The first time I watched Code Geass R2, I was disappointed. I’d been waiting for what seemed like decades for the conclusion to the first season. And it did have some serious flaws.
- Ramping up the dial on the fanservice beyond the point of decency.
- A pathetic end to the emperor as a mere mid-boss. Schneizel just couldn’t induce the same rage levels. Why dispatch the ultimate villain so cheaply?
- Rollo. Towards the beginning he was so annoying and clingy.
- Wasted time. I didn’t feel like the whole arc in China added much.
- Power-ups. The combat was much less interesting this time around. This was mainly due to endless chains of power ups in mechs which determined the battles. Less tactics, more strategy, as Lelouch might say.
On my second time through, the show did leave a better impression. So the fanservice, power-ups and time usage were still irksome, but I did have a better appreciation for the Emperor’s fate and Rollo this time around. Sure, the Emperor’s death was still a let down, and I didn’t care much for Schneizel, but it was a great ending. Everything was resolved conclusively, and it fit well with what had happened so far. It’s similar with Rollo: he was annoying while he was alive, but he sure went out with a bang. I actually ended up feeling sorry for him.
The characters continue to be spectacular. There’s Lelouch, of course, but also the side characters. Even Orange managed to become a supreme badass. Lloyd and Cecile continued to be awesome as well. I especially liked the choice of who remained loyal to Lelouch after the Black Knights betrayed him. Suzaku, Sayako, Orange, Lloyd, Cecile and Nina. Definitely not who you would have expected after the first season, but they all make a great deal of sense. The only disappointing character was Diethard. What a sellout.
The highlight of season two was the same as the highlight for season one: witnessing all the twists and turns. The use of collapsing buildings / cities / sand pits did start to get stale, but some new twists still freshened things up. I think the most badass moment was when Zero was exiled, and the million people donned Zero costumes and boarded the iceberg. Lelouch’s blackmail of the UN came in a close second. His ascension to the throne could have been more exciting, had they actually shown what happened.
- Plot / Script – B – Less strong than the first season, but still enjoyable.
- Characters – A – A diverse and entertaining cast.
- Production – A – Looks nice, great evil laughs.
- Overall – A-
Recommendations – Eden of the East, Spice and Wolf, Legend of Legendary Heroes