Back to Reviews

Reviews Comments: Code Geass - A Fabulous Trainwreck, Definitely Worth the Ride Code Geass whole series review by Candelabra

In an alternate universe, a Britannian prince and princess are exiled to Japan, where they become friends with the Prime Minister's son. When their home country invades and renames it Area Eleven, they fake their deaths and go into hiding.

Seven years later, the prince, named Lelouch, encounters a strange green-haired girl who gives him the power of Geass. Using this power, he becomes the masked terrorist Zero, setting in motion a rebellion that will eventually embroil the entire world in chaos!

... that's the basic premise, anyway. It also involves lots of mecha fighting, funny school council hijinks (he and his sister are pretending to be ordinary high school students), angst (his friend Suzaku is fighting for the Britannian army, not to mention most of his friends are Britannian students), drama, fanservice, xanatos roulettes galore, chess-master shenanigans, witches that like pizza, product placement, and a copious amount of Large Ham-ing.

All in all, it's a pretty fun show. It manages to be funny, bad-ass, and heartstring-tugging all at the same time. Some of the plotlines and mysteries have a little too much build-up for their conclusions, and there's some haxing of the characters and their mecha (Kallen and Suzaku, most notably). Just suspend your awareness of logic and disbelief, and you'll enjoy it fine.

Fans/critics tend to complain about how the series went downhill in the second season (often attributed to the fact that the original plans for R2 were scrapped), but while it's true that R2 suffered a lot from pacing issues and plot-holes that weren't present in the first season, not to mention some bad animation, the first season wasn't exactly perfect either. Code Geass was never very logical or believable, but it's fun and crazy enough that most of the time it's easy not to care.

The characters are largely sympathetic, and the show manages to portray no one as an absolute villain or hero. It's all about grey and grey morality, and though often the main protagonists (Lelouch and Suzaku, especially) stray into hypocrisy, they manage to be sympathetic and interesting nonetheless.

So yeah, it's a trainwreck, but it's a pretty darn fabulous one. Watch it for the characters and their relationships, the crack, the mecha battles, and the drama, not literary value.


  • Madonis
  • 4th May 09
I kinda like your review, though it's rather ironic considering my own views are clearly in the minority here (which I knew was already the case, although majorities are meaningless in terms of right and wrong), yet at least you did acknowledge that the first season wasn't perfect and that the characters manage to remain sympathetic.

The main reasons people should watch this is to have fun, but I still don't think it's impossible to find any, as you've put it, "literary value" in the show however...and I'd say the ending by itself is genuinely good enough to prove that the whole "trainwreck" label is a blatant exaggeration for easy classification and not entirely fair.

Say, if you want to see how a "trainwreck" is supposed to look like when it's over, which is a total disaster, watch Gundam SEED Destiny's end (the non-Final Plus version even) and tell me R2 had an equally bad ending. I almost dare you, at least for fun, but you don't really have to (I'm not that much of a sadist).

The ending to Code Geass actually makes enough sense for the purposes of what the story had set out to do in the beginning, even if you can nitpick or criticize specific aspects of it. Is that mindless or void of logic? Who knows...but probably not.
  • Candelabra
  • 5th May 09
Perhaps it's not impossible to find some literary value, but my point was more that so many people seem to expect far more out of it than they realistically should. Yeah, it has some interesting themes and explorations of issues, but it's not really... what's the word. It's not really as sophisticated as some people seem to expect it to be, and it never was. :/
  • Madonis
  • 6th May 09
In that sense I guess there's room for some agreement then.

  • 15th May 09
Awesome sounds like my thing. Definitely watching it.
  • cclospina
  • 30th Dec 10
I do not agree with this.

"The characters are largely sympathetic, and the show manages to portray no one as an absolute villain or hero. It's all about grey and grey morality, and though often the main protagonists (Lelouch and Suzaku, especially) stray into hypocrisy, they manage to be sympathetic and interesting nonetheless. "

The Britannians are the Villains (Although some of their soldiers are sympathetic)and The Black knights are the heroes(While their boss is a bastard).

  • 30th Dec 10
It's because the show completely changed when it went to season 2.

In season 1, the Britannians (save a few) are portrayed as complete and utter bastards while the Black Knights (minus Tamaki and Lelouch) were portrayed as completely good. And Lelouch was still pretty easy to consider as being good for most of season 1. Plot was basically a rebellion and revenge story, with several twists in it. Its strength was that kept things organized.

Season 2, previous villains suddenly start caring about the people they've been oppressing their entire lives, new high-ranking characters pop out of nowhere, the plots get more ridiculous, and the main character does increasingly disturbing things.

If you watch the show, decide whether or not you think Lelouch is entertaining first. If you're not interested in watching Lelouch, then you won't be interested in Code Geass.
  • azul120
  • 22nd Mar 11
I'm not sure how much truth that holds about "previous villains". They don't really atone for their racism in their meaningful way, at least if you're thinking about Villetta or Cornelia, two of the show's biggest Karma Houdinis.

And Lelouch for a while actually gets a bit more heroic, and actually looks like he might pull together a legit worldwide front to fight Britannia. That is, until Lelouch gets hit by a Trauma Conga Line that leaves him without the Black Knights. Worse, Ohgi in particular gets a happy ending along with Villetta, in spite of his idiocy and short sightedness.

In order to post comments, you need to

Get Known