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REVIEW: Code Geass: Akito the Exiled BD+DVD


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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:22 am Reply with quote
I bought this set, and I had fun watching it. I am a big fan of the original Code Geass, and that helped, but even without that I think I would have gotten enjoyment out of the clumsily written but full of energy Akito the Exiled. And Nick, thanks for mentioning the English dub problems. Having some character speak in English with European accents was both sad and laughable. I came to really like Leila as a character, but Jeannie Tirado really struggled.
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Raebo101



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:55 am Reply with quote
After the first episode, I had gotten used to the accents and I actually thought Jeannie Tirado did a great job as Leila, but I feel as though they should've toned down the accents a bit and not make them so pronounced. I appreciate the earnest attempt, but a more subtle change to the voice would still have gotten the point across and wouldn't sound so awkward to some viewers. I could never quite take Chris Sabat's French accent seriously. Laughing Still, I enjoyed the English dub overall.

My favorite part of this OVA series was actually when the main party stayed with the old women. I found their interactions to be very entertaining and appreciated that the characters could cool off and just enjoy each other's company before heading back into the action. Whenever I revisit this series, I'll probably only watch episode 3 and call it a day.
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darkchibi07



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:55 am Reply with quote
It's actually quite fitting how the ambitiously bad European accents of the English dub fits with this bold, failed experiment of this series. Laughing

Full agreement with the 3DCG animation though. If this is what Orange is capable of, the upcoming Houseki no Kuni (Land of Lustrous) is going to be one heck of a ride!
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jroa



Joined: 08 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:14 am Reply with quote
Akito the Exiled is quite a rare bird. The OVA does represent a uniquely different creative vision, instead of a literal extension of Code Geass as it already existed, but I found it to be both interesting and entertaining in the long run. That said, I can fully understand why it doesn't always find much appreciation among many Code Geass fans. Nick is right to highlight the difference in storytelling style and priorities as a key factor for this.

From my point of view, however, a lot of nuances about the characters and the story of Akito the Exiled are still there in the final production. Just conveyed in more subtle and less blatant ways, even slightly cryptically at times. Quite a few implications are suggested or hinted at. There's less time to explicitly make everything clear to the audience, which may lead to confusion or misunderstanding, but with some effort it's possible to get a good grasp of the major points, at least provided you aren't turned off by the mood or the pacing. Therefore, I would question the judgment that this is necessarily a "failed" experiment. It is simply not for everyone and there will be differences in tastes and preferences, yet I'd rather see more risky projects rather than just completely safe bets..

I will say that while Lelouch's use as a guest star doesn't really matter for the bulk of the narrative, it had a double appeal, in the sense that it simultaneously gave the fans a familiar presence, even in an effectively secondary or tertiary role, while presenting the new director's interpretation of the Lelouch and Suzaku relationship at this point in the series. Which is compatible with -but still distinct from- that of the original show.

I have no opinion on the English dub, either way, but I will argue that the use of 3DCG by Studio Orange was particularly impressive even beyond the robot transformations or camera work. It is definitely better in terms of shading, frames per second and integration than what most TV anime have managed to accomplish in this area.


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Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:19 am Reply with quote
Oh yeah, this is one of those series I forgot existed. Here I was under the impression that Code Geass was just a figment of my imagination. I always thought that cliffhanger was just the result of some fever or something.

And then there was a sequel series. The good, the bad and the Rolo... which is also bad.

And now this? What's it about... let me rephrase that; What is the point of this series beyond being a franchise cash grab?

Quote:
Johnny Yong Bosch as Julius Kingsley


Says it all, really. Julius as in Caesar and Kingsley as in... Ben. I don't know, I'm terrible with metaphors and allusions. Wait, Ben Kingsley played Gandhi and he fought the British Kings as a pacifist.

That can't be right....
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jroa



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:31 am Reply with quote
Animegomaniac wrote:

And now this? What's it about... let me rephrase that; What is the point of this series beyond being a franchise cash grab?


Evidently, all extended or expanded properties have a commercial motivation behind their continued existence. This is no different here. Regardless, it would be inaccurate to claim that is everything. Director Kazuki Akane was clearly given an almost free hand, for better or for worse, to make what he wanted. If Sunrise merely wished to make money at any cost, period, they didn't need to hire someone like him. Any other random person would do. As a result, he was able to make something radically different from the original Code Geass instead of just copying what had come before. Like I said, it isn't perfect and lacks mass appeal, but I appreciate what he did.
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Zeino



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:58 am Reply with quote
I think it's fundamentally telling that they had to bring in Lelouch and Suzaku to guest star and gets to real heart of the problem of this OVA series, the Code Guess universe isn't really designed to tell the stories of people outside of Lelouch and those in his immediate orbit.
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jroa



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:12 am Reply with quote
Zeino wrote:
I think it's fundamentally telling that they had to bring in Lelouch and Suzaku to guest star and gets to real heart of the problem of this OVA series, the Code Guess universe isn't really designed to tell the stories of people outside of Lelouch and those in his immediate orbit.


You're free to believe that, yet I think is a very narrow-minded perspective. It is far from impossible to use the same storytelling techniques (or even better ones if you want to argue such a thing) in order to tell the stories of other characters in this or any other fictional universe. I feel the idea that the fate of any additional work is forever determined by the exact characteristics of the original is more of a perception, albeit a widespread one in certain cases, than a reality.

That wasn't what happened here, because Akito was using a completely different approach and the results reflect the specific methods chosen, but it isn't truly indicative of some sort of structural restriction or limitation in the universe itself. In other words, judging all possibilities because of a single production is not exactly the most reasonable conclusion. Other factors including the format (OVA instead of a TV series) should not be removed from the equation either, since they also affected the nature of the project.


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Zeino



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:19 am Reply with quote
jroa wrote:
You're free to believe that, yet I think is a very narrow-minded perspective. It is far from impossible to use the same storytelling techniques (or even better ones if you want to argue such a thing) in order to tell the stories of other characters in this or any other fictional universe.

That wasn't what happened here, because Akito was using a completely different approach and the results reflect the specific methods chosen, but it isn't truly indicative of some sort of structural restriction or limitation in the universe itself. In other words, judging all possibilities because of a single production is not exactly the most reasonable conclusion.

Then why is Sunrise bringing Lelouch back from the dead for the upcoming new Geass series instead of introducing a new lead character like Gundam and Macross does?
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jroa



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:38 am Reply with quote
Zeino wrote:

Then why is Sunrise bringing Lelouch back from the dead for the upcoming new Geass series instead of introducing a new lead character like Gundam and Macross does?


1. Even Gundam didn't significantly distance itself from the original cast of characters until after Char's Counterattack (for the sake of trivia, Char himself was going to show up in ZZ and play a major role there, until the movie was approved). It wasn't an immediate process and even today we have works like The Origin that are quite strongly related to a set of existing characters. In other words, Gundam can have it both ways and even Macross does occasionally, although to a far lesser degree, appeal to nostalgia.

2. The question of Lelouch's fate somehow being a sudden change rather than just a confirmation of a possibility that was always left in the air is, frankly, open to debate.

3. None of this prevents Sunrise from doing something else, whether in animated or print form, at any future point in time that takes even more risks than Akito the Exiled, without necessarily having to end up in the same awkward situation.

EDIT:

I will admit that I'm relatively skeptical about the upcoming sequel myself, but there's little to say about the matter at this early point. Once it's here, then we can properly debate whether it was for the best, for the worst, something in between, or nothing worthwhile.


Last edited by jroa on Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:44 am Reply with quote
Zeino wrote:
I think it's fundamentally telling that they had to bring in Lelouch and Suzaku to guest star and gets to real heart of the problem of this OVA series, the Code Guess universe isn't really designed to tell the stories of people outside of Lelouch and those in his immediate orbit.

I love the original Code Geass but honestly, Lelouch and Suzaku had no business being in this OVA. Their presence was a detriment to the already shaky narrative.

Zeino wrote:
Then why is Sunrise bringing Lelouch back from the dead for the upcoming new Geass series instead of introducing a new lead character like Gundam and Macross does?

This is why I am not very interested in the upcoming Code Geass anime.
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Karasu-Lacryma



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:46 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
mash of the sublime and the deeply misguided [...] a fascinating mess

This very much sums up my reaction to the whole thing.

Unlike the reviewer, I immensely preferred the first half (or 3/5ths, to be accurate) of Akito. The moody, beautiful atmosphere was delicious and the characters were solid. It had potential and wasn't unpleasant. The second half was just awful, visuals notwithstanding. The plot made less and less sense, things got weirder and weirder, and the whole resolution was bizarre, if the character dynamics still stayed strong. (As I've mentioned in more detail on another thread) it surprisingly mirrored Kazuki Akane's other work, Noein. I really need to watch Escaflowne just to see how much it differs from the above two, given how similar they feel. Actually, it might be more accurate to say Noein and Akito have a lot of similar problems. Heroines with vague powers that do whatever the plot needs (and both based on quantum physics!), increasingly defocused stories, esoteric subplots without enough explanation, good character interactions but an unexplored supporting cast, and so on (they also share many plot elements). Kazuki Akane has some incredible strengths but his weaknesses can be equally conspicuous.

But Akito's not all bad. The animation, direction, character designs, and fight scenes are all drop-dead gorgeous; bar some (but not all) CGI, Akito takes the original's art syle and makes it as beautiful as possible. The visual sensibility of the original series was one of its greatest strengths and its sheen is fully realized here. I'll also give huge bonus points to the OVA for making Suzaku such a more interesting, relatable, and threatening character, with unusually striking body language. The whole series is eye-candy. The moody score's nowhere near as epic or distinct as the original's, but works quite well nonetheless.

I'm conflicted about the main villain. Perhaps he's best viewed as a "what-if" concept. What if Lelouch let go of his humanizing connection to Nunnally and went fully off the deep end from the start. An unchained, insane genius with the Geass and no more moral/psychological restraints. When he spoiler[finally, tenderly geasses his sister,] it echoes when Lelouch did the same thing, yet Shaing's true intentions are far madder and more horrific. At best, he makes you appreciate how a character like Lelouch managed to avoid being a direct villain so long in the original series and well-executed he was. The 4th or 5th episode's scene where Shaing is spoiler[visited by his victims' ghosts] left such an impression, though, that it single-handedly saved him from forgettability. In it, spoiler[the ghost of his birth mother appears, begging him to turn from the path he's on, embracing him, and genuinely expressing care for him. Disgusted, he rejects and attacks the apparition, who vanishes while desperately clinging to him. He then sees (or hallucinates) the spirits of his adoptive family, whom he has just murdered. Standing at a distance, they thank him for killing them and assure him they didn't mind, before begging him to die and join them. Shaing is about to slit his throat when his hand is stayed by his second-in-command, as the phantasms fade.] I'm not sure we ever got anything that psychologically unhinged in the original series. That and the fight scenes are the only things worth watching from the latter two episodes.

I respect Sunrise for allowing something so different, at least. I just hope it's not remotely referenced in R3, given how much more complicated, confusing, and contradictory it makes the lore.
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jr240483



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:27 pm Reply with quote
darkchibi07 wrote:
It's actually quite fitting how the ambitiously bad European accents of the English dub fits with this bold, failed experiment of this series. Laughing

Full agreement with the 3DCG animation though. If this is what Orange is capable of, the upcoming Houseki no Kuni (Land of Lustrous) is going to be one heck of a ride!


at least they tried to sound authentic with European accents. though it wasn't perfect since there are other series where they did different accents well.

HOWEVER not every series can be like hellsing ultimate where some of the cast were british.
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curtisd88



Joined: 01 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:04 pm Reply with quote
Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion is in my top 3 all time. With that said I gave Akito the Exiled a 7/10. Good but not great. The accents are questionable, major plot issues, and Suzaku and Kingsley were virtually unnecessary. But the action was great and I do like the focus on the relationship between Akito and his brother. I will see this as just a companion piece rather than a series that can stand on its own.
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redranger



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:30 am Reply with quote
As someone who adored Code Geass, I thought the OVA was garbage. Nonsensical story, shitty CGI, repulsive characters. This ain't your daddy's Code Geass. WTF did I just watch?
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