The year 2006 saw one of the most prolific Anime adaptations to date- Gintama, Blue Lagoon, and Ouran Highschool Host Club received much praise from their respective fanbases, and have been widely considered a massive success to this day.
Among these top-tier Anime, however, one was regarded as a dark horse by the critics- ‘Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Lelouch of the Rebellion) stole the show with its intriguing storyline.
Coming from the esteemed Studio Sunrise that had previously produced Cowboy Bebop, InuYasha, and the likes, Code Geass boasts an interesting plot: based in a dystopian setting, ‘Area 11’ (formally known as Japan) is now controlled by the Britannian Empire, which defeated the Japanese forces, and quenched all the rebellions. Enter our protagonist, Lelouch Lamperouge, a Britannian high schooler at Ashford Academy that gets caught amid the fighting between the rebel and the empire’s forces.
He escapes with his life, however after an encounter with a mysterious girl called C.C. who gives Lelouch the powers of Geass, a rare ability that allows him to make everyone obey all his commands. The death of his mother leaves Lelouch with a burning hatred for the Britannian Empire, and he takes the persona of a masked figure named Zero to lead the rebels to victory under the power of his Geass.
What is Code Geass?
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, sometimes known simply as Code Geass, is a Japanese anime television series created by Sunrise.
It was directed by Gor Taniguchi and written by Ichir kouchi, with Clamp creating the original character designs. In an alternate timeline, the exiled prince Lelouch vi Britannia receives the “power of ultimate obedience” from a mysterious woman named C.C. He leads a rebellion against the Holy Britannian Empire’s rule, conducting a series of mecha battles with this supernatural talent known as Geass.
From October 2006 until July 2007, Code Geass aired on MBS in Japan. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 ran as a simulcast on MBS and TBS from April through September 2008.. The series has also been converted into manga and light novels, the latter depicting different scenarios from the TV show.
What is the background of Code Geass?
Before to the major events, the Eleventh Prince of Britannia, Lelouch vi Britannia, and his sister, Princess Nunnally vi Britannia, resided in Pendragon, the capital city of the Holy Britannian Empire, with their strict father, Emperor Charles zi Britannia, and their mother.
Their mother was suddenly and brutally murdered to death when Lelouch was ten and Nunnally was six.
Nunnally was eventually caught in the crossfire and was unable to walk because of the trauma of witnessing her mother’s murder. Lelouch felt enraged because his father did nothing to solve the crime and resigned his reign, and he and his sister were placed in the care of Japan’s Kururugi Shrine.
Suzaku Kururugi became friends with Lelouch at this time, but they were separated due to the Second Pacific War, which, with Britannia’s introduction of fighting machines known as Knightmare frames into warfare, ended Japan’s existence in 2010 in the given calendar. The conquering nation’s name was changed to “Area 11” as a satirical reference to the nation’s month-long defeat.
They were later taken in by the Ashford Academy, which was run by the Ashford Foundation, for which their mother was a test pilot. They were given a maid, Sayoko Shinozaki, to help with Nunnally’s care, and they lived in hiding for years under the alias Lamperouge.
Is watching Code Geass worth it?
Yes! Possibly the biggest strength of Code Geass is that it draws from several different genres and combines them brilliantly.
Based on the visuals alone, it looks like a Mecha Anime, with its signature characteristics of the forces fighting in interesting new builds.
Yet it also boasts several features of the shonen and shoujo genre, both in the storyline as well as the fight scenes. Several different tropes are also utilized, with family love and the fan-favorite best friends-to-enemies being the most notable ones.
Even for those who may find the storyline predictable or cliche, the Anime still offers a variety of intrigues to keep the audience watching.
The series is dotted with several twists and turns and cliffhangers that keep the viewers always hyped, anticipating what is to come. The pacing too feels perfect. The important parts are well-timed to convey their true impact, and the rest also never feels dragged on. The buildup to the final crisis is considered especially iconic.
Is Code Geass better than Death Note?
In my opinion, both are really good Anime.
Another major Anime to come out in the same year, 2006, was Death Note, widely regarded as the most-watched Anime to date. Interestingly enough, Death Note and Code Geass are often compared with each other as they have several similar elements. Indeed Code Geass is often recommended to first-timers who have just finished death note as their next Anime.
This is because the main theme of the two Anime is identical. Both focus on a battle between two geniuses, each trying to outsmart the other in a battle of wits. In Death Note, this conflict is more obvious; Light Yagami and L are in a constant state of battle with only their brains to help them.
On the other hand, Code Geass plays this same game of chess but on a bigger scale, with each player, Lelouch and Schneizel commanding entire armies, with the fate of millions on their hand. Lelouch himself is often compared with Light, as they share the same morally grey character, and resort to unlawful ways to obtain righteous goals.
What sets Code Geass apart is again, the uncanny capacity to mix so many different genres and themes in so short an Anime. In this sense, it one-ups Death Note; what Death Note created on a personal level between two characters, Code Geass implemented between two entire armies with entire empires at stake.
There is of course no doubt that some people might find the minimal set of Death Note more compelling, but credit must be given to Code Geass for succeeding in mastering some trope in a highly shonen, mecha Anime.
Is AOT better than Code Geass?
The answer is based on one’s individual preference.
An even better comparison, perhaps, is that between Code Geass and Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan). Since its first season back in the spring of 2013, Attack on Titan has taken the world by storm, rising to popularity levels unparalleled by most Anime. The fan-favorite protagonist Eren Yeager who has been the face of the new generation of Anime holds a striking resemblance to Lelouch in several ways.
Both incurred family losses that led them to side with the oppressed in a battle between two major forces. Erin had a striking character development that led him to become the epitome of morally grey characters, to the point that his allies turned against him, a plotline subtly hinted in Code Geass too.
Most importantly, however, Erin and Lelouch are similar in the sense that they both carry their shows alone as the single main character, with their signature main ability (Geass and Titan respectively)
Critics and fans often argue that Attack on Titan took the best features of Code Geass and refined them; insane combat scenes, politics, morals, oppression, and the oppressors are all themes explored by both shows, though to a higher degree by Attack on Titan.
This does not automatically guarantee that Attack on Titan is better than Code Geass though—how good a show ultimately depends on how much the fans enjoyed it. Code Geass features one of the best endings to date, while several fans were left dissatisfied by AOT’s ending.
Conclusively it can be said that both these Anime franchises are masterpieces that have attracted a large fanbase, and are greatly appreciated. To call one superior to another is purely a matter of taste, and would vary from one individual to another.
- Among these top-tier Anime, one was regarded as a dark horse by the critics- ‘Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Lelouch of the Rebellion) stole the show with its intriguing storyline.
- Possibly the biggest strength of Code Geass is that it draws from several different genres and combines them brilliantly.
- The series is dotted with several twists and turns and cliffhangers that keep the viewers always hyped, anticipating what is to come.
- There is of course no doubt that some people might find the minimal set of Death Note more compelling, but credit must be given to Code Geass for succeeding in mastering some trope in a highly shonen, mecha Anime.
- An even better comparison, perhaps, is that between Code Geass and Attack on Titan. Since its first season back in the spring of 2013, Attack on Titan has taken the world by storm, rising to popularity levels unparalleled by most Anime.