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Watch & Learn: CODE GEASS #1

Ha! America did save the world from the British.

 LeLouch, the world's stringiest bad ass since Iggy Pop.
 LeLouch, the world's stringiest bad ass since Iggy Pop.

Ha! See? The Battle of Saratoga actually was for the fate of the world. Earth, you can thank us, the good ol’ U S of A, for saving you from the villainy of the British a couple hundred of years ago.

Sheesh, and people thought RED DAWN’s foreign invasion conceit was ridiculous...

CODE GEASS quite clearly won the poll I put up for the next Watch & Learn. This has actually been recommended to me pretty consistently for the past few months. At one point, it was described to me as being a meeting of EVANGELION’s innovative mecha and DEATH NOTE’s morbid proclivities. I’ve definitely found those comparisons to be apt in this first episode (and I even see a dash of FMA in here with the alternate history and the interest in the fashions of classical European aristocrats.)  And, while we’re piling the comparisons on, it looks like Monsieur LeLouch gains the same powers as Jesse Custer of PREACHER at the end.

I’m all for jumping into a story, en media res, with minimal exposition. However, after the knots BACCANO!, FMA and DARKER THAN BLACK made in my mind in their respective first episodes, I have to say it’s a relief to watch a show that has the common courtesy to give me a prologue that actually gives me some clue about the world I’m walking into. Exposition isn’t always a dirty word, you know. That said, this does still suffer a little from the necessary evils of having to pack a lot of material into a first episode, even if the results get a bit disjointed. Of course, if that was needed to get me to the, pun intended, killer cliffhanger with LeLouch's terrifying powers, than it was certainly justified.

Every show I watch, I can track a bit of my learning curve. In this case, I’m recognizing Vash’s Power Ranger-y voice coming from LeLouch as well as the gangly, Gorey-esque rendering style of Clamp. Somebody give me some XP points for progress!

Watch this episode "The Day a New Demon was Born" below and decide for yourself.  


Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

Abeon April 8, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.
I couldn't get past ep. 5 of Code Geass. Didn't really appeal to me that much.
HSaabedraon April 8, 2011 at 1:18 p.m.
I am not ashamed to admit that out of all the girls in Code Geass, I fell hard for Milly Ashford. Oh and Lelouch is like Light, if he had mind control powers so the Death Note comparison is apt.
ninjadude853on April 8, 2011 at 1:36 p.m.
YES! I was hoping you'd pick this!

Depending on my mood, Code Geass is either my second or third favorite anime. I started re watching it a few weeks ago. I"m on episode 22.
ShadowKnight508 moderator on April 8, 2011 at 2:27 p.m.
Well...I only made it to episode 12 of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion when I first watched it last summer. It was interesting, but something about it just did not hook me like other shows that I watch did, so I stopped. I mean to resume it one of these days, but I just never got back to it.

Also, the character designs in my opinion kinda turned me off to it as well. They look so...odd with bodies like that xD
FoxxFireArt moderator on April 8, 2011 at 3:27 p.m.
Actually, Fullmetal Alchemist was a sort of pseudo -alternate history since it was in a fictional world that just mimicked part of history. Code Geass is literal alternate history. The series is a bit unclear about some of the finer details, but in this Earth the American Revolution either never started or failed. This is a world that never had WWII. I actually find this series closer to be an anime equivalent of V for Vendatta. I play chess. I love the chess set designs for this series. I wish they would make them for real.

This first season was shown on a later time slot and were able to be more graphic. The second season was put on at an earlier time. So, some of the stuffy you'll see in this season can be explained by the later time slot.

I loved that look of shock and  horror on Lelouch's face when he's hiding against that death squad that executes that crying child. Lelouch worries when he hears the child and that look of horror when he watches them callously kill the child. It shows a level of humanity in the protagonist.

I never really liked Johnny Yong Bosch as Lelouch. He's done great work in other series, but he didn't come near the sense of personality that Jun Fukuyama did. I'll watch the subtitled versions. Ami Koshimizu, who plays Kallen, is one of my favorite voice actresses. Fukuyama and Koshimizu have worked together on a lot of animes.

Go through the episode pages on Code Geass on Anime Vice, Tom. I filled out every page of the first season and you aren't going to be short on pictures up till episode 17. Every character in this series has a profile. The profile I created for the Knightmare Frames is one I'm quite proud of.
metalsnakezeroon April 8, 2011 at 3:29 p.m.
Hasn't anyone here finishing watching Code Geass? The craziness of the story isn't that bad once you see the twists it has in the story.
zaldaron April 8, 2011 at 3:37 p.m.
@metalsnakezero: Oh yes I have finished this and let me say if you think the conceits are ridiculous now just know those shows where after every twist you go, they just can't raise the stakes any more or make this anymore crazy (best I can think of right now, x-files, flash forward, lost) this is those times like 100.  Everytime you think things can't get any more crazy or ridiculous you are very very wrong.  I couldn't make it through this show for that reason the first time I watched it.  But the second time around...when I let myself just accept the craziness (kind of like I did the one time I was at a live wrestling match) man what a ride. 

For pure entertainment value this is one of the best serious out there, and it is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine.  Not much non anime life learning you will get out of this show (I thought I was going to pick up some chess moves the first time I watched it) but the entertainment value is immense.

When I watched this I thought his voice was the same person who did the main kid in eureka seven was that not correct?  This was one of the few shows I watched dubbed (as that was all I could get at the time)
Are the subs online anywhere...may watch those if I decide to rewatch this with you.

(hmm after checking it seems I am wrong on that well that is interesting...)
Lurkeroon April 8, 2011 at 3:47 p.m.
@FoxxFireArt:  You fill in so many of the Anime Vice pages here I have to ask if you ever get tired of watching anime? There's no way I could tolerate going back and rewatching so many series, especially not to summarize or capture media.

As to Code Geass, I'm glad it got picked up for watch and learn. I look forward to Tom's reactions to the episodes. I can get this out the way right now, I did not like Lelouch's random chance of running into his powers. For some reason I got past it in Death Note cause it seemed like it was on purpose, but the way Lelouch is given mystical powers was less engaging.
zaldaron April 8, 2011 at 3:51 p.m.
@lurkero: Ah but that is life.  Much of our life can just be taken down to chance, did we turn left when we should have turned right?  Like in Baccano, much of life is unplanned.
ninjadude853on April 8, 2011 at 3:52 p.m.
@FoxxFireArt:  Don't forget all those comics you made for it on Deviantart
Dream moderator is online on April 8, 2011 at 4:28 p.m.
Can't wait to see how you react to Nina's character, especially later on in the series. :P
FoxxFireArt moderator on April 8, 2011 at 6:01 p.m.
No, I really don't get tired of watching anime. If I enjoy something. I can watch it repeatedly. It also helps building the database for this site.


My Code Geass 4komas are all based on the second season and would really spoil events for the first season.
kashif1on April 8, 2011 at 6:46 p.m.
in code gease ben franklin sided with the british so they won the revolution.  The British then lost the Napoleonic war.  This is not explained anywhere in the series.
sotyfan16on April 8, 2011 at 6:57 p.m.
Tom, don't forget to check out FoxxFireArt's Guide for Code Geass. In there, you will also find out the true-to-life lore of the power of Geass. I really enjoy the Irish basis since I'm Irish :)

Anyway, Code Geass is my favorite anime. It has a bit of everything for everyone. A boxset of the first season just came out and it will be in my collection soon.

Lelouch is also my favorite male anime protagonist. Favorite female from this series has to be Kallen though cuz I'm just a dirty anime pervert.

I have no problem watching this franchise along with Tom (though this will be my 4th time through).
AJVon April 8, 2011 at 7:22 p.m.
I remember when I came across the first episode on youtube on my recommended videos tab
and watching it. After that, it was history.
 I really liked Lelouch and the rest of the cast (like CC,Kellen,Euphy,Suzaku,etc.) and the storyline was quite captivating and entertaining. Like Death Note, it was an anime series that was very thought provoking.

After seeing whole series, I'll gonna tell ya this without spoiling it for ya:
 You're gonna be in for one heck of a ride!
Trust me.  ; )
vergiliuson April 8, 2011 at 11:15 p.m.
This show is a lot of fun. I recommend watching it subtitled because the characters frequently lapse into SPECTACULAR ENGRISH. Entertainment value > 9000.

I really like what this show is doing thematically, but there are a few episodes that broke my suspension of disbelief. It's odd...I took everything in TTGL in stide but some of the stuff here, while less ridiculous on the surface, got to me more.

I think what it is is I have way more tolerance for hiccups in the writing in terms of the technicalities of how the universe works than I do for hiccups in terms of managing plot threads and character development. A derailed character or a poorly handled plot twist can ruin a series for me.

Luckily Geass is good enough to keep watching despite the hiccups. My only real complain with the show is that it needed less LOL HIGH SCHOOL. Should be a fun ride, and Tom, if you watch through both seasons, there are very few dangling plot threads. Things resolve! It's amazing!
AgentJon April 8, 2011 at 11:48 p.m.

This should be a lot of fun. Geass is far from perfect, but its nothing if not entertaining. I think you'll really get a kick out of Geass, the most mainstream anime you've watched since FMA. Take a close look at the characters and their motivations as you go through the series.

@FoxxFireArt: Hrm (looks up Ami Koshimizu) apparently I also loved her, though until now I didn't even know it. 
FoxxFireArt moderator on April 9, 2011 at 2:27 a.m.
Oh, did you recognize some of her parts? She's a cutie and a damn good singer.
blaakmawfon April 9, 2011 at 7:08 a.m.
I don't usually like Mecha, but I liked Lelouch a lot.
AgentJon April 9, 2011 at 9:28 a.m.
@FoxxFireArt said:
" @AgentJ: Oh, did you recognize some of her parts? She's a cutie and a damn good singer. "
Yeah, loved her as Kallen and Anemone, and though I haven't seen much of Spice and Wolf, her voice really adds to that character as well (the english voice is very good also). You were right about her being a "cutie" also. 

I have a buddy that would die to meet the voice actress for Himari (Omamori Himari). He would quite literally pass out cold after expressing his undying devotion.

Dig Deeper into Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Lelouch, a high school kid and Britannian prince, gains the power of Geass, a power with the ability to make anyone obey him. For the sake of his sister and late mother, Lelouch plans to overthrow his father's empire and create a better world.

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