Lelouch's plans become even more convoluted as time goes on and the bodies drop one by one
What They Say
Lelouch began his rebellion as Zero in order to defeat his own father, the emperor of the Holy Britannia. With his Geass, the absolute power to compel anyone to follow any order, and the Black Knights, his own military force, he succeeded in taking over the vast country of the Chinese Federation.
While he amasses his strength as a political leader, his high-school girlfriend, Shirley, is killed after her destiny has been tossed around by the power of Geass, and he madly launches a ruthless assault into the secret religious organization called Order of Geass.
One of the greatest hits among original anime titles in recent years, the series moves into a showdown battle between the Black Knights and the Britannian forces as Lelouch is driven to feel more solitary than ever.
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 early 2008, 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 six episodes across two discs in a 3/3 lformat. 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 release for this installment is designed similarly to the previous release in terms of framing and style. We opted for the regular edition since we’re not reading the manga at all. The cover artwork is quite nice as it gives Kallen the main position as a couple of Brittanian's flesh out the rest of the cover. The colors for it a very well chosen as it gives it a decidedly creepy feeling. The logo looks good with the addition of the R2 aspect as well. The back cover has a good layout to it with a touch of elegance framing the three main sections. The background, which is also used as foreground character artwork in the first section, is a good shot of Lelouch posing in his Zero uniform without his helmet on which gives it an interesting feeling. The summary deals with the overall setting of the series but it also provides too much of a spoiler by talking about Shirley which is disappointing. There’s a small strip of decent character artwork through the center and a section listing the breakdown of the discs. The episode numbers and titles are clearly listed and the discs extras and features are well laid out so you know what’s there, though not the amount of them. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
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 spread across the two volumes and there is a lot of mirroring going on, but with differences for particular episodes related to that volume. The broadcast versions of the prologues and next episode previews are provided here for both volumes, there are animation galleries to be found and a few commentary tracks as well. Each volume has an additional extra with the “Baba Theater Redux” which is a brief under a minute piece that has simplistic little gags for some of the characters done in a very rough cartoonish style. The one new extra here is a brief piece that talks about the prizes that were given away during the broadcast run in Japan which are short and cute.
With each new episode, Code Geass R2 just has me watching it with a mixture of laughter and disbelief as it plays out. The previous set had a lot of neat changes to it with the Chinese Federation and the plans that they had set in motion but it ended with a couple of really shocking moments for me. Jeremiah's revelation to Lelouch changed the perception of that man and where his allegiances may lay but it was also Rolo and Shirley's scene that had my jaw drop in pure disbelief. But it was the kind of move that is often only done with an original show that's intent on telling a story by taking chances and shaking things up regularly, which includes completely pissing off fans of a particular character.
The death of Shirley has a profound impact on Lelouch as he loses yet another person important to him. But even with how it does affect him, he can't let his eyes drift away from the prize and he refocuses that anger into his goals and works even harder to take down his father and all that he's built up in the world. To do that, he's using the Chinese Federation even more again by pushing them and select others into creating a new nation, a United Federation of Nations, that will challenge Brittania and offer hope to those other nations that are trying to break away and find their own way in the world. It's a beautiful moment when Zero orchestrates everything with Kaguya and the Chinese empress in which all nations will disband their sovereign military might to serve a common good under this new U.F.N. Charter. And it's even more amazing when the first charter mission is to make the Black Knights the main military might of this new group and their first assignment is to liberate Japan.
The liberation of Japan is seen as a the big pivotal moment in the future history to be written about this new group. If Zero can pull this off, it'll bring in many others to their side and it will secure one of his biggest goals since the start of this entire adventure. But he also has the critical mission within the mission, or rather the real defining mission here, to rescue Nunnally from the grasp of the Britannians as he knows that she is being used as a threatening chip by their father, the emperor. His love of his sister and his wanting to do all of this for her is what drives him, though there's a healthy dose of revenge in there as well for what happened in the past to their mother and in turn to Nunnally. The thigns that drive him are fun to watch surface at times as it's usually the only times he comes across as truly passionate.
The six episodes on this volume have a great deal of action to it as the liberation of Japan gets underway and Lelouch has spent plenty of time there organizing the tricks that he'll use to slow down the Britannians. There's a lot of engaging fights here, emotional ones based on confrontations had beforehand, and the extra emphasis on the rescue of Nunnally adds a lot of tension to it, particularly as we learn that Rolo is intent on killing her since she's a threat to his getting all of Lelouch's attention. The Britannians also take things further than before that creates a lot of shock and awe around the world, but it again shows that as far as Lelouch goes, he's not the only one to use such approaches.
Where Code Geass has an unusual segment is when it delves into a new confrontation between Lelouch and his father again. Charles has his own past with the Geass Order as we've learned but what makes the face-off so dramatic between the two men is that C.C. finally reveals her secret condition to Lelouch from when their contract was set. Her past started to come to light earlier in this set of episodes when we saw more of the secret Geass Order research facility but when she reveals her early years and how she became a Geass user and the price of such a thing, or rather the way a new Geass user is essentially used as a tool at first, highlights the cruel nature of immortality and the prices that must be paid.
Code Geass really does continue to amuse and amaze. The situations are so overblown at times, so hard to suspend disbelief over, that you can't help but laugh and completely get into the way it works. When you have Lelouch reworking everything that has happened so he manages to claim significant power in a new worldwide federation of nations, while still being a high school student even if he does have a Geass power, it's really quite the piece of work. What's even more fun for me is that this is the kind of series that has no compunctions in killing off main characters that have been there since the start and rolling with those changes. Series that stay static in so many ways may be fun to watch, but the ones that get you jazzed and completely engaged are ones that take chances and force you to accept them. Code Geass does just that and this volume provides a whole lot of changing as the bodies drop often and hard.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Extra FLASH: BABA THEATER REDUX: Episode 6 & 7, Prize Announcement on TV:Turn 16 - 19, Broadcast Version of Next Turn: Turn 14 - 19, Audio Commentary: Turn 15 & 19, Key Animation Gallery: Part 6 & 7
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.