Code Geass is an anime series created by Sunrise and aired in Japan and the rest of the World between 2006 and 2009. The characters were created by the CLAMP group, also responsible for Card Captors Sakura and Tsubasa Chronicles, but unlike those, Code Geass tells a very mature, deep, and interesting story about how a group of rebels try to bring down an evil empire called Britannia who rules almost the entire world in a semi-futuristic fashion with mechas and high-tech equipment.
That probably sounds way too cliché, but the way this series handles everything is excellent. It has a big cast of amazing characters, each episode brings a new mystery to the plot, the narrative is great, it is perfectly animated with one of the best character and environmental designs in the entire anime industry and the mix between storytelling, battles and drama is nearly perfect.
The main character is a young man called Lelouch Lamperouge who is a student in an aristocrat academy named Ashford Academy inside the “Area 11” of the imperial territory, formerly known as Japan. Lelouch is actually an imperial prince, but because of certain circumstances, he is exiled to the Area 11 along with his crippled and blind little sister called Nunnally. Because of this, he grows a deep hatred for Britannia. After the imperial military forces purge an entire sector of Tokyo and he barely survives, he gets a mysterious power called “Geass” from a beautiful green-haired girl only known as “C.C.”. This power allows him to make anyone obey his commands without question when they look at him in the eyes.
By using this power and his inhuman intelligence and strategic abilities, he manages to slowly create an armed resistance group to fight against the empire. The group gets formed of many important characters like a fellow-student girl called Kallen Koozuki, who is an excellent pilot of the Knightmares (The name the series uses to refer to the mechas on it), a highly-intelligent reporter named Diethard or a veteran hero of the Japan-Britannia war called Kyoshiro Toudou. All these characters, along with the supporters of the empire and the royal imperial family make an excellent cast of varied and interesting characters that will get tons of character-development and screen time to tell their own personal stories and make them take action in the important parts of the series.
Code Geass looks beautiful. The characters, environments, Knightmares and many locations on it are made of some of the best drawings and animations out there and are full of really pretty colors. Everything is perfectly animated, vital things like the character’s facial expressions and their gestures when talking look great and the intense battles are excellent with full of things happening at the same time and the mechas doing many anime-like things like fight with swords, fire surrealistic cannons or move at lightning-fast speeds.
The battles are some of the best out there and the series manages to avoid perfectly the clichéd situation where the main protagonist fights overpowered enemies and out of nowhere finds some power to defeat them and stand up again no matter how much damage he/she receives. In fact, Lelouch will almost never participate in a fight; the series gets to make him be the strategist moving the pieces from the background without it affecting his main protagonist status. The fighting will usually be done by one of Lelouch’s main rivals called Kururugi Susaku, another of the important protagonists, Kallen, Toudou and others of the many characters on it.
While being a series made by CLAMP, it is expected to see beautiful character designs of it and Code Geass does not disappoint, the members of the cast will usually wear many kinds of extravagant costumes like the ones seen in Card Captors Sakura and other series from them, but unlike those, the events and storytelling in Code Geass is much more mature and deep. Characters will die in sad, unfair and cruel ways, many arguments will happen when they will discuss their points of view and ideals and they will make the public sympathize with the “evil” empire’s ways or question how Lelouch and his allies are doing things sometimes.
The soundtrack is also excellent and very climatic. It adapts perfectly to what’s happening in the series at the moment and it will never get in the way of the battles or the storytelling. It is made of about 15 different songs, including the opening and ending sequences of each of its two seasons. But sound-wise, the part that shines is the voice-acting. The original Japanese-spoken version is excellent. Every voice fits in a great way with its character and unlike many anime series, there won’t be the usual little girls with annoying voices who never stop screaming non-important things or the boys who sound like girls and vice versa.
The entire series includes two seasons of about 25 episodes, each one tells a very important part of the main story besides adding vital content to some of the secondary characters’ own personal plots. The storytelling will seem a little slow sometimes but paying attention to everything that happens at all times is the key to understanding the series effectively.
Code Geass is definitely one of the best anime series out there and after watching it completely, it is more than obvious why it has gained such a huge fandom over the public in the last years. Every part of it is excellent. The character designs are beautiful and colorful, the battles are intense and fast and the narrative to tell the deep story couldn’t be better. It manages to not be short or long but to get the perfect amount of episodes required to develop everything in a good way. Everyone out there interested in watching a good animated series should definitely try their hands at it.