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.