CODE GEASS Lelouch of the Rebellion New Anime Series Announced for Upcoming 15th Anniversary
What is the most successful original robot anime since 2000?
Many people would probably answer “CODE GEASS” to that question. While robot anime as a whole has gone downhill, the production of a new anime series, “CODE GEASS: The Retrieval of Zed”, was announced along with a new smartphone app game, “CODE GEASS: Genesic Re;CODE”. In this article, I would like to take a look back at the “CODE GEASS” series, which will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2021, and discuss the appeal of this work, which is still very popular today.
The “CODE GEASS” series began with “CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion,” which began airing as a late-night anime in 2006. It is an original robot animation series produced by Sunrise, known for “Mobile Suit Gundam”. The director is Taniguchi Goro, who has created many masterpieces and masterpieces that cannot be overlooked when talking about anime in the 2000s, such as “Skride” and “Planetes”.
Although the appeal of this work is diverse, it is the unpredictable development that leaves a lasting impression on many people. Although it is an original work, each episode has its own impressive plot that makes you want to watch the next one. Sometimes, just by missing one episode, the situation would change completely, and a character who was supposed to be an enemy would become an ally, and vice versa, and the ally would become an enemy.
CLAMP, the creator of many popular manga series, was in charge of the character designs, and the tall-headed characters fascinated both men and women alike. The main character, Lelouch, has a brilliant mind and strategy, but when it comes to the school part, his misunderstandings lead to comedy, which is a gap that attracts many female fans. Male fans were also attracted by the lovable and strong female characters, who were sexy and charming at the same time.
Of course, the robot action is also diverse. The sight of these “nightmare” machines moving around stylishly was of high quality for a robot animation of the time, and surprised many people.
The producer, Yoshitaka Kawaguchi, revealed that the planning of this work was influenced by the success of “Mobile Suit Gundam SEED”. In the past, robot anime had a strong image of being something that boys were passionate about, but that changed in the mid 90s. In the past, robot anime had a strong image of being a passion for boys, but this changed in the mid 90’s. “New Mobile Suit Gundam W” became a hit among women, and SEED also gained high popularity among women, proving that the “Gundam” series is not just for boys. Influenced by this, Sunrise set out to create a robot anime that would be loved by both men and women, and it turned out to be a great success (see: This is how Sunrise animation is made).
However, it’s not just that they put in a lot of catchy elements. It also contains the theme of “war” that has been expressed in traditional robot animation. Director Yoshiyuki Tomino, for example, has depicted the damage of war caused by human conflict and a kind of despair. In “Mobile Suit Gundam,” he eschewed the good and evil model of one side being righteous and the other evil, and instead portrayed the realities of war as entertainment by showing that both sides have their own justice and that people are tossed about by it.
In the first episode of this work, the shocking setting is disclosed at the beginning: after Japan lost the war, it became a colony and was renamed Area 11, and the Japanese were called Eleven, a derogatory term. Furthermore, Japan was occupied by the Holy Britannian Empire, which in the real world exists in the Americas. At the time of the 9.11 terrorist attacks and the Iraq War, the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was a major issue. Even though this is a work of fiction for entertainment purposes, the setting of the story is still quite shocking.
People are not equal. We are all different in birth, upbringing and talent. That is why people fight and compete with each other, and that is how progress is made. Inequality is not evil. It is equality that is evil.
This is the speech of the emperor of the Holy Britannian Empire, the enemy nation. Due in part to the performance of Norio Wakamoto, the scene still leaves a lasting impression on many viewers. The words themselves are very radical, and some may say that they are indeed problematic, even for a villain. At the same time, the competitive society has led to a rise in inequality. But at the same time, if we recall today’s competitive society with its widening disparities, we may feel that we are moving toward this kind of society, regardless of the words used.
At the same time, the fact that the main means of opposition in this film is terrorism also reflects the times. Lelouch becomes Zero, the mysterious masked man, and brings together many resistance groups to fight against Britannia. As the story progresses, the organization grows and becomes national in scale, but in the beginning it is just a resistance, and its means are mainly terrorism. The threat of terrorism is a major theme that continues today, and the fact that it is incorporated into the story may be a factor in its success.
I would also like to focus on the ideas of Suzaku Kururugi, his rival. Suzaku, whose father was prime minister at the time of the war between Britannia and Japan, chooses to become a soldier for Britannia. From there, he makes a name for himself as a knight thanks to his outstanding physical abilities and his skill in piloting the Knightmare. He chooses to join an organization and change the organization and society from within. The difference in their positions is also interesting: Lelouch, the son of the emperor, becomes the enemy that defeats the empire, while the son of the prime minister who once stood against the empire defends it.
Another major character, Karen Kohzuki, is half Britannian and half Japanese, and feels that she doesn’t belong. Also, Jeremiah and Viletta, early enemies of the series, have established a faction called the Purebloods, which believes that knights and other positions of social status should be held by pure Britannians. This is one of the issues of diversity, which is a progressive idea and presents a challenging theme in 2006.
Those who can only fight to protect what they hold dear. Those who fight because they want a place to stay. Those who aspire to change from within the organization. Those who cannot join the organization. The questions and answers in the final episode of “Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion R2,” the second season where everything comes to an end, made me realize the complexity of society. The story of Lelouch Lamperouge ends as a picaresque romance, and is followed by the OVA series, manga works, and the “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection” movie trilogy.
What is the essence of “Code Geass”?
For some, it may be the existence of Lelouch, the special ability called Geass, the Nightmare battles, and the complex questioning of people and society. And that may change as the series leaves the hands of director Taniguchi and series composer Ichirō Okochi, and a smartphone game and a new anime series are born. But that shouldn’t narrow the scope. It will be interesting to see how the Heisei era’s largest original robot anime will change in harmony.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (Japanese: コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュ, Hepburn: Kōdo Giasu: Hangyaku no Rurūshu), often referred to simply as Code Geass, is a Japanese anime series produced by Sunrise. It was directed by Gorō Taniguchi and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi, with original character designs by Clamp. Set in an alternate timeline, the series follows the exiled prince Lelouch vi Britannia, who obtains the “power of absolute obedience” from a mysterious woman named C.C. Using this supernatural power, known as Geass, he leads a rebellion against the rule of the Holy Britannian Empire, commanding a series of mecha battles.
Code Geass was broadcast in Japan on MBS from October 2006 to July 2007. Its sequel series, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2, ran as a simulcast on MBS and TBS from April 2008 to September 2008. The series has also been adapted into various manga and light novels with the former showing various alternate scenarios from the TV series. A compilation film trilogy that recapped the events from both seasons of the anime series, with altered storylines for various characters, was released in 2017 and 2018. A new film, titled Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection, taking place after the Zero Requiem of the recap films’ universe, was released in theaters in February 2019. A Code Geass: Z of the Recapture anime series was announced in December 2020 as part of a 10-year plan project.
Bandai Entertainment licensed most parts from the franchise for English release in December 2007, airing the two TV series on Adult Swim. Most manga and light novels have also been published in North America by Bandai.
Code Geass has been well received in Japan, selling over a million DVD and Blu-ray Disc volumes. Both seasons have won several awards at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, Animage Anime Grand Prix, and Animation Kobe event. Critics have praised the series for its story, characters, voice acting, large audience appeal as well as the cross conflicts shown among the main characters and the moral questions presented.