I sometimes like to tell the story about my 40-year flirtation with anime and how I felt the genre turned on me numerous times, which forced me to leave it numerous times. I want you to know that I was thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to bailing again and all because of the frustration generated by this series, “Code Geass: Akito the Exiled” (“Kōdo Giasu Bōkoku no Akito”). As far as I was concerned, this anime was a deal-breaker and would have closed out my Seventh Attempt at Anime, but I’m now made of sterner stuff and toughed it through, although I did take a ‘vacation’ from anime, as I was so angry. I will explain the show and then I will explain the betrayal.
The show picks up the narrative in the year 2017 ATB (or Revolutionary Year 228) and will cover the next year or so in their time. The setting is in Europe, where the EU (Europia United, which sounds like a football club) allied nations are being invaded by the overwhelming forces of the Holy Britannian Empire. On the verge of defeat, the EU army forms a special unit known as “W-0″, of which a young pilot, Akito Hyuga (Mr. Sulky at the far right) is a member.
Leila Malcal (that marvy blonde, up close and personal) is a former HBE Aristocrat who comes to the EU for aid, commanding the Wyvern Nightmare Corps, comprised of Area 11 teenagers. They recklessly plunge into a battlefield, where the survival rate is extremely low, (about 5%; Vegas gives you better odds and free drinks) to fight for their freedom and for a home to which they can return.
OK, so far, so good. I mean, this is the Code Geass we have come to expect. Oh, the rest of the crew, left to right, Yukiya Naruse, Claus Warwick and Ayano Kosaka. They kind of work together, but Akito is a bit of a loose cannon: won’t follow orders, can’t stick to the plan, does what he feels like doing, you know, that sort of thing.
Now, the battle sequences are always a thing to behold, but I felt that there were too many of them and they went on for just too long. That, coupled with the overweening arrogance of the HBE pilots made, for me at least, some frustrating times.
Then, we fling in two major alterations to things. They cannot be revealed, as they completely alter the course of the show, so must be experienced. Here is what ruined it for me: it took me four years to see this series. The show is parceled out in one-hour OVA blocks, but why did it take so long for it to get over here and to be eventually aired? For you, you can sit down and watch all five straight through (and it will make for better viewing…I hope), but I went a full year between segments to the point that I had forgotten salient parts of the plot.
And by the time we got to the end, I felt the journey and the wait wasn’t really worth it. It almost felt it was a caliber of acid test, to see if people were still interested in the Code Geass universe and what other possible direction they could take the franchise.
There are still a lot of stories to tell, but not if it takes this long to get them to an eager public. I am going to give a very guarded OK to this. It’s that, at times, I did not really know where the story was going or what it wanted to do and the holes were filled in by involved and appealing fight sequences, but even that got a bit much.
Let’s make a deal: you can have what’s behind curtain #1 or what’s in the box Jay is bringing down the aisle. No, seriously. I want you to watch the series, especially hardcore Code Geass watchers, then come back and give me your views on it. I want to know if the way I had to see it affected how I felt about it, as opposed to your ability to blitz right through it. That is a problem with being on the leading edge: you sometimes lose out on the overall flavor in trying to be first.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Typical Code Geass artwork)
Plot 7 (Holding its own)
Pacing 7 (Moves along in spurts)
Effectiveness 7 (Quit talkin’ and start chalkin’!)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (Too many fights for me)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Even if it takes you four years to do it.