Hiyo, everyone! Today, I want to talk about my favorite anime I’ve watched to date – Code Geass! This post will double as a review and sheer fawning; if you know me, you’ve probably already guessed what my final score will be. =p
Despite my desire to heap praise on Code Geass, I will make this review as spoiler-free as possible. The reason is simple – I feel you should all go watch it yourselves, and it’s a lot more enjoyable if you don’t know what’s coming! That said, some basic facts about the characters that are revealed in the first few episodes of the anime will be mentioned here.
Our story begins when the Holy Britanian Empire takes Japan as one of its colonies, renaming the fallen nation ‘Area 11’ in the process. Over the course of several years, Area 11 is inhabited by Britannians and Japanese people alike, the latter becoming heavily discriminated against. There we meet our protagonist, Lelouch, a Britannian student who attends Ashford Academy, a Britannian high school in Japan. Lelouch laments the state of the world, but feels there is nothing he can do to change it – until he finds himself accidentally caught up in a Japanese terrorist group’s attempt to steal Knightmare Frames, mechs they seek to use to liberate Japan from Britannia’s oppression. Lelouch, however, comes face to face with something far less mundane than war machines – an immortal girl named C.C. on whom Britannia has been experimenting. C.C. grants Lelouch what she calls “The Power of the King” – a Geass. In Lelouch’s case, this is the power to make anyone with whom he makes eye contact obey a single command.
Lelouch uses his newfound power to defeat the nearby Britannian soldiers, who sought to kill him for his discovery. That done, he pilots a Knightmare – and allies himself with the terrorists. Lelouch, you see, has his own qualms with the nation.
He was born Lelouch vi Britannia, a prince of the empire. Prior to the conflict between Japan and Britannia, Lelouch’s mother, one of the emperor’s consorts, was assassinated in an attack that also left Lelouch’s sister, Nunnally, both blind and crippled. Lelouch confronted his father, the emperor, furious about the latter’s apparent apathy surrounding his mother’s death, and renounced his claim to the throne. Lelouch and Nunnally were then sent to the Kururgi Shrine in Japan, where they befriended Suzaku Kururugi, the prime minster’s son. The war eventually separated Suzaku from Lelouch and Nunnally.
After that, Suzaku became a Britannian soldier and resolved to change Britannia from within to build a better future for his people. He and Lelouch quickly find themselves on opposite sides of the battlefield, though Suzuaku is unaware of Lelouch’s involvement. Lelouch leads the terrorists to what seemed like an impossible victory in their initial skirmish. Shortly thereafter, he takes up the mantle of Zero, a masked man known by none, and manipulates his way into leadership of the terrorists organization, which he builds into a force capable of actually contending with Britannia. He does this to avenge his mother’s death and fulfill Nunnally’s wish to make the world a kinder place, even for the weak.
Then the story basically goes crazy. Lelouch is a strategic genius who delivers one plot twist after another to the viewers; I found that an absolute delight to watch, though others instead dubbed the series a ‘train wreck’ for its unpredictability. =p
Code Geass has a large cast, and its central characters are incredibly well developed. Their goals frequently come into conflict with each other, revealing more and more about them and giving way to deep themes, such as what it means to wear a mask, whether the ends justify the means, and the nature of justice. The characters’ ideals clash, leading to shocking outcomes and bittersweet ironies the likes of which I’ve seen few other anime match.
One thing that may stand out to someone who begins watching is how different Code Geass’ character design is from that of other anime. They are drawn taller and slimmer than in most anime, if that makes any sense. At first, I had some difficulty adjusting, but my awareness of the difference was quickly drowned beneath my immersion in the story. Even if you are a bit put off by the art style, I urge you to give Code Geass a chance.
The music is simply amazing. The opening and ending songs are wonderful, and some of the other songs that play during certain scenes are even better. The background music has a knack for perfectly capturing the mood.
Currently, two seasons of Code Geass are available and, as things stand, it has the best ending of not only any anime I’ve watched, but of any story I’ve ever experienced. There is a third season in the works about which I am excited yet also a bit worried because I fear it would be very difficult for it to live up to its predecessors. But I’m hoping for the best!
I rate Code Geass 5/5. I want to rate it even higher. I simply love it.
Have you ever seen Code Geass? If so, what did you think? Either way, what are your favorite anime? Do you like plot-twist-heavy stories? Please let me know in the comments below! Until next time, I hope your days are filled with joy. And, one last thought…
ALL HAIL LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA! =p