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.