Archive for May 14th, 2008

Code Geass R2: Arms Race in Anime Land

I may talk a lot about the technology in this post, but that doesn’t stop Nunally from totally throwing a wrench into Lelouch’s plans!

Code Geass R2 continues to impress (depite the naysayers who think it’s gone too far), especially now that I’m back to being settled into the Code Geass groove after being in the Gundam 00 groove for six months. And one thing that’s been running through my head all through the first series and R2 thus far has been: “wow, technology is progressing fast.” Yes, a year’s passed since the end of the first season (and I don’t know if there’s any official figures on how big a span of time the first season covered, or how much time R2 has covered thus far), but even in the first season, rather than the Gundam-esque mid-series upgrade (which even Gundam doesn’t follow half the time; I think After War Gundam X had at least two upgrades, if not three, for Garrod’s Gundam alone, counting both the X and the XX) there’s an arms race between the Britannian army and the Black Knights, spearheaded by Lloyd Asplund for the Brittannian side (I cheered when he sauntered on-screen this episode, because he’s hilarious and awesome and other hyperbolic adjectives) and Lakshata Chawla for the Black Knights.

One of the recurring plots of the series that’s only alluded to in passing is that there seems to be a kind of rivalry between these two, such that they’re effectively waging their own war via proxy, though their inventions in trying to counter the other’s latest developments. They’re both hard at work developing countermeasures for the other’s tech and trying to create other, more offensive tech at the same time. I don’t know about you, but I find this barely-hinted-at subplot quite entertaining. We get the bonus of having at least one new technology thrown into the mix every couple episodes or so, throwing a distinct imbalance into the combat. Kallen can’t tear it up with the Guren all the time, and neither can Suzaku and the other Knights of Round do the same with their custom Knightmares. It adds an element of unpredictability into almost every battle, as you never know who’s going to have the technological edge and who’s not going to. We saw this in 6 with the deployment of the aerial version of the Guren, which managed to be just as overwhelmingly powerful as the Guren was the first time Kallen got behind the controls.

Of course, this general sense of instability and one-upsmanship is part and parcel of the whole Code Geass experience. It’s like watching a chess match on ESPN (do they actually show these on ESPN? Does the announcer spend a lot of time saying “He’s thinking, he’s thinking–he touched a pawn! He’s going to move! He’s picked it up an–he changed his mind and put it back down! This, ladies and gentlemen, is one hell of a chess match!” Are there all-female cheerleading squads, or even better, all-male ouendan for the chess players? If not, there should be.)–everything gets planned far in advance and then that one pawn does that accursed en passant move and your plan is trashed and you have to come up with something new, and fast. It’s part of the reason the series is so much fun to watch, and because it’s so much fun to watch, it’s why it’s popular. Which it’s kind of nice to see a Taniguchi Goro series get so much love; I don’t think he’s gotten this much popularity for any of his previous series, even s-CRY-ed and Planetes, which were quite popular but I don’t think they reached that much further out of the internet anime community (and s-CRY-ed barely has a following nowadays, aside from the occasional Radical Good Speed joke, because referencing Straight Cougar never gets old). I think it just goes to show that if you Limiter Release Goro, crazy things happen–good things, but still crazy.

I’m already wondering what craziness he’s going to get up to after Code Geass R2 is over with. The very prospect frightens and tempts me.


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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May 2008