Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection Anime Movie Review

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection (Japanese: コードギアス 復活のルルーシュ Hepburn: Kōdo Giasu: Fukkatsu no Rurūshu) is a 2019 Japanese anime film by Sunrise. It premiered in Japan on February 9, 2019 and ran in over 120 theatres. It is based on the Code Geass anime series, with the plot taking place after the Zero Requiem arc of the recap films’ universe. It is directed by Gorō Taniguchi, written by Ichirō Ōkouchi with music by Kōtarō Nakagawa and Hitomi Kuroishi, all of whom previously contributed to the TV series in the same respective roles. The film has been licensed by Funimation and it had a limited theatrical release in the United States and Canada on May 5, 2019.

“Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection” is set in the alternate universe which is composed of the 3 previous movies. It is not a sequel to the original series “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”, but to the 3 alternate universe movies, which generally kept the same path as the anime series but had a few meaningful changes in characters’ motivations and relationships, and some major changes in the survival of a previously dead secondary character because of the removal of some major events.

Plot

A year has passed since the events of the Zero Requiem, a scheme Emperor Lelouch vi Britannia formulated to end conflict with his death, and Nunnally vi Britannia rules Britannia while aided by her bodyguard Suzaku Kururugi, who has taken the identity of Zero. Nunnally and Suzaku are in the middle of a goodwill visit to a desert nation when they are ambushed by a Knightmare squad; Suzaku is easily defeated and they are abducted. The two find themselves in the custody of Shalio and Shamna, the sibling rulers of the Kingdom of Zilkhistan which has suffered from the world peace crippling their primary export: mercenary soldiers. Shamna explains their plan to use Nunnally to access the collective unconsciousness within C’s World to restore Zilkhistan’s political might.

Suspecting Zilkhistan’s involvement, Kallen Stadtfeld, Sayoko Shinozaki, and Lloyd Asplund infiltrate the country and run into C.C. and a surviving but timid and nonverbal Lelouch. C.C. explains that, after the Zero Requiem, their school friend Shirley Fenette smuggled Lelouch’s corpse to her and that she resurrected Lelouch from the dead by reconstructing his corpse, but his memories and personality are trapped in the collective unconsciousness. The group launches an assault on a Zilkhistan prison, where they rescue Suzaku and discover an Aramu Gate, a portal to C’s World. C.C. uses the portal to fully resurrect Lelouch. Lelouch once again dons the mantle of Zero and meets up with Britannian forces led by his half-sister Cornelia li Britannia and his former lieutenant Kaname Ohgi.

Lelouch’s forces track Nunnally down and find her in a Zilkhistan temple. Lelouch infiltrates the temple and kills Shamna, but she activates her Geass and travels back six hours in the past, allowing her to perfectly predict Lelouch’s actions. Lelouch uses his tactical prowess to deduce the mechanics of Shamna’s Geass and knocks her out. He frees Nunnally, but learns that her mind has been transported into C’s World. C.C. guides him into the collective unconsciousness, and he successfully rescues Nunnally. Suzaku kills Shalio in combat, destroying Shamna permanently. In the aftermath, Lelouch once again bequeaths the title of Zero to Suzaku and departs on a journey with C.C. taking the alias L.L.as his idea of a marriage proposal.

My Personal Thoughts

Not only was it well thought out, it also included characters that I could truly feel connected to. Unlike many other anime titles, Code Geass ended with a well wrapped up conclusion. Though the main character, Lelouch, dies at the end, the ending managed to do justice to the story as well as the characters, providing viewers with a sense of closure.

When news broke about a film adaptation being made, I was skeptical, and even more so when it was teased that Lelouch would return. Though this captured my attention, I didn’t actually think that they would bring back a character whose death provided the perfect ending to the series. I was wrong.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection really did bring Lelouch back from the dead. The film began where the series left off, with the world at peace, the way Lelouch intended. However, it’s revealed that there’s more to the power of Geass than we, audiences, knew about. We learn, rather early on in the film that Lelouch is indeed alive and well, dragged into a power struggle where he must use his wit and his Geass in order to save his kidnapped sister, Nunnally.

Though the narrative is familiar, the gripping story telling that I saw in the anime series felt lost in the film. The plot felt rushed and appeared to be something set in motion simply to justify bringing Lelouch back to life. This made the story rather lacking in comparison.  However, the film was watchable and in many ways quite enjoyable, particularly in terms of the reunion between characters and watching the ever conniving and cunning Lelouch in action. 

The introduction of new characters and more detail into the various Geass powers illustrated that there was so much more to Code Geass than what the anime series provided. The way in which the narrative flowed also illustrates the creation of opportunities for more Code Geass anime or films to be made in the future, an idea that I particularly am not quite sure I like, due to how well the original anime ended. Often, the perfect ending can be ruined by the addition of more story.

In addition to the delight that came from seeing familiar characters return, it was also a treat to see the knightmare frames in action once again, as are the visual effects that come with them. The animation style was exactly as I recall in the series, which of course gave off a sense of nostalgia and added to my enjoyment of the film. It would have been a lot more epic to watch the action, had there been some epic soundtrack to go with it. 

Nevertheless, I had mixed reactions to Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection. The animation, action and seeing recognisable characters made the film enjoyable, however, the idea of Lelouch’s return, coupled with a rather slow and lacking narrative made it rather frustrating to continue to appreciate Code Geass overall. It would have been much better had they not done a film or perhaps had better pacing and a story that was more captivating.

All in all, the film was an enjoyable watch, but not one that I would be able to watch a second time around. It’ll be interesting, though, to see what’s next for Lelouch and the Code Geass series.

I will rate this Anime Movie 9/10.

Japaneseコードギアス 復活のルルーシュ
HepburnKōdo Giasu: Fukkatsu no Rurūshu
Directed byGorō Taniguchi
Screenplay byIchirō Ōkouchi
StarringJun Fukuyama
Yukana
Takahiro Sakurai
Ayumu Murase
Nobunaga Shimazaki
Wataru Takagi
Keiko Toda
Music byKōtarō Nakagawa Hitomi Kuroishi
CinematographyHiroyuki Chiba
Edited bySeiji Morita
Production
company
Sunrise
Distributed byShowgate
Release dateFebruary 9, 2019
Running time114 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.