Tag: 2006

Code Geass

Code Geass

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion anime cover art
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Cover Art

Overview

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is an anime I put off watching for far too long. I thought the title “Code Geass” sounded dumb, and the protagonist’s name “Lelouch” sounded even dumber, but I’ll admit that I was wrong about this series.

The series follows protagonist Lelouch Lamperouge, formerly Lelouch vi Britannia, as he leads an uprising against the Britannian Empire to avenge the murder of his mother and to create a world of peace for his sister. To do so, Lelouch creates the persona of Zero and starts a war to end all wars.

While the series is in the mecha genre, the focus is more on the complex political relations between a variety of warring factions and empires. There’s the Britannian Empire, the Chinese Federation, and the EU as far as “empires” go, but in Japan alone, now called Area 11, there are a variety of different rebel groups vying for power as well.

That said, despite there being a bunch of warring factions, the best part of the series is that none of them are really the good guys. While some of the groups can definitely be viewed as the “bad guys,” there are both good and bad people fighting for every side, and often times their reasons for fighting are completely justified.

There could be someone fighting on the side of what essentially amounts to slavery and oppression, and yet still be considered one of the “good guys.” At the same time, there can be a mass murderer with no regard for civilian casualties on either side, and yet they’re fighting for freedom.

This blend of ideologies makes just about every situation or decision in the anime a shade of grey rather than black or white. After completing the first season, I’m still not entirely sure who the “good guy” is, although I definitely have a preference for a particular faction as a whole.

Characters

Lelouch Lamperouge, formerly Lelouch vi Britannia, is the protagonist of the series, and yet also a villain. He’s a member of the Britannian royal family, and yet he’s leading a rebel army of Japanese against the Britannian Empire.

The Britannian Empire overall is clearly the “bad” side, and yet Lelouch is arguably more evil than anyone who fights for the Empire. He wants to destroy the Empire to avenge his mother’s assassination, and yet he doesn’t care about the Japanese whom he leads. To him, they’re just expendable soldiers.

Lelouch is kind of like if Ainz Ooal Gown from Overlord was actually a super villain instead of just playing the part of one. While he doesn’t always want to do certain actions, such as killing those who were once his friends, if that’s what needs to be done to accomplish his goal, so be it.

He also has a magical ability known as Geass in his left eye. With this power, he can command anyone to do any one thing, and they have to obey him. This results in the afflicted person’s memory being erased surrounding the time when the Geass was used on them.

The very first time he uses his Geass, it’s to order a military squad to kill themselves, showing just how ruthless he has the potential to be. Later on, he loses control of his Geass and accidentally causes mass genocide as a result, but since he’s Lelouch, he figures out a way to turn genocide to his advantage.

Suzaku Kururugi is Lelouch’s foil character. While Lelouch is a Britannian fighting for the Japanese, Suzaku is a Japanese fighting for Britannia. Despite fighting for the “bad” side, Suzaku is an arguably “good” guy because he wants to change the Empire from the inside.

He fights for the overall good of humanity rather than for himself the way Lelouch does. Suzaku and Lelouch also happen to be childhood (and current) friends, which makes the dynamic between the two all the more interesting.

Kallen Stadtfeld is half Britannian and half Japanese, which means she can fit in to either side of the war. However, she sides with the Japanese rebels and becomes Zero’s (Lelouch’s) right hand. She’s yet another foil character to both Lelouch and Suzaku by being a combination of them both.

She believes in fighting for the independence of Japan, like Lelouch is doing (although for him, the independence of Japan is just a side effect of his main goal), yet at the same time she understands Suzaku’s argument for changing the empire from the inside and knows he’s a good person.

While Lelouch and Suzaku are set in their ways and won’t give in to each other, Kallen is a bit more conflicted and doesn’t know which side is really right. In many ways, Kallen is the embodiment of the viewers because she sees both good and bad in both sides.

C.C. is the final main character of the series, but she honestly hasn’t done all that much so far, so I assume she becomes more important in the second season. She’s an immortal being of some kind who is responsible for first granting Lelouch his Geass power.

It’s implied that she’s either part of, or fighting against, an organization of others like her, but we have yet to actually find out anything substantial about that. She and her kind are also immune to Geass powers themselves. Finally, she loves pizza.

Lelouch Lamperouge from the anime Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Lelouch Lamperouge

Conclusion

Although I could have mentioned her in the character section, I want to briefly discuss one of the supporting characters here before I end. Nina Einstein is probably my most hated character in the entire series, and yet she’s one which I think is also the most relevant.

She’s a Britannian citizen who fears the Japanese above all else. Although the anime frames her as being afraid of them, in reality her fear is due to a deeply ingrained hatred of them in the form of racism. She believes that the Japanese are all murderers who want to kill her, even though they have never expressed this desire, and are actually the ones being killed themselves.

The reason I find her character so relevant is because I’ve seen this same kind of thinking in the US. Some people are so fearful of those who are different from them, that they convince themselves those who are different are an enemy trying to do them harm, even though that isn’t the case.

In the end, I kind of view Nina the same way I view Asuka in Evangelion. I hate her as a person, but as a character she’s extremely interesting to me. And although many of the characters in this series are terrible people, that’s kind of what makes it so good.

It’s so refreshing to see characters who are willing to commit horrible crimes, as strange as that sounds. In too many anime, everyone is a white knight who would never do anything wrong, and even the villains who would, don’t actually do anything which harms the heroes of the story in any real way.

Because Code Geass is such a more realistic depiction of a world ravaged by a complex war, I think it’s easily an 8/10, and the second season could even become a 9 if it continues on the same way. I just hope the series doesn’t become too supernatural with various Geass powers.

If you enjoyed this review, click the heart button down below, and while you’re down there, leave a comment to let me know your thoughts on the first season of Code Geass. You can also subscribe to my blog via email or follow me on Twitter @DoubleSama to be notified every time a new post goes live.

Loading Likes...
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Cover Art featuring Haruhi Suzumiya
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Cover Art

Overview

I just finally finished The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya yesterday (it only took me about 3 months) so that’s what we’re reviewing today. This review will not be covering the movie The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

The general plot for this anime is that there is a club known as the SOS Brigade which Haruhi Suzumiya is the captain of. The point of this club is to discover supernatural things such as aliens, people from the future, and people with psychic powers. Unbeknownst to Haruhi, three of the five members of her club fall into these categories.

Haruhi also seemingly has godlike powers that she doesn’t notice which allow her to create things just by wishing they were real, such as the aliens, people from the future, and people with psychic powers. The anime follows the misadventures that Haruhi leads the SOS Brigade on in her search for something to cure her boredom of the world.

Characters

Haruhi is the titular character, but not the protagonist. Instead, she is simply the one who gets the rest of the SOS Brigade into troubling situations through her crazy ideas. She’s a jack-of-all-trades, but not a master-of-none. In fact, she seems to be able to master anything she tries on a whim, but quickly gets bored and moves on to the next thing.

Because of her tendency to overtly show her boredom with any and all activities and people, she became an outcast of sorts, but that suits her just fine because normal people bore her anyway. One way in which her uniqueness was shown at the start of the anime is that she would wear her hair in a different style depending on the day of the week, but this quickly changes and she seems to stick with one hairstyle.

Kyon is the protagonist of the anime. He made the mistake of talking to Haruhi in class one day and has been stuck with her ever since. He is often the voice of reason within the group as the only really normal member of the SOS Brigade. Despite this, he tends to go along with Haruhi’s plans anyway even though he knows they aren’t going to end well for him.

Mikuru is from the future. She was sent back in time to observe Haruhi and make sure she doesn’t do anything that could drastically alter the future, although she has no real way of stopping this if it were to happen. Haruhi views Mikuru as her pet and often dresses her up in various outfits while in the club room.

Koizumi has psychic powers and is part of another organization for which his task is to observe Haruhi. His organization of espers believes that Haruhi is essentially a god with the ability to destroy and recreate the universe. He also occasionally needs to fix spaces of warped reality left behind when Haruhi gets emotional.

Finally, Yuki is the alien of the group. She is part of a hive mind alien being and so has knowledge of most things in the universe. She also has magic like powers and is actually able to stop things from getting out of hand with Haruhi. Despite her ability to effectively stop Haruhi’s changes to the universe, her primary job, like with the other two, is to observe.

Haruhi Suzumiya
Haruhi Suzumiya

Endless Eight

While I think Haruhi Suzumiya is considered a classic at this point, it’s also infamous for a group of episodes known as the Endless Eight. As the name suggests, there are eight of these episodes, and they do in fact feel endless.

The Endless Eight is really just one episode, but it’s been animated and voiced eight different times so each one is slightly different. The main thing you’ll notice are that they outfits of the characters change in each episode, but there are also slight differences in the dialogue and the story appears to progress in each one although it doesn’t really.

The plot of these episodes is that the SOS Brigade are stuck in and endless loop of a two-week period at the end of Summer because Haruhi has regrets about not doing something during Summer break. But the plot of these episodes isn’t really that important, the important thing here is that they made the same episode eight times in a row and got away with it.

This was when anime evolved from something that is watched to something that is experienced.

Luckily for you, I experienced the Endless Eight so you don’t have to. If you’re watching Haruhi and want to skip this torture, then just watch either episodes 1 and 8 or 1, 2, and 8. However, I do suggest watching all of them for the full experience.

Conclusion

Even with the Endless Eight, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was a good anime. I give it a 7/10 even though it wasn’t something I could binge which is why it took me so long to finish it even though it’s only 28 episodes long.

I should note that I watched it in the chronological order which mixes in the 2009 episodes with the originals from 2006. It may be a bit confusing if you watch it in the original release order. Even when the 2009 episodes were broadcast they were mixed in with the 2006 episodes in chronological order so I believe this is the way they were meant to be watched.

The second Haruhi Suzumiya OP (2009) can be viewed here.

Loading Likes...
Death Note

Death Note

Death Note DVD Cover Art featuring Light and L
Death Note DVD Cover Art

Overview

Death Note is what I would consider a “beginner” anime along with the likes of Sword Art Online. By this I mean that it’s an anime which many people watch near the beginning of their anime career. It’s fairly good in the moment, but as you watch more anime you tend to realize that it wasn’t so good after all.

I’ll admit that I liked Death Note when I first watched it, but the more I’ve thought about the show over the years, the more I notice all the problems with it. If I had rated it when I watched it for the first time, it definitely would have been rated higher than it is now.

The general plot is that a high school or college aged boy (I forget which) named Light Yagami finds a Death Note, a notebook belonging to a god of death which they use to kill humans. He then decides that since he has obtained this powerful Death Note, it’s up to him to rid the world of criminals.

Normally around this point I would include a section about the characters of the anime, but honestly there’s only one likeable character and that’s the god of death, Ryuk. Some of the other characters are acceptable, but most of them are downright annoying and infuriating. So instead, we’ll move into some spoiler territory.

Misa Amane and Rem
Misa Amane and Rem

**Spoilers Ahead**

Complaints

One of my complaints is that the characters aren’t likeable as I mentioned just prior to this so I’ll skip over that here and move on to some of the bigger issues I had with the anime. The first being the plot and all of the holes in it.

I think the biggest plot hole is that Light has the ability to kill anyone in the world by simply knowing what they look like and then writing their name in a notebook, yet it still takes under half of the episodes for the list of suspects to be narrowed down to just him. I understand that L and his “colleagues” are supposed to be super genius detectives, but there’s still no logical way for Light to get caught unless he wants to be.

The other major issue I have with the plot comes right at the beginning of the show. I don’t remember if they ever give an actual name to the organization on the anime, but the group of international police that Light’s father is a part of is essentially Interpol. So my question is why does Interpol allow some random person who nobody has ever seen and whose name is unknown to assist them in solving crimes?

They just give this unknown person valuable information regarding crimes and even continue to do so after it is revealed they’re not even an adult, but a high school or college aged child. They then proceed to give this information and access to an even younger child once the older one fails.

Conclusion

If you’re able to suspend your disbelief, then Death Note is a decent anime, but once you’ve seen enough other anime, it tends to look worse and worse. Despite this, if I think of it as a beginner anime, which I do, I give Death Note a 6/10. Sure it has issues, but it’s fairly unique if nothing else and it’s not a fantasy or shounen like many other beginner anime out there.

Loading Likes...
Bitnami