In the year 2017 of the Imperial Calendar, parts of the world are under the control of the Holy Britannian Empire. Japan is now known as Area 11, the proud people treated as lower class citizens. Lelouch Lamperouge was once a Britannian prince but when his mother was assassinated, he was sent to Japan and thought to be killed. But he survived. After getting caught up in a terrorist attack, he encounters a strange girl known as C.C., who grants him the power of Geass and the ability to command others.
With his newfound powers, Lelouch becomes Zero, a rebel leader for justice, and forms his own anti–government group. His goals are simple: get answers about his mother’s murder and make a world that is worthy of his beloved little sister, Nunnally. Even with his Geass, Lelouch will encounter countless challenges. But nothing can prepare him to face his former best friend, Suzaku Kururugi, a Japanese citizen…and soldier of Britannia? The power of Geass: is it a blessing…or a curse?
Code Geass was a familiar story about a boy forgotten by his father. It just so happens his father is one of the most powerful men in the world. I can draw parallels to Evangelion but I am sure many viewers have already. Lelouch is the long forgotten, and thought dead, son and prince of Britannia. In a long line of siblings, he was loved by several of his younger and older siblings and reviled by others. Lelouch’s mother was assassinated and he was sent to Japan. When Japan falls, Lelouch goes into hiding under an assumed name he went to school as a normal student longing for the day he could seek revenge on the royal family and bring a peaceful world for his sister to live in.
The story includes nightmares which are robotic war machines piloted by humans. Similar to other mecha style anime, another twist was thrown in. A mysterious girl appears and gives Lelouch the power of Geass, the ability to command anyone to do what you wanted. With this new-found power, Lelouch set in motion a plan to seek his revenge and get back his and his sisters lives.
One of the best things about Code Geass is the political intrigue and depth. There is nothing more annoying to a great story then a shallow motive or backstory. As the Black Knights are formed, Lelouch finds that his actions have consequences that even he cannot handle after too long. ,That’s when his long time childhood friend Suzaku appears and things get interesting.
Unlike many anime series, you end up hating and loving the main characters at different times. To the point that you really cannot point out to any one character who is the hero or the villain. Is Lelouch the villain for winning at any cost? What about Suzaku who ends up sacrificing his morals in order to beat Zero? I will admit I was sad and felt for Lelouch in the end. Everything that he did ended up not being in vain but the cost was high.
Geass was an important player in all of this, with many characters being revealed to have a form of this. However, the thought elevator angle and the entire religious order felt out-of-place and rushed. We never get enough back story to really care about it or fear it. Unlike Evangelion where the human instrumentality project is very clearly laid out and revealed through the series. I would have liked to see more expansion here.
The lighthearted moments at the school with the slice of life episodes were a nice break. They also allowed us to humanize characters who we had otherwise only seen in military or war setups. At the end, I am not sure who I felt more sorry for: Suzaku, Lelouch or Nunnally,
The anime is 10 years old and is celebrating that anniversary this year. However, don’t let that fool you. With this blu-ray release, the series is displayed in stunning HD quality. The character design lends to the lean character side, with all of the boys being super skinny. The girls are not over sexualized, so the fan service is more geared towards cutsie cat ear moments and slice of life bits during school.
If you watched the original series when it came out, you should re-watch this in blu-ray.
Hardcore anime fans will normally jump straight to the statement that “dubs suck, subs are better”. As a general rule, many anime are much better in their original language with subs due to cultural translation issues. Jokes or statements end up getting drastically re-written in the dub process that leaves moments that would otherwise be funny seem off or out-of-place. However, that is few and far between these days with the ever-increasing number of dubs.
The voice cast for Code Geass is incredible and worth the watch in dub form, just as much as the sub itself. You will recigonze many prominent voices in the voice acting world including Johnny Yong Bosch (Lelouch), Yuri Lowenthal (Suzaku), and Spike Spencer (Rolo).
Product Quality Issues & Audio Concerns
You may have seen online that this blu-ray release was not without some issues in the QC department. The issue is that the audio on season 2 discs was done in mono. While at first the issues were not acknowledged by Funimation, they have since confirmed the issue many were having and are offering replacement discs for those who received defective product.
While the collectors edition was out of print prior to this review, it has since been put up for a pre-order on a second print run for release in December. The December release will have the audio issue resolved, according to other reports. At the time of this post we had not received confirmation of that from FUNimation yet. However, given they are sending replacement discs out to those who got the bad audio, it seems logical.
You can preorder your copy over at Right Stuf Anime.
The Technical Features & Extras – Collectors Edition
- Audio Commentary for select episodes
- Picture Drama Episode 1, Stage 3.25, Stage 4.33, Stage 6.75, Stage 8.75, Stage 9.33, Stage 9.75, Stage 22.25, 23.95,
- U.S. Voice Actor Interviews: Johnny Yong Bosch, Yuri Lowenthal, Kate Higgins, Karen Strassman
- Textless Opening Songs: ”COLORS” Ver. 1, ”COLORS” Ver. 2, ”Kaidokufunou”, ”Hitomi no Tsubasa”, Textless Closings Songs: ”COLORS ”, ”Yukyou Seishun Ka”, ”Kaidokufunou”, ”Mosaic Kakera” Ver. 1, ”Mosaic Kakera” Ver. 2
- Picture Drama: Turn 0.923, Turn 0.56, Stage 7.19, Turn 9.34, Turn 12.59, Turn 12.31, Turn 19.02, Turn 22.05, Turn 25.01
- Extra Flash: Baba Theater Redux Episodes 1-9
- Broadcast Version of Next Turn (1-24)
- Textless Opening Songs: ”O2”, ”WORLD END” Ver. 1, ”WORLD END” Ver. 2, Textless Closing Songs: ”Shiawase Neiro”, ”Waga Routashi Aku no Hana” Ver. 1, ”Waga Routashi Aku no Hana” Ver. 2
- U.S. Trailer and Trailers
- Collectors Art Cards
Overall Score: A
The series is a great add-on for any mecha fan. However, the series really shines in its smart and intelligent approach to political matters, complex character conflicts and story telling that makes you care about more than just the main few characters.
You can preorder your copy over at Right Stuf Anime.