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ThatAnimeSnob

  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Joined Dec 22, 2011
  • 42 / M

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=0

TEASER: 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.jpg

As 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 Note
Gundam 00
Legend of the Galactic Heroes
V for Vendetta

4/10 story
9/10 animation
6/10 sound
6/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

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T4nj1r00 May 13, 2023

We're still waiting for that code Geass season 3 you promised 😂🤡