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Code Geass wrapup

I made a post back in the spring, titled "Why Code Geass may be my new favourite anime of all time". We at WednesdayAnime were halfway through the first of its two seasons at the time. We've been watching it consistently since then, finally finishing a couple of weeks ago. So having seen it all, does it live up to its promise?

  • I said "Anyone Can Die" at the time. It sort-of lives up to that. Some characters do get Killed Off For Real, and their deaths are moving and often unexpected. But rather disappointingly, the series also has a habit of Disney Deaths. A character dies, is mourned, and then turns up alive a few episodes later, with just a few bandages or sometimes not even that. Thumbs down.
  • The characters continue to be every bit as awesome. Lelouch is an amazing star, and although you can't always agree with what he does (see: VillainProtagonist), he certainly makes you want to find out what he's going to do next. Other characters reveal hidden depths and fulfil things set in motion several episodes earlier. A couple of characters rather seem to be derailed a bit, for quite a few episodes, but in both cases it's brought to an excellent resolution by the end of the story. A definite thumbs up.
  • The XanatosGambits[*] continue to be excellent as well. Many things go wrong for the protagonists (whoever you consider them to be), but they keep satisfying by revealing they'd predicted what was coming against them and took account of it. Another thumbs up.
  • The second series became a little more fanservicey in its first half than season 1 had been, which seemed somewhat unnecessary. Thankfully though this lets up significantly about halfway through. Balances out at neutral.
  • The plot overall is excellent. It has a low point in episodes 9-12 of season 2, with the Chinese Federation arc which it's hard to care about, and also drags a bit. But when I say "drags a bit", that's by Code Geass standards, which means it's about the normal pace of most other anime. This is a show that packs a lot into 25 minutes. And after that arc concludes, the story is just solid twist after twist, building up to the masterpiece ending.
    I was feeling for the middle third of season 2 that it wasn't quite as good as season 1 - which was disappointing, but understandable, as S1 set the bar very high. But the storyline really picked up after that and brought the story to a satisfying conclusion. Overall, a definite thumbs up.

So all in all, Code Geass may not quite earn the title of "best anime I've ever seen", but I'd say it's one of the best, and one that I'll continue to speak well of for a long time.

I've also been reading the Code Geass manga and novels. The manga follows the anime's storyline, with one exception: there are no mecha! It's interesting to see Suzaku and Kallen, the two most notable mecha pilots, live out their characters exactly as they did except that the action scenes go differently. I'm enjoying the story so far, but I think I slightly preferred the anime.

The novel I've read is "Code Geass - Lelouch of the Rebellion - Stage 0: Entrance". The "Stage 0" is accurate - it's a prologue, explaining a few backplot details of how Suzaku and Lelouch met and the events that happened around then. But it doesn't have much by way of storyline (the later novels should be better in this aspect), and the translation is really quite bad: just lots of stilted and awkward constructions. I'll still probably get the later novels, though.

[*]: I understand that XanatosGambit isn't actually the phrase I want for when a character precisely predicts an opposing character's actions and plans accordingly. Technically, it seems that's a Batman Gambit; the precise meaning of Xanatos Gambit seems to be when you make your plan such that it'll work whether or not the enemy interfere. However, it seems to be colloquially used for the former as well, so that's how I'm going to continue using it: when a character pulls off a masterful piece of predicting his enemy's actions and fitting them into his plan, I want to be grinning in awestruck approval, not quibbling terminology.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Best ending?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )