Lelouch’s campaign against Britannia is in full swing but complications arise when he finds another Geass user.
What They Say
Embarking on the path of carnage, Zero and his Order of Black Knights have begun operations in the mountainous region of Narita. Using the power of Kallen’s Knightmare, the Guren Mk-2, a land slide is triggered and a trap is set for the Imperial Princess Cornelia. Just as victory is within arms reach a white flash moves across the battlefield and Lelouch once again finds himself face to face with Suzaku. With Zero unable to escape the Lancelot, C.C. steps forward and unleashes a torrent of mental anguish upon the young Eleven pilot but will this be enough to ensure escape?
As the dust clears from the battle of Narita a number of casualties are revealed, amongst them the name of Shirley’s father is revealed. A loathing soon blossoms within her as she sets out for vengeance against the Order of the Black Knights, but once Zero’s identity is discovered will she be able to pull the trigger?
Bandai Entertainment has a decent pair of audio tracks to it with two stereo mixes encoded at 192kbps. It’s something of a surprise that the English track didn’t get a bump up to a 5.1 mix in order to showcase the solid audio and action sequences though. In general, the stereo mix is pretty strong with some well placed directionality in a number of key scenes and a sense of impact when required during the action. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and free of problems in general. Amusing, the commentary tracks are encoded at an even lower rate, just that if 128kbps.
Originally airing in late 2006 and into 2007, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The release contains nine episodes across two discs in a 4/4 format which works out pretty well. The series has a relatively high bitrate to it with a lot of it sitting in the sevens and eights, which is a bit of a change from Bandai’s releases in the last couple of years. The transfer looks really good throughout with the only problem being that the opening sequence sometimes has a little bit of a fuzziness to it due to the high motion and detailed animation that’s used. Beyond that, the transfer looks really solid with clean lines and bold colors. The occasional panning sequence is the only area within the show that introduces any problems and that’s simply source related.
The limited edition release of this set isn’t what the first one was for obvious reasons since it’s just a container for the goodies that go in the heavy chipboard box that we already got. It’s essentially mirroring their Lucky Star releases in that it’s a thin cardboard box that holds everything. The box is a pretty dark affair for the most part with the front cover having a very oppressive feel with angry characters on it with only C.C.’s hair providing something vibrant. It is a very eye-catching piece of artwork and it really draws you in as it has Lelouch walking toward you in the center. The back panel is kept very simple with the series logo on the black background which is very stark. One of the side panels has a good collage of character pieces while the other breaks down what’s in the set in a very clear and easy to read format, including all the special edition features..
Within the box are a fair amount of goodies, including the two keepcases that are identical to the single volume releases. The third volume of the series is given over more to the mecha of the show as it has Kururugi’s Lancelot standing tall with some character artwork behinds it. The second cover is character driven with a pained shot of Lelouch in the foreground while Shirley and a gothloli C.C. are in the background through different colored filters. The back covers are done with a little bit of elegance as it has a lot of empty space but some good framing for the summary of that particular volume underneath the logo. Below that is a nice strip of images of various characters and scenes from within the show and then a really nice breakdown of the discs episodes, features and extras for that respective volume. Unlike the first two volumes, these two discs have a really solid technical grid that breaks down exactly what’s on the disc for audio and video specs which is wonderful to see.
The Limited Edition comes with a few extra goodies that are certainly worth checking out depending on how into the show you actually are. The first is the inclusion of the Sound Episode 2 CD which covers various pieces within some of the episodes from this set. This one is in a proper jewel case while the second CD included, the first OST, is in a cardboard case with a great illustration of Lelouch and Shirley.
As much as I like CDs, the best included extra are the three booklets that are here. They’re full color pieces which break down the artwork and designs of the world alongside with interviews with the Japanese staff. There are episode summaries as well as little history lessons of how Britannia came to be. I’ve only skimmed them a bit however since I don’t want to potentially spoil much of the actual show itself. The fourth booklet is a small single foldout piece that’s a special comedy comic by CLAMP that’s quite cute.
The last item included in the box is the second volume of the manga which works from the show by telling certain parts of it and emphasizing others, which is a fairly standard practice for books like this. This release marks another instance where Bandai is working to release manga for shows it’s working on and marketing them together. Similar to their previous releases, they’re of pretty good quality and hold up well against what other publishers’ release.
Bandai has again wisely employed Nightjar for their menus and I find myself very happy with the results. Utilizing the basic imagery of the map outline of Japan and putting it as the center piece of the menu done up as a tactical map design almost, with pulsing purple flowing behind it. The navigation strip along the bottom provides quick access to the setup and other standard areas which load very quickly. As is standard practice for a Nightjar driven menu, our player presets were correctly read and setup so we didn’t have to bother with the setup menu. Submenus load quickly even with a small bit of transitional animations and everything flowed seamlessly.
The extras for this release are pretty solid once again though they do favor the Japanese more than the English side. The best extra are the three picture dramas spread across the two volumes. They provide a bit more background for the characters with little side stories that fit in between particular episodes. Some are more lighthearted than others but they’re nicely done as a series of stills with dialogue over it and they’re even dubbed. The other sizeable extra is the inclusion of two of the original Japanese audio commentaries with their respective episodes. These are fairly lighthearted since they often involve the Japanese voice actors who are having fun with it all as they talk about their roles and how much they enjoyed working with each other. And naturally, we also get the clean versions of the second and third opening and the second closing sequences.
Code Geass introduced a number of fun and engaging ideas with the first set and this one continues to build upon it. What becomes interesting with it is that while Lelouch is playing a very simple game overall of revenge, it’s one that will become more and more complex as it goes on, which gives it a legitimate reason to really play out over quite a few episodes. The story of revenge is central as he seeks it, but along the way he is going to change the world as well. He may talk about it, but at times it doesn’t seem like it’s more than a means to an end though as opposed to something he’s really after.
Having removed Clovis and put Britannia in Area Eleven on notice, his intent now is to take down Princess Cornelia as the next phase of his plan. To do so, he’s been working a number of angles to beef up his forces, which are really little more than pawns. It’s amusing at times to see some of his group toy with the idea that that’s what they are, but discount it because of the seeming anger that Zero has against Britannia. The truth of the matter is something that they haven’t quite figured out since it’ll burn them significantly when they do. Through his force of will and personality, even behind the mask, Zero has managed to draw his Black Knights into a very tight and effective organization.
But he knows he needs more as well and has a pair of moves that are at work in order to secure that. The first one is that he’s ostensibly working with the Japan Liberation Front to help them out when Cornelia sets her sights on the mountain where their base of operations appears to be. Zero is intent on seeming like he’s helping, but he’s after another goal and is using the JLF to his advantage. This happens again later at the docks with a separate incident where he’s able to eliminate a number of the JLF while still coming across as a savior of sorts to them. The way he’s able to manipulate them and use them is quite a lot of fun to watch, especially as he leads him to bringing someone very significant into his group in the long run.
The other group that he makes a move on is the KYOTO group. Quite secretive and operating behind the scenes, they set up a meeting with Zero, but Lelouch is able to make a fair number of deductions about who is behind it and orchestrates it so that he’s able to expose them privately. Much like the JLF, he takes advantage of their seeming basic approach to dealing with events and trumps it by several levels. Viewing the world as a chess game, he’s thinking not just a few moves ahead, but several games ahead. But as he gets involved with these other groups and the people behind them, new pieces of information does fall into his hands that opens new avenues but also new dangers. That most of the danger comes in the form of Suzaku is most telling as both Tohdo and the Kyoto group have ties to him that shock Lelouch. And Lelouch is not someone easily shocked.
This set of eight episodes does have a fair number of them for him though. While the Suzaku pieces are unexpected, another one that he figures on but not in the way it did was that there are other Geass users out there. Someone that C.C. had a contract with eleven years ago has come to Area Eleven in order to find her and be with her again and that means he has to eliminate, or at least toy with, Lelouch. Mao is one of those kind of off kilter characters, but he’s one who has a reason considering his Geass power. This arc feels like it’s somewhat abrupt with how it plays out, and seemingly resolves itself quickly, but it also feels like it’s more to introduce some different ideas that will be used later on. The way it shifts the mindset of Lelouch about how to deal with Nunnaly is important as is the way he really cements the relationship he has with C.C. considering what they went through earlier.
Code Geass continues to have a good deal of action and it has a very polished and exciting feel to it. With the variety of the mecha being used now, the continued way they bump up the abilities in small ways, each new battle brings something new to the table. And characters aren’t static either which is a huge plus. When Kallen uses a new weapon, she’s able to really affect Jeremiah with it and that throws him completely off his game. Others on the Britannia side face issues as well and Mao certainly faces some consequences along the way. Code Geass doesn’t shirk from affecting its characters, whether it’s actively killing them off or having Lelouch do something dramatic like a mind wipe of a very close friend. The show has so many little nuances and power plays going on that it’s very engaging.
The double disc sets of this release continue to be very appealing since we get a lot of show at once, but the delays between the first and second set made this difficult to get back into. Once back into it though, and the various subplots came back up, Code Geass becomes a very fun and exciting show to watch. Sunrise has outdone themselves once again and with the designs by CLAMP for the characters it has me completely happy. Combining a visually beautiful show with some fun, quirky and layered storytelling takes Code Geass to a very good place, one where there is a good deal of replay value to it. This set has made me even more of a fan of the show and eager to see the next set as quickly as possible, never mind the second season.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Picture Drama Episode 4 (Stage 9.75), Picture Drama Episode 5 (Stage 4.33), Audio Commentary Stage 11, Textless Openning (2nd Version of Colors�, Picture Drama Episode 6 (Stage 8.75), Audio Commentary Stage 14, Testless Ending (Mosaic Kakera), Textless Opening (1st version of Kaidokufunou) Limited Edition: Sound Episodes 3 & 4, Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion Vol.2 Manga, Collectors Booklet IV and V, Clamp Mini-Comic
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.