Anime NYC 2019: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection

hisui_icon_4040_round I already mentioned that I had the most uncomfortable viewing experience for Weathering with You but I possibly had the most “authentic” viewing experience for Lelouch of the Re;surrection. I say “authentic” because it was sort of the worst seats in the house but there were be no set up that could be envisioned as more Code Geass that I could think of. First of all the music in the room was just a tad too loud. They raised the volume to counteract a potentially noisy crowd but it mostly only made the crowd louder to compensate. To the right of me was a vaping CC who pretty much smoked her little device the whole movie. Behind me were a row of rowdy fujoshi. They had seen the movie before (a fact they mentioned several times) so they mostly just shouted various comments at the screen with an emphasis on anything hot or to do with their fan fiction. It was not full MST3K but it was a fairly wordy unwanted commentary track.

Overall I still experienced the movie fairly well it just was probably the best encapsulation of the Code Geass fandom in a single solitary moment. If anything I probably would have enjoyed a little more had they not been there but such is sometimes the price of going to a live screening.

By the way, there are going to be some MAJOR spoilers for the Code Geass and the compilation movies but truth be told you should not have anything to do with this movie if you have not seen those.

It has been a year since the death of Emperor Lelouch vi Britannia. The world has mostly moved on except for C.C. who wanders the earth with the empty husk of Lelouch. But on a goodwill visit, Nunnally is kidnapped by some new Geass users who have sinister plans for her. Key members of the old gang try to save her but they might need a tactical genius to pull this off. It seems like a little thing like even death won’t stop Lelouch from trying to protect his little sister.

Before we begin it is very important to note that this movie assumes you have seen the Code Geass compilation movies. The movies make a bunch of minor and major changes including saving a major character that died in the original. They also don’t make a note of it so it may be jarring to see this person walking around without comment if you have only seen the TV series. Truth be told the character does not do that much in the film but it still is worth noting.

I am distinctly of two minds about this movie. Overall as some popcorn-munching action movie fun, I think Lelouch of the Re;surrection is fairly enjoyable and surprisingly captures a lot of the appeal of the original TV series. That said this movie is immensely unnecessary and I would even argue dulls some of the power the ending that the TV series had. Code Geass as a whole was a mess but its ending was bold and possibly one of its best parts. This movie feels like a Your Mileage May Vary sort of addition. One thing you cannot argue about it it was filled with fan service of all stripes.

Code Geass is a show where Kallen’s ass and Suzaku’s bare chest are on the screen enough to practically get their own listing in the cast. That sort of fanservice should not be a surprise. It is pretty much a hallmark of the series. But there is also clearly a lot of the more subtle sorts of fan service as well. They throw in a bunch of characters just so the audience can cheer even if they don’t do much in the end. There are also some scenes whose entire purpose is not to move the plot forward but to be a bit of pandering to various fandoms. None of it utterly derails the movie but it does feel like the main purpose of the movie in the end.

And that is the main thrust of the post in the end. When it all comes down to it the purpose of this movie is not properly wrap up the original story, or expand the universe, or correct mistakes of the show. This is just an attempt to give the people what they want. It just does so in a rather base way. It all just has a very junk food feeling of pandering. It tastes sweet but it is ultimately empty calories.

As acid-tongued as that statement was I did enjoy the movie for what it was. It feels very authentic to the original series. The new villains have some cool powers that take some decent strategy to defeat. Code Geass has always been this series that is far smarter than pure mindless action but overall not quite actually a smart show. It is smarter than it needs to be without requiring too much mental processing. As long as you realize that it is a fun show. Even the way they bring back Lelouch feels like it works in the context of the universe.

The problem, in the end, is it all just seems to be more effort than it is worth to continue a story that probably ended at just the right place the first time. I had a decent time watching the movie and if anyone said they enjoyed or even really liked the movie I get it. The problem for me is that in reflection it seemed to devalue the original ending even though is doing a fairly competent job overall. I’m not one of those people who thinks a misbegotten sequel ruins the original. I can separate those things in my mind. This is why I still love Eureka Seven despite AO being a sin against man and god. I just realize that they are some people who need to be warned about such things because it will ruin both the new and the old in one fell swoop.

So should you watch Lelouch of the Re;surrection? The question is do you think the series ended perfectly? If your answer is yes then you might want to avoid this at all costs. Otherwise, it is fairly well-executed if utterly empty. If the original series was a Twinkie: tasty but devoid of any real nutrition than the movie is deep-fried Twinkie. It doubles down on all of that. So the real question is does that sound tasty or utterly disgusting?

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