-Warning: Series Spoilers ahead!-
The movie begins on the anniversary of LeLouch’s assassination by Zero. Many of the Sector Eleven resistance members have grown into the new world order, they don’t understand was engineered by LeLouch. The world under the United Federation of Nations have achieved levels of unprecedented peace. Order is overturned however, as Nunnally and Suzaku, under the guise of Zero, are attacked and captured by unknown assailants while on a peace mission to Zilkistan. Meanwhile, C.C (C2) continues on an unknown mission with a now mentally empty LeLouch having somehow been brought back after his assassination at the hands of Suzaku, attempting to bring him back to his past self. But these arid sands hide a deep secret, for Zilkistan is known as the Land of Warriors, and their army unbeatable. Can the Chess Grand Master LeLouch formulate the perfect plan to rescue his sister?
A Decade and Change later
So the first big issue this movie suffers has to be the fact that the series happened so long ago. Granted, you can see it on streaming websites, but that’s half the fun to see how much you can remember of the show. Granted, I went in with an advantage having seen it three years ago in anticipation of Akito the Exiled. Still, even with that the only people I could really remember off the top of my head were LeLouch—of course– and C2. Even his friends only summoned up vague memories of who they were in the show. So definitely as a barrier to entry, a quick rewatch of a few of the early episodes and some of the later ones might be necessary before going to see the movie.
A common problem that many of the earlier anime series have coming back to their shows is that the original voice talent isn’t available any longer. Like with the Slayer’s series, Daniel Moo is sadly missing from reworking his role as Xellos. That’s not the case with this series though. All of the original voices return like Johnny Yong Bosch and Karen Strassman return to LeLouch and Kallen. And even after such a long time, their voices haven’t changed and are still immediately recognizable from memory. In fact according to Karen Strassman, apparently her latest voice work in video games has actually brought an even more smokey quality to Kallen. So in an industry where voice talent can be swapped out after such a long time, it’s such a great experience that they brought so much talent back together for this project.
Code Geass to me has always had a unique kind of art style. A strange transition between the early 90’s style and what can be considered the more modern style. So after a decade where the style has turned into what it is now, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the art style changed between the show and the movie. Just look at Slayers again. While it didn’t completely change from the original art style, (and no, Lena’s ever changing shoulder guards) it did take on the more common rounded face look of the modern design. I was curious how recognizable the show was going to be, but instead I was pleasantly surprised. It had managed to maintain the original art style, just with better color than what I remembered, and definitely from the few pictures that I could find on the net to compare the new and old images to. Really a great way to let old fans ease back into a classic favorite.
The movie does a fairly good job of balancing characters interacting with each other, and attempting to kill each other. It leans heavily towards the action sequences, but that only makes sense given that the series has giant fighting robots. Where some movies will use dialogue as ways to just carry the segments without action to the next bloodbath. Code Geass thankfully doesn’t fall into this trap, the dialogue between action sequence as well as the dialogue that comes up during. It’s odd to see something balance the two different styles so well that they actually enhance each other rather than hinder or imbalance one over the other.
I found myself slowly getting back into the film and the alternate universe of Earth that it created. Unfortunately, it reminded me a little too much of how the second season of the show eventually turned out. I don’t want to spoil the show itself and to an extent the movie as well, but it just put me off. At least in the beginning it did, before it reverted to the good days of the first season. It was a fun watch and a reminder of an early age involving giant robots trying to blast each other apart with lasers…good times.
If you’re interested in seeing the movie for yourself, it’s coming to select theaters this coming weekend. On May 5th you can see the series in original Japanese. But if that’s not your speed, on both the 7th and 8th the dub will be showing at some theaters. You’ll need to check your local theater to see if it’s playing near you. Until next time guys.