Just like Darker Than Black, this anime also has those product placements for Pizza Hut.
If you are wondering why there are no reviews for the whole month of September, it is because I am in the midst of watching Urusei Yatsura, a 195-episode behemoth on an on-off basis. Then the last episode of Code Geass R2 was released and I went ahead to watch both seasons of this anime that I have always wanted to watch for quite some time. This series follows in the footsteps of Zero no Tsukaima in the fact that it will make a double assault upon Chocotto Sister and Wolf and Spice for Best Anime of the Year 2006 and 2008 titles respectively. Code Geass has a lot of considerable hype attached to it, so can it really live up to it?
Our main protagonist a.k.a. the best character in this series.
Lelouch ‘Zero’ Lamperouge, a prince of the Empire of Britannia that was banished alongside his sister to Japan a.k.a. Area 11 that has been colonized by the Empire, obtained the power of Geass that allowed him to make people to unconditionally obey him from a mysterious girl with bright green hair that he has saved from the military. Armed with his newly-found powers, he decided that his father deserved a kick in the ass and started a rebellion against the Empire while the mysterious girl piled up Pizza Hut points on his tab.
There are two majorly positive points that makes this series excels. The first is the character strength of the main protagonist. Lelouch Lamperouge can be best described as the amalgamation of the positive points of Yagami Raito of Death Note, Kaiser Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wenli of Legend of Galactic Heroes and Kaiji Itou of Kaiji. He has so much strength and appeal; he overshone everyone in the series, inclusive of the supposed-to-be-main-female-protagonist-but-ends-up-moonlighting-for-PizzaHut girl that gives him the Geass. Unfortunately, the director of this series makes some mistakes that tarnished this factor somewhat, which I will elaborate more about in the subsequent paragraphs below.
The second positive point I will mention here that gets the series going is the excellent storyline this anime has in general. Comparing between both seasons, I think the first season’s plot is better but contrary to what I have heard on the intertubes, the plot in the second season did not really regressed. Well, maybe it does during the last third of the second season. The plots flows very well with reasonably good pacing, complete with a couple of awesome plot-twist throughout the 50-episode run.
Now let’s go through the weaknesses of this series, where there are at least a couple of them. First is the aforementioned directing mistakes mentioned a couple of paragraphs above and has some bearings on the presentation of the story. The problem is the director (who seems to also write the story) uses some flimsy plot devices that simply aren’t convincing enough for me to believe that Lelouch can fool his enemies with. For example, Lelouch’s identity would have been revealed earlier in the second season with those cheap tricks of his if he were to face an adversary such as Conan Edogawa or even Yang Wenli. The director does not seem to be able to write elaborate/complex plots you can see mostly on detective or psychological warfare stories like Meitantei Conan, Kaiji and Legend of Galactic Heroes.
The second weakness of the series is the constructions of the endings of both seasons. Much has been said and commented upon about the cliffhanger ending of the first season; in fact, the reason why I do not watch the first season right-away is that I know that the first season ends in a cliffhanger. After watching it, the first season is indeed ending in a very good cliffhanger but my beef with the first season ending is that it ends up too abruptly for my liking. This series can thank up the heavens that I waited until all two seasons was completed or else a point would have been deducted from the rating.
Meanwhile, the ending of the second season is neat but you can really feel the aftermath of the cancelled 3rd season here. It simply does not have the same impact of the cliffhanger ending of the preceding first season or the beautiful ending that Code Geass R2 competitor, Wolf and Spice has.
Those Pizza Hut boxes and food looks so out of place in a party meant for aristocrat kids, am I right?
A positive point of this anime, the character design by Clamp for this anime is excellent overall. There are marked improvements from what you can see in Chobits or Angelic Layer. Lack of black hair is forgiven in this version of Earth where Britannia seems to be in America instead of England.
Mecha-on-wheels-and-ropes designs are pretty well done, comparable to what you can see in Gundam series.
The voice acting in this anime is decent in general, with Lelouch Lamperouge and Kururugi Suzaku being the standouts towering above the rest of the characters.
This Order of the Black Knight sounds so much like Al-Qaeda right?
This series has many OP/ED themes, but all of them are meh. Only the OST is pretty decent.
Another positive point of this anime, the animation of this series is excellent, even in fast-paced scenes. I noticed that there are reused scenes (not recap or flashbacks) though, especially in the first season. Action scenes choreography (there’s a lot of them here) is very innovative especially with the extensive use of cables; a good departure of mecha battles in Gundam 00.
Some of the beefs I have with the director has already been mentioned above, but I still think he/she has done well for this series.
The English in this anime is pretty decent, although there are a lot of copy-and-paste here.
The first season scored 9 out of 10 while the second season scored 8 out of 10. Average rating after I generously round the score up is 9 out of 10. Both seasons failed to challenge Chocotto Sister and Wolf and Spice and dethrone them. For now I will return to watching Urusei Yatsura and the next review is definitely of this one. The problem is that I have a little bit more of 100 episodes to go, so it may take some time (this review is probably the only one for this month). I have a lot of 2007 and 2008 anime titles piling up for me to watch (Monochrome Factor, World Destruction, Sekirei, ToLoveRu etc), so I will take everything one at a time.
This is what happened if Geass is abused.