If it's crap ... We'll tell you
WARNING! THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS OPINIONS THAT MANY READERS WILL DISAGREE WITH. TRY TO BE BOTH SENSIBLE AND GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT IN YOUR RESPONSES IN THE COMMENTS.
Welcome, denizens of the dork.
Trying to concretely explain your thoughts on Code Geass is like trying to explain the origins of Donna Troy to your Mom. That is not to say that I dislike it or think it bad. It’s just when the creators try to make an anime that is a high-school comedy, a badass mech actionfest, and an intellectual mind game that constantly screws with your expectations, they’re aiming the bar sky-high. On many levels Code Geass exceeds, and on several others it hits me in the wrong place.
Let’s start this analysis with the aesthetics. The animation ranges from average to well above it, pulling off some scenes that visually punch me in the gut, hard. The voice acting is great, the best examples being Johnny Yong Bosch’s delightfully sinister Lelouch, (Easily my second favorite performance from him behind the Humanoid Typhoon) and Crispin Freeman’s hammiest performance since Straight Cougar in S-Cry-Ed as Jeremiah Gottswalt. Before I move onto the characters, let me quickly mention my first point of contention with this show, the fanservice. It is sad that one of the best anime of this generation still has so much unnecessary fanservice. I’m just saying it is hard to take your messages about Imperialism and morality seriously when you can’t go two episodes without reminding the audience that the females of the show are well endowed.
Lelouch is easily both one of the most complex protagonists in recent years and one of the most divisive. Bringing up whether all he did is justified or not is going to start a flame war and the answer is completely subjective. I myself see where he is coming from, but it is hard to sympathize with the guy when he refuses on several opportunities to simply explain to the person angry at him (usually Suzaku), and instead just accepts blame for everything, some of which he didn’t do and others which were complete accidents. Suzaku is interesting in his own way. The complete opposite of Lelouch, you feel sorry for him. He is a very nice guy with deep morals, but you almost pity him for trying to change a monarchic racist empire from the inside. He and Lelouch have amazing scenes together, both as friends at high school and as enemies on the battlefield. Here comes my next gripe: C.C. Am I the only one who found her kind of…superfluous? Yeah, her and her magic powers were important for the plot, but I feel she could’ve stayed dead after the first episode and we wouldn’t feel that anything was missing. I’m not saying she had no personality, but compared to the rest of the outstanding cast she is merely boring. Mao could even have still been in without her, just change the motivation to revenge, thinking that Lelouch killed her. And no, do not bring up her importance in R2; I’ll talk about the sequel in a different post.
The high school part of the show is cute and funny, and ultimately serves to give you breather time after the much more tense portions. It serves its purpose, and there isn’t much to talk about with it. The action scenes are truly fantastic, and easily some of my favorite in the mech genre. Now, many have compared the intellectual and emotional battle of Lelouch and Suzaku similar to that of Light and L’s in Death Note. I actually prefer the one in Code Geass, because while I find both have well thought out mind games, Death Note failed to deliver on the emotional level for me. From episode 1 I was rooting for L, and never once thought that Light was right or even sane. Code Geass makes me care about both protagonists, and I don’t want to see either lose, as both have good points.
Now, before I end with a summation, allow me a penultimate warning. Whoever made Code Geass is an emotional sadist. He wants to see you cry, and trust me, if you can cry at fictitious tales, you will cry here. You can’t even mention episode 22 around me without me alternating between sobbing and foaming at the mouth in anger.
Overall I would say that quality-wise, Code Geass is a near flawless gem that will earn its place in the halls of anime greatness. Personally, it is definitely in my top 20, and a great thing to pop in and watch on a whim.
Later, you devilish douchebags.