Well, in my spare time between writing (fiction) and writing (papers), I watched yet another anime: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebelliob (and its second season R2). It came highly recommended by two of my three brothers, as well as practically the entire internet. The show is 50 episodes, and I watched most of them in a week, but it didn’t feel like 50 episodes. It was extremely fast-paced, and I had a lot of trouble stopping my daily dose. It was never boring, and always held my near universal attention (which is extremely rare for me, as someone who has trouble doing only one thing at once). It is definitely one of the best animes I have ever seen, and I is now one of my personal favorites.
It does not fall into the trap that some animes do – including my beloved Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – of dragging fightscenes on endlessly. Fightscenes are usually quick – never more than an episode – and unlike animes in which the fight is focused on the martial skill of the combatants, in Code Geass the fight (more often in the show they are battles) is focused on the tactical and strategic abilities of the opposing commanders. This is not to say that martial skill is not present at all; the abilities of Suzaku Kururugi and Kallen Kozuki are emphasized frequently, and there are some elements of the anime mecha duel present in the show. However, while there are mechas in Code Geass (the “Knightmare Frames”), they are secondary to the masterful plot and colorful cast of characters the show provides. The characters are all likeable and able to draw you in, and the plot is complex and deep enough to keep you from moving while the show is on.
While Code Geass is ostensibly a mecha anime about a genius boy with a supernatural ability who leads a revolt against a tyrannical global superpower, it quickly becomes much more than that, and examines issues of racism, xenophobia, love, meaning, humanity, and sacrifice. Its most obvious theme is that of morality, as the show’s protagonist, Lelouch vi Britannia/Lamperouge, is definitely an antihero. He has many flaws and does terrible things, so that half the time you root for him happily and the other half you root for him but aren’t sure why. His imperfections make him the perfect antihero, and his opposite Suzaku Kururugi is the exact foil of Lelouch, and the two serve to point out the absurdities in each others’ views of morality, until everything comes together in what is really the perfect ending.
The one problem I had with the show was its explanation of the supernatural power of Geass , the Code, and the World of C. There was really no explanation, and that is still bothering me; the idea of the Code and Geass was expertly applied in the plot, but damn it, I want to know where it came from!
All in all, I would recommend Code Geass to anyone who wants to think about deep social and philosophical questions. The show combines mecha anime with highschool anime with fantasy anime with science fiction anime, so there is something there for everyone! Things to look out for in the show include Lelouch’s ingenious battle strategies, Lloyd (my favorite character by far) and Rakshata’s co-development of an elite Knightmare frame (Kallen’s Guren) indirectly, unwillingly, and from afar, and the fact that Lelouch does not win every contest! It was wonderful and refreshing to see a show in which the protagonist, going against incredibly odds, regularly loses! It made Lelouch a much more powerful and deep character.
Go watch it if you haven’t! Z. M. Wilmot commands you!