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Anime / Code Geass: Akito the Exiled

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"More importantly, Akito; why do you fight? You have no family to protect, no country to fight for... you're alone. Why are you living?"
"So I can die."

Code Geass: Akito the Exiled is a Spin-Off OVA from its parent Code Geass. The first of five episodes premiered on August 4, 2012 in Japanese theatres, with the last released on February 6, 2016. The story takes place between Code Geass and Code Geass: R2, focusing on the events that occurred in Europe in the year a.t.b 2017, after the defeat of Zero's Black Rebellion.

The European Union, one of the three major powers in the Code Geass world, has been steadily losing ground in their war against the expansionist Holy Britannian Empire. Leila Malcal, a European noblewoman and military strategist, decides to form a new military unit codenamed "W-0", comprised of volunteers from Area 11 who have sought refuge in Europe. Her intention is to give the former Japanese a place to belong, but because they are seen as expendable by the general public due to their ethnicity, W-0 is only used in the most dangerous military operations with the worst chances of survival.

After a particularly disastrous operation, a young soldier named Akito Hyuga is the only survivor of W-0. The story follows both him and Leila as they fight for the European Union, seeking to make sense out of the war and achieve their own goals and dreams.

Characters can be found on the Code Geass character sheet.

Code Geass: Akito the Troped:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Highly detailed and cel-shaded CGI models have been used both for the Knightmare Frames as well as for several background elements, in addition to dynamic camera work and nicely choreographed fight sequences. Lighting effects and shadows have significantly improved 2D/3D integration, but some specific shots still tend to stand out.
  • The '60s: Even more than in the original series, given that it takes place in what real-world reckoning would be 1962-63.
  • Actor Allusion: Aaron Dismuke has previously played a Japanese terrorist with a penchant for grenades.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Akito invokes this against one of Leila's brash brothers, showing that this stereotype exists in full in-universe:
    Akito: Europeans are all the same. They're scared of Japanese people because they think we all know karate and are good with swords.
  • Alternate History: It takes place in the same time frame of the events of Code Geass.
  • Alternative Calendar: The E.U. uses one since the French Revolution.
  • Anti-Villain: Several members of the higher ranked Euro-Britannia Nobility are shown to not be that bad. The Archduke of Euro-Britannia even gets deposed by Kingsley for showing concern for the European Union civilians and hinting at a distrust towards the Emperor and the Empire's more cruel and ruthless actions.
  • Arm Cannon: The EU's Panzer Hummels haves cannon instead of hands.
  • Ax-Crazy: Akito, Yukiya and Sir Ashley. Akito's geass command causes him to spread the craziness to Ryo, Ayano and Yukiya.
    • Akito starts to grow out of it by Episode 4, however, thanks to the power of friendship and love.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The position of main antagonist is initially split between Shin Hyuga Shaing, who has a personal stake against Akito, and Julius Kingsley, who takes command of all of Euro-Britannia's forces in its war against the E.U. Shin ends up being the main villain, due to Kingsley having a breakdown once he starts to remember who he actually is.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • When Leila and Claus are about to be killed by Shin's men, they're rescued by a revealed-to-be-alive Wyvern Squad.
    • Near the ending, when Ashley's old squad is about to be overrun by Smilas' forces, Ashley himself shows up to save the day, having been warped in by the Administrator.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Between Akito and Leila in the ending.
  • Big Fancy Castle: The headquarters of W-0, Weisswolf Castle. It's revealed at the end that Leila's family had owned it back during the days of pre-revolutionary Europe.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The W-0 staff survives the siege and the EU-Britannian troops ended their attacks on W-0 HQ. The EU is back as a republic with Smilas's factions wiped out. Leila and the Alexander pilots moved on to live with gypsies. However, much of Europe will be under Britannian control with the EU-Britannian war still continuing before R2. They gain independence in the middle of R2.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The Alexander can have its hand assembly swing away at the wrist to reveal a retractable Knightmare-sized stiletto hidden inside its forearm.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: This returns once again, given the European setting. It's mostly averted - the vast majority of on-screen text is in decent French - but the infamous 'momeland' returns from R2, among others.
  • Born Lucky: Sir Ashley thinks he's this. And that it's the reason people live through battles.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Episode 3 reveals that Julius Kingsley is actually a brainwashed Lelouch. But the brainwashing isn't complete and he will at time wonder where he is.
  • Bridge Bunnies: W-0's command center has several of these.
  • Call-Back: Leila's flashback of the night she contracted with C.C. plays out similarly to C.C.'s own backstory as established in R2. A young girl no older than six is saved from the brink of death by a mysterious, immortal woman who grants her the power of Geass. C.C. even wore vestments that resembled a nun's habit, alluding to the nun who first gave C.C. her Geass and forced her Code on her, albeit C.C.'s vestments are white instead of black like hers. However, unlike the nun, C.C. actually gives Leila the freedom to choose whether to use her Geass or not, and if she didn't, her power would eventually fade once she reaches adulthood. C.C. also doesn't take Leila under her wing like the nun once did with her and leaves her so she can decide her fate by herself.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The spirits of the Red Shirt Eleven Pilots seen near the end of the first OVA return during the climactic duel between Akito and Shin in the fifth OVA, protecting Akito from Shin when the duel between the two takes them to the graveyard where the former were buried.
    • The sword Ayano gives Akito lets him fight off Shaing for a time when they exit their Knightmares during their final duel and Shaing comes after him with his sword.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The 2nd batch of Knightmares Frames are all blue, but they also have a second set of color to set them apart:
    • Pink: Ayano.
    • Orange: Ryo.
    • Green: Yukiya.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The W-0 unit when sharing Akito's geass command through their Knightmares delivers this to the Knights of St. Michael till Shin Hyūga Shaing comes.
    • An even bigger one occurs in Episode 3 when Suzaku takes on the entire Order of St. Michael and promptly hands them their asses despite their Knightmares being confined within a castle. Unfortunately he's forced to surrender as Shaing takes Lelouch hostage following the battle.
  • Darker and Edgier: While Code Geass as a whole was always relatively dark, it managed to more or less balance it out with a dose of Slice of Life school episodes and having some characters provide comedic relief on a regular basis. These elements are completely absent from Akito The Exiled, but even with that aside, the general setting is already elevated to a more thematically mature standing. For starters, it features a protagonist who is considerably more mentally disturbed than Lelouch was, the entire plot revolves around a squad partaking exclusively in suicide missions, and it essentially showcases a darker side of a "civilized world" than what we've seen of Britannian settlements. Topped off with the fact that the series runs on a considerably more somber pace and melancholy, it gives it a significantly different atmosphere that what we've seen of Code Geass thus far.
    • Yet it maintains the hopeful tone of the franchise, with an ending that's a lot less bittersweet, almost completely happy.
  • Death Seeker: Anou, W-0's deeply racist first commander, believes that every single Japanese person is this at heart. It's also the reason why he installed explosive devices on the team's Alexanders.
    Anou: "The Elevens have always spewed things like 'seppuku' and 'kamikaze'. They're descendants of a race that loves to die! What's wrong with making Elevens like that self-destruct?!"
  • Deus ex Machina: Twice in the final OVA the Caretaker - the representative of the collective unconscious - steps in to help out a bit. Surprisingly doesn't come out of nowhere (as the Caretaker is shown to be somewhat invested in the events) but is still very strange.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Many scenes have the Eiffel Tower, letting viewers know the story is set in France, Paris.
  • Everyone Lives: Surprisingly, all of the major/semi-major members of W-0 survive, as do Ashley and most of his team.
  • Expy: Notably, these similarities are present but played in a different context:
    • Akito seems very similar to Suzaku, apparently being an orphan who's elected to join the military of a country that despises him, pilots a Super Prototype with remarkable effectiveness, is under a Geass order that helps his combat effectiveness, and is a Death Seeker. Not to mention gets a Lady and Knight dynamic with a young woman of Britannian noble blood who is his direct superior. Curiously enough, Suzaku himself later shows up.
    • Shin has a Geass which allows him to order people to "die" in a manner similar to Lelouch's. It's eventually revealed that it only works on people he loves. They also both had a little sibling (two in Shin's case, counting his adoptive sister) who love their big brothers dearly. He also is similar to Mao, being someone who has been driven insane by his Geass.
    • Leila has a few traits in common with Euphemia, being a genuinely good person of noble blood who cares for others and has a strong will that falls for an "Eleven" who ends up returning that affection. The difference is she's more politically active, is an Action Girl instead of Actual Pacifist, and doesn't end on the receiving end of Break the Cutie followed by Kill the Cutie like Euphie did. She also has a few traits of Lelouch such as being The Strategist and someone fighting against the corruption of Britannia via leading a group of Japanese into battle; and significantly has a contract with C.C. and a Geass that is key to solving the climax.
  • False Flag Operation: Kingsley creates a fake terrorist group that fakes attacking various parts of the E.U., which is so successful, thanks in part to both Gossip Evolution and the population's already festering resentment of their elites, that all of Europe almost instantly descends into rioting. W-0 was eventually able to defuse the situation.
  • Fanservice:
    • The standout example is in Episode 3; when Leila, Akito, and the rest of Wyvern are staying with a gypsy caravan, the old women there have both the guys and girls wear some pretty revealing outfits, complete with changing scenes for Leila and Ayano. The grannies take note, particularly with Ryou. And shortly after, on their final night with the gypsies, the camera offers a closeup of Ayano dancing to the gypsies' music, jiggling bits and all.
    • Their pilot suits are even more revealing than any of the ones in the original series. We get a nice shot of Akito's assets early in the first episode, when he approaches the truck to ask them to take him back to the city.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: Averted with Ryo and his posse; they state specifically that they have no intention for creating a new country for the Japanese, and only look for a "place to belong". When the Black Knights are mentioned, Ryo laughs them off.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Ryo's people become this with Akito and Leila after their first mission together.
  • Foregone Conclusion: To a degree. If you've seen R2, you know how the war turns out in the end.
  • French Jerk: Anou, the racist commander from the first episode. In the English dub, he has a French accent.
  • Gratuitous English: Well, it is Code Geass. But since it's in Europia now, a lot of it has been changed to Gratuitous French.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Ryo, Ayano, Yukiya, and Ashley.
  • Heel Realization: As he's dying, Shin finally has a change of heart, telling Akito to live instead of die, and apologizing to Jean for killing her.
  • Hope Spot: The operation in Episode 2 ends up going well after the Knights of Saint Michael pull out of the town, but by the end of the episode the Britannians have driven the E.U. forces back to where they were before.
  • Humanity on Trial: A variation: The Administrator was considering revoking humanity's ability to use Geass until Leila's sheer selflessness convinced her otherwise.
  • Inspirational Martyr: Smilas tries to invoke this by selling out W-0 to the Britannians so that he can make Leila into an unwilling martyr for his junta. He even decides to announce her death before any fighting has happened between W-0 and Shin's forces.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: Kingsley's plan to cause chaos within the E.U. involves a particularly audacious version of this. He uses an unarmed aircraft to fake bomb an E.U. power plant.
  • Madness Mantra: "Die! Die! DIE!"
  • The Mafia: Ryo, Ayano and Yukiya start out being associated with an underground group very similar to one. The trio kill them all and execute their leader soon after they're introduced, both to go their own way, and to gain revenge for fallen friends.
  • Magical Eye: It wouldn't be Code Geass without Geass in the picture. Akito is under a Geass of some kind that affects him during battle, and Shin has a Geass that allows him to get people to kill themselves and others in a manner similar to Lelouch's. By the end Leila turns out to have one that proves key to the climax.
  • Male Gaze: It wouldn't be Code Geass without this.
    • In Episode 2, we have a brief scene of Ayano's cleavage and a sequence where Leila, in the nude, puts on a very form-fitting uniform. Both Leila and Ayano are rather busty and continue to wear said outfits during the battle.
    • Episode 5 goes even further by having uncensored nudity when Jean jumps out of the shower to confront Ashley.
  • Mecha-Mook: Both sides make use of Knightmare Frame drones. Predictably, they all get destroyed before the end of the mission and none of them scored a single hit.
  • Meaningful Name: The squad name "W-0" come from the statistics that any Japanese recruited to work within the ranks usually don't come back alive.
  • Military Coup: General Smilas establishes a military junta over the E.U. by taking advantage of the chaos caused by Julius's plans. He doesn't have much time to exercise his power before the Administrator finds a way to kill him.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds!: 5% of survival? Ouch.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: "Julius Lelouch Kingsley". Justified as officially Lelouch vi Britannia is dead and Zero not only wore a mask, but is officially dead as well so no one in-universe had any reason to suspect it. That said, Shaing grabs the Smart Ball by realizing Julius's tactics are nigh identical to the kind of crazy Zero pulled off.
  • Pet the Dog: Johann Malcal is openly contemptuous towards Leila, who was adopted into the family and whom he is expected to marry, but when the E.U. faces its Darkest Hour, Johann shows that he really does care for Leila, calling her and asking her to come home to safety.
  • The Power of Friendship: Emerges as a major theme as the OVA goes on. Akito's growing ability to embrace this is ultimately what makes him different from Shin.
  • Powers That Be: The Administrator, a seemingly female embodiment of the collective unconsciousness with an outside view of space-time. Most importantly, she was the being that originally gave mankind Geass in an effort to see if they could improve.
  • Psychic Link:
    • The Alexanders' BRS (Brain Raid System) allows their pilots to synchronize with each other; whenever Akito's Geass activates, it ends up inadvertently influencing his fellow pilots. Ironically, the BRS's designers were hoping that the research behind it would be used to promote peace.
    • When Leila finally activates her Geass, she ends up having the ability to connect people's consciousnesses to each other.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The racist treatment that the Japanese have is based on the real phenomenon of Displaced Persons or DPs. Some of the biggest waves occurred after World War 2 and cause considerable friction to this day, however to younger generations the phenomenon isn't as well known.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: After his explosion of anger and subsequent restraining during Operation Alpha, Anou is reassigned to a supply unit stationed in Warsaw. General Gene Smilas, Leila's CO and the man who did the deed, says that Anou can finally be useful there. Anou shows up again when the W-0 are stationed at Warsaw, and uses his authority to disable Leila's military ID and lock her and her friends out of the main base; Yukiya eventually uses his hacking skills to restore Leila's ID and disable Anou's.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Ryo, Yukiya, and Ayano are recruited into W-0's Wyvern Squad after their plan to capture Smilas is foiled.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Jean dies in the process of saving Akito and dealing a mortal blow to Shin. That said, she did it largely to save Shin from himself, given that she still loved him.
  • Reused Character Design: Anou looks very similar to the captain of one of Prince Clovis' Royal Guard units from the first episode of the original series.
  • Romani: When Leila and Wyvern Squad are locked out of the Warsaw base by Anou, they stay with a caravan of elderly gypsies. In the ending, Akito, Leila, Ryo, Yukiya, Ayano, Ashley and his team, and apparently even Anou have all settled down to a life of peace with said caravan.
  • Russian Roulette: Sir Ashley played this to show how lucky he was.
  • Shaming the Mob: In her speech revealing Euro-Britannia's plot to destabilize the E.U., Leila also tells the rioting mobs that they have to aspire to something higher than irresponsible violence and selfishness if Europe's ideals of freedom are to be realized. It works.
  • Ship Tease: Between Akito and Leila:
    • Leila was pretty happy when Akito told her to stay near him during the mission in Episode 2, although his true intentions were far more pragmatic.
    • A more blatant example happens in Episode 3, when Akito and Leila dance around a bonfire together.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Akito's Alexander can temporarily power up and open its mask to reveal an intimidating hidden face just like Gundam F91.
    • Leila's Cool Bike in Episode #2 looks like a motorcycle manufacturer tried to build an upscaled tribute to Shotaro Kaneda's bike with KMF technology.
    • Shin's Knightmare in Episode #4 uses a shotgun as its ranged weapon that is reloaded by spin-cocking it on the move.
  • Slasher Smile: The named Japanese characters of this show seem to really like this trope.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Starts off on the dark and cynical side, but gradually shifts into a surprisingly idealistic World Half Full tone.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: General Smilas leading his troops in battle and getting killed by Ashley, while beautiful hopeful music is playing in the background.
  • Space Is Noisy: Thankfully averted: When the ballistic infiltration capsule is shown from outside flying in space, there is no sound.
  • Spin-Off: While C.C., Lelouch, and Suzaku do all show up, with the latter two in particularly getting some decent screentime, the main focus is on the new cast and setting.
  • The Squad: The "W-0" unit, in particular Wyvern Squad.
  • The Stinger: The OVA ends with Rolo coming to pick up Lelouch and Suzaku.
  • The Stoic: Akito off the battlefield and Jean Lowe. Jean didn't blink when Sir Ashley pointed a gun at her head and fired. Although it was a mostly emptied Russian Roulette, Jean had no idea how many bullets were put in.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Shin's Evil Plan: 1. Take over Euro-Britannia, 2. Nuke Britannia's capital and kill its emperor, 3. Watch as the world descends further into chaos and war. Why? Because he believes that life is too unhappy for anyone, himself included, to live through.
  • Suicide Attack: In the first episode, several members of the "W-0" unit take out the enemy by grabbing them and self-destructing.
  • Suicide Mission: What the "W-0" unit was created to undertake.
  • Super Prototype: Played with. Alexander is an European KMF with unusual features, but it was produced in limited numbers for use in the "W-0" unit instead of being a truly unique prototype. It's too bad most of them were lost during suicide attacks though.
  • Team Switzerland: Leila, Akito and the rest of the "W-0" unit are simply looking to escape the battlefield.
  • Teleportation: Near the end, the Administrator teleports Ashley to a particular battlefield so that he can kill Smilas.
  • Thematic Series: Several ideas from both the main series and its early drafts are present here, albeit with some notable changes. In particular, the focus on a cynical soldier and an idealistic superior: in the original plan for Code Geass, an idealistic subordinate would have to deal with his cynical commanding officer. In this spin-off, those roles have been reversed.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: Over the course of the OVA, this happens to Akito and the rest of Wyvern Squad. Even Yukiya!
  • Transforming Mecha:
    • The Alexander units can go from regular KMF to a bug-like form to minimize their profile and increase agility.
    • Shinn Hyuga's Vercingetorix takes a step further by having a Centaur mode for high mobility.
  • Translation Convention: While we may hear the Europeans and Britannians all speaking Japanese, the on-screen text implies that they're actually mostly speaking in French and English, respectively. The English dub makes this explicit by giving most of the European characters French accents.
  • True Companions: Ryo, Ayano and Yukiya, with Akito and even Leila eventually joining their circle as well.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Ryo and company attempt to do this to Akito and Leila during their first mission together, only stopping when Britannian forces attack. Fortunately, they quickly patch up their differences and become trusted companions afterwards.
  • United Europe: The E.U. and how it's also implied to be the direct result of a victorious revolutionary wave that swept across the continent.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: Leila feels guilty about not removing Anou sooner, thus resulting in the needless deaths of the rest of W-0 because of him self-destructing their Knightmares.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ryo towards Akito, which later evolves into something of a genuine friendship.