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Code Geass back to reviews
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Fun to watch, hard to take seriously.
Code Geass is an odd series, and your enjoyment thereof will depend mostly on how you decide to watch it. You can make or break the show with what you expect of it.

  • Plot: In an Alternate History, "Britannia" invades Japan. Lelouch (a disowned Britannian prince) gets mind control powers (the eponymous Geass) from an immortal Mysterious Waif so that he can lead the Japanese army of robots against the Britannian army of robots. His Japanese childhood friend Suzaku is working for Britannia, trying to reform it. He pilots the Super Prototype.

  • Content: Quite a bit of bloody violence, and some nudity. Mostly in the first season, but the 2nd has some too. Also the infamous Table-kun incident, the low point of season 1.

  • The good:
    • Lots of fighting robots.
    • Very inventive in the use of the various Geass powers.
    • Plenty of surprising plot twists (in the first season)
    • Good characterization (first season)
    • The first season in general (although it had some minor problems)
    • Kallen. Probably the only major character whose characterization doesn't get shot to hell at some point in season 2.

  • The bad:
    • Plot holes you could drive a train through (mostly the 2nd season)
    • In the 2nd season, various people begin acting horribly out of character, motivations are unexplained, dropped, or ignored.
    • At least 2 major plots are ended anticlimactically before the end of the show.
    • Numerous subplots are just dropped with no explanation.
    • Season 2's costume designs, and other miscellaneous Narm.

Overall: Code Geass' main problem seems to be that it takes itself far too seriously. If you look at the plot above, it looks more like some sort of Rule Of Cool Super Robot show. It could have been one (and a pretty good one, at that), if it wasn't so pretentious. The show attempts to portray itself as an intellectual and philosophical one, but as soon as you look at it that way, you realize that it simply doesn't live up to it's own hype. If you just view it as "Large Ham with an Evil Eye commands a bunch of Humongous Mecha", it becomes much much more entertaining because you don't need to worry about whether Lelouch's plans make any sense. You can just sit back and watch the fireworks. That's the most important thing to remember: Don't try to take it seriously, just enjoy the insanity.

That's the popular description and not without a reason, but just wanted to point out that there are in fact people out there who can, even as they laugh at certain things, also manage to take at least the core ideas of the show seriously.

Asking people not to think is the easy way out, but I think it sells the show short and actually tells them to dumb themselves down. Perhaps that makes me crazy in the eyes of casual commentators, although it's not just me thankfully, but I prefer to think of it as a positive that just requires moderate effort, not climbing up a cliff. The show's not what I would call "intellectual" or realistic for that matter, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have some themes which actually reach all the way to the end. 'course, some people are too busy laughing at this or that ridiculous stunt or image, but hey, that's their loss. Some things can be taken seriously even as others can't, though the show did upset the balance more than it should have.
comment #140 Madonis 2nd May 09 (edited by: Madonis)
It's a Your Mileage May Vary thing. I didn't mean it in the sense of "ignore the plot and just watch for the explosions", but more of a "if you're going to watch this, you should know that the plot gets ridiculous at times". It really comes down to the viewers' tolerance for Narm. It does have some serious elements, and themes that are done well, but they can really be overshadowed by some of the problems. And like I noted, the first season does a great job of putting everything together. I just personally think that some of the plot holes and over-the-top-ness detracted from the themes that the show put forth. That's just me though.
comment #289 JapaneseTeeth 24th May 09
I agree on the narm thing; your tolerance for it or love for it, or ability to see it as charm instead will affect wethe you can laugh at the over the topness or feel like you were at the edge of your seat the entire time.

I myself am almost immune to narm. All the hamminess had me breathless, all the over the top drama had me biting my nails..I can really only think of a couple places where I actually thought, GOD, was that suppose to be serious?

I also don't think it's the most intellectually taxing series, nor is it completely void of intellect. It's sharp, it's engaging and either hilariously fabulous or dramatically gripping, depending on what ind of person you are.
comment #1805 Syri 5th Feb 10
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