Saturday, September 14, 2013

Code Geass (first season only)

So we finally got around to watching Code Geass, which has been touted as an excellent mlitary/political drama/mindgame-type show.



So let's get a few things straight.We liked the show, we really did.But...probably not for the reasons we should.




Alright, let's start with the premise.Brittania has taken over Japan in a fit of imperial conquest, and now the Japanese are suffering under Brittanian oppression as a mere colony of second-class citizens called "Elevens."



Hm.Japan.Imperialism. Conquest.See, when I put those words together, they tend to go in a different direction, yes? Not to be a Chinese nationalist, but there's just something here that displays a complete lack of self-awareness on Japan's part in regards to uh... .It's emphasized by the fact that this pseudo-historical overview opening is repeated many, many times in the first couple of episodes. Because we're vaguely terrible people, we think this jarring lack of self-awareness and any sense of shame actually makes the show more amusing. Cue inappropriate giggling.

Lelouch Lamperouge, whose goal is to overthrow the ruling elite family (conveniently his family) obtains magical asshole powers from C.C. (cue incessant groaning about character design), which grants him the ability to control people's actions.His childhood friend, an Eleven named Suzaku, conveniently ends up as the posterboy for the ruling elite when he becomes the very best pilot for their giant robot army.Oh, yes- this is also a show about mecha armies.



The show likes to jump genres between episodes, moving from mecha battles and tactical warfare to lighthearted comedic school drama with cats and random transfer students. In this case we both agree that this works in its favor.It keeps the show from being bogged down by the admittedly shoddy world-building that is so necessary for really good political dramas, and this stark incongruity gives the show a peculiar kind of charm.



Also, the bit with Euphemia ordering mass genocide at the accidental behest of Lelouch was kind of fucking amazing, not going to lie.



I know, I'm a terrible person.



To be fair, the battles and schemes weren't all unimpressive.There were a few high points, like the showdown with Mao that involved Lelouch erasing his own memory. The battle on the mountain with Cornelia was fairly clever.But overall, this so-called clever political machination is failing miserably- this from two horrible Three Kingdoms fangirls.



Goddamnit Dynasty Warriors 3



Now let's talk about character design.Now...one of us does not particularly appreciate CLAMP style artwork.(COUGH Kathryn COUGH)It took a while to get used to the noodley proportions and fucking ridiculous outfits. Yet, they really could have been worse.



Animator's worst nightmare.



Alice thinks the animation studio did a pretty good job translating CLAMP's style into animated format, considering they didn't have an actual manga to go off of, and the fact that it can be damn hard animating CLAMP's noodle people in ways that don't make your brain hurt.



Case in point.



The female character outfits were, by and large, quite awful.It wasn't a problem initially (CLAMP designs are usually not so crass, even with big boobs), but as the show progressed, especially in the last seven episodes or so, the breast size increased in size dramatically because anime magic.I'm sorry, boobs do not work like that. Neither does butt.



And as far as character development goes?Suzaku finally grows a pair and is kind of an asshole by the end. Lelouch becomes even more of an asshole.That's pretty much it.As far as characterization goes, Lelouch is basically Light Lite (aka Yagami Light minus a few megalomaniacal asshole calories).In fact, I have been spelling the name wrong in my head the entire duration of this post, simply because my brain defaults to "Ledouche."



You and your asshole hand poses that are remarkably difficult if not impossible to do in real life



And then we got to the final three episodes.



The pacing at the end was terrible - they tried to cram way too much into the last three episoddes, to the point where it became a giant clusterfuck.Lelouch abandons his entire army in what is quite possibly the worst tactical move in the history of forever.No commander would abandon his entire army to go fetch his sister who may or may not even be in danger, and for someone who is supposedly so clever, Lelouch's supposed abilities suddenly fall flat.You might argue that is an intentional character flaw of Lelouch, but it is so weak in premise and execution that it leaves a huge hole for the viewer.



NOPE THAT IS NOT HOW YOU DO STRATEGY



The military stuff got far too messy too quickly, and none of the reversals in the last couple of episodes were remotely believable. They happened too quickly, with minimal sense of preparation or logistical planning. But even worse than the pacing was the random and completely unnecessary addition of new characters two episodes before the end. That just reeks of poor planning and only serves to piss off the viewer.And when you force me to watch the sequel for any kind of closure at all, that makes me incredibly angry.



Also. HOW DO YOU SNEAK UP ON SOMEBODY IN A GIANT FUCKING ROBOT. This happens multiple times in the series, and I just can't figure this out.And fucking WHY with all of this half cyborg shit. It's fucking Robo-Archer all over again.



Howl is so done with your robo shit, Code Geass



The last few episodes really screwed this series over for us. But again, a DISCLAIMER: We really don't hate this show.We liked it a lot until that point- it was incredibly entertaining, though maybe not as technically excellent as its reputation claimed, and it was definitely worth watching. We will watch the second season eventually, but these last two episodes have pushed it pretty far down our priority queue.



Next up on What the Fuck Did We Just Watch:Jojo's Bizarre Adventure!



No, seriously guys, watch out, this blog is going to get 700% more fabulous



-Kathryn and Alice
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