It is the year 2017, and Europe is being invaded by the forces of the Holy Britannian Empire. In an attempt to combat the opposition's overwhelming pressure and put an end to the massive casualties, the army forms a special unit called Wyvern, or W-0, composed of former Japanese citizens referred to as "Elevens." Recruited from ghettos, these young men and women pilot Knightmare frames—humanoid war machines—into dangerous operations where death awaits, hoping to make a name for themselves.
When a European regiment attempting to recapture a crucial city is pinned down by the enemy, it's up to W-0 to bail them out. Among those selected for the rescue operation is Lieutenant Akito Hyuuga, known as "Hannibal's Ghost" due to his prowess on the battlefield. However, the supposed rescue mission becomes suicidal when, in an attempt to take out as many Britannians as possible, the commanding officer initiates the Knightmare's self-destruct sequence. In its aftermath, Akito finds that he is the last one standing…
September 7 2012 update: For the past few weeks, I have gotten countless messages asking me how I saw this movie online. If you look at my profile, it clearly says I live in Japan and it is easy to conclude that by living in Japan, I have instant access to anime releases whether DVD release or theater showing.
So far I have only watched the first episode and will expand upon this review as more episodes are released.
This movie takes place within the timeline of the series . Despite that, at this point, I don't think any familiarity with the TV series
is 95% at all necessary to get into this. References to events in the TV series are not at all referenced to. But due to the distinct geo-political geography of the world of Code Geass it would help a lot. If you watch this without any exposure, you will have some trouble putting some things into perspective in that context. But what is also great is that this movie/oav series touches upon something that wasn't really touched upon in the TV series in that much elaborate detail to begin with which was the EU.
The movie starts by briefly summarizing that in 2010CE, the Holy Britannian Empire invaded Japan, took over in a month, and renamed it Area 11. Then it cuts to what is going on in Europe, or EU, one of three super powers along with Britannia and the Chinese Federation. The story centers around two characters, Reira and Akito, two junior officers in the EU. Reira is a command room officer who gives the orders type while Akito is an exiled Japanese knightmare pilot who happens to have elite skills and together, they are fighting the complications that surround them.
The reason why this series is distinct from the original TV series not because of the setting, but because of these characters. The characters are very different from the cast and will make it easier for newcomers who no experience with the TV series to ease into. But I felt Akito and Reira lacked the charms of the original cast and don't feel any distinct from any other standard mech character. Akito to me is very cliched and stereotypical mech pilot for most of the movie. No, he's not the whiny type, but he is the quiet and anti-social homocidial type. For most of the movie, he is a mystery and hard to relate to and understand. By the time the first episode ends, they really start to flesh out his character. The only praise I can give Akito as a character in episode 1 is that he is super ballsy and will take wicked risks to get his mission done. Reira is strong, but she still lacks experience and understanding. By the time the movie ends, you do feel that these characters do have potential to grow and develop.
The movie also shows that after 2010CE, the Japanese also struggeled trying to live outside of Japan and were also discriminated against in the EU as well. Even though this was briefly touched upon in the movie for just a brief moment, I felt those scenes really stood out since you have a better idea of how the Japanese were not suffering not just inside in Japan, but all over the world as well, and how far some individuals were willing to go for their freedom. Also, Akito will have problems with other people because of his ethnic background.
The art is still in consistent to the TV series designs. The Britannian uniforms still appropriately reflect French and British imperial culture while the EU uniforms had something of a Nazi feel to it with the pants, the coats, the ties, and the hats. It's very hard to tell who is the bad guy in my opinion due to these particular designs.
What really shines here are the mech battles. In the TV series, the mech battles were more secondary, while the mech battles are more of the highlight. They are well grounded, strategic, violent, exciting and balls to the walls. I say in terms of action, I say it is equal to the quality of Gundam 08th MS Team so far.
The environment equally captures a futuristic look and at the same time also keeps in tune with the European background. You will see traditional French buildings like the Eifell Tower and the Arc De Triumph and the construction is excellent as well.
The music works well with the intensity and the dark mood, but isn't really as explosive as the TV series with songs like Colors.
I got no complaints about the voice acting. All the actors do a good job of capturing their characters. I don't have any familiraity with Akito's voice actor but he does a good job of being homocidal and anti-social and secretivie all at the same time.
In the end, it is just a first episode. It is introducing things and the trailer shows a lot of promise that things will be expanded upon and will be in for a few surprises. I think as a first episode, it is ok and should be open to anybody whether you're a fan or not. At this point, this Code Geass feels more like a mech anime as a opposed to a political thriller like the TV series. I felt what made Code Geass attractive to me wasn't really that well present in this installment so far but as a fan of mech, it pleases me enough.
This is my First review on MAL so I decided to review the latest Code Geass.
This is the first episode of a 4 part movies spin-offs based on the Code Geass series and so far it shows that it is a very promising spin-off that will hopfully do the Code Geass franchise justice.
Art and Animation – 10
The animation in this anime is just pure gorgeous eye candy by far exceeding that of the original series, the CGI animation in the mech battles are just incredible, the mecha’s truly feel like metal clashing together and the camera angles give an amazing presentation of balls to the
walls violence while still strategic just like you expect from Code Geass. The art also does an incredible job presenting a futuristic look while still holding a certain European culture around it. Overall the animation is just flawless.
Story and presentation – 9
Despite that this is a spin-off, you don’t actually have to watch the main series to follow it. It is very well explained how the brittanian empire has taken over Japan renaming it as the colony area 11 and how the empire is now at warr with the E.U, what this anime does a great job at presenting is how the E.U is nothing better than the brittanian empire. Even there Eleven’s are being discriminated and stuggle to life there, the hierarchy between the Europeans and elevens is very well presented and a great starting point to build up. So overall the story and presentation are very well managed and easy to get into.
Characters – 6
This is where I feel this spin-off is very lacking in, the code geass series is very well known for it’s extremely iconic and indepth characters from Lelouch, Suzaku, Kallen to Jeremiah, Euphie and Anya.
Most of the characters in Akito the Exiled just lack the charisma that the original cast had, especially Akito for that matter. While Lelouch was an extremely deep and charismatic individual Akito barely seems to have any kind of personality, he feels like a very cliché strong but silent type character, Reira doesn’t really feel that unique either and rather just…standard. However considering this was still the first part I am pretty sure that there will be a lot of character development in the future episodes especially for Akito because despite Akito being a character without personality he has something psychological and suicidal behind him that could be interesting to build up on in the future.
The characters I did really enjoy tho where the three anarchistic elevens Ryo, Ayano and Yukiya. Especially Yukiya is my favorite character so far, a very devious, sly and intelligent villain.
Overall – 8
This anime is a good first impression for future episodes, the animation is beautifull, the storyline is very well presented and it overall looks like a spin-off that can match the series, however I am very disappointed with the lackluster characters and hope that they get more development in the future.
"Did you know that all Elevens are extremely skilled with blades? If you'd like, I can cut your face up here and now".
For the majority of us, we remember the first time we sat down and watched Code Geass, remembering how thrilling it was watching Lelouch take on Britannia, how fabulous Lelouch's gambits were, his stunning chess flaws...it was an enthralling experience to say the least - one that for most of us defined anime.
Those of you who know me know that I'm quite the cynic and heavily skeptical about a lot of things, this was one of them, despite all the hype that the
new OVA was receiving, I had to ask myself the question: Nearly 6 years later, can Sunrise replicate the success of Code Geass? Or was it strictly a one-hit wonder?
Judging from the first of these OVA's, I'm thinking of picking the latter side.
Frankly, to even suggest that this OVA has anything resembling a story is questionable in and of itself, unlike the original series which had clearly defined goals, Boukoku no Akito doesn't really have...well anything really, it just about manages to confirm itself in the Code Geass continuity (due to reasons I won't reveal) and that's it. Heck even the plot summary is pretty vague, and manages to get resolved within the first 10 minutes of the OVA so um, what next? I'm not even sure if Sunrise knows what the plan is.
What I was able to surmise is that Leila Malchal has some kind of specialist unit consisting entirely of suicidal Japanese teens who have nothing better to do than blow themselves up in their Knightmare Frames...oh and there's the possibility that Leila might have a Geass but we're not sure yet. If someone's actually able to salvage what little plot there is and put it into a decent plot summary, I'll personally pat you on the back; you deserve to be praised for being able to figure out horribly poor stories - that or locked up in an asylum where you can spend the rest of your days in peace after going insane from figuring out this mess.
The total lack of story is also evident in Akito's execution (note, that was not a spoiler, it's just far to much effort to actually type in the whole show so I'll just refer to it as Akito from now on - apologies if that caused confusion). It wanders around without any real direction or hint of where it's going, simply serving as a convenient way for characters to end up in the right place at the right time.
One thing I will point out though is that, while there's no real story here, the theme of racism is heavily prevalent throughout; you'll notice that far more in this OVA than ever in the series, the Eleven's really are treated like scum, appalling conditions, generally looked down upon by the public - heck even racial stereotypes have been formed (a European Commander genuinely believes that because of the belief in 'Seppuku' and 'Kamikaze' the Japanese are a race that loves to kill themselves). It's something that I found was lacking in the series - the racism is never really explored, just implied, and every now and then reminders are there to show us that the Britannian's don't like them, and the fact that it's explored more here is at least one benefit to Akito.
I should point out, the only reason why I haven't put the animation to a 10 is purely because: It's Sunrise, they have the money to burn, and in some instances, I really felt they were holding back quite a bit with the budget, I'm going to assume that we'll see more of their awesome budget later on.
Now with that being said, Akito really does look good, the CG Knightmare Frames caught me off guard for a moment but it's something you adjust to quickly; the fight animation is also a hell of a lot better than anything in the series, and though the mech fights are few and far between in this particular OVA (hence why I said I felt Sunrise was holding back) they are a spectacle to behold, and I mean SPECTACLE. Seriously, unless Gundam Unicorn episode 5 has better mech fights than this, I'm giving this mech fight of the year award.
As for the character models, well the actual character designs are pretty bland really, a lot of them looking like background characters from the TV series, heck the two leads are only noticeable because: Leila has blonde hair (blonde screams important character just so you know) and Akito looks like Lelouch with a rat-tail. CLAMP really didn't try hard with the character designs that's for sure.
Character animation is, well it's exactly what you'd expect from Sunrise - the characters move around with their excellent hairstyles swishing left to right, noodle limbs folding here and there whenever it's appropriate, really, that's just a smartass way of saying: It looks great.
Sound is yet another flaw of Akito, it's soundtrack is really disappointing save Maaya Sakamoto's ending theme. There's no attempt to even remotely recreate such classic themes like Zero, All hail Brittania, If I were a bird and Continued Story. The soundtrack in Akito is generally lacking, with no particularly memorable pieces of music so to speak, in fact, there's hardly any soundtrack in Akito actually - this was especially disheartening once I found out that the composer was none other than Ichiko Hashimoto, the composer of the brilliant RahXephon soundtrack, perhaps she was having an off day, I don't know, but to find out this information and then hear such a lackluster soundtrack coming from someone who's last major series relied on music as a key theme made me want to shed a tear after raging rather badly.
As for the voice acting....it's passable, it's clear that Miyu Irino and Maaya Sakamoto aren't having to stretch themselves at all with these characters, the rest of the voice actors are mediocre at best saying just about enough to make me remember that there are other characters here. There isn't really that much to say about the voice acting.
The characters are also a pretty big problem in the fact that: They're just all so bland. Akito is your typical badass emotionless guy, the bad guys are run of the mill mooks that you could find on the street, the supporting crew are barely given enough time to even register on the screen, in fact the only character worth mentioning is Leila, and that's purely because she's a female lead who doesn't really have anything intentionally misogynistic aimed towards her (well save one slight moment early on in which her fiancée says he'll make her his whore); surprisingly, she can handle herself pretty well, taking on characters without really needing any assistance at all, but being a woman, the writers deemed it fit to make her the glowing voice of pacifism - and you'll understand what I mean by that when/if you actually watch this.
If this OVA was the mech fights alone, it'd be getting anime of the year hands down, sadly it's not just the mech fights and for the majority of the first part of Akito we're stuck with stuff that doesn't even count as exposition 'cause there isn't really anything to reveal, simply put, when the Knightmare's are dishing it out with each other, Akito truly excels; however anything beside that is bland and boring thanks to a totally aimless direction and lack of anything resembling a story.
In summary, Akito has its moments, I'm hoping that the second OVA is an improvement cause this left a LOT to be desired, sadly it seems that 6 years later, the anime world just isn't ready to submit to the power of the Geass again.
Did the movie improve on the original series? is Akito a better protagonist then lelouch? And who would i rather marry, Leila or C.C? Will i find more stupid clickbait-questions? I probably could, but let's start by saying that yes, Akito the exiled does indeed improve on some aspects and gets weaker in some others.
Story: The story is not much worth mentioning, at least in this first installment. These 50 minutes are mostly spend on setting up the plot, the characters, introductions and the sort and then it ends pretty abruptly. That said, it was still interesting to me, seeing the conflict that takes place
in Europe, something that was only mentioned in the show. But again, not much happens, first there is a fight, then we get introduced to our main characters, they meet and in the end we get a glimpse of our main antagonist. It's a set up for the next movies. I guess i liked it, it was good, so it gets a 7.
Art: Now here is something to be said. I think, as is tradition for a movie, the art improved. Not only the quality in general, but also the style. The characters don't look quite that ridiculous anymore, but it's still visibly "Clamp". Leila looks amazing, jesus! Then on the other hand, all the mechs are suddenly CGI. That is a weird one, especially since they move a little odd and look generally not as good as the drawn mechs. The upside however: The fights are amazing, so fast-paced and full of energy, they always grabbed my full attention. I really look forward to see more of that. I really can't give the art section a poor score this time, it think it's very good at least, which is a huge improvement to lelouchs rebellion.
Sound: Also slightly improved, though to be fair, the ost didn't really stand out to me. I mean, it's still better then the show-soundtrack, that one actually annoyed me from time to time. However, it had it's great moments, while the Akito one is kinda just...there. Same goes for the ending-song, didn't resonate with me at all, but i also didn't mind it. I'll give it a five, nothing note-worthy.
Character: As i said, the movie is a set-up, the same goes for the characters. We don't really learn all that much about them. There is the title-character, Akito, who is a really cool guy with a dark past. You probably know the trope, i just want to avoid calling him edgy, cause this is just a meme by now. But yeah, pretty much that. He is also a little crazy, but they didn't delve into that too much yet. Leila, the female lead, is great however. Very attractive, very smart and can absolutely hold her own with some martial arts. Definitely my favorite one so far.
Other then that we have three thugs and they are all pretty generic so far, the tough leader, the cocky smart guy and the beautiful, female assassin/ninja. The antagonist is a samurai, at least he looks like one and he is stone cold, not much more is known yet. They are other supporting characters, but they didn't do anything noteworthy as of now. The characters are good, Leila adds a whole point, i'll be honest.
Enjoyment: I enjoyed it, the time flew by, though i did space out from time to time, mostly when they were having a conversation. That didn't really caught my attention. For a first movie, for the introduction i liked it. If it was anything else though, then i wouldn't really like it that much. But as it stands, an 8 is what it gets.
I think i managed to drag this review out as long as the reviews to the show. That's incredible. It's also a major flaw, but i am still learning, bear with me. Anyway, i look forward to see what fate has in store for Akito and leila, because i actually don't remember what happens in the second movie. The only image i have is leila slipping into the tight pilot-suit, that stuck with me. It's, um, a nice scene, from an artistic standpoint. Yeah...
It was just announced that your favourite manga, be it Ajin or Berserk, is getting animated! There's one catch: it's going to be CG. But don't worry, we're here to help you feel better about this traumatic news and guide you through the steps to recovery and acceptance.