I was incredibly skeptical about Code Geass at first, but I'm very pleased to say that I was greatly surprised.
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
Code Geass is one of my favorite anime. Why? It's filled with so much action, bombastic dialogue, and has such eye-catching visuals that it tops the charts in entertainment value. This is an exciting and epic anime and it's over the top.
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.
Alright, its taken me since April to reach this point so I may as well dispense with any further delays and say it outright. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is not a masterpiece, it isn’t a great show nor is it a very good one. What it is is a marginally good television program that takes concepts and characters from a wide variety of successful anime productions from the last decade and stitches them all together into twenty-five episodes of vulgarity and excess, a Frankenstein’s monster of a production that has the cold manufactured feel of a product of a focus
group rather than of a motivated team of creative individuals.
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 Code Geass 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.
A new Gundam series is being announced! Naruto: Shippuden is finally beginning! KyoAni is doing something new! RomeoXJuliet!
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.
Directed by Goro Taniguchi, arguably one of the best directorial talents left at studio Sunrise, and written by his Planetes screenwriter Ichiro Okouchi, Code Geass promised to be a true epic series in the making. An interesting alternate history, a lead character that promised to evolve into a ruthless rebel seeking revenge against the father and the country that ruined his and his sisters life and a dash of mecha added into the mix for good measure. So why did it turn into such a complete circus? An absolute mess of jumbled ideas never touched upon in any way that isn`t absurd or laughable, a
cast of characters who constantly degrade into utter imbeciles and a constantly re-shuffled plot. By the half-way mark of Code Geass, it`s as if focus changed from creating an actually riveting series, to essentially seeing how stupid they could take the whole thing and see how many viewers would go along with the ride.
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.
Yet another review for the highly acclaimed Code Geass. I believe this is the 98th review C.G would’ve received; but I can’t help but review this even if so many others have.
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.
Probably one of the most blatantly obvious train-wrecks of bad writing in the history of serial visual narrative production, shamefully destroying its own at first stimulating concept of alternate reality with awful characterizations, extremely weak script and cheap developments that only serve the purpose of working as a “shock-factor” to keep the audience entranced beyond the notice of a very clear lack of sequential planning.
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.
Code Geass is set in a alternate reality where the Britannian Empire has conquered more than one third of the world and counting, and that includes Japan. In said Japan, now called "Area 11" - and its inhabitants "elevens" -, a Britannian student named Lelouch Lamperouge finds himself thrown into a cycle of events that ultimately leads to him gaining a power known as the "Geass", a power allowing him to force anyone to obey any order he gives to them. Together with his hate for Britannia, he uses his newfound powers to gain followers and eventually bring forth a war against the oppressive Britannian
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!
Code Geass is awesome. If you have any qualms against it, whether you dislike mecha or anything like that, put it aside and watch a few episodes. Then you'll see what I mean when I say that Code Geass is a great anime.
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.
Some people like to attribute Code Geass's success to the fact that it is a Sunrise mecha. Personally, I'd like to think that it succeeds (critically) despite the fact that it is a Sunrise mecha. Code Geass manages to establish a believable backdrop from which it launches a compelling plot along with motivated and realistic characters, something that has been missing from the last few Gundam series produced by Sunrise. It injects a plot where the focus is finally on the characters and the events surrounding them, rather than the machines that they use to fight. In fact, it could be
said that Code Geass only qualifies as a mecha anime due to the existence of the machines - they are in no way integral to the plot nor its development anymore than a tank or any other weapon that the characters may be using (aside from the mysterious "Geass" itself).
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.
The most succinct way to describe Code Geass is to call it a cross between Death Note and MEGAS XLR/Gurren Lagann with a generous helping of your average ecchi harem SOL romantic comedy and a dash of Evangelion thrown into the mix. Does it work? Not exactly. Code Geass is one of those shows that brings a lot of good stuff to the table but fucks it up in so many ways once the script comes into question. There are more plot holes here than there are potholes on the Grand Central Parkway, and whether or not that's hyperbole is entirely up for you to
decide. Despite all of this, I'd like to make it perfectly clear that I actually DO happen to like and enjoy both seasons of Code Geass to the point where I would actually go out of my way to have both seasons on DVD or Blu-ray (provided that Funimation actually gives it a release any time soon >_>). With that said, my enjoyment can only go so far.
Let's just start off with what REALLY gets my goat with this show because there's a lot of that stuff that just doesn't sit right with me one way or another. First up, there's the character designs. Believe it or not, the character designs were the very reason why I never bothered watching Code Geass when it was on [adult swim] way back in 2008/2009. Whilst I do happen to like CLAMP's mangas (i.e. X/1999, Chobits), it's their artwork that just doesn't sit right with me. Why am I mentioning this? Well... CLAMP was contracted to do the original character designs for Code Geass and nothing more. I don't know about you, but I'm not too fond of lanky pretty boys with long arms and big eyes, girls with small waists and melons that realistically should make them collapse under their weight, etc. I'm more of a fan of Naoki Urasawa or Inio Asano's artwork than I am CLAMP's from a character design standpoint. Thankfully, not every character on the show is drawn like such (i.e. Charles zi Britannia), but our boys Lelouch and Suzaku are and we see more of them than we see Charles so... yeah. Why can't we have humans that look like regular humans? I don't fucking know, but it is what it is.
That brings me to another problem I have: fan service. As much as I love my lascivious animated women, the fan service in Code Geass got to a point where I was wondering if I was watching Rosario Vampire again. Any time that there was a serious moment going on where shit was about to go down, in pops Shirley changing into her swimsuit or a shot of Kallen's ass, or Kallen entering a conference room in a bath towel because she wanted to yell at Lelouch, or some other bullshit like that. Yeah... I'm not a huge fan of the girls in this show barring C.C., Cornelia, Euphemia, and a couple of others if only because of the fact that virtually every girl in this show is no better than a fan service character. Would you believe me if I told you the fan service got to a point where there was an out-of-place masturbation scene? Well, there is. When did this show turn into End of Evangelion? I don't know, but that's another story.
Going off on a tangent, another problem that Code Geass has is the fact that it just loves to jump between all that plot-heavy rebellion stuff with light-hearted slice-of-life school stuff and let's just say that in between the fan service and this crap, I had a hard time deciding which was a bigger buzzkill. As stupid as the actual plot of the show got at some points, it certainly managed to keep me engrossed until the episode ends, I load up the next episode, and I see Suzaku and Lelouch chasing a cat for 20 minutes. I'm not even joking, that was actually the plot for an entire episode. You know, it's moments like these that make me see why the uber elitists here on MAL tout Legend of the Galactic Heroes as a superior alternative to Code Geass. At least that show managed to maintain a consistent tone throughout the entire narrative. Of course, there are a lot of reasons why LOGH isn't high on my priority list, but let's not get into that.
On the subject of writing, Code Geass has some of the most glaring plot holes that I've ever come across. It took me a while to actually pick up on them since I was too caught up in my own enjoyment to actually bother analysing the show crtically but when you actually use your critical faculties whilst watching this show, you start seeing more and more stuff to use as snark bait. For example, Lelouch's "Geass" power is so unbelievably broken (broken as in "overpowered," mind you). He can only issue a command once to any individual, but that command is absolute. Basically, Lelouch has the ability to turn anyone into his slave if he so chooses. Sure, there are some arbitrary rules thrown into the mix as a half-hearted attempt to balance out his powers but really... you have to wonder why Lelouch didn't just order a whole bunch of people to be his slaves until he did something else.
On the subject of Geass, the way it's handled is just so bizarre. Geass is supposed to be absolute, but shit like sheer willpower and even a kiss from a sexy green-haired chick can override its influence on you depending on what the episode demands (that last one is not a joke; that's how the R2 actually gets going). At one point in R2, there's a "Geass Canceller" introduced but it's only given to a character who seems to suffer from a severe case of multiple personality disorder and he only bothers using it whenever he wants to. Now, Geass users are prone to having their powers go rogue and this actually does happen to Lelouch at some point. However, this plot point was quickly dealt with and we never hear from it again. Even if you factor in all the other Geass users, the entire conflict surrounding Code Geass feels meaningless at some points. The entire show could've been condensed to 12-15 episodes had Lelouch actually made better use of his powers and there was less bullshit along the way. Alack, that's another story of what could've been.
Speaking of Lelouch, the characters here in Code Geass are so variable in terms of quality. Motivations change at the drop of a hat, characters that were once likeable become complete assholes, and even at that point, the writing behind the bulk of these characters just isn't good most of the time. Let's just say this: Lelouch may very well be a genius, but the anime certainly doesn't do a good job of showing any sort of actual intelligence on his part. In fact, Lelouch may very well be the predecessor of Kirito when it comes down to how perfect he apparently is (right down to the harem of girls waiting to drop their panties and bend over; thankfully, Lelouch has no time for these hoes).
The only indicator we actually have for him being a genius is the fact that he's a chess master and that he somehow has the gift of clairvoyance. Any time some major shit's about to go down, he's able to predict certain events with such a remarkable degree of accuracy to the point where you gotta wonder if Charles and Marianne had Lelouch while a voodoo witch doctor was delivering him. Now, despite his genius status and how he's able to weasel himself out of almost any situation, the guys at Sunrise decided to not make him 100% perfect. He gets cocky and because of this, he makes some REALLY stupid decisions over the course of the show. He ALWAYS ends up letting his emotions get the better of him in battle whenever shit doesn't pan out the way he wants to, he kills off potential allies whilst sparing enemies, and he gets caught up in completely unnecessary battles because of his apparent lack of foresight. Seriously, this guy doesn't seem to understand what back-up plans are and the only reason why he ever makes it out in the first place is because of some "ingenuity" on the battlefield.
Now with Lelouch's failings out of the way, let's talk about Suzaku. A lot of people hate him, but I don't. In fact, I'm rather fond of him at some points if only because of his relationship with Lelouch. What I don't particularly like is the fact that Suzaku is apparently trying to change the system from the inside but he ends up becoming a rank-and-file soldier who effectively slaughters his own people despite the fact that he wants to save them. Question: if he really wants to change the system from the inside, why doesn't he become a politician? Okay, maybe there's some kind of Britannian law that prevents Japanese people from getting into politics but the fact still remains that he's so stupid to the point where he fails to realise that he's NOT helping his own people by becoming a person who's contractually obligated to slaughter the Japanese for whatever reason. People rag on him for his idealistic views, but there are a lot of great characters who have idealistic views on whatever (i.e. Kenzo Tenma from Monster) so that alone isn't enough to make him a bad character. If you really want to give him shit, bitch about how he's incapable of realising that he's NOT helping his own cause whatsoever.
The other characters aren't exactly much to speak of either... at least, in a positive manner. For one thing, there's Nina Einstein... and let's just say that I can't wait to read a fan fiction where she dies a mercilessly brutal death. She has to be one of the most irritating and infuriating characters out there, and she's the one who's responsible for that out-of-place masturbation scene. We have Kallen, whose potential is overshadowed by the size of those melons and that ass of hers. We have C.C. who's quite a hilarious snarker but she's not really good for anything except plot conveniences, fan service, and Pizza Hut product placement. We have Nunnally, an irritating paraplegic who has no use outside of being a damsel-in-distress with a brother complex. There's also a pot-pourri of other characters but I'm not about to waste more of our time talking about them.
For all the shit I've said about Code Geass in general, the first season on its own was quite entertaining (provided that you don't think too much and just let your inner filthy casual run wild), and it did manage to do some stuff right. For starters, the dynamic between Lelouch, Suzaku, et al was quite lovely and if anything, it's that very relationship that made the ending to the first season that much more intense. The second season on the other hand takes everything I didn't like about the first season and then dials that shit up to 11. We have MORE unlikeable characters (lookin at you, Rolo!), MORE inconsistent characterisation, and MORE disjointed storytelling with all the plot holes you've come to know and love. Oh, and let's not forget the fan service! You know how much I love seeing Kallen's knockers or that sweet ass of hers.
Honestly, the second season is a HUGE drop in quality compared to the first one. Now despite all of that shit I said before, what I really hated about the second season was just how slow it actually was. Say what you will about the first season, but at least it felt like shit was actually progressing from point A to point B. I'm not even joking when I say that I came close to dropping the second season twice because I was so bloody bored out of my mind. Was there stuff happening? Well, yeah but nothing of consequence actually occurs until the final ~6-7 episodes of the season. As strange as it sounds, the second season actually did get off to something of a decent start and it was obvious as to where it wanted to go with the story but it just took so fucking long for ANYTHING of substance to happen. What happened in the meantime you ask? Mecha battles for the sake of having mecha battles, plot twists that would only make sense to someone who's hogging the blunt for too long, and character interactions that just make you wonder if this really was the same show as the first season.
Amazingly enough though, people seem to give this season a pass purely because of that ending. I'm not gonna lie, Code Geass has one of the most intense and ultimately satisfying conclusions of anything I've ever watched. However, that alone isn't enough to excuse all of the bullshit that went on in this season. Yeah, the second season doesn't have as much slice-of-life bullshit as the first season but R2 made up for that deficiency with all of this bad writing. For starters, characterisation is worse here, and I don't even think Sunrise was trying to hide it anymore. For example, we have Lelouch who HATES Rolo because he's not Nunnally and he intends to use Rolo and then kill him once he's outlived his usefulness. However, Rolo ends up kicking the bucket at some point and then apparently, Lelouch loved him like a brother all along even though there was no such interaction that went down between the two which would imply anything of the sort. Suzaku on the other hand ends up doing a complete 180 on his original characterisation. Remember that idealistic idiot who didn't realise he was killing his own people by being a rank-and-file soldier instead of becoming an idealistic politician trying to change the system from within? Well he was all like "fuck that shit" and only cares about the end result rather than the means used to achieve them. On the one hand, at least he acknowledges that he was being an idiot but on the other hand, that gets rid of the one trait of his I actually liked.
Going back to the plot twists, they just really got stupid after a while. I mean, the first season was flawed to high heaven but the plot twists still managed to get me on the edge of my seat until the mood was killed by Bulma, wait I mean Kallen. For example, we find out that Marianne (Lelouch's mother) didn't really die but she was alive all along. Right before she was about to die, she somehow developed a Geass that allowed her to transfer her soul into another body. I'm not making a single word of that up. Can you smell the contrivance anywhere in this whatsoever? Let's not forget how Charles apparently sent Lelouch and Nunnally so that they'd be safe or some bullshit like that (even fans of Code Geass can see the plot holes in this one) or how despite being a racist and cold-hearted jackass for 90% of the show's run, Charles was actually a good guy the entire time. Yeah, I don't buy a single lick of any of this. Oh, and that's not even getting into how Lelouch could apparently control GOD of all things with the sheer power of his own Geass.
Yeah, this show is amazing, right? It's so brilliantly written, so gripping and enthralling and it's a master of manipulating your emotions whilst keeping you on the edge of your seat for more! The characters are the best of their kind, and I wait for the day when common literature could even hope to push out characters as brilliant as Lelouch, Suzaku, and Rolo. Oh God, I couldn't type any of of that with a straight face. From a critical standpoint, Code Geass is BAD. There's no two ways around it, it's a bad series in general. This show really knows how to keep it real, real stupid that is. You know what though? All of this stuff combined isn't enough to dampen my enjoyment whatsoever. I mean, for all that Code Geass got wrong, it must've done *something* right along the way. How else could it have gotten so popular in the first place? A lot of the reasons why I enjoy this show are superficial in the first place. The mecha battles were enthralling (by my standards, anyway), Lelouch's hammy behaviour kept my eyes glued to the screen, and the dubbing across both the English and Japanese tracks was absolutely spectacular.
Make no mistake: if you try to take this show seriously, you *will* hate it. The biggest reason why so many people adore Code Geass in the first place is because of the so-called "rule of cool." Code Geass is one of those shows that just oozes awesomeness (well, by my standards anyway) and at some points, it had me cheering on all of the senseless stupidity just like I do whenever I'm watching Gurren Lagann (yeah, it really does get THAT dumb at some points). Code Geass is the functional equivalent of a Michael Bay movie in anime, except it actually gets some more stuff right that Michael Bay would otherwise get wrong. For one thing, it's actually entertaining to watch for a good ~65% of its run as opposed to the gut-wrenchingly appalling pacing that usually makes his movies painful to watch after the first hour (I'm looking at you, Age of Extinction!). Hell, even if you don't find this show cool in the slightest, you'd definitely have a fun time snarking at how stupid it gets. It would be hard NOT to find a reason to enjoy this programme to some marginal degree.
Now where does this leave Code Geass? Well, I'm painfully aware of its shortcomings but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it. For what it's worth, Code Geass isn't a show that's average in the slightest. If it can evoke all kinds of of reactions out of people, it would only make sense for anyone to give this show a shot and see what they'd get out of it. Besides, it's good popcorn material if you're in the mood for something stupid that you can watch with friends while eating pizza. I mean, the uber elitists and hipsters here on MAL would beg to differ but this show ISN'T the worst thing to come out of humanity. That, my friends would be Kodomo no Jikan but that's another review for a different day. Anyway, that's all for now. Feedback is always welcome and with that, I'm out. Peace :)
Code Geass is the most overrated anime on the top 20 list.
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.
Code Geass is one of those series that can inspire praise, hatred or mere ridicule, depending on what is expected or what can be tolerated. Curiously, I find entirely valid reasons behind each of those reactions. There's still a bit of this and that, to put it bluntly, but perhaps the lines aren't quite as clear as they seem.
In short, I enjoyed the series and still find that its virtues and sheer fun factor outweigh its objective flaws, but I'm worried about the future. Whether or not the inevitable sequel picks up the slack, addresses existing concerns or drops the ball completely is something that
only Sunrise knows at this point. In any case, we might as well enjoy what we can.
The premise is melodramatic and ambitious enough. Lelouch, the protagonist, is embarking on a personal quest through the use of his intellect and a mysterious power, motivated by personal revenge and morally ambiguous altruism. The setting is divided into two spheres, the edgier world of military/politics and the more carefree environment of the Ashford academy, with their respective casts of characters. There's a clear element of mecha action here as well, even if it's not really the main attraction and doesn't dominate the show.
The pace is definitely fast and unrelenting...perhaps it's all a bit much for Lelouch's and the story's own good, though, as things turn out. The writing and direction can be uneven during the weaker moments, but are absolutely thrilling at their best. Most of it develops quite nicely, with some general predictability and a few genuine surprises that keep things interesting.
The biggest concerns are certain major twists which threaten to overwhelm the viewer, if they are not enjoyed or understood. Intentional and unintentional humor, such as Pizza Hut's sponsorship or many over the top sequences, can be occasionally distracting as well. I personally felt that the basic focus is never lost, however, when all is said and done, in spite of a few undeniable blunders or red herrings.
In the end, we've only seen half the story and, for better or for worse, the upcoming sequel has the responsibility of providing true resolution. Or at least trying to do so in an interesting way, whether it fails or succeeds at it.
Production values are good and tend to stay consistent. I've never been a CLAMP fan, mostly due to unfamiliarity, so their original character designs for Code Geass -while distinctive and attractive- don't really impress me too much. They may also look strange from certain angles. The mechanical designs are just fine for the show's purposes, with a couple of particularly well done models.
The music is appropriate and mostly unobtrusive, whether the mood is serious, exciting, relaxed, mischievous, dramatic or tragic. Not exactly the best soundtrack I've ever heard, as a few tracks could use more variety. The opening and ending themes are quite well done, as a rule, and tend to fit the show. Naturally, your mileage may vary here.
For someone who is often accused of being a copycat there are certain nuances to Lelouch's personality that set him apart, such as his emotional range and a sense of humanity emerging from his internal conflicts or character flaws. Predictably, the protagonist himself carries the show on his back and receives the most development, which is good since he does deserve much of it and this makes him an interesting subject of study. Having said that, said development has at least one major drawback: it may not be what people are expecting and finding certain events relatively disappointing or even anti-climatic is quite possible. Suzaku, who also plays an important role as Lelouch's foil, has a self-righteous personality and his interference can be very annoying to witness. He does have some complexity though, even if it's still a hard sell for those who find themselves sympathizing with Lelouch/Zero. C.C. herself is mysterious enough, as we've only seen bits and pieces of information regarding her background thus far, but remains an intriguing and generally fun character by virtue of her interactions with Lelouch.
Secondary characters tend to get some attention too, with interesting results in the major cases whether you appreciate their fates or not. The big issue for me is that the cast of characters might seem a bit too large as the show goes on, with a couple of unnecessary additions towards the later half that tend to delay, limit or rush development. Still, this is the kind of show where such size makes sense on paper given its scope, but as a result we will have to wait for the sequel in order to see if a few questionable plot threads are continued, resolved or at least replaced.
The first season of Code Geass, even though I wasn't entirely convinced about certain plot twists and openly laughed along with certain sequences or developments, was certainly entertaining and rarely boring.
In short, I appreciated both the genuinely well-done portions and several of the more absurd scenarios. The show is not a masterpiece by any means, nor is it going to please every sector of the audience that it will initially attract. I'd still be perfectly happy to recommend it to those who haven't seen it.
There some mecha's that achieve near brilliance, and others that are rendered useless in their awkward failure. Code Geass is neither of this.
I started Code Geass as soon as the first episode aired.. Yes, I have enjoyed it very much. But to my surprise, on the arrival of the 13th episode, Code Geass took the anime industry by storm. Like a moth to a flame, people crowded the anime and simply worshiped it(God knows how many CC fans are being born as of this moment). Much as Ive enjoyed Code Geass, it does not do justice to be considered what it is today. In
fact I feel its popularity is similar to FMA, both are highly enjoyable but nowhere near being the masterpiece people claim it to be.
Code Geass is not a sight to behold, but rather a sight to gather thousands of fans within only barely dozen of episodes. Spectacle, after all, is Code Geass specialty, not subtlety, so enjoying the sum of the parts sometimes requires dispassionate detachment or at least blind belief. But whether you think Code Geass is absurd or lacking originality, Code Geass is one of the most fun and engaging anime's in recent memory, as long as you don't think about it too hard.
Japan, being defeated by the empire of Britannia, whose territory reaches nearly one third of the world thanks to their high-tech war machines called Knightmares, was renamed to Area 11. Britannia swiftly depraved the Elevens(Japanese) of their pride, rights and isolated them from the migrating citizens of Britannia, leaving them to poverty.
This is where our main boy steps in. Lelouch, a young former prince of Britannia who was known to have passed away, not to mention a cheap ripoff of Light Yagami from Death Note. During a battle between the Britanna and a scarce amount of rebelling Elevens, Lelouch finds a capsule containing a naked woman, who gives Lelouch Geass, a mysterious ability that can control any human simply by looking them in the eyes and speaking his commands. And because that it just so happens that Lelouch has this great animosity for the Brittania, he plans to single handedly face the tyrant.
Lelouch under the alias of Zero, becomes a hope to the elevens and a threat to Britannia.
Its hard not to compare Lelouch from Yagami Light of Death Note. But if you can get past it, you'll find out something more. Coming with a tragic past pre-installed, it may seem that Lelouch is your typical apprehended teenager(Gundam anyone?). But Lelouch in a way, is a revenge-driven genius who would dare to go against the world to reach his goals and doesnt endlessly desires to just die without a fight. He even has the discernment for seizing control of the situation and directs the terrorist group by radio, controlling them and anticipating the moves of the Britannian forces like it was a game of chess.
It isnt entirely plausible how is still able to manage a double life and lead the Japanese to victory. But it does provide Lelouch moments to look more sympathetic and less unrealistic.
So yeah thats pretty much what you need to know. Lelouch battles Britannia with the help of the ever so gullible and disposable Japanese. Oh and I forgot to mention Suzaku,an Eleven who is his childhood friend, siding to Britannia. They both basically the want the same thing, only they have different methods. Lelouch wants to rid of Britannia to make the world easier for his sister to live in, Nunally. Suzaku, on the other hand, wants to climb the ladders of Britannia, and gradually change it to good from the inside.
There's a ton going on in these first five episodes, and the pacing is rapid-fire. Add in a truly epic stage, some awesome battles, and just a dash of comedy to keep things from getting too dark, and it's really hard to see where this show can go wrong from here.
Code Geass is majestic, in terms of entertaining. The plot twists are so twisted that it becomes endless and absurd. Every episode ends in marvelous cliffhangers that can make you get a garotte wire and strangle yourself for an entire week until the next episode comes out and makes you do the same thing all over again. It just keeps getting better and better.
The actions are also a treat. From assault to massive warfare, Code Geass is impressively detailed. The contest between Britannia and the Eleven are as breathtaking as they are thrilling, while the individual battles are supremely well choreographed.
Code Geass has so many things working in its favor that it becomes easy to overlook some of its flaws.
The animation is completely convincing and fulfills the shows "mecha plausibility" quotient well besides than the roller blading war machines. Moreover, few if any prior shows have as effectively integrated the tacky yet refined movements of the robots as they do here. CLAMP did the designs here so be sure to expect it to be excellent(and have arms, which have uncanny ability to stretch an extra three feet)
The music is fluid. It always depicts the sound perfectly. Be it a gunshot or a whole building crumbling down, it is nicely executed. The background effects are also a plus. You get to hear a bunch of insects flying around or birds chirping.
It gives a rather credible atmosphere partnered by a perfect atmospheric melody. The clarity of the sound effects definitely supports the anime very well.
Voice acting is no slouch either. It can easily persuade you of the emotion of each characters tries to convey, even supporting characters are given enough to time to emote.
The results are predictably impressive, even genre-defining. However as good as Code Geass is in terms of spectacle, the show does hit a few dud notes in terms of plot and characterization. But put together with visual flair, it’s a winning combination that helps to ensure Code Geass is a roller coaster experience of thrilling intensity.
Just like Da Vinci Code, it is "preposterously entertaining".It is safe to say that anyone who's interested in action or mecha will go bananas over Code Geass.
"I was dead until the moment I met you. I was a powerless corpse pretending to be alive. Living without power, without the ability to change my course, was bound to a slow death." -Lelouch Lamperouge
I've been debating a review of Code Geass for a while now, and I was really unsure of where to start, given how expansive the story is, and how immense the cast of characters is coupled with everything that I have to say about it. So, that said, this will be a two part review, one for Code Geass part one, and one for R2.
Let me first
dispel the dismissive "Code Geass is just Death Note with mechas" saying: It's totally different. Similarities can be drawn between tons of shows in which supernatural powers are bestowed upon the main characters, along with their aspirations of changing the world. It's a sleight against this show to say that it's just a rip of Death Note, when in fact, they actually premiered the same season.
Code Geass is set very straight up- You've got Lelouch Lamperouge, an exiled member of the royal family of Britannia, out for revenge against his father, Charles, the Emperor of Britannia. Britannia being the greatest military power and empire since the days of Alexander the Great, Lelouch is powerless to take action against this seemingly insurmountable enemy, until a mysterious benefactor, a girl named C2, bestows the "Power of the King", otherwise known as Geass upon him, giving him the ability to finally wreak the vengeance he so desperately seeks. His power is one that enables him to give someone he can make eye contact with a single command that they must obey. With this, he's out to change the world.
Quick stuff first:
Art: 7 (5 Animation, 2 Character design)
CLAMP character design, and everything that comes along with it: skeletal bodied characters with enormous eyes and a lot of wild hair designs, but not Yugioh or anything. Sunrise did quite a good job animating this show, though. Juicy explosions, fluid fight scenes, and solid key frames. Character design consistency is very high quality throughout, with no loss of detail at any time.
The mechas look great, and while many designs are reused for the no-name mechs, the named ones are pure awesome, very unique, and memorable.
Sound: 9 (7 for Voice Acting, 2 for OP and ED)
A lot of people really seem to hate the 2nd OP by Jinn, Kaidoku Funou, but I thought it was appropriately energetic for the rising action. The 1st OP and both ED are fine, nothing really interesting, but not worth skipping.
Voice acting is on another level in this show: Johnny Yong Bosch leads an all star cast, with names like Yuri Lowenthal as Suzaku Kururugi, Michelle Ruff as Euphemia, Liam O’Brien as the mad scientist Lloyd Asplund, Crispin Freeman as Jeremiah "Orange Boy", the great Megan Hollingshead as Viletta, and the Major herself, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Cornelia, and others.
Props to Funimation for putting this incredible group of VA together. They really made the show.
It's difficult to encompass and accurately describe the collective of characters in an ensemble show like Code Geass. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood has a comparably large cast, who are also very intricately worked into the plot. So many characters make an impact that it'd be impossible to list all of their complex interactions with one another and on the plot itself in this review, so instead of Kicking Logic to the Curb and Doing the Impossible, I'm going to stick with the mains.
To best understand the characters, we need to first examine their dynamic. Our setup is as described above, a classic revenge tale, Son vs the Father. Lelouch, exiled after the death of his mother, Marianne, at the hands of Charles, flees and lives in secret among the once proud, now subjugated Japanese people, known as "Elevens". He and his younger sister Nunnally, who was crippled and blinded after the attack on their mother, are taken in by the family of Suzaku Kururugi, the best friend and ideological opposite of Lelouch.
Years later, Lelouch, in his guise as a bored high school student, gets wrapped up in a terrorist group operating in Area 11, known as the Black Knights, plot to steal a secret weapon away from Britannia. A series of mishaps later, and Lelouch finds out that the weapon is not inanimate, but a green haired, straightjacket wearing witch named C2. Lelouch sets her free, and she grants him a power, the power of Geass- the absolute control of another being, with the rules outlined above.
The dynamic between Lelouch and Suzaku is definitely the most interesting. As previously stated, they form not just a symbolic Friend/Brother against each other dynamic, but also one of an Anti Hero, Anti Villain. Both make some seriously morally ambiguous choices, both have their tortured past, struggles in the present, but most importantly; their goal for the future. This is what drives their ideological differences.
"A victory won through detestable means is no victory at all" - Suzaku in a nutshell.
Suzaku is a hound of the military. He believes that change brought on by violence and conquest is wrong, and that the racist and oppressive Britannian government should be changed from within, his eventual goal to rise to a position of high military power and use it to influence the outcome of the future. Suzaku's strengths lie in his unwavering loyalty to his ideals, and his almost stupidly overpowered/unparalleled strength in combat, particularly that in mechs.
-- (interesting, in that he starts out as a common footsoldier, and is rescued by Lloyd to be a test subject for an experimental mech, which then turns his complete ignorance of mechs into a godly fighting machine. We'll chalk it up to untapped natural talent.)
Suzaku has a tendency to blindly follow his orders, believing it's for the good of his goals, and by proxy, the Japanese- so long as they're at least partly in line with his thoughts. He takes part in many questionable operations, and begins to have self doubt, which really shows the inner conflict in the character. Outwardly, he's always the knight of justice, but inwardly, he has his own darkness, and doubts about whether what he's doing is right or wrong.
Suzaku is easy to hate at the beginning, for being so foolhardy and unflinchingly loyal, uncompromising. However, he shows a true hero's arc, and improves vastly in R2.
"A life that lives without doing anything is the same as a slow death."
Lelouch, on the other hand; new powers in hand (eye) is finally equipped to fulfill his dual goals of revenge against his father and his idea of world peace, so that Nunnally can live in a kinder, gentler world. Where they differ is in the methodology. Lelouch plays at rebellion like a game of chess, (symbolism intact). The very image of Zero is that of the king piece in chess, (C2's uniform in R2 is also the image of the queen) and while not the strongest piece, is definitely the most important. Lelouch knows his limitations; namely the physical, and fighting hand to hand. He knows that his intellect and Geass power are his best means of fighting, and uses them to set up and manipulate everyone around him, much to the chagrin of Suzaku.
Lelouch may use manipulation, murder, and other detestable methods to achieve his goals, but he's the absolute definition of the Anti Hero. Noble goals taking ambiguously evil or callous means of fulfillment. Despite his cold, calculating Zero personality, or his ever scheming "normal" identity, Lelouch has nothing if not a noble goal in mind- everything he's done, his Raison D'etre is his sister, Nunnally. His life is unimportant in the face of making the world a place that his sister can live in without constant fear for her life.
Now, the antagonistic relationship that Lelouch and Suzaku share is as thusly: they serve as foils to each other, the White Knight with the dark past, and the Black King who looks to a bright future. An eternal struggle of brother against brother, friend against friend, and an intense underlying conflict of ideals vs the facade of an outwardly friendly relationship. Cat and Mouse, but who's which?
The many other characters in the show form a true ensemble, as I said. Screen time is split up very appropriately between the many different threads of the story, keeping parts in suspense when necessary, and most importantly: keeping all the different plotlines up to date where you're not constantly having to keep up with "What year is this?" "Is this the past or present?” For as many subplots as are going on screen in a single episode, Code Geass manages to stay on top of them, keep them relevant, and important to the outcome of the story. The supporting cast has as many scenes as many "main" characters from other, lesser shows. They get their fair share of the time, and the story never felt weaker for it.
*Spoilers from here on*
Code Geass is a very watchable and engaging series, for the most part. It is one of those stories though, that ends up being a jack of all trades and a master of none with how it tries to fit in a lot of themes, with some success and some failure. What I did not like about Code Geass was namely three things: inner universe inconsistency (which I'll get into), tonal inconsistency, and lastly, the fanservice.
Code Geass has a great setup for a gripping plot, and a lot of fodder to work with. It takes its time explaining many concepts, and never felt rushed, at all. However, there are some obvious filler episodes (giant pizza anyone?) and some plotholes (some of which are patched up in R2, but that has no bearing here.)
1. Inner Universe Inconsistency
--The Geass power is explained to have these rules:
A) Can only be used once
B) Eye contact required
C) Person having Geass used on them will perform *to the best of their abilities/physical capabilities the command issued**
D) The order will be carried out as long as dictated
E) The subject loses all memory of actions carried out under the effects of Geass
Finally, F) No one can resist his command, but someone can resist Geass by sheer force of will... (When convenient to the plot)
R2 aside, Rule A stands. Rules B and D are also always true. The issues arise with rules C, E and F.
The writers played fast and loose with the rules of Geass, bending it to their will when they've written themselves into a corner. Geass comes across as Deus ex Machina in many moments in the first series, and while a cool power, it's sometimes cheapened by its misuse or obvious "why didn't you just use Geass to do 'x'?"
2. Tonal Inconsistency
--All throughout Code Geass, we're treated to a lot of different themes and ideologies. This often comes out as a mish mash of conflicting ideas at inopportune moments. There will be a dark war drama going on, with characters dealing with loss of life, regret, ambivalence about the choices they made and how it affects the future, from victorious highs to the crushing blows of defeat, it swings appropriately. However, interspersed with this gritty narrative will be scenes (or entire episodes) of light hearted comedy bordering on a slice of life tangent. We just went from watching people get brutally mowed down by the hundreds to some schoolkids at a festival with a giant pizza mishap. Alternate comedy with some fanservice moments (Kallen, Viletta) and it really breaks up the pacing and more importantly, atmosphere of the show.
--Plain and simple, they really beat you over the head with Kallen and Viletta's bodies. Compromising situations, poses, and just really sexually suggestive scenes. I felt they were very unnecessary in an otherwise very serious drama because they didn't add anything to the plot; detracted from it, minorly, because it was harder to take it seriously when they arose during tense and dramatic moments.
Code Geass was both a real joy and really infuriating to watch. Chalk that up to how it was written, maybe, but overall it's a "good" show. This season really amounts to a 10.5 hour long exposition and setup for R2, the more emotionally charged, and consequence-filled half of what's a really great story.
+Good supporting cast
+Very entertaining, keeps you guessing
+Voice Cast is among the best
+Great Anti hero/ Anti villain dynamic
+/- couple of filler episodes
- Plot holes (some are not apparent until R2)
- Annoying side characters
- Unnecessary fanservice
- Tonal inconsistency
- Inner universe inconsistency
Yes, I would recommend Code Geass. R2 is by far the stronger part, but part 1 is very enjoyable on its own, and necessary to the overarching story.
At first when i heard of how great Geass was and then I learned it was a mecha show, I was a bit reluctant to watch it since I am not a big fan of mecha. But once I sat down and watched code geass I was really impressed at how good it was.
Story: The story of this anime is one of the best I've seen and it is highly enjoyable. At the end of every episode I had the urge to quickly watch the next because of how incredible this show was giving you all this conflict and plot twists at would just leave
you shocked. I could feel the intensity of the situations at times and not many shows can do that. Another plus is that it was not 100% mecha and it has its elements of mystery in it because of the actual geass power. And the story is not yet over since they give you an ending that just breaks your heart knowing that you're gonna have to wait a couple months to figure out what happened. Cliffhangers are EVIL!!!
Art: CLAMP, not everyone likes their style of drawing but in my case I am a nut for CLAMP so I found this show's animation really good. The colours were so bright and pretty for an anime that IMO is rather dark and serious. All the robots looks great and have flashy and pretty designs to them, the Lancelot looks SO COOL XD
Sound: The only thing that I didnt find outstanding about the show was the music, some of the background songs I kinda disliked since it seemed like it wasnt really fit for the moment. But overall it was still good. I guess I should comment at how great Lelouch's seiyuu did a great job playing him.
Character: Lelouch is probably one of the main reasons I like Geass, the conflicts he suffers and how he plays some of the other characters is just awesome. Suzaku on the other hand, I dont really like how he is trying to achieve his plans and should just die v_v but thats what makes geass good since it allows me to really get attached to the characters and grow to love or HATE them. Oh and C.C = win.
Enjoyment: I have really enjoyed watching Geass it has given me one of the best storytelling and even some really cool action as well. And with the new season coming my excitement has once again returned.
Overall Geass is one of the best mecha shows out there and if you are a mecha fan this show has a lot of other aspects that will definitely draw you in. This is one of the best shows out there and should not be missed by anyone. In my case, I'm just glad season 2 is coming out soon.
There are 95 existing reviews for this over-hyped anime so I don't really expect this review to be long lived and I'm quite happy that it will vanish into nothingness in 24 hours at the most.
I just need to vent some opinions I have about this anime. Did I mention it is over-hyped? Even for fanboys of this anime it must be over-hyped. With a fairly good story it tries to become a mecha version of Death Note and I suppose it succeeds to some extent, but not in a very intriguing manner really. The story has many twists and turns and it is quite
entertaining at times, but the story can't save this anime from its characters.
Every single character of this anime is bad, not even Lelouch is any good most of the time. Mostly because he's so overplayed. However Lelouch is nothing compared to Kurkrurururugi Suzaku. I was on the verge of dropping this anime at each and ever episode, even while watching the very last episode, because of Kurukgukgururui Suzaku, he was not fabulous to say the least. Apart from these two characters the rest of them were no catches either, I don't really feel like going through a list of bad characters so I'm just going to generalize and say they were the usual generic stereotypical blobs on screen fresh from the "generic steretypical anime character factory" that they copy and paste into their storyboard.
Did you notice the CLAMP influences? Of course you did, I don't have anything against CLAMP, they've done XXXholic, but really? CLAMP in a shounen? No.
In conclusion this animes screenplay is an abomination, which leaves character interaction between the incredibly boring characters wanting in such a terrible manner that it drags this entire anime down.
There will probably be a large amount of people who will look at the score I gave code geass and click the "not helpful" button without even bothering to read the first few lines of this review. If this is you, I don't believe you should bother reading this review in the first place, since your mind is obviously not going to be changed. And also, this review is all my own opinion, the large majority of you will probably enjoy code geass a lot, but if you want to hear a different opinion then go ahead
and read the review.
Intelligent anime. Its probably one of my favourite types of anime. It's so much nicer to get enthralled, shocked, and mindblown by an anime rather than to turn your brain off and enjoy a bunch of generic bullshit that basically copies every other mildly successful show in its genre. Unfortunately however, for every actually intelligent anime there is an equal number of, if not even more shows for which their intelligence is only superficial. While you may not (and probably won't) agree, I believe code geass is one of these shows.
When I first heard of code geass, it was described to me as "death note with mechs". Although the manga was a lot better, I actually enjoyed death note, and I dove into code geass hoping for another helping of interesting characters, and a relatively well paced and clever plot. For me, code geass was just a huge load of cliches, underdeveloped characters, and extremely convenient coincidences all wrapped up together to make a quite lackluster anime. Although I'm not going to go over every single little thing, since that would take forever and I'm too lazy, code geass had almost as may plot holes as mirai nikki (although that also has a mean score over 8, so that shows you something)
It's very surprising how people try to compare lelouch and Light, or the strategic planning that both shows supposedly have. While they were often unrealistic and sometimes made no sense, the plans in death note obviously had a lot of though put into them, and the dialogue passing between Light and L was interesting enough to keep you engrossed in the story. However, all that the so called "strategy" in code geass equates to is "My mech is bigger and more badass than yours." the large majority of battles the black knights face in this anime are won by lelouch procuring a new bigger and more powerful weapon that they use to eliminate the opposition. And when he actually does any real planning it's consisted of lelouch conveniently guessing the opponents next moves as if he's some kind of psychic. As the show goes on he seems to putt less and less logic into his plans. Especially the way they escaped the britannian empire by all dressing up as zero. That was less like a carefully derived strategy and more like something and more like a retarded idea lelouch came up with after he'd had one too many beers. If the britannians honestly couldn't come up with a way to thwart that, then it's no surprise they got outsmarted.
Another annoying Element of code geass is the characters. Unless its a show with an above average amount of episodes, or one that is not character driven, good shows often take the route of keeping the cast of characters smaller, and developing those characters further. However, code geass prefers to go to down the path of piling on so many new and completely useless characters that don't garner the slightest bit of interest from the viewer or develop the plot in any reasonable way that you forget the name of anyone who's not a main character. The white knights did fuck all, in fact you only knew the names of a few of them, and this was true for a large amount of the cast. a result of this many of the characters got so little development and focus that I couldn't care less what happened to them at all. Even lelouch who is the main character gets stuck with a cliched "mah parent(s) were killed omg so sad and compelling" backstory, and thats it.
As for the art, all of the characters look like lanky anorexic beat sprouts who need to go and eat some big macs, but apart from that it was nothing special, and typical for an anime of its time. The sound quality was actually quite good during the actual episodes, however the openings and endings were just boring J-pop that I skipped every time I watched an episode.
Another thing I'd like to mention is the fanservice, and this was definitely a lot more prominent in R2. Kallen in her knightmare shot from very suspicious camera angles, Kallen in the shower, and Kallen and CC doing a variety of other things to please the otakus and their penises. It's disheartening that even a so called intelligent anime like code geass ended up throwing in enough fanservice to make an ecchi harem anime jealous. It may have had plot, but it was hard to notice it with kallen's ass getting shoved in your face for half of every episode.
However, as the series does not drop below a four, it must have its good points. Despite him being a lot less intelligent than people make him out to be, lelouch was at some points relatively interesting to watch, unlike all the other characters. And although I found the majority of all the episodes boring, the final few episodes of each season piqued my interest a bit (Dat spinzaku), and I didn't mind watching them, although R2s ending is a bit overrated.
Overall, I though that although it had its moments, code geass was overall overrated and slightly below average. although some people reading this will understand what I'm going on about, the majority of people who have seen code geass enjoyed it a lot, and the chances are that you will too. However, I personally would not recommend code geass, and I think there are much better anime you could spend your time watching. For alternate recommendations, if you haven't already seen death note (which is unlikely) go and watch it, or for another mech anime try neon genesis evangelion.
The following is a review for Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion as well as it's second season R2. Enjoy!
Before we get into the actual review, I believe a quick bit of back story is important. Code Geass was first conceptualized at Sunrise Animation in hopes to create a show that would appeal to a wide range of audiences. The idea originally only entailed a underground resistance leader leading a double life. The idea was then given to the manga author team of Clamp for character designs, (both physical and portions of other aspects as well) a partnership which continued
through the writing process meaning many of the stories intricacies were also written with assistance from Clamp. The idea was to cover the two largest demographics: Shonen (action and generally story based targeted at young males) and Shojo (relationship based normally set in more everyday scenarios). The question is, were they successful? Well, yes and no. The problem is that if you swap between the main character's everyday life and his secret life at the drop of a hat with little in between, one party is usually unhappy. There are entire episodes based on dating games and creating the world's largest pizza that barely contribute anything to the story. They are immediately followed by two episode long battles in mech suits that get rather monotonous pretty fast. Compare that to a show that, in my experiences, does appeal to almost every audience like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. Brotherhood keeps the battles much shorter while keeping a ton of relationship and character development, and all of it is integrated together rather seamlessly to have everyone on their toes. Compare that to the separated method which has a tendency to give the viewer minor whip lash. What does save Code Geass is occasional episodes where everything collapses and the two worlds collide pretty beautifully. Now that we have that out of the way, to the story!
Code Geass has an enjoyably complicated story so if you're looking for something to watch while doing other things it might not be the best choice, but hey, a better choice than Baccano! It features very few all out filler episodes, every episode has something that furthers the plot or some amount of character development no matter how small, (except maybe the dating game episode, I can see what was supposed to be character development but... yeah not really). The only real story problem is that at times it seems like it could have ended right there but trust me everything happens for a reason and those who stick with it shall be rewarded eventually. Well that was short, but I don't want to give anything away so let's just move on to characters.
The fascinating thing about Code Geass's characters is that none of the "good guys" are particularly likeable, yet you grow to care for everyone anyway. Our protagonist, Lalouch Vi Britannia, is a manipulative liar who tells us that the ends always justify the means. Most of his school friends are, in my opinion, annoying, his little sister has a terrible voice and makes me cringe rather than daw, and the only character who acts entirely "good" is Suzaku, and he is the one character I didn't really grow to care for! The Britannians on the other hand had several great characters who I loved despite their "evil" actions. One thing Code Geass does amazingly well is kill people. Sorry I had to be the one to tell you but you were going to find out eventually and, this is war, come on. By the end you realize that your favorite characters are dead and aren't coming back and you honestly feel the same despair that the surviving characters do.
Music & Sound:
Let's talk music. At the beginning the background music is an awesome flavor of weird. Odd moments in the eyes of the protagonists are highlighted by that sad trumpet. I love that sad trumpet. As the story progresses though sad trumpet leaves us and other than a few quick return visits to say hello and goodbye, doesn't really come back. Other than that the background music is pretty average quality and is made mostly to emphasize the intensity of situations and regality of it all. The opening and closing music varies VASTLY. I loved some of the songs particularly those by FLOW and Ali Project then they are immediately followed by the second opening which I watched several times to be sure I wasn't making a snap decision but no, it's just bad. I'm just going to combine the voice acting section in right here. Decent. Some characters were good. Some were close to great! But some were just bad. Nunnaly is the number one culprit in my opinion. I will never forget her unique and ear-bleeding inducing way of saying "le-loooosh" no matter how much I try. On the brighter end though, without too much bias, Luciano Bradley in R2 is one of my favorite Vic Mignogna roles, Johnny Young Bosch does his usual thing for Lelouch which I guess is cool, Euphemia and Cornelia were very fitting, and last actor of mention is Troy Baker as Schnizel which is as amazing and regal as every Troy Baker role.
Okay now just art and a quick conclusion, almost there. The art style is quite unique and was made to mimic the original character designs by Clamp although it takes their drawing style to a new level. Drawing quirks well known from works like Cardcaptor Sakura such as high shoulders, thin bodies, and incredible height, are extended to an odd level that every once in awhile makes you notice: "Oh yeah, that's super not accurate to life... that's weird. How does that work?" but it is quite well done and amazing.
Well over all Code Geass is very good, it isn't perfect but nothing really is. No matter if you prefer Shonen or Shojo or even if you're more like me and prefer something more moderate and balanced, if you can sit through the parts you don't like, you'll be pleased with the end result. Tears will be shed, trust me on that. I sadly had several deaths accidentally spoiled for me and told myself that I would not cry because I didn't even like that character anyway and then slowly lost my resolve. Well thank you for reading and I hope my opinions were helpful to you. If you can see anything I missed or misreported please let me know. Bye for now!
Code Geass is definitely a very popular anime, no denying that, but I wouldn't exactly call it a master piece, but it is however, a fun and entertaining show, you just don't need to put too much thought into it.
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.