This review is an old review transferred from another site I posted it in. I have tweaked it a little to fit more in the context of this site. So if you think you have seen this review before, it's possible, though unlikely since it didn't get that many views.
Anime Review: Code Geass and Code Geass R2
At first, let me tell you that Code Geass was the first anime ever to make me confused about whom I should root for. Never before have any anime (not even Death Note) managed to make me love and hate the main character so vigorously like Code Geass did. It all started the same way as Death Note did, me rooting the anti-hero main character, who in this case was Lelouch. They both had a sound reason to be ruthless and evil. Though Yagami Light's ambition was made clear on the first episode, Lelouch's true intentions seem justified only at the beginning. Then his true goals change every second until you finally can't keep track anymore and are just left gasping for air as he blast his way through friendship, love, loyalty, betrayal and revenge.
Lelouch is one of the most complex character I have ever encountered. If not THE most complex. First he seems like he cares for everyone and doesn't want anyone to get hurt. But then he sacrifices those people in his endeavors to reach his ultimate goal. Then his actions are again justified and he seems to carry all the remorse and sadness inside him. Then he is portrayed as a devilish character again. Holy shit, is he an angel or a devil? I have never seen such transitions between ultimate good and evil within one character.
Next to Lelouch, there is Suzaku, a man of righteousness and naïve justice. From the start, I disliked this character, because he embodies all that make-believe justice like "I will make the world better by setting a good example" -crap. Like those environmental people that claim that one man can make a difference to save the environment. Bullshit. Unfortunately, he wont die like most of those characters I liked. At least he turns into a more likeable person towards the end of R2 (= into a real bastard).
Then there is Karen (or is that Kallen). She was one of the characters I liked, not only because she's a kickass fighter/pilot (and is the only one who can give Suzaku a beating), but mainly because of her relationship with Lelouch. For the entire course of the anime, I was expecting a romance to born between them, but I was also constantly in fear that she would die. I don't think many animes these days can make me truly fear of the possible death of a character, but after seeing the deaths of so many important characters, everything became a possibility.
This anime has dozens of characters that I'd like to mention, but alas, I think I should continue the review.
The story in Code Geass is so full of twists that you will feel like the anime is deliberately trying to shake you off you by cutting corners, making quick turns and even occasionally hitting the brakes so hard, you will fly through the windshield. And then it'll drive over you. Sometimes you are left with a blank expression, because you have no idea what's going on. Then on other times it seems like a completely different anime with comedy and just plainly having fun. And I liked these breathers, because the anime is so tragic and hectic normally that these breathers are the only times you can relax and just chillout.
The setting is not very revolutionary, but it works. Basically England has taken over (most) the world, including Japan. The Japanese people are mistreated and bullied by English royalty and nobles. Lelouch Lamperouge is Englishman, who wants to destroy all of Britain. He is in fact a member of the British Royal family, who was cast out and thought dead. He lives a normal life with his blind sister, going a prestige school and generally has fun with his friends. Then one day, he meets a strange girl, whom the British are after and decides to help her. She grants him the power of Geass, that allows him to hypnotize anyone and everyone to do anything he wants. With this power and his superior mind, he assumes the role of Zero, a masked revolutionary to help out the local resistance movement. Soon he becomes their leader and starts his war of wits against the might of Britain.
Let me warn you. This anime is a Mecha anime. I'm not a real fan of mechas myself, but in this anime I managed to withstand them, since they don't really affect the storyline in any way. They are just tools of war. They could have been fighting with peashooters and it would still have the same plot. Just more amusing. I don't want to spoil all the surprises, but let me say that Lelouch is not the only one with these Geass powers.
The first season was solid all the way to the finish and it ended to such a point that if I didn't have the first episode of R2, I would have sued them for emotional damage. But when I actually started watching it, I was baffled. Everything starts from the beginning again and the circumstances have changed. Hang on, is this a sequel or an alternate setting. After the initial confusion, the Mr. Plot returns and explains everything. Oh bull, first season ended in a thriller and now you give the continuation as a flashback, come on.
Fuck it. So Lelouch lost his power, his sister has been switched to a brother and some oddballs are after him. Okay, fine.
When he regains his powers and memories, everything starts all over. It's just basically fast forwarded to the point, where he is again leading the resistance. And he has a brother now too. With Geass too. Lovely. His sister has become his enemy, his brother wants to kill everyone he cares about and his best friend wants to kill him. Ouch. But don't despair, luckily sweet Karen is still on your side. And the witch too. Did I mention the witch? No? Nevermind then.
I'll skip the major plot points and go straight to the end. After such tragic and painful story, I never expected a happy ending. That would have been stupid. So the ending is not happy, but it also isn't a let down. It left me satisfied enough. Everything clears up in the end and Lelouch turns out to be a good guy. Well not really a good guy, but good enough as a person who just slaughtered half the population. Not like Yagami Light then, who died as the bad guy.
All in all, I loved this series. From start to finish. As you can probably read from this review. I'm still hyped up from it, so maybe I should have given it a few days before I actually review it. Oh well, tough. I recommend this anime to pretty much everyone, but if you really, really dislike mechas, you should keep a hurl bag next to you. Cause there are a lot of mechas and mecha battles. Eureka Seven style. But the quality of characters and plot really make up for it, so even mecha haters might like this. Possibly. The anime has a lot of philosophical good vs evil pondering, so if you a person who dislikes these deep emotional controversies, you might want to take a step back.