One year has passed since the Black Rebellion, a failed uprising against the Holy Britannian Empire led by the masked vigilante Zero, who is now missing. At a loss without their revolutionary leader, Area 11's resistance group—the Black Knights—find themselves too powerless to combat the brutality inflicted upon the Elevens by Britannia, which has increased significantly in order to crush any hope of a future revolt. Lelouch Lamperouge, having lost all memory of his double life, is living peacefully alongside his friends as a high school student at Ashford Academy. His former partner C.C., unable to accept this turn of events, takes it upon herself to remind him of his past purpose, hoping that the mastermind Zero will rise once again to finish what he started, in this thrilling conclusion to the series. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Code Geass is the dumbest show to ever take itself seriously. It is essentially a hackneyed amalgamation of clichés and overused plot devices that clumsily attempts to disguise itself as something greater. Hell, it stole Death Note’s whole shtick, and ruined it completely, before the anime version even finished airing. It blatantly stole from Evangelion, the most popular mecha anime and deconstruction there is, to make one of the weakest and most cliché mecha series ever. Both of the series Code Geass stole from were dark and had at least some depth; Code Geass, on the other hand, juxtaposes pseudo-dark scenes with light school-life harem romcom. Plot develops with a marked carelessness; people die and are inexplicably brought back to life, even though they were either shown dying or there was clearly no way they could have possibly lived. Plot armor at its finest. Oh, did you want an epic and dense war story? Too bad, instead you’re going to get aimless filler, centered on a bunch of people who probably shouldn’t even be in high school, including an episode dedicated to catching a cat. This anime is most notable for having one of the highest concentrations of plot holes and loose ends that I have ever seen.
First of all, the supernatural aspect of the story is just ridiculous and, by extension, the story is as well. This “Geass” ability is completely inconsistent. Sometimes it can be deterred with mere willpower, or even the power of kisses (no joke,) but most of the time it appears to be pretty much undefeatable. There is a Geass canceller that is developed, but it is inexplicably given to only one dude who just pops up whenever he feels like it, with a different personality every time. A weakness, where the ability becomes uncontrollable, introduces itself at one point, but this plot point is quickly dealt with and forgotten. Every Geass user has one single ability granted by their Geass, except for one guy that inexplicably has several, but I won’t even get into that. The biggest issue is that the conflict is all entirely pointless, as Lelouch’s ability allows him to give anybody a command that they must obey. Hell, it can apparently even work on God. This command only works once, but the show makes it entirely clear that he could simply give a command along the lines of “you will be my slave and do whatever I say, until I do x.” So why doesn’t he do that from the very beginning? Because the story must be milked for two seasons, I guess. The whole anime could have ended in episode 1 had Lelouch, the supposed genius, made better use of his ability. Despite this, everything that was built up in the first season is destroyed in the most anticlimactic ending I have ever seen, the show returns to square one, and we have to go through the same style of drawn-out story arc in season two.
Characterization is probably the biggest flaw in Code Geass. The characters are irritating, flat, inconsistent, contrived, and they alone destroy any possibility of this being even a decent anime. The main character, Lelouch, is good at chess and inexplicably predicts a lot of minor events a bit before they happen. This is how we know he’s a genius. He makes a lot of dumb decisions, he wastes troops and resources, he kills potential allies, he spares enemies, he gets caught in needless battles, he makes emotional decisions in battle, he accidentally orders massacres, he never makes a proper back-up plan to deal with things he knows are like to happen, and we never get any indication that he knows the first thing about proper tactics, but he somehow wins battles and he’s somehow a genius. Go figure. Luckily, all “tactics” were just replaced with boring beam spamming in the end, but I don’t know if that’s really much better. Any development in Lelouch’s character is completely contrived and comes out of nowhere. Additionally, he has the inexplicable ability to teleport; at least, that would be the only explanation for how he travels such huge distances so quickly. Suzaku, the kind-of antagonist kind-of not, is probably the dumbest anime character ever created. He is Lelouch’s friend, and if he was a Jew during the holocaust he would do his very best to argue that Hitler is actually an okay guy after all. He believes that the corrupt government should be changed from the inside. So does he get into politics to accomplish this? No, I don’t think he’s really allowed to; instead, he (inexplicably) becomes a mecha pilot for the military that is slaughtering and oppressing his people. He fails to see how this is not helping them. He also moves like a ninja, and dodges bullets, despite being quite clearly anorexic. I’m not even going to talk about their goddawful character designs, just look at some screen shots for that one. All I’ll say on that topic is this: if you’re going to act like a character is hot, then don’t make them an extraordinarily and inhumanly ugly emo anorexic with a ridiculously pointy chin. As for the other characters, there’s some annoying racist yandere lesbian who sexually assaults a table at one point. Seriously. There’s also some immortal chick with green hair who likes pizza; not much else to say about her. There’s an irritating crippled chick, with a completely inconsistent personality, who mostly serves to be useless and need constant protection. Really, for about 90% of the plot, her character just exists to get kidnapped. There’s also some redhead with big tits who loves the main character and has big tits, has a drug addict mother who we forget about for most of the series, and can inexplicably pilot mechas with her big tits and has big tits plus a pair of large breasts. She has a nice ass as well, and you should expect it or her bosom to be the main focus whenever she is in the shot. The “bad guys” are horrible characters as well; one of the main antagonists is eventually revealed to be “a good guy after all, yaaaaay” and the audience is expected to ignore all the horrific atrocities he oversaw. Do these characters sound compelling? Well, if not, then it is because they are not characters at all; they are merely inconsistent and cliché plot devices. Especially the women, who are all objectified to pretty much just get protected, cry, and provide fanservice.
Watch Code Geass if you have a weird Deus ex Machina fetish, but otherwise stay away. It does nothing new and it does nothing well. It doesn’t even fail in an interesting or original way, destroying any chance for campy “so-bad-it’s-good” appeal. As a result, I can’t think of a single positive thing to say about it, and I have no choice but to give it a 1.
1. This review covers both seasons. It would be pointless and unnecessary to write a separate review for each. Some manga series have over 40 volumes and we just write a review for them as a whole. I also fail to see why separate reviews should be written for each season when I’m just going to give each one the same score. The second season would be the inferior one due to even more plot holes, worse characters, more fanservice, and inconsistencies, but it also is more entertaining because there’s less aimless filler, just in case you were wondering. The two are both 1s though.
2. I didn’t mention Shirley or Rolo when I discussed the other characters. Why? Because I’m trying to forget those fuckers exist.
3. Among my most used words for this review were “inexplicably/inexplicable” and “inconsistency/inconsistent.” Yeah, there’s a very good reason for that.