Review – Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion I: Initiation

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion I: Initiation [rating=4]

After the Holy Empire of Britannia occupied Japan seven years ago (and changed it’s name to Area 11), Prince Lelouch (Jun Fukuyama, Assasination Classroom) of the Holy Empire is exiled to Area 11 with his sister after his mother’s assassination. Lelouch meets a mysterious girl called C.C, who has been experimented on by scientists of the Britannian Empire and gives him the power to control anyone just once: Geass.

Realising the potential of his new power, Lelouch declares that it’s time to take down the empire that abandoned him and his sister under the alias “Zero” a masked vigilante, and leads the Black Knights in a resistance against the Britannian Empire. Meanwhile, his childhood friend Suzaku Kururugi (Takahiro Sakurai, Death Parade), son of the former Japanese prime minister, stands in his way as Suzaku tries to change things from within the Empire causing a conflict between the two that will change their lives forever.

Now luckily in my teenage years I had watched the first two seasons of Code Geass so had a basic understanding of what was going on in Rebellion, however it’s easy to see why newcomers would get lost. The film races through it’s introductory scenes and doesn’t give the audience much time to take in who the characters are or why certain things are happening. That said, the audience get to see various parts of Lelouch’s life throughout the film’s two hour runtime in scenes seeing him organise the rebellion and even his ordinary school life, which helps the audience get to know him a bit better and root for him in the long run. The film’s animation is great and  sticks to the same style as the original show, something that should please fans and looks particularly good during the action sequences in the film. Once the giant Gundam style mechas (called Knighmare’s) are introduced and start to fight is where the animation really gets impressive.

Retelling the series’ opening acts with all-new scenes and re-recorded dialogue, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion I: Initiation’ is a perfect homage to the original series for fans and newcomer alike. There’s a lot to appreciate in this film with great writing and animation from Studio Sunrise, both fans of the original and newcomers to Code Geass should be thrilled, and I look forward to the subsequent two instalments.

The film is currently only available in it’s original Japanese version with English subtitles, so I feel it’s only fair to warn that the film is very talk heavy, so be prepared for that! The film is playing in cinemas for one night only tonight and you can buy tickets here!