Tag Archives: Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch

Code Geass Hangyaku no Lelouch R2: Zero Returns

The first series of Sunrise’s Code Geass was really good. In the first series our protagonist, Lelouch Lamperouge, gained the power to give anyone a command that they had no choice but to obey. He decided to use this power to overthrow the Britannian empire. Japan, now called Area 11 and under Britannian control, became a battleground as he used their resistance as his army. Just when it looked like they might succeed, Lelouch learned that his sister, Nunnally, had been taken prisoner and left the battlefield. This quickly led to things going badly for the rebellion. Meanwhile, his best friend, Suzaku, found out that he was the terrorist Zero. The previous series ended on a cliffhanger with Suzaku & Lelouch holding guns to one another’s heads. What happened to Nunnally, the resistance, Lelouch & Suzaku? Let’s find out with Code Geass Hangyaku no Lelouch R2.

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Story:

We open a year after the black knight rebellion. Lelouch thinks about Zero’s reported execution and the foolishness of trying to oppose Britannia like he did. Restless, he escapes from school with his younger brother and makes his way to a gambling establishment. While there, some knightmares piloted by remnants of the black knights break in. Lelouch is grabbed by Kallen but manages to escape, eventually becoming separated from his brother. He’s found by C.C who restores his true memories, which were altered by the emperor using his own geass. Thanks to C.C’s actions, Zero is reborn and ready to regain his army and rekindle the battle against Britannia, but it won’t be so easy. The emperor still has Nunnally and there are several people keeping surveillance of him, including his supposed brother. Can Lelouch get past these obstacles and pose a credible threat against the single most powerful nation in the world?

The biggest narrative issue with this series is that it does retread some of the same material as the first series. The initial uses of Lelouch’s power and his first command of troops in particular are very similar. However, we can largely forgive that because it does need to, once again, establish what his geass can do and demonstrate his tactical prowess. The series is also a bit heavy-handed in foreshadowing the big ending moment once it reaches the last four episodes. They might as well have it spelled out in large neon lettering.

With that out of the way, there are a lot of strong elements to the story. Most of the twists work really well and stem naturally from the events of the narrative instead of coming across as forced and contrived. I also like that the reason they left Lelouch alive actually makes a lot of sense. The ending is strong, even though they make it obvious. The stratagems that Lelouch employs are legitimately clever and I like that his major opponents react intelligently and try to anticipate him, sometimes even derailing his plans. Which is much better than something like, say, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu where the strategies are so basic that they should be easy to see through, but where that almost never happens because everyone, except the main strategist characters, is an idiot. Then we have the tragic moments. There are some really strong, well done, tragic moments in this series.

Characters:

Overall, the characters we get are really well done. The previously established characters get more development that builds off of where they were in the prior series. Most of the new characters are nicely complex as well, at least the major ones. There are some minor supporting characters who just kind of exist without really having anything to them. The biggest issue is that Villetta’s character arc doesn’t make much sense, given her previously established characterisation. But that’s also only one supporting character.

Code Geass2

Art:

The artwork looks the same as the first series, as it should. As such, my biggest complaint is still with the emaciated looking character designs. However, the action sequences, mecha designs and visual effects are all really good.

Sound:

The performances, as a whole, are really good. Fukuyama Jun, Sakurai Takahiro, Yukana & Koshimizu Ami remain the stand out performances from all the other strong performances. Nazuka Kaori, Mizushima Takahiro & Midorikawa Hikaru are also really good in this series. The series still suffers a bit from actors who use odd tonal qualities that sound more like an exaggerated cartoon than anyone’s natural speaking voice. Shiratori Tetsu & Sekine Nobuaki being the most memorable examples.

Ho-yay:

Nina is still motivated by her strong feelings for Euphemia. We also get to see Sayoko kiss a girl, but she’s disguised as a guy at the time so it doesn’t really count.

Final Thoughts:

Code Geass is a great series. Both the first and second series. It has a lot of strong moments, strong characters, great action and superb acting. It’s not a flawless series and there are some better ones out there, but if you’re into mecha or the idea of a rebellion involving cunning strategies and supernatural powers appeals to you, check it out by all means. My final rating for Code Geass Hangyaku no Lelouch R2, is a solid 8/10. Next week it’s another sequel with Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?, series 2.

First Annual Reader Awards: And the Votes say…

Okay, everyone. Two weeks ago I said that I’d put up your choices for the awards. So, this week I’m doing that. Keep in mind, those people who did vote didn’t see all the anime I reviewed. So, these are going to lean pretty heavily towards the better known anime that I watched.Now, let’s look at your choices. Whether I agree with them or not.

Moffat Award for worst series/OVA: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls. 

Yeah, this one is bad. As a work of horror, it fails pretty badly, being funny more often than frightening. Not my pick, but I can see why it was yours.

Simone Award for best serious series/OVA: Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch.

This is another one I can understand. Code Geass did a lot right and gave us a compelling story. Incidentally, I will be reviewing the second series in either late March or early April. So, that’ll be fun for all of us.

Abrams Award for worst film: Hetalia: Paint it White.

Here’s one we agreed on. This film was just bad with all of its good scenes being lazily lifted from the main series.

Miyazaki Award for best film: Spirited Away

Here’s another one we completely agree on. This film gave us a grand adventure with strong characters and was just Studio Ghibli at their best.

Macfarlane award for worst comedy: Hetalia: Paint it White.

I guess you guys disliked that film a lot more than I did, because I can think of a couple worse comedies I watched, but this is all about you and your choice was Paint it White.

Pratchett Award for best comedy: Gintama

I can’t really agree on this one. Gintama is not my type of comedy. But, at the same time, this choice isn’t surprising, since the series is popular.

Meyer Award for worst romance: Love Hina.

This one doesn’t really surprise me either. After all, it’s very close to my own pick.

Kanemaki Award for best romance: Yuru Yuri: San Hai.

I’m not really sure which pairing you all liked the most from this series. Maybe it was Sakurako & Himawari. Maybe it was Chinatsu & Yui. Maybe it was a poly-amorous coven. Whatever the case, San Hai was your choice for best romance.

Anno Award for worst cast: Hetalia: Paint it White.

On one hand, I don’t think this series has a bad cast at all. But, on the other hand, the film does kind of make it look like it does. either way, this is your choice I had mine two weeks ago.

Moore Award for best cast: Gintama

Well then… I guess that’s a thing.

Bendis Award for worst conflict: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls. 

In terms of execution, this conflict is pretty bad. I can see why you picked it.

Claremont Award for best conflict: Code Geass Hangyaku no Lelouch

I can understand this one too. Code Geass was really good about setting up both a conflict of ideals and one of this small resistance force against a major power.

Liefeld Award for worst visuals: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls

This was one of my two choices too. With overblown gore effects that are exaggerated to the point of silliness and ridiculous monsters. It just looks bad. Glad we agree on that.

Urbino Award for best visuals: Spirited Away.

Again, we agree. Also one of my choices this year. The visuals in this are Studio Ghibli at their finest. Beautiful details and a fantastically designed world.

Spencer Award for worst acting: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls.

I don’t disagree about this being badly done. These characters were bland and the actors, though they do their best, can’t really make them sound compelling.

Sir Stewart Award for best acting: Yahari ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru.

The series does have some strong performances. Can’t really fault you for picking it.

Perry Award for worst music: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls

This one got a lot of the negative reader awards this year.

Kloss Award for best music: Gintama.

I’m just not going to say anything on this one. After all, this is about your picks.

So, there’s how you all voted. I guess you really liked Gintama, Spirited Away & Code Geass and really hated Corpse Party & Hetalia: Paint it white. I can largely agree on four of those.

Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch: Zero Resistance

I’ve mentioned Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch once before, when I mentioned that the main actors from Gakuen Heaven also voiced lead characters in this. The series was brought to us by Sunrise in 2006-2007. It’s an original work by the same studio that brought us the Gundam franchise and many, many other anime. Let’s take a look at Code Geass and see how they did with this one.

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Story:

Code Geass is set in an alternate future where there are three great powers, the Chinese Federation, the EU and the imperialistic Britannia. Japan has been brought under Britannian rule and lost its name, being called area 11. One day, a Britannian student named Lelouch Lamperouge accidentally falls into a truck being taken by a Japanese resistance group. On board is a strange canister and Lelouch finds himself taken for a ride while Britannian forces chase the group. In the process, the canister opens and a strange woman comes out. Lelouch’s old friend, Kururugi Suzaku, catches up to them, attached to the Britannian forces as an honorary Britannian. He’s ordered to kill the two and refuses, getting shot by the commanding officer. The woman is shot as well, psychically granting Lelouch a contract afterwards. This gives him the titular Geass, the power to give anyone an order that they can’t disobey. Lelouch figures that out and decides to use it for the one thing he wants the most, to destroy Britannia and he plans to start by liberating Japan. To accomplish this goal, he disguises himself, taking the moniker Zero and takes command of resistance forces. 

The biggest flaw with the series is the ending. A lot of multi-series anime I’ve reviewed will finish their first series with some kind of big climax that gives you some closure to one of the major sub-plots but that leave more to accomplish. In Code Geass, the entire first series ending is a giant cliffhanger. It’s a right mess that’s focused on setting things up for the second series rather than on giving the audience any real closure. Does it make you want to watch the second series? Absolutely. But it doesn’t make for a satisfying stopping point, at all. The second biggest issue is with the advertising. This series just really wants you to buy Pizza Hut. The advertising is pretty shameless and it comes up quite a bit as a visual element in various scenes. It’s a bit distracting.

On the positive side, the main narrative is really compelling and the series is really good about establishing its rules early on so that it has its major plot elements in place when it needs them to become important. I like that the major conflict has facets to it and verisimilitude. The series is also big on consequence, which I appreciate. It really plays up the idea that Lelouch’s actions are impacting real people. The quieter, more slice of life moments can also be really funny and serve the important purpose of giving the audience more of an opportunity to connect with the characters and letting them unwind from the action and more serious aspects of the series.

Characters:

The cast of characters is pretty large and, mostly, pretty well developed. They seem like actual people. The friendship between Lelouch and Suzaku is really well done, as is their antagonism on the battlefield. It’s interesting to compare Lelouch’s more pragmatic approach to Suzaku’s more idealistic. Lelouch also has a really strongly developed relationship with his little sister, Nunnally. His protectiveness of her is definitely his most endearing character facet. I also like that the various resistance members are portrayed as having different motives for fighting and even goals for when it’s all over. It really makes them read as more human.

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Art:

My biggest issue with the artwork is the character designs. You can tell that Clamp worked on the designs. The character limbs are really elongated and their bodies are incredibly thin, giving them an emaciated appearance. It’s not nearly as bad as the Clamp proportions in, say, Xxxholic, but they still look pretty awkward. That being said, the action sequences are really well done and I like the mecha designs. Particularly for the various unique robots. The visual geass effect also looks pretty nice.

Sound:

The voice acting is really good. Fukuyama Jun, Sakurai Takahiro, Yukana and Koshimizu Ami all give strong performances, as do the various side characters. About the weakest you get is Shiratori Tetsu, who really plays up the “mad scientist” aspect of his character with an odd vocal quality that really doesn’t sound natural. It’s still not a bad performance, it’s just not on par with the others. The music is pretty good as well.

Ho-yay:

There’s a little bit. Milly likes to grope other girls and Nina develops a really massive crush on another girl.

Final Thoughts:

That’s Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch, series 1. It’s a really good series with a strong narrative. Well-crafted characters and strong acting. It has its flaws but, overall, nothing too bad that would ruing the experience. My final rating is going to be a solid 8/10. Maybe I’ll look at the second series at a later date but, for next week, it’s going to be Kekkai Sensen.

Until next week, Happy Hanukkah, Solstice, Hogswatchnight, Hearth’s Warming, Kwanzaa, Christmas or whatever other holiday you may celebrate at this time of year. May it be a happy and joyous experience.