WARNING: THIS REVIEW WILL COVER SEASON ONE ONLY.
I found it really hard to write this review. It's not that I had no thoughts, I just couldn't find the words.
NOTE: From this review onwards, I shall not put a plot summary for anime in the top 100, as I'm pretty sure many people would have seen them already.
Generally, I rate the story on how much it interested me, rather than how plausible or unique it is. I also add points for comedy if it's well done, and subtract from my final score if there are glaring faults.
Having said that, I found Code Geass to be immensely enthralling, even when I've already seen it once before (read: two and a half years ago). The tension kept me on the edge of my seat, and the twists still genuinely surprised me. i even became more emotionally invested towards the end.
However, it's also towards the end that I had some problems with; not just in how the story made one of the more shocking twists of the show (no matter how much it was foreshadowed), but also the ending. It actually ends on a huge cliffhanger, basically ordering you (no pun intended) to go watch season two, and I do so hate it when that happens.
I never do have much to say about the animation. Despite re-watching Code Geass for reviewing purposes, i eventually found myself overlooking the art/animation in favour of the story, which I really shouldn't be doing. Overall, the art was good, bright and colourful, and particularly detailed when the scene was set in one of the "ghettos", and the animation was mostly well done.
The BGM was largely forgettable for me, bar one or two tracks. It mostly fit well with the current situation, but more often than not, I wouldn't really notice it, particularly the Ashford Academy scenes.
Code Geass sports two main opening themes that split the majority of the show between them, the second one being the worse one, IMO. On the other hand, I often found myself singing along to the first OP - Colors by Flow - as well as humming the first ED - Yuukyou Seishunka by Ali Project. This ending just seemed to fit CG more than the second one did, thought that's probably just personal preference butting in again.
There is, however, a third opening - Hitomi no Tsubasa by access - that took up the slot for the finale. This opening left a long-lasting impression on me, and personally edges ahead of Colors as favourite CG opening.
The voice actors largely do their jobs very well, with Jun Fukuyama doing a very good job as Lelouch. Thinking back, there was not a single voice that didn't really suit their characters, though that's probably because this WAS my second time watching CG, regardless of how long ago I first watched it.
The characters, for me, were rather hit-or-miss. On the one hand, you have Kallen, the hot-headed ace pilot who is determined to reclaim Japan's freedom; Cornelia, who does a very good job at being the villain/hero (depending on whose side you're on); and Lelouch, the magnificent schemer who slowly falls further into darkness. Being the main character, he gets the most character development, initially seeming apathetic towards the casualties of his fight against Britannia, and all the bloodshed starts taking its toll, both emotionally and psychologically.
On the other hand, there are characters that annoyed me for whatever reason. For example, we have Suzaku, who is very much against violence claims that he will fight to change Britannia from the inside despite doing nothing more than keeping his own people under the Empire's thumb; and then there's Nina, who honestly doesn't seem to serve any sort of purpose to the story whatsoever. She was the one that pissed me off the most, really, and every time she's on-screen, I wonder just why is she there.
Code Geass is one of those anime that will always be talked about, either in a positive light (fanbase who defend the show against every argument) or a negative light (haters bashing it at every turn). Either way, try to ignore the hype and the spoilers floating all over the internet, and give it a watch. I'm not saying to drop everything and watch it now, but place it high on your priority list.
STORY - 7.9
ANIMATION - 8.2
SOUND - 8.1
CHARACTERS - 7.4
ENJOYMENT - 8.0
FINAL SCORE - 7.92/10