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Code Geass - Lelouch of the Rebellion (Episodes 1-2) PDF Print E-mail
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Now in Japan
Friday, 22 December 2006 00:00
Code GeassCLAMP does mecha - I don't think I've seen that before.  When the aristocratic Britannian Empire seizes control of Japan, it's the beginning of what will be an unhappy occupation for the Japanese - but one young Britannian, Lelouch Lamperge, swears to repel the invading forces.  Just how much of a resistance movement can on student be?  Quite a bit, when he has to power to control by command...

1 - The Day The Devil Was Born
Japan has been conquered by the Britannian Empire, and is now know simply as Area 11.  At the time of the invasion, a young Britannian, Lelouch Lamperge, promised his Japanese friend Suzaku that he's one day destroy the Britannians for what they'd done.  Seven years after the end of the war, Lelouch - now a high school student who seems to have great trouble motivating himself to ever attend class - finds himself caught in the middle of a military operation, as a task force attempts to stop a group of alleged terrorists from escaping with a young girl, who possesses unusual powers.  When Lelouch and the girl are cornered by the Empire's troops, she gives him the power to control anyone with just a simple command - and Lelouch finally has a way to follow through on his promised to defeat the Empire...

CheckCaptive

2 - The Awakening of the White Knight

Suzaku awakens in a medical unit - thanks to his pocketwatch, he's survived being shot, and with the rest of the Empire's troops dead there's no-one to know about his encounter with Lelouch.  Outside, the Empire's forces continue their massacre of the ghetto's inhabitants.  Having used his new power to gain control of a Knightmare Frame for himself, Lelouch sets about trying to even the score - and his chess-playing tactical knowledge soon leads to him gaining the upper hand.  But when Suzaku returns to the battlefield in the new Lancelot-model Knightmare Frame, the odds start to shift back the other way...

Checking trafficPlanning defence

For all that he's currently set up to be the hero of the piece, I get the impression that Lelouch isn't the nicest of people - there's a certain look in his eye and ruthless side to his attitude that point him out as maybe not being the man you want in charge, although with his new-found power it is, of course, hard to say no.  Part of that arrogance probably comes from his royal past - it's revealed at the end of episode two that he's 2nd in line to the throne (presumably the Area 11 governor's throne, and not the big one) but has been essentially cast off by the royal family.  There's a good reason for a grudge right there, and his chess tactics make him an enviable opponent on any battlefield.  A little bit too obsessed with playing with the pieces for my liking, though.

Compared to Prince Clavis, however, Lelouch is a knight in shining armour.  These first episodes make it very clear that the lives of those Japanese (now called 11's) who haven't managed to qualify for citizenship of the Empire are the lowest of the low, disposable life-forms to be killed on a whim and without remorse - and a lot of them are killed over the course of these episodes (mostly tastefully off-screen, but it's always clear what's happening).  That makes Lelouche possibly the lesser of two evils.

The third main character is Suzaku, who brings a certain Gundam vibe to proceedings in his role as Lelouch's old friend who has now chosen to fight for the Britannians.  Exactly where his loyalties lie isn't clear - while he's lethal in his new Lancelot unit, I suspect if he'd known he was fighting against Lelouch he wouldn't have been as keen, and the possibility is there for him to become the resistance's inside man, but if I was betting I'd be more inclined to put my money in him becoming an angst-filled youngster who'll eventually end up determined to kill his former friend.  It is, after all, the Anime Way.

I didn't have particularly high expectations when I started on Code Geass, but these episodes were surprisingly enjoyable to watch.  Lelouch's ability is unusual and potentially very useful, while the convenient inability of it to work on anyone in armour leave plenty of opportunity for Knightmare Frame battles.  It's not a really stand-out show yet, but there's certainly some promise here.