It's so difficult to explain my love for this show. First off, I will say that if you came here to hear about the faults of the series and the faults alone, well, you're definitely in the wrong place. This review is to tell people why Code Geass is my all time favorite anime.
Code Geass tells the story of an older teen named Lelouch Lamperouge, who lives in Japan which is now known as Area 11. A country which has been taking over the world called "Britannia" has now taken over Japan where our story begins. Lelouch is the son of the current Emperor of Britannia but he, along with his younger sister Nunnally, have been banished to live in Japan as carefully placed hostages after the violent death of their mother. She had been assassinated by an unknown assailant. Lelouch hides his and his sister's identity by attending a Britannian school "Ashford Academy" and living there under the protection of the Ashford family. One day, Lelouch and his classmate, Rivalz, are skipping school to earn money by defeating Britannian nobles in chess. On their way back to school, they see a terrorist truck crash into a building. Lelouch notices that no one is going to help and so he goes down there to assist. It is in that truck that he meets a mysterious woman named C.C. who gives him the ability "Geass". The power is different for each person but is attached to the owner's eye. Lelouch's power becomes the ability to compel anyone to do any single command.
Okay, I get pretty long-winded when I talk about Code Geass but I think the story is compelling and unique. Of course there is no anime that completely original and I'll admit my initial premise of the story wasn't too promising. I saw a lot of Death Note in the series as it began. However, I will say what changed my opinion was how the story developed.
We learn of Lelouch's childhood best friend, Suzaku Kururugi. He was Japan's former Prime Minister's son and was the original family that took in Lelouch and his sister when they were young. We learn that he is going to be on the opposite side of Lelouch's struggle against his father's country. It creates a very interesting dynamic for a series to do.
I really love the fast-paced story telling of the series. The story goes from one side to another is a quick snap snap but its realistic. Code Geass is a series about war and terrorism when you get down to the nitty gritty. War and terrorism are not slow topic. Yes, they can be drawn out but it's something that changes on the fly. Code Geass is a series that needs this quick dramaticism to pull off some nail biter cliffhangers.
Overall, Code Geass is a great story premise and good overall exposition. I don't think its perfect as there are some little flaws that I haven't bothered to discuss because it doesn't pull the series down that far.
CLAMP is an amazing group of girls whose character designs are so beautiful. I adore this art style and have absolutely no qualms with it at all. I have had issues with CLAMP's art in the past (Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle's is so unrealistic and xxxHOLiC is super stringbean) but Code Geass is absolutely perfect. All of the males are beautiful (if they're meant to be xD) and all of the girls are sexy and attractive. The art in Code Geass is amazing and I'll never say anything worse.
I love the music for Code Geass. The openings and endings are perfect to get you ready for the show. The only problem I have is sometimes the insert songs are a little loud and overtake the characters talking or they overpower the situation happening. That's my only issue and what brings down the points a little.
HOWEVER! On the other side of sound, being voice acting, I will say I watched this series in English as it aired on [adult swim] in the US back in 2010/2011. The English dub is perfect. Each voice actor brings such presence to each character and creates them within their voice. Johnny Yong Bosch shines as Lelouch, giving him a charismatic voice for when he speaks as Zero, but giving him a soft and understanding voice when speaking to his sister or his school friends. The rest of the English cast does an superb job: Kate Higgins as C.C., Yuri Lowenthal as Suzaku Kururugi, Karen Straussman as Kallen Kozuki and so many more.
The Japanese seiyuu's also do a great job for the series too but that's to be expected, right? ;)
The characters are what make Code Geass so amazing. It's refreshing to see a lead character like Lelouch. He's supposed to be the protagonist antagonist but he takes a new look on this perspective. He doesn't throw characters away like trash like some characters do. He tries to make them all a part of his group, especially when he realizes that Suzaku is on the other side.
Speaking of good characters, I feel like sometimes "Zero" is a charismatic persona all his own and while Lelouch creates this image as a symbol of hope for not only the Black Knights but for all the citizens of Japan, I also feel as if it is a symbol for what he knows he can achieve against his father and to strive to make the world a better place for his younger sister.
Suzaku himself can be quite furiating at times as he always wants to see the good in people but we know he's doing the best he can as a semi-normal person in this series. Kallen is a great side-kick to the persona of Zero and she's a pretty badass girl in her own right. There are so many characters to go over that it could possibly take me forever but I don't think there's one character who doesn't belong and even if they annoy me to high heaven, I think the series needs them to be there.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is an anime series that I believe everyone should see. It's got an amazing mix of drama, mystery, suspense, romance, comedy and so much more that it makes it so intriguing. The ending is obviously open for a sequel which the series so rightfully deserved.
If you haven't seen this series, I highly recommend checking it out. You won't be disappointed. :)