Image source: コードギアスプロジェクト on Twitter
Code Geass is getting a sequel. And not a “sequel” that is actually a prequel or tells a side story that takes place during the original series, but an honest to goodness sequel. But before that, we’re getting a refresher in the form of a three-part movie series. And, as is customary with almost every re-release of any series in a different format, there are a bunch of changes and additions.
[Note: This article contains major spoilers from the original Code Geass series and the upcoming first movie.]
The original Code Geass was quite honestly an amazing series, easily one of my top ten anime series of all time. With the new upcoming project, Code Geass: Fukkatsu no Lelouch (Code Geass: Resurrection of Lelouch) announced at last year’s 10th anniversary event, a new three-part movie series that covers both seasons of the original series was also announced to come first. But even if each movie is over two hours apiece, this is still a 50 episode series we’re talking about. Even at 20 minutes an episode, that’s over 16 hours of content.
So it was that I noticed several changes and cuts upon viewing the first part of the movie trilogy, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Episode I at one of the press premieres in Tokyo.
Many of the scenes from the original series involving Lelouch’s school life and school council shenanigans were cut and other new scenes were added to essentially truncate events that took much longer to play out in the original.
For example, the whole sequence where Lelouch convinces Kallen that he’s not Zero by using a recording over the phone is reduced to a single phone conversation between Kallen and Ohgi where she says she thought Lelouch might be the person who helped them, but upon seeing Lelouch with Nunnally believed that someone who cares so much for his disabled sister would be involved with something so dangerous.
One significant addition was in the opening credits where we are shown a sequence of flashbacks. There is a brief flash of a scene with Lelouch and Suzaku from seven years before. In the scene, we see Suzaku angrily standing over Lelouch with a mark on Lelouch’s face—indicating that Suzaku has just punched him. It’s only the briefest flash, but it alters our understanding of Lelouch and Suzaku’s relationship. We realize that the two were antagonistic towards each other at first. It’s followed by a flash of the the ending credits scene of the first half of the first series where Suzaku is walking up a hill in the rain with Nunnally on his back, and Lelouch runs after them carrying an umbrella. Through this, we come to understand that it was Nunnally that brought the two boys together.
A major cut from the movie is the entire Mao arc—the appearance of the second Geass user who has the ability to read other people’s thoughts. Perhaps the biggest lasting consequence of Mao’s arc is that it ultimately forces Lelouch to erase Shirley’s memory. Without this part of the story, it leads to some interesting potential changes down the road—especially considering the ramifications of Mao’s arc in R2.
The first movie covers the events up through episode 17 of the first series—up to Lelouch’s discovery that Suzaku is the pilot of the Lancelot Knightmare Frame and his decision to continue with his personal war against Britannia despite this knowledge.
However, despite the omission of the Mao arc, there are hints that it might still happen in the next film. There is an added scene of Shirley looking for someone in Narita after the landslide that the Black Knights caused and she does not make another appearance in the movie after that. Considering her importance then and later on, it’s possible that the events involving her discovery of Zero’s identity and of Mao might have been moved to the second movie.
That said, there is another change in the events that suggests the opposite. When Villetta is shot, it is Diethard who shoots her, not Shirley. In the original series, the events surrounding Villetta’s getting shot directly involve Shirley’s discovery of Lelouch’s secret—so what this change means is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps they are separating the two incidents so they happen at different times. Or perhaps they are completely glossing over the Mao arc.
As mentioned before, Code Geass is a long series with a lot of content. It’s pretty impressive that they managed to fit everything they did in 135 minutes. There are some cuts that leave some minor issues unanswered or open-ended, but it still comes together into a cohesive story that is as fascinating and entertaining as the original. It was simultaneously refreshing and exciting to revisit the Code Geass world. Now, I’m more excited than ever to see Lelouch’s return.
Image source: コードギアスプロジェクト on Twitter
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Episode I opens in theaters in Japan on October 21, 2017. Episode II is scheduled for release in February, 2018 and Episode III is scheduled for release in May, 2018. There is currently no word on an international release.