After discovering the face of their true enemy—someone who is related to Akito and responsible for the Geass placed upon him—W-0 attempts to return to their base at Castle Weisswolf. However, stranded in Warsaw due to a complication involving their military identification, they are forced to accept the help of local gypsies, allowing the squad to take some time to deepen their bonds.
Meanwhile, Britannian advisor Julius Kingsley and his guard Suzaku Kururugi begin working together with the Knights of St. Michael in order to crush the European resistance once and for all, armed with the destructive power of a giant weapon known as the Ark Fleet.
This was very boring. I can believe how long it was push back, in fact I could not remember what had happened before, so I re-watched the previous episodes in preparation, all for nothing.
The first half: it is totally inconsequential, the characters lose their money in the most irresponsible way imaginable, as one bureaucrat shuts down the entire squad. If the European military is run like that they deserve to lose.
The whole gipsy sub plot is pointless. I get they were trying to flesh out the characters and give them relations beyond just fighting, but it serves no purpose, except fill time. In fact
the entire episode is drag as much as possible.
The second part: yes Lelouch appears, but not really. The great character from the series is gone and what is left behind is a shell, a cartoon. He acts smart, because we are suppose to know he is smart, but in the context of this story he does very little. Then there is some dumb plot about a guy betraying Britania, and trying to use Lelouch's identity to force a rebellion, but it makes no sense. As his action are mostly random and he has no clear motive, just the usual anime trope of he is disappointed with humanity so he is just going to kill everyone.
In conclusion the characters are dull, the plot meanders the entire run time, and the beloved characters of the original series are reduced to caricatures of their former selves.
Despite it's release being pushed back for over a year, I would venture to say that this was worth the wait. Why? Because enter the true heart of the Code Geass franchise: Lelouch V. Brrittania! ALL HAIL LELOUCH!!!! I won't offer any spoilers about the context or situation, but I will simply say that the first half is a bit slow, but then it picks up tremendously and ignites the classic Code Geass personalities and battles we have come to love (if you love Code GEass, that is, haha). But it unbelievably brought me back to the feelings I had in the
original series and has set up the last installment of Akito the Exile Episode 4 to be EPIC! I'm not going to bother to rate the categories individually as they tend to be very similar to the original series, but I will say that I am pleased with the new melodies in this series as it is unique, but reminiscent of Code Geass's melodic style. And their is an awesome battle at the end that will bring you back to the good ole' days of the original series.
The more of these they make, the more I worry about the upcoming R3.
*Spoilers for Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito 3- Kagayaku Mono Ten yori Otsu*
Akito Movie 3 is stupidity at its finest. The Akito sub-series is already filled to the brim with utterly ridiculous moments in the first two films alone, but this movie takes it up to endearing levels of stupidity, despite what it does to the series' canon and how it makes the whole geass stuff even more convoluted than ever before. People claim that this was the start of the fall of the series when, honestly, it was horrible to begin
with. All of the same problems (except bad CGI because it's improved here) are on full display, like dumb character decisions, poor usage of Geass in terms of justifying it and how it works, edgy writing and MC, and bland characters (though the main protagonists are far less dull here). However, the writer managed to become even dumber than before which is quite an accomplishment, and the pacing really ruins itself.
Absolutely nothing makes sense in this movie. Somehow, our military protagonists get financially locked out and unable to get into their military building and then a group of old ladies tries to hustle the group, and then the group works for them for a while. We don't know how we got to this point. We also learn plenty of backstories, like for Akito, Leila, and that one scientist lady who keeps her lover in some kind of stasis in hopes of him recovering, however, each of these backstories is rushed beyond belief, making it hard to process them. The pacing of this movie is terrible because of that; things rarely get to breathe and flesh themselves out properly. We then see Julius, Shin, SpinZaku, and others coming together, and then Julius enacts his fake terrorism plan, and it works. After a game of chess against Shin, we see him flip out after saying "your majesty" because somehow that triggers his actual memories as Lelouch now despite him saying it a lot beforehand. He flips out, passes out, and Shin tells them that he killed him (though he obviously didn't, since if he did, R2 couldn't exist), as well as some stuff shot killing people we never heard of and this Euro-Britannia stuff we never heard of until minutes prior in this film with no explanation of what it is. Then this weird geass lady shows up from the TV somehow to tell Gene Smilas what to do, and we end on a hokey fist fight. What a mess. Things are just thrown in there with no proper explanation and the pacing goes far too fast. It only added more problems to the already broken Akito narrative and has potentially jeopardized the continuity of R2.
Aside from boring Akito, the other 4 major protagonists actually get to show off their fun side, even if it makes the rebel trio in particular feel like completely different people if not for their singular trait from before that occasionally appears. Ayano has the biggest personality change, and it all comes out of left field, though for her, it compliments her beauty more. Let it not be said that these three aren't more likable and that they aren't less generic now, because they are. The lightning-fast pacing doesn't let the backstories tell themselves well either, especially for Leila. Plus, the gypsies are annoying and not well written. Now to the other side of this conflict. Julius is pathetic. He's just an arrogant man who goes crazy for the most ludicrous of reasons and is reduced to someone pathetic, almost like a sick parody of the man he was in the TV series. His plan is compared to what the real Lelouch did despite him never doing something like that in the original series, and I can't explain why he is so pathetic about water. Shin is every bit as one-note as ever, but it's interesting to see how the other guys are dicks to him behind his back. We luckily only get to see the badass side of Suzaku and not the abhorrent and hypocritical side of him, but he can't help much. Then we get this hot but disturbingly one-note lady of Geass who we know nothing about, in the second to last scene of the film and apparently we don't see her again in the next one. Just...why?
Yet with everything I said, it seems like the movie did learn something, as its visuals are a massive step up from the previous movies. For one, the characters move quite a lot, at least thrice as much as the first two films combined, which shouldn't have been as big a relief as it was. Also, the CGI in the second half of the film has vastly improved, notably in the battle between Suzaku and Shin's forces. Sure, they would look more appropriate in a PS3 video game, but the CGI is far more fitting for a mech given how metallic they all look now, like the kickass Lancelot. Sure, the action directing still needs work, but everything, including the looks and effects of geass, is a major step up from before. Still doesn't beat the original series, but hey, it's still better than what came before, including the CGI in the first half of the film.
There's a surprising number of new songs in the first 40 minutes, and they work much better and are more varied than the other ones. Unfortunately, we still have to put up with the other generic tracks and the generic ED, and even the new tracks don't stick out, but there's at least some flavor coming from these new tracks, flavor that actually fits, unlike the flaring trumpets track. It's a step up here as well, and I hope to hear more interesting tracks from this sub-series in the future, especially since it makes the OST actually have its own identity for once instead of just sounding like a lamer version of the main series' OSTs.
I wonder why people call this film worse than the other two and the start of Akito's decline. It's not much worse than the awful second film in terms of writing, and there's actually a sense of charm here, even if most of it came from unintentional hilarity. Is it because the first half felt weird and out of place? Perhaps, but it at least had characters actually doing things and actually trying to get more fleshed out. Is it because it's boring? I'd disagree and say that the first film is far more boring, but hey, opinions. However, you can't really say the series is starting to get dumb since it has always made absolutely no sense, especially during the second film. It's just that the ball of suck keeps rolling, even if this time around, it manages to be enjoyably terrible. Plus, the CGI and music improved, and there is actually a lot of character animation. Perhaps an in-depth discussion can lend me some insight, but for now, this is as entertaining as this sub-series has been so far, quality notwithstanding.
As long as you are willing to embrace something new or unusual with patience and an open mind, Akito the Exiled continues to do a good job at combining a series of small scenes that gradually provide characterization, moments of political intrigue, great mecha action in 3D and various hints about future developments.
The third chapter gives our current cast of characters the opportunity to relax after previous events and get to know each other a little better. It might seem boring if you're only here for the action and don't have any appreciation for using a little humor as an interlude, but I think
this detour was absolutely necessary if you want to understand the narrative structure as a whole.
No matter how many complicated personal issues Akito, Leila and the others have to deal with, whether in the past or in the future, they are still human beings at heart. This is a story about people struggling to survive in the middle of a rather bleak part of the world, where democracy is not a guarantee of freedom. That being the case, we can't have them fighting the enemy or each other all the time.
Once that is out of the way, we should discuss what is happening on the Euro-Britannian front. Politics and backstabbing take the center stage this time around through internal divisions due to the arrival of Julius Kingsley and Suzaku, along with some setup for over-the-top plans that aren't particularly realistic yet seem oddly fitting for the larger-than-life world of Code Geass. The chapter's single mecha combat sequence also happens here, remaining as exciting as one can expect from this production.
In short, this was a transitional period with a turning point that might have interesting consequences for both new and old characters.
While the size of the cast feels relatively large for the running time and many of them tend to have a low profile, I think we are finally starting to get used to the newcomers.
In particular, it's worth mentioning that we learn about Leila's past and why she struggles against the status quo even from within a military organization. This also prompts a certain interaction with Akito that also manages to show his vulnerable side beneath an aloof and occasionally cold exterior.
Then we come to the question of Lelouch, or rather the person officially known as Julius Kingsley. It is fair to say he isn't remotely the main focus of the story here, which means his portrayal is less detailed than during the original TV show. He is playing a different role as an envoy from mainland Britannia sent to the European territories who wants the Emperor's wishes to be followed, no matter the cost, in order to quickly conquer the continent.
However, beneath all of his bombastic speeches and outright villainy, which is probably still entertaining to watch if you are a fan of Code Geass in one way or another, there are a couple of hints about the true nature of the character that contrast with the superficial simplicity of the individual currently known as Julius. His interaction with Suzaku also matches the state of their dynamic at this point in the original story, though certainly in a less direct manner than usual. In other words, you may need to read between the lines.
Another character who gets some much needed time in the spotlight is Shin, the main antagonist of Akito the Exiled. He actually didn't have a lot of opportunities to act before, outside of meeting Akito in battle and previously engaging in murder behind-the-scenes, but now we get to see him as a truly manipulative individual who can be surprisingly dangerous. It is he, not Julius Kingsley, who ends up in control of the situation. This is not a person you want to cross.
We also briefly meet a mysterious entity connected to the Geass, who is apparently involved in some sort of conspiracy, but since nothing else has been revealed yet there's no point in worrying about it too soon. I hope this subject receives a proper explanation within the next two chapters.
Just as an aside: I found the old ladies at the start of this chapter kind of silly, if you must ask, but not too problematic in the grand scheme of things.
Art and Sound
As expected, production values remain high quality here. There isn't much to complain about as long as you're not expecting something on the level of the visuals for Gundam Unicorn. It's easily as good or better than the best episodes of the Code Geass television series in terms of quality, with the backgrounds being a lot more detailed now.
The music seems to be divisive because of its unique brand of jazz, but I think the chaotic sensation it transmits has a certain charm once you get into the right mood.
It's another version of Code Geass with its own brand of storytelling and entertainment. If you want something exactly like the original show, this isn't going to be same. Which makes me happy, since I think we need more variety and less repetition in order to avoid some of the problems with the second season of the previous work (leaving its excellent ending aside).
So far, I admit it's taken a while for the audience to warm up to Akito the Exiled and perhaps it will only be fully appreciated when all five chapters can be watched one after the other. Even so, I think it's existence is a valid way to expand the Code Geass universe in a creative manner. I'll continue to look forward to where the rest of the story takes us.