai Hime, Mai Otome, and now Code Geass and unfortunately they don`t seem likely to want to change that formula. I expected much more from the people behind this show, a complete shame. read more
Sep 28, 2013
Story: 9. The story revolves around Lelouch Vi Britannia, an intelligent exiled prince with a sister complex and some daddy issues. In the Code Geass world, Britannia (we all know it's Britain) has taken over 1/3 the world, including Japan, and renaming it Area 11. Lelouch is an exiled prince of Britannia with a dead mother and a crippled sister. He swears vengeance on his father after he banished Lelouch and his little sister, Nunnally to Japan. One day, when caught up in a terrorist attack by some Japanese (Elevens) rebels he meets a mysterious young woman named C.C who grants him a power. Geass, the power of absolute control over anyone (except her lol). With this power and his intellect, he vows to take down Britannia, and create a gentle world where his little sister can be happy. He dons the persona of a masked figure called Zero and manipulates some Japanese into thinking he's doing it to save Japan, while using his Geass and intelligence to win battles against Britannia (though he doesn't win all of them).
Now the universe of Code Geass is quite original, but it doesn't sound that special. Well, the story is not exactly Code Geass's strong point. And for the love of God, it's NOT a Death Note copy.
Art: 8. The art is solid, with CLAMP's lanky characters and pointy chins. Even though I'm not a mecha fan (CG has mecha but it's not a mecha anime like let's say Gundam), I can appreciate the good animation and designs of the robots. Also, animation when the characters are like walking and small stuff like that is pretty great too.
Sound:9. Code Geass has a good OST. While most of the OP and ED aren't that memorable the background music that play during the show are usually quite good, from music for sad scenes to battle music. I find myself even personally downloading some of them, such as Deeply Fast.
Character: 10. Ah, the characters.... Where do I begin? We have Lelouch Lamperouge (A.K.A Lelouch Vi Britannia) the hero of the show. Er...well, sort of. He's more like the byronic hero actually or the anti-hero. These are typically the reasons people compare him to Light Yagami of Death Note and they're both also highly intelligent, but unlike Light, Lelouch has morals, and a sense of compassion. And even when he does some pretty immoral stuff (like blowing up some soldiers and making it look like suicide) you can't help but cheer for him. It's odd, but there's something so charismatic and charming about him that you just want him to win!
But surprisingly, Lelouch doesn't overshadow the rest of the cast. You have C.C the mysterious, immortal and sarcastic girl (actually over 500 years old) who gave Lelouch his Geass. Everything she spoke I hung onto her every word. We have Kallen, the kick-ass, fanservice girl in the show, and Nunnally, the crippled little sister you have to feel bad for.
Oh wait, I'm forgetting Suzaku, Lelouch's former best friend. Suzaku has very similar goals as Lelouch's, (to stop the oppression of the Elevens and create a better world) but a very different way of going about them. Suzaku and Lelouch are best friends in school, but enemies on the battlefield. Neither of them knows each other's secret identity. While Lelouch leads a group of terrorists named the Black Knights to destroy Britannia, Suzaku (even though he's an Eleven) joins the Britannian Military, and want to change Britannia from within. Oh....idealistic Suzaku. Code Geass has a wide range of characters, most of them interesting and some of them bash-your-brains-out-annoying *cough*Nina*cough*.
Enjoyment: 10, definitely. Code Geass is a wild ride, no doubt about it. Lelouch doing his tricks to score the Japanese several victories, with more plot twists than Evangelion. (But in a good way) It's also quite psychological, and EVERY FREAKING EPISODE ends on a cliffhanger: always leaves you wanting more. But Code Geass isn't without it's flaws...a few questions remain unanswered, and though most of them are answered in the second season, it's still kind of confusing. It's also very faced paced with about 3 storylines going on at the same time, at all times. Personally, I liked this and never found it overwhelming. But it might be different for some.
Overall: Code Geass is a psychological, action, with a bit of romance (and even a bit of politics), thriller. It always leaves you wanting more, and by the conclusion you won't hesitate to start the next season.
Sep 13, 2013
Also this review is for both R1 and R2.
After watching this series it immediately made it to my number 1 favorite series.
First the story, and yes I'm going to try to not hint at any spoilers. This story in a single word would be wow. From the first episode the series never drops the ball. Like i said before i had watched Guilty Crown before this so i wasn't really sure what to expect, and when C.C. originally gave him the power of the Geass, I had thought to myself "that's it?" but I've never been so wrong. Yes it may not be as cool as Guilty Crown's "Power of the King", but the ability to give any order with total obedience couldn't be better fitted then to Lelouch. The series is filled with twists and turns always wanting to watch the next episode. Its a great mix of story and action with the Knightmares. At the end of season 1 you will immediately want to start the 2nd season.
Next the music, this is really the only thing ill gripe about, I feel like there wasn't enough. Really all i can say about this one.
Characters. This series does an amazing job both with the writing for each character and the voice acting (I've only watched the subbed version). Lelouch is an awesome character. He has so many sides, just when you think you know or understand him, he throws a curve ball and shows you a new side. He can go from cold and calculating, to caring, to off the deep end upset and that's just a normal day for Lelouch. I feel like so many series fall short with screen time between main and supporting characters but this one does it right. Never do you see a relationship spark up and die in the same episode, or random people show up and then are gone the next episode. They start and finish with roughly the same group of characters. Each of the supporting characters get a decent amount of screen time and story around them.
Enjoyment. I've already started to rewatch the series, do i need to say more?
Overall this is now my favorite series. Perfect mix of characters and story. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll be on the edge of your seat begging for more. read more
May 8, 2013
My highest score would undoubtedly have to be for the plot of Code Geass. It immediately gives an interesting premise: Japan has became a social darwinist state, ran by the xenophobic britannians who dub it "Area 11". The Britannians are shown to be cruel and racist: their actions in the first episode of the anime is enough to get us on the side of Lelouch. The anime, thankfully, does not divert too much from the original plot. There are only really two or three episodes that are not totally pivotal to the outcome of the anime, and these are important as they divulge some of the secrets of Lelouch's new found powers. The pacing is fantastic: for someone like me, who has a hatred of filler episodes, the plot was concise and steady, it did not diverge in to useless flashbacks or mini-arcs. Code Gass works just as well as a drama as it does as an action movie: the interactions between characters are just as interesting as the mecha scenes. In fact, Code Geass does not behave like a stereotypical gundam series at all: at times, I forgot that this was a giant robot anime-it is far more Death Note than Gundam Suite.
Most of these points are solely for Lelouch-one of the most three dimensional anime characters I have seen for a long shot. Sure, he is supposed to be a genius, but he is a relatable one at that: he makes enough mistakes for the viewer to see him as a human being, rather than something invincible. Despite comparisons to Light Yagami, for me Lelouch does not tread in to "despicable anti-hero" territory: he is driven by his love of his family, and in fact, his empathy with others often prevents him from fulfilling his plans to their full extent. Lelouch is a true deconstruction of the "infallible badass" character: his flaws make him likeable and it is not hard to root for him as he dotes on Nunally.
Code Geass has a massive cast, and due to this, many are pretty 1D. But the characters that are fleshed out properly make an interesting bunch: Karen is a total action girl from the start, Euphie makes for a realistic beautiful princess, with enough flaws to not fall into Mary sue category. Suzaku is believable as Lelouch's counterpart: He has a massive guilt complex, and turns out to be not all that he seems: he is basically a breakdown of the classic mecha pilot.
Clamp's character designs are gorgeous. I was initially a little bit thrown by the noodle like proportions of the cast, but give it time! Eventually your eyes will adjust to the anatomical weirdness. The characters were certainly all very different: the beautiful attention to detail in clothes, hair and eyes make this series a cosplayer or fanartist's dream. The striking differences in each member of the cast made it easy to tell who was who, essential in an anime that features so many people.
The backgrounds were pretty standard fare, as were the giant robots. But the obvious nod to Victorian style and architecture gave the series a feel unique to typical mecha and also fitted the essence of the ostentatious Britannian rulers.
I watched the subbed version, so all this will refer to the original Japanese.
No real complaints here. Lelouch's voice actor was awesome, and his changes in tone were excellent in showing the differences between Lulu and Zero. I thought Nanally's voice was adorable. The differences in chosen pronouns were pretty interesting: Lelouch uses "ore", Suzaku uses "boku", Euphie talks using the extremely formal "Watakushi". It's practically worth learning a bit about Japanese pronouns before watching as these nunances make such a nice touch. The creepy gospel music that plays during fight scenes wasn't dissonant to the general atmosphere of the fights, and suited it quite nicely actually. The rest of the background music went unnoticed.
There are two different ops: the first one was a standard shounen op, the second seemed to be from the Blink 182 of Japan. I thought the ending songs were actually better: the first one is a real challenge for any karaoke fans, the second stays in the head all day.
Code Geass is enjoyable as it doesn't pretend to be something that it's not: sure, it has a crazy plot, everyone has neon hair and school boys piloting giant robots doesn't even turn heads. But that's the fun in it! Anime is supposed to be pure escapism, something often forgotten by those craving more and more realistic plots. As soon as you let go of any pretensions, Code Geass becomes a very fun ride indeed: it is bright, with many twists and turns and leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction when it's finished.
Aug 24, 2009
How does such a blatant horribly written show gorging with clichés and plotholes ever be compared to the likes of or considered as Death Note’s rival? I suppose it's because both shows were aired at the same time in Japan. I suppose it's because of "how uncanny" the resemblance between the two anti-heros are. And I suppose it's because they feature "the ends justify the means" views and morals. I started watching because of the many reviews that has praised this and the amount of people who recommended this for people who liked Death Note. And so I watched it. And regrettably so.
Meet Lelouch Lamperouge. Former prince of the Britannian Empire, previously named “Lelouch Vi Britannia”. He and his younger sister, Nunnally had left the royal family after their mother had been brutally assassinated many years ago and they now live on campus on Ashford Academy, where he also goes to school at. One day, he comes across a beautiful girl named C.C or C2 who gives him the power of Geass which is located in his left eye. His Geass allows him control people and make them do any of his bidding once. He uses this power to crush the Britannian Empire and under the alias “Zero” he leads the Black Knights, a terrorist organisation, and sets out to free the world from Britannia’s clutches.
I wonder how many clichés we already encountered in that paragraph. We have the “secretly a prince” cliché, the “school environment” cliché, the “mysterious and beautiful girl” cliché and the “revenge on killing my mommy” cliché. And that’s just the beginning.
The story is just one big mess. It had more plot holes than the ozone layer. They just keep adding and adding to the plot but do nothing about it. To keep up with the ‘story’ I had to constantly read the episodes summaries in Wikipedia, which I never had to do with any other series. And quite frankly, this has got to be the most boring series ever. I bet if they took out the mecha part of this the show would’ve been a flop.
Characters. We have a number of characters in this show, whom are mostly ineffective and does not add to the story whatsoever. Why the need for so many characters? Throughout the whole series I think I remembered 5 characters out of a cast of 50+. The White Knights didn’t do much; neither did the Chinese government and where the hell did that guy who I assume is the glasses-girl-who’s-madly-in-love-with-Princess-Euphemia boyfriend come from?!
Lelouch has got to be the most overrated character ever. We’re told he’s smart but so far all I’ve seen is that he’s good at chess. His strategies are bland and under explained to the point where logic seemed to be extinct when coming up with them, as if he just guesses the next move to take correctly. And he is the worst anti-hero I’ve come across. The way tactlessly kill innocent humans isn’t justified to well either. It was quite a bore to see him ‘use’ people, but not actually manipulate him; like getting close to them and puppeteer them in such a way that angers the viewer. But instead, the viewer doesn’t feel anger towards Lelouch for being such a bastard prick who play with people because he DOESN’T play with them. The viewer feels nothing: no anger, no sadness nor even excitement as he continues killing people. In other words, he fails at being an anti hero.
Another thing. The Geass. He can make any person do his bidding once. And that’s about it. He doesn’t try to find any way around the Geass, how he can use it or anything of that nature. Totally boring.
Normally having different art styles is one of the plus sides of anime. However, the art in this had me cringing. The characters are disturbingly anorexic, all of them being 6ft tall and 40kg heavy. It was just ridiculous. The noses are undefined and oddly shaped, as for the rest of their sack of bones of a body. The animators weren’t afraid to show scantily clad woman at the drop of a hat either. Ecchi in this show managed to exceed that of a sleazy harem, and fan service covered just about every minute of this anime.
The only thing I can salute Code Geass for is the music. They manage to skilfully implement everything from jazz music to marching band trumpets in the show. However the openings were a bit of a let down, with average J-Pop taking the spot.
Overall I believe this just seems to be an anime where the creators tried to throw in as many clichés as they can possible and tried to make it an intelligent anime but have failed miserably. Have I mentioned how BORED I was from this? I’m surprised how masochistic I’ve become and actually watched 15 episodes of R2 before it became too much and dropped it. read more
Oct 18, 2007
Geass's plot is strengthened by its attention to detail in the geopolitical climate that the series quickly establishes from the get-go. While the setting isn't too unique for a futuristic mecha (world divided between multiple superpowers, belligerent native populations fight to reestablish their cultural identity, etc.), the way the events are interwoven with one another sets itself up as being above the status quo. Code Geass also manages to ask some of the questions that other futuristic plots seemingly neglect, either through purposeful avoidance or just through sheer ignorance. From a political / sociological perspective, the setting and the development are especially engaging, posing questions on the topics of nationalism, racism, genocide, and the rules of war to the audience. While you shouldn't expect any profoundly new ideas to arise from the series, the fact that the writers and creators did weave these ideas into the ongoing plot makes the world both more realistic as well as more theoretical at the same time, providing both an environment for the characters to exist in as well a philosophical establishment that they can debate.
However, the writers do not merely craft a beautiful world and leave it alone - instead, they focus much of their attentions, especially in the latter half of the season, towards physically and metaphysically deconstructing the world, both in the direct, tangible actions of the characters as well as the moral questions surrounding their resolve and trains of thought. Such is the development of the actual plot of Code Geass: fluid, dynamic, and engaging. While not entirely unpredictable, the plot's development is seamless in terms of being able to logically move from one event to another, such that the implications of a "cause and effect" paradigm can be observed. At the same time, the plot is also not so simplistic as to be a "Point A -> Point B -> Point C" formula. Instead, we witness the joining and interweaving of multiple, distinct plot lines, which at first glance are independent of one another, but towards the end fuse into one. Then, Code Geass throws us a curveball, and splits the strands again, preparing us for the upcoming Season 2....
The greatest relative strength of Code Geass when compared to most other action / mecha anime are its characters and the way they develop. Sunrise made the intelligent decision of contracting CLAMP to design the characters, since they are both visually and emotionally appealing to a wide array of audiences. Internet messageboards are usually torn between the main protagonists and side characters of the story, each holding one above the others for a personal reason that they see within each one of them. In addition, the side characters are not there merely for ornamentation - even the seemingly minor characters at the sides of the main few are given room to develop with their own storylines and reactions, such that we are never really compelled to dismiss characters as merely being "filler fodder". Prepare to be intrigued by these individuals - from the psychological coldness of Lelouch, to the restrained idealism of Suzaku and Kallen, to the overall question mark that is C.C. The reactions of the individuals combine to form distinct, evolving psychological profiles, allowing the series to be populated by a cadre of multifaceted individuals.
While Code Geass is extremely successful from a storytelling perspective, it does have its faults, especially on the technical side. Plain and simple, the fight scenes were not too impressive. That is not to say that they were awful, but the mecha and battle scenes definitely did not compare tot he fluidity of the script nor the depth of the characterization. In addition, especially towards the latter third of the season, the plot does take a few freedoms with regards to suspension of disbelief, as well as falling into the trap of rapidly switching between "tragically dramatic" to "comically relieving" scenes. However, these are minor problems, especially the "bloated plotlines", which fixes itself by the end of the series. I also would not recommend this series to mecha addicts who are genuinely more interested in awesome combat scenes between mechas, since Code Geass will not live up to your expectations. However, for the rest of you, even if you have never considered picking up a mecha anime to watch, pick up Code Geass, it is sure to not disappoint. read more
Feb 25, 2011
STORY: Once upon a time, there was a famous animation company that decided to mash up as many genres as they can to make an anime that would try to appeal to as many anime fans as possible.
The end result was Code Geass, and it was a success, popularity wise.
But before I get on to the actual review I have to say honestly, I really like this anime, but it can pretty much ruin the fun of the anime if you try to look at it objectively, but that being said, it's hard not to since this anime tries way too hard to appeal to too many genres that fans are into.
Admittedly, the story itself is quite interesting, an alternate reality where England, now named Brittania, has taken over the world and just really hates Japan to the point of ethnic cleansing (It's a little unsettling to say the least). But the main focus of the anime is about a royal family member castaway, Lelouch Lamperouge, trying to get revenge on his father, the leader/king of Brittania for the murder of his mother. So yeah, essentially the story is just another revenge story, nothing too original (How are revenge stories so damn popular I will never know).
But the anime starts to show its short comings, and really early on. The anime tries to make you assume that Lelouch is a genius solely upon him being good at chess, with no other reason, he's genius cause he's a beast at chess, that's it.
There's no character build up to show he's a genius other than playing chess (But I would not know since I don't play chess, maybe it really does make you a genius, maybe I need to try it out before making this judgement).
And besides being a genius, he receives a power which allows him to control people's minds, once per person, called Geass (Get it? Because the show is also called Code "Geass"), which by the way, is the best used character/plot device in the anime, and it's entertaining how Lelouch uses it in dangerous situations or when he's trying to outsmart his foes.
However, the way he obtains just seems that not enough thought was put into it, in other words, kinda lazy, he meets a girl in a strait jacket being chased by the military, and bam! Mind control powers.
This is also where you also should realize a major plot hole in the early episodes, with his mind controlling powers, he could get his revenge in a heart beat, but that's not fun to watch at all, but if he could simply kill off one of his family members easily in less than three episodes (Don'y worry, that character's death is just another way to advance the plot), what's keeping him from getting his father like that too?
Additionally, Lelouch isn't really a likable character (His comes off being arrogant and is just a calculating and sadistic bastard), but the rest of the cast though, have a little more going on for them.
The benefactor of Lelouch's power, C.C. (Pronounced C2) may not be terribly interesting herself, but like myself, she's just there to watch the whole show play out and snack on pizza (Fun fact, this anime was endorsed/sponsored by a pizza company).
In fact I would've been fine if her character just died on the first episode (Spoiler: she gets shot in the head), it would've been more interesting to see Lelouch figure his powers all on his own anyway. But apparently, she must have been a favorite of the creators of the anime, enough so they keep her to mess a round with Lelouch and eat pizza, so at least she's amusing.
Childhood friend and some what frienemy of Lelouch, Suzaku, is arguably a better protagonist than Lelouch and was developed into his character much better than Lelouch too, but his focus on what he wants to do isn't exactly clear (I want to save Japan/I want to be a knight for britiania, blah, blah, blah), and though his character development is better than what Lelouch's was, it can be arguably be called lazy, because most of it was through flashbacks to his past, though later episodes are more enjoyable due a girlfriend he gets.
But, the real stars of the anime are the genres that are ungracefully crammed together.
It tries to be school life anime, a harem, an action anime, ecchi anime, psychological anime (TRIES to, it isn't), romance anime, and a mecha anime all at the same time, but if you look down at the core of this anime and try to piece it together, you'll realize it's a gigantic mess.
Especially how this anime tries to integrate mecha (Get it? Because it's called Code Geas... wait, don't the majority of mecha anime have the name of a mecha in it's title? Gurren Lagann or any Gundam for example) into the story, they're just literally there to just be cool and to be used as weapons of war, nothing more, absolutely nothing more. Shallow is a better word to describe it than lazy.
The anime would honestly be just as effective without the mechs (Apparently the creators are aware of this because two of the manga series have no mechas in them), in fact, it isn't a mecha anime.
A mecha anime is a mecha cause one of it's major focuses is on it's robots, Code Geass focuses on anything else but the mechas, they're there just to appeal to mecha fans, so really there's no point what so ever for the mechas to even exist in this anime, they're just cool to throw in because they're giant robots.
But, there is one thing this anime knows what it is, a loud cluster f**k of many gernres, and despite that it's not a great anime, it's fun to watch and at least pretend that it knows what it's trying to be.
ANIMATION: For me, this is best part of the whole anime, it looks great, the girls are hot, the boys are pretty, everyone wins, plenty of eye candy for all.
Especially for fans of clamp, who were generous enough to do the character designs.
The mechas look cool enough, but the stupidest parts on them are the wheels slapped on them, they look so ridiculous. But the action scenes more than compensate for them.
But other than that, this a gorgeous looking show.
SOUND: Both the Japanese and English voices are great, but I only watched the english dubbed due to my own preferences.
Johnny Young Bosch, Yuri Lowenthal, Michelle Ruff, Steven Blum, Kate Higgins, and so many more top notch notable voice actors are in this anime, but of all of them, Johnny is damn good as Lelouch and Yuri's Suzaku is a great compliment to Johnny's performance.
Each theme music is enjoyable and what you'll except for a mainstream anime, though the back ground music doesn't really stand out.
+ Very entertaining and fun to watch.
+ Good looking characters designed by Clamp, and great animation overall.
+ Good english dub, Johnny Bosch's Lelouch is arguably one of his best performances.
- Can be faulted for trying too hard to appeal to multiple audiences by shallowly cramming genres together.
- There's honestly there's no point of the mechas other than to be used as weapons to fight.
- Weak character development, C.C. honestly feels thrown in.
- Lots of plot holes
Despite what I have said in this review I would still recommend this to any one.
And I'm surprised I didn't reference Death Note once in this review... Wait a minute... Damn, so close. read more
Oct 22, 2007
Honestly speaking, the show is certainly fun and even held itself within certain quality standard during the irregularly interesting initial 11 episodes but as characters exponentially lose their own minds and personalities we are nothing else but witnesses of the now classical conceptual phrase in entertainment: “jumping the shark”. By the badly plotted twist in its “praised by the masses” stage 22 the series barely keeps itself as dirty and trashy fun that that makes you willingly embrace the filth of Japanese animation: the very price of marketing in a ridiculous attempt at dramatic storytelling that takes to oblivion without any justification its own suspension of disbelief.
The core problem is, of course, Lelouch. Some may argue it’s hard to portray a genius but in the end it’s as simple as keeping him from committing underdeveloped mistakes just for the sake of progressing the chronicled history. Not to mention how the rest of cast just acts without any justification whatsoever and never lives up to their indicated development or makes any attempt at decently stopping their inevitable crash into mediocrity. Nevertheless I got to admit that despite her poor dialogs Cornelia remained amazingly likeable, and that must say something about the value hidden in the idea of her original concept.
And so, with the lack of any real literary theme so to speak besides the hilariously exploitative Machiavellian motivation of its ridiculous excuse for a lead, the show honors the words of director Goro Tanigushi and exists as just an excuse to create a “hit show” to appeal both males and females. He succeeded for sure, shame it was at the cost of all the artistic merits of the finalized production. read more
Aug 2, 2013
I had actually watched Code Geass about 2 years ago, and I was really glad that I did. Recently I decided to re-watch Code Geass, and in doing so I gained a new appreciation for it. I saw this quote floating around the internet, "If Death Note is chess, then Code Geass is Checkers," and to some degree, I agree. As far as outwitting and being outwitted goes, I think we can all agree that Death Note is superior. What Code Geass does do, I feel, better than Death Note, is explaining the mentality of the show. "Why did the main character do this?" "What is his drive for killing all these people?" "Is this just? In fact, what is just anyways?" In Death Note I feel the main protagonists reasoning for killing all the people he did is... far fetched, and poorly explained. Code Geass didn't do that much better a job, but I feel getting revenge on the people who killed your mother, while at the same time creating a safe environment for your crippled sister is a bit more believable.
As far as character goes, I wish I could score it at an eleven (no pun intended). Maybe it's just me, but a character that is strong willed and actually able to do something for him/herself is way more attractive then the usual "worthless sacks of shit" that seem to dominate anime and manga today. The characters in this story would be totally perfect, but for some reason the creators felt the urge to put the most annoying, worthless, and downright pitiful character I have ever had the displeasure of watching. If you find yourself wanting to break "Nina"'s neck, don't worry buddy, I'm here with you.
One of the only (and biggest) complaints I had regarding code geass was, yes, the art. I'm not saying the art is horrible or anything- in fact- it's far from it. That is, if this were a shoujo manga or something. The heads are big, the colors are way too bright, and everyone looks way too... nice? As far as story goes, this should be one ho dank, depressing anime. The main character kills his blood brother before the first few episodes are done, for gods sake! I might just be ranting over here by myself, but in my opinion they could have chose a much better art style.
However, don't let that discourage you from watching a great anime. After the first episode, you'll stop noticing and start code geass'n. Oh, also I noticed that a lot of people put this off because they hate the Mecha aspect of it, which I can understand. Honestly I don't get the whole Mecha fad, but it works out well for this anime. If you had any doubts about whether this is worth your time, trust me, it is. read more
Feb 4, 2008
ART: Sunrise is one the oldest and most reputable animation production companies in Japan, and they have no problems upholding their reputation with Code Geass. Although it's not the best I've ever seen, the animation is very good. At no point is the art direction bad or frown worthy. Mecha fights are convincing enough, dramatic scenes are illustrated well with emotion in mind, and filler scenes don't fall below the established visual standard. The animation is very good, but, more importantly, the animation is consistently good.
SOUND: The voice acting is okay. Some of the voice actors blew me away, especially Suzaku's. Some of the actors left me feeling a little soapy with opera, especially Leuloch's. At times important lines, ones meant to finish a powerful scene with conviction, fall short of their mark. However, the voice acting is situational. Sometimes Leuloch's voice actor convinced me to the fullest. At other times the voice actor made me roll my eyes and laugh. The sound effects are decent, and the music is good at getting the audience interested. However, the soundtrack here does not take command of the epic saga, and there are no moments where the music capitalizes on a scene. The audio aspect of Code Geass is sometimes hit or miss, and the audio is always runner-up to the other facets of the show.
CHARACTER: There are tons of characters in Code Geass, and the show does an exceptional job of trying to involve each and every one of them. Even among the farfetched fantasy of the show, the characters felt unnervingly human and real. Amongst the diverse multitude of characters, there are complex characters being developed through genuine, deep emotions. And then there are the characters who are well developed but not deep. These characters seem out of place like infants among giants. Whenever these normal characters are on screen, the show drops the ball and begins to feel out of place. The screen time was a little too divided between the true characters and the cookie cutter characters. The true characters of the show sold the story and are arguably the strongest element of the show. I just wish they received more time and focus.
ENJOYMENT: Code Geass is compelling, complex, and convicting, and the final product leaves your heart pounding with tension and suspense. While the experience is very entertaining and enjoyable, Code Geass is dark. As the characters make decisions with massive consequences, the vast amount of emotional weight of the show can easily affect the viewer. The show is fun to watch and equally difficult to watch. As previously stated in the story section, the show does not do a good job of providing light-heartedness and release from the stress. Thus, the peaceful and happy scenes feel forced and out of place at times. Still, Code Geass is entertaining and involving.
OVERALL: Code Geass is an intelligent and provocative, war-time, think piece. The production has flaws but is still great, and the final product is much greater than the show's parts.
I hope this review has been beneficial. All feedback, critiques, and comments are appreciated and well accepted through messages. Happy anime watching! read more
Oct 25, 2008
If you want an anime that is going to leave you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, waiting impatiently for the next scene--this is for you.
Art is pretty decent. It's very colourful. The animation is also good--the action sequences are well drawn.
The characters are all interesting. Never have I seen an anime with a cast of so many anti-heroes before: lots of jerks, losers, obsessed freaks, and extremists, but they manage to make you intrigued with their lives and the happenings around them.
The sound was also decent. A lot of trumpet and sweeping epic battle pieces that complement what happens on the screen.
Code Geass is so original as well. It's about colonialism, if you caught it. It's like a cool History lesson--but with mechs. This is certainly one of the best anime to have been released this century.
Watch it. It's totally fabulous. read more
Jul 1, 2013
Because of all this toning down some people just see it as yet another mainstream shounen anime. What will they compare it to? Not other political dramas but another mainstream shounen anime like Death Note (which is vastly different and many times better in my opinion). However we look at it from a mature perspective we see that it is toned down as previously mentioned.
In other aspects, it's animated by Sunrise so the animation is spectacular, character designs by CLAMP as well, the sound is amazing too.
In conclusion, don't see Code Geass as mainstream shounen anime but don't see it as something amazing either, it's an attempt at a mature political drama that has been dragged down by it's out of place over the top comedy and it's public image. read more
Sep 22, 2009
Although it has a fast-paced plot with quite a few surprises along the way (which is why I finished 25 episodes), I cannot help but feel that it was a complete waste of time.
It seems to me that the creators of Geass sit together, with trend analysis graphs and bar charts on the table, pick out popular elements of the recent years and just throw them into this anime.
So at the end, we get a villain as the main character (Death Note?), lots of moral dilemmas, lots of angst and shocks, but no real focus or passion in the story. Characters are 2-dimensional and boring, their actions are completely driven by the plot. And the plot tries its best to deliver as much angst and surprises as possible just for the sake of it.
If you haven't watch it yet, don't waste your time. And if you really have to try, trust your own feeling and forget about all the hype. Drop it when you are bored.