The revolution begins
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 06/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Imagine a world where the Romans never conquered Britain, and Britain's natives created a vast world-spanning empire of their own. Their latest subjugation: Japan, now called Sector 11.
It's an interesting albeit unlikely idea for alternate-world scifi, and it serves as the basis for "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion." And the first few episodes of this intricate anime series take us right into the action, with only a prologue of the Britannian Empire's history as a buildup. And it doesn't take long for the capable anti-hero to get stuff moving.
Schoolboy Lelouch Lamperouge tries to help out when a convoy crashes near his motorcycle -- but then HE gets hijacked instead. As the callous Britannian military and the lethal Knightmares (hello, big mecha!) close in, Lelouch learns that he has inadvertently fallen in with a faction of Japanese freedom fighters. And he also finds that the convoy's cargo is not poison gas as the rebels thought -- but a strange green-haired girl.
But when the Britannian soldiers show up, the girl gives Lelouch the power of Geass, which forces anyone who hears him to do as he commands. Even kill themselves.
So Lelouch uses his new power to hijack one of the Knightmares, and assists the rebels (via radio) in a counterattack. But then he uses it to get close to the Britannian prince Clovis, and reveals his true identity -- a presumed-dead Britannian prince, who wants to get revenge for the murder of his mother and destroy the cruel Empire. He starts with Clovis.
But when Lelouch returns to his swank boarding school, he finds that the Japanese freedom fighters may be closer than he expected -- and that due to his Geass eye's limitations, he may have given himself away. Even worse, an old friend of his -- who has been piloting a Knightmare prototype -- has been framed for Clovis' death. Now Lelouch must find a way to save him without exposing himself...
"Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion" is one of those wonderfully complex anime stories that has almost too much plot a twenty-minute episode. The very setting is intriguing -- a conquered and humiliated Japan that has been renamed with a number, by a cruel and ancient empire that surpasses ancient Rome. Cool idea, and one that is handled well.
And the writers of this series load on plenty of plot, with lots of chess-like twists and countermoves. We've got exiled princes, mysterious powers, freedom-loving rebels, a cruel empire and a bunch of different factions with their own motives. Not to mention a royal family that seems to deal with its feuds by killing each other. Surprisingly, the story never starts feeling overstuffed.
Thankfully after two episodes of battle, explosions and confusing mecha fights, the storyline relaxes somewhat. Although it still deals with the rebels and Britannian retaliation, it's more about Lelouch's "regular" life as a schoolboy, and his friends and family. And you have some dry humor woven in there as well, such as Lelouch testing his Geass on a teacher, or Kallen interrogating Lelouch in the shower.
But "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion" does stretch its credibility occasionally. The mecha Knightmares seem oddly out-of-place in this extremely Anglo culture, and it's hard to imagine that a hardcore political rebel would be "hiding" at a posh high school.
Lelouch is a pretty intriguing protagonist as well. He's cold-blooded and lethal, but also incredibly intelligent and sometimes quite compassionate -- such as his sweet attachment to his little sister. Yet as he gets fully involved in fighting the Empire, you get the distinct impression that this anti-hero is just getting started. Most of the supporting characters -- including tough girl Kallen and Lelouch's old pal Suzaku -- aren't yet fleshed out yet, but promise to be interesting.
The first volume of the taut, twisty "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion" crams a lot of plot into just a few episodes, and it only promises to get better after this."
A perfect show on dvd.
Flame | 08/26/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Code Geass is an excellent anime tv show and I believe it is perfect on dvd.There are few things bad about Code Geass volume 1.First off the only main problem that I can see is the subtitles.The subtitles are always turned on everytime you put the dvd in so you constantly have to turn them off and I have found that on the ps2 when you turn them off with the main menu it doesn't work and you have to use the analog stick.The main problem though with the subtitles is that they are very distracting.First off the subs are a real bright green color which tends to distract from the video and they are always Italicized.Also when the subs are on if there happens to be any japanese text on the screen bandai just put the english text over the japanese text and you can still see the text between the letters.On the good side of volume 1 there is a textless opening but not a textless ending(it's on the second volume) and a short picture drama episode which explains some of lelouches past.So overall this is perfect for the english version of the episodes but if you like to watch both I would stick to watching the japanese version online."