19 CommentsCode Geass: Akito the Exiled / By Scamp /

Code Geass: Akito the Exiled episode 2: The greatest mecha battle ever

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-22h56m04s207It’s been over 18 months since the last Akito the Exiled. I gather most people who actually showed up to the first one, even if they were all excited and enjoyed it, are struggling to remember what the hell happened there. That’s the problem with these long-running OVA series. On the one hand if the crew at Sunrise didn’t take 18 months to finish this episode then it wouldn’t have been as well animated as it was and I wouldn’t be able to give it my award for Greatest Mecha Battle Ever. On the other hand, 18 months kills interest. Remember when everyone was really excited for Gundam Unicorn when the first episode came out? They haven’t even finished that yet. Remember when people were losing their shit over Hellsing Ultimate? Did you know that finished this year? I barely saw it mentioned once. At current track record, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it took 3 years to bring out the remaining 2 Akito the Exiled episodes. Will people still care about Geass then? I know I will, but I named an entire website after the franchise. So if you’re wondering whether you should get into Akito now, I’d recommend waiting 3 years for it all to come out so you don’t lose focus halfway through.

For those who did watch it though, didja see that gold centaur knightmare with the absurdly large sword made of clockwork and blades? Didja? Because I can still barely believe it.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-22h46m02s72I was surprised by how easy it was to pick up again after 18 months. If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time you’ll know I have a terrible memory, and Geass is packed full of characters. Part of the ease was giving us that quick little recap at the start (little lesson Attack on Titan, you’re allowed do a recap before the start of each episode if there’s an 18 month gap, not 7 day gap). Mostly though it was because there’s only a handful of characters that are important to the story. What gives the show the impression that there’s way more characters than you actually need to keep track of is because they all have unique character designs. Geass has always been the kind of show where even the most inconsequential of side characters who might appear for literally 1 scene and have one line of spoken dialogue and never be seen again after their 5 second cameo and they’ll still look totally unique from everyone else. Well, totally unique insofar as they still all look like noodle people.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-22h59m25s169Maybe this is why these episodes take so long to come out. They’ve got Clamp locked in a room churning out character designs for every single new character that appears in the show. They’re going to run out of character designs soon. This episode had a skinny black dude with a ginger afro and a giant scar down the side of his face. He appeared for less than 5 seconds. There was the above bald dude with eyeliner and a weird tattoo on his forehead. He disappeared 5 seconds later. It’s commendable in a way, and shows up every other anime in that regard. You know the way you can normally tell who is going to be an important character in an anime because their character design is way more elaborate than all the blandys standing next to him? Can’t do that with Geass.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-23h18m36s168One area where Akito the Exiled really differs from Geass proper is it’s a lot less flamboyant and a lot more angry. Not necessarily a good thing that it dropped the silly, giant golden centaur mecha notwithstanding oh my god I can still hardly believe that was a thing. I think most people who liked Geass liked its extravagance. This did mean though that the story about the dirty Elevens feeling resentment never really came across particularly strongly. In Akito it most definitely does. The Elevens in this show are Mad. They’re quite busy pulling the classic Geass wide-eyed psychopath grin as they contemplate destroying those around them in a sort of wild vengance. Not constructive destruction, but just a desperate attempt to lash out at the people who wronged them. It’s a shame though that the characters lack the charisma of the main characters in Geass proper. Sure having another grandstanding egotistical maniac as the main character would have struck a little too much of trying to copy themselves and I commend them for going a little different, but Akito just doesn’t have much of a personality.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-22h49m06s125The directing is really good though. Like, really really damn good. They’re getting a lot of mileage out of that swooping camera now that Orange are apparently the only animation studio that can do CG animation right. Yes in case you’re wondering, the 2D stuff is all usual Sunrise but the CG work is contracted out to this studio called Orange. They also did the mecha battles in Majestic Prince and let’s just say they embarrass every other CG animation studio in Japan when those CG studios aren’t too busy embarrassing themselves. But back to the directing, I really liked how they very deliberately contrasted the calm of space before the giant battle began. Geass hasn’t really been one for accurate science. They did just catapult their pilots around the globe so they could land somewhere about 1,000km away. But what it did to provide this calm before the storm was really brilliant. Plus there’s a load of little things I like, such as the Elevens vandalising their own room to make it theirs, or the commander pouring whisky into his tea before starting commanding. I was a little less keen on that silly Russian Roulette scene though.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-23h07m02s123But that mecha battle. Oh god that mecha battle. The future is here. CG animation has killed hand drawn animation. The battles in Gundam Boyfriend don’t hold a candle to the one in this episode. The problem with CG animated robots is they’re way too floaty. It’s why I’ve never really been a fan of those in space pew pew pew battles. I don’t really like the Majestic Prince mecha battles for that reason, as have I never really cared for Macross or Gundam space battles. I want robots physically hitting each other. I want Evangelion, Big O or Break Blade. Where the space battles tend to excel is being more dynamic. Akito the Exiled combines the two. The robots actually feel like they’re made of metal. A very lightweight metal that means they can jump and spin and act like the scrawpy ninja spider robots that they are, but robots nevertheless. The fights are a million times more dynamic than any fight I’ve ever seen, with those spinning camera angles doing a wonderful job at both making the fight exhilarating and disguising the moments CG animation can let them down.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-23h09m58s97Plus the whole fight had great pacing to it. It was a classic shounen formula where you introduce something new every time it looks like one side is losing to dramatically alter the face of the battle and hike up the stakes even further. First the infighting and artillery strikes, then they escape and reach deserted town. Then in comes the crack squad to wipe out the drones and it all looks bad until ohsnap Geass activates. Then it looks like they’re going to destroy them until suddenly golden centaur mecha shows up and the tables switch again. Let me repeat that again. Golden Centaur Mecha. For all my nonsense about this being a much more serious take on Geass, up shows quite possibly the most ridiculous thing in Geass ever. That sword was even more nonsensically designed that Lelouch’s emperor hat, and that’s saying something. At least that hat wasn’t intended to be used in combat. What are those gears even for? What are they connected to?

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-23h11m53s228Look at that sword. Look at it. I couldn’t even find a screencap to fit the entire thing in. I don’t think there was a scene where the entire sword could fit on screen. And I took a lot of screencaps. I want to find some use for them so here’s a bunch with me making silly comments.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-23h18m08s133It is pronounced Code Gay-Ass for a reason. They do love their sculpted bottoms in this show. For the record, that’s actually a lady ass. It can be hard to tell with Geass sometimes.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-23h19m51s158Look at him! This was the next episode preview. Do I seriously have to wait 18 months to see Akito dressed up as a lady gypsy and doing a flamenco dance? Why must you tease us like this Sunrise?

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-22h58m05s140Oh hi there Fluffy. I do hope Fluffy appears again. There was a cry of ALL HAIL BRITANNIA but it doesn’t feel right unless the R is rolled for a few seconds.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-22h40m09s134And to think people say they don’t make anime like Akira anymore.

[Nubles rips] Code Geass Akito the Exiled Episode 2 The Wyvern Divided [BD 1080p 5.1 AAC][8A884BDB].mp4_snapshot_00.23.27_[2014.01.01_14.35.01]I see someone’s not too pleased about being made get some water. Nice to see everyone’s favourite character return. Oh wait no, I forgot it wasn’t Suzaku that anyone liked. It was his fucking awesome robot.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-23h20m13s115I normally don’t class myself as a ‘mecha fan’, but for how ridiculously excited I got to see Lancelot pull his signature pose I perhaps might be a mecha fan after all. Oh god I just realised we’re going to see Lancelot in Orange CG battles. I am so fucking pumped. All those losers watching hand-drawn robot battles are just living in the past. Get with the times people.

vlcsnap-2014-01-02-23h17m41s118Oh right yeah, then this guy appeared. Lelouch Lamperouge Lelouch vi Britannia Lulu The Cart Driver Julius Kingsley. Now before some people start getting it into their heads that this proves the cart driver theory, GAWD YOU DWEEBS KNOW NOTHING OF GEASS CANON! This is CLEARLY between seasons 1 and 2 where Suzaku went to Europe to crush the rebellions. So since Lelo-err Julius Kingsley is here that means he’s CLEARLY being used by Fluffy as a vital asset to crushing Europe. GAWD IT’S SO OBVIOUS! It’s like you guys didn’t even pay ATTENTION to ANYTHING that happened in Code Geass. This is a COMPLEX and DEEP story. A complex and deep story with golden centaur mechas fighting ninja spider robots.

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19 Comments

  1. Posted January 3, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh god yes! I had the time of my life watching this episode. Luckily I randomly decided to rewatch the 1st episode of Akito 2 weeks ago, so everything was completely fresh in my mind when this came out.

    Golden Centaur Mecha…….was a thing of insane genius that happened.

    I laughed. I cheered. I looped that bloody brilliant mecha battle. I can not actually wait until the next episodes – WHY WOULD SUNRISE SHOW ME THAT PREVIEW AND NOT GIVE ME EPISODE NOW!? Evil. Evil I tell you.

    I fecking love Code Geass.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      When I went back through the episode to get screencaps, I normally go at triple-speed. However the problem with action heavy CG stuff is the file goes all weird if you try play it fast-forward. So I ended up watching that mecha battle at normal speed a second time too

  2. Posted January 3, 2014 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    I quite liked how there was no sound in the space scene (the calm you mentioned). A lot of anime have rocket boosters and explosions and stuff making sound, which doesn’t happen in space. That little bit of realism was nice. Of course being Geass, most of the time they threw logic out the window with mechas climbing walls and GIANT CENTAURS, but yeah I thought it was a nice touch.

    And man those battles were cool. I had basically forgotten everything since the last OVA, couldn’t even remember whose side they were on, but it didn’t even matter because of the battle awesomeness.

    Geass <3 <3 <3 <3
    Can't wait for the next one.

    Also, Sunrise are pricks for not showing us more Suzaku and JULIUS KINGLSEY.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I think Geass is happy to take and leave realism however it suits them. Which can be annoying, but in this case the lack of sound had nothing to do with the plot and was purely a directorial touch to give that sense of calm, so I thought it was really nice

  3. romulus
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    As you said it is an awesome episode, except a little too much tits and ass, but this is anime anyways.
    What I enjoy is the clear differentation between the army of Britannia and Europe. You can tell which of the HQs they are showing from just one glance. Britannians are showy arrogant nobles imitating the middle ages, while the European army seems to be a regular army we know today. This is why these movies feel so different from the series – this story not set in flamboyant and proud Britannia, this is the slowly subdued normal world maybe a 100 years in the future.
    BTW did anybody not know that this is happening between the first and second seasons? That last paragraph implies just that.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I’ve seen loads of people be confused as to where this occurs. Remember Geass had all those weird spin-off manga that recast the characters in weird alternate timelines, so people have been wondering whether this is an alternate timeline too.

  4. Chevalier
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    The current plan seems to be finishing Akito within 2014, on paper, but I’d say a 2015 conclusion sounds more likely in practice. Still, either way, there should at least be a third episode later this year.

    While Akito’s not a very sympathetic character, which goes with his rather cool but deranged state (probably because of what his brother did to him in the flashbacks), I do like Leila. She’s not exactly proven right this episode and admittedly lacks real battlefield experience, but I give her props for trying.

    As for the Golden Centaur…you know, I think it works better here than a similar concept did in the Code Geass DS game. See:

    http://www.mahq.net/mecha/codegeass/geass-ds/equus.htm
    http://www.mahq.net/mecha/codegeass/geass-ds/regalia.htm

    • Scamp
      Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      …there’s a Code Geass DS game?

      I may have to look into this…

  5. Kinza Datteri
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    ALL HAIL LELOUCH

    It was superb episode. Few years ago I told myself that one of the things that I absolutely have to do before my death was to watch every Rebuild pf Evangelion movie. Now I know that CG Akito has its place on that list too.

    Although I am frustrated thinking how long will it take to see the final episode, I have at least a good reason to rewatch whole CG and previous episodes before watching the new one. Last week I rewatched Akito #1 and was surprised how much I forgot from the plot and characters. Had I not done this, I’d be too preoccupied with trying to remember everything to actually enjoy the damn show.

    I don’t know what to think now because each time my hunger for proper sequel with Lelouch the cart driver grows geometrically and yet I am afraid they might mess up… not to mention it would take god knows how many years.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      I should rewatch Geass. I have R2 on DVD but not season 1, which is kinda stupid. Particularly since I really have to do a proper review of Geass before I ever shut down this blog. I feel my work won’t be done otherwise.

  6. strukingfourd
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    That mysterious and enigmatic guy Julius Kingsley completely stole the show for me. Could’ve made a more flamboyant presentation at the train station tough.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      They’ve been teasing him and Suzaku for a while now, so I bet when they make his proper introduction onto the battlefield it will be the most ridiculous thing ever.

  7. aguycalledjoe
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Mind Blown, most awesome thing I’ve watched in a long time. Not sure if I could handle the legendaryness of the next episode with Suzaku and Totally Not Lelouch actually getting involved.

    I too have gained faith in the possibility of a CGI anime not sucking.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 5, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Now wait and watch every single other CG animated thing this winter season be absolutely terrible and kill your newfound belief

  8. luffyluffy
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Fun fact: The Lancelot signature launch animation (for the 1.5 opening) was animated one of my favorite mecha animators ever, Masami Obari! That’s why it looks so cool, it’s Obari as FUCK!

    Also the Centaur’s gear sword’s gears are spinning when it first shows up.

  9. Nagisa33
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    These mechs are some of my favorite. They’re fast, light, and stylish. Even though I’m a fan of Gundam, I’m not fond of many of their mechs. I much prefer the sleeker mecha designs from series such as Evangelion or Zone of the Enders.

    As for the CGI, I agree that this is some of the best out there. Gundam Unicorn and the Evangelion rebuilds have fantastic CGI as well as amazing fights. This battle was fluid and it felt like you were right there with them. This might be my favorite mecha fight scene.

    My favorite part besides the glorious god-like centaur mecha was the wing suit deployment. That’s something you don’t see every day! I was smiling from ear to ear!

  10. Pusswookie
    Posted January 6, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    So if they had mind-controlled Lelouch wiping out European rebellions between seasons 1 and 2, then I wonder if – after he becomes Emperor of The World and unites the continents together – some of the characters from this are like, “Is it me, or does that guy seem kinda familiar…?”

  11. Posted January 6, 2014 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks, you helped clear up some misunderstandings me and my friends had about its placement in the series. I figured I could wait for you to help clarify the canon.

    Beyond that, I absolutely loved it. That was probably the most impressive fight I’ve seen all year and probably one of the top 10 anime in all of 2013 for me. I just wish the episodes weren’t released years apart but I’m grateful the franchise hasn’t lost it touch.

  12. GoDiHaTeWaiTiNg
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    I have a dream, in this dream episode 3-4 are together for a akito special. However, due to being too busy or too lazy to complete this freaking series I’m faced with a hard decision. A give up on Akito the Exiled or pay a mercenary to threaten the animators into hurrying the fuck up on these release dates instead of saying oh itll be out in the Summer. Then oh I meant the fall………….ahhh sorry guys haven’t even started yet 8/18/14. Hurry the hell up before you lose your audience.

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