The crowd sits in suspense. The vehicles have stopped. The music cues and the news puts the spotlight on the stage as the man of the hour waltzes onwards to reveal his persona to the world. The curtain rises in flames to reveal the one who wishes to have the entire world as his audience. The icon of justice, Zero appears, the spark of rebellion sets fire to the nation, and a performance to end them all begins.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is the perfect popcorn spectacle; it is the summer blockbuster of a lifetime! It is as bombastic as anime can get, from its sexy and over-expressive character designs to its majestic soundtrack to how it revels in its genius and stupidity (more on that in R2). It is pure, unadulterated fun and glory, stemming from such an interesting and brutal concept. Blending impressive mecha action and revolutionary schemes against a powerful dictatorship, with uproarious school comedy, and a supernatural superpower, Code Geass is certainly an ambitious project and an exhibition of theatrics.
In the criminally oft-reviled school portions of the show, we are treated to one of the best running gags ever conceived, a kitten that manages to be a better tsundere than a majority of the archetype’s additions a decade later (more on that in R2), and the best and most whimsical school theme ever conceived. Laughably, our deliciously cunning spaghetti boy finds the presence of a cat wearing his mask more of a threat than most of his “intellectual opposition”, as his worthless physical skills are put to the ultimate test. Such comedic gold is handled with the same musical prowess as scenes of mass murder, ultimate downfall, and glorious accomplishments of plans that can only be described as bullshit batman gambits. Said music also accompanied bullshit like episode 9 and the catastrophic way one of the aforementioned mass murder scenes began.
A main character as bombastic and flamboyant as Lelouch needs a true rival to be hated by everyone, and Suzaku Kururugi steps up with the brazen moral obligation to be the king of stupidity and hypocrisy, and the biggest punching bag a show has ever partaken in. A gloriously detestable takedown against the overpowered mary sue mecha protagonist who reeks of hypocrisy, idiocy, and bullshit --see Kira Yamato from Gundam SEED--, Suzaku is the heel everyone grows to hate (more on that in R2). The quality memory does not stop here with the likes of JEREMIAH GOTTWALD THE ORANGE BOY present in this glorious mess, or Emperor Charles, who looks like a buff Russian Czar partaking in 17th century French Royalty Fashion. God forbid any mention of Nina the table rapist, and her rule of 3 Euphemia obsession driving her over the edge harder than a landslide slamming into a city --thanks Ledouche--!
These characters would only be roughly 9/11th as memorable as they are if not for their god-tier facial expressions driving the point of their lunacy to levels rivaling Suzaku’s stupidity. The same fact applies when taking in some of these sick costume and outfit designs that just scream “we were born with fashion sense”. One need no further evidence than a glance at Zero’s outfit or the Lancelot Knightmare Frame to truly understand what a thing of beauty this series is. Seeing these axle-skating mechs fight like break-dancing kung-fu fighters is a sight to behold, just as much as seeing them fight like actual military units or use their grappling devices to not get swept up by a landslide.
Of course, the hamminess of the characters is matched only by the godly music composed by our lord and savior, Kotaro Nakagawa! From the whimsical to the beautiful, to the bombastic and grandiose, this series excels with nearly every song! “School Days”, “Avalon”, “Stories”, “Alone”, “Final Catastrophe”, “Callin’”, “Last Adolescence”, “Picaresque”, “Cold Nobility”, and so many more have made sweet home in my consciousness, and have been applied into my everyday life when imagining made-up scenes or writing out something such as this! It is almost as perfect as a catalog of songs for a show can be, both in terms of the background music, and the tracks that open each episode and close the second half of them. Just imagine playing these in videos where you slam on a gigantic trainwreck or marvel over the beauty of a show. Imagine using these tracks when you study for an exam or write about what a mostly well-constructed bout of absurdity and talent this show is! Just imagine hearing this while you watch the marvelous English dub with the delicious performances of talents such as Johnny Yong Bosch, Yuri Lowenthal, Steve Blum, and Crispin fucking Freeman! Would it not be glorious?!
So, what I’m saying is, this show is the biggest shitpost in anime history, and you should give it some of your money. After all, it is certainly a unique performance that stunned the globe.