Code Geass (or Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion) is a popular Sunrise anime series from Japan. Featuring unique character designs by Clamp, the film was directed by Gor Taniguchi and written by Ichir kouchi. In this parallel history, banished prince Lelouch vi Britannia meets the mysterious C.C., who grants him the “power of absolute obedience.” In a series of mecha fights, he leads a rebellion against the Holy Britannian Empire using his Geass superpower.
MBS aired episodes of Code Geass in Japan from October 2006 through July 2007. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 aired on MBS and TBS simultaneously from April to September of 2008. Several manga and light novels have also been adapted from the series, with the former featuring reimaginings of events from the television program.
How Does Code Geass’s Story Unfold?
Lelouch vi Britannia, son of Emperor Charles zi Britannia and his royal consort Marianne vi Britannia, is an exiled Britannian prince. Nunnally vi Britannia is Lelouch’s sister. Nunnally lost her sight and her ability to walk after witnessing her sister Marianne’s horrible death in the castle. As Lelouch sees it, his father abandoned his mother and sister by turning a blind eye to their mother’s murder and by failing to pursue their mother’s killer.
In Japan, Lelouch and Nunnally play a political role to reassure the authorities. Following the relocation of the siblings to Japan, Britannia launches an attack, which ultimately results in Japan’s loss. In front of the crumbling remains of Japan, Lelouch promises his Japanese friend Suzaku Kururugi that he will destroy Britain as an act of vengeance against his father.
Lelouch, now known as Lelouch Lamperouge, has been a student at Ashford Academy for seven years. After being mixed up in a terrorist incident, Lelouch meets a strange girl named C.C. (C2) who saves his life by entering into a contract with him and bestowing upon him the ability to use Geass, thereby protecting him from the Britannian Royal Guard. This ability, sometimes known as the “Power of Kings,” gives him the ability to coerce others to do his bidding, whether it be to live, fight, or die for him.
This ability has a one-time use and can only be transmitted through direct eye contact. Lelouch intends to use his Geass to find his mother’s murderers, destroy the Britannian Empire, and build a better world where Nunnally can live blissfully. As Zero, the masked vigilante and commander of the resistance movement known as The Black Knights, Lelouch gained popularity and support among Japanese citizens on his route to leading a rebellion against the British.
However, this does not come without a cost. Caught up in a fight where he does not know the full scope of his powers, Lelouch will have to battle Suzaku, a resistance member named Kallen Stadtfeld, the strongest army in the world, his half-siblings, and many others in a battle that will forever change the world.
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Code Geass Light Novels
Another adaptation of Code Geass (simply titled “Code Geass”) into novel form is a set of light novels. Originally published in serial form in Kadokawa Shoten’s The Sneaker magazine the stories are broken up into two parts for each season. The first series, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, had five volumes.
The first, called volume 0, came out in Japan on April 28, 2007 and the last on March 1, 2008. Bandai Visual has released all five volumes of the first novel series in the English language. Between November 2008 and February 23, 2010, the first and last volumes were made available to the public. Lelouch and his sister, Nunnally Lamperouge, were taken to Japan as political prisoners, and the first novel serves as a prologue, detailing how Lelouch befriended Suzaku Kururugi during this time.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 is the sequel to the original novel series, and it follows Lelouch as he fights the Britannian Empire in season two of the anime. The first volume was released on June 1, 2008, and on March 1, 2009 the fourth.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Red Tracks, a one-volume side story novel, was released in Japan on April 1, 2008. It centers on the life of teenage girl Kallen Stadtfeld who becomes a soldier from the group the Black Knights under Lelouch’s leadership to defeat Britannia. On January 3, 2012, the English publication of the light novel adaptation of R2 was discontinued as part of Bandai Entertainment’s planned restructuring which had been disclosed the day before.
Code Geass Critical Reaction
Code Geass has achieved immense popularity and gained critical acclaim since its release. Anime News Network columnist Todd Ciolek says that Code Geass’s rising popularity is because “the series hitting every important fan sector.” For “general-interest fans,” Code Geass has a “complex cast of characters and a fast-paced story, told with Goro Taniguchi’s capable direction.” For “yaoi-buying female fans,” it has “pretty and just a little broken heroes.”
According to Carl Kimlinger, the show “has the skill and energy to carry viewers over the top with it, where they can spend a pleasurable few hours basking in its melodramatic charms.” He also notes that Taniguchi “executes the excesses of his series with care, skillfully intercutting events as Lelouch’s plans come together (or fall apart) and using kinetic mecha combat.”
Dallas Marshall of T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews gave the show 4 out of 5 stars and wrote, “A dramatic piece of science fiction that has a lot going for it in terms of action and visuals but tends to go overboard with its emotionalism. If this minor flaw can be overlooked, there is an epic story to be told with a rather intriguing main character at the helm. Take away one star if that minor ‘flaw’ cannot be ignored.”
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