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Review: InuYasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time (2001) Anime | My Reviews 04 JUL 2014

When Kagome’s arrow shattered the Shikon no Tama, its shards scattered across feudal Japan, putting power into even the most lowly of creatures’ hands. Now, surrounded by their friends and fighting comrades, Inuyasha and Kagome must journey across Japan, locating the shards and righting the wrongs which they have caused.

Two hundred years ago during the Mongol invasion of Japan, a powerful Chinese demon named Hyoga attempted to enter Japan with the intent of collecting the souls of the dead. Inuyasha’s demon father entered into battle with this powerful enemy and the resulting backlash destroyed the entire Mongol invasion fleet. Hyoga was defeated and imprisoned within the Tree of Ages in the Forest of No Return, with one of Inuyasha’s father’s fangs as the seal.

When one of the Shikon no Tama shards embedded itself into a tree, its power triggered the release of Morenmaru, son of Hyoga, from his own imprisonment. Now the moth-controlling Morenmaru seeks the power of Inuyasha’s Tetsusaiga, in a bid to release Hyoga’s energy from the Tree of Ages. Should he do this, he will inherit his father’s will and power and be able to absorb all the souls from the land, turning him into something akin to a God.

Gathering more Chinese demons around him, Morenmaru now seeks to tear apart Inuyasha’s group and take Tetsusaiga for himself – and with the ability to seize control of peoples’ bodies, friends are soon going to find themselves fighting some very familiar faces. Sango and Miroku are going to have to face and fight their own demons, while Inuyasha is going to have to fight the hardest battle of them all – Kagome!

The ripples of Morenmaru’s quest for power are going to be felt throughout all of time.

InuYasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time is the first movie release based on the hugely popular Inuyasha anime series aired on Japanese television. Inuyasha is based on the manga by Rumiko Takahashi, the same person responsible for bringing the world Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku and Urusei Yatsura. The movie is specifically targeted at viewers of the regular Inuyasha series and therefore foregoes lengthy background information which may thus be a little off-putting to viewers new to the Inuyasha world.

For those of you that are new to the franchise, Inuyasha is a dog half-demon or hanyou who is on a mission to claim the power of the magical Shikon no Tama for himself and use it to turn him into a full-blooded youkai (demon). Kagome is a time-displaced girl who is the heroine of the Inuyasha saga. Travelling back to the feudal ages from present day Tokyo, the spiritually powerful Kagome befriends Inuyasha and slowly begins to bring out the humanity of this antisocial hanyou. Her accidental destruction of the mysterious Shikon no Tama that lends power to anyone it comes in contact with, led her to join forces with Inuyasha on a quest to recover the shards of the jewel and undo any damage caused by it. They are joined by Miroku, the perverted monk who controls the fearsome air void in his right hand, the youkai exterminator Sango and her pet youkai, Kirara, and lastly the child fox demon Shippo. The wise but cowardly old flea youkai, Myouga is also on hand to lend them some advice should they ever need it. Together they travel across feudal Japan, slaying monsters, righting wrongs and slowly rebuilding the magical Shikon jewel.

The film is based somewhere after the 35th episode of the television series, but manages to stay clear from impacting upon the television series’ storyline or time line. The story revolves around a Chinese youkai that awakens after a Shikon no Tama shard frees him from his sealed imprisonment. Morenmaru immediately sets about fulfilling his father’s mission from more than 200 years ago, seeking to capture the souls from this very land. But to acquire his father’s power and will, Morenmaru requires Inuyasha’s Tetsusaiga to break the seal on his father’s grave.

The story is well written and beautifully self-contained, making it one of the strongest Inuyasha stories to date. Not working in the half-hour constraint of a normal episode, the movie tells a complete story that is filled with the usual Inuyasha action, suspense, fantasy, romance and comedy. Though the film’s main story focuses on the battle between Inuyasha and Morenmaru, its main theme focuses very squarely on the developing relationship between Kagome and Inuyasha.

The artwork is of the usual Inuyasha high standard, with characters and backgrounds being very solidly portrayed. The colours are bright and the action sequences smooth and exciting. The special light effects are also well done, adding to the production as a whole. The voice acting is good, with the same voice cast used as in the regular television series. The movie boasts a strong soundtrack that really adds depth to the cinematic experience.

If you are a fan of the Inuyasha series then this is a must watch. It is action-packed, makes you laugh and even tugs a little at your heartstrings. A fine production, the only flaw being that it doesn’t perhaps cater for introductory viewers as much as it should. Still, The Love that Transcends Time is a highly recommended and polished addition to the Inuyasha universe.

InuYasha the Movie Affections Touching Across Time

(Historical Note: This was written back in November 2004. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InuYasha_the_Movie

Review: Argento Soma (2000) Anime | My Reviews 28 MAR 2014

argento soma anime dvdIn 2054, an unknown alien life form fell from the sky. The destruction began and the United Nations government was forced reorganise the army to oppose them and to defend the Earth. This combat action was dubbed ‘The first encounter action’. In 2059, after five years, the battle is still going on.

Takuto Kaneshiro is a young scientist, currently completing his studies at a prestigious aerospace university. His girlfriend, Maki Agata, is also a young scientist, currently working with Prof. Noguchi to decipher more about the mysterious aliens. Their current project is a gigantic alien iron life form that fell from the sky. They finally managed to piece the patchwork giant up again and now hope to resurrect it.

But the experiment to awaken Frank, or Extra-1 as the military designates it, goes horribly wrong. As the facility known as Morgue crumbles around his ears, Kaneshiro can only watch in horror as the monster Extra-1 crushes his beloved Maki and Prof. Noguchi.

Somehow Kaneshiro’s life is sparred, but he is left horribly scarred and disfigured. As he lies recovering in the hospital bed, a mysterious man with red-hair approaches him. The man proposes a deal. If he gave Kaneshiro the power to destroy Extra-1, will Kaneshiro become his tool? With hatred burning in his heart, Kaneshiro accepts the stranger’s offer. He awakes to find himself with a new face, a new name and a new identity. Ryu Soma.

He joins up with the elite military anti-alien task force known as Funeral. Using their advanced weaponary such as the Sarg Mecha and the Mistel carrier, Funeral wage a non-stop war against the alien menace. Ryu fights alongside them, but his only real opponent shall ever be Extra-1.

Argento Soma is a very stylish artistic anime title. The stories are well told, the use of imagery nicely done and the music nicely presented. The ideas being portrayed are interesting and so you feel that this series should be a good package. Unfortunately it isn’t. It’s not bad, but the pace at which the story unfolds is so badly handled that you find yourself wishing the series would end already, that is, if you have continued watching it so far.

As mentioned before the story is relatively interesting. Aliens have invaded Earth and the military have scrambled to stop them. A special division called Funeral is established, and utilizing advanced mecha and machinery, are in charge of stopping the alien incursions. A pathwork alien falls in their hands and becomes their tool against the aliens. However, the main character, Takuto Kaneshiro loses his girlfriend as well as a part of his face when they revive the patchwork alien, known as Extra-1. Kaneshiro, pushed by a mystery man, assumes a new identity of Ryu Soma and joins up with funeral. The story focuses on the hate relationship between the two and how this is eventually resolved. The character, alien and mecha designs are all first class and the storytelling is very well done, but the series is let down by horrible pacing.

The animation on Argento Soma is very nicely done, with movements being very fluid and realistic. The aliens take on the same feel as those in Neon Genesis Evangelion, something instantly recognizable to Evangelion fans. The music is atmospheric and the anime has a beautifully melodic opening track. However, the end track sounds kind of out of place, so I usually skip listening to it.

Overall, you can see that the director was trying his best to put forward a polished and artistic piece of work. It would have succeeded too, if it only hadn’t been for the poor story pacing. If you enjoy a good drama and some mecha action, then you might enjoy Argento Soma. Just don’t expect to watch the series all in one go though.

argento soma anime

(Historical Note: This was written back in August 2003. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argento_Soma

Review: s.CRY.ed (2001) Anime | My Reviews 24 DEC 2013

s-cry-ed anime dvd coverThe phenomenon that birthed the area known only as the Lost Grounds from the place once known as the Kanagawa prefecture brought with it another oddity, the birth of the so-called “Alter” user. Approximately 2% of the population, these people are born with the ability to transmute material into the most wondrous of paranormal abilities.

Kazuma is a cocky, arrogant, good-for-nothing kind of guy who enjoys a good fight if he can find it. His alloy alter provides him with tremendous power in his right fist, but he is lazy, incapable of holding down a job, never mind the money. A young man of steadfast resolution and iron-clad will, the rebellious Kazuma will not allow anyone to impose their will upon him. Never living in doubt or fear, Kazuma strides forward, always making the decision to break down any wall that may be standing in front of him.

Amongst the elitists of HOLY, the police force created for dealing with native alters, is a young man named Ryuhou, commander of the powerful Alter known as Zetsuei. The unforgiving justice of Zetsuei mirrors Ryuho’s cold demeanour in his mission to impose his and HOLY’s ideals upon the Lost Grounds.

But when a chance encounter between Kazuma and Ryuho occurs, a rivalry of unparalleled intenseness is spawned. Their hatred for each other will ensnare the land with chaos and turmoil. It is a battle between the hunter and the hunted; a struggle to rebel against conformity; and a fight to uphold ones ideals and freedom.

The epic battles within the Lost Ground will determine the fates of all who dwell there.

Scryed is the story of rebellion, about a man who refuses to accept the authority imposed upon him by others and to live out his life to his own rules. Seeking to follow his path alone, Kazuma will allow nothing to stand in his way nor tell him what to do. Similarly, there is a man who steadfastly believes in the ideals showed to him and now acts to ensure that these ideals are enforced upon everybody. As a member of HOLY Ryuhou seeks to the happiness of all man – even if a few have to suffer for it. Ryhuou and Kazuma are so very alike yet complete opposites when it comes to their view on fate and destiny. Ryuhou follows his destiny while Kazuma strives to create his own. Throw in some awesome paranormal abilities courtesy of Alter-abilities and you have one great, action-packed show.

The story is fast and full of action, the characters and their powers interesting and diverse and the animation solid with more than a few hints of brilliance. Scryed is an exciting show that revolves almost entirely around the never-ending feud between the two main characters, Kazuma and Ryuhou as well as Kazuma’s battle against HOLD and HOLY who are trying to impose their governance upon him. The story is well-paced, though at times feels a more than a little episodic, especially in the early stages of the show. But a well-timed twist in the story turns the tale upside down and adds tremendously to the series. Though including a few laughs mixed with some drama, Scyed focuses heavily on action and fight scenes between the various alter users. That said, there are more than a few scenes that will pull on your heartstrings.

Scryed boasts a diverse cast of characters and alter capabilities, ranging from the awesome to the just plain ridiculous. The character designs are solid, though it can be said that the series might have done with a better alter creature/ability designer. The animation for the series is very good, with the large number of fight scenes handled just perfectly. Very solid and very clean, the animation in Scryed doesn’t let one down. The soundtrack for the series is perfectly suited to the action as is the voices of the various cast members.

Scryed is a great action-packed series with a good story, a good point to bring across and great artwork. I dare you not to find Kazuma the Shell Bullet one of the more intriguing characters that you will ever come across.

scryed anime

(Historical Note: This was written back in December 2004. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-CRY-ed

Review: Vision of Escaflowne (1996) Anime | My Reviews 14 NOV 2013

vision of escaflowne anime seriesKanzaki Hitomi is a sprinter, and today is her school’s time trials to select the runners for the up-and-coming prefecture track meet. She arrives just in time to watch the boy she likes participate. Amano Susumu is a skilled runner, breaking the 11 second barrier for the 100 meter sprint.

However, when it’s finally her turn to run, Hitomi experiences something strange. As she races down the track, a vision of a boy holding a sword appears before her. As she collides with him, she finds herself staring at a war-torn plain, towered over by huge mecha. As she falls again, a winged figure reaches out and grabs her hand.

When this vision finally comes true, Hitomi is drawn into a world filled with war and sadness. Gaea. The boy is Van Fanel, King of the destroyed kingdom Fanelia. He fights aboard the Escaflowne, trying to reclaim his kingdom and save Gaea from the evil Zaibach empire.

Zaibach is attempting to control the forces of destiny and the only thing standing in their way is the shadow of Escaflowne and the girl from the phantom moon, Hitomi.

And so it is that Hitomi and Van battle against overwhelming odds to save a world. And find eternal love.

The Vision of Escaflowne is an epic love story told on the backdrop of a fantasy medieval world at war. The kingdom of Fanelia has fallen to the Empire of Zaibach who has designs on conquering Gaea. The surviving king needs to warn the rest of Gaea – and avenge his kingdom. But then a girl comes into his life who claims she is from the phantom moon (Earth). She has visions and can even predict the future. With her power he might stand a chance. But then there is also the power of love that threatens to draw them together.

Like I said, Escaflowne is in essence a love story, but with so many different elements to it that it makes for a thoroughly engrossing story. Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Escaflowne caters for all.

Hitomi, the fortune-telling girl who seems to control destiny and fate on Gaea. Van, the king of a destroyed kingdom with vengeance on his heart. Allen, the knight of heaven, caught between womens’ affections. All the characters of Escaflowne are given life and a purpose. And as the secrets of Gaea unfold, so do their own past lives and histories.

The animation is of a high quality, and the mecha are particularly nicely designed. My only complaint is the weird way in which they have opted to depict a character’s nose. Everyone seems to be related to Pinocchio.

The voices are excellent, but they could have done with a better musical track. That said, the opening theme is quite pretty.

All in all, this is an engrossing series that caters for all. Really enjoyable and well worth a watch for all anime lovers.

vision of escaflowne anime

(Historical Note: It would seem my writing was quite poor back in February 2004. After all, that was when this review was first written!)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_of_Escaflowne

Review: Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door Anime | My Reviews 17 JUL 2009

Cowboy Bebop Knockin on Heavens DoorThe enigmatic Vincent Volaju, a disenfranchised man who questions his very existence and the existence of others around him, has a plan. A plan that will see him release a deadly virus on Mars, a virus powerful enough to wipe out all of mankind in a single stroke. Naturally, a huge bounty has been placed on his head and as such, the crew of the Bebop soon find themselves entangled in this enigmatic and rather deadly hunt, one that may just have far more dire consequences that what any of them could have ever imagined.

Faye Valentine, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and even Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV (known as Ed to her friends) are in a race against time to unravel the mystery of the unfathomable virus and track down this seemingly-all powerful figure before he unleashes his apocalypse on Mars!

Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, also known as Cowboy Bebop: The Movie in the States, is a 2001 animated feature film based on the hugely popular Sunrise Cowboy Bebop franchise. It is once again directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, the same man who directed the original Cowboy Bebop series as well as the man who eventually went on to give us the awesome Samurai Champloo anime series back in 2004. The screenplay is handled by the well-known Keiko Nobumoto and it features the voice talents of Koichi Yamadera, Unsho Ishizuka and Megumi Hayashibara.

Even if you haven’t seen the original, ground-breaking Cowboy Bebop anime series before, Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door is still a more than powerful enough movie to hold its own, easily displaying all the characteristics of a great movie without breaking a sweat. A compelling story, great action sequences, likable, interesting and fleshed out to a degree characters, succinct animation, vivid colours and a powerful voice-acting and musical soundtrack makes for a simply fantastic filmographic outing.

The story starts out very nicely, building a solid base for the mystery which is still to come, giving just enough clues and hints to tantalize the viewer as well as introduce the main protagonists. There’s a fair amount of twists, turns and surprises, and the pacing of the story handles all this build up quite superbly. There are quite a number of action sequences to get through as well, and rather than coming through forced, they blend in naturally with the progression of the main storyline and in the end help to accelerate the movie to quite a satisfying, neatly wrapped up conclusion.

Of course, all the hallmarks of the original Cowboy Bebop series are present and accounted for, the witty repartee, the almost too carefree Spike, the amount of attention paid to the eclectic music choice throughout the movie, some deep and probing personal questions, and naturally, Watanabe’s trademark expert usage of flow – the way he accelerates and decelerates various elements of his story in a seemingly completely random manner. All these elements fuse beautifully together, producing in the end a thoroughly entertaining and rewarding watch that packs enough punch to ensure that the viewer is glued to their chair all the way from start to finish!

Visually, the movie can simply be described as absolutely stunning. A lot of detail and extra care has gone into the varied background panels that appear throughout the movie and these painstakingly produced environments mesh seamlessly with the highly detailed and particularly fluid animation of the various character models imposed upon them. The colour pallet too is skillfully applied across the full spectrum, breathing that extra layer of depth into what is already an awesome looking animated film.

In terms of voice acting, the star-studded voice actor cast all deliver absolutely stellar performances with some really solid character portrayals, a necessary feature when you think about just how strong a musical soundtrack they are competing against! As always, the music choice across the entire movie is particularly varied and one gets to experience some wonderfully refined sounds and beats, all of which have been painstakingly singled out as the best match for any one particular scene. Best described as an eclectic soundtrack at best, there is certainly more than enough musical variety to satisfy any hardcore music lover’s taste. (But then again, what were you expecting with a movie whose very title is borrowed off an old Bob Dylan track?!)

So in summary, Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door is really one of those anime movie masterpieces that you should make an effort to see. A particularly well thought out, deep and evocative script, an exciting and enjoyable cast of characters, some extremely strong action sequences and in short, just a fantastic journey from start to finish. If you haven’t seen it then I certainly suggest you make the effort to grab hold of it then.

You won’t be disappointed, that’s for sure! :)

Cowboy Bebop Cast
Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_Bebop:_The_Movie

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 Anime | My Reviews 11 JAN 2009

Code Geass R2Following directly on from the previous season, Code Geass R2 plunges us straight into a new world where not everything is quite as it seems. Japan remains under Britannian rule, still stripped of its name and status, still simply referred to as Area 11 and its inhabitants, Elevens. The Black Knights are no longer a plausible threat and to the public in general, Zero appears to be dead, lost in the final battle.

Lelouch Lamperouge and his school companions’ memories have been wiped, his precious sister Nunnally has been both physically and mentally taken from him, and he is now under constant Britannian supervision and surveillance, ensuring that his memories of his previous life as Zero don’t make a sudden reappearance.

However, C.C remains on the loose and with her still around, there is no guarantee that this newly crafted peaceful world will remain as it is for long. She has a pact with Lelouch and that pact must be seen through – meaning that the time for Zero and his geass is at hand once more… as is the destruction of the absolute Britannian Emperor, Charles Di Britannia.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 is the second season of the highly successful Sunrise original animation, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion and was released in 2008, standing at 25 episodes long. It is once again directed by Goro Taniguchi and written by Ichiro Okouchi, with character designs once more handled by the famed CLAMP mangaka group.

Essentially everything that was packed in and what made the first season such a hit is back in the follow-up run, with our love him or hate him protagonist still making some pretty dirty decisions to further his goals. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue, a lot of drama, the usual, seemingly completely out of place humour and of course tons of action – with just a hint of romance sprinkled in for good measure. The pacing is non-stop and Zero’s machinations continuously grow and change in scope as the series progresses, always keeping you on your toes and waiting to surprise you around each and every corner.

There are quite a few new characters added to the roster and the season focuses more heavily on the geass itself, introducing new users of it as well as chronicling a little more about this wonderous gift or curse as it is. However, Lelouch’s primary goals of creating a peaceful world for his blind, paralysed sister and eliminating the current Britannian emperor remains the same and thus his lies and machinations stay pretty true to his original run with the first Black Knights uprising. And in addition to all this political and strategic maneuvering, the series ALSO throws a ton of very well choreographed and thought out mecha battles to enjoy, thus ensuring that the series continues to hold as much entertainment value for those just interested in the action aspect of the story as what it does for those who dig slightly deeper in the story and message of the show.

Visually, Code Geass R2 continues its interesting character designs courtesy of CLAMP and the resulting visuals are pleasingly different from your standard anime fare, making this one of the better looking anime shows currently out. The mecha designs in particular are also pretty fantastic and very different from the norm, again helping the show to stand just that little bit taller than the rest of the current, rather generic pack. Colors are bright and vibrant and the animation is particularly fluid and generally very well choreographed. CG is kept to a minimum and the special effects that are used are extremely well blended into the scenes, making Code Geass R2 a particularly pleasing on the eye watch.

The show features some pretty veteran voice actors, including the likes of Jun Fukuyama as Lelouch Lamperouge, Takahiro Sakurai as Suzaku Kururugi and Yukana as CC. The entire group puts in a fantastic performance and coupled with a well designed musical score and arrangement under the directorship of Motoi Izawa and Yasuo Uragami, Code Geass R2 comes out sounding as polished as one could hope for in a made for TV anime series. Theme song composition, arrangement and performance is handled by Orange Range, with additional performances by Ali Project and Flow.

In summary, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 continues its addictive blend of intrigue, drama, pulse-quickening excitement, humour and just sheer mecha madness action, and with a solid meaty story underneath that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, it is most certainly one of those must see anime series that anyone calling themselves an anime fan simply cannot miss!

So my advice to you is simple: sit back and enjoy…

Code Geass R21

Related Link: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=9173

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Anime | My Reviews 06 APR 2008

Code GeassJapan is no more. Conquered by the Holy Empire of Britannia armed with their awe-inspiring mecha known as the Knightmare Frames, Japan is now known simply as Area 11 and its native inhabitants simply as “Elevens”. While society struggles to get to grips with the various class structures now forced upon it, there are however still those pockets of resistance that would see a revived Japan rise from the ashes and struggle against the authorities who would keep them down.

One such figure is your not so ordinary student Lelouch Lamperouge, an exiled prince who is abnormally clever and more than just a little scheming. A dark past has meant that this young man has sworn to bring down Britannia, and a chance encounter with a strange girl known only as CC has blessed him with the most awesome of abilities, that of the Geass. Now with the ability to bend anyone to his will, Lelouch seeks to craft a world where his disabled sister can live happily and where a Britannia no longer exists.

On the other side of the coin is Suzaku Kururugi, son of the last Japanese prime minister and a boy who has instead embraced Britannia and seeks to bring about a world of peace using Britannia as the tool. An excellent warrior with a particularly awesome Knightmare Frame at his disposal, Suzaku will soon be pitted head to head against his once best friend, Lelouch – or as he is more commonly known to the world – Zero.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a 25 episode long anime series, produced by Sunrise and directed by Goro Taniguchi. Now Taniguchi isn’t new to the anime scene and has brought classics like s-CRY-ed, Planetes and Gun X Sword to our screens and his latest production, Code Geass, certainly doesn’t disappoint.

What makes Code Geass so enjoyable is the clever story writing in which we find an oppressed Japan (by Britain no less) and a scheming, revenge and power-hungry student who wishes to oppose his oppressor and take control over the world. This lad is then given the amazing power of the Geass which allows him to bend anyone to his will (with the usual restrictions in place just to give us some more plot devices) and then set free to start his machinations. The beginning of the anime is charaterised by clever and intricate plots that leaves a viewer hanging, much in the same vein as what Death Note did a year before it. Unfortunately though, the rigours of this clever writing proves to be a little too much and halfway through the anime slumps back into your typical student romance/comedy/drama which leaves a pretty bland taste in your mouth.

Thankfully though, the writers rescue the show with a couple of episodes to go and turn up the action a notch, while at the same time falling back to the clever twists that made the show such a hit right at the outset. This makes for a grand finale and puts Code Geass back firmly on the must see list.

However, and this is a big however, Code Geass is let down by the fact that it appears that commerce had a heavy hand in its production. First off is the atrocious decision to allow Pizza-Hut on board with its egarious advertising campaign in which huge sections of the show is specifically added to simply showcase their product. It is an annoyingly obvious intrusion and I can only believe in the disgust that Tanaguchi to deal with when forced to inject these scenes in his work. The second is the whole stop production at 23 episodes, then decide to wait a couple of months before releasing episodes 24 and 25 and then because of the great interest that was generated, end episode 25 and thus the ‘season’ off on a HUGE cliffhanger and announce that a second season would come into production.

Terrible. Of course, the problem is that we as the fans allowed this kind of behavior from the production companies behind the show and as such have to live with the consequence. Nevertheless, despite these two quibbles, Code Geass is in fact quite a well written story with an interesting storyline, some compelling characters and worthy themes that are explored throughout the series.

The first thing that immediately stands out when you see Code Geass for the first time is the unmistakable CLAMP inspired character designs, all in their trademark character gawkiness. An inspired move on the part of Taniguchi because the look of Code Geass raises it above other similar mecha-based school shows and CLAMP certainly didn’t let him down in this regard. For instance, one of the pieces that got the most attention was the design of Zero’s helmet. The idea was to come up with something never seen before and the final “tulip” design certainly exclaims this.

Of course, the show needs good looking mecha to move forward as well and in this regard Code Geass doesn’t disappoint. Solid mecha designs that use an innovative roller skating system to get around and clever harpoon cables to inflict a lot of damage makes for some fantastic battle sequences which are made even more spectacular thanks to the extremely smooth and fluid animation that literally oozes throughout Code Geass. A lot of effort was spent on animating things right and combined with a dynamic and vibrant colour palette give a stunning visual result.

The voice acting in Code Geass is pretty much as spot on as you can get for all the characters, though the forced English “Yes my Lord” can sometimes be a tad silly. Lelouch in particular stands out, sounding as arrogant, conceited and eccentric as what he appears to be. The music for the series is composed by Kotaro Nakagawa and Hitomi Kuroishi, the same guys who had worked previously with the Geass team on Planetes and Gun X Sword and they come up with some great incidental and insert tracks for the show.

The initial opening theme song is “Colors” performed by FLOW and is a brilliantly energetic track that sets the perfect mood for the action and intrigue that is to follow. Unfortunately the ending track doesn’t quite live up to the opening theme song and disappointingly, neither do the two opening/closing replacement tracks halfway through the series even though they aren’t all that bad on their own.

Code Geass is a novel take on your usual Mecha series in that it is cleverly written, intellectual at heart and yet features a protagonist that you simply can’t bring yourself to like but at the same time delivers on some strong themes like friendship, loyalty and betrayal – all mixed up with a generous amount of comedy and romantic hi-jinks that are pretty standard in most anime titles nowadays anyway. The forced Pizza-Hut advertising is a bit of a pain and the horrible cliffhanger of an ending is a disaster, but outside of those two negatives, Code Geass does make for quite an interesting and gripping watch, particularly the first and last thirds of the series.

It looks good, plays out good and is guaranteed to hold your attention. What more could you ask for?

Code Geass1 Code Geass2 Code Geass4

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_Geass