Well, so it’s finally time for me to review this thing. Since I didn’t get the chance to review the first season, this review is about both seasons together. Code Geass is your typical Sunrise Mecha Trainwreck. It can be compared to the bastard child of Death Note and Gundam 00 gone horribly wrong, and the typical case of “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”. I personally consider it the most overrated series of both 2007 and 2008, but admittedly, it’s not an entirely bad series.
The big problem with this series is that it wants to create a sensation a little too badly, up to the point where it uses bad writing, just to create an as big shock as possible. The series starts out nicely enough, though. It builds up properly, but very quickly, the plotholes start popping up, one after the other. Too often to characters just “run into each other”, or happen to be at the wrong place and wrong time. A few instances of these plotholes would of course be okay, but this series just keeps using them, over and over.
The series could have made up for it in terms of characters, but even there things went wrong once they started “developing”, or at least, when they’re supposed to. More often than not, the characters suddenly start acting completely out of character, whatever happens to be convenient for the story, rather then what would be the most natural thing to do. People don’t switch sides because of complex political reasons, but more because the creators want them to.
To add to that, the creators also have a very nasty habit with killing off their characters. If you see an important character kicking the bucket, you can be 75% sure that he or she is somehow going to magically reappear again, later in the series. It becomes rather anticlimactic, when you just know that a character that dies is going to come back anyway (pretty much the dragonball-syndrome).
Then there’s an issue with the setting of this series, which mostly pops up in the first half of this series, in the form of its incredibly nationalistic messages: Japan is being oppressed by the evil Brits and Americans, and it’s up to the main character to vanquish the oppression. The second season also happily continues this tradition by portraying the Chinese as a bunch of fascistic pigs. It’s full of unnecessary stereotypes that make no sense.
So, with all of this criticism, why do you want to watch this series in the first place? Simple: the entertainment factor. The climaxes, badly written as they may be, do try their best to make a huge spectacle with what they can do. This is a typical series that you want to watch if you want some brainless action, and nothing deep or well written. You can mock the ridiculous plotholes and cheese and at the same time enjoy the action scenes for what they are.
But yeah, that doesn’t excuse the fact that Code Geass is a whole mess in terms of storytelling, and wants too much too fast. The character-development is ridiculous, it’s full of plotholes and unable to really create something memorable (not in a good way, at least). I’ve read somewhere that even the director thought that this series has turned crappy, so I hope that he learned from his mistakes and that his next series will be a “bit” more solid.