Reviews: Code Geass
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Season 1 Review
Alright, I'll cut to the chase. This anime is really one of those "depends what you like" shows. However, I think everything in this series will be disliked by somebody. The first half of the season is fine for me. It's the perfect mix of action and drama, which is what makes a good anime in my opinion. However, after Euphemia's incident, it gets way too chaotic. I have trouble getting a grip on what exactly is going on, and action completely takes over. The same themes are repeated over and over, the storytelling becomes stale, and a cliffhanger at the end of a season? Seriously? Anyways, I understand where they're trying to go with it, I'm going to watch R2, but so far, the series is becoming a bit too crazy for me. Hopefully after the break, the writers will come back to their senses. EDIT- I just wanted to do a little comparison in the lore here, and IRL. First off, America won the Revolution, of course. Another difference is the king and queen deal. Obviously, Queen Victoria came to power when Britain built it's empire, not some other king. And also, obviously WWI came about, and Britain pretty much went broke. Arguably, Germany wrecked the British Empire, as the British's lack of resources allowed many of Britain's colonies to rebel. And of course, Britain didn't have a long line of assholes in the position of king/queen. Another part of the Empire's breaking up IMO is Britain's shift to a constitutional monarchy. Winston Churchill certainly wasn't an asshole. So, after WWII, Britain slowly disappeared. By the time Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, Britain had pretty much lost everything. Today, America has more land than Britain, and the same can be said for Japan, which is slightly bigger than the UK, and has considerably more power, even though their military isn't involved in international disputes. So, yeah, totally different.
Code Geass R1 review
A great season that involves deception, mechs, and all different types of moralities. Pros: Lelouch is an engaging protagonist and Suzaku is a great foil to him. And they are both three-dimensional characters. The plot moves at a natural pace (at least for me it does) with plot points gradually coming up to bite Lelouch's ass. The cliffhangers do their job. The politics are done really well in my opinion. Lots of plot twists. Lelouch's plans are well thought out. The characters (well most of them) are well written. The soundtrack is nice. The animation is great. The art style is unique. Voice acting in English for the most part is good (but Japanese captures Lelouch's Large Ham moments better.) Cons: (Minor and a personal con) Nina. I didn't mind her at first but I know that she can get a bit annoying for some people. (I'm not that bothered by her but I admit some of her scenes just make me really annoyed with her.) (Minor) Some of the English dub voices are annoying. Why would you end the season on a cliffhanger (and I heard that the second season has a timeskip too. Easy set up for disaster) (VERY MINOR and just for fun) How come Mao shows up in the episode after his introduction just fine after getting shot by a bunch of gunshots. But in the next episode he explains this by saying: "Brittanian medical science is amazing". Then towards the final episodes when Euphemia gets shot.......she just dies...even though it was one gunshot and Mao got shot with like twenty to thirty gunshots. What. The Narm during dramatic moments. Nothing else has to be said on this matter. (This series has it's own page) (Minor and personal opinion) A previous review said that this show has poor choice in dramatic music. I don't disagree. The soundtrack for the most part is good but one of the scenes has Lelouch and Suzaku invading a Japanase compound (I think...correct me if I am wrong) and the BGM has some dude singing in the background and it was SO out of place. (In my and my brother's honest opinion) Overall: As you can see the Pros clearly outweigh the Cons. This season of Code Geass gets a high recommendation from me (not that it will mean anything) for the great plot, characters, animation and soundtrack (though its choice of music can be pretty bad). But nothing is perfect.
Code Geass Review
An unparalleled strategist with a superpower that can make others obey him fights against his father, the Emperor of Britannia, to build a perfect world. Oh and he uses giant mecha called Knightmare Frames in his battle. What more could you want? Good:
- Suzaku's idealism and Lelouch's cynicism are give equal weight. It's not just one side preaching about how the other side doesn't understand people.
- Characters are fully developed and 3 dimensional. Characters have their own personalities which usually shape what they do. Everyone is given a flaw even if it takes a while to notice what they are.
- There is a good blend of emotional conflict and action. It's not just a nonstop mecha fight nor is it like Neon Genesis Evangelion where the plot is mainly driven by emotional conflict.
- Realistic political applications and good display of tactics. Except for the very end, Code Geass shows it has a strong grasp on politics and real leadership situations. Also the strategies are good unless you pay attention to the chess matches.
- Lelouch is often shown to be courageous despite, literally, the entire universe being against him. He has no real opponent that can beat him, so the universe decides to screw him over at every chance. And he doesn't whine about it.
- The Knightmares advance to quickly. At the start of the series they travel about the same speed as a tank, have to use regular rifles and close combat weaponry and have only recently developed beam weaponry and laser swords. Within 2 years, all the mecha suddenly have the ability to fly (with energy wings no less) there are giant laser canons everywhere, and multiple airborn aircraft carriers.
- Lelouch as Zero is a giant ham. Not necessarily bad, more like Kirk from Star Trek bad. It's hard to take him serious sometimes but it doesn't take away much from the series.
- Poor choice in dramatic music. Often when a dramatic event happens, a trumpet will sound off a few notes that sound rather pathetic.
- The Black Knights sudden betrayal of Zero. It is the biggest Wall Banger of the series and serves only for plot advancement but the execution is seriously flawed.
- If you've seen Death Note before seeing this anime, then Lelouch seems like a total Light Yagami rip off. He isn't but it could take you a while to realize that and might ruin your experience.
Farthest possible thing from a train wreck.
Code Geass is one of the most unpredictable animes you could find, not only for its unyielding plot, but for its violently conflicted fanbase. I won't waste time. I think an epic masterpiece has been created, and i am probably alone on this. When it starts off, one could easily predict what will happen. Our hero hates the system, falls into the cockpit, and kicks enough ass that eventually the big boss decides to come out and finish off our noble hero himself. Good guy beats bad, world is better, roll credits. If you think thats how this will play out, you're wrong. A common complaint about Geass is that it cuts corners for plot twists, and I frankly think its worth the sacrifice because something unique came out of it. The main hero Lelouch is an impressive and respectable protagonist due to his sometimes unrealistic intelligence (and flashy style). Instead of an ace pilot tagging along with whoever can help most, he plays the role of the Diabolical (I won't say evil) Mastermind. He stays behind the scenes, plots, and regularly gives speeches to his mooks about the progress of his master plan and such, in a very typical Mastermind fashion. This is a fresh and fun perspective and you will be aching to see what he can come up with next. The typical heroic aces (there are several) tend to go to the opposing side, and love ruining his day. If he is caught with no guards or no mechs to protect him, he may resort to trickery or fleeing to keep himself alive (he even takes a kick to the face once). He never uses force, and this would usually mean the protruding of another ace in the hole that will leave you as impressed as the characters. This is an exciting structure, and combined with a rigorous unforgiving pace, don't be surprised if you find yourself gasping for air several times. Saying the plot is engaging feels like an understatement. It is aggressive. As I said earlier, many are bothered by its cutting corners, but these are only tiny details. Refining these miniscule aspects of the show would have only taken a few seconds and the core plot could stay the same (and that is how it should be in my opinion). A complaint I DO agree with however, is that sometimes it goes a bit TOO fast, and critical details are missed. If you can deal with it, you have something special ahead of you. Enjoy.
Code Geass: Narm Overdose
In an Alternate History timeline Lelouch Lamperouge is an exiled Britannia prince living in Japan, here named Area 11 after being conquered by Britannia, with his Ill Girl sister Nunnally. After witnessing a terrorist attack Lelouch is granted the power to make anyone obey him by the immortal girl C.C and swears to destroy the Empire that murdered his mother and crippled his sister. Since Britannia has conquered a third of the globe and is about as tolerant as the Third Reich, it's not such a bad idea...until Lelouch starts to go off the deep end himself. Also there are giant robots. And Narm. Lots and lots of Narm. Underlying Lelouch's bid to free Japan from Briannia is a constant moral debate over what is and is not justified in war or whether war is justified at all. This is handily personified in Lelouch's best friend Suzaku Kururugi, the son of the former Japanese Prime Minister, Honorary Britannian, and pilot of the Super Prototype Lancelot. Suzaku believes the system can be changed without resorting to terrorism and finds himself Lelouch's enemy both on the battlefield and ideologically. Overall the premise is solid and the series sets itself up for serious drama. And it does deliver...sometimes. Perhaps Code Geass's greatest flaw is that it promises great and exciting plots only for them to fall flat in the conclusion or not be concluded at all. Especially guilty are the last few episodes, the endings of will leave many feeling disappointed. The series also suffers from pacing issues. Midway through, the season introduces antagonists that contribute little to the overall plot and take time away from the season's main villains. This is pacing issue continues straight into the last episode when the season ends half-way through a major battle and with little resolution. On the whole, Code Geass is a fun show. Some of the battles are truly impressive (especially Narita) and is all the better for the above-average animation. The characters often defy traditional Mecha anime roles and are sympathetic enough to root for even when pushing moral boundaries. If you don't give in to the hype and can tolerate the plot holes, it's worth a look. If you're looking for something more serious, you'd be better off checking out Gundam Wing or SEED.
Did Somebody Order a VERY LARGE HAM? (R1 review)
Alright, before anyone considers watching Code Geass, one things you should know: It fits a *lot* of anime archetypes. If you look, you could find almost anything. On to the review. Geass sets us in a very interesting situation to begin with: a world that starts out looking somewhat black (britannia) vs white (victimized rebels/japanese). Then throw one unusually intelligent expatriated Britannian prince and a mysterious waif with mysterious powers into the mix and the story speeds up. Some things to like about CG: The series rapidly takes on a gray v gray moral tone. This is a nice departure for me. Some of the heroes are anti heroes that get results while others are lawful goods that have the right idea but won't do what it takes to get stuff done (lelouch vs suzaku right there). I really liked this moral balance; every side is given almost equal weighting. Anti heroes, and we mean really anti. YMMV, but I really like it when a series takes a positively evil character, and makes them (believably) a hero. Elfen Lied is another good example for me (lucy/kaede). It also helps that Lelouch is just ridiculously smart and doesn't waste his time angsting over silly stuff like that meaningless dead civilian for very long. Loads of twists that are often interesting. Code Geass manages to convolute its own plot into a knotted mass, but every twist (for me) was well-placed, and there are lots of them. A mix of everything. Comedy, humongous mecha, politics. It's all thrown together and it comes out okay. Some things you won't like: CG takes the large ham, and supersizes it to unbelievable extremes. Zero is the largest ham you will ever see. All the dramatic proclamations, spreading of arms and flying capes really crank it up, and if you aren't willing to suspend your disbelief over that, you will be *far* too busy saying "This is absolutely ridiculous" to enjoy the series. Some characters are kinda annoying, though YMMV rules the day. For example, I found Suzaku's attitude interesting (it was a good foil to lelouch) but infuriating - all this whining about doing things the "right" way didn't get anything done for him, did it? Overall, I enjoyed it despite its ham overdrive, and considering how many genres it hits, most people probably will. (R1, at least.)
Better than most people will tell you, but still flawed
It's hard to state any opinion on Code Geass that isn't jumping into the same old bandwagon. Why? For a reason. The show was always trying to have it both ways, by taking itself too seriously and not seriously enough, but eventually the fragile balance was disturbed. This wasn't new, it was never meant to be realistic, but was less of a problem during the first season due to better pacing and presentation quality. During the second its creative staff was forced to change plans, spend time on reintroductions for a new audience and rush the production. Overall quality went down. There was less attention to detail and more plot twists, which made the audience lose suspension of disbelief and promoted cynical outlooks. That's fair, flawed as the show is, but at the same time, this can make you not see the forest for the trees and miss out on some positives. I think the core narrative makes enough sense for its main purposes and many of the character behaviors that are often condemned suffer mostly from poor exposition, not from a lack of purpose, meaning or even foreshadowing (!) sometimes. There are some real inconsistencies, yes, but several are usually exaggerated because the story wasn't always going where people wanted it to go. The ending is portrayed in a positive light by most critics, which is a good thing, yet I think it wouldn't work nearly as well as it does if there wasn't more to the rest of the story than meets the eye. It may lack realism, sure, but it fits the show's own themes and idealism. Code Geass was trying to be too ambitious for its own sake and circumstances got in the way. Many issues detracted from the experience yet we still ended up with an entertaining show that can be enjoyed on several levels, superficially and also more genuinely, not just ironically, with moderate effort. The show will have as much replay value as you want it to have. If you see a so-called "trainwreck" and nothing more, you're probably limiting yourself a bit. Positives:
- High entertainment value
- Core story and themes
- Core characterization
- Character designs
- Mechanical designs
- Strategic focus
- Music and voice acting
- Mood swings
- Underused characters
- Uneven presentation quality
- Excessive plot twists
- Mediocre mecha tactics for most of R2
- Discarded and underexplained plot points
My over all feelings on the show is that this; The first season was a bit like watching from the POV of a Zeon villain fighting for the right side v. a Gundam pilot on the wrong, the second faltered but gives decent closure. The strengths here show very early on, giving us a taste of the Geass verse that helped pull viewers in. The side characters [Particularly Oghi's Group, The Royals and Suzaku's pit crew] filled their roles pretty well and helped shape the main ones, while Zero/Lulu's theatric flair helped draw me in and keep things interesting. Suzaku while flawed served as an interesting reflection of the traditional Mecha Hero and it was interesting seeing him serve as a pawn for a larger Evil Empire as opposed to every decent person defaulting to the "Good Side". This helped lend some ambiguity to the situation and make the situation a bit better than Good v. Evil. Similarly, it took the Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters and ran with it to the hilt, showing it in a contemporary environment which is something you won't see often these days. This Moral Ambiguity and the Mysterious nature of C.C. raises a lot of interesting questions that make the first season a fun watch. On the other hand, some dialogues are wallbangingly awful [I honestly muted the Euphie/Nina ones] and Suzaku's Motivation is poorly set out to the point of me screaming during the Island episode with Kallen; He really didn't argue it well with her. R2 SPOILERS From here on out: The mistakes here are remedied in the final couple of episodes as Nina&Suzaku step up and Schneizel is an interesting villain, if a poor chess player. Lulu also gets a send off which perfectly suits his character and left me cheering around the end at how it was handled, even the ambiguity was nice. On the other hand, this came at the cost of pacing; some suspicions were shown on the part of Oghi&co but none to merit their defection. Other rash and unthoughtout actions like this derail a few characters and make others look silly. The planning and gradual rise of a small organization into legitimate freedom fighters as in Season 1 is laid aside and instead they take over China while the Brits effortlessly conquer Europe. The reveal for C.C. is dealt with poorly [the Amnesia plot was pandering & Ragnarok was worse]. R2 has strengths but it forgets what made R1 interesting.
My Thoughts:Code Geass (R1 and R2)
After finishing Death Note a hole was left in me. I enjoyed the series but nothing i watched compaired to it, amd no matter how many times i rewatch dn i cant get that fealing of excitemnt again. That is until i watchd code geass. Th eshow drew me in from the first episode, amd kept me going all the way through. The battles were intense and fast paced, along with the show in general. I ended the first season and emmedietly dived into the second season. R2 started out strong, with lelouch getting his geass back and rolo being introduced but it really doesnt go anywhere from that. The second season lacks the direction that the first season had , and later on i found the exposition dumps boring, while i enjoyed them in R1. All in all code geass is good for a time, but its not for everyone.
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.
Code Geass Season 1
Code Geass takes place in a world where The Empire of Britannia is conquering and oppressing other nations to expand, one of those being Japan. Seven years after Japan's defeat, idealistic Suzaku Kururugi, son of Japan's former prime minister, becomes the pilot of a Super Prototype and sets out to free- ...Wait, why is Suzaku a Britannian soldier? Oh, its so he can change Britannia from the inside to stop being so oppressive without bloodshed. In his path stands his former childhood fried, the outcast prince Lelouch vi Britannia, who wields the mind control power of Geass and hides behind the persona of Zero, masked leader of the Black Knights, decieving the Japanese into thinking he will lead them to freedom when all he cares about is vengeance on Britannia for abandoning him and making a better world for his blind little sister- ...Hey, wait a minute, WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHO THE HERO IS SUPPOSED TO BE HERE?!!! Anyway, Code Geass is a very interesting show that deconstructs the typical roles of The Hero and Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, where The Hero actually works for the Big Bad and the "villain" leads the good guys. It combines many different elements ranging from high school drama to racism to warfare. But what keeps you in your seat is that Magnificent Bastard, Large Ham Lelouch and his XanatosGambits; and what keeps you coming back begging for more is the utterly unpredictable plot twists that throw him and everyone else for a wild ride. Unfortunately, once you do get finished with the first season, you get hit with the inferior product that is R2.....
I loved both R1 and R2. The only thing that bugged me was Lelouch’s overall plan coming off as a bit ridiculous. Also, take note: the series moves really, really fast. Stay alert. And skip the beginning and ending sequences: they do not match the rest of the series at all.
some SPOILER ALERT* I honestly thought the anime was great. I may not have been a mecha fan but i did like this one. Sure there were some pros and cons. The first season did fine but the second kinda threw me off a little. I mite as well make this review short and simple. Pros -Characters were enjoyable (mostly the first season) -C.C amnesia scene where she lost her memories was sad and adorable (almost cried when CC talked about not having a friend then lelouch treats her well. Lelouch, u big softie made me smile :D) -Plot was great (mainly the first season) -My Fav characters in order: C.C,Lelouch,Kallen,Suzaku. -Sad/honorable ending (although I believe Lelouch is alive because u cant leave CC alone in the world can u,Lelouch? yes, if he didnt die then his death wuld have not been emotional or pointless but CC n Lelouch together makes me happy.Plus, i think CC true desire/contract was to have someone to love her. AND the open ending of CC talking to "Lelouch" most possibly the cart driver. Cons -There were unneeded sound effects in some scene -A bunch of crazy personality/faces created by the Geass or death of a love one(ESPECIALLY NINA.Gosh, i practically went WTF when Nina went berserk mode after Euphy death.Not to mention she was one of my least fav characters since she's ANNOYING AS HELL about thinking Euphy is her lover n not Suzaku. GOD I HATE HER RACISM IN SEASON 1. I WANTED TO STRANGLE HER AND PRAYED FOR HER TO DIE!!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEWOTrLSOqE <-Nina's face -Season 2 felt a little uncomfortable with the characters/plot -Dislike when everyone keep on saying "Yes,my highness" -the betrayal of the Black Knights was a disappointment(althought i like how lelouch kept his personality of lying) OVERALL? i thought it was a great anime with an ending that kept my mind wanting more. I wuld recommend it to anyone even if they hate mecha. P.S everything i wrote is my opinion and sorry for my bad grammar/writing. its like 3:30 in the morning and i just gotta write a review on CG since i finished it. P.S.S Ninax Table is hilarious XD. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raz8_xM7Okc
Would you like some pizza with that ham?
Seriously, this show is the best thing to happen to anime. No? Well, to start with cons, the plans for R2 were abruptly changed, and you can feel that throughout the season. The subtle hints and setups in R1 are covered only in extra material, but this doesn't take away from the anime as a whole, because face it- there's pleeenty of plot to cover in only 25 episodes. This makes things seem rushed, if anything. The thing about Code Geass is it is super-ambitious and super-compact— it has a goal and it's heading there full speed and with no regard to your feelings, which WILL get stomped upon as you watch Lelouch and Suzaku hash it out on everything from full on mecha battles to friendly school buddies. Completely seriously. And despite your best efforts, you will be sucked in and sobbing by the end. Thus is Code Geass- the most glorious ideological battle known to anime. When I see Lelouch compared to Light, the only similarity I see is their willingness to kill. The emotional side is handled completely differently. He's a great character- cool and genius and ruthless, except when he's not, in which case he is less awesome and more heart-breaking. Another great, great, great factor CG throws in your face is his 'best friend' Suzaku, which is your more typical innocent, righteous, athletic, earnest hero-type EXCEPT WHEN HE SUDDENLY ISN'T in which case he will be heart-breaking in a different way. Their interactions and pasts and beliefs are set against eachother from the get-go, and both sides are evil and just depending on the way you tilt your head. Talking about it would take pages, so just use your imagination, which Code Geass can supply in spades. Something I read mentioned 'sublime deaths'- which is true, people can be killed by the millions or one by one and when CG deigns to focus on a character, you will feel things stabbing your heart as they smile their last smiles. Conclusion: Code Geass has amazing characterization/interaction. Animation. 500/100. Let's talk plot. Plot is...a definitive factor. It redefines the word: 'plot-twist' and occasionally 'duex angst machina.' You can only hate it because you are so invested in Lelouch's crusade that if it's put wrong, you cannot handle it. It's believable and strings you along forever. The payoff at the end is like a huge release of energy and you will NEVER forget it.
Involving and touching.
I could go on and on on how brilliantly the show was planned out, to leave you wanting more at the end of each episode. It kept me in place for 50+ episodes, and that's something not many shows can do. I actually like how the show takes its time, because that makes all the lies Lelouch tells that much more hard hitting. Despite how he was responsible for the death of millions, you can't help but feel sorry for him in the end. On one hand, world peace is achieved, humanity is moving forward and everything seems to be right with the world. On the other, Nunnaly is left without her only source of happiness in the world. (even though she gets better). Shirley first gets her memories wiped, then recovers and dies in Lelouch's arms. Suzaku is left without a friend and without a name. Everyone in the world remembers Lelouch as a tyrant and are glad that he's dead. In the end, Lelouch sacrificed everything he had in order to achieve his goal, and let's not forget that he failed to make a gentler world for Nunnaly. I would've given this anime a 8/10, if not for the ending, which makes it a perfect 10, because I rarely get the feeling from anime, that characters I've invested in are not getting what they deserve and instead die miserable deaths, unfulfilled wishes crushed as the world continues to turn.
Code Geass - A Fabulous Trainwreck, Definitely Worth the Ride
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.
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.
R2 in Review
Oh R2, what have you done to this fandom? Split it right down the middle, that's what. Lelouch, exiled prince, planning a rebellion against his father's reign. Mecha battles, chessgame strategies and deep, bitter rivalries were the core of R1. So the question is, does R2 hold that same standard? In the risk of sounding blasphemous...yes. R2, though it has it's faults and PLENTY of them will still leave all but the most critical viewer satisfied by the end, even if they felt a little jostled along the ride. Characters- R2 brings in a whole new load of characters, as well as all the originals from the first season. This is often a point of contempt among fans because at times, the new cast can be overwhelming. However, I don't feel as though it's something that actually harms the show and is more a matter of persona taste than true quality. Plot- The begging of R2 was solid, and the ending was almost at the same par. It's the middle where you hit shaky ground. To avoid possible spoilers, let me just say there are about 4 mini plotlines in the middle of R2 that didn't seem to really go. Had they narrowed it down to two plots and expanded on them, it would have been more effective. The way the preexisting characters are handled also breaks base. Suzaku is one of the best examples of this, though Lelouch has his moments. Some may feel as though the characters have been rather ass-raped, ding things they normally would never do. The twists- Another big point of contention. It's the twists that can be seen listed as both Crowning Moments of Awesome AND as Wallbangers. While most of them WORKED (I am a fan of the 1 million Zero's, and consider it a Crowning Moment) it felt like overkill at times. Almost as if they're twisting the plot JUST for the sake of a twist. The plot with Marianne is a PRIME example of this. Overall, I feel like R2 moved too quickly with too many subplots and needs some duct tape for those plotholes BUT It's also still a very emotional, moving and exciting series. I feel one of the reasons R2 is held to be such a "flop" is because R1 was just so good. It set the bar very high for itself, and when it couldn't quite reach it, it left a bitter taste in the fan's mouths. Despite it's flaws, R2 is still compelling and satisfying. Your enjoyment will rely entirely on how you chose to view it.
A Trainwreck...but aren't those fun to watch?
I began to watch the dub of Code Geass thanks to its presence here on TV Tropes. I quickly got caught up in it, eventually skipping to fansubs because I wanted to see what happens next. And there's the rub. Code Geass is a series that thrives on plot twists and unexpected reveals. The first season begins slowly, as Lelouch bounces from one victory to another, but begins to throw more and more plot twists in as the show grows. Many episodes are left on giant cliffhangers, none more so than the first season finale. Because you want to know what happens, you keep tuning in excitedly. This worked fine in the first season, but completely destroyed the show in the second, giving rise to the nickname of "Code Trainwreck". Creating one plot twist after another for the sake of creating more tension and conflict results in a plot that is incoherent and nonsensical, with character motivations, loyalties, and actions making no discernable sense. But I know I kept watching because I wanted to see what kind of shit they'd pull next, and I expect a lot of folk did as well. The series has other positive points, but the plot craziness in season 2 kills much of it. Worth watching, but don't go in with high expectations. What I liked:
- Kallen Kozuki. The only character I unashamedly rooted for throughout the entire series, this girl is heroic, determined, caring, and one of the few characters to be completely straightforward throughout the entire show. She's the hero, plain and simple.
- Season 1 Robot fighting-before everyone started flying, the combat was interesting, gritty, and suspenseful. Not on the level of the combat in Full Metal Panic, but good.
- Lelouch's masterful tactical planning and general hamminess. While his grand plans suffered from a large case of Fridge Logic, his mapping out of enemy tactics and strategies, and the over the top way he carries his plans out are ridiculously fun.
- Stupid plans. All of the final plans for peace on earth are all terrible and fail, especially if you have any knowledge of International Relations.
- Overpowered Robots- beamspamming flying robots that kill everything are boring.
- Plot trainwreck, as I said before.