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I was really looking forward to this one. Code Geass had been a fun series and had left on perhaps the most annoying cliffhanger I've witnessed for any tv show. Imagine my dismay to find R2 practically destroy all my previously-held love for Code Geass.

There are two aspects of the show that kept their quality, and perhaps even improve upon, from season to season, but sadly these are the two most insignificant categories: sound and animation. There's not really much to talk about here. The animation is very nice, with well-animated (although horribly annoying) mecha battles and good character design. The score is also good for what it is, and the voice acting is top-notch. You can have a quality show with these categories lacking, but it really pushes a show up a few levels if you can deliver on substance and presentation.

Unfortunately R2 does not deliver n substance. Remember the calculating Lelouch of season 1? It's been a while since I watched R2, but I honestly can't remember a real tactical victory on Lelouch's part in R2. Not only that, but, while his motives at least seemed consistent in season 1, in R2 he jumps around from motive to motive, making decisions that make absolutely no sense and fly in the face of logic, reason, and everything he had been fighting for. Any connection to Lelouch was only held together by the great groundwork of season 1, and R2 almost tore that all down.

I'd say the fatal flaw of R2 is it's desire to deliver a twist at the end of as many episodes as possible. An apparently game-changing twist at the end of an episode becomes almost completely forgotten by the end of the next, as another twist has taken center-stage and set up the next episode...only to be replaced by the subsequent twist of that episode and so on and so forth. It made me stop caring. "Why should I care about what's going on when I know the characters won't in ten minutes" is what I kept asking myself. By the 20s, I was simply watching the episodes partly to mock the absurdity and to be there on the off chance it picks up. 

Before I get into the ending of the anime, I must point out another stupid aspect of this season: the super-weapons of the mechas. How many new weapons were introduced during the course of the middle-stretch of episodes? It seemed that battles came down to five or so strong mechas destroying everyone else with lazer-beam-death-machines (LBDMs!!!) and removing any need for strategy in battles. Wasn't that a draw of the Lelouch from season 1? His strategies?

With all of the crap that happened in the series, and with what a bad position the show was in after the second-to-last episode, I came in to the last episode ready to unload a full clip of HATE into what I thought was going to be an inevitably horrible ending. It turned out being the ending a lot of us expected, except instead of being awful, it was probably the most well-executed moment of Code Geass. Imagine: all of those episodes of pointless twist, battles between LBDMs, and an insane Lelouch somehow built up to an amazing ending. 

I didn't like Code Geass R2, but I will give it credit where credit is due. The curse that almost all anime seems to suffer from is the inability to deliver a satisfying conclusion. Code Geass manages to break that curse, but I still have a sour taste in my mouth.

4/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
3/10 characters
4.5/10 overall
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Mantis Dec 5, 2011

Really, Icepeak? Despite giving it 4.5/5? It seems as though you tossed your prejudices to the side, stopped being an ass, and actually enjoyed the show. And for the record...

R1 > R2

By miles.

Raitou May 29, 2010

the r1 wasnt to my liking, the whole plot was really well different.. like seriously robots? the brits takin over the world?! ye sure..

Adam Mar 11, 2010

From what I can remember, there was a stretch of six or so episodes, each ending with a plot twist that had little to nothing to do with the previous episodes plot twist. In essence, the show was not really building a story, but rather a string of connected plot-twists, without any real concern for what goes on in between them. The end-game was all that mattered to the writers. That bests explains why the most well-executed part of this show is the ending, and that it almost makes you forget all the nonsense that lead up to it.

Sure, the basic idea behind Lelouch's character was consistent, but not the way he conducted himself. His over-arching plan may have been the same, but again, all that went on to get to that was him jumping from motivation to motivation with seemingly no real concern for his goal. This reinforces the idea that the writers were only concerned with getting from point a to point b, but not how they did it.

The mecha battles in R2 came down to normal mecha fighting, then super mecha coming in and fighting, and everything that the surf mecha did was inconsequential. The battles were decided by who had the biggest and best singular toy at the time. This isn't Gundam.

At least we can agree that the second season was inferior, although I would argue it was vastly so.

Souther Mar 11, 2010

In a move that will surprise nobody, among those few who might care, I don't really agree with the bulk of this review. For a start, I would say the animation and sound quality was about the same between both seasons, as there were really no significant improvements. That's not exactly a huge difference, certainly, but it's still worth pointing out for the sake of the record.

I would then argue that Lelouch's basic motives didn't really change as such. His personal objective was always to change the world for Nunnally's sake by destroying Britannia, whether literally or figuratively. It's pretty clear Lelouch was always an idealist dressed up in Machiavellian clothes, so to speak, who was willing to play the role of Zero...but sometimes that ended up being more than what the initially bargained for. That's the basic idea behind his character and I would say that remained a constant throughout both seasons.

You can definitely argue that Lelouch tried to adapt some of his circumstantial reasonings and self-justifications at one point or another, particularly when he was visibly affected by what happened around him, but I don't think you can state the character ever stopped being who he was at heart. It is true, however, that he made some questionable if not outright stupid decisions along the way, but I think they can all be understood as the consequences of the accumulated emotional fallout he increasingly had to deal with. Human beings, let alone fictional characters that are supposed to be seen as such, aren't made of stone, you know. People tend to go through periods of temporary insanity and irrationality when they suffer too much. 

Which brings up another point. To say that all the twists were immediately forgotten is a bit disingenuous, since the ending, such as it is, wouldn't really have come to pass without most of the build-up preceding it. While it may be undeniable that much of the show's plot was rushed and less than ideally executed, with little to no exposition at certain points to say the least, that doesn't mean it's impossible to understand the underlying logic in retrospect or that the characters were entirely unaffected. Specific details suffered, of course, but I think the basic outline worked out just fine and is far from senseless.

To sum things up, the point of most of the twists was to make Lelouch's life miserable, whether he deserved it or not, and gradually break him by temporarily or permanently taking away most of what he cared for. In a somewhat ironic turn of events, Code Geass isn't meant to be the story of Lelouch's victories, tactical or otherwise, but the story of his failures and tragedies, though one might well argue that the show was at its best when it successfully combined the two.

As for the mecha, I didn't really appreciate most of the new models but I believe there were only two clear-cut instances of "everything" around them being immediately destroyed by laser beams or what have you. Most of the time, the battles were probably just simplified, if anything, and of limited consequence. I would say the best of them were probably towards the beginning and end of the show, particularly during the last episode, while many of those in between weren't anything special. Disappointing, but not exactly actively annoying as far as I'm concerned. I'd say they were pretty average for the genre.

All in all, despite my disagreements I can't deny that the second season was inferior to the first and that the show, overall, would have benefited from a better execution and less twists.

Wolf570 Feb 6, 2010

Muchas gracias amigo.