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Anime Movie Review: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: Movie I: Initiation (2017)

Updated on October 5, 2020
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Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Movie poster.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Movie poster. | Source

Quick Info:

Director: Gorộ Taniguchi
Distributor: Funimation Entertainment
Runtime: 134 minutes
Released: March 5th, 2019
Availability: On Blu-Ray disc, no way to watch without paying for it, currently out of print, but available for digital purchase on Amazon

Story Summary:

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: Movie I: Initiation is a retelling of part of the first season of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Season 1 (2006). It is a recap movie with some new scenes and changes in the story compared to the original Code Geass.

Lelouch is a Prince of the Holy Britannian Empire; after his mother is murdered he confronts his father, Emperor Charles Zi Britannia when he does not come to visit his younger sister, Nunnally after she was crippled during the assassination. He is sent away to Japan as a political hostage along with his sister and after Britannia conquers the country, they live together in hiding. By chance, Lelouch meets a mysterious woman called C.C., who bestows on him the power of Geass. Now Lelouch sets out to overthrow Britannia and confront his father about his mother’s murder.

The Recap Movie Is Interesting Because of Story Changes:

Japan has a habit of releasing recap movies in order to either adverse for old material or as a way to promote new material for an upcoming project. On the 10-year anniversary for Code Geass, Sunrise announced a new Code Geass project called Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;ssurection (2019). These recap movies are in order to promote the movie and get newcomers and fans alike a refresher for the story of Code Geass.

While events play out the same as the anime, for the most part, there are some changes to certain events that will have reproductions for the second and third movies and even the newest film because certain things have been changed.

There are some weird grammatical issues with the subtitles that when you read the dialogue, it just doesn't feel like natural speaking at all, some of the dialogue feels flowery, to the point of nearly being purple prose.

Code Geass Movie Trilogy | Trailer (Own It Now):

The Animation is Still Great:

The animation by Sunrise is still nice to look at and the footage they used is the great animation footage from the anime. The fight scenes look great and the art designs for the characters are appealing.

The new scenes are very well animated and the new scenes are fun. They don’t really add a whole lot to the story. The smaller scenes that have changes that affect the story more than the new animated scenes.

The Japanese Dub is Fantastic!

I have not watched the original Japanese dub of the anime so watching the movies in Japanese and it’s a lot of fun because I haven’t heard the Japanese before.

Jun Fukuyama does a fantastic job as Lelouch Vi Britannia. He handles both sides of Lelouch’s personality. He also is wonderfully hammy in Lelouch’s “Zero” persona.

Takahiro Sakura does a great job as Suzaku Kururugi. He is a fantastic seiyuu and he gave a great performance. I enjoyed his performance a lot.

Ami Koshimizu did a fantastic job as Kallen Stadfield. She was great in this role and I liked her voice acting a lot.

Yukana did a great job voicing C.C., pronounced “C-2”. I liked her voice work and she made her character aloof and mysterious. She has an interesting dynamic with Lelouch. The new scene with her and Lelouch is entertaining and it was a nice addition to the film that wasn’t in the anime series.

I really love the Japanese dub, I am not a sub purist who automatically says the Japanese are better. I prefer dubbing unless it’s bad because I want to be able to see the visuals without having to speed read all the time for subtitles.

I enjoyed this movie in Japanese, it was very good and the acting was great.

Funimation didn’t have time to dub the movie so they released it as subtitle only. It’s fine, but if you wanted to hear the English voice cast you’ll just have to watch the original series instead.

The animation from the original Code Geass anime.
The animation from the original Code Geass anime. | Source

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion I - Koudou (Ending Full)『Only Red is Missing - Iris』:

The Soundtrack is Great:

Hitomi Kuroishi and Kộtarộ Nakagawa do a fantastic job composing the music for this film. But if you’ve watched Code Geass you’ll know they reused a lot of the original music with some new songs, but not a lot of new music besides the new ending song, “Only Red is Missing” by Iris.

The music is still fantastic because it is the same music from the anime, but there aren’t a lot of new soundtracks for long-time fans of the Code Geass franchise.

The Cut Content Does Make Some Things Harder to Follow If You Haven’t Seen the Anime:

The movies to require previous knowledge of Code Geass because they do cut out several episodes of the anime. You still need to have knowledge of the anime in order to fully grasp every aspect of Code Geass.

The movie does show glimpses of the episodes they cut but there is an extra layer of knowledge that comes from having watched the anime.

A new animated scene in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: Initiation (2017).
A new animated scene in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: Initiation (2017). | Source

Reader Poll:

Will you buy the "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion" Movie Trilogy?

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The Movies Are Fun, but not Quite Newbie Friendly:

The Code Geass movie trilogy is fun and enjoyable, but they are not a replacement for watching the anime. The changes they make to the story will only be noticed by fans with previous experience that have watched the original anime. Because prior experience is recommended to catch all the changes, it does help to have seen the anime.

Newcomers will probably enjoy it, but they will notice where it appears that there are things that have been brushed over for the sake of a shorter movie runtime compared to an entire anime series.

Quick Summary:

What Works:
What Doesn't Work:
Great story, plot
Leaves out some important plot points by brushing over them.
Manages to summarize a large chunk of season 1 om 2 hours and 14 minutes
The films aren't newbie friendly due to certain decisions to cut some events from the film.
Great voice acting in Japanese
Plot points changed in the film will only be understood by long-time fans
Uses the great soundtracks from the anime, nice new ending song
Some dialogue in translation boarders on purple prose.

My Grade: B:

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: Movie I: Initiation (2017) is a decent recap movie. It is not a substitute for watching the original anime series but it does help you get ready for Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: Re;surrection (2019). It is an enjoyable recap movie, but if you’re looking for an amazing anime movie, it’s not the greatest movie ever, but it’s a nice way to experience Code Geass to see what will change for the new sequel to this anime film trilogy.

It still leaves out big chunks of the episodes it does cover because it covers over half of the first season. If you have seen the anime you can tell exactly what episodes they chose to cut, and while it’s understandable why they cut a lot of the “slice-of-life” episodes for time, there are other episodes that were only briefly shown but you should watch episodes 8-9 of Code Geass to see what you missed, since some of the changes made in the film are very different in the original anime.

Overall, Code Geass: Movie I: Initiation (2017) isn’t as newcomer friendly as you would think. I can’t really recommend a blind buy for newcomers looking into getting into the anime. It’s easier to watch the original anime on Funimation’s website since it is available for free, and borrow these from someone who owns them. Despite containing all three recap films in one package, $41.95 is a lot of money to spend on a subtitle-only movie trilogy unless you’re a diehard Code Geass fan that is excited for the sequel movie that is a sequel to this movie trilogy and not necessarily the anime because there are massive changes in the sequel movies that play into the new film and not the anime.

This movie is only for dehard fans; newcomers will enjoy it but will have to watch the entire anime to see important plot points that have been left out of the movies. I can’t really recommend buying the movies at the price tag when you can get the entire anime series with more content for just $10 more or you can find the original Code Geass anime on Amazon and eBay for a great price as well for the entire series on blu-ray.

If you find it on sale or find a good deal on the Code Geass Movie Trilogy used, then you should get it, but this was a little too expensive for just a subtitle-only release. Code Geass is best experienced as a series and not just as a trilogy of recap films.

I’d recommend buying used if you’re looking for a better deal or renting the film on Amazon since it’s only $3.99 to rent the movie in HD.

My Rating:

4 stars for Anime Movie Review: Code Geass: Initiation (1017)

© 2019 ReViewMeMedia


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