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The stage light shines once again. The actors appear before us. The production is now set. After the disastrous second installment, here cometh the members of the final act, with the entire world as their stage!I’m sure many of us were worried, both after the announcement of these movies and after the performance of the second installment. As someone familiar with how rocky the material was later on into the series, I was petrified. However, they made a miracle happen. Here’s how.With only eight episodes to adapt, the pacing of this film is arguably the best of the trilogy. No more drawn out four-act structures or movies that feel like two films crammed into one. This means there’s arguably even more time for new scenes and other alterations to take place, both subtle and blatant. As expected, nearly all of them work perfectly. Certain tertiary characters got more screen time than in the series proper, and the student council side characters had some wonderful new scenes to make them more relevant this time around. Adding onto this is that nearly every major payoff in the third arc still hits its mark, arguably even more so than before due to some of these changes. This includes the finale, which they somehow made even better than before with alterations in the epilogue that make more sense than what was presented originally.On the audiovisual side of things, the new footage was as crisp and marvelous as before, barring the baffling decision to keep the Avalon airship in grotesque CGI. Barring some awkward moments from both this movie and the series proper that could use some major touch-ups, this is still a well-animated project spearheaded by Sunrise. Adding to the audio elements, the added and reshuffled music choices were all brilliant. Reincorporating the final opening and second ending themes was a glorious decision, and the new tracks hold up just as well. Special mention goes out to the ending theme “NE:ONE” by Survive Said the Prophet. No amount of bad writing could withhold the glory of this series’ music.Sadly, this film’s material could have been a lot better. This certainly isn’t the film’s fault, but not only was it slightly hamstrung by the films that preceded it, the world-building comes crashing down horrifically at this point in the show itself. The Sword of Akasha arc was the point of no return for this series’ writing quality as a whole, if the infamous betrayal scene not long prior didn’t fulfill that role already. Even the visuals began faltering with the atrocious CGI that this film only added more of. Every absurd death retcon in R2 was preserved here and not altered to make the fake-outs believable. That said, not only were the music and the sharper moments of the show spectacular even back then, but by some miracle, the finale managed to be worth everything, especially in this version.Due to all of this, Geass III - Oudou actually works as a retelling given the material it had to work with. The first movie is still superior, both in terms of adapted content and in terms of being a remake, but this was still better than the second film. As for whether or not I’d recommend this trilogy as a whole, that’s a bit tricky. The second film wasn’t quite up to par and this really should have been a quadrilogy instead of a trilogy, but ultimately the first and final installments are worthy of their original counterparts. Starting the series proper and watching these films for a refresher or for comparison is the commonly accepted route. Despite this, I’d say to watch the first movie to test the waters. All things considered, this series certainly ended on a high note. So as the rain of roses and applause begin to storm, it’s time we bid this trilogy adieu.
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