The Ark Fleet has been destroyed, and a significant number of the enemy's troops have been wiped out due to its crash landing. As the remaining forces of the Knights of St. Michael regroup in order to launch a final assault on Castle Weisswolf, the W-0, along with their new ally Ashley Ashra, stand ready to intercept them.
Meanwhile, with his Geass out of control, Shin moves to erase his younger brother's existence once and for all. But Akito, having promised Leila that he will come back alive, refuses to accept such a fate, and the two clash in their final battle.
The fifth and final installment in Akito journey is the biggest insult to all Code Geass fans.
While it was obvious from the very start how different these episodes from the main anime they didn't just stop there. I watched and enjoyed all previous 4 episodes but that wasn't the case here.
This episode picks-up right after the previous one, Shin and the Order of Michael are attacking Leila castle while Akito and the gang are trying to stop them.
This episode is one hour of overblown robots fighting robots where all the bad guys loose and the good ones march victorious with zero casualties, zero
attention to characters and zero respect to the main source material. Not to mention the pathetic insult to the Geass power that makes no sense.
Code Geass anime was so great for portraying very realistic and interesting, complicated and deep characters, great story, soundtracks, mind games and intense action...There's nothing of this in this terrible episode.
This episode isn't just bad on Code Geass standards but as an anime in general. There's no point in watching this episode, you're better off just reading a short summary (all the bad guys "go on a trip", end of story).
The good: More code geass! And that's about where it stops. The bad: dos equis machinia or whatever, you'll probably need a dos equis or two to enjoy the ending.
Art 8/10: same art as code geass, I really love the art style, and an hour long segment just lets them get really detailed. Unfortunately, I might be able to watch anything with this art style.
Sound 9/10: I fucking loved the fight music, and almost all the sound effects were amazing, but there were a couple of instances of lines just getting plain annoying, because of repeated words by the same groups of people over and
Character 4/10: In Lelouch, almost everybody who had a line had character. And whenever someone died you felt something. Half the character in this series didn't have well defined or really any character beyond 'scientist #3' or 'hot soldier #2-3' (spoiler: yeah those two that just blew up? had the same character, and if they had died I still wouldn't remember their names). But those that were there, were fairly interesting. If their development didn't suck.
Story 1/10: "What the fucking fuck, who the fuck took that shit on the story? I was supposed to mail that in, today, well fuck it, send it in the way it is." Spoilers! obviously. The series had a pretty interesting story until this and the last segment. I dunno why they decided to just give Leila a geass. That was stupid. Plus "it's not a geass cause it's blue" and "geass fragment" (a.k.a. we wrote ourselves into a corner and oh god how do we finish this). But not only did they give it to her, they don't give her any powers until she can just block others' geass's AND summon the omnipotent human collective conscience (aka plot-armor re-imagined as what everyone wants)? BAH. They even had some line in there that said something about brain waves making a singularity and being able to create the universe again using a twisted understanding of the observer effect. This is honestly the most disappointing ending to an anime I've watched. There have been times when I was angry, sad, happy, and all of the above, but never so utterly let down.
Enjoyment 8/10: I really enjoyed the fight scenes, the music especially kept bringing me back, despite the ending being a complete colossal failure at almost every point, I did really enjoy it. It's more code geass! just watered down a little.
Overall 5/10: Sigh. I had such high hopes, so maybe it's just that they got crushed so ... nope, it really doesn't even deserve this high of a score. This is the score that I want to believe it is so I don't feel like I wasted my time. The only way I can really reconcile this is that all of these segments were just hallucinations of Lelouch's while he and Suzaku were in jail. Either that or as soon as they say "Akito has vanished" that it's just hallucinations of Leila who's now traumatized at the deaths of her comrades. The average of the scores I gave is 6/10, but I really can't bring myself to give this more than a 5.
Code Geass Akito the Exiled has finally reached a relatively decent conclusion in my opinion, despite rushing through certain events, but ultimately I can only recommend this last installment to those who do not expect to see the old cast of characters taking the center stage, are willing to rewatch the previous four Akito episodes if they've forgotten any details, and also aren't afraid of dealing with new and mysterious supernatural elements playing a major role in resolving the conflicts at the heart of the narrative.
It is not a secret that, for many viewers, Lelouch was the main attraction of Code Geass. Plenty of
entertainment value came from seeing all of his exaggerated tactics and ridiculous strategies at work during an ambitious struggle to defeat Britannia and overthrow its system. Lots of plot twists and crazy events. In fact, you could even argue this characteristic was a key part of what made Code Geass both so popular and so infamous across online communities.
But, to bring things into perspective, that is almost the opposite of what Akito wanted to offer in the long run. Nope, this project wasn't really targeting the hardcore Geass fanbase at all. If Lelouch of the Rebellion provided us with a fabulous telescope of many colors, then Akito the Exiled gave us a mere microscope with a few study samples on the side. There might be some beauty in looking at a different creator's vision, together with its own unique flaws, but the overall experience is not going to be remotely similar and not all tastes will enjoy it.
The last episode is perhaps the single clearest example of that. Rather than fighting a large scale conflict, the final battle took place around the siege of an old castle. This already established that the stakes would be comparatively low, and more centered on the survival of a small group of people, both European and Japanese. Not on the fate of an entire continent, much less the world. Despite the ostensible dangers of Shin's plans for global destruction, those weren't much of a real concern.
The first half of the episode concentrated on the castle battle itself and that was quite exciting, providing plenty of attractions for fans of mecha combat sequences, especially if they can already embrace the increasing use of 3D in the hands of masters like studio Orange (no relation to Jeremiah, I swear).
However, one could even argue that this concluding entry was less about the actual military outcome, which could be easily predicted with some imagination or past experience, and more about the real or attempted personal redemption of certain characters. Which isn't necessarily all that appealing. If you are the sort of person who thinks happy endings are lame or inherently inferior to bittersweet ones or outright tragedies, then you'll be extremely unlikely to have much appreciation for this approach.
But, in truth, that didn't really bother me at all. Sometimes it's perfectly fine for a story to let most of the cast survive and allow them to become little more than exiles (ah, we can see the title makes more sense in retrospect), whose actions and fates will not change the status quo of the world. If Lelouch will always be remembered inside his fictional universe for what he did as Zero and how he pulled off an insane final plan, the cast of characters in Akito will most likely see their days end in anonymity.
I would say the single most controversial factor in Akito the Exiled, from a general storytelling perspective, was the way in which Geass-related abilities were suddenly used in this last episode. Those magical or mystical aspects had taken a backseat to the action before, even though you could find some old hints about Akito's condition, the BRS system, Shin's past or Leila's abilities in previous episodes with a small amount of detective work. None of these aspects are coming out of nowhere. But it does seem like the co-writer and director of this project, Kazuki Akane, really wanted to compensate for not having a lot of magical powers influencing the narrative before this point.
The result? We get to see a combination of very anime-style interpretations of quantum mechanics employed for the sake of messing around with space/time. Not to mention the introduction of other new concepts, such as an overseeing entity linked to the collective unconsciouness (She has no name, but I'd call her Jupiter-chan). Or a completely different way to obtain a Geass ability in the case of one particular character (Shin), and a more vaguely defined yet symbolic type of power for another (Leila).
I can understand why some folks will react negatively to this. Familiarity often brings calm and sudden novelty can be risky. Even so, I feel those expressions of annoyance may simply be the result of confusion. A lot of these elements may certainly feel odd, especially at first, but I think it's possible to figure out how they are actually supposed to work with some patience and analysis. For instance: Leila's Geass power doesn't really have multiple abilities. It's essentially about communication. Therefore, most of the really crazy stunts aren't her fault. If that's not Leila, then who? Well, it's all because of the supernatural entity (Jupiter-chan) who is responsible for overseeing space and time. When you look at the big picture, it's slightly unexpected yet neither illogical nor random.
To be fair, the original Code Geass series had also relied on the supernatural to resolve important storylines at times. Think back to the metaphysical Ragnarok Connection scenario, which was not resolved thanks to any political reality or brilliant tactical move, as well as arguably the most contrived yet most memorable moment in the entire TV series that happened near the end of the first season. But, at the same time, it is important to note the original story ultimately went back to the real world for its final conflict resolution in both cases.
Here, the supernatural side of the story remained part of the mix during much of the second half of the episode. The BRS shenanigans, when taken to the extreme, literally combined a mental networking technology with the magical power of Geass in order to temporarily alter the fabric of reality. An interesting equation, on paper, but sadly never sufficiently explored in this spin-off.
Something more intriguing, in my view, was the conversation between Leila and the space/time overseer. While we can still question the use of such plot devices to help resolve conflicts as a literal deus ex machina, I think the existence of said being helps expand this fictional universe, even beyond the limits of this episode's script. In other words, it strengthens the Code Geass lore by providing a sense of larger purpose and opens up new story possibilities. Individuals like V.V. or even dear C.C. never really had this effect, since they operated on the same level as humanity rather than above it. To put it another way...I want to see Jupiter-chan show up again.
Oh, I was forgetting something! I will admit that the small and almost insignificant presence of Suzaku and Lelouch in this new story might have distracted the audience, with both unfortunate and fortunate implications, but for me they were always a sideshow in the context of Akito the Exiled. Just a way to give the fans a bonus feature. It wasn't going to focus on them, one way or another, and I think that isn't too unreasonable for a spin-off.
Having said of all this, I would say the resolution provided by the final episode of Akito the Exiled is valid and not impossible to understand, but parts of the narrative do leave me wishing they had chosen something more practical instead. Or, failing that, changing the format of the project into a full TV series rather than a bunch of small movies released every other year.
This was really more of the same, so there's little to add. The general animation and art quality was moderately impressive, although I do believe certain scenes might have been edited in a rush (or not at all) in order to release the last episode in theaters. Presumably the physical disc release is going to smooth certain odd spots.
Not much of a difference here either. Good sountrack, although the crazy jazz will surely tend to confuse and annoy those who haven't already gotten used to the work of the composer who has worked on all the previous Akito the Exiled episodes.
Let's get the obvious thing out of the way. The characters in Akito the Exiled are not as charismatic nor as larger-than-life as those in the main Code Geass TV series. They also don't have the same amount of development or characterization due to the limited running time. There's a lot of purely secondary or tertiary people in this final episode and the same thing goes for the rest of the series. Some of them could have played a larger role and others got brief scenes that are nothing more than decent. If I were to talk about all of them, I'd be here all day.
Having said this, I think there's some pretty good stuff going on too. Akito's character development arc arguably ended somewhere between the third or fourth installments. This is simply the final stage. What we have here is an already changed man who no longer just wants to die and kill people. He views life in a more positive fashion and tries to see if his brother isn't entirely beyond saving after all. In the end, you could say his goal was mainly about resolving a brotherly conflict rather than a global war. I can see all of this sounding a little unoriginal or even repetitive for some folks, but in my opinion it was still a logical outcome for Akito. Beyond that, he gets to do a lot of neat fighting and that is always welcome.
Curiously enough, Leila herself had more character-based scenes than Akito in this one yet didn't play much of a role in the combat resolution. What she really does do, however, is directly experience the bulk of the supernatural elements that were emphasized during this last episode. I imagine the specifics behind that magical turn of events will always remain controversial, but I thought the underlying meaning was interesting enough. That said, I admit that idealistic and selfless characters are rarely popular in the context of the CG property.
You could say Leila represents the side of humanity that will not give up, even in the face of real or potential tragedies. She had many doubts at the start of this whole story and moments of weakness, unsure about what to do, but those were eventually overcome (with the help of others, such as Klaus and Akito or the gypsy folks too). In other words, that was her development.
In the end, the core message of the story connects to Leila. She believes people can change, despite all the terrible or at least depressing things that have happened around her, her teammates or her own family. That's why she wanted to help Akito and even Shin, both during previous episodes and especially now. It also reflects her accepting former enemies as comrades. Even after seeing something horrible during this final installment (which might even come across as a little cheap, on the surface), she didn't give up nor succumb to despair.
Instead, Leila finally decided to embrace her own Geass ability (and that, in turn, seems to have interested a higher power). Which also reflects how she wants to continue living in the world and not just destroy everyone around her like Shin. What exactly does her Geass ability do? Don't ask me about any explicit rules or lore behind it, that is all vague, but the relevant effect for the purposes of analysis is helping people connect with each other. In my opinion, that worked just fine for this story.
That said, I do have some moderate disappointments here. It is true that Leila technically orchestrated the castle defense, but we didn't really get to see her setting up the traps nor giving the orders. Which makes Leila's role seem passive in that area, although it isn't inherently supposed to be.
I will not claim Shin was a great villain, but his full background history (that family was rather messed up) did help connect a few dots. It explains why his Geass power was not only far too restricted but also very ironic. His weak point, both as a character and as a person, was that he didn't have any concrete ambitions (or motivations) for changing the world. Just destruction. I suppose he was not a completely evil being, since there was some good left in his soul before it was twisted in strange ways, but in the end he was more of an insane person than a healthy individual. Even poor Jean turned out to be more reasonable than him.
Another character-related criticism would be the final fate of Smilas. It felt underwhelming. Predictable due to the chronology and even entirely deserved for his duplicity, in the end, but lacking some more build-up.
I'll say that the last episode of Akito the Exiled felt quite lukewarm in execution when it came to the script, yet still fitting as a conclusion to the main characters and the themes of the story. It's a valid way to end the narrative, but not as strong in terms of impact as that of the main series. I would have appreciated more explanations for the magical elements too.
One way or another though, I still had fun watching it. Not every revelation or decision concerning the storytelling was properly presented either, although a few specific sequences did reflect a lot of directorial or cinematographic skill. To make a long story short, this isn't your past self's Code Geass. Nope, not at all. It does some things better, or at least differently, but others were also worse. How much you care about particular aspects will help determine where you stand on it.
Fuck it. After this review, I'm gonna give this series the Tsukihime treatment*.
*Tsukihime treatment: Pretending that something doesn't exist because it doesn't deserve acknowledgment.
**Spoilers for Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito Final - Itoshiki Monotachi e**
You know, what was I expecting? Really. What did I expect would happen. This entire series has been an absolute joke, unworthy of bearing the name "Code Geass", and people have been saying that this film was the worst of them all, so what was I to expect? Well, the last two films were enjoyable in comparison to the first two despite people calling them terrible in comparison to the first
two, so maybe I could've been able to see this as somewhat misunderstood. Then again, this is Akito the Exiled, I think the concept of redemption and good writing is impossible for it to grasp. Now, I'm not gonna pretend the main series was perfect, far from it, but even R2, which already had it's fair share of bafflingly stupid and convoluted moments, looks like a masterpiece compared to this atrocity, and it's predecessors. Even then, I thought film 2 was bad. No...film 2 is actually passable compared to this pigshit of an installment. Now, what went so wrong here as to make me want to surgically remove this, and by extension, the entire Akito series from the body of the Code Geass franchise? Well, let's find out, shall we?
Picking up right where we left off, except we jump a week because apparently no one took action in a week. After Ashley fails to convince Jean to join him, she suddenly has doubts about her goal of helping Shin. Then, we launch into a full-blown siege. It's after the Euro-Britannians make it in that we get an infinite amount of problems. The directing is so bad that we usually don't even get to see where those grappling cable latches hang on to. Also, when Ayane corners Jean and has a laughable scene of trying to convince and then hug her, Jean suddenly thinks she's the one with power in the situation. Then we begin the final battle between Akito and Shin after Shin has knocked back Ashley and Ryou. Where was Yukiya? In recovery before going to his new unit and taking down a big cannon on that explodes and land on him before doing so, yet he still survives, but we'll get back to that.
The second half is where things turn from bad to utter bullshit. During the battle of brothers, we see them teleport but still be there (probably thanks to Leila's bullshit geass), and it's at this point where we get a LITERAL DEUS EX MACHINA! Right after the entire command center sans Leila is riddled with bullet holes, we see this geass-related collective entity again in her beautiful glory, as she basically doesn't explain jack to Leila that is relevant aside from the fact that she still has a "fragment of geass" since I guess children can't be able to have full geasses (not unless you're Mao from Code Geass R1 but this series has done enough damage to the main one) but somehow reverses time long enough for Leila to completely rethink the situation to avoid her crew dying (despite the fact that it's the same amount of time she has earlier and she never thought of anything at the moment). I guess Leila's geass allows her to see a vision of her parents conversing with her without knowing it's her, and I guess she can see and project other people's memories, but none of this is explained well at all and we never get a definitive effect if the geass she has (albeit it seemingly does multiple things despite a geass being able to have only ONE POWER, like controlling, forcing one to kill, etc.), and somehow this allowed everyone in the main group to make cheesy speeches about helping Akito and telling Shin not to kill him, no matter how far away they are. Time for the final act, and the final nail in the coffin.
We see Shin's and Akito's sorry excuses for backstory. Apparently, Akito was born from a different father, and when Shin walked in, he not only deduced who the real father is in an instant (despite the father looking nothing like the son whatsoever (not even hair color)) but also became nihilistic due to that, to the point of feeling betrayed by his mother and receiving a Geass that makes people kill themselves (except Akito because fuck logic, right?). About that being, who is what is it? It's fully established that you need a living being that has code in order for him/her to be able to give a geass to someone, not this abstract skull thing that just appeared into this works because whatever. Then, he kills his whole family because Jennie values death (but never takes his own life for some reason) and "wants to set them free from this awful world". As you can see, his backstory is edge-filled and stupid as hell. Also, he devolves into a madman and now both of them can see ghosts and visions of living veins shouting for Akito not to die (none of this makes any sense and none of this is explained), and then Jean appears right outta nowhere to kill Shin and take the fatal sword blow for Akito (because she had minor conflict and was convinced with just a simple hug). Also, yeah, every good guy is alive, even when they shouldn't be, like Yukiya. Also, remember the plot point about Smilas trying to become a dictator? Well, this movie forgot about it until the end credits where he and everyone are quickly killed by Ashley because tying up plot points in a pathetic and clumsy way since we forgot to address this big plot point during the edit the film, is what Akito is best at. Speaking of, Lelouch and Suzaku are told by Rolo (in a post-credits scene mind you) that daddy Charles wants to see them. This doesn't even resolve this dangling thread that jeopardizes R2's existence. It's all just left to dry in the hot sunny day!
Development doesn't even matter anymore; nothing can save these characters from being dogshit. Let's start with Leila. Her geass is horribly defined and nothing but contrivances and deus ex machinas for the sake of the abomination called a plot, and it's thanks to this supervisor whose appearance and existence makes no sense in the context of the franchise. Plus, she's a lot happier this time around for some reason. Ayano, Ryou, and Yukiya also remain the same, and so does Ashley. The biggest problem lies with Shin. I already mentioned how retarded his backstory is, but there's the rest of how he's written, which still made him a generic "not valuing life" antagonist. There's really nothing to him but wasted potential for an interesting villain. Jean has a pathetically realized excuse for conflict and resolution, Suzaku goes out of character to choke Lelouch for no reason, and we're left with a pathetic cast of underutilized and underdeveloped twits that could've been actually interesting and properly written. Oh yeah, and General Smilas is here too. Say hi before he dies because you only see him and his goons for all of 10 seconds in the end credits before they get destroyed. Not gonna mention anyone else either, they're not memorable and suffer from the same problems as Leila: no one was fleshed out or ever written to be compelling beforehand, so they're left to rot here.
Somehow the CGI is more poorly integrated than before, and there are moments where the CGI blatantly dips in quality and integration, like when Ashley disposes of Smilas. The directing here is at its worst, with awful and unnecessary shaky cam and some awful shot composition here and there. The character art and animation are both as good as the previous two films though, so that's a plus (there, I gave this shitty movie a compliment; happy now?). We also get a sort-of sword fight between Shin and Akito (sort-of since it's one-sided and Akito doesn't even do much fighting after the first 30 seconds of swordplay), and some decently done death scenes of Jean and Shin (in terms of look and direction, not content), but overall, the last two looked better than this film.
The only new addition to the mediocre Akito music library this time is the mediocre ED, and it's as boring as the other ones. Remember that I'll-fitting blaring trumpet piece? Well, here they play it in the most ill-fitting battle of the bunch. That piece is for chaotic moments, which doesn't really occur here. I really have nothing left to say. This movie doesn't even add new background OSTs to the mix like the previous two did, which also emphasizes how much worse the production of this one was in comparison to the last one, and this is supposed to be the final hurrah of the sub-series! Bah!
I genuinely wish this sub-series didn't exist, or at least, that is was written to actually respect the logic of the franchise and not ruin itself or fail its characters. This final film really makes the other Akito movies look decent by comparison. I'm done with Akito the Exiled, and I'll probably never see this sub-series again. In fact, why am I even raging? This thing doesn't even exist. None of these films exist, and if they did, they wouldn't have a right to bear the name of the franchise. I don't even know what I'm doing here, ranting on a nonexistent product. Am I a madman? Clearly! Fuck this; I'm out!