Sunday, November 17, 2013

Anime Review: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Nothing much changed with me other than FINALLY Nintendo has announced Youtube is coming to the 3DS. Unfortunately it is at a time where most people are completely fed up with Youtube and it's Google+ shenanigans. I don't have a Google+ account, never wanted one, but now I HAVE to get one to do something so simple as to even LEAVE A FREAKIN' COMMENT!? To be honest, the only reason I wanted Youtube on my 3DS is so that I can watch Spice and Wolf on the damn thing. It's a similar reason why I want Crunchyroll to release a 3DS app, so that I can watch Maoyu on my system. A message to Google: STOP SCREWING WITH YOUTUBE! It's fine if you do things that make the experience better, but all you are doing is making it worse! Anyway, on to reviewing this week's anime: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.

Your mother's dead... and your sister is blind... Oh and I think your cat ran away. You okay Lelouch?
The Holy Britannian Empire has conquered half of the world. Expanding it's territory through military might and domination. Each conquered nation is stripped of their culture, their heritage, and even their name. Japan is the later addition to the Empire's territory, being dubbed Area 11 and it's citizens  "Elevens." Lelouch Vi Britannia is one of the Emperor's many sons, and was living in Japan when it was conquered. Vowing revenge against the Holy Britannian Empire for killing his mother, crippling his sister, and having the place he called home be destroyed, Lelouch grew up with a false name with hopes of destroying his home country for good. Several years later, Lelouch gets his chance when he crosses paths with a mysterious girl named C.C. who grants him the power of Geass: Which for Lelouch is the power to command absolute loyalty from anyone he can make eye contact with for the duration of one order. Using this power and his skills at strategy, Lelouch dons the identity of Zero and leads his resistance against Britannia and his own family to rid the world of their evil, but at the cost of spreading his own.

This is Lelouch's happy face... You don't want to see Lelouch's happy face.
The best way to describe Code Geass is that it is a series of nonstop cliffhanger endings. Nearly every episode, especially towards the end of each season, ends on some sort of cliffhanger. The reason for this is that a lot of what is going on in Code Geass is Lelouch making these elaborate plans to either combat the Britannian military with his own small forces, or to put on elaborate shows that serve to bolster his own position. You are also following a man who's morals are more flexible than others, willing to kill or order hundreds of people to be killed so long as it serves his ultimate goal. Yeah, there are points in the series where Lelouch goes to total villain status and you are force to wonder not just whether or not Lelouch will succeed in the end and how he will succeed if his plan goes through, but also whether or not you WANT him to succeed as friends and family around him, good innocent people, could at any moment get caught in Lelouch's elaborate schemes. The series is unpredictable in a good way, as Lelouch's plans are several episodes in the making and they all culminate in massive gambits in the later episodes where he reveals what his plans where, and then there are times where his plans go completely awry either because of one unforeseen change, or because Lelouch is completely out maneuvered by one of the other characters. To say the least, Code Geass is the type of show where everything could change at any moment.

Rule 1 of being a mask Vigilante: Always look Stylish.
Of course, I do have some problems with the series. First is that there are episodes in both seasons where it is nothing but light-humor fun, while the characters are good and well written enough for these moments to be thoroughly enjoyable, but stand in very stark contrast to the rest of the series where horrible things are happening to these people who previously where having hijinxs while trying to cook a giant pizza. Second, the transition from season 1 to season 2 is rather rocky. Season 1 ended on the mother of all cliffhanger endings as several events where going on at once and none of them where resolved; however, season 2 begins with what seems like a "RESET THE WORLD" moment as the first episode of the season almost matches the first episode of the last season point by point and leave all of those cliffhangers left unresolved. While the cliffhangers where resolved in later episodes, it almost feels like the start of season 2 was kind of a cop-out, like the writers didn't know how to resolve this ending so they didn't try and only did so in flashback form. And lastly, and this is the biggest for me, it is kind of hard to get into because you know how it's going to end. Code Geass is a tragedy, even if Lelouch wins everything he ever wanted he is going to lose even more as a result, that is a given with the thematic elements present throughout the series. Going into the series I knew there was going to be one of three different ways it was going to end, and as it turned out one of those ways came true. I couldn't get attached to any of the characters because I knew that at any moment any of those characters could die, and if you can't get attached to any character in a story then you become a passive observer in the story rather than an invested audience. And that's what happened to me, I wasn't emotionally invested because I knew anyone could die and as a response I try not to care about any of them. Which is a shame since they where good and interesting characters.

Even with my few complains, Code Geass is a great series with excellent writing, good characters, and so much dramatic tension that it bungie jumps off of cliffhangers all the time. If you are looking for a deep intellectual series with action scenes of giant robots fighting (Oh yeah, Code Geass as giant robots as well), then Code Geass is up your alley. If you are looking for something more uplifting or something to veg out on, try something else. Code Geass is Highly Recommended.

Until Next time

-Crescent, Even Code Geass can not evade the Love Hina position.

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