Review: Code Geass: Akito the Exiled 1

Code Geass: Akito the Exiled

There was a ridiculous amount of anticipation from fans of the original series. Sadly, it didn’t have much to offer for fans outside of it.

As you can see from my favourites, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is one of my favourite anime. I had been looking forward to more geass since I watched the ending R2 – which each subsequent watching making me want more. I just felt like there was so much more to tell even though the ending neatly wrapped everything up for me. That’s where Akito the Exiled comes in I guess. For the sake of laziness I’ll refer to it as A1.

A1’s plot hasn’t really been established, though we do have a setting. If you’re not familiar with the geass universe it does do a rather good job and making Japan seem oppressed by the holy Britannia empire. Although showcasing Japan as the poor, weak country and the Japanese as weak doesn’t sit well with me… Whatever, it did an okay job of pissing me off I guess. Though it pissed me off for the wrong reasons. I’d like to see just one piece of Japanese literature showcasing Japan as they saw themselves in WW2. Eh, who am I to complain? It’s only a show, and I loved the original series.

Anyway, that’s besides the point. Other than establishing a setting the movie/OVA doesn’t have a whole lot to offer for people who aren’t fans of Code Geass. Hell, it doesn’t even explain what geass is. The only time we saw a glimpse of it was Akito being affected by it and someone(who is probably his brother) using it to kill another person. It just isn’t very accessible, and that could be forgiven, though this isn’t a continuation of Lelouch of the Rebellion. It’s considered a gaiden and should be able to be watched and understood by anyone.

The CGI used was kind of annoying. The beginning mecha fight was really boring but steadily improved as the episode went on. The animation wasn’t anything spectacular for a short OVA/movie but it did remain consistent. A1 also didn’t have an outstanding soundtrack but the ending song has a haunting feel to it… Which I like. I’m hoping it foreshadows a darker plot than the original series.

We really don’t get much characterization, and the characters themselves don’t interest me that much. Other than Akito and Leila we don’t get any development from anyone else. The scene at the end with those ghosts was mildly interesting, but they were the ghosts of people we’ve never met or grown to know. How’re we supposed to get the least bit interested in why they were there and what they had to say? How’re we supposed to feel Akito’s pain? The characters simply do not approach the charm and charisma of the original cast.

I guess it did offer some satisfaction for me, because what the hell, we get more Code Geass! I’m not quite sure what to expect so far with the plot, characters and everything else but it did at least create potential with its setting. The biggest complaint I have overall is that A1 simply is not accessible for people who are not already fans of the original series… I mean, they could have AT LEAST explained geass. Overall the OVA itself wasn’t very good but I’m optimistic with what’s to come. Skip this OVA if you haven’t seen or didn’t like Lelouch of the Rebellion.

And so here I am, shamelessly barging into Justin’s post to give my two cents on the matter. The reason for that is that… while I do agree with most of his points, I think any potential watcher could use a more positive perspective of this OVA, even though we both scored it the same.

Unlike Justin, I expected nothing of this. I liked Code Geass, despite the ridiculous train-wreck of a second season it had *runs from Justin*. However, I always thought everything that was supposed to be told had effectively been, and never desired more of the series. Perhaps because of that I wasn’t disappointed with this, for I had no expectations to begin with.

Akito the Exiled is a story that takes place between the first and second seasons of Code Geass, or in other words, while Lelouch is out of the picture. Most series with a genius as the protagonist are pretty entertaining exactly due to that, but it’s always nice to see how less… brilliant people  would try to solve the situation. And that’s what this OVA is about, to cut it short. A young great strategist who’s too idealistic for the position she’s in (at least in the view of others), a mysterious Japanese solider who can hear the voices of ghosts because he has “died before” and a resistance force, all of them dealing with the setting that’s familiar to anyone who has watched Code Geass in a less omnipotent-like way. It might not be that way for some people, but for me this surely makes it interesting.

Now, its main flaw would have to be something Justin has mentioned above – the lack of a plot, so far. What hints us to the presence of one is actually the final scene, of which the relevance is barely understood due to how disconnected it was from the rest of the episode. However, it must be taken into account that this is the first episode. And for a first episode, establishing the setting and presenting the characters while managing to be entertaining is more than enough for me. The action was cool, the politics seemed interesting and I really liked the characters. I actually thought they were really well characterized for an episode with 50 min of length. Yes, no one but Leila and Akito had any development, but those two had enough and let’s be honest here: 50 min is the equivalent time of two episodes in a TV anime. I don’t think one would expect side characters to get relevant development in the first two episodes of a series. At least I wouldn’t. And as I didn’t, I could focus completely on Leila and Akito and both characters interested me immensely.

As for the technical part, the character designs have the same Code Geass style anyone would be expecting, and the visuals carry quite the eyecandy quality that’s only to be expected of a movie. I actually disliked the CG when I first saw this, but now, rewatching in 1080p the mecha fights I had first watched in 360p, I can say I don’t mind it at all. I still prefer traditional animation, but this does look gorgeous and not too unnatural, so it might actually be a good point rather than a bad one, as it does allow for more fluidity. Oh, yeah, and I was in love with the ED song – I thought it was a really great one.

All-in-all, this was nothing mindblowing and the plot was practically non-existent. But all of that can be explained by the fact that this was but a first episode. And as I liked the premise and the main characters, I’m actually looking forward to the next installment. Moreover, I wouldn’t retain from recommending this to people who haven’t watched Code Geass. Yes, the setting is better understood if one has indeed watched and the preview makes it seem like this really will cross with the main series on a deeper level than simply sharing the main series. But for now, it seems to be an enjoyable and understandable series, even for whoever isn’t familiar with the main story.

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