I have to admit it, I am no mecha fan and this seems to be a big problem since it obstructed me from watching this anime sooner. Now, admitting my mistake and lack of common sense, I will write my review of Code Geass. This is the opinion of an otaku that doesn’t like mecha and had a pretty hard time accustoming to the elongated character design, problems which seem to be the main ones that stand in the way of everyone who would, but doesn’t watch the series. Trust me, all these are either passable irritations or ignorable when you look at the big picture.
Britannia – the world’s most powerful and vastest country. With a great variety of ultra strong and flexible mechanical warriors, which are the main reason for its domination, it is the power all are afraid of. Those who are not a part of it, will become just like Japan which is attacked and defeated with almost no effort by the Britannians, becoming the 11th zone. Japanese people become known as ‘Elevens’ and everyone who doesn’t obey these laws, anyone who dares defy the ruling power and try to proclaim pro-Japanese and anti-Britannian motions is to be publically executed or otherwise severely punished. However, Japan is a proud nation with proud people and no matter the punishment there will always be an opposition and revolutionist movements. In one single day, these movements become highly aided by a strange and mysterious suddenly appeared man that calls himself Zero. With his strategic thinking and tactics, he becomes the leader of the revolutionist movement in no time. Who would think that behind the mask of an all powerful and extremely intelligent Zero stands a young and skinny high-school student named Lelouch, a former heir to the Britannian throne. Who would think that the revolution is led by the son of the Emperor himself? But he is not alone; he is invincible for another reason, the strange power of Geass given to him by C.C.
The story is filled with suspense and mystery as well as a good chess tactical thinking. No, it is not a typical mecha anime and it is not similar to Death Note in any other way but promoting thinking and intellectual mind games.
First I will wash away all the concerns about the two most popular reasons not to watch this show.
- It is Mecha and I don’t like it
Actually, the mechanical part is very well integrated into the whole plot and it is by no means different than tanks, guns or warships. The mecha are used as a way to fight and not as a means for living. Unlike with various anime of this genre, here we are a lot more focused on the psychological part of the war between the people from the opposition and the rulers of Japan than with the machinery itself.
- The character design is too odd. I wouldn’t watch something that looks like a stickman!
This is something I haven’t thought of, but I have heard it quite a lot. I know visuals can be a big problem for some, I have it too, but I think that here you can forget that in real life Lelouch and Suzaku would look like anorectic children. After all, when you get into the anime and the story, you would be already used to the character design. It is very vague to not watch such a phenomenon as Code Geass just because of the slim figures of the male characters. Moreover, the girls are very nice-looking! No problem there, is it?
Of course, there are various other reasons not to watch this anime such as: “Why do I have to watch the same thing as everyone?” or even “I like only anime for real men and not such wussies” such reasons are by no means rational. Excuse me, but I won’t even lost my time explaining why they should rather be buried deep inside your brains and not expressed aloud.
What I loved about this show is that, first, they are not afraid to kill characters. A lot of the main people in the beginning end up dead and or deprived of their ability to be alive. Also, the creators aren’t scared of letting the flow guide them and just go with it. There is truly nothing in common with Death Note’s mind games since here, there is no reason for the viewer to think that the opponents speak as though they already know what is happening, as though they have been told it has happened and not like they have somehow understood it by thinking and pondering over the situation (which fail was my main negative against Death Note).
Another thing that grabbed me as a psychology lover and passionate human researcher is that I had no problem with believing what the characters did throughout the anime. When they decide not to tell someone about something, I do actually understand their reasons. Also, if someone kills another person – I do understand the reasoning behind it too, or if they decide not to murder a specific enemy. Everything seems rational and not like the author has specifically ‘raped’ a situation to surprise the viewer instead of to follow the plotline.
The main idea of Code Geass is incredible and I loved how they incorporated such motives as: tactical games, family issues, the battle between friends and the attempt to hide your true identity… twice (once he needs to hide that he is the Heir to the throne from the Elevens and second time he needs to hide his identity as Zero). There is romance, but not enough to disgust someone who doesn’t appreciate it, there is wrath and passion, there is also fright and easy-goingness as well as pure hard-blooded action. For everyone who enjoys a greatly written story that really develops and not just happens, Code Geass is the very right choice.