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An utter failure of a show, not that anyone should care.
Looking at Code Geass on paper, it would appear to be an awful show, full of unresolved vagueness and moments of utter idiocy. Actually watching it is another matter entirely.

It's hard to know what to expect reading about Code Geass because there's something for almost every typical anime crowd here, except perhaps for Kid Idiot Heroes performing martial arts. I'd heard so many things about the show that when I first watched, all I knew about was that there was a flamboyant hero named Lelouch.

From the second episode on, I was enthralled, merely because this show had the balls to be a Real Robot Genre show inexplicably set in a World Of Ham. It only got better from there. The show was so over the top and entertaining that I couldn't help but brush aside any problems I had with its overly complex world, huge cast, rampant plot twisting (which only added to the excitement), and glossing over of events that really shouldn't have been. There was only one time I called bullshit on the spot: the infamous "Euphinator" incident, naturally. That wasn't entertaining enough for me to overlook how contrived it was.

A large part of my mercy is due to the characters, a great many of whom are Magnificent Bastards. It's very rare that I am fascinated by protagonists, but Lelouch pulled it off. Likewise, I am hardly ever swayed to such dislike as I bore towards Suzaku, to such fanboyism that I lended Kallen, to such strange levels of relation I felt towards C.C..

Another part of it is how the show never lets up. Plot points move at breakneck pace, so it doesn't allow you to think too much because there's almost always status quo-changing action happening. There are perhaps only two episodes that don't establish anything, but are still fun in their own right.

Technically speaking, the show's art and animation is generally excellent (lots of Scenery Porn about, good character and mech designs), the music is awesome except for the middle two O Ps, and the voice acting is spot on (I watched the Japanese version; Lelouch's voice is much better there, and of course, there's Charles).

Code Geass will not be for everyone, but those that can forgive its weaker moments will find it very entertaining indeed.
comment #12062 shiro_okami 27th Dec 11
^ I think that "not that anyone should care" was supposed to me that you can be entertained by it despite it being, on a technical level, an utter failure of a show. Which I can agree to.
comment #12063 ManwiththePlan 27th Dec 11
I can see why people think would that, but it's still a pretty one-sided and simplistic point of view.

My opinion is rather different. There are moments of idiocy, yes, but also moments of brilliance, including many of Lelouch's scenes during the first season. The reviewer at least acknowledges the protagonist as an interesting character despite not really elaborating on the issue, which I feel is a mistake.

In fact, I think that the show is NOT an utter failure, on a very basic level, because it does have a strong protagonist and a strong central dynamic, which is established quite well during the first season alone. Code Geass R2, the second part of the story, does fit the reviewer's description a little more closely, but this is supposed to cover the entire show.

For instance, I don't think the first season was moving too fast to allow people to think about it. I've thought about it myself quite a bit.

Still, I guess these are all opinions. Also...I wonder what happened to all the other reviews?
comment #12278 Madonis 13th Jan 12 (edited by: Madonis)
Code Geass is a pretty hard show to write about in 400 words. There's simply too much to cover.

But I'll elaborate more here: Lelouch is an internalized racist (to use his words, a Britannian who hates Britannians), who pretty much hates himself and everything he does, though he doesn't show signs of that until he's reminded of the consequences of his actions, something that happens quite a bit throughout the series. He's a brilliant tactician whose plans only fail when his emotions get the better of them (or when the writers are feeling mean). His double life contributes vastly to the theme of the show: lying is terrible, but it is also necessary, a description that fits many of Lelouch's actions as well. He's quite audacious despite his Non Action Guy status, rushing out into battle knowing that he's not quite as competent, but we know it's all part of his plan. His relationships with others also show that he genuinely cares, despite the crimes we know he commits, helping gain our sympathy, though there's a bit of grey in every character in Code Geass.

R1 has its problems as well, starting with the very second episode. We're expected to believe that Prince Clovis just leaves trains full of Sutherlands lying around with no guards and keys already inside, just waiting for terrorist to take. Why exactly was he so difficult to defeat? Or how about that time Mao magically came back to life and no one batted an eye? Mao's arc in general had a lot of problems. It made C.C. out to be cruel for no apparent reason, the foreshadowing it did was rather weak, and it didn't blend well with the military theme of most of the rest of the show. It also introduced Suzaku's Charles Atlas Superpower, which still lacks an explanation. And then there was Lelouch revealing himself to Euphemia for no real reason. Euphemia in general I didn't like thanks to her naivete. I applied the same to Suzaku until the final few episodes. They just came off as kind of stupid.

What I meant was when you're watching the show as well. There's truckloads of Fridge Logic in Code Geass. Like how Kallen is an Ace Pilot. It doesn't make any sense. Where did she get the training? But yeah, there are a lot of things like that where you don't notice while you're watching the show because there's always something happening, and you always have to pay attention, lest you miss the next plot point. It was long after I watched the show that I realized how stupid the Zero Requiem was, or how Suzaku's skill was superhuman and had no explanation or even acknowledgement.

But indeed, I know the show has its brilliant moments as well. One from R2 that I really enjoyed was how Lelouch got Li Xing-ke on his side. The plot of Code Geass is a definite mixed bag, but due to being extremely over-the-top, the show as a whole is incredible.

comment #12280 DeviousRecital 13th Jan 12
I didn't think that the show was as good as it's popularity would lead you to believe, but it was still entertaining. The thing I hated about R2 is how much characters and events changed at the drop of a hat for plot convenience, and it seemed to drag for times. I think that they had the idea for the amazing ending, but tried to stretch it into 2 series and weren't sure how to make it get there over that period.
comment #12284 enigmaticsky 14th Jan 12
The only characters I remember changing in R2 without real justification were Ohgi and the Black Knights. The events did move too fast though. And I think the Zero Requiem was a completely stupid move on Lelouch's part, but I can even chalk that up to the writers invoking Rule Of Drama and Lelouch wasn't too mentally stable at that point anyway.
comment #12286 DeviousRecital 14th Jan 12
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Zero Requiem was the only way Lelouch's story could've ended ever since the Euphintor incident.
comment #12297 ManwiththePlan 14th Jan 12
No, it wasn't. Yeah, he may have felt extremely guilty about the whole thing (and who wouldn't?), but if Lelouch hadn't gotten carried away, he might have realized that putting the reputation of a dead person before the lives of millions, to include the sister he cared more for anyway probably wasn't the brightest idea.
comment #12300 DeviousRecital 14th Jan 12
What "reputation of a dead person". His own? And he staged his own death after he stopped Schneizel so I don't get what the "lives of millions" thing is supposed to mean either. Maybe Zero Requiem wasn't nessecary, but Lelouch still had to die in the end. After all the crap he pulled, having him rule Brittania and live happily ever after would be a bullshit ending of the worst kind.
comment #12337 ManwiththePlan 15th Jan 12
Euphemia's. That was one of the reasons he went through with it. Next to what Lelouch did, the Euphinator incident looked like a misdemeanor. The whole point was to make the entire world hate him. That usually involves atrocities of the Adolf Hitler variety. While his policies are left up in the air, we at least know he tried to take the entire UFN by force and enslaved an entire infrastructure into accepting him as Emperor.

Zero Requiem just feels kind of contrived for me since Lelouch was presented with so many opportunities that obviously would have led to a better outcome, yet did not take them. I'm not so sure a happier ending would count as Karma Houdini since everything he did had some sort of justification or else wasn't his fault, he'd had quite a bit of crap piled onto him already (back to back to back deaths of Shirley, Rolo, and then his parents, one of whom was on Broken Pedestal status, the Black Knights' betrayal, fighting his own sister, not to mention leftover trauma from the Euphinator incident), and his intentions were overall noble. If he has to die for it not to feel cheap, it probably could have been carried out better.
comment #12342 DeviousRecital 15th Jan 12
Ugh, I hate thst viewpoint that everything Lelouch did was justified or wasn't his fault; some things, sure, but the whole point of Lelouch was that most of the crap that happened to him was a result of his actions. He chose the path of a revolutionary who frequently uses the power of an evil eye, and these were the consequences of going down that path. And by the end of it, he had pulled so much shit himself that he needed to attone for his sins somehow. His death and tarnished reputation was the way he had to go. (Similarly, Suzaku living out the rest of his life as Zero was his attonement.)
comment #12348 ManwiththePlan 16th Jan 12 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
Considering the way Britannia operates, I'm not seeing many other options as to how Lelouch could have accomplished his goals. Now yeah, there was some shit he pulled that was completely wrong, like all the times he tried to get Rolo killed. But ultimately, among all the Gray And Grey Morality the show offered, he was one of the lighter shades, though certainly not the lightest. Schniezel was by far worse, and he still got a (debatably) better end than Lelouch.

I also don't think that Lelouch's life was a fair trade-off. Sacrificing himself is all well and good, but it didn't exactly bring everyone else back or instantly fix all the lives he ruined. Even Suzaku knew that, and his atonement was ultimately a lot more sensible than Lelouch's.
comment #12352 DeviousRecital 16th Jan 12
I wasn't saying the path Lelouch chose was entirely wrong, but the fact is that he chose it and the consequence that come with it. His death at the end was one of those consequences; many of the great Byronic Heroes end up dead by the end of their story, Lelouch is no exception.

I've covered before why he's only one of the lighter shades because we're seeing things from his point of view and the opposing side got Bad Writing far too often which made the regularly "demonic" Lelouch look like a just hero by comparrision. Oh and Schniezel was a man who had no personal ambitions but one set goal; to have even that taken away from him by Mind Rape isn't much of a better ending. At least Lelouch died achieving what he set out to do.

Nothing Lelouch could've done would've fixed everything, but they could and did bring peace between the nations of the world for a time. The fact that Lelouch was willing to die as a villified tyrant in order to bring this about shows that he didn't back out from his commitments to the world in the end and was willing to pay the price of everything he'd done to get to this point in full. A fitting end and one he deserved IMO.

comment #12359 ManwiththePlan 16th Jan 12 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
All of Lelouch's opposistion were Well Intentioned Extremists except for those in R1. Nunnally was portrayed as somewhat more heroic than Lelouch in R2, even though she was against him (and clearly wasn't; she was willing to Nuke Em. He wasn't). It was only the methodology that made Lelouch seem more heroic; it didn't have anything to do with bad writing in making the villains look bad, except in Nunnally's case. My issue, however, is not so much whether or not he had to die, but in the manner in which it was accomplished.

The only reason Lelouch's death brought peace is because the show needed to end. He didn't even know if he accomplished his goal because he wasn't around to see it happen. Zero Requiem was an interesting way to end, but it still feels contrived. Again, when there were so many other ways Lelouch could have created world peace, it just feels like he caught the Idiot Ball so he could do a bit of Railroading.

Now yeah, maybe he did have to die. He was a lesser monster in a cast of people perfectly willing to burn the world if it meant accomplishing their goals. Having him orchestrate his own death is a brilliant idea, cements his Magnificent Bastard status, right? So why not have him do it as an act of defiance? Here is, perhaps, a better way for R2 to end: Schniezel doesn't reveal Lelouch's identity until after Charles and Marianne are dead. He is captured. He is able to get off a message to C.C. She arranges for Suzaku to execute Lelouch. Lelouch gives Rousing Speech, Suzaku kills him. Realizing that Lelouch really was committed to their goals, the Black Knights use Lelouch as a martyr figure, and support C.C. killing Suzaku (also arranged). Suzaku doesn't really die, becomes Zero, blah, blah, blah, Black Knights gain increased support from their apparently unkillable leader, and finally defeat Britannia.

The difference between that and the Zero Requiem is twofold: One, it doesn't accomplish exactly one goal of the Zero Requiem, whitewashing Euphemia's name (though that should have been done anyway thanks to Schniezel's recording), and two, Lelouch was going to end up dead in that situation no matter what, so he manipulated the events to the best advantage he could get. It doesn't quite as contrived. But that's just my take on it.
comment #12361 DeviousRecital 17th Jan 12
Other than all the straw racist bullies that picked on poor Japan, the villains the writing made look really bad were Cornelia, Jeramaiah, Villeta, Schniezel, Nina, etc. All of those I just named lived in the end for some reason or other. Why? Because viewers were expected to see them as not all bad in the end even though the all of R1 showed otherwise, except for Schniezel who got worse in R2.

There's really no use thinking of how R2 could've ended; R2 (and the whole series) could have gone in a better direction than it did. But I still think the way it had to end was Lelouch accomplishing his mission by dying as he lived: a villainous person doing villainous things that the public hates him for, but underneath it all are good intnentions and an act of pure heroism that very few but himself and those close to him will ever know about.

Schniezel's recording probably did already clear her name but Lelouch still didn't pay the price for killing her and tarnishing her name in the first place. Penance for that was probably something he and Suzaku agreed upon when planning out the Zero Requiem.
comment #12363 ManwiththePlan 17th Jan 12 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
I disagree. Euphie would be horrified if she were to realize what Lelouch did "in her name". Plus, the Euphinator incident was an accident. Even Suzaku caught onto this in Turn 17.

Lelouch doing worse things to redeem himself makes no sense, when his original rebellion to topple Britannia via the UFN and have it reconstructed was a much more sensible one and involved less death and destruction. Lelouch was no saint, but as with the rest of his life, his worst enemy may have been his luck.

And Cornelia and Villetta as not as bad? What a joke? The former was a murderer and conqueror, and the latter only cared about either nobility or love, and only seemed to exist to screw up things for Lelouch. Really, if Lelouch deserves to die, so do they and a whole bunch of others. What a joke.

Besides, a much better way for Lelouch to atone would to be a good leader. Dying was the coward's way out, and the only plausible reason for going with the Zero Requiem was because of a death wish following Nunnally's apparent demise and the betrayal. Instead, we have the person responsible for the latter, Ohgi, leading Japan, happily married to fellow spanner Villetta. I can't tell which is worse: the ending or Jay Leno stealing The Tonight Show back from Conan O Brien.
comment #15702 azul120 7th Aug 12
Eh, I think the show was pretty eloquent about itself and their screwing with subjective morality. The feel of potential in the second season and his choice to Zero Requiem doesn't mean that it could have gone in a 'better direction.' It's just awesome writing and atmosphere building, what, he could have saved the world and become benevolent democracy emperor? Going the gurren lagann direction lol but with more bureaucracy. The actual ending was preferred in that sense and pretty emotionally stirring.

And honestly, even if something was 'just an accident' it still happened and effected everyone else. It's not so easy just to forgive someone for that reason. (I think that's the purpose of Shirley's death arc) Everytime Lelouch does something human, read, according to his emotions, it doesn't mean the show went off the rails. Also if someone only cares for nobility and love they could easily be a good guy in a more traditional anime.

Augh whatever, it's just an ideological question it's pointless to argue because whether you think Lelouch did the right thing or not is COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE
comment #16670 Starburstia 27th Oct 12
"And honestly, even if something was 'just an accident' it still happened and effected everyone else. It's not so easy just to forgive someone for that reason."

What about the less moral people who still lived on in the end?
comment #20852 azul120 26th Aug 13
Also, the Zero Requiem caused more death and destruction than his entire rebellion, give or take the Euphinator accident. And he had other alternatives to bring about world peace that would have likely been less destructive. (And he wouldn't necessarily need to become emperor, nor would it necessarily result in a Gurren Lagaan type situation if it did.) So this being his atonement is ridiculous, also because it meant him not accepting the responsibility of world rebuilding.

And yes, the incident did affect other people, but what about other characters (i. e. Cornelia, Guilford, Villetta) who were directly complicit in Britannian war crimes, even though they did nothing for the peace to redeem themselves? Two words: Saitama Ghetto. And I'm sure there's a lot more like it.

A lot of people who like to criticize Lelouch seem to ignore what he actually helped spearhead: the eventual organization of an international alliance that could have brought down the Britannian Empire given enough opportunity.
comment #21403 azul120 6th Oct 13
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