Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion [2006-2007] Season 1. 25 Episodes

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Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (Code Geass) is a well paced, high-quality endeavor.  It does well in the action and design categories, and okay in the the emotional content and plot categories.

Code Geass is a serious show dealing with serious political issues and war.  We did not get too many warm fuzzies.  Characters will die, especially in and around the season finale.  The producers also took their own show a little too seriously.  Each episode’s recap/intro is accompanied by narration which is obtuse, self-important and liberally throws around deep sounding phrases like “atoning for sin”.

Will these two starcrossed lovers make it?  Or will one shoot the other in the stomach?

Will these two starcrossed lovers make it? Or will one shoot the other in the stomach?

That aside the show beings a lot to the table.  The action has been tactically thought out and that is communicated clearly to the viewer.  The mechs are fun to watch and engage in interesting ways.  Part of the technology of Code Geass involves offense grappling hooks.  They seem strange for a moment but you get used to them fast enough.  Diversity in the mech category usually comes in the “prototype” variety.  Yup, another super-mech trashing the regular ones.

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We thought a key strength of this series was the long lanky character design.  (You will be hard pressed to find a single overweight person in the entire series.)  You get used to it quickly, and before you know it you like it.  Then you start to relish each obviously crafted shot of good looking characters in fitted outfits.  They actually got better at this as the season progressed.

Well that subtitle sure seems to fit what I just said.

Cecile:  Well that subtitle says it all.

Where Code Geass did not fare as well was in the area of story and plot.  The half hour episodes held up well enough.  However the overall progression of interconnected characters, factions, government entities and desires often wove a web over such a wide area that it was too thin to walk upon.  “Okay, this one is a duke; this one a half-sister related to that mother who was killed by… who?”

"Sir, I am picking up some dangling plot questions."  "Good, stay on them."

“Sir, I am picking up some dangling plot questions.” “Good, stay on them.  And by the way, that outfit looks smashing on you.”

Okay, here is our patented one sentence synopsis for Code Geass – and if you have watched this show you know how hard this is:  In a future world dominated by a new British empire a wronged young royal takes the guise of a mysterious rebel leader and using a special new power to control minds unites the freedom fighters in Japan against their imperial oppressors so that he may eventually destroy the empire and avenge his mother.  Whew.

Code Geass may start a new unexpected trend of putting capes on mechs.

Code Geass may start a new unexpected trend of putting capes on mechs.

Unfortunately the show splits your viewer allegiance on many fronts.  This may be the its biggest deficit.  Who you root for gets very muddy.  You want to root for the wronged royal “Zero” who is the star, but he skirts along the dark side too much.  You could root for the earnest true hearted friend – but he is fighting against the rebels for the bad empire.

The enigmatic Zero.  Also the ruthless Zero, and occasionally the soft-hearted Zero.

The enigmatic Zero. Also the ruthless Zero, and occasionally the soft-hearted Zero.

They also cause this splitting in regards to the romances.  They set up many potential couples that you may indeed want to see unite, but in the end only a few of the many possibilities will make it, and that leads to disappointment.  Some characters are set up with misplaced emotions.  Some are enmeshed in love triangles… ah squares… I mean pentagons actually.  The emotional quandaries for viewers detract from the whole.

"Would I give you an amorous look like this if I didn't mean it?"

C.C.:  “Would I give you an amorous look like this if I didn’t mean it?”

Despite the complex plot and multiple characters which take extra concentration to follow, and the questions you think could have been answered in 25 episodes but are not, Code Geass is definitely worth watching.  We would have preferred more of a season ending – because it leaves you in a unhappy place.  However they knew they were coming back for season 2.

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Check out our take on Code Geass season two.

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20 thoughts on “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion [2006-2007] Season 1. 25 Episodes

    • Hey thanks for noticing and the nice comment!

      I try to keep my word count in the 500’s. I take the extra time to squeeze it so my readers do not have to waste their time.

  1. Hi, I see you have the same theme design as me.

    Anyway, about the mecha stuff in Code Geass, I still am of teh opinion that nothing beats the Gundams. The robot designs in Code Geass look like metal scraps joined together, with the exception of Lancelot of course, which I think has a pretty neat design.

    • Good point about the Lancelot. Gundam’s bread and butter is the mecha. They come first in that show and by many measures are probably better than those in Geass as you say.

      Geass is more about the machinations, plots and people and less about the mechs. Although I did feel the action was well planned out tactically for a show of this nature.

  2. Yeah, Code Geass prides itself in the tactics, especially those employed by the genius Lelouch.

  3. I definitely agree with you about the complexity of the plot. I’m drawn to these kinds of complex plots, but I think that’s one of the reasons why Code Geass is such a brilliant show to watch.

  4. Code Geass: Amazing Show,and shouldn’t of been left like that with so many questions unanswered. Also, should come on adult swim more than once a week….

    • Fortress Takes will weigh in on Code Geass R2, their second season. We agree though, that arc driven shows should not leave the final resolution to some half baked OVA. We have seen that happen too much. *COUGH* Nadesico *cough*

    • We may agree with you on that point. Perhaps it was the subject matter. Season one just had a more uplifting tone, gave us more to work with, and was just generally more fun. R2’s twisting pile of morose and frayed plot threads made for few laughs.

      Still, thank you for reading both. We trust you still got a smirk or two out of R2. Hey it was free! 😉

      PS – Thanks for the feedback We made another pass at lightening up some of the captions for the R2 take. We thought they should be more funny too.

  5. love code geass. love complex plots, even though sometimes they’re like um, WHAT? also love this summary. i though it was precise, to the point, and I agreed with it too.

    • Hey thanks. Some people do not realize how hard it can be to keep a take like this at 599 words or less. We used just about every last one and are gratified you appreciate it.

      We had more of those, “um WHAT?” moments in Code Geass R2 than we did in the first season. Maybe you feel like checking it out to see if we are all on the same page there.

      We liked Geass in general, but it does not seem to sit as well with us as time goes on, especially after the over abundant second season twists. Nice character design though.

  6. I guess I should check this show out. I almost started watching it a couple years ago, but quit because I had just finished Death Note and wasn’t ready for something that involved right away.
    Do you think I could watch this while doing the dishes? haha.

  7. This show was great up until the stupid, STUPID mind control, massacre, and death of Euphemia (one of the few sympathetic people in the show), after which we got a rushed finale that resolved almost nothing, and a second season which….well, everyone ought to know what was wrong with the second season by now.

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