IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SEEN THIS SERIES THEN BE COURTEOUS TO THOSE WHO MAY HAVE NOT SEEN IT. USE THE SPOILER TAGS IF YOU'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS.
I actually WOULD have had this done on the first of the month, but I was making a parody Twitter account that will tweet once a day for a year because I apparently hate myself.
The Anime Of The Month for January, 2017 is...
A few of you probably guessed it, others likely guessed Death Note in which case fuck you Death Note is LAME!
Series Name: Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Rebellion
Creator Name: Directed by Goro Taniguchi, written by Ichiro Okouchi, character designs by CLAMP
Genre: Mecha, Drama
Air Dates: Season 1 - October, 2006 through July, 2007 / Season 2 - April, 2008 through September, 2008
Number Of Episodes: 25 in the first season, 25 in the second season AND a third season to come out this year!
DO NOT LOOK UP ANYTHING ABOUT THE UPCOMING NEW SEASON IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE SERIES OR ELSE YOU WILL SPOIL IT FOR YOURSELF IMMEDIATELY. I'M NOT KIDDING, WATCH THE SERIES FIRST BEFORE LOOKING IT UP.
Two notes here. One, I'll ONLY post the first opening and ending because the others are flooded with spoilers. Two, the opening's instrumental track is beautiful and reminds me so much of older anime intros that I adore it completely.
How I Found This Series: This is actually a bit tricky to recall. If you're not aware due to me saying it in other journals or what-have-you, I have a TERRIBLE memory. I have trouble remembering certain things that others don't, BUT on the flip side I remember things that others never would (For instance the 16 name long moniker that Vash gives himself in an episode of Trigun, which I memorized for all of time).
But I digress.
I THINK I first heard of Code Geass from my IRL friend mentioned in other AOTM posts, Josh/Choas621/ChaoSamui (I REALLY need to just ask him which name he prefers I use). This was back when the series had just come out, mind you. Toonami hadn't picked it up yet, or if they HAD then I was never aware of such at the time. Like everything else I had him download it for me when he had planned on coming over, which again I remind you this was back in 2008 or so... Or, to put it another way, the episodes of Code Geass' first season that I have are old enough that they're in 4:3 resolution, 640x448. I'm sure HD existed at the time, but the series is old enough that SD airing and production was still a thing.
Regardless, I remember this was before I took the concept of binge watching, so after finishing the first season I had to wait several months until the second season (Which is adorned with the notation "R2") was completed so that I could download it as a batch torrent. With my lack of home internet and not yet going to get online once a week, keeping up on a week to week basis wasn't an option and so I saw both seasons in two binge events that were months apart...
Again, my memory is VERY fuzzy, so I COULD have seen an episode on Toonami and loved it, then had my friend get both seasons for me and I binged them both over the course of a month. I HONESTLY can't tell you which is true at this point.
Summary: Set in an alternate reality of our own world, coincidentally enough in the year 2017 (I see what you did with that third season announcement, Sunrise). The world is divided into three superpowers; The Chinese Federation, the E.U. (Europia Union) and the Holy Empire of Britannia. In this world, Britannia's motherland is comprised of what we know as the ENTIRETY of North and South America, and in reality only allows the Chinese Federation and E.U. to exist so as not to incite a war... Though everyone knows that ultimately Britannia WILL invade them.
Case in point, Japan. In 2010, Britannia invades Japan and mercilessly sieges the country until Japan agrees to become part of Britannia. As if the unprovoked war wasn't enough, Britannia then did to Japan what it does to EVERY country they assimilate. Japan is stripped of its name and culture and government, being renamed Area 11 and the Japanese people now referred to as Elevens. Anyone claiming themselves otherwise is subject to arrest or worse, and even IF they're not claiming otherwise they are still Elevens, with their best hope being to become an honorary Britannian (Similar to changing citizenship in the world we live in).
However, things aren't even THAT nice. Britannians, as one may expect from people who've never had to fight for their homeland's right to independence, are... Well, quite frankly, racist. The Elevens and indeed anyone from an assimilated country not part of the Motherland, or "Numbers" as they're called (Due to each assimilated country being named Area __, with the blank being a number related to the order in which they were taken), are looked down upon and treated as lesser humans by many Britannians. This isn't the case for ALL Britannians, of course, but the amount that do such are a menace that skews the innocent and/or decent ones.
To make matters worse, the Elevens are particularly perturbed over the loss of their country. So much so that of all the regions Britannia has conquered, Japan STILL has the largest ad most active rebel force even seven years after losing its independence. Due to this, the Britannian civilians harbor more resentment and even fear in some cases towards the former Japanese citizens, because the Eleven rebels actively fight the Britannian government and even perform acts of terror in a hopeless struggle to regain their independence.
All this and I haven't even gotten past the first five minutes of the first episode yet.
In this world, technology has advanced to the point that humanity uses humanoid mechs to fight their wars. These mechs are known as Knightmare Frames, or more typically just as Knightmares. A Knightmare typically stands about anywhere from 15-20 feet tall (Based on their size compared to humans in the series) and have a unique design compared to other mecha series. On both legs, near the ankles or heels, a Knightmare typically has a swing arm with a wheel attached, which allows them to effectively glide/skate along the ground as opposed to needing to take actual steps. What's more, a Knightmare's upper body is actually rather bulky due to the cockpit being extroverted as opposed to concealed fully within the mech. Specifically this is upon the Knightmare's back, which means the pilot is in effect more hanging off the back of their mech even though they are "inside" it. Finally, the cockpit itself is actually a pod that is mounted into the machine's torso, and barring a sudden catastrophic explosion and/or a damaged system, the pod can be ejected from the Knightmare entirely to allow the pilot to escape without harm. While mass production Knightmares are the typical sight, there ARE rare models of Knightmare that are only piloted by elites among the elite, and those rare models are typically one-of-a-kind.
Pictured here is one of the many figures that were made of a Knightmare from the series, along with its pilot.
There also exists, in this world, a mysterious power known as Geass. While it is never FULLY explained exactly what a Geass is or where they originated, what IS explained is that a Geass resides in the eye(s) of a person who possesses the power. Furthermore, each Geass is different per the individual who possesses it, and thus the rules and potential of each Geass differs from person to person. A Geass can only be bestowed to a person via making a "contract" with certain immortal individuals, the details of which are held to an honor system AND never have to be explicitly stated to the person receiving the Geass should the bestow-er choose to withhold the information. Finally, one who is able to bestow a Geass ma do such upon as many people as they choose, so long as the contract is agreed upon by the other person.
Pictured here is an example of what a Geass looks like when the user is casting it upon someone.
NOW we enter the main character, who is conveniently pictured above, named Lelouch; A student only a few years from graduation who finds himself, as many others in history have, in the wrong place at the wrong time thanks to his personality... Or, perhaps, he was in the right place at the right time?
Characters: You guessed it, tons of characters AGAIN. Though THIS time there's a good reason for the series to have more named characters than you can shake a stick at, and it's because they're ALL actually a good addition to the story and they serve a purpose other than just filling out the screen. That said, I'm only going to cover a small amount of them here, because only a few can be talked about at length without spoiling everything... And even THEN I'm going to have to actively exclude information about some of them.
That said, I WILL be spoiling a few things that ARE explained to the viewer within the first few episodes. Don't worry though, this series has MORE enough twists and turns to keep you invested.
The main, and in fact TITLE character. Lelouch is deceptively intelligent, and I mean that "deceptively" in every possible meaning of the word. While he acts one way among most everyone, his true nature belies every bit of it in private... Though he has good reason for all of it. That said however, Lelouch seems to have a strong sense of right and wrong, or at least he has his own version of such. Like a sort of Robin Hood, Lelouch enjoys putting people in their place without direct confrontation and typically without being hostile. His introduction opens with him doing this via a game of chess with a noble, in which a significant amount of money is on the line, and based on the comments of others throughout the series this is something he does VERY often. On the way back to school from such, however, he is witness to an act of terrorism gone wrong, which he mistakes as a genuine traffic accident. Disgusted by the people who choose to stand around filming it on their phones, he instead rushes in to help the driver.
From there, however, his fate is rewritten. Through a series of events Lelouch winds up in the middle of a corrupt military operation against the terrorists, ultimately facing him with the choice of dying or making a contract with a mysterious green-haired woman whom he just watched die. He takes the more favorable option, the contract bestowing upon him the power of Geass. For Lelouch, this power is the power of complete and total obedience; By looking into the eyes of any living person, Lelouch may impose upon them a single command that they MUST carry out regardless of their own will or desire. A perfect power, he finds, for what he has hoped to accomplish ever since his youth... Destroying Britannia completely.
Lelouch's younger sister, whom Lelouch holds more dear than anyone else in existence. Nunnally is, as the picture implies, blind and unable to walk. This is entirely due to a traumatic event in her childhood where terrorists gunned down her mother in front of her, Nunnally's legs being injured beyond repair by the gunfire and the trauma leaving her unable to ever open her eyes as long as she lives. Contrary to this, however, Nunnally is the near opposite of her brother's silent hatred of the responsible parties, being overwhelmingly open and positive minded even with all she's been through. It is for her sake that Lelouch vows to accomplish his goals; For a world in which she may live peacefully without ever having to experience another tragedy again.
Childhood friend to Lelouch and Nunnally, Suzaku's family took the two siblings in following the murder of their mother. Sharing Lelouch's hatred of Britannia upon the invasion and subsequent conquering of Japan, Suzaku also made a vow of his own... However, unlike Lelouch who seeks to end Britannia through rebellion, Suzaku has chosen to join the Britannian military and eventually work his way up to a position of power within the government, thus being able to change Britannia from the inside and make the superpower into one that rules through equality and peace as opposed to subjugation and fear. However, Suzaku hides a demon from the world; A demon that is the truth of his past, and has led him to a position of thought where he constantly places himself in positions where his life is on the line. Despite this, Suzaku's sense of justice is very strong, and while he may be confused or conflicted on several things his heart is truly in the right place nearly every single time... Unfortunately, the life of a soldier and a life of kindness aren't ones that typically intersect, and Suzaku will have to learn this the hard way.
Beautiful. Mysterious. Immortal... Also she LOVES pizza. Being one of the characters you've probably seen even IF you've never watched Geass, C.C. (Pronounced as C-Two) is introduced without much explanation, and you won't GET an explanation until late in the series so don't expect much here either. Her real name is never revealed to the audience, and the earliest indications you get towards ANY of her character is simply that she is immortal and does not seem to care all that much about ANYTHING... Except pizza. This girl LOVES pizza. I'm not fucking joking. In fact I think she's got a brand deal with Pizza Hut that puts most marketed Tweets in the modern age to shame...
This is an ACTUAL screencap from the anime, not altered in any way.
But I digress. C.C., as you will find in the first episode, is virtually unkillable. This IS explained later in the series, and while it is a rather quick explanation it does answer the questions you probably have about her, so I'm just going to leave it at that. What I CAN say is that C.C. was voted, in Japan, as the best female character of the year in 2007, and I think it was a very appropriate decision.
Kallen is probably the OTHER character from Code Geass you've seen even if you've never laid eyes on the series itself. Due to translation issues with R's in Japan, it is still in contention among fans as to whether her name is Karen or Kallen, but I'm sticking with Kallen because for once the L usage seems more appropriate (Because personally I don't see "Karen" being a name that fits her). Kallen, like quite a few Elevens, is enraged at the loss of her country to Britannia. Following in the footsteps of her older brother, who presumably died during a battle long before the series' starting point, Kallen is a member of rebel forces fighting against Britannian soldiers in an effort to have Japan realized as an independent country once more. She has a fierce spirit, well-trained senses both for physical combat AND Knightmare piloting, the ability to put on an act to blend in when necessary and, let's face it, a fucking killer body. Saying too much more would be spoiling things, so I'll leave it at that.
Another character you MAY have seen outside the show itself, Shirley is bubbly and cute and only ever-so-slightly airheaded in personality. Yes, in fact, Code Geass has ZERO female characters that are simply JUST eye candy, but quite happily they're STILL very nice to look at all the same. Shirley is one of Lelouch's classmates at Ashford Academy, a Britannian girl who becomes a pivotal character on several occasions both due to her not-so-secret crush on Lelouch as well as several events in the plot which involve her directly. Even aside from those moments though, Shirley's character provides an important balance to showing Lelouch's life outside of his rebellion causes, in a way making her the catalyst to show the audience how Lelouch would be were he not actively seeking to change the world for his sister. More than just a character development tool though, Shirley ultimately features in some of the most memorable dramatic moments in the entire series; Moments SO powerful that they stayed in mind almost fully intact for the eight years since I last saw this series.
A Britannian soldier who is featured throughout the series, and probably yet another character you may have seen. Viletta's role in the series, while small on the surface, is actually rather profound as you witness the things she goes through and how she changes... Though many people will probably say that they feel her character was sidelined and "gender role-ed" in the second season because they fail to see the allegories her character conveys as events progress. I WILL agree though that she didn't get nearly enough attention in the second season. Honestly I can't say much about her due to spoilers, the only reason I added her here was because it's become a tradition of sorts for me to include my favorite character in this section, which she is (Once again I state that I have a weird thing for darker skinned girls with light colored hair; Don't question it).
Personal Opinions/Views: There is SO much to say about this series... And I'm going to say all of it that I can without spoiling anything.
This series is, very nearly, anime perfection.
No, fuck that, it's very nearly storytelling perfection.
Game Of Thrones.
If ANY of those three are something you enjoy, you will enjoy Code Geass.
If you hate any of those three, you will enjoy Code Geass.
If you hate all three, you will STILL enjoy Code Geass.
The only exception is if you have no patience and/or no heart and/or no tolerance for drama, in which case I BEG YOU to watch Code Geass anyways.
It has the same mentality as Death Note, only without all the edgy demonic overtones and sociopathic god complex "hero" bullshit.
It has the same exciting mecha battles as Gundam, only without all the whiny main characters and slow-paced character moments.
It has the same political drama and overall tension of Game Of Thrones, only without all the more complicated politics talk and overwhelming amount of main character death.
And yes, characters main or otherwise in Code Geass can and will die, and each time it happens it will be a MAJOR moment you will remember for a long time... And many of them will hurt.
Because unlike Game Of Thrones, Code Geass doesn't do it so much that you start writing people off ahead of time. It makes the deaths of the main characters MEAN something... And oftentimes, it makes it mean something at a very emotional expense.
Anime like Madoka give an implied emotional feeling because of things like innocence lost and a death being brutal or shocking in spite of the adorable characters, Code Geass uses death as a powerful storytelling device meant to force the viewer into emotional chills at the implication and emotion behind the character's passing, NOT the shock value alone of them being dead.
Even though I've said before I DON'T like darker stories, Code Geass is indeed QUITE dark. Like, we're talking "Innocent civilians gunned down in their homes for literally no good reason by a corrupt military" dark. "Children getting crushed by a mech's fist" dark. "TWO nuclear bomb equivalent events on uninvolved civilians" dark. While these moments ARE censored by the deaths being off-screen or otherwise not shown, there are MANY moments where you DO see an innocent person get riddled with bullets.
There's also at least two moments where you see uncensored boobies, so that's pretty great. Just Sayin'.
That said, actually, Code Geass is surprisingly lax in terms of fanservice. The second season has a decent amount, but the first season has virtually none and even IN the second season it's not overbearing and to be perfectly honest it's ONLY noticeable if you're already looking out for it. It's one of the few examples where it it GENUINELY fanservice, because the fans of it are the ones who make the biggest note of it. It's not in your face, it's not taking up an entire episode, and in the face of people who once again say it's unfair to women there's a hefty bit of male-character fanservice as well what with all the anime prettyboys who wear tight clothing and mech suits just as often as the girls do.
But enough comparisons and small talk, let's get on with the rest of this segment because there's A LOT I want to cover.
As I said in the early segments, I watched this series back when it was still new in 2007. To be perfectly honest I had an entirely different series in mind for this month, but as I was looking up a place to mine Malachite Ore in Skyrim I saw one of those all-to-familiar clickbait ads on the wiki page I was looking at; Something like "Code Geass fans rejoice for a third Season coming in 2017!" I remember laughing to myself. Code Geass had a definitive end, and not just definitive but a GOOD ending. Why would they be making a third season like eight years after the fact? Against better judgement, I clicked on it to see what the hell it was talking about, expecting it to be some nonsense about a recap OVA or two with updated animation and maybe a few expanded scenes.
I was taken to the actual article on CrunchyRoll that talked about an actual third season.
Holy shit, this is a real thing.
As I read the article, which was lined wall to wall with MAJOR spoilers for the original two seasons of the series, I was reminded of how terrible my memory was. The article mentions that the series director talked about the role Suzaku will play in the new series, and I LITERALLY took two full minutes just to recall who the hell Suzaku was and what he looked like.
I decided, both because I had forgotten so much of the series AND because a third season was apparently coming out, that I would cover it as my January anime and re-watch the entire series.
I started watching on Friday, December 30, 2016 at about 5pm.
I finished the last episode on January 1st, 2017 at 10pm.
In a single weekend I plowed through the whole series, start to finish...
Because I was THAT invested in it.
Whatever I took away from that series almost eight years ago, it was NOT the intended thing. I remember ENJOYING Code Geass, thinking it was GOOD. After this recent viewing, I feel like I've seen something that deserves to be immortalized in a hall of fame somewhere and forever revered as a symbol.
The characters, the voice work, the sound design, the art, the direction, the story... It's as if the planets aligned ever so slightly eight years ago, and in the short time they could send a tiny bit of mythical cosmic energy to earth it all focused right in the epicenter of the team behind Code Geass.
I'm not going to go so far as to say the series is flawless, because it DOES have several faults. The first season moves a little too fast at times and doesn't explain much, and either by comparison OR just by design the second season feels like it drags on at times and explains things in an offhanded manner. Furthermore, there are certain characters that feel like they don't get nearly enough attention even though they deserve it and yet other characters that get too much screentime and feel mildly annoying on occasion. Sometimes a character's face looks a little goofy because of their pose/position, and in at least two instances there's a moment where a character is in such emotional pain that their facial expression contorts greatly to show such, but the contortion is TOO extreme and it makes them look more like their face is melting off in a way that is almost comedic.
These are minor complaints though, as are the smaller ones that aren't even worth noting like the occasional bad line reading or animation shortcut, and if I'm honest we're talking about the entire culmination of negatives accumulating to bring the series down to MAYBE an 9 out of 10, 8.9 out of 10 at the ABSOLUTE WORST.
I'm going to take a moment to talk about something that I cherish VERY greatly in Code Geass, and it is something that fortunately Sunrise as a production company seems to agree with me on; Mecha look infinitely better when animated traditionally OR are 3D animated in such a way that they appear to be traditionally animated. If you don't know, Sunrise is the production company for nearly if not EVERY Gundam series, and aside from very rare exceptions Sunrise has kept Gundam's mecha scenes in traditional animation style even to the current day with the Iron Blooded Orphans series. There MAY be CGI elements but the art still LOOKS traditional, or that is to say it looks like it was drawn in 2D and animated by hand as opposed to being rendered in 3D and programmed to move on the screen in a certain way. 3D animation HAS come a long way, but anime has a bad tendency of trying to fuse 3D animation with 2D animation, and no matter HOW it's done it almost always looks weird, at least to me.
There are exceptions to this, of course. Initial D, for example, where the cars and scenes during a race are almost always CG while the characters and backgrounds are drawn normally, and this became a signature look OF the series itself that now feels perfectly at home. With mecha anime however, such as IGPX which I covered in the summer of last year, the CG mechs and 2D humans seem to clash when they're on-screen together, and for whatever reason the use of 3D animation seems to slightly hamper the ability to convey speed or intense action during combat. Perhaps this is because 3D models are inherently rigid and follow a skeletal system that, when purposefully ignored, makes the model look broken or wrong. As an example, a common trick in animation is to show an arm in motion as being slightly bent or curved in an arch during each frame of the animation until it slows or comes to rest. This gives the illusion of speed and motion, because to the human eye things moving at a certain speed WOULD warp almost imperceptively even though in reality they have not. With 3D animation though, the rigidity is not compromised or changed because the need for that illusion isn't there; If you need an arm to swing in five frames you can tell the model to do exactly that and the rendering process will smooth out the animation for you, unlike with traditional art where making an arm move that quickly will look unnatural and so you have to manually blur or otherwise add the implication of motion to the arm in each frame.
It's a small aesthetic difference, but for me personally it's a world of difference in terms of the feeling it gives.
Next up are the characters which I'll try to be brief with.
Simply put, they are astounding. To once again compare to Game of Thrones, the amount of characters whom you are introduced to and expected to at least passively remember in Code Geass is absurdly high... But unlike Game Of Thrones, it's actually a challenge to forget a character in Code Geass because each and every one has a unique appearance and their names are said multiple times over when they're first introduced. The repetition of their names is likely ONLY due to the heavy military-based plot ("As you command, ______" or "Right away, ______" or "Take the left side, ______!" or "______, order all troops to retreat!" etc.), but if that's the case then it is a most serendipitous unintentional audience tool for making sure you don't miss a character's name. Couple that with the aforementioned unique look of each person and it becomes an almost perfect storm to ensure that each character's name and face become unforgettable for exactly as long as you need to remember them. Not ONCE does someone return to the screen after being absent for a while and leave the viewer snapping their fingers while going
"Ohhhhh! That guy! I know him! He was the, eh.... And he was with, um... And he was trying to, ah..."
It's an instant recollection of the character as a whole, thus making it an always immediate successful reveal when someone shows up unexpectedly... And, conversely, providing an exquisitely perfect platform to introduce a character the audience HASN'T seen in a just as sudden a format, because the shock of seeing someone new is so jarring that you're COMPELLED to commit them to memory right away so that you can learn as much about them as everyone else.
Another cool thing about Code Geass is the design of the characters, which was handled almost entirely by CLAMP. If you're not in the know, CLAMP is a an all-female group in Japan who collectively are the creators of well-known series such as Chobits, Cardcaptor Sakura, Angelic Layer and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles. The director and writer for Code Geass worked closely with CLAMP in the developmental stages of the series, and CLAMP provided much of the ideas towards the development of both the characters AND the setting. Effectively, while they were not responsible for the story itself, CLAMP helped shape what Code Geass would ultimately become. Once the characters were in place, Sunrise's lead character designer converted their original versions into the final animation versions we see in the anime today, AFTER extensively studying CLAMP's artistic styling and finding a middle ground that the animation team could work with while still maintaining CLAMP's unique art style. THAT is an unfiltered example of the Japanese work ethic and also how much they respect the arts.
Now let's talk storytelling, or at least as much as we CAN without spoiling everything.
Ho. Ly. Fuck. WHERE do I even start?
Code Geass could write an entire encyclopedia on how to successfully pull off cliffhanger endings. 50 episodes and AT LEAST 40-42 of them end with a scene that leaves your eyes wide for a few seconds and/or your jaw upon the floor before making you say "Maybe just ONE more episode wouldn't hurt..." I know some people don't care for cliffhanger endings, and personally I DO NOT understand that mentality in the least, but Code Geass I think does it as perfectly as it can be done. It's almost never a moment that the episode has been leading up to, but rather a moment that either comes up BECAUSE of the events in the episode, or is otherwise a moment that is sudden and unexpected. Even WHEN the episode has been leading to the cliffhanger moment, it's typically done in a way that the moment itself HAPPENS and the "cliffhanger" is when the audience is left to hold on to the moment for a short time in order to further convey the gravity or implication. Compare it again to Game of Thrones, when a character meets their untimely demise within the last minute of an episode and before anyone has time to really react the episode suddenly cuts to the credits and leaves you there, stunned in a disbelieving silence and/or thinking to yourself "Ohhhhhh shit... What's gonna happen NOW?!"
Cliffhangers aside though, Code Geass is exceptional in its storytelling as a whole. The Britannian empire is full of corrupt officials and military leaders, racism is rampant among the citizens and the soldiers are just as skewed because the Emperor and nobles feed them such lies. On the other side of the coin though, the rebels among the Elevens are too extreme in their actions and have no problems killing Britannian soldiers and occasionally even Britannian civilians in order to prove their determination and loyalty to their cause, their sense of pride pushing them to make decisions or actions that aren't in ANYONE'S best interests simply because they want even the smallest of victories against those who oppress them. This character has too little regard for human life, that character cares entirely too much about others. This character's sense of justice is self-serving, that character's sense of justice is too lax an forgiving. This character is too cold and quick to move on, that character is too friendly and never lets anything go. It just goes on and on and on, a never-ending circle of perfect contradictions that spin and swirl around each other, creating a perfect storm where the viewer's perception of right and wrong will fluctuate in such a way that until the very end you won't quite know what to think.
And speaking of that I come now to Lelouch's personality and character, at the expense of minor spoilers AND the expense of Death Note. Once again I'll say that Death Note is utter trash compared to Code Geass. Perhaps this is JUST because I have personal reasons to hate Death Note, but I daresay that EVERYTHING Death Note tried to do, Code Geass does INFINITELY better.
Light, the main character of Death Note, is a pure sociopath with a god complex and and ego that is never-ending EVEN WHEN he's been defeated and knows it, and what's more he proves that in the end he's nothing but a heartless coward whose delusions of grandeur expanded even to his own mind, showing that he was incapable of handling even his own actions. Lelouch, on the other hand, makes Light look like the failed pre-alpha build of a game that never made it off Kickstarter while Lelouch is the game that used a similar concept and asked for no help and went on to become a sensation in the gaming world.
Lelouch's powers aren't THAT different from the Death Note's powers (In fact Lelouch's power is MORE limited since he HAS to be face-to-face), and yet Lelouch is able to do more with it IN A WORLD WHERE HIS GREATEST ENEMIES ALREADY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THE POWER IS.
When he's defeated Lelouch gets angry BUT takes it as a sign that he needs to become better or be more careful, Light gets angry and then just acts like a petulant child and becomes obsessed with making the person into an example.
Lelouch's insane level of resolve only gets broken when his sister is in danger which makes him likable because he shows compassion, Light cares for no one but himself and makes you hate his character within the first third of the series even though the viewer has to suffer through his bullshit for another 2/3 of a series afterwards.
Lelouch's love interest is a girl who becomes deeply involved in the plot THREE DIFFERENT TIMES and actually feels like she matters to the story, Light's love interest is a stalker-level ditz who fucks up more plans than Kate from Lost and is only involved because she literally blackmailed her way into the story.
Lelouch's "sidekick" is an attractive girl full of mystery who loves pizza and despite her nature ACTUALLY helps when needed, Light's "sidekick" is a badass demon who doesn't bother to explain anything and has addict-like withdrawals over apples and pretty much doesn't give a single fuck about helping out...
Actually, now that I think of it Ryuku probably WAS the best part of Death Note... But he still doesn't hold a candle to C.C.
Finally, Code Geass has a cohesive string of thought from beginning to end. The story is solid throughout the entire course of the series, it knows where it's going and it knows what it wants to do and say, even when it makes you think it DOESN'T know because suddenly NOTHING makes any goddamn sense when all you wanted was an answer (I'll just say that Season 2 is REALLY weird in the beginning, but stick with it because it'll make sense). It's a story of great victory at the expense of terrible tragedy that culminates in an ending which I have yet to find fault with, and HONESTLY wonder how in the hell they plan on making a third season that won't ruin the near-perfect ending the series already has. I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say that for all the emotional moments Code Geass has, the entirety of the final episode had me sobbing because I remembered where it was going and it made it THAT much more powerful as events played out. Even IF it's your first time watching it, you're likely to feel the tears welling up within the episode's last seven minutes. If you're not crying by the time the credits start then you either have a heart of steel OR you have no heart at all.
I'm VERY glad I decided to re-watch this series before covering it, because had I not I wouldn't be able to have said even a quarter of all this, and as it stands now even THIS isn't everything I want to say. The rest I just can't put into words OR saying anything more would be going into spoilers so deep that it would ruin the series entirely.
I stand by what I said at the start of this, and I'll continue to say it;
Code Geass may very well be perfection in anime form.
Please, go watch it.
I'm begging you.
Don't miss this experience.
I don't care what your reasoning is, if you say Code Geass isn't good then YOU. ARE. WRONG.
Seriously, if you've NEVER seen this series then go watch it right away. There's a good reason it was the biggest thing to happen to anime between 2006 and 2008, and it WASN'T because fandoms like we have today were overhyping something that was mediocre at best and never shutting up about it (In fact those people were too busy at the time fawning over Death Note, which as I already said is effectively the edgelord tryhard version of Code Geass).
This series will EASILY stay in my personal top 10 anime of all time probably as long as I live, because it's THAT good and THAT smart and THAT timeless. I re-watched all 50 episodes in THREE DAYS because it was so compelling, even though I remembered most of the major story beats. As I already stated, Code Geass is very nearly perfection.
No excuses permitted, go watch Code Geass if you haven't already. You may not feel great afterwards, but you WON'T be disappointed by the experience.
Until next time, my fellow Nippon nakama!
Hint for next month: Explain my life? What am I supposed to say? Angels and demons, demons and angels... Guns, swords, jeeps, school, boys, more boys, scratch that I want MEN, probably a few more men than that, okay maybe ALL the men and why not some girls too just for fun? Oh yeah there's also this guy with an afro who is a total buzzkill and stuff, but seriously where are the all the dudes at?
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SEEN THIS SERIES THEN BE COURTEOUS TO THOSE WHO MAY HAVE NOT SEEN IT. USE THE SPOILER TAGS IF YOU'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS.