Year in Review: The Real Zero

Code Geass is this year’s overall best-produced anime…

It also has this massive cliffhanger, but hey, nobody is perfect.

In no truer fashion did Taniguchi catch up to the 21st century with a big exclamation mark that also, admittedly, marking him fashionably late. But boy, are CLAMP designs always in fashion. It really is a statement about “design sells.” Yea, yea, at the end of the day it’s just another mecha anime, but I think this one would’ve been a huge winner if the ending wasn’t such a non-ending.

But in simpler terms, Code Geass wins because it’s just a well-produced work, with a well put-together plan that included all the “popular” things. Its large cast and diverse personalities ensure no one goes through the show without something piquing his or her attention (even for some it’s just C.C. the whole time). It even provides enough in themes and messages to keep the brainy ones thinking about questions that don’t have right answers.

The pacing is compelling. The scenario writing is solid. There is enough about the plot to keep those that has affinity towards puzzle-type shows like Death Note interested (a large group I imagine), and enough moe and cheese to keep the otaku glued to those … cheese-filled pie crusts? If it means I have to watch in-show product placement to get more financing for anime, I am all for it.

But what does Code Geass have it in for me? I think that is a hard question to answer. I didn’t watch Code Geass back when it was all the rave late last year, and I caught up marathon-style (which is probably the most appropriate way for this show) middle of the year right before the OAVs came out. And yeah the OAVs are also non-endings. What is up with that?

Still, it’s great to remind myself that there are still mainstream-appealing yet personally compelling anime series out there that are longer than 14 episodes. Perhaps I am just jaded, but I think my standards are quite easy to meet and I can enjoy a lot of shows. It’s why I still watch so many anime and I only have the chance to talk about roughly half of the shows I watch on this blog. But yeah, why Code Geass? This was simply just the best overall show that I had the chance to watch this past year. It’s something I would recommend to the average anime viewer without reservation. It beats out shows like Denno Coil because we’re talking about a very different group of viewers than those who would watch NHK on primetime hours. They may overlap in some cases, but generally speaking not at all. Is this like, a mainstream for the underground or something silly?

Anyways. Substantively Code Geass still offers something worthy of review. Seeing that it’s Taniguchi and Sunrise, we should expect violence. And sometimes that’s all it takes to get guys to enjoy a TV show, much like sometimes all it takes is CLAMP to get some sissies (like me?) and girls to watch and enjoy a TV show.

Yes, I support this pairing

I’m sure I can draw some kind of thematic examination between Code Geass’ cycle of redemptive violence and Manabi Straight’s subversive, win-by-heart teamwork. But for the moment let’s just tip our hats to the dead peacemakers and would-have-been successful idealists if not for an deus ex machina of a coup de grâce, an excuse for a memorable climax that went nowhere. I suppose there is a beauty to dying ironically for what you lived for except in the reverse, and leaving those alive to ponder their own predicaments.

Alas, with season two on the horizon, it’s time to bid farewell to Euphie and say hello to our cash cow milking overlord, to lower our expectations at the face of an upcoming sequel that is, odds are, mediocre. It’s Sunrise after all.

This is the sixth post in a series reflecting back to the new anime of 2007. I really enjoyed Minami Omi’s performance as a near-lead female character in a big show, and 2007 does mark the return of a couple old-timers. Hope to see more of them in 2007.

8 Responses to “Year in Review: The Real Zero”

  • Madonis

    I liked the show too, but not sure about how I’d rank it. Still, interesting post all around.

    The second season could have a mediocre start alright, but I’m willing to give them the chance to overcome it. As long as it keeps me entertained, I’ll still watch.

    Btw, those last two episodes weren’t technically OAVs though, but rather the last two episodes of the series, which were delayed basically because the two recap episodes left the show without enough regular time slots (seems those recaps were, in turn, the result of production delays).

    In any case, they really couldn’t wrap everything up in just two episodes without, say, ending the season with Lelouch’s death or something akin to that. Which could have been a great ending too, but probably a bit too rushed for my liking. Still, the actual cliffhanger was indeed quite a killer…

  • IKnight

    Though I’ve never been able to convince myself it is actually good, Code Geass was probably the highlight of my year. As embarassing as it may be to admit it.

  • digitalboy

    S-Cry-Ed had a sucky ending too, I wonder how infinite ryvius ended… because it could jsu be the guy can’t do endings lol. i’ve been waiting patientyl for the NA release to watch this, having only seen ep 1 god-knows-how long ago.

  • omo

    Scryed’s ending was alright. Ryvius ending is pretty ok actually.

    This was by far the best/worse dropping of the ball though.

    By the way I realized my excerpt for this blog post contained a line from an earlier version of this post. But yeah, this show is exciting.

  • Madonis

    Going to get wordy again for a bit…I have no problems with S.cry.ed’s ending, it was fine for the shounen/fighting genre. Pretty much everything else was wrapped up by the last episode, except for the rivalry between the two characters, which got its last hurrah before the end. Wasn’t expecting much else.

    Haven’t seen Ryvius, so no comment. But as long as we’re speaking about the same director, I liked the ending to Gun x Sword, even if it was a bit short.

    In the case of Code Geass, the non-ending pretty much spelled out that this wasn’t going to be a one season show. If there was no more Code Geass, it would be a horrible way to end things. As it is, it’s a stinking cliffhanger I don’t like, but it serves its goal: to make people want to watch the next season more and more.

  • omo

    There are good cliffhangers and bad cliffhangers. This is the bad kind.

  • wildarmsheero

    s-CRY-ed has the best ending ever

  • Muey

    I liked Code Gas quite a bit.

    While it didn’t manage to invoke gushing or fanboy splee in me personally, in the manner that a number other shows that in one way or the other have managed to precision-target themselves ‘close to heart’ (so to say) have, I was throughly entertained by it. It was a fun ride, and something I eagerly looked forward to as more new episodes piled up for me to watch. I guess you could hold is as a form of paragon example of just how good a mainstream, well-backed anime can be when done right.

    I was troughly entertained by it – Except for the ending. Or rather, the huge fucking bitchslap in the face of the audience that ended in episode 25, because she show didn’t have any ending.

    In the end the most frustrating thing about (non) end for me wasn’t the unfinished plot buisness directly, but an otherwise so good series had to mangle itself so horribly in that regard. It was just plain awful.

    Fuck you Sunrise, and fuck you hard.

    Yesyes, I know there’s more coming and yaddayadda, but frankly that’s an poor excuse of leaving things as is, what with the year-long gap, and especially when the alleged 2nd season doesn’t even pick up directly after the clusterfuck known as episode 25. It just reeks of poor handling and excuses, to the point that I don’t really even want to know the real reasons behind it. It won’t change the sucking to any degree, and it would just remind me of the horrible inexcusable clusterfuck that it was, and that it was probably intentionally done so.

    But hey, at least we get another season of Pizza Butt the anime, so I guess it could be worse. Though with the huge break in-between (the plot, that is), the clusterfuck end of last season, and Sunrise’s track record of doing ‘sequels’, I really don’t want to place much anticipation on S2.

    …Which I guess is only good, as at it will be hard to be anything else than (hopefully) positively surprised when S2 eventually rolls around!

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