Man. Forget Akito.

I wouldn’t be lying if I said I came to hate Code Geass. The first season was pretty good. It came out about the same time as Gundam OO and shares similarities in mechs and the like. Both also share a weak second season. Both ended on massively high, exciting points that were just GREAT. Amazing stuff. The battle on the moon for OO and Euphemia’s being Geassed then going killing spree… amazing. But both series failed, ultimately in their second seasons. They focused on characters and actions they shouldn’t have and basically lost focus. They left the ideals and complexity of the first season for more action and drama that didn’t really mean anything but try to get the audience to get some feels going. R2 started it’s decline about the China arc and OO started to drop when the princess of what-you-call-it-stan uses the power of her heart and the innocence of children to reach the heart of the protagonist.

Now Akito is not related to Gundam OO at all and is only in the same universe of Code Geass. No, that doesn’t save it. It’s premise is crazy to begin with, Mechs, a british empire and a bunch of other miscellaneous items that they call a world. This Akito story abandons the Japanese isles and focuses on the plight of Japs (referred to as 11s in story) who have left their home and reached Europe through Britannia. One of them is Hyuga Akito, the guy on the first image. And isn’t he the loneliest, most dangerous SOB you ever did see pilot a gundam-I mean Knightmare. He tears apart normal troops because he’s geassed and a named character. He was likely geassed by a guy called Xin who causes someone to kill themselves later in an overly poignant fashion. He’s chinese (a mortal enemy of the British, but currently at peace according to R2) and they trust him implicitly.

Lets talk about that for a second. While the British seem to be bastards, little evidence is given. Indeed, it seems like the Europeans and Brits are fighting for matter of principle rather than anything rather concrete. Many britanians, “Manfredi” and the guy who ran the Wilhelm Knights demonstrate high degrees of friendship and martial honor, rather than the bastardy that marks Code Geass. Let me indulge a rabbit trail here. What is up with the Germanic names? These aren’t English names, American or Australian names at all to be found. Back to the main point, the British seem to be schizo-frenic. Are they the empire of evil that Code Geass would have you believe? Or is it more of a race of honorable warriors who run on a strict code of honor and friendship? Make up your minds Sunset Entertainment! Are they evil or not!? Are you making the hackneyed excuse that no one is really evil? Are you trying to figure out who are the proper villains? Is Xin the big bad or just the rival? WHY IS HE THE ONLY ASIAN LOOKING CHARACTER THERE!?!?!

Another thing is the characterization. There are a crapton of characters. The ones who really matter are 3-4 depending: Akito, Xin, Leyla, Ryou (maybe), in that order. Preferably, they’ll add more villains. I don’t mean one shots or Leyla’s brother/fiancee, I mean VILLAINS. We’ve got Xin, who has history, but he doesn’t really have the presence necessary to do it alone. He made exactly one move during his scene and honestly, it was crap. Just a bit of murder I will choke myself in rage over, if he doesn’t get some sort of justice for it. But WHAT IS HIS CHARACTER?! He looks good, but he cannot drive the plot. The main draws of adventurous tales are the Hero’s story and the villain dynamic.

It’s not right that we have an interesting looking man with villainy drives and then just have him do an atrocity for no other reason than to have someone poignantly commit suicide, black and white with seconds lovingly spend gazing at his cooling corpse as Xin looks on. Lord almighty, it’s a real Greek tragedy here. Akito is in the same boat. He’s a checklist: Minority, lonely, dead friends (they self-destructed) and no social skills. Now we’ve got a sure-fire way to get girls to like this show. Thank goodness most of our characters are flat, it makes him look like he has real depth. Leyla and her abusive brother/fiancee! Now that’s Cooking with petrol! Thank goodness! Ryou and his unrealistic reason that he’s kidnapping old man general/friend of father’s is because he wants a home for himself and his friends is starting to look good by comparison. All together now… awwwwww.

The real problem can be summed up like this: I don’t know what’s going on and neither do the characters. The characters are all reacting to events that have transpired in the immediate, and few are truly initiating far reaching goals that benefit them during the Akito movie, the villain excepted. People like Ryou are easily forgiven for killing like 20 dudes and trying to kidnap the one reasonable voice (old general) when others have to agonize over sedating a crazed captain at the beginning. Keep in mind, this is all presented in colorful, grotesque and picturesque cinematography. It is painfully artistic, to the point of being unpleasant to look at. It lacks tightness. Portal was a great game, because it was well-made, but also because it was ‘tight’, not an ounce of wasted space or time.

One last thing that’s bugging me is the culture clash and racism. Most japs are referred to as 11s, which is viewed as a slur. I have a couple problems with this, first, there are 10 other areas. Everyone seems in on it besides the heroes. The 11s we see are never good examples, defying any stereotypes etc. Everyone’s inconsistent about it. Are they actually racist? Are the politicians that bad? To me, this is the most prevalent aspect that doesn’t work for me. Europe went through several cultural revolutions and changes, to the point that they hate Americans only some of the time and muslims most of the time, not Asian rebels working with them.  I see no advancement in EU’s culture, nor any knowledge of much of what occurred in the 18-1900s, enlightenment and whatnot. It’s like the plot writers had only a glimpse of European culture and history then thought: “HEY, since we’re creating an alternate history so fuck all that cultural evolution and history!” Really? Really? It doesn’t work that way, cultural developments occur even during near constant war. WHICH EUROPE WAS JUST UP TO RECENTLY. If you count the Cold War.

Really, I could go on. I could talk about how the grotesque character designs jar with each other while trying to maintain a signature style that’s too complicated to begin with. If you like Code Geass blindly then you will like this, but otherwise faithful readers, I can’t recommend it, and I will not be watching any other movies of it. If you want something like this, watch Gundam Unicorn. It’s better, in plot, animation, characterization and action.

I will leave you all with one quote I thought terrifying, but poignant.

“A skilled dictator is much more beneficial to humanity than a democracy of ignorant people.”

Perhaps the one bit of truth that can be found in this damn thing.