Anime Review: Code Geass: The Lelouch Rebellion
It’s taken me a couple of months to process “Code Geass: The Lelouch Rebellion.” That’s because it was just plain shocking. It’s not that anything particularly shocking in a weird way happens, it’s more like nothing goes as expected and I can’t say whether Lelouch is a hero or a villain. This story takes place in the future when the Empire of Britannia (looks like the North American continent is taken over by Britain — or maybe it’s an alternate reality in which the Americans lost the war for Independence. It’s not really clear and it doesn’t matter) has taken over most of the world, including Japan. Japan is stripped of its name and is referred to as “territory 11”. The former Japanese, now call 11’s, have become 2nd class citizens in their own country. Small terrorist groups fight a pointless battle to reclaim Japan, but faction after faction is crushed by the huge Britannian Army. Enter Lelouch who goes to an elite school for Britannians. Lelouch is Britannian, but has no love for Britannia. One day he gets mixed up in a terrorist plot and saves a girl who gives him the power of “Geass.” His “Geass” is absolute order, and when used upon a person, that person is absolutely compelled to follow his order.
Lelouch decides to use this power to destroy Britannia. To start, he disguises himself and takes the leadership of one of the Japanese terrorist factions. Lelouch has a childhood friend, the son of the former Prime Minister of Japan, named Suzaku, who has decided that he wants to change Britannia from the inside by becoming an honorary citizen of Britannia, a position that doesn’t grant the full rights of a Britannian, but it is better than being an 11. Suzuku, in every way, represents the good soldier, while Lelouch is a renegade. Stuff happens and Lelouch is forced to make some moral decisions and face the consequences of his decisions. How Lelouch conducts himself is the most interesting part of the show. We see the wheels turning in his head and we understand why he makes most of his decisions and are shocked at the realistic consequences of his decisions. This show holds no punches with the consequences, and that is why it’s so shocking.
My husband and I were riveted to this show through all 26 episodes, wondering what was going to happen next and how Lelouch was going to get out of the tough situations presented. Lelouch is definitely a controversial character and if this were reality, his personality and actions would make for lengthy scholarly study and debate. 5/5 for another great anime series. I can’t wait until season 2. And oh, BTW, it’s a gundam anime!
This is also running as a manga series in “Asuka” magazine.