Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion CC Suzaku Wallpaper Season 1 Cover
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
(JAP title: Code Geass : Hangyaku no Lelouch)
“One must destroy before creating. We must embrace the carnage in order to not waste the blood that has already been shed. We have to shed even more.”
Code Geass is one of the most popular and highest rated anime of all time. It won the TV Feature Award two years in a row at the prestigious Animation Kobe Awards and many more. Is this anime really that good or is it just another overhyped anime that succeeded because of excess promotion and advertisement?
When I first heard about Code Geass’s storyline, I was not very impressed. I mean come on, a guy can tell anyone what to do and they’ll just do it without any hesitation? Sounded like an overpowered protagonist to me at first. And his aim? To defeat an empire which covers 1/3rd of the world. Right about now, I lost interest. But then one day I was really, REALLY bored and picked this series up. I expected a typical shonen with a guy who doesn’t talk much, a girl with a crush on him for no reason, extraordinary hidden talents, blah blah blah… And that’s basically what I got for the first few episodes. But after around the 6th episode, my oh my… the series just kick starts its engine and goes into high gear. The story from then on has a breakneck pace which will keep you at the edge of your seat for the rest of the series.
The story of Code Geass is that the protagonist (I didn’t use the word hero for the same reason that Yagami Light of Death Note isn’t considered a hero.) Lelouch Lamperouge, is a former prince of Britannia, the empire that controls a third of the world, renounces his title after the Britannian army massacred his family and disabled his sister. Lelouch lives on, praying each day to get revenge on the Emperor of the Britannian Empire. And one fine day, he runs into an alien girl called CC by “coincidence”. And she can grant him the power that could help overthrow the Empire – She will give him the power of Geass as long as he fulfils her one and only wish. Lelouch, of course, agrees and obtains the power of Geass. With a Geass, you can turn one of your eyes into a Geass eye and use the Geass power on any human being. And what is the Geass power? Well, if you use Geass on a person, they simply do whatever you ask them to. Yes, he can ask them to die, rollover, do pushups, make pancakes or whatever the hell he wants. And Lelouch is a master strategist, who has exceptional chess skills which builds his battle tactics. Now that he has a Geass, the power to grant ultimate obedience, taking over an empire should be simple…Right? Well, not exactly. The story is set in 2017 a.t.b where soldiers use battle bots/mechas (like the ones in Mobile Suit Gundam) called Knightmare Frames to fight. And all Knightmare Frames are insanely powerful. Thus begins the story of how Lelouch, a high school student, tries to take down the world’s largest empire using his brilliant mind and the power of Geass. To keep his identity a secret he becomes Zero, the oddly dressed savior of Japan and begins his double life.
The show is produced by SUNRISE, the same guys who made Gundam, so you can expect the bots, the Knightmare Frames, to look good. Transition is smooth and there is almost no recycling of frames. Almost all the bots, especially the ones that come in the later episodes, look slick. However, the character design did not appeal all that much to me. Almost every character in the anime had the same build- lanky. They look like white matchsticks. But still, all the characters look different and you rarely ever get confused. I really thought that Zero, a character you see nearly episode, could’ve had a better attire- the mask looked like an egg on a stick and his grand suit is just ridiculous and at first glance, he looks like an overdressed bartender. As far as the animation department, I am impressed and don’t have too many complaints.
Also, as for content warning, there are a few tit flashes, a lot of scenes where the female characters are shown being in tantalizing poses and viewed from hentai-like angles and it has tons of open gory violence so it’s definitely not recommended for kids below 14.
The music in Code Geass, is overall, good. The first season opening and ending theme were pretty good. Although the OP was praised by critics and fans alike, I really didn’t think it was as good they claimed it to be. As far as the background score goes, it is done well, but there is nothing standout. There were some really dramatic tracks that got your blood pumping. Not much to criticize, but not much to appreciate either.
The story is actually much deeper than it appears at first glance. The story also plays the Best Friend vs. Best Friend card. And I just love anime which play that card. While Lelouch tries to take down the Britannian empire, his best friend from childhood, Suzaku, tries to stop Zero. And the best part? They don’t know each other’s secret identity. In the initial episodes, Lelouch simply does not care how many people he kills and abuses his Geass to the core. Just as it is about to get stale, the story switches paths, minimizing the role of the Geass and giving greater importance to his tactical and strategic abilities. Elements of Drama and Slice of Life come into play very soon. There are constant twists in the plot, which ensures that the viewer never gets bored. Whether it may be a new Knightmare or a new character, the tight script keeps you going.
Although you may initially think Code Geass is just a Death Note + Mobile Suit Gundam, you soon change your mind. Agreed, they have a lot of similarities, but it is handled and presented in a different manner. For those who are familiar with Death Note, Lelouch might seem similar to Yagami at first, but around mid-way in the series, you stop comparing the two and realize both of them are completely different characters. Code Geass is far more dramatic and emotional than Death Note. It answers several critical questions Death Note did not. And for one thing, Lelouch actually has emotions and feels the pain of having so much blood on his hands. It’s not as intelligent, sophisticated or subtle, but that’s not to say it’s a bad thing. Geass has grandeur, which surprisingly appealed to me. The balance of Code Geass continuously shifts between the power of the Geass and the power of the Knightmare Frames.
The characters in the anime are really good, each of them showing great depth in their personalities. The initially shallow and shonen characters soon grow and mature into subtly interesting characters. The notable side characters are Shirley, Kallen, Cornelia, Nunally, Ougi and Euphemia. The main characters ( Lelouch, CC, Suzaku ) are all excellently made and make this show a cut above the rest.
The ending, is well, hardly an ending. It’s like the prequel of season 2, Code Geass : Lelouch of the Rebellion R2. Yet, you will savor every moment of it. You shouldn’t have much problem choosing between the sub and the dub as both are, surprisingly, done extremely well. You should be comfortable with either.
So, just to answer the question in the intro, this show is not overrated, overvalued or overhyped by any means. It did not gain popularity through huge promotions or a few fanboys running forums down with their rave reviews (*winks at Naruto*). Code Geass has earned every accolade it has received. Filled with exciting, thrilling, powerful, dramatic, heartbreaking, raunchy, gripping and awe-inspiring moments, Code Geass R1 is something you don’t wanna miss.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a mind-blowing anime that should satisfy mecha, action, sci-fi and shonen fans alike. It’s hard to criticize such a fast moving, engaging and fun anime. Enjoyement guaranteed.
[ THE WRAP-UP ]
Code Geass is one of those rare adrenaline pumping anime that you just can’t get enough of. It is by no means overrated or overhyped. It has an excellent plot that has shocking twists, great mecha battles and intricately designed main and side characters. The story is the high point of the series and the brilliant protagonist really gets you fired up with his devastating ruthlessness and strategic abilities. Watching him mastermind seemingly impossible operations is a real blast. This series is just so enjoyable, that it leaves you begging for more. And thankfully, there is an equally stellar season two. The animation is fantastic and the dramatic soundtrack fits the bill. Tight screenplay ensures that the show drifts effortlessly from Shonen to Mystery to Fantasy effortlessly. Extremely fast pacing and over the top battles make for a fun 25 episodes. Code Geass : Watch it.
For a list of all other anime reviewed, click HERE
For a list of all other anime reviewed, click HERE