The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Title: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion aka Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Mainichi Broadcasting/Sunrise
Format: 25 episodes
Dates: 5 Oct 2006 – 29 Mar 2007 and 28 July 2007

Synopsis: The year is 2017 a.t.b. It has been seven years since the Holy Empire of Britannia has conquered Japan using their superior weapons, the Knightmare Frames. Forcefully subjugated to their oppressors, the Nation of the Rising Sun is nothing but a colony designated as “Area 11”. Guerilla warfare resumes, but the Japanese efforts have yet to produce any results. It is not until a mysterious young man, Lelouch Vi Britannia, appears that a true rebellion take place.

The Highlights
Pacing: Breakneck.
Plot: Refreshing, ambitious, entertaining – albeit forced.
Animation and music: Solid.
Fun factor: Off the charts.

“Fun: noun. Something that provides entertainment or enjoyment”- Random dictionary on my shelf.

Like most people here, I watch anime to be entertained. However, as my tastes deviate more and more towards products like Monster and Bokurano, I slowly lose sight of the word “fun.” Sure, these shows are gripping, heart-wrenching and awe inspiring, but fun? I’ve been more entertained watching people trying to blow up their stomachs with cola and Mentos on Youtube. Then comes along a certain series that has been nothing but entertaining. I’m sure many of you have already predicted this sentence when I say, Code Geass is fun; however, it’s also gripping, heart-wrenching and awe inspiring.

If you haven’t heard of this series or any of its trademark elements, you must be girl who hasn’t found 4chan. Why? Code Geass has about half the male fan base by the collar with its giant robots and the other half with naked girls and not so naked lolis. Before I scare off all the female fanbase, this show also has bishounen, and the character designs are from CLAMP. For self-proclaimed connoisseurs like myself, the added bonus is the project’s director Taniguchi Goro. Taking the unfettered energy of Scryed, the intricate character dynamics of Infinite Ryvius, and the bluntly likeable character personalities of Planetes, Taniguchi presents a bombastic synergy about a teenager’s efforts to change the world by destroying it.

It’s amazing how one character can completely change a banal premise. Main character Lelouch Vi Britannia is one of the coolest male protagonists to come out in years. He exudes a sense of authority while holding a hidden contempt for authority and has a brilliant mind to boot. The guy is smarter than you, knows it and will patiently wait until the exact moment that he can pummel you into the ground. What sets Lelouch apart from the dozen other super geniuses is his frank, down to earth nature. He may be willing to toy with human lives like mindless chess pieces, but when it comes to his friends and family, he unwittingly shows a more vulnerable side that is distinctly human. Practically all of Lelouch’s tactical mistakes throughout the series come from dealing with his loved ones. Like most people, he is unable to coldly rationalize and sacrifice those that truly matter to him.

Ironically, some of these “mistakes” serve as the show’s greatest drawback. Code Geass has an ambitious story with a unique direction, but exactly how the story manifests itself is a different matter altogether. Simply put, expect absurdly convenient plot devices, a few throw away characters and even more plot devices. As much as I love where the story goes, I can’t help but hate how it got there. Furthermore, don’t expect an ending in any form whatsoever. Almost every single episode of Code Geass ends with a cliffhanger and the final episode is no different. The folks at Sunrise are making darn sure that viewers come back for the second season.

With flashy animation and sweeping music to accompany what is already a refreshing product, Code Geass is unquestionably my favorite anime out of late 2006. If you want to know the source of such memes as “Pizza Hut supports the rebellion” or “Orange-kun” look no further. If you don’t, your loss… although, the show is so goddamn addictive that this may not be a bad thing.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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