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CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion Part II (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

February 17, 2009 by  



“’Excellent!  The animation, the artwork, the voice acting, the storyline… ‘CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion’ is one of the rare, fantastic anime titles that is just literally a must-buy!  Part II is just as fantastic as the first.  Highly recommended!”

Image courtesy of (c) 2006-2008 SUNRISE/PROJECT GEASS, MBS, CHARACTER DESIGN (c) 2006 CLAMP

DVD TITLE: CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion Part II (aka CODE GEASS: Hangyaku no Rurushu)

DURATION: 200 minutes (8 episodes/ disc 1 – 4 episodes / disc 2 – 4 episodes)

DVD INFORMATION: Original Uncut Episodes,English and Japanese Stereo, 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Bilingual (Japanese and English), English Subtitles

COMPANY: Sunrise/Bandai Entertainment

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Produced by MBS, SUNRISE, PROJECT GEASS

Original Story by Ichirou Ohkouchi and Goro Taniguchi

Director: Goro Taniguchi

PRODUCERS: Hiroshi Morotomi, Yoshitaka Kawaguchi, Takuo Munegishi, Atsushi Yukawa

Character Design: Takahiro Kimura

Character Design Concept: CLAMP

Art Director: Yoshinori Hishinuma

Mecha Design/Character Design: Kenji Teraoka

Main Animators: Takahiro Kimura, Yuriko Chiba, Eiji Nakada, Seiichi Nakatani

Assistant Director: Kazuya Murata

Assistant Series Planner: Hiroyuki Yoshino

Series Planner: Ichirou Ohkouchi

Knightmare Design: Akira Yasuda, Eiji Nakada, Junichi Akutsu (BEE CRAFT)

Featuring the following voice talent:

Jun Fukuyama/Johnny Yong Bosch as Lelouch Lamperouge
Takahiro Sakurai/Yuri Lowenthal as Suzaku Kururugi
Yukana/Kate Higgins as C.C.
Akeno Watanabe/Megan Hollingshead as Viletta Nu
Ami Koshimizu/Karen Strassman as Kallen Stadtfeld
Fumiko Orikasa/Amy Kincaid as Shirley Fenette
Jouji Nakata/Jamieson Price as Diethard Ried
Junko Minagawa/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Cornelia Li Britannia
Kaori Nazuka/Rebecca Forstadt as Nunnally Lamperouge
Kazato Tomizawa/Cindy Robinson as V.V.
Kazunari Tanaka/Michael Lindsay as Shinichiro Tamaki
Ken Narita/Crispin Freeman as Jeremiah Gottwald
Kikuko Inoue/Deborah Sale Butler as Cecile Croomy
Masayo Kurata/Laura Bailey as Rakshata Chawla
Mitsuaki Madono/Kirk Thornton as Kaname Ougi
Noriaki Sugiyama/Brian Beacock as Rivalz Cardemonde
Norihiro Inoue/Troy Baker as Schneizel El Britannia
Omi Minami/Michelle Ruff as Euphemia Li Britannia
Saeko Chiba/Kim Mai Guest as Nina Einstein
Sayaka Ohara/Julie Ann Taylor as Milly Ashford
Tetsu Shiratori/Liam O’Brien as Lloyd Asplund
Yuuji Takada/Steven Blum as Kyoshiro Todo

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 Guran 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 discovered.  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?

Excellent!  “CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion” is just excellent!

I literally raved about how much I enjoyed Part I and how “CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion” is just an amazing series and one of the best to come from Japan in awhile.

And so far, the popularity has led to another series, the first anime album to reach #1 on the Oricon music album charts and many of the drama series breaking into the Oricon album charts top 10.

The series is just well written, the CLAMP-based characters are just cool and the mecha and art designs are just fantastic to look at.

Just a quick rehash of Part I, Britannia has taken over Japan and continues to conquer other countries..  Lelouch is a high school student involved in the student council but in reality, he’s also a Britannian noble who he and his disabled and blind sister were cast out by their father, the lord of Britannia to live in Japan.

Lelouche has always despised the Britannia and his father for the death of his mother and the injury towards his sister Nunnally and vowed to get his revenge.  One day, with an encounter with a green haired girl named C.C., he receives the power of Geass.  The ability to make a person do whatever he commands if he looks into their eyes.  The power of Geass works only once on a person but Lelouche manages to use his new skill along with a disguise and go by the name Zero.

Zero has earned the trust of the Japanese rebels and starts to take on the Britannia Empire and Lelouche manages to kill Lord Clovis (his brother and one of the many sons of his father, Lord Britannia) and showing his true power to the forces of Britannia.

Now Zero has his eyes set on Princess Cornelia (a general in the empire) and Princess Euphemia.

Meanwhile, his childhood friend Suzaku has joined the Britannia Empire and pilots one of their top experimental Knightmare known as the Lancelot and his goal is to stop Zero.

An anime series that is based on strategy, deception and trust, who will come out on top?

The main key characters are:

Lelouch Lamperouge – To his friends in Area 11, he is just a normal guy.  But in reality, Lelouch is the 11th Prince of Britannia who was kicked out of the family by his father, the Emperor of Britannia, because he is seen as a weak person from a weak family.  He is renounced as a Britannian and used as a bargaining chip by his father and forced to live in Japan.  His hatred towards Britannia is greater than anything and he wants revenge for the death of his mother and the health of his sister.  He possesses the power of “Geass” which when a person looks at his eye, he can take over them and make them do what he wants.  No one knows he is from Britannian royalty.  No one knows he is “Zero” and he lives a double life as a student and Vice President at Ashford Academy.

Suzaku Kururugi – Grew up with Lelouch and are good friends.  Lelouch is now a soldier of Britannia.  His goal is to change Britannia from within and follow the laws of the land.  A compassionate soldier and pilots the experimental Knightmare mecha known as “Lancelot”.  He becomes a member of the student body at Ashford Academy.

Kallen Stadtfeld – Secretly half Britannian and half Eleven but more proud of her Japanese side.  Also, lives a double life as a very intelligent student and member of the Student Body at Ashford Academy.  But also a life as a terrorist fighting against Britannia.  Fights for Zero.

C.C. – The mysterious green-haired girl who gave Lelouch the power of the Geass.  Lives with Lelouch privately and wants to make sure he keeps to their agreement that in exchange for power, he must do something for her.

Nunnally Lamperouge – Lelouch’s younger sister who was shot during the murder of his mother.  She can no longer work and she is blind.

Shirley Fenette – A student at Ashford Academy who loves Lelouch but also jealous when he sees him with Kallen and other girls.

Milly Ashford – The student president who seems to like digging the dirt of those around her.  Her family developed the Ganymede Knightmare frames.

Rivalz Cardemonde – Lelouche’s best friend and a member of the Student Body.  But since Lelouche has been busy, Rivalz and Suzaku have become good friends.

Nina Einstein – The smart member of the Student Body.  Has a major fear of Britannia but develops a crush on Princess Euphemia.

The main characters of this Part 1 DVD series for the Empire of Britannia are:

Charles Zi Brittania – Lelouch’s father and the 98th Emperor of the Britannia Empire and believes that equality is an evil thing that must be destroyed.  A believer of Social Darwinism and uses his children to accomplish his goals is creating the Britannian Empire.

Clovis La Britannia – The Viceroy of Area 11.  A cold and narcissistic man.

Euphemia li Britannia – The Third Princess of Britannia. Kindhearted and despises conflict and the half-sister of Lelouche

Cornelia li Britannia – The Second Princess of Britannia and Commander-in-Chief of the Britannia Army.

Jeremiah Gottwald – An elite Knightmare frame pilot but because he was used by Lelouch (ala Zero) in releasing Suzaku, because of this he disgraced the pure bloods.

Viletta Nu – A Knightmare frame pilot who works under Jeremiah, not of noble blood.  Lelouch used the Geass on her and she suspects a high school student may be involved with Zero.

Lloyd Asplund – Scientist in charge of research and development. Developed the Lancelot (Suzaku’s experimental Knightmare frame).  He is an Earl of Britannian nobility.

Cecille Croomy – Subordinate of Lloyd and developer of Lancelot.  Cares for Suzaku like a mother.

“CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion Part II” comes with both volume 3 (episodes 10-13) and volume 4 (episodes 14-17) of the popular television series.  Here is a quick spoiler-free rundown of each episode for volumes 3 and 4:

  1. Episode 10 – Guren Dances Kallen receives her own Knightmare, an experimental Guren MK-2 that maybe able to take on Suzaku’s Lancelot.   Meanwhile, Cornelia launches a surprise against the Japanese Liberation Forces.  While Zero waits and plans to trap Cornelia.
  2. Episode 11 – Battle for Narita – Zero and his team along with the Japanese Liberation Forces take on the Britannia forces.  A final battle between Zero and Jeremiah and as Zero is nearly successful in capturing Cornelia, the Lancelot comes to save her.
  3. Episode 12 – The Messenger from Kyoto – Zero and team try to get more funding for their operations but must go to Kyoto and earn the trust of a major financier.  Meanwhile, Shirley goes to investigate and find out if Lelouche is Zero and the person responsible for murdering her father.
  4. Episode 13 – Shirley at Gunpoint – We are introduced to a person named Mao.  His Geass is to read the minds of people and thus uses Shirley’s anger and frustration to kill Lelouche.

For Volume 4, we get the following episodes:

  1. Episode 14 – Geass vs. Geass – Kallen’s Guren MK-2 and Suzaku’s Lancelot go to battle once again.  Meanwhile, Lelouche tries to find Shirley and find out if she was one of the two people who knows his true identity as Zero.   In this episode, Zero and C.C. confront Mao for the first time.
  2. Episode 15 – Cheering Mao –  With Lelouche having to do the unthinkable to Shirley, Mao plans his next attack on C.C.  but will Lelouche have what it takes to outwit him, especially since Mao has the ability to read the minds of people.
  3. Episode 16  – Nunnally Held Hostage – Lelouche thought that his battle with Mao ended and he was gone for good but when Mao kidnaps Nunnally, Lelouche feels helpless but fortunately Suzaku is there to help him find Nunnally and take on Mao.  Also, Suzaku’s secret of his past and why he joined the Britannia military is revealed.
  4. Episode 17 – Knight – Princess Euphemia needs protection and needs to find a knight to protect her.  Meanwhile, Lelouche needs someone to protect Nunnally.  Meanwhile, Lelouche finds out who pilots the Lancelot and the person who has been a thorn in his side all this time.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“CODE OF GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion” is featured 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen.  The animation and video quality is colorful and digitally modern since it is a newer anime television release.  What I love about the video quality is the sheer amount of people involved.  Everyone with detail, buildings, mecha and the destruction has detail.  The character designs based from CLAMP’s character design concepts are just fresh and cool to look at.  One of the coolest looking character designs in an anime mecha series without being a full-on mecha series.  Very cool!

As expected from a recent anime series, video quality was just great.   From the character animation to the backgrounds, everything was colorful and vibrant.  And because this series features so many scenes throughout Japan, this series really featured so much background art and characters.  Everything looked awesome!  Again, I’m very impressed with how much went in creating a single episode.

As for the audio, the audio is English and Japanese stereo.  For a television series, I was sort of expecting stereo sound but knowing some television series including Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD soundtracks,  I was hoping that there may have been a Dolby Digital 5.1 track for Code Geass but the audio is stereo.  Dialogue is clear and you can understand what the characters are saying.  Both the English and Japanese voice acting are well done.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

You can find really cool special features on both volumes.  Let’s start with the volume 3 DVD:

  1. Picture Drama Episode Episode #4 (Stage 9.75) – In this episode, Lelouche cooks Nunnally a meal and spends time with his sister.
  2. Picture Drama Episode Episode #6 (Stage 4.33) – In this episode, Jeremiah talks to Mao about being a failure of not being their to prevent the deaths of Lady Marianne (Lelouche’s mother) and Lord Clovis.
  3. Audio Commentary Stage #11 – In this audio commentary, the voice actors for Lelouche (Jun Fukuyama), C.C. (Yukana) are joined by Yuriko Chiba (Character Animation Director), Eiji Nakada (designer of Knightmares and Mecha Animation Director) and Kazuya Murata  (Assistant Director) and discuss episode 11. Another fun and lively commentary thanks to the commentary direction by Lelouche voice actor Jun Fukuyama.  In this commentary, we learn how the animation process works and the communication between writers and directors.  Also, the ideas passed by the designers to the director.
  4. Textless Opening (2nd Version of “Colors”)

With the fourth volume, the special features are:

  • Picture Drama Episode #6 (Stage 8.75) – Princess Euphemia talks to Princess Cornelia into wearing a bathing suit and everyone heads to the beach.  Meanwhile, Shirley is concerned by Lelouche and Nunnaly’s closeness.
  • Audio Commentary Stage #14 – For this commentary, voice actors Jun Fukuyama (Lelouche) and Fumiko Orikasa (Shirley Fenette) are joined by Goro Taniguchi (the director) and Seiichi Nakatani (animation director).  They discuss the various opening animations and also the animation direction of the series and Orikasa Fumiko discusses her playing the role of Shirley.
  • Textless Ending for “Mosaic Kakera”
  • Textless Opening for the 1st version of “Kaidokufunou”

I really enjoyed this latest Part II of “CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion”.   Enjoying the strategy, the wit, the action sequences and how everything plays out, is just wonderful.

With Part II, you can tell how the series is setting things up between Lelouche versus Suzaku.  Both are best friends, having grown up with each other but when Lelouche finds out that Suzaku is a thorn in his side, you just wonder how far Lelouche will go to destroy Britannia.

What’s more shocking is to watch him go through the doldrums of knowing he killed Shirley’s father but sacrifices are needed.  But more shocking what he had to do to Shirley in order to ensure that his identity as Zero is not blown.

Both volumes were just as action-packed, gripping and addictive as the previous two volumes.   And there were a lot of revealing moments for Suzaku and C.C.’s characters.    So, suffice to say, these two volumes are quite important as it’s definitely setting things up for probably more explosive and action-packed episodes.

With everything so positive, the only negative, and it’s really not a negative but more or less I enjoying hearing the action all around me via Dolby Digital 5.1 (especially in DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD ala Blu-ray) is that I wished that audio was presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 but still dialogue is quite clear and easy to understand in stereo and the music as well.  But I really hope this series gets the Blu-ray treatment soon.

“CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion” is a fantastic anime series that doesn’t come along too frequently in Japan. Beautiful character designs, art direction, voice acting, mecha designs and a wonderful plot, this anime is definitely special and worth watching.

Like Part I, everything about Part II of “CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion” so far has been excellent and I can’t wait for Part III.  I highly recommend this DVD set!

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