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by Richard Eisenbeis,

Code Geass: Rozé of the Recapture - Part 1

Anime Film Review

Code Geass: Rozé of the Recapture - Part 1 Anime Film Review

Seven years ago, the reign of the Britannian Empire came to an end. Yet, that was not the end of war and oppression as many had hoped. Three years later, the disenfranchised remnants of the old empire made one last attempt to seize power, taking over the Japanese island of Hokkaido and isolating it behind an energy barrier. To this day, even the mighty Black Knights have been unable to take it down, leaving the Japanese people trapped within at the mercy of their “Neo-Britannian” overlords.

In this dire situation, mercenary brothers Ash and Rozé begin working with the rebel groups within Hokkaido. With Ashe's skill as a pilot and Rozé's tactical genius, there is hope for victory for the first time in years. But little do they suspect that there is far more to Rozé than meets the eye—for not only is his true identity shrouded in mystery, but he also has the power to control men's minds.


Making a sequel to Code Geass—especially one set close to the end of the series—is a daunting task. Any story that involves an ongoing war massively undercuts both the finale of the original anime and the sacrifices our heroes made to bring it to fruition. Moreover, any such sequel has to figure out what to do about the Black Knights (whose job is to stop such wars in their infancy). Simply killing Kallen and Suzaku off before the start of the series would raise both questions and incredulity—after all, who could conceivably kill them than each other?

Cleverly, Rozé of the Recapture side-steps this whole issue by having Hokkaido almost completely isolated from the outside world. The Black Knights have tried to retake the island but failed, so it's up to the people inside to save the day.

It's in this setting that we get our hero, Rozé. Rozé is a mix between Code Geass protagonist Lelouch and Akito the Exile protagonist Leila. His priority is to protect those he cares about, while personal revenge is secondary. That said, like Lelouch, Rozé is willing to use anyone and everyone for those goals—though throughout this first film, he can do so in a win-win fashion that keeps everyone happy.

Rozé is by far the stand-out character of this movie. The other characters are developed mainly only in relation to Rozé—even Ash. Now, to be clear, this isn't too much of a complaint. After all, the more you learn about Rozé, the more complex and interesting he becomes. Everything from his relationship with his brother to his outward appearance has hidden layers to them—and each reveal completely redefines everything that has come before.

Overall, this first of four films feels more like the original Code Geass than either the recent Lelouch of the Re;surrection or Akito the Exile. This is because it uses many of the same story beats. We have a group of Japanese rebels fighting against Britannian conquerors, a chess master main character with the power to control minds, several characters with secret identities, long lost friends separated by war, and an ace pilot under the control of a Geass—just to name a few. However, rather than a retread of the original, each of these story beats is twisted either majorly or subtly to create something familiar and new.

While this film could technically be watched by someone with no knowledge of the original TV anime and still make sense (especially with the almost entirely new cast of characters), the film is designed for fans of the original. It uses the similarities in the story and setting to build tension. Each time Rozé uses his Geass, it's hard not to wonder if this is the time it won't turn off after use—and what horrible fate will befall Rozé because of it. This is doubly true without a CC proxy involved in the main story. Rozé is flying blind with a godlike power—and has no idea about the legacy he is carrying.

Though I have referred to Rozé of the Recapture - Part 1 as a “film” throughout this review (as its being shown in theaters here in Japan), it's important to note that it is a film in the same way that the recent Starblazers and Legend of the Galactic Heroes theatrical releases are—i.e., that it's a collection of three episodes rather than a self-contained film with a beginning, middle, and end. (In fact, Rozé of the Recapture - Part 1 plays the opening and ending credits three times each within its runtime.) That said, each of these three “episodes” ends on a fantastic cliffhanger or major reveal that massively shakes up the story. And as we're getting a release a month here in Japan, the episodic structure is a minor problem at most.

Visually, Rozé of the Recapture looks great. As always, the CLAMP-drawn character designs look fantastic. Still, it's the mecha fight scenes that steal the show. They are cleanly animated with lots of dynamic shots and chaotic action and show off more ground-based combat, like in the early parts of the show. None of the mecha we see are capable of flight—and the closest we get to that is the hero unit of the film uses a version of Attack on Titan's 3D maneuver gear to get around and as a weapon.

The voice acting is spot-on, and the background music does its job well enough. The opening and ending themes are decent J-pop/J-rock songs but don't evoke a Code Geass feeling. They feel more like random popular songs set to Code Geass animation.

I was frankly blown away by this first Rozé of the Recapture film. Not only does it give us an excellent main character in Rozé (someone who feels both similar to and distinct from our previous protagonists), but also a true Code Geass story without undercutting what came before. Add onto that some great animation and numerous big reveals to keep us interested, and we have something that is a must-watch for fans of the original.

Overall : A-
Story : A-
Animation : A-
Art : A-
Music : C

+ An excellent main character in Rozé and a true Code Geass story that doesn't undercut what came before.
The supporting cast is both large and massively underdeveloped.

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Production Info:
Yoshimitsu Ohashi
Goro Taniguchi
Series Composition:
Noboru Kimura
Ichiro Okouchi
Hiroyuki Yoshino
Yuuichi Nomura
Ichiro Okouchi
Hiroyuki Yoshino
Kazuya Murata
Go Sakamoto
Yoh Shinkai
Kunihisa Sugishima
Tsukasa Sunaga
Goro Taniguchi
Episode Director:
Noriaki Akitaya
Makoto Baba
Hiroaki Kudō
Shin'ichi Masaki
Kazuo Miyake
Masato Miyoshi
Kazuya Murata
Satoshi Toba
Tōru Yamada
Unit Director: Rion Kujo
Kenji Kawai
Hitomi Kuroishi
Kotaro Nakagawa
Original creator: Hajime Yatate
Original story:
Ichiro Okouchi
Goro Taniguchi
Original Character Design: CLAMP
Character Design:
Takahiro Kimura
Shuichi Shimamura
Art Director:
Yoshinori Hishinuma
Kazuhiro Obata
Chief Animation Director:
Yuriko Chiba
Takahiro Kimura
Eiji Nakada
Seiichi Nakatani
Animation Director:
Manamu Amazaki
Yuriko Chiba
Hiroyuki Hashimoto
Tamotsu Ikeda
Kana Ishida
Atsushi Itagaki
Chikashi Kadekaru
Yusuke Kamata
Takahiro Kimura
Kiyoaki Maeda
Daisuke Mataga
Yuji Mukoyama
Eiji Nakada
Seiichi Nakatani
Shinako Okayama
Shūji Sakamoto
Yukie Sakō
Ken Sakuma
Mutsumi Sasaki
Takuro Shinbo
Hisayuki Tabata
Akira Takahashi
Kenichi Takase
Kyota Washikita
Makoto Yamada
Masahiro Yamane
Kohei Yoneyama
Mechanical design:
Eiji Nakada
Satoshi Shigeta
Mecha design:
Junichi Akutsu
Eiji Nakada
Kenji Teraoka
Akira Yasuda
3D Director: Tetsuya Watanabe
Sound Director:
Jin Aketagawa
Motoi Izawa
Yasuo Uragami
Cgi Director:
Masato Miyoshi
Shūji Shinoda
Director of Photography:
Hiroyuki Chiba
Souta Ooya
Yoshitaka Kawaguchi
Takao Minegishi
Hiroshi Morotomi
Atsushi Yukawa
Licensed by: Bandai Entertainment

Full encyclopedia details about
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (TV)
Code Geass: Z of the Recapture (TV)

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