Home Entertainment I’m 15 years late, but Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is one of the best damn anime series I’ve ever seen

I’m 15 years late, but Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is one of the best damn anime series I’ve ever seen

5 min read
32
Code Geass (1)

It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days. A hot mug of tea, a comfy couch and a cat by my side are instant ingredients for a recipe of contentment. Sprinkle some anime viewing on top of that, and we’ve got ourselves one perfectly happy blogger who can melt into his armchair and enjoy a night of Japan’s finest export with reckless abandon.

We’re also living in a fantastic age for the consumption of anime, compared to years past when hot new episodes of whatever was on the block was downloaded in all of its 360p glory, burnt onto a CD and passed around through various circles. Access to anime these days is a fundamental right, much like clean water and education. Thanks to streaming services such as CrunchyRoll, Netflix and Amazon Prime, legally watching the stuff is easier than ever before and now allows for massive binges of popular series.

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It’s also allowing me to finally catch up on series that I missed the first time around, as even in the mid 2000s there was simply too dang much content to ever consume in one lifetime without being incredibly picky. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion was one show I’d always heard about, but never really endeavoured to actually find out about and watch. I saw it pop up on my Netflix feed one day, and I decided to finally pull the trigger on it as I hopped in utterly blind to what it was all about.

Bruh, how could I have been so stupid as to wait this long to watch this masterpiece.

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I’m still kicking myself for waiting this long to give it a whirl, but I’m still in awe at what I watched unfold over two weeks as I worked my way through two seasons of the show and its dozens of episodes. If you’re at all curious, I implore you to close this tab right now and not read another word. Go watch the show, go into it as blindly as you possibly can and then come back as a dishevelled mess once you’re done, a sleep-wrecked husk of a human being talking about the themes of this series.

For those of you who have seen Code Geass, you know exactly what I’m harping on about. This is what happens when Preacher meets Gundam. This is a show about duality and the ends sadly justifying the means. It is about war and loss, about survivors and empires feuding against one another in a grand game of chess where lives are disposable and ideologies are useful tools in claiming victory on the battlefield.

It is intrigue and sacrifice, a tale of duality where you never know who to truly root for. In a world where the lines of morality are greyer than ever, I’m amazed that an anime series which regularly features giant mecha tearing each other and entire cities apart nails the reality of warfare so well that it makes Saving Private Ryan look like an overly-patriotic fanfic in comparison.

Code Geass (3)

Code Geass also benefits from the fact that it still holds on numerous design fronts, even a decade and a half later. It has style for days, an aesthetic that shines and looks wholly unique in a genre that is all too often criticised for being artistically formulaic. Lelouche, his collaborators and foes all boast a pedigree of style that has clearly been imitated in the years since Code Geass first debuted, the mecha battles have a hefty realism to the power that they bring to any showdown and the voice acting.

Man, this is sublime stuff considering that I’m about to make a blasphemous statement here: The English dub is amazeballs.

Most anime fans will spit on any English dubs of any shows given localisation, and for good reason. There have been disastrous attempts in the past, mediocre adaptations and baffling experiments that have done nothing but serve as an example of subs before dubs. Code Geass bucked that trend, with a capable cast anchored by Johnny Yong Bosch who stepped into the boots of Lelouche and led his vocal rebellion.

Code Geass (4)

This is what happens when you nail the character the first time, and having an actor accurately pull off the arrogance, scheming and tragic nature of one of the greatest schemers in all of anime is nothing short of spectacular. Bosch set a benchmark as Lelouche that I’ve seldo heard equalled in the years since then, let alone surpassed and made an outstanding series all the better. If there’s one takeaway from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, it’s that it has me pondering: What else did I miss out on in the 2000s? What other anime slipped underneath my radar while I spent way too much time waiting for Naruto and Bleach’s filler arcs to finally end?

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There’s most likely a treasure trove of anime waiting to be discovered, and knowing that I’m a few recommendations away from blindly falling down another rabbit hole has me feeling rejuvenated and more excited than the first time that I discovered the medium and its ability to push entertainment past the bleeding edge of what’s possible. I’m not just saying that you should go watch Code Geass, I’m commanding you to do so.

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This will all make sense once you’re done.

Last Updated: February 26, 2020

32 Comments

  1. I used to watch tons of anime, and then it all kinda fell by the wayside for me. The last anime I watched that I truly loved was Gurren Lagann. Whoever hasn’t seen it must definitely watch it!

    Reply

    • BradeLunner

      February 26, 2020 at 16:20

      Also was a big anime watcher, but it´s hard to sift through the high school stuff now, and I guess I have aged out a bit. I always thought Anime was supposed to be for the more mature watcher (story-wise, not those other ones) Last I watched was Onepunch and Attack on Titan. I hear good things amour 7 Deadly Sin and My Hero Academia.

      Reply

      • For the Emperor!

        February 26, 2020 at 18:47

        7 deadly sins is good. Don’t know how it sounds in original though, I watch mostly dubs 🙂

        Reply

      • D@rCF0g

        February 26, 2020 at 20:43

        Yeah. I started watching Attack on Titan, but never finished the first season, simply due to limitations on time. It’s hard to ADULT!

        Reply

      • D@rCF0g

        February 26, 2020 at 20:43

        Yeah. I started watching Attack on Titan, but never finished the first season, simply due to limitations on time. It’s hard to ADULT!

        Reply

    • jGLZA

      February 26, 2020 at 17:10

      Yeah Darryn, listen to this guy and watch Gurren Lagann next!

      Reply

      • The D

        February 26, 2020 at 17:30

        WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?
        *Points finger towards the heavens*

        Reply

  2. Kromas

    February 26, 2020 at 16:20

    Wow … Really?

    It is okay …. maybe even good but yeah you must not watch a lot of anime.

    Reply

    • Son of Banana Jim

      February 26, 2020 at 16:40

      Yeah, it’s not bad. There are a lot more interesting anime out there, but I guess if it’s your entry into anime, you couldn’t have chosen a better show.

      Reply

    • The D

      February 26, 2020 at 16:41

      What can I say? Compared to the hundreds of trash Shonen stuff out there with the goody two-shoes leads, having a show where the main protagonist is also the villain is bloody brilliant.

      Reply

      • Son of Banana Jim

        February 26, 2020 at 16:41

        I’m waiting for the day you discover Bollywood…. something tells me you’re going to be in for a huge surprise. My first Bollywood suggestion: Watch Asoka

        Reply

        • The D

          February 26, 2020 at 17:04

          Wait when did Bollywood make a Star Wars Clone Wars film?

          Reply

          • Son of Banana Jim

            February 26, 2020 at 17:54

            You’d be surprised….

        • BradeLunner

          February 26, 2020 at 17:30

          Ok Asoka isn’t bad, I’m sure it’s aged badly though

          Reply

          • Son of Banana Jim

            February 26, 2020 at 19:57

            It’s almost twenty years old – Lagaan too. Can you believe it?

        • Tbone187

          February 27, 2020 at 13:40

          Errrmmm..I thought it was just bout chicks running around trees ,family issues with serious fathers and crying daughters/mothers 😉

          Reply

      • BradeLunner

        February 26, 2020 at 17:30

        D, I’m sure you’ve seen Hellsing? Also essentials:
        Cowboy Bebop
        Samurai Champloo
        Full Metal Alchemist
        Death note
        Ruruorni kenshin
        TRIGUN

        Reply

        • The D

          February 26, 2020 at 17:30

          Seen them all my dude 🙂
          Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is a particular favourite of mine as well.

          Reply

          • Tbone187

            February 27, 2020 at 13:38

            Gungrave, Hellsing, Gantz and maybe Black Blood Brothers? I also liked Devil May Cry…Death note is my fave tho…I’m also looking for something to watch but I only do English dubz. I’m lazy like that.

      • Kromas

        February 26, 2020 at 19:53

        There is the problem. Stop watching Shonen and you will fun an absolute ton of treasured anime.

        Reply

    • Dresden

      February 28, 2020 at 05:12

  3. Yozzie

    February 26, 2020 at 16:41

    Just how?

    Reply

  4. Seeker

    February 26, 2020 at 17:55

    Code Geass is truly one of the best anime to ever exist. Can’t wait for Lelouche of the resurrection to come out.

    Reply

  5. For the Emperor!

    February 26, 2020 at 18:47

    Masterpiece indeed! I do not watch a lot of Anime though, so take that with how ever much salt you need 🙂

    Reply

  6. Chris

    February 26, 2020 at 15:55

    I recently started watching the 7 deadly sins. Loving every second so far. Will definitely give this a go when I am done with that.

    Reply

    • D@rCF0g

      February 26, 2020 at 16:20

      At least it wasn’t the Seven Mortal Sins. Heavy Ecchi stuff there!

      Reply

      • Kervyn Cloete

        February 26, 2020 at 17:30

        Well, Seven Deadly Sins is pretty ecchi as well. Actually put me off it. The supposed heroic lead constantly trying to feel up girls against their will or look up their skirts and playing it all off for a laugh was damn immature and ruined the rest, which was actually enjoyable.

        Reply

        • For the Emperor!

          February 26, 2020 at 18:47

          Did he not just feel up the one girl? For which there is a specific 3000 year old story/plot reason?

          Reply

  7. Lu

    February 27, 2020 at 08:14

    ALL HAIL BRITTANIA!
    Deffo my number one anime.
    Beautiful animation, kickass plot AND mecha? What more could one want

    Reply

  8. Lu

    February 27, 2020 at 08:14

    ALL HAIL BRITTANIA!
    Deffo my number one anime.
    Beautiful animation, kickass plot AND mecha? What more could one want

    Reply

  9. Tbone187

    February 27, 2020 at 14:14

    This sounds good..Will have a look. shots!

    Reply

  10. (((Adina)))

    June 28, 2021 at 17:35

    Code Geass is a great basic concept and I still broadly love the show, but there’s way too much domestic filler stuff, it’s not just a waste of time, it’s also really jarring with the main political plot, and detracts a lot from the realistic character dynamics.

    Despite the themes of the show, it has a real reluctance to delve into the really morally grey stuff. It never really considers whether any of the characters presented as morally sympathetic are actually bad people or at least complicit. Milly Ashford for example runs an elite school whose student body is almost entirely made up of colonial settlers. Gino Weinberg is one of the senior soldiers of what is explicitly shown to be a brutal imperialist army. Yet both are played straight as nice people who you should like. Let’s not even go down the rabbit hole of Suzaku.

    Reply

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