Japanese transformers. Not the most accurate description of the mecha genre of anime, but it comes close enough. I haven’t really watched many anime that could be described as ‘mecha’ because, generally, I don’t like them. However, that does mean that it is easy to choose my favourite from the genre.
In an alternate world history, the planet is dominated by a small number of vast empires and federations. Largest and (in the eyes of the protagonists at least) the most evil is the Britannia Empire, who ruthlessly occupied Japan and renamed it ‘Area 11’, removing the concept of the past nation.
There are lots of themes in Code Geass, and generally they are all handled pretty well, but it’s certainly fair to say that Lelouch’s strategies are put into play by mechs known as Nightmares.
The struggle between the Japanese ‘Black Knights’ and the Britannia Empire takes different forms and because of that we often go a few episodes without really seeing any mech battles, but when they happen – they really happen.
What sets the mech battles apart in Code Geass compared to other anime is the strategic element added by Lelouch’s genius. Throughout the show chess is used as a common focus point: this ranges from Lelouch’s chess rivalry with his older brother Schneizel through to each episode being a ‘turn’. In the opening of the show Lelouch directs Nightmare units as if they are chess pieces. This is a theme that continues throughout the show as the battles feel more planned than in other shows. While no one will be describing these battles as ‘realistic’, this strategic element is one of the few things that helps Code Geass in this regard.
As the show progresses the technical geniuses of both sides develop more advanced (and visually impressive) machines in order to gain the upper hand. Particularly in the second season (which I am half way through – I know, I know, I’m probably breaking the rules of the challenge), we get to see more exciting Nightmares piloted by the increasingly focused upon ace pilots.
As I said earlier, there’s a lot going on in Code Geass beyond the mech battles that makes it for many people one of the best shows out there (I’ll get back to you on that) so I highly encourage you to go and check it out! Besides it’s general appeal however, this is a show that will appeal if you’re into mech anime because of the strategy, fast paced battles and awesome pilots involved.
What’s your favourite mech anime? Is Code Geass actually any good as a mech anime or do it’s best qualities lie in other areas. Let me know down in the comments.
Thanks for reading! 🙂