Written By: Artur Galvao
After being introduced to anime through Fullmetal Alchemist and its rebooted series (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood), I was craving another anime series just as great to watch. Somehow, I stumbled onto a show called Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. The best way to explain this series to someone that has never heard of it, is as such: imagine the basic premise of Death Note; where a teenager obtains powers that could completely change the world. This causes him to become a self-proclaimed God of a new world. However, I believe that Code Geass surpasses Death Note for multiple of reasons, one of note being the addition of giant robots called “Knightmares”. Just like before, if you want to go into this series completely in the dark, just skip pass the next paragraph. Lastly this review will be focused on Code Geass R1 and R2.
The plot of this show is a little convoluted without knowing a little backstory, but the pilot does a wonderful job fleshing out the series mythology for the audience. Despite that, I’ll still give a brief synopsis of the show. A major world superpower nation known as the “The Holy Empire of Britannia,” previously to the events of pilot, have conquered the country of Japan and has now renamed it “Area 11.” The residents of newly named Area 11 are stripped of their citizenship, rights to self-govern and are relabelled as Elevens. The Empire uses Knightmares, highly destructive robots, to ensure their control over the populace. Lelouch, our main character in show, is giving the power of Geass which manifests differently in each host. For Lelouch, Geass has given him the ability to plant ideas in the minds of others by simply making eye contact with them, acting as an extreme form of hypnosis. He then uses this power to forge a rebellion and revengeful plot against the Britannian Empire.
Now for the main characters of the show, the first being; Lelouch, the black prince. He has endless ambition and uses the power of the Geass to remake the world based on his ideals. The second being, Suzaku Kururugi, the white knight, who aspires to justice and strives to live an honest and fair life. They are foil characters to each other, which is interesting because throughout the events the show, the audience is conflicted over who’s views to support. Do we support the rebellious anti-hero or the oblivious white and shining armor do-gooder? What makes this story compelling is the character motivations. Unlike other anime, where the motivations tends to be, “I want to be the strongest there is,” these character are complex and have faults. Lelouch is the Eleventh Prince of the Holy Britannia Empire and the son of the 98th Emperor of Britannia, Charles zi Britannia. Lelouch confronted the Emperor after the passing of his mother and accused him of leaving his mother defenseless, even going as far as renouncing his entitlement to the throne. In response, his father banished him to Japan. Later he takes up the position as the leader of the Black Knights with the identity of Zero. He does this, to get revenge on his father and the Holy Empire of Britannia for their rule of Japan. As for the Kururugi, he dedicated his cause to not endorse terrorism or rebellion, which he believed would only result in pointless killing. Unwilling to sacrifice the innocent, Suzaku maintains a positive outlook on Britannia, believing that it could be changed for the better. He also holds a keen sense of loyalty, never questioning the orders of his superiors. Both men want change but have entirely different methods.
The setting of the show, Area 11, is split into two different sections; one being the slums of Japan where frequent violence and crimes towards the Japanese people take place, and the other being the section where Britannian forces hold the most control, where schools, markets and other high-end institutions are found. Interesting to note, Japan was a nation that essentially did the same to China in WWII, exactly what Britannia is doing to them in this fictional universe.
However no matter the setting, the characters and textures are always bright, colourful and well-lit. The animation is smooth and sharp, allowing for truly breathing taking actions scenes, that always adds to the story not halt it. Finally, this show was made in 2005 but the animation looks better than some anime that are being developed in the present.
Lastly, we need to analyze the music of this show. The opening theme music of the show is “COLORS” by FLOW, which might be in the top 5 anime openings of all time (I’ll link to it below). The melody of song is just as impactful as the show. The song is accompanied by a flash of colours that one would think to be nauseating but mainly the colour blue which makes it the surprisingly calming opening. As for in show music it’s good, just not too memorable, for I cannot think of one at the top of head. Overall music within this show is fitting and powerful.
Artur’s Rating: 9/10
GO WATCH IT!!! A new third season is on the horizon, so make sure you’re caught up.