Code Geass Beginner's GuideGreetings, Anime Vice community! I've read several of the Beginner's Guides here, and I've been interested in writing one myself. The issue was choosing what series to write about. There are a number of series I could write about, but they will have to wait their turn.
There have been guides for many of the major series most of you may of heard about, the Naruto Guide, the One Piece Guide, & the Evangelion Guide. Most of anime can be synthesized to just simply entertainment, but a rare few can be called an experience. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion isn't just a show to watch. It's an experience. You may remember when I last discussed this series in my article We're Going To War. It first came to air back in October of 2006, created by the series director, Goro Taniguchi; and the main writer, Ichirou Ohkouchi. It was produced by Sunrise, the company that brought us the mech staple, Gundam, and the lesser known Scryed.
What You Need to Know Code Geass originated as an anime series, but has had several manga spin-offs. By American standards it is rated TV-MA, each episode averages at about 24 minutes long, it has a total of 50 episodes, including both seasons; and 4 separate mangas. It's a wartime drama series due to the how graphic some of the violence can be. It truly earned it's Mature rating. This series is not at all shy about showing the horrors of genocide and discrimination. Now, it's not what I would call Schindler's List graphic, but it gets close. More often in animes, when they show dead bodies, they always hide eyes or just never show you the face. Code Geass is not delicate about showing you the faces of the dead. Quite a few times the imagery got to me.
It's rare for me to watch something that unearths an entire gamut of emotions. I was shocked, inspired, moved, enraged, felt sorrow, and thrills. That's from episode one, and all the way to the finale of the second season. If I was to try and describe this this to the uninitiated, then I would compare this to the graphic novel/movie V for Vendetta. Both involve a masked man who ignites and inspires a violent rebellion against an empire, but has an all too personal motive behind his actions.
That's not to say it's all heavy drama. There is plenty of touching story, some good humor, and fanservice thrown in now and again. If you are looking for some wild mech fights. This is going to grab you, and just get wilder as they become more powerful.
Plot of the Rebellion On the date of August 10 in the year of 2010 of the Imperial Calendar, the Holy Empire of Britannia invaded the neutral nation of Japan in the pursuit of the precious mineral fuel known as Sakuradite. Using the military force called the Knightmare Frames, they were able to drastically overpower the outdated tanks, and the government fell. As with all nations Britannia controls, Japan was stripped of it's name and retitled as Area 11, and the people were forever designated Elevens. Even within their own nation, they were now just numbers. No freedom, no liberties, and no rights. Their best hope for freedom would not appear until seven years later in the most unlikely source. A cast-away prince of Britannia is granted unto him by a mystical power by an immortal witch, and with the army he creates. He will bring the Britannian world power to it's knees and eradicate it. The only threat that stands in his way is a childhood friend who is an Eleven who wishes to change Britannia from within.
Season 1 - Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュ, Kōde Giasu: Hangyaku no Ruruushu)The first season was titled Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. Lelouch Lamperougelived an average life as a student of the prestigious Ashford Academy with his little sisterNunnally. She was crippled and blinded in the assassination of their mother, Marianne vi Britannia. Lelouch could no longer stand his father's social Darwinism that treats people such as his little sister as useless. He forsakes any title to the throne, and the emperor sends them both away to Japan as political bargaining chips before the war. After the invasion, they are officially listed among the dead, but survived and live in secret under another name.
C.C.) who gives Lelouch the power called Geass. With this he can command the absolute loyalty of all who gazed into his eyes. Now gifted with a power to oppose the Empire, Lelouch gathers the remaining strength left in Area 11 to form his very own rebellion called the Black Knights. His most powerful warrior is a Japanese-Britannian half blood girl, named Kallen Kozuki, who hates all things Britannian. Along with his army, the Geass, and his tactical genius, Lelouch plans to utterly obliterate the Britannian Empire, that is led by his father; find the truth behind the murder of his mother, and build a new world where Nunnally can live in piece. The only force standing in the way of his dream is Lelouch's childhood friend Suzaku , the son of the former Japanese Prime Minister. He has joined Britannia and is determined to change it from within.
The first season did occasionally have some fully exposed breasts and some sexual content. No conveniently placed steam floating around. Though, when the first season aired on the US programming [adult swim], they frequently blurred images of cleavage in some instances. The DVDs, however, are completely unedited.
Season 2 - Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 (コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュ R2, Kōde Giasu: Hangyaku no Lelouch R2)The second season was titled Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2. The first Black Rebellion has failed and Zero was listed as executed. Britannia is as powerful as it ever was. One year has past since then. The Black Knights are either in jail, on the run, or have gained asylum in other nations. Still, Lelouch is back in his life at Ashford Academy with a younger brother named Rolo Lamperouge, but all of this is another lie he has been living. His world and everything he has ever loved was ripped from his mind after Suzaku captured him and turned him other to his own father, Charles di Britannia. In return, Suzaku was granted a position among the elite of the Britannian Army, theKnights of the Round. It's up to C.C. and Kallen to awaken Lelouch the demon to reignite the war and lead the revived Black Knights to victory.
Lelouch had been put out as bait by his father to capture C.C. for some unknown plot. Now, Lelouch not only must lead another rebellion. He also has to hide that his memories have been returned. Nunnally has been taken and replaced with Rolo as a Geass powered watchdog. If he is exposed, it could mean his sister's death. In this new war, Lelouch will drive toward his goal, rebuild the Black Knights larger than ever imagined, discover the truth of his mother's death, and become the true creator and destroyer of worlds. Though, he will pay a steep price for all of it.
The second season season aired at an earlier time in Japan than the first season. Due to this change the second season had no real exposed nudity or sexual content. The "R2" in the title stands for "Second Rebellion".
A Third Season or Side Story?A third anime season was announced, but the details of it are yet unclear and no release date has been given. It's called Code Geass GAIDEN: The Ruined Land of Akito.
Main Cast The cast design for the anime Code Geass was done by the famous design team known as CLAMP.
Lelouch Lamperouge(ルルーシュ・ランペルージ, Ruruushu Ranperuuji) was originally born as Lelouch vi Britannia. The cast away prince of the Britannian Emperor, Charles di Britannia. Both he and his little sister Nunnally were sent away to Japan by their father before the start of the war, and shortly after the assassination of their mother Marianne . Despite being a prince, Lelouch absolutely despises the Empire for how it treats people such as his crippled and blind sister. He is one who was born of royal blood, but hates royalty and nobility.
Though Lelouch is a tactical genius, he is physically weak. Normally, his personality comes off as arrogant and self-righteous to those who first meet him. He has a deep kindness that few experience other than his little sister.
He is given a mysterious power called Geass. With his natural tactical abilities and this power to command, he creates his own army called the Black Knights and leads them as the masked hero for justice, Zero.
In an interview, Goro Taniguchi talked about a desire to to create a different kind of anime protagonist. More often, the heroes are rather Nietzchean in both body and mind. Though Lelouch may be a tactical genius. His body is physically weak and he's easily exhausted. This is a source of some rather funny moments.
Much of C.C.'s past a mystery, even to herself. Though, she appears to have a connection to Lelouch, before she gave him the Geass; and to his mother Marianne. Frequently, she is seen talking to no one.
C.C.'s name is the most commonly misspelled. Since her name is pronounced as if you were actually saying "C-2". She is also a ravenous consumer of pizza. This earned her the fan made nickname of "Pizza Butt".
Kallen Kozukimother and elder brother Naoto Kozuki. After the war, her mother gave up her rights to Kallen's father to try and make a better life for her daughter. As Kallen lived under the name Kallen Stadtfeld (カレン・シュタットフェルト, karen shutattoferuto) and attends the prestigious Ashford Academy. Kallen pretends she was a sickly, weak girl in order to draw attention away from herself and to explain her frequent absences. In reality, she secretly worked with Japanese rebels that were originally led by her brother but he was killed. She hates everything Britannian for the death of her brother and how their war destroyed her happy life with her mother.
As a member of the Black Knights, Kallen is their ace pilot of the powerful Knightmare Frame called the Guren Mk-II and Zero's most loyal follower. Though, she originally didn't know that Lelouch, her fellow classmate, is actually Zero. She discovers at the end of the first season.
In the first season. Kallen's journey was mostly about the fulfillment of her brother's dream. The second season had her on a journey of discovering the truth behind Lelouch's character. Due to her rather buxom body. She often serves as some of the major source of fan service shots.
As a member of the Britannian Empire, Suzaku was given the ability to pilot Britannia's most advanced Knightmare Frame called the Lancelot. He quickly proved to be an ace pilot, and fights against the Black Knights, who he sees as terrorist. He is completely unaware that Lelouch is actually their leader, Zero; and Lelouch also doesn't know that Suzaku is the pilot of the Lancelot.
Despite all his claims of working toward justice and changing Britannia. His real goal has been to bring about his own death as a self-imposed punishment for murdering his own father. To prevent Suzaku's suicidal tendencies, Lelouch is forced to cast a Geass on him to force him self to live when he thinks he is near death.
The GeassGeass. Sometimes referred to as the Power of Kings (王の力 , Ō no Chikara). The name is derived from a magical form of contract in Irish mythology called a "geas" or "geis". Through much of the first season, the Geass is never completely explained, and origin is unknown.
This power is always present in the user's eyes, and is acquired by a person who holds the Code. These people are immortals that can survive any form of physical damage and recover. They are identified by the red crescent design that can be found on their bodies. Due to their immortality, they had once been seen as witches many centuries ago. These immortals are granted a natural immunity to all Geass powers.
The form of the Geass power and it's limitations are not uniformed. It more appears that the power of the Geass is dictated by what the user deepest desire is at the time the power is granted.
KnightmaresThe Knightmare Frames (KMF) are the major military power in the Code Geass universe. They were created and developed originally by the Britannian Empire. It was with these automaton tanks that Britannia conquered over two-thirds of the world. The mobility of these mechs is what attributes to their supremacy in warfare.
Unlike the mobile suit Gundams of previous Sunrise productions, where the cockpit was built into the mech. The Knightmare Frames have a cockpit attached to the rear of the robotics. In this way, they are more similar to a remotely controlled tank than a mobile suit. As the Knightmares were developed, a basic design aesthetic becomes more present. The KMFs of Britannia began to look more similar to knights in armor, but the Black Knights began to look more demonic.
Lancelot vs. Guren Mk-II When the series became, all the Knightmares were of rather base design and lacked individuality, other than a varying paint job. As the anime progressed, more and more models were introduced. Though some were mass produced models with minor customized. Later Frames were highly customized and individualized.
Two of the more famous Knightmare Frames are the Lancelot and the Guren Mk-II. The Lancelot is the white knight of the Britannian Army and piloted by Suzaku Kururugi. It was created by Lloyd Asplund and Cecile Croomy. The Guren Mk-II is the first completely Japanese constructed Knightmare Frames and was given to the Black Knights. The pilot is Kallen Kozuki, and it was designed and created by the East-Indian cybernetics specialist, Rakshata Chawla. Both the Guren and the Lancelot have three advancements in generation throughout both seasons.
- Lancelot Conquista
- Lancelot Albion
- Guren Mk-II
- Guren Flight-Enabed
- Guren S.E.I.T.E.N.
Side Material & Spin-offs
Picture Dramas The picture drama were special materials that were added as bonuses to the DVDs. They are canon material to the series and were still illustrated images that had light animation. They were similar to a motion comic. The voice acting was done by the original cast. They would often fill in gaps between stories and at times add surprising back story to charters. Most were intended to be funny, but a few were rather serious.
Picture Drama Season 1
Picture Drama Season 2
Audio DramasThe audio drama were similar to the picture dramas, but were exclusive to the character CDs. These were audio only CDs where a voice actor for a character would sing a song that reflected on the character's experience in the season. Included were also audio skits in the tracks that were voiced by the cast in a way similar to radio shows. The first season expanded on the canon in the same way the picture dramas did, but the most of the second season was more goofy scenarios and were just for laughs.
Manga Several non-canon spin-off mangas were published, but one was more recently announced to be an official story. It's set as a prequel to the original Code Geass story and follows C.C. in Edo period Japan and a youth named Renya.
Though this series is mostly based on the anime. It does not share much of the canon material and liberties were taken with certain story points. One of the largest difference is the lack of Knightmares for this series.
-Code Geass: Nightmare for Nunnally-
This has been one of the more popular of the mangs published. It's an original story that is a twist on the story. In this version, Nunnally is given the power of a Geass when she goes out to try and find her brother.
-Code Geass: Suzaku of the Counterattack-
I never really followed this series since I've never been a big fan of Suzaku. I do know that he plays the role of the major protagonist. The largest changes is that the Lancelot is not a Knightmare, but a suit of armor. Also, the motives for why Suzaku murdered his father were changed to make him appear more heroic.
-Code Geass Tales of the Alternate Shogunate-
Information on this series is a bit hard to find. Most of what is known is that the story takes place in ancient Japan. The Knightmares in this series are summoned monsters.
Video GamesSeveral video games have been produced for the Japanese market, but none have been released to the US in any form other than imports.
- Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (NDS)
- Code Geass: Lost Colors (PSP, PS2)
- Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 Banjou no Geass Gekijou (NDS)
I hope this guide was helpful and that you give this series a chance.
-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.-