The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2

Title: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 aka Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch R2
Company: Sunrise
Genre: Action/Drama
Format: 25 episodes
Dates: 6 Apr 2008 – 28 Sep 2008

Synopsis: A year has passed since Zero failed to take back the sovereignty of Japan. The remnants of Zero’s followers are being captured and killed left and right, and the nation of Britannia has declared that Zero has been executed. Amidst this chaos, 18 year old Lelouch Lamperouge lives a peaceful life with his friends and brother without any recollection that he is in fact Zero. With Lelouch’s memories jumbled and his every move tracked, it will take the wiles of a witch and the powers of Geass for Lelouch’s rebellion to rise again.

The Highlights
Story: The Lelouch/Zero and Suzaku dynamic is still genius, but everything else falls into varying levels of stupidity.
Characters: The new characters are worthless, and most of the old characters are worthless as well.
Animation and music: Pretty much the same as last season.

I probably can make a serious case that the first season of Code Geass is a genuinely good anime, but I could only make the same argument for Code Geass R2 on days that I feel completely and utterly retarded. Sure, the first season does have a bad tendency of hitting viewers on the kneecaps with convenient plot devices, but R2 takes the extra mile to run them over with a train. Much like the first season, Code Geass R2 is a boatload of fun and excitement, but as the series progresses, it gets bogged down by some of the most idiotic storylines I’ve ever seen.

Perhaps the first season has left the Sunrise staff short on good ideas, but I honestly don’t think these folks took a step back to actually see what they were writing. While the story has spurts of absolute brilliance, the vast majority of episodes play out like fanfics, which can only be praised for originality and their ability to draw rabid fan reactions. The overall story is really a jumbled mess in serious need of an editor with a chainsaw. The first half could be condensed to six episodes, the comedic filler needed to be shortened, and the China arc could be cut out altogether.

The writers of this show also need a remedial course on basic story writing because they have a bad tendency of following the “because I say so” form of storytelling. Instead of drawing from already established plot conventions, the writers clumsily tie the story into convoluted knots – which shoots logic in the foot – and shores everything up by making up a stupid explanation on the spot. In other words, if Lelouch were to somehow summon a magical, pink dragon that farts rainbows, it will be explained by a convoluted story about the history of Geass followed by blanks stares and a “because I say so.”

As if to add insult to injury, the massive new cast of characters is essentially worthless and takes roles that should have been filled by the major characters from first season. Aside from Lelouch, Suzaku and Nunnally, everyone else from season one is delegated the second fiddle, and most of these characters are lucky to receive any meaningful development.

What the show does well is exactly what the first season does just as well (perhaps better), and it is that the show is a lot of mindless fun. Though absurd, the scenarios are so over-the-top and novel that it’s hard not to be excited when Lelouch overcomes impossible odds with extravagant hand gestures and massive explosions. Furthermore, the finale is also a grand spectacle worthy of the grandiose nature of this show. While I do admit that the final quarter is the biggest offender in the “because I say so” school of storytelling, I still think it’s the best part of the series because this is essentially where everything comes together and reaches beyond the scope of the first series.

Ultimately, how much you will enjoy Code Geass R2 is dependent on your opinion of the first season. If you think that the first season is mediocre or worse, skip this incarnation. If you think that season one is pleasure to watch, then expect the second season to be reduced to a guilty one.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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