Up against a more formidable opponent, Lelouch is forced to change tactics or die.
What They Say
Using the power of the Geass, Lelouch has taken his first steps towards vengeance against the Holy Empire of Britannia. He has crafted for himself the alter ego Zero, to destroy the perceptions of his enemies and protect those close to him. Yet still he finds his efforts lacking. One young prince does not a revolution make. Carrying with him this hard learned lesson Lelouch takes the next step in his rebellion. Gathering a small group of willing Elevens about him, Zero founds the Order of the Black Knights, a faction dedicated to the fight for justice.
On the battlefield Lelouch encounters a man he once called friend seven years before standing on the opposing side: Suzaku Kururugi, the Eleven pilot of the white Knightmare known as Lancelot. With Zero unable to convince Suzaku to fight along side him and unwilling to use the power of Geass, are the two destined to destroy one another?
We watched this show in both English and Japanese. Both casts do an excellent job overall. The audio is a nice stereo mix with a good amount of directionality and some really great points, especially during action sequences. I didn't notice any distortion or dropouts in either language track.
First airing in 2006, this is presented its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Since its so recent, the transfer is very clean overall, and overall very good looking. The color palette is vibrant but not too bright. Cross-coloration and aliasing are mostly absent. Other than some noise in the backgrounds, this is a solid looking release. Unfortunately, the disc is plagued with playback and video problems related to the way it was authored. It occasionally wouldn't play at all, or would skip and pause at random points. Bandai is offering replacements, but it's still disappointing to see problems this widespread make it past QC.
The packaging here is very basic, no physical extras or even an insert. The cover isn't my favorite - it has an interesting posed shot of Suzaku, with the Lancelot's team in the background off to his left in monochrome, which gives it kind of a strange balance. Still it does the job well enough.
The menu is dramatic and active, with an image of Area 11 centered in what looks like electronic sights. The flashing blue in the background, the rotating sights, and the windows that pop up with scenes from the show make this one of the busier menus I've seen in a while. Navigation is fast and easy, and response times were good.
The extras here are very similar to the first volume, with another picture drama episode, audio commentary, and the first textless ending. While it's not a ton in terms of what could be here, it's still a nice mix of things that offer some fun peeks into the series.
At Euphemia's request, or perhaps order, Suzaku has been enrolled in the same school that Lelouch attends. Most of the students don't take well to the eleven in their midst, reacting with uncertainty at best, and outright fear at worst. Rather than be open about his friendship with Lelouch, which would go a long way towards helping the other students accept him, Suzaku opts to keep it a secret to protect Lelouch, and just puts up with the bullying he receives. But when a cat makes off with Zero's mask, sparking a school-wide hunt, the truth ends up coming out.
Lelouch, meanwhile, has not stopped in his quest to destroy Britannia. Cornelia is a very different enemy from Clovis, however, and has the benefit of true organization on her side. She sets a trap for Zero that Lelouch confidently steps into, sure that he'll be able to turn it to his advantage, but the result is near-disaster. Unable to rely on whatever resistance forces may be in the area to act as he wishes, Lelouch comes to the realization that in order to reach his goal he needs to have his own military force, working under his direct supervision.
The chance to reveal his newly-formed Black Knights to the world comes when another Japanese resistance group takes a large group of Britannian citizens hostage. Claudia refuses to give in to their demands, even when she learns that Euphemia is one of the hostages, but her worry clouds her judgment. Zero and the Black Knights step in to steal the spotlight, and use the situation as a platform to declare their intentions to the world.
This series started out with a bang, and despite one fairly humorous episode on this disc, that pace really hasn't let up much. Lelouch remains an utterly fascinating character, and is balanced nicely against his foil Suzaku. Watching their interactions, knowing that Suzaku knows nothing of Lelouch's secret identity as Zero, adds a nice tension to the mix. Several other characters are given some intriguing depth here as well including CC, who appears to be getting orders - or at least instructions - from some unknown party whose stake in the game is as of yet unknown. This series is very well layered, switching focus and plotlines and weaving new elements in without missing a beat, while still keeping the relentless drive going. The Britannian Emperor has finally been given a voice in the series, and thus far he's an easy antagonist to hate, but the other members of the royal family are much more sympathetic. No one side is clearly in the right or wrong here, which makes it all that much more fascinating.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Picture Drama Episode, Audio Commentary,Collectors Booklet 2 and 3
Panasonic DVD-S25S Progressive-Scan DVD Player and Panasonic TC-26LX85 26" Viera LCD 720p HDTV (Component Connection)