The Speakeasy #080: Voltron, Kubo and the Two Strings, Otakon, Akito the Exiled

Ongoing Investigations: Voltron Legendary Defender by Dreamworks, Kubo and the Two Strings by Laika, and Code Geass: Akito the Exiled by Sunrise.

Food for Thought: What is the most important thing for Otakon to get right its first year in D.C.?

Topics: Otakon 2016

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And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Last Goodbye

  • 1 oz cognac
  • 3/4 oz cherry brandy
  • 1/4 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1 tsp grenadine syrup
Pour into an old-fashioned glass half-filled with broken ice, and serve.
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4 thoughts on “The Speakeasy #080: Voltron, Kubo and the Two Strings, Otakon, Akito the Exiled

  1. jroa says:

    I like Akito the Exiled myself, for the record I’d rate it as slightly above average, but I realize a lot of people who used to be big fans of Code Geass didn’t necessarily take it too well.

    Suffice to say the Akito the Exiled project directly reflects Kazuki Akane’s, (Mr. Escaflowne, Noein and Heat Guy J) own tastes. Those aren’t equal to the old creative team’s nor most of the Code Geass fanbase. This is important because not only did Akane direct Akito the Exiled, he also co-wrote every single episode (the other writers are basically his buddies and haven’t worked on Code Geass before), so the creator’s personal influence is definitely felt.

    He took a risk by doing things in his own way and Sunrise took one by even hiring him instead of someone with a more familiar perspective who wouldn’t take too many years to finish working on this story. My own opinion is that creative industries benefit from such risks, whether or not everyone ends up enjoying the results for whatever reason. So I am glad Akito the Exiled exists, even if it it’s not as great as they could have made it with more running time or other priorities.

    Either way, I am almost certain the next Code Geass project will tend to be safer and more fan-friendly. For better or for worse, I’m looking forward to the news from the 10th anniversary event in November.

    To address some specifics, if you want to accept some feedback on various details:

    -I think the Akito and Leila interactions were fine all the way through. Not incredibly original, but it was decent material and gave the story as much purpose as it reasonably could without breaking the connection between the two seasons.

    -One the negatives of the “media mix” business model is that a lot of the interactions between the three Japanese terrorists and Akito/Leila ended up in bonus stuff like Drama CDs, picture dramas, etc. and not in the main show. If you factor those into the equation, it’s easier to swallow their friendlier stance after episode two.

    -The Centaur mecha does have a super ridiculous gear lance, but it was also cool to see in action towards the end of the story. Why was it so crazy? It’s kind of like a Mobile Armor in Gundam or Jeremiah/Orange-kun’s giant spinning orange ball from the Geass TV series.

    -Yes, the point was that Akito killing people in the berserker state is extra bad. Why? Because he’s indirectly following his evil brother’s command and that’s unhealthy for his mind. Kind of a slightly forced distinction, but it matches the events of the fourth episode.

    -They did give the existing fans an obvious bone by including Lelouch and Suzaku in a small role, since obviously the director wasn’t too interested in focusing on them. It’s partially marketing, yes, but at the same he was also being true to himself by limiting their dominance. Comparable to how Amuro is in Zeta Gundam but (unlike Quattro) doesn’t really matter too much and could have easily been kept out of the story.

    -The depiction of the magical Geass content is weird, because of the director’s understanding of what such powers can do is very different. He liked making them more symbolic and more twisted at the same time.

    But, if you want a short explanation of each power does, here’s the gist of it:

    SPOILERS FOR ANYONE READING THIS WHO HASN’T SEEN THE SHOW

    1. Shin’s Geass can only be used to kill people he loves/considers family. That’s why it doesn’t work when he tries to use it on other folks without such links to him.
    2. Leila’s Geass helps people communicate with each other (think Newtypes). In a way, it’s almost the opposite of Shin’s more destructive/self-destructive one.
    3. The mysterious Geass lady wearing black and pink is the one doing all the other weird time/space stunts in the final episode, not Leila. She’s supposed to be a higher being. So said mysterious lady IS pretty much a deus ex machina, even in the literal meaning of the term rather than only in the critical sense. Like a Greek god showing up in a Greek play, I guess.

    My apologies for the length, but I felt Twitter wasn’t the best place to write something like this.

    • reversethieves says:

      I finally got around to answering your long comment.

      1. I just realized that Code Geas was a decade old last night. Sufficed to say that was a bit of a shock. Reading this comment the next morning only drove that point home.

      2. At this point, the side manga have had so many radically different interpretations of Code Geass. Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally and Code Geass: Tales of an Alternate Shogunate feel radically different than the original series. Now both of those are radical reinterpretations of the Code Geass Universe but I think they lay a little bit of the ground work for different directors to make their own mark on the main universe. It is like how they eventually let other directors who are not Tomino work on UC Gundam. It was hardly their first choice but after the franchise had a chance to mature and show it has some legs they eventually let someone else work on the playground of the original setting.
      Plus I don’t think the European front was so critical or such a fan favorite part of the show that a major failure there would majorly upset anyone. If fans loved the addition it was great but if poorly received the main story was mainly untouched. That idea alone might explain why they brought in Lelouch and Suzaku and then had them do so little of substance.

      3. We both liked Akito and Leila. They were always strong parts of the series. I just think the three terrorists have some unjustified shifts in personality. Also, they are pretty easy on Claus Warwick’s traitorous activities but that is not even really worth complaining about.

      4. Maybe another watch would help but Leila’s Geass seems super-duper vague. I know at points that it can be annoying for characters to shotgun world mechanics at you but her power needed a little more on screen clarification. The main problem it was not really a power that instantly explains itself via context but they treated it like it was.

      5. I get the media mix problem but even when you plan to expand things in the supplemental material it does a disservice to anyone just watching the show. The show should stand on its own and the supplemental material should add the experience of the main story. But that is how things work in the ideal and assuming that it will always work that way is just setting yourself up for disappointment. I just wished they had shown the reasons for their shifts in a clear manner in the show without relying on the supplemental material to show that growth and how those changes happened.

      6. At think the steampunk halberd is just an easy target and we went for the low hanging fruit. The Centaur mecha combined with halberd just makes it go into the realm of the silly when Code Geass started with fairly fantastical powers but pretty grounded mecha. If anything it is a retroactive herald for the over the top mecha from Part 2.

      7. Lelouch and Suzaku just feel like bait switch. They make a big deal that we will finally see what happened to Lelouch in between Seasons 1 and 2 and then it mostly turns out to be an odd series of what ultimately boils down to strange cameos. I don’t think that Lelouch and Suzaku should have become main character level players but there was someway to make them more relevant while not overwhelming Akito and Leila’s story. Either that or their appearance should have been a smaller single walk on cameo.

      It mostly felt too big to be a snack but not filling enough to be a meal.

      8. I mostly got why the team did not want Akito to kill Ashley Ashra but I think Kate was a lot more confused. I also think it was another case of the Geass powers being so vague that it was easy to get confused what was happening and why people were doing what they were doing.

      9. According to the Code Geass wiki that lady is called the Caretaker of Spacetime. It was super unclear to me when she was acting, when Leila was in control, or when they were working togeather. Maybe a second watch would have helped clarify things but it seemed like they gave Leila the ability to wrap things up using the Caretaker of Spacetime as a literal deus ex machina.

      Overall I think we saw lots of things to like about the OVA but it felt a little disappointing. Hopefully, the 10th-anniversary material will live up to the promise this had but could not fully achieve.

      – Alain

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