Lelouch Lamperouge's dreams of destroying the Holy Britannian Empire are slowly crumbling. His sister, Nunnally, has been kidnapped by Schneizel el Britannia, and Suzaku Kururugi is ignoring his desperate pleas for assistance. The Black Knights are slowly losing faith in Lelouch as their leader, and the United Federation of Nations has declared global war on Britannia. Having suffered numerous betrayals, a significant loss of power, and an ever growing resentment towards Emperor Charles zi Britannia, the crippled Lelouch makes a final decision: if he can't destroy the Empire from the outside, he will take it for himself from within. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Code Geass has finally concluded retelling itself and this review covers all the movies.
Background info for those who do not know what Code Geass is: Code Geass is basically known as the “dumbest show to ever take itself seriously.” It’s essentially a story about this dude who has a Jesus inside his eyeball and this Jesus can do indeterminate things inside somewhat understandable limits and whatever it is, it all goes according to this dude’s plans until there are lots of other characters who have different (or similar) kind of Jesuses inside their eyeballs, too, but it all goes well for him anyway. To sum it up, this is keikaku doori the anime and apparently it is really smart and awesome.
To give some background info about my experience with Code Geass before we start talking about these movies specifically (just to point out that I didn’t always hate this show). Originally, I saw the first 2 seasons in my younger days when I had no basic understanding of things such as plot device, the willing suspension of disbelief or “good anime”. In fact, I believe R2 was the first anime I ever hit with a 10/10 on MAL and the entire show itself the first anime I bought on DVD. That’s right, we are talking about ancient times when blu-rays didn’t even exist yet. The show had such a huge impact on me that I had to take a six month hiatus from all anime because everything else seemed shit compared to Code Geass. Few years later when I had left the casual anime watcher stage and was already leaving the elitist circlejerk shits as well, I made the mistake of rewatching Code Geass, and thanks to my realization that 95% of all anime is shit and the rest piss, I came to see what a terrible show Code Geass is. Third time’s the charm they say, so naturally, I spend 7 hours marathoning these 3 movies, and yeah, it still sucks balls.
The entire thing has a highly dramatic start where our main character, Le Douche, is put in a nasty place where his mom dies, sister goes blind and paralyzes for life and his father quite literally tells him that “I am” the evilest person on the planet ps. fuck you, you lil kid. Good for Le Douche, he is real strong willed and smart kid, so he carries on. *boom* A timeskip rolls in and we see a truck carrying the biggest plot device known to mankind that takes a resting place inside Le Douche’s eyeball while he beats people in chess games effortlessly because he is smart and simultaneously curses people because they all are the same sheeplets and not smart, unlike Le Douche who is very.
The actual story takes place inside this royalty-ruling world which is pretty much a sad and fucked up place, so this anarchist movement is committing acts of terrorism for reasons that are still quite unclear to me – other than to be acts of terror and symbolization of opposition + dad issues. Of course, Le Douche soon makes these anarchists his minions, but the important thing to know here is that all of this is just an excuse for the military tactics where the preferred party wins every single time, and what is even further important to note is that the military side is essentially just an another excuse to create confrontation between different ideologies that our characters represent.
The entirety of Code Geass’ cast is pretty easy to sum up. Le Douche is the single biggest inspiration to modern isekai anime, our 4 harem girls pretty much the very first harem that was used in a “plot heavy” narrative as a plot element. Perhaps the most well-known series that followed Code Geass’ use of harem is Steins:Gate. Almost all of the other characters are archetypes that follow their core purpose in the storyline in the most generic sense possible. Suzaku is the single most unreasonable and braindead character I have personally seen in anime. His technician on the other hand is exactly like Orochimaru from Naruto, the main difference being how Suzaku is exponentially worse than Sasuke ever was because he is a “chaotically good” person who never questions his own purpose, motives, reasons or in generally never accepts anything that would prove against his own thoughts or actions. That’s also pretty much how all the other “politically active” youths work in this series. It’s painfully realistic and accurate recapturing of narrow-minded ideologies from characters who all would have the opposite view on things if they were 5 years older.
The entire cast is also used very shamelessly in the series. Almost every time with eyeball Jesus, but occasionally with random memorylosses that occur to escape the current “dead end” that has been reached thanks to the writer cornering himself without any planning on how the thing should play out, so lots of these “devices” are used not only to advance the story, but to use the characters itself as plot elements in the narrative. In generally, the entire story relies on characters becoming puppets controlled by the super powers of geass, much like Madara’s plan in Naruto.
The way Code Geass’ story works is also very simple. Whenever we ran out of things to do in the current setup, a new plot element or plot related event is pulled out of the author’s butt or alternatively the existing storyline is extended with a plot device that pushed the story onward in whatever direction is preferred no matter how unlikely and improbable the event itself is. Plot holes are nothing but numbers in this narrative which wants to thrills its audience by relying on the shock effect of unexpected events that are only unexpected because a) there is no foreshadowing and b) the twists simply do not make any logical sense. This applies with everything from CC’s character introduction to any operation where Le Douche pulls a new truck-sized device out of his butt because – just to quote Le Douche – “Every messiah needs to be able to provide miracles.” Cool excuse for lousy writing, bro. This is literally said in the series after another asspull and this is perhaps my favorite part of the series. Whenever I ask questions such as “how the fuck is this possible?” The answer given (if there is an answer) could always be replaced with “because Le Douche is my self-insert.” and the reason would make as much sense.
The series also terribly suffers from the Nasuverse effect where every single character lives within a small radius from each others and even the opposing party members are essentially all part of the same “big family” scheme. Majority of the series’ characters are classmates in the same school or blood relatives to Le Douche. The school settings and school grounds play enormous role in the series. As a whole, the series is an absolute mess because it tries to be a political thriller with supernatural powers while relying on military tactics while its characters are high school students and new things pop out from every direction for whatever reasons. Meanwhile the whole thing is filled with slice of life content and relationship drama. Enormous amount of irrelevant filler. Chaotic mess is what we have here.
Whenever I end up having a chat about Code Geass and how terribly written its story and characters are, an argument about its technical achievements is brought on the table. The character design is made by CLAMP and every single character looks like deformed spaghetti in the series. CLAMP characters’ are memed to be “noodle people” for their long limbs and skinny design, and Code Geass cast is a prime example of this. The mecha fights itself are lacklustery if anything. There is one highly impressive part about this show and that’s its directing which does terrific job creating atmosphere and making the whole thing entertaining to watch. There are hardly any scenes where music is not playing in the background and in generally the pacing is a mysterious combination of fast as fuck boiii and new events that don’t add anything to the overall plot. Yet, for some weird reason, it feels smooth and important while it is neither.
When it comes to enjoyment, these movies did remind me why I liked the show in my first watch and also made me better understand why I hated it on the 2nd. To talk about the differences between this and tv series, the movie adaptations clearly have less filler in them, which the tv series is absolutely filled with. The cat zero mask part is gone as well as the lesbian table rape, the blonde rescue scene, Karen trap scene and the underwater hotel entrance part, so that’s kinda cool improvement. The CC pizza obsessions plays practically no part in the series this time around. However, stuff like the cat festival was not removed of course because important addition or whatever. Good thing they didn’t out-write such important characters as the anti-love interest and mini- Le Douche. I am not saying their names because they are 100% objects in the narrative and objects don’t need names. One more thing that wasn’t abandoned are the intellectual wisdom, poetic quotes and other thought-provoking philosophies, thank god, and they, indeed, are quote-worthy:
“Le Douche, do you know why snow is white? — Because it has forgotten what color it used to be.”
“There’s a scientific reason that snow is white. Light is scattered and bounces off the ice crystals in the snow. The reflected light includes all the colors, which, together, look white.”
“My story is way cooler.”
Honestly why shit like this exists in this series is beyond me.
As a bottom line: Code Geass has a bit of everything, but the outcome is a whole lot of nothing. Except mess. There is lots of mess here. The more you think about Code Geass, the less it makes sense, but given, the same applies with most things. It’s a great series to watch before you have reached the part of giving a fuck or alternatively after you have stopped giving a fuck. I would not recommend watching this show anywhere in-between because it is pretty bad to say the least.