Story: Lelouch, a high school student, obtains a power (geass) that allows him to make others obey his orders and uses the power to try to free Japan from Britiannian rule in order to make a nation for the weak. The anime goes at a breakneck speed, rarely dragging the plot. There is constant suspense and plot-twist after plot-twist maintaining the unpredictability factor and keeping the viewers on edge with what will happen next. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong and things that I could not even have imagined occurred, taking the plot to unforeseen directions. The story nevers let down and even manages a breath-taking cliffhanger within the last few seconds of the anime to lead into the second season.
Animation: The animation was absolutely lovely for the time. Clamp's usual style prevades and though the characters have their signature insanely long, thin legs, the character designs were clean and beautifully done. Even ignoring the unnatural hair colors, each character looked distinct. The colors for the characters and background were vibrant, rich, and detailed. Movement was swift and fluid. Everything about the animation was clean, distinct, and bold.
Sound: The main flaw for the anime lies with the sound. Music was fairly lackluster and forgettable. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the first opening and ending, the rest were kind of subpar. They seemed either generic or annoying. The rest of the soundtrack was either bland or somewhat inappropriate. There was one piece that was continually used that was supposed to convey drama and action but seemed to actually detract from the mood.
The VA's, on the other hand, did a great job with their characters. They added depth, humor, and personality, creating a memorable cast with distinct voices that matched up with their individual personalities.
Characters: Lelouch will the main person I focus on for obvious reasons. Though he may seem somewhat warped and greedy for power, I still believe that he maintains a sense of humanity. I do not think he is comparable to Light Yagami despite the fact that many do. He may as intelligent and power driven but he actually cares about other people which he makes evident through his actions. Even though he wants to win and make a better world for his blind, handicapped sister, he will protect those he cares about even if they openly disagree with his actions. He may see some of the people in his group as pawns but he does feel pain when he sees them hurt and he does not just decide to kill every single person who may get in his way. His sense of humanity remains even to the very end. At times, he may seem ruthless but then the pain he feels for his actions begins to seep through and he starts becoming more and more emotionally unstable due to his situation.
Each of the other characters were memorable and grew outside of their cliche. There was always some hidden secret and trait that the characters possessed that allowed for unpredicatable actions, yet they remained realistic and grounded in their emotions and actions. Even though their actions may not be agreeable to everyone, most of the characters were fairly easy to understand (except maybe Nina).
Overall: There has been a lot of hype around Code Geass so I decided to watch this series. I am so glad that I did because this anime really lived up to my expectations. The series maintained a good sense of humor, intelligence, action, suspense, romance, and combined all these elements into quite a wonderful blend. There all kinds of twists and turns that keep this story fresh from beginning to end. Definitely a must see.