Area 11 is still under Britannian rule and the Elevens remain brutally oppressed; what’s more, their saviour, Zero, is nowhere to be found and all of Britannia believes the rebellion is finally over. Elsewhere, having lost the battle, Lelouch sets his sights upon winning the war – but the task is no easier since the Britannian forces have learned some valuable lessons all of their own. Not only have they discovered his identity and captured many of his Black Knights, but they now manipulate the memories of all of his friends. Worst of all, they have taken the most precious thing in his life – his dear sister, Nunnally. With his hatred for the Britannians stronger than ever before, Lelouch must now recuperate his forces and bring their rule of terror to an end.
StoryThinking about Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 opens up some unpleasant internal conflict on my part; indeed, the ending is emotionally satisfying, but getting there requires twists of such unnatural contortions, that even I get cramp just thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong, Code Geass R2 is enjoyable overall, but I get the feeling it cheats its way out of providing what most fans actually deserve i.e. interesting characters and meaningful plot developments. So what exactly is the problem? In a nutshell, R2 gets struck halfway through with a bad case of Sudden Shambolic Misdirection; this downturn in quality happens so inexplicably that I’m convinced the original production team got sacked and replaced with animation students on crack. Even in the beginning, R2 displays a couple of minor irritants which aren’t present in S1, such as incessant ecchi shots of Kallen and an unnecessary influx of new and powerful characters. At first, these are easy to dismiss as temporary blips (after all, just watching Lelouch in action is exciting enough!). Eventually, though, things begin to catch up with Code Geass – characters start doing things that don’t make sense and most of the shocking “twists” actually turn out to make no difference to the story later on. Above all, what really hurts the series is the eventual sidelining of strategic interplay in favour of mecha battles so excessive that the show might as well rename itself Code Geass: I Wanna Be Gurren-Lagann So Bad. Having said that, Code Geass has always been a franchise obsessed with results – it will sacrifice almost anything to deliver an almighty twist at the end of each episode. The same can be said of R2’s story as a whole; plotting and characterisation (and yes, even the rules of chess) are crudely manipulated to make sure the series can deliver its ace in the hole. What’s surprising is that R2 actually gets away with it; in those final few moments, the pointless twists and directionless progression become vague memories lost in a single moment of pure ‘awesome’. Indeed, for some this will be the only vindication necessary, or the miracle cure so to speak. However, I retain a healthy dose of scepticism for one very simple reason: while the final episode provides some delightfully poetic moments, simply knocking out a few great scenes can’t ever compensate for ten episodes of ill-conceived nonsense.AnimationThe character designs and backgrounds are bright and colourful as befits a CLAMP production, and Code Geass R2 generally boasts smoother motion and more exciting action sequences than S1. Unfortunately, there are still two elements which keep this series from looking perfect, namely the gratuitous ecchi shots sprinkled throughout the first half, and a few episodes towards the end in which the animation noticeably deteriorates (my guess is due to budget restrictions).SoundAlthough the voice actors deliver an accomplished performance throughout (yay for Lelouch’s seiyuu!), special praise must also be reserved for the score. Many of the scenes are perfectly accompanied by haunting choral pieces or thrilling instrumentals which should make for a soundtrack worth spending a few pennies on. My only reservation here is in regards to the opening and closing themes; unlike S1’s catchy ‘Kaidoku Funou’, R2 brings rather nondescript pop themes to the table.CharactersNobody can claim that the cast of Code Geass has ever been superbly realised; in R2, however, they become downright incomprehensible. The best example of this is Lelouch himself. His goal at the beginning is clearly to protect Nunnally, but later, he starts to bounce from one contrived motivation to the other, confusing not just his companions, but also any discerning viewer. If Lelouch wasn’t so single-mindedly compelling, his final development would be a textbook example of how not to characterise a protagonist. With that said, what also doesn’t help is the existence of two characters so annoying that I constantly wished they would die, die, DIE! I’m speaking of Nina and Suzaku, of course. While I can just about forgive Suzaku for being an essential element both symbolically and plot-wise, Nina is ninety-nine percent useless and seemingly exists just to be an eyesore. As for Cornelia, Kallen, Xinque and the rest of this colourful bunch, feel free to pick your favourites – it really doesn’t matter, because chances are they won’t end up doing much anyway. Too many times what appear to be brilliant new additions to the cast only end up hanging around like deadweight and even veteran cast members turn out to have no meaningful roles whatsoever. With each one falling prey to the story’s fickle whim, the ultimate effect is that too few of them remain interesting to watch in their own right.OverallCode Geass S1 is from beginning to end one of the most enjoyable anime of all time; conversely, Code Geass R2 is predominantly a big fat anti-climax. Conveniently, it delivers a hefty emotional punch at the last minute, ensuring in the process that it will be remembered with great fondness rather than bitter disappointment. In that sense the final episode could be read as a masterful move, although I think it’s more like skilful cheating. When all is said and done, any emotional connection made with R2 is only possible because of S1’s outstanding groundwork; for example, Lelouch remains sympathetic for miracles he used to perform as opposed to any of his actions here. As a standalone series, R2 is shamefully lacking; as part of a set of two, however, its worth lies in delivering the only thing S1 was missing – a spectacular finish.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 is the second and final season of the highly-acclaimed and much loved mecha, sci-fi action anime, with deep themes of politics and my favourite: psychological. Though less emphasis on that last one, it’s not that crazy. It’s up there will the likes of FMA: Brotherhood as one of the most loved anime of all time. While I did watch season one, I was very disappointed at the way it ended. I recommend watching it before reading any further due to plot spoilers for that season. The entire 1st season ended on a cliff-hanger, which is one of the worst things that can happen to a plot in anime, usually due to lack of sequels to conclude the story. The plot in a single season needs to be wrapped up to some extent, if not completely. I’m reminded of season 6 (I think) of Dexter where it similarly ended on a cliff-hanger. I never got the chance to review season 1, but if I did, I wouldn’t call it perfect. And it’s not necessarily the sequel-baiting that’s the concern, it’s the absolute dependence of the plot on the sequel. Usually that type of anime would end after a resolution to a big climax with something like ‘the battle may be over, but the war is just getting started.’ Enough of the rant on season one which I never got to review, does this second season do the first justice? Or is it just overhyped by a lot of fans? Animation The high animation quality from the first season continues. I watched this in 720p, but I’m sure an anime as popular as this is available in 1080p. The unique style also continues. I’m quite surprised at how there is quite nothing that looks like this anime. The character designs are tall, sleek and slender, most of all are the distinctive facial designs. Though there still can be beefy or large characters who looked appropriately imposing. The mecha almost look a bit generic, but still remain unique with their hook-shot style weapons. Fan-service/ecchi is there, maybe a few suggestive camera angles and poses here and there, especially of Kallen in her nightmare mecha. Man, there’s so many shots of her sticking her butt out. And then there’s the absolutely dumb school-swimsuit café in the school festival. Ugh, I really don’t see how these ugly swimsuits can be so popular among adolescent boys. Thing is, the way this anime does ecchi is very subtle. It’s not too aggressive, the fan-service is only really limited to camera angles and shots of characters. Like a shot up a characters panties during a serious discussion. It’s almost tolerable and honestly, it’s not too bad compared to most ecchi anime. This is probably the best way of adding fan-service without being too off-putting and I must commend them for that. Still… it was obvious and cringey at times. If quality determined the calibre of an anime, then this anime would be a strong contender for top dog, despite there being many newer anime. Sound The music is varied an interesting. The first intro outro combination is decent, but the second got a lot more interesting. The 2nd intro was more ‘rock’ than the first, while the 2nd outro seemed very reminiscent of the intro to Another and the outro for Phantom, Requiem for the Phantom. I think the same artist did the music in all 3 of these instances. Like the first season, this anime is available in both English and Japanese. I watched it in English and considering that the imposing empire in this anime essentially originates from Britain, hence the Britannia Empire in this anime, I think my choice of audio is appropriate. And then there’s the excellent voice cast. Lelouch is voiced by none other than Johnny Young Bosch, voice of Renton in Eureka Seven, Michael in Gun X Sword, Rinnosuke Uryuu in Fate Zero, Koizumi in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Yu Narukami in Persona 4, Rossiu Adai in Gurren Lagann and Haruto Sakaki in Witch Hunter Robin. C.C. is voiced by Kate Higgins, who also voiced Talho in Eureka Seven, Saber in Fate Stay Night and Nanako Kuroi in Lucky Star. Yuri Lowenthal voices Suzaku Kururugi, as well as Daedalus Yumeno in Ergo Proxy, Joshua Lundgren in Gun X Sword, Simon in Gurren Lagann and Yosuke Hanamura in Persona 4. Kallen Stadtfield is voiced by Karen Strassman, also having voiced Rider in Fate Stay Night, Striker in Gargantia (it had a dub?!?! Awesome anime btw, check it out), Fasalina in Gun X Sword, Kiyoh in Gurren Lagann, Miyo Takano in Higurashi, Miyuki Takara in Lucky Star, Nanako Dojima in Persona 4 and Yasuko Takasu in Toradora. Did I mention Spike Spencer famed for Shinji Ikari in Evangelion also voices Rolo Lamperouge? So many other voice actors feature voicing the large cast of characters including Troy Baker (who’s been in everything) and Kim Mae Guest of Metal Gear Solid fame. The former is also Ocelot in the upcoming (this review was on hiatus for a long time…) MGS5, I can’t wait! Characters There are so many characters, that I wished I’d done a season one review for the returning characters. For all intents and purposes, the high school characters in this anime are 18 years old (they were 17 in season 1). Lelouch Lamperouge is the high school student main character of this anime, a member of the school council. His true identity is a secret, he and his sister are among the many children of the Britannian emperor (Lelouch is the 11 prince), but his mother died when he was but a child during the fall of Japan. He disagree’s strongly with his father and was thus exiled to Area 11 (formerly Japan). Through meeting C.C, Lelouch has gained the power of Geass, by staring into someone’s eyes with his left eye he is able to give them any command which they will comply with regardless of will. These Geass powers only work once per individual and is thus his trump card. Lelouch’s alter-ego is the anti-Imperial terrorist leader known as Zero, leading his group the black knights in a fight to liberate Japan. Even as Zero, his identity as Lelouch the student is a secret, none save for C.C. (also Kallen and Suzaku as of the end of S1) know that he is behind the mask of Zero. Lelouch is smart and analytical, confident and egotistic, manipulative and vengeful. He will let nothing get in his way and will protect those he cares about as he pursues his goal. C.C. AKA C2 is the mysterious green-haired woman who is always by Lelouch’s side. He freed her from imprisonment at the very start (back in S1) and she rewarded him by granting him the power of Geass, which he could use to attain his goals. Her origin is unknown, other than the fact that the government had her imprisoned and used her to grant Geass powers to individuals. C.C. is also completely immortal as was evident by her first meeting with Lelouch. She encourages him in his goals and helps him out, on occasion standing in as Zero when required to maintain the secret of Zero’s identity. She seems to like pizza, but other than that her own ideals and goals are unknown. Only a few people know about her including Lelouch, even the Black Knights are not privy to her importance. Kallen Stadtfeld AKA Kallen Kozuki is a half-Japanese girl in the same class as Lelouch and joined the rebellion when her brother Naoto was killed before the start of this story. Revenge is what she seeks, both for her real (Japanese) mother and her brother, though she was adopted by a family from within the empire helping to hide her Japanese bloodline. She became close to Zero within the Black Knights and is their ace Knightmare pilot, given the position of Captain of the Zero Squad and her Knightmare mecha is the Guren Mk2, which has a unique arm that can melt and destroy armour. She is a very athletic and well developed (those ass shots… *facepalm*) girl for her age, a strong-willed, feisty, short-tempered and forceful girl. Inside she is gentle and sensitive, but this diminished after her brother died and she became a member of the Black Knights. Similarly to Lelouch, nobody in school (except for Lelouch of course) knows that she is a member of the Black Knights. Oh and did I mention that there seems to be a thing between her and Lelouch? Suzaku Kururugi AKA the White Knight is the son of the late Genbu Kururugi, Prime Minister of Japan and warden of the Lamperoug siblings. He was also Lelouch’s best friend, having been a student at the same school in the previous season. Since the start, Suzaku has worked within the Britannian military as the pilot of the Lancelot, initially an experimental new type of Knightmare. Unlike Lelouch, he desires to change the empire from the inside, in his own way by serving them and showing them acceptance. This is his own way of avenging his father’s death, to surpass him and do what he couldn’t. Due to his great servitude and loyalty, he became an honorary Britannian citizen (the Britannians dislike ‘elevens’, what they call the Japanese) and gained promotions much to the shock and dismay of many Imperials. In season 1, the kindly princess Euphemia le Britannia fell in love with him and the two were to be married. Due to events, Euphemia was controlled and killed by Zero, while being disgraced and stripped of royalty by the Imperials, giving Suzaku newfound hatred and desire to avenge her. Suzaku has now been promoted to one of the esteemed and powerful Knight of Seven, under direct orders from the Emperor himself. Nunnally vi Britannia is Lelouch’s own blood sister who has gone missing since the end of the last season. When they were children, their mother was assassinated and during the chaos that ensued, Nunnally was paralyzed by bullet wounds on her leg and blinded (her eyes are always shut… nuff said). There were then exiled to Japan shortly afterwards due to a disagreement Lelouch had with his father, the emperor. The two were looked after by the Kururugi family before the Ashford family took them in, following the fall of Japan. In season 1, Lelouch was very protective of his sister, wanting to destroy the Britannian Empire just for her and as revenge for their murdered mother. Nunnally on the other hand, desires peace and tranquillity, she was happy as long as she had her brother and friends. Rolo Lamperouge is Lelouch’s younger brother. He attends the same school as Lelouch and is very protective and loyal to his older brother, but is even more protective of his locket, a present that Lelouch once gave him. The odd thing is… he wasn’t even mentioned in season 1… watch the anime to figure out the answer to that mystery. He is deeply devoted to Lelouch, his obsession is bordering on creepy. It’s almost like he is dependent on Lelouch. Now we move onto Lelouch’s friends. Shirley Fenette one a fellow member of the student council and is also a member of the swim club. She is also a very cheery and upbeat individual and is just all-round nice. She was very accepting of Suzaku when he first transferred to the school. She had a crush on Lelouche, but wasn’t all too obvious with it and in typical anime fashion, she is too shy to confess her feelings to him. She’s not too clingy, but does get slightly upset if Lelouch is getting along with other girls or if he hangs up on her phone calls too quick. During S1, her father was indirectly killed by actions of Zero, thus she had developed hatred towards Zero. She got the chance to try and shoot Zero and discovered Lelouch’s secret identity during a tense moment, where he was being arrested by Villetta. In order to protect Lelouch, she shot Villetta, causing temporary amnesia and Lelouch had to eventually remove wipe her memories of him using his Geass, in order to maintain secrecy and keep her sane. After all, the man she loved had caused her father’s death and she had shot a person trying to protect him. The current Shirley is slowly redeveloping feelings for Lelouch, while not having a single memory of him. Speaking of, the woman Villeta Nu is a Brittanian elite Knightmare pilot and subordinate of Jeremiah Gottwald, a high-ranking Brittanian who was a member of the purist faction and was thus fairly racist. As in the aforementioned paragraph, she discovered Zero’s identity and lost her memory after being shot by Shirley. During her period of amnesia, she was discovered by one of the Black Knights, Kaname Ohgi, who took her in and nursed her back to health. During this time the two became close, but eventually her memories returned to her during the events of the Black Rebellion at the end of season 1. She turned on Ohgi and gave him in as a prisoner, also getting promoted for discovering Zero’s identity. Currently she is a gym teacher in Lelouch’s school, working with Secret Intelligence to keep an eye on Lelouche. She still can’t shake off the time she had with Ohgi and is conflicted about betraying him. Back to the Britannian school friends, Nina Einstein is the initially quiet and trope glasses girl. Except she’s actually more unique than that. She’s a bit obsessive and maniacal, deeply loyal to the empire disliking ‘elevens’ due to a prior traumatic experience and especially Princess Euphemia, who she completely idolises, thusly going literally insane when Euphemia dies in season 1. She now works for the empire, developing weapons and unpleasant stuff, channelling her extreme hate for Zero and the Black Knights. Milly Ashford is the granddaughter of the Ashford Academy superintendent, student council president and a senior student retaking her last year of school. She is engaged to Lloyd Asmund, (the creator of Suzaku’s Nightmare) who shares her passive disinterest in their relationship. She doesn’t care much for her nobility and simply wants to enjoy life and have fun. The final member of the student council, Rivalz Cardemonde has a crush on her. He’s the chilled out and generic male friend of the group. Schneizel el Britannia the 2nd prince of Britannia, is the very regal and handsome Prime Minister of the Empire, Lelouch’s older half-brother. Unlike Lelouch, Schneizel is of course loyal to the empire, but similar to Lelouch, he is a highly cunning strategist and even doubts the aims and objectives of their father. The two have a history between them, they used to often play chess against each other and Lelouch never once managed to beat Schneizel. Thus Schneizel is very familiar with how Lelouch thinks. The man is cold and ruthless in strategy, he is willing to get rid of anything that stands in his way and sacrifice lives without hesitation to achieve his goals. He is very charismatic and somewhat honourable and strangely, he does not hold too many lofty goals. He doesn’t seek the throne but simply wishes a world of peace… intriguing. Cornelia li Britannia is the second princess of Britannia, Lelouch’s older half-sister. She is very skilled in combat and has her own Nightmare mech, Euphemia is her direct younger sister (like Nunnally is Lelouch’s sister) and similar to Lelouch, she is very overprotective and concerned with her sister. Unfortunately for her, she lost her sister during events in season 1 and due to knowing her sister, she is adamant to find out the truth about what really happened. She doesn’t believe that Euphemia would ever do what she ended up doing. Thus she goes on a journey that will eventually lead her to Geass. Unlike her brother Schneizel, she is slightly less graceful and allows her emotions to control her. But she also is more humanitarian than Schneizel, she probably wouldn’t always agree with her brother’s tactics. Charles zi Britannia is the 98 Emperor of the Holy Brittanian Empire, and father to Lelouch and his siblings. He is also the leader of the Geass order, commanding research into Geass and even toting a Geass power of his own that allows him to wipe the memories of those he uses it on. Lelouch is at odds with his father, believing it was him who had his mother killed. Most of all they differ in beliefs. Charles is a cold, intelligent ruler who has a strong belief in the idea of social Darwinism, in which only the strong can rise in society, a strong supporter of inequality. His ideals and morals are corrupt, he killed and manipulated many to get to where he is, yet he still has charisma as his subjects will rally to his cause. This contrasts his upbringing, where his family killed each other including his mother for the throne. He has little concern over his children, treating Lelouch coldly after his mother’s death, banishing him and his sister to Japan. And yet, this man has concerns other than the world in which he rules, unbeknownst to his children and most others. He is full of secrets and mystery. Story First off, there are a few inconsistencies with the plot concerning a few small things. Such as which countries belong to which empires. Maps in the anime show different things and even though canonically, the Britannian Empire is created from the remnants of the British Empire, the British Isles themselves are not a part of it and are instead a part of the EU? It is not listed where the capital city of Pendragon is located (besides West Cost US) and the concept of ‘America’ simply doesn’t exist, despite the geography being the same as the real world. Makes no sense, thus I choose to ignore some of the botched geography in the plot of this anime. The plot in this anime is the strongest part. Excluding the cliff-hanger, the entire series has great pacing and is intense. However, I will say that the pacing isn’t perfect as it progresses at an exponential pace. It’s not a gradual climb to the conclusion, it gets faster and things change up quickly later on, with multiple climaxes and cliff-hangers at the end of episodes (which are okay, unlike seasonal cliff-hangers). It has many similarities to another popular anime: Death Note, it has similar conflicts of intellect and is similarly unpredictable. Unpredictable is an understatement, viewers will be played like fiddles. Very few of the important characters in this anime are seen as complete and constant protagonists or antagonists. The plot is very fluid in this regard, alliances shift and change, character relationships are very dynamic and arguably this lends to the chaos. And this is the good kind of unpredictable, everything falls into place. A lot of things might not make sense early on, but later the answers are given and revelations occur. That’s another good thing about this anime, no loose ends. Every little detail is accounted for and each thing matters and has impact on the world. The anime has a lot of flair and includes a lot of deep themes, at one point it feels very psychedelic, especially concerning the character of the emperor and the C’s world area. Towards the middle/end this really comes to the fore and the crazy ideas briefly become major aspects of the plot. Unfortunately this is too short-lived to have a significant impact on the overall story, it doesn’t help that much of it is hidden as mystery before that point of the story. The themes throughout include things like oppression, rule, loyalty, struggle, betrayal, equality. Things also get very political at many points and there’s an awful lot of philosophy, both good and bad, presented in this anime. With that, this is no simple anime that exists to entertain, it has underlying subtext and social commentary to be discovered. Which is something I very much appreciate, it makes the viewers think a lot about these situations and the plot, to consider the morals and ideas presented. And of course, it also includes the regular nonsense of a bit of romance too… except it’s actually done rather well here. Despite the final conclusion that there appeared to be a bit of a herm surrounding one character, it was almost unrecognisable as the focus shifted between the different characters gradually. Finally, the conclusion. It sums up this anime very well and is rather representative and suitable. I did have it spoiled for me long ago, but even knowing what would happen, it was still satisfying and enjoyable. As I said before, no loose ends with a healthy ‘epilogue’ segment to boot too. A much better conclusion compared to season 1. Conclusion Code Geass (both seasons together) is regarded by many to be among the best animes ever made. And while that is not exactly so, it’s not far from the truth. This really is a great anime. It is one that many types of people can enjoy, if one is willing to ignore a few things like the small hints of fan-service and the high-school antics, which admitted are very minor aspects of this anime. If you enjoyed anime like Death Note, the fast-paced, action-packed constant fluidity and unpredictability, you will enjoy Code Geass a lot. And even if you don’t you are still likely to enjoy Code Geass. I know many folks who regard it to be within their top 10 favourite anime. Personally, I do see the flaws this anime has, but I still enjoyed it immensely. It’s difficult to hold my attention so well these days and this anime managed to do that. Thus, I'd say give the first few eipsodes of season 1 a go and if it let you down, this 2nd season corrects the wrongs of the plot. As always, the ‘overall rating’ is more just my opinion, since I don’t find a single number to be helpful or representative of an anime. To this note, I’ll be changing the scoring from ‘overall rating’ to ‘personal rating’. A final note, I’ve been on a major hiatus from anime in general. This review has been in progress for over half a year (the period during which I slowly, but surely watched the episodes of this anime) and I’ve not reviewed anything for months. Similarly I’ve not had the time to watch anything recently. Here’s hoping I can watch more anime and write more reviews nowadays. Family-friendliness Rating: 2/5 Just a little fan-service (lower is better) Personal Rating: 10/10 (higher is better)
ANIME EVOLUTION SERIES Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom: http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?uid=251338&show=userpage&do=blog&blogid=29009&page=0TEASER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAxWwg409zQ&feature=related NOTICE: This review covers both seasons of the anime, as I see no reason to write two reviews about the same story. Since this anime ranks in the top 10, I took the time to write a review about it with a lot of meta-thinking in it. Do mind that I simply mention what everyone else already wrote so far, plus a few personal thoughts of myself. ART SECTION: 9/10 [-I see Pizza Hut. -When? -All the time!] Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 2/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 2/2 Well, what can I say. The mecha are awesome, the battles are spectacular, and the environments are crisp and detailed. The CLAMP character designs do look strange if you are not accustomed to their long, thin limbs style; but that is not a reason to dislike it. In fact, it makes the series to stand out from the lot (but not from other CLAMP works of course). Plus they make fine fujoshi material as they all look like bisexual fashion models, with enough material for a billion romantic fanfics. All that without being unappealing to the male audience too; a great feat indeed. Anyway, the characters, the uniforms and the mecha do look imposing, cool, sexy and eye catchy in general, something that a seasoned viewer like me hardly finds positive. I have seen hundreds of mecha series and thousands of anime casts and these folks and their gismos easily become likable, thanks to the vividness of their body language and the perkiness of their personality. The changes in the second season are mostly aesthetic, as everyone got himself a new set of cloths, mecha upgrades, and the battles got aerial and more grand-scaled. Oh yes, and fan service increased 300%… I almost disliked all that subtle erotism, just for the sake of pleasing the fans. The characters were already imposing or cute looking and this element gave a shallow carnal-fan side to them that damaged the seriousness of their presence. Oh, sure, the average otaku’s opinion states that boobs and underwear raise enjoyment but this was supposed to be a serious story and adding fan service ruined that said seriousness. Not to mention the gray propaganda. Pizza Hut anyone? I understand that sponsors want to advertise themselves through anime but this was ridiculous. I now dislike instead of liking Pizza Hut for using such blunt methods of advertisement. The above two reasons were not serious enough to deduct points (not in this section at least). The animation section is not a 10, just because there are some repeated scenes and several static cells that simply yell “This ain’t Miyazaki level, pal”. SOUND SECTION: 6/10 [Lelouch Vi Britannia commands you. Be my slaves!] Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3 I won’t stick much here. Everything was nice to listen to but was not awesome in any way. Lelouch sounds imposing but turns really lame when increasing the decibels of that artificially deep tone voice of his. Something similar happens to many others, whose pinch in voice is not always acoustically good; especially in moments of tension. Music themes and sound effects were good but not memorable for any given reason. I hardly remember the opening and ending themes; something that wouldn’t happen if they were really good. In many occasions the background music was just simple ambient tones that sounded like cell phone ring tones. It is a rather large contrast to the beautiful animation. STORY SECTION: 4/10 [Weren’t you dead? … Never mind…] Premise & Complexity 4/4: No arguments that the general story is as epic as epic can get. It combines all the main themes in anime, such as revenge, world domination, mecha showdowns, war drama, trust and betrayal of siblings and friends, deception, intrigue, school romances, comedy and even metaphysical existentialism issues at times. Every character plays a part in the story with his personal troubles. Even the whole alternate history setting was great in all. I have nothing to say other that “bravo” for the general story. It was not original in any way but I loved the variety it had. Pacing 0/2: But the pacing… Well… Let’s just say it was less than awful. You see, when you want to add a thousand ideas and a dozen different genres in the same package, then you have a very complicating story that needs a lot of planning in order to unfold smoothly. The scriptwriters were half-excused in the first season, as things were presented for the first time and any holes in the story could easily be dubbed “mystery” and “to be resolved in the sequel”. Then the sequel came… and the scriptwriters didn’t plan anything! Seriously, they had a huge pile of unfinished side-stories that picked at random for each episode; something which they admitted themselves. They just looked at fan theories regarding the possible explanations to all the stuff they left open and randomly picked some to use in the series. As fan-pleasing as that may have been, throwing in random ideas created a mess of a plot. Furthermore, 90% of all those side stories ended up being nothing but fillers, since the core story was just Lelouch going after his family. Thus most of the second season ends up being aimless and pointless, with the only parts that mattered being the first and last episodes. Plausibility 0/2: The flow of the story was impossible to follow logically. Not because it had hard or deep storylines; most were simple or were just scratching the surface of really important themes. It was the bad planning that made everything feel illogical. The result was a very, very confusing series that lacked not only realism but also defied reason in general. None of the major events unfolded smoothly and the secondary events simply went by in a flash. More specifically, several important events get forgotten by the characters for several episodes, while many less-important that are escalating for many episodes are resolved in a few seconds and are never mentioned again. Also, the characters seem to move around the world too easily, as if they can teleport anywhere they want.Some stated that the series was in fact very intelligent as it included chess matches and terrain strategies that made confrontations and battles to appear intellectual. Well, it was just an illusion. Chess matches were not unfolding before our eyes; we were only allowed a few glimpses of them. The setting of the pieces could be done in any way the scriptwriters wanted. And guess what, they really did: http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/6783/shakki.jpgAs for the terrain battles, they were indeed tactical at first, but quickly changed to aerial, where a mecha with the latest power up could destroy an entire army alone. Strategy on the part of the pilot and his comrades ceased to be important, as a super beam was panacea against any kind of adversary. Meaning, the battles became a lot more epic as the story progressed; but their realism dropped in the same time and turned the series to an average mecha show with pointless leveling up and fancy but also superficial explosions. Others said that Lelouch’s plans were masterminded into perfection. Which of course, is just another illusion. Lelouch simply brainwashed people into doing his bidding for the most part. There are some instances were he actually does something without using his special Geass ex Machina trick, but in all his success is based on brainwashing and not on real strategies or personal charisma. And if you think otherwise, it is only because he Geassed you to believe so.Several characters meet in the most impossible ways and force upon the viewer situations that are simply too dumb to accept. Meetings like Euphie dropping out of the sky and landing on Suzaku, whom she falls in love immediately. Convenient or what? Even death makes no sense in the series, as several characters are presented dead, only to appear alive out of the blue, several episodes later. There are several other details that further ruin any credibility to the story. Subtle things that most wouldn’t notice, such as: Why is Suzaku allowed to be part of so many important Britannia plans if he is seen as an inferior Eleven by the Britannian people? Although not all of them are so racists, the higher ups definitely are and would never allow that. And besides, why would they make him a knight for betraying his father? No one makes a knight out of a traitor. And even if they didn’t know that, no one makes a Knight of Round out of someone who betrayed his best friend. Some excuse this by saying he had amazing skills in battle and his Spinzaku is second to Chuck Norris’ roundhouse. Which makes even less sense as making part of your elite a super powerful warrior with tendencies to betray everyone every three episodes is the same as shooting yourself on the foot. Why doesn’t anyone recognize Lelouch while dressed as Zero even if he sounds the same? Or why doesn’t anyone recognize someone else dressed as Zero, when the impostor clearly is two feet shorter and has boobs? I smell the Clark Kent syndrome here.Why was Lelouch used in order to kill C.C. in the second season and yet none of the soldiers in the ambush were aware of her immortality, despite being sent by a plan thought by the emperor himself, who clearly knew of this? I mean, they went to all the trouble of making such an elaborate trap and they were not informed of the enemy’s powers? What, she was just a weak, normal girl anyone can handle? Yet no one could capture all this time? Yeah right; like sending them to shoot inside a power plant without telling them what radiation is. Some say it’s because Charles didn’t care much as his main concern was Marianne and getting rid of V.V. but then what’s the point of making such a plan in the first place?How did Lelouch ran to the main console, made a 10 minute recording, broadcasted it, ran all the way to the hangar and still had time to confront his brother, all of which happened in a hostile ship full of armed soldiers and while his brother was already heading to his escape pod? Seems like Lulu geassed time to freeze… No, wait, that wasn’t his power to begin with… The funny thing is, that the majority of the fans didn’t care about all that and just loved the whole insanity of the deal. The “whatever” pace of the story was dubbed “unpredictability” and went along with it. Because once again, the average otaku’s opinion states that the majority of people don’t watch a story so to be troubled with social-political issues or think deep and get philosophical. They watch a series so that they will be entertained. And the producers did exactly that. They focused on what would entertain their audience and not on remaining true to the initial premise of the story. So, the general story may be great but the presentation of it sucked big time. And since the fans didn’t care much, the producers kept firing away one plot hole after another. Heck, all that even managed to fuel the mythos of the series further as the debates of what really happened in every amateurishly made scene was enough to fill a library. Conclusion 0/2: The first season, ended with a cliffhanger (a rushed and lame one, if you ask me), so this part would be a zero. The second season does a much better job at presenting a solid and concrete ending. It appears epic, it appears sad, and it appears to make the fans bow in respect and forget all the nonsense in the story so far, just because of it. And I say, “appears” because it is NOT solid or concrete. Really, if you read through the lines you will realize it was just another cliffhanger. Planning for a third season is already underway, ruining any satisfaction you may have had from an apparent finale. Meaning, the scriptwriters took us for suckers and keep milking the cow. And anyway, even if it was concrete, Lelouch’s line of thought was lame to begin with. He ends up killing hundreds of millions of people, just so he can appear evil to the world and then commits suicide by making it look like it was just retribution. What a joke! So many people loved the ending and missed the part where he actually killed so many people and fooled billions more, just for a supposed peace to come along because he took all the hatred of the people upon him and died with it, allowing the world to move on in peace. Which is BS, as there is no way for peace to be established this way. All his betrayed ex-allies knew his real identity and it wouldn’t take more than a few days for one of them to spill the beans of the scheme. Plus, his double, Suzaku, is not a mastermind and neither does he possess a Geass to have it his way in any situation. Also, his sister becoming the leader of the new order is a joke, as she is ignorant and useless as a leader figure. The ending is a big failure, yet most don’t see it this way because of his bishounen looks and because we were not shown all the atrocities he committed on screen. Thus he is far away than a savior as most think and far closer to a Hitler wannabe. CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10 [-I will defeat evil in the name of justice! -STFU Suzaku!] Presence 2/2: Yeah, I loved the way they acted big and mighty and moved around, and made jokes and goofs and ended in the most sexually awkward situations. It doesn’t take much to love every one of them by their looks alone. They are all either cute or cool or hateful in a positive way. Personality & Backdrop 4/4: Initially, all of the characters have interesting personalities. Lelouch’s goal to avenge his father and build a better world feels a lot better than the average shonen or mecha series out there, where the lead simply wants to become the best in the world or save his friends by some archevil. All the characters are in fact not that easily divided into good and bad. They are all selfish, make mistakes, have fun and care only for the sake of their own side, as real people do. In fact, the most ridiculous characters are those who don’t follow this recipe and perceive everything as simple black or white. Suzaku is one, for being a stuck up Paladin who thinks that he can save his people by betraying them. Or Euphy for thinking that there can be world peace without sacrifices. Or that one-dimensional Knight of the Round vampire-like idiot, who was simply there to be hated and killed for acting like a jerk. Anyway, besides these exceptions, the cast numbers around a hundred people with their own quirks and demeanors and can easily become likable. Development & Catharsis 0/4: The problem comes when all said characters need to be developed. It does not occur in a believable way. The erratic pace of the story inevitably turned the characters into idiots, in order to excuse the fact that several important events were totally forgotten for a dozen episodes. Plus, it gave room for a lot of romantic school comedy to crawl through and make a jackass out of their higher goals, ludicrously transforming even the coolest characters into a typical harem cast. A character would conveniently do Lelouch’s bidding and then wouldn’t even remember doing it. Or would lose his memory entirely in order to be deemed harmless, only to regain it later and double-cross him in the least expected moment. Or blabber for half an hour, spouting nonsense instead of just pressing the frakking trigger. Or appear as a simple female maid in season one and as an elite ninja mimicking males in the sequel. This is NOT character development. This is playing with Barbie dolls and changing their cloths or unlocking new costumes in some beat-em-up game and thinking the characters changed. Down to it, dozens of characters are left undeveloped, almost screaming at you that there will be a sequel just to flesh them out. Others mysteriously return to life, almost revealing that they are to be present in the sequel. VALUE SECTION: 8/10 [Fan service moves the otaku world.] Historical Value 3/3: It’s top 10 and has a raving fandom, so it is obviously omnipotent. Rewatchability 1/3: Personally, I will scroll through most of it, as I said, it has a lot of nonsense in it. Memorability 4/4: Sure! The best of what we have already seen is present. Even the faults in it make it more memorable. ENJOYMENT SECTION: 6/10 [-Take me Lelouch! Take me, you big stud! -I can’t in the main series. Wait a little for the doujin to come along…] It is full of insulting-to-your-intelligence fan service and idiocy. Yet it was pleasing for the most part. The story could be presented a lot better and the characters could be a lot less harem-like. It will sure please the masses but then there is the minority who will bitch at it. Code Geass is practically fan pleasing with some serious overtones and not a serious anime with fan pleasing overtones. It has several serious themes in it but are all ridiculed by fan service, bad scene editing and convenient event. So, all its messages are easily forgotten in the name of superficial enjoyment in the form of half-naked chicks piloting super-slick robots and blowing everything apart. If the erotic innuendos were lower and the direction was better planned out, the series would be much more believable and creditable. Maybe less famous and enjoyable as well, since the masses seem to be fond of stupidity and nude. VERDICT: 6.5 / 10 They threw everything but the sink in the series and made a lot of mess in the house. But what a funny mess they made! SUGGESTION LIST Death NoteGundam 00Legend of the Galactic HeroesV for Vendetta
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