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This Week in Anime - Why Was Code Geass Such a Big Deal?


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Karasu-Lacryma



Joined: 20 Feb 2015
Posts: 116
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 11:15 am Reply with quote
Akito had the bad luck of both being another spin-off in an incredibly-milked franchise (almost FF7 level) and being totally alien to the original in tone and ambition. It's a shame; the movies got progressively worse but started off so promising with gorgeous direction and more articulate themes. Nothing could capture the original magic so it tried doing its own thing to the point of alienating fans but not quite offering enough on its own.

Original still slaps, though, both as a bonkers rollercoaster and a delightful inversion of the usual shonen character dynamic.
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Kicksville



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 1216
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 11:24 am Reply with quote
Code Geass gets along on audacious, ridiculous plotting, having great design work, and most of all on how compelling Lelouch is to watch. Which is why spin-offs and what not in the same universe don't come off as a particularly interesting proposal: the world of Geass itself is too specific and (ahem) cartoonish to easily imagine as worth exploring otherwise, unlike, say, most Gundam entries, which present places so fleshed out the imagination runs wild on what else could be going on there.

I tried to watch Akito years ago and got too bored to continue, but I feel like I should probably give it another earnest shot. I hope to do the same with this new one: again, it's not a world I'm super psyched to revisit for the sake of it given its apparent flatness outside of that completed main narrative, but I suppose I also don't see why someone couldn't just as well make something else work in there.
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tintor2



Joined: 11 Aug 2010
Posts: 1942
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 11:51 am Reply with quote
Reviving Lelouch has to be one of the worst retcons ever done by a director. I like the character but bringing him back ruins the appeal of the tv series as well as the movie trilogy that built up that Resurrection movie.

It makes George Lucas and Tominos' retcons look better. I mean, Kamille didn't die in Double Zeta but suffered brain damage because of some weird Newtype power the villain forgot he could use until his death. The New Translation removed his mental damage even if the editing of the animation was really off. And Lucas never revived Darth Vader.... well, he didn't revive Palpatine... somehow

Also the phrase yaoi paddle is something I haven't heard since GameGrump's playthrough of Ace Attorney. It hunts me. Then again, some promotional artwork of Lelouch and Suzaku by Clamp really shows them like like couple to the point one looks like an alternate take of Subaru and Seishiro from X. Clamp only did the original character artwork which is also present in the season 2 ending. Takahiro Kimura did the animation similar to Gun X Sword.
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redvelvetdoll



Joined: 16 Feb 2022
Posts: 59
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 12:02 pm Reply with quote
Code Geass kinda exists in a weird space in anime fandom. I don't think new teenage anime fans are going back to watch it but in my experience, the fujoshi base is still alive and well and anyone my age or older has fond things to say about it. There's no issue finding new Suzalulu fanart/fics and the artist alley at Acen last month had plenty of merch ready to go. But as I only watched it in late 2019/early 2020 so I don't really have the right to talk about being an "old fan". It would be nice if the new series helped bring it back in a big way!
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HyperGatack



Joined: 20 Dec 2006
Posts: 211
Location: MA
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 12:31 pm Reply with quote
First season kinda watched like a weird Metal gear highschool series. (Moreso for the tonal whiplash than anything) but I loved it.

R2… I just like to pretend that season 1 ended on a down note and that was it.
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Hellsoldier



Joined: 21 Jun 2013
Posts: 794
Location: Porto,Portugal,Europe,Earth,Sol
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 12:39 pm Reply with quote
Well, first time I watched Code Geass, back in 2012, I watched it in 3 days.

Yeah, kinda crazy. Pulled quite a few stunts like that before.
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jroa



Joined: 08 Aug 2012
Posts: 542
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 12:51 pm Reply with quote
Talking about Roze of the Recapture's box office requires context, because:

1. It's only showing in a small number of theaters, compared to other premieres.
2. People know it's coming to streaming services (Disney+) very soon.
3. It's three episodes strung together (with OP/ED, eyecatches), not really a movie.

What I will say, is that Japanese Code Geass fans have been talking about Roze on social media in very positive terms for the last few weeks. Lots of people saying "they're doing Code Geass properly!" and other similar statements (I'd elaborate, but I haven't seen it myself yet and discussing spoilers would be rude).

I wouldn't really use Akito the Exiled as a point of comparison here, because that was very much Kazuki Akane's pet project, for better or for worse. Circumstances have changed.

Going back...my take is that Code Geass was successful because it managed to weave together a compelling core around Lelouch and the main cast as well as a more outwardly entertaining and visceral surface. In other words, there was usually something worth engaging with on various levels, including (yet never strictly limited to) the purely memetic factor.

Compilation films are a tricky thing. Unless you're only summarizing a very short series, there's almost always going to be a huge chunk left out. Not necessarily because of "respectability concerns" (the anime/manga industry is far too shameless to care), but because you need to prioritize for the running time, period. That's not much of an agenda. They still left other famous or fan favorite scenes intact, so I wouldn't read too much into the editing decisions.

Conversely, I must confess that some of those missing moments weren't particularly to my liking (for example, I've always been ambivalent about Mao). Furthermore, you could even argue that Nina being portrayed in a less mean-spirited way by the narrative could also be considered as a positive.

In the end, I'd always recommend the TV series myself over the compilations in most ways...but I think the first and third compilation movies were alright. It's the second movie that really has pacing problems, precisely because of the huge compression.

Resurrection was ultimately more of a final reunion for the cast and crew. In that respect, I had a lot of fun watching that movie. Be that as it may...I think calling Lelouch's return a "cowardly" retcon is an overstatement, because thousands of fans had previously crafted their own theories about his fate. Long before anyone was talking about any of this new stuff, the possibility existed. Strictly speaking, all they did was choose to explore that route in another universe. More importantly...one underlying fact remains, and it is that Lelouch will no longer be the protagonist. Essentially, he's still functionally retired.
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johnnysasaki



Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 934
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:01 pm Reply with quote
tintor2 wrote:
Reviving Lelouch has to be one of the worst retcons ever done by a director. I like the character but bringing him back ruins the appeal of the tv series as well as the movie trilogy that built up that Resurrection movie.

It makes George Lucas and Tominos' retcons look better. I mean, Kamille didn't die in Double Zeta but suffered brain damage because of some weird Newtype power the villain forgot he could use until his death. The New Translation removed his mental damage even if the editing of the animation was really off. And Lucas never revived Darth Vader.... well, he didn't revive Palpatine... somehow

Also the phrase yaoi paddle is something I haven't heard since GameGrump's playthrough of Ace Attorney. It hunts me. Then again, some promotional artwork of Lelouch and Suzaku by Clamp really shows them like like couple to the point one looks like an alternate take of Subaru and Seishiro from X. Clamp only did the original character artwork which is also present in the season 2 ending. Takahiro Kimura did the animation similar to Gun X Sword.


technically no retcon was made. They have said the movies are in their continuity,which means you can still act like none of the post-R2 actually happened in the TV version,and the fates of certain characters like Lelouche and Shirley remain unchanged there.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 5431
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:33 pm Reply with quote
To this day, the original Code Geass still has the most prestiges dub of all time. It's a whose who of the 00s LA dub scene, along with some very famous former Texas VAs. It was also very much an end of an era, within a few years after season 2, a lot of the VAs moved into video games and western animation.

In the West, I think it was one of the last few pre-streaming hits, along with Brotherhood, Soul Eater and Death Note. So for a while in the early 10s, before streaming took off and the NA industry started to recover, it was one of the few modern Anime titles most people had seen.

It's a shame in a way that doesn't happen now, something comes out on DVD that is a hit, it stays around for a few years, and then continues to at least have some presence. Now, even if something is a big hit, most of the time it will be forgotten about within a few seasons.


Last edited by MarshalBanana on Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bassgs435



Joined: 21 Mar 2015
Posts: 319
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:34 pm Reply with quote
Also, it's not like it's the first time Lelouch surviving gets explored. Super Robot Wars has done it. In Z2, he got healed after the Zero Requiem by the Gundam 00 crew and their ship's technology

In SRW X, he got isekai'd with amnesia and eventually recovers his memories
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Dr. Wily



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
Posts: 341
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:45 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Fans of extra-noodly CLAMP designs fighting in giant rollerblading robots never had it so good.


That just reminded me of how I was so disappointed when all the mechs started to fly. Like, at first it was real cool when it was just Suzaku and his super-prototype, but I thought the robots wheeling around was a genuinely cool idea that I don't think I'd seen before or since in a mecha anime

Anyway yeah, the part in this column about it being water cooler fodder in this was too true. It was one of the last shows I remember watching that was absolutely appointment viewing because there was so much wild shit happening in basically every episode that you had to be up to speed to talk about it with your pals, be they irl or on a forum somewhere immediately otherwise you would absolutely get spoiled.

And the dub being one of the all time greats is also true. I won't say it's superior, half because I never watched the sub, and half because we already restarted that old debate in the other column and I don't want to revisit it, but still, it's fantastic because it is absolutely every VA hamming it up to 11 (and Johnny Yong Bosch to 12).
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tintor2



Joined: 11 Aug 2010
Posts: 1942
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 2:19 pm Reply with quote
bassgs435 wrote:
Also, it's not like it's the first time Lelouch surviving gets explored. Super Robot Wars has done it. In Z2, he got healed after the Zero Requiem by the Gundam 00 crew and their ship's technology

In SRW X, he got isekai'd with amnesia and eventually recovers his memories


Super Robot Wars is known for their retcons a lot like the famous scene of Bright disciplining Shinji, Setsuna not joining the aliens or half of Gurren Lagann's characters surviving to their final fights. In one installment Zeta Char somehow discovers what he will do in Counterattack and swears that he will never sink that low.

In fact, even Tomino himself retconned Quess' fate in an OVA once. The thing is that Lelouch's resurrection was also done by Taniguchi and Okouchi themselves in that "alternate world" from the movies that I watched some months ago to the point it felt like those neverending multiverse movies that even South Park made fun of.
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Flash33



Joined: 06 Jun 2024
Posts: 42
Location: Florida
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 2:31 pm Reply with quote
I watched Code Geass a while back and I enjoyed it. I can't comment on the sub but I felt the dub was solid in both script and cast performances. Apparently there are even some JP fans who actually prefer the English dub over the Japanese dub, which goes to show how solid it was overall.

As for Lelouch's return in Resurrection honestly I'm fine with it. Besides, it's not like he's going to take over future plotlines as he and C.C. are very much doing their own thing from now on. The column I feel was a major overreaction on his return.

As for Akito the Exiled I also enjoyed that as well. Sure it's not the exact same as the main story but it's not supposed to be, and for what it is I think it's a solid addition to the universe.
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tintor2



Joined: 11 Aug 2010
Posts: 1942
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 3:57 pm Reply with quote
redvelvetdoll wrote:
Suzalulu fanart/fics and the artist alley at Acen last month had plenty of merch ready to go. But as I only watched it in late 2019/early 2020 so I don't really have the right to talk about being an "old fan". It would be nice if the new series helped bring it back in a big way!

So it's called Suzalulu eh..... Cool
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Dr. Wily



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
Posts: 341
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 6:00 pm Reply with quote
Flash33 wrote:
As for Lelouch's return in Resurrection honestly I'm fine with it. Besides, it's not like he's going to take over future plotlines as he and C.C. are very much doing their own thing from now on. The column I feel was a major overreaction on his return.


I understand where they were coming from because I felt the same way when I heard the announcement. I think it was because it felt a lot like the writers/creators/[whoever] just giving in to the (very in denial) crowd who just insisted for years that Lelouch totally survived at the end, no really he did. And I know that's a silly way to feel, because yes, it is an alternate universe, but it can't help but feels like it cheapens the original ending. Like a fanfic from 2009 somehow got a professional adaptation.

Like I said, I know it's silly but it's one of those visceral reactions when you hear announcements of stuff like this.
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