Lelouch finds himself dealing with an increasing complex situation that requires even more outlandish solutions.
What They Say
ZERO STRIKES BACK LIKE A MILLION!
Nunnally started working as the viceroy of Area 11 or Japan colonized by the Holy Britannian Empire. Refusing to be a mere fi gurehead, she aspires to re-establish the Specially Administrated Zone of Japan, the cursed utopian project that once ended up wiping out thousands of innocent
Lelouch as Zero had a serious existential crisis since his beloved sister, Nunnally, now leads the enemy forces, the very reason why he stared his rebellion in the fi rst place. After he recovered, to everybody's astonishment, he declared to join the SAZJ along with all members of his Black Knight force. Has he given up on his ambition and decided to surrender? Or has his gifted mind conceived another incredible strategy?
One of the greatest sci-fi political thrillers ever created in the anime universe moves into a next chapter with even more exciting grand-scale action and intrigue!
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 lets Suzaku have a shot at things with a dramatic pose for him with his cloak flowing over his shoulder while other Rounds are by him s well as their Frames. 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 school uniform. The summary deals with the overall setting of the series and the changes since the first season. 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.
Code Geass continues to be one of the more frustrating yet incredibly enjoyable series that I get to watch. The scale and scope of the show is what I enjoy so much, but the large cast of characters and relations makes it difficult to follow at times, making me feel like I’m watching an animated version of Chung Kuo on occasion. The R2 season moves along at a good pace as this set of episodes takes us up to the halfway mark as it spends a good deal of time both in Japan and in China while bringing about some dramatic changes right at the very end that make you leap up out of your seat.
After all that Lelouch has accomplished as Zero, and his play at having lost his memory becoming a bit harder to maintain, his focus now is in saving as many of his people as he can. Nunnally’s plan to recreate the Special Administrative Zone has thrown a serious curve into things but Lelouch is someone who is supremely capable of figuring out a way of taking advantage of a situation, especially when pressed into a corner. If anything, he does far better under pressure than he does with all the planning he seems to do so meticulously, but it’s essentially a combination of the two things that makes it work so well. So with the SAZ now about to be set up again, he’s able to use the situation beautifully by having the million people there to take advantage of it create a get out of jail free card for him by setting himself up for exile. There’s some interesting layering as he works this out in secret, but the real beauty is the actual scene itself when all is revealed with his really wicked plan.
The bulk of this show takes place in two very different areas under very different circumstances with very different approaches. The first part has a lot of it taking place in China where Lelouch is now trying to set up his exiled community by taking advantage of the Chinese in relation to the empress while also building up his support with the Indian government who doesn’t entirely trust him at all yet. The Brittanian Empire does some nice finagling of events here as you get several of them showing up for the marriage that will occur between them and the empress, but you also have Zero and a few of his Black Knights in tow which adds to the tension a bit, even with Kaguya involved. Zero manages to show off his skills again when it comes to chess as he plays against his relative, seemingly showing weakness or at least a trait of how he operates, but with the way Lelouch has his layers upon layers, nothing can be taken at face value.
The Chinese Federation adventure is quite a bit of fun, even if it does throw a whole lot of material at you about a location that’s really made up of various different states with their own slew of problems. There’s s fairly standard power grab going on here in the Federation as the real power behind the empress is at work in securing their positions and they take advantage of others to create a better life for themselves. Throwing in their lot with the Brittanian’s certainly seems like a decent course of action for them, but it also means it puts them up against Zero after initially working out a deal with him. The floating iceberg islands are really something neat to watch, but the best is when the internal issues of the Chinese Federation rear up and interferes with the “ruling eunuchs” plans for acquiring more power and Zero is able to take advantage of that for his own good. That it benefits others along the way is an amusing side benefit.
When the series focuses on the Japan side of the story, as Lelouch gets back there for awhile after his body double causes quite a lot of trouble, we tend to get lighter stories with an edge of danger to them. There’s fun to be had as Milly sets about her graduation theme by having the school chase after each other with heart hats where people would date those that captured said hearts. She makes it unfair though by setting a rule that whatever club captures Lulu’s hat would get ten times its budget in the next cycle. There’s a lot of silliness here but what confounds the whole thing is the arrival of Jeremiah back in the area as he’s been given a Geass Canceller. And that has returned all of Shirley’s memories, which has her questioning everything she sees now that it’s all coming back.
The scholastic adventure side is mixed with a bit of seriousness at times and there are elements from the other storylines crossing over into it as Lelouch deals with all of them. Shirley’s story slowly makes it to the forefront though and she finds herself almost afraid of Lelouch but also afraid of Suzaku since the two guys have been friends for so long and she can’t help but believe that Suzaku would know everything that Lelouch is up to. What fascinated me the most is how the final few minutes of episodes thirteen plays out where Jeremiah finally makes his move and his big reveal is positively engaging, as are the results of Shirley’s dealings at this time. The finale for this set really set me on edge and had me very surprised when all was said and done, enough so that I shouted at the TV in disbelief.
Code Geass: R2 really is a fascinating piece of work to watch. They went so over the top in a way during the first season that they’re trying to top it here while still attempting to build somewhat logically on what has come to pass. If you inspect the series closely, I’m sure there are elements that do not fit well together in the grand scheme of things and it could easily all come tumbling down. But if you step back just slightly and allow it to flow over you and enjoy the incredulous nature of it all, the pure epic drama of it, you can get a thoroughly engaging show that does something rare: It got me to yell at my TV. I watch so many shows but so very few really generate an outward response while watching it. So when one does, I really take notice of it. Code Geass is a big huge epic guilty pleasure that makes me stupidly giddy because it does the outlandish so well and almost realistically. This set of episodes is beautiful, particularly the exile sequence early on, as it goes to show just how big and unpredictable Lelouch dreams and schemes.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Commentary Track, Resurrected BABA Theater, Key Animation Gallery, Extra Prologues and Previews (Broadcast Version)
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.