This year's twenty-five days of Christmas special is one that I have wanted to do for quite a while now - a list of my twenty-five all-time favorite anime. However, prior to this year, I felt I lacked sufficient viewing experiences with many classic anime. And while I cannot say that I have yet viewed every anime that I feel I ought to or even those I just plain want to, I think my experiences have included a wide range of genres as well as anime from both present day and yesteryear. With all that out of the way, let's kick things off with number twenty-five on my list...
What happens when you combine mecha action with socio-political pressures stemming from an alternate world where one super-nation holds most of the world in its grasp? You get Code Geass, a series that, despite what the brief summary above might suggest, is one of the most fresh and entertaining mecha anime of the 2000s. A large part of this comes from the fact that the story is presented through the eyes of Lelouch, one of the heirs to the throne of Britannia who was long forgotten by his family members. Having lived among the Japanese people in Area 11 for most of his life, Lelouch has witnessed the iron-fisted rule that the Britannians enact, and sees it as cause to launch a counteroffensive. What begins as a small uprising soon snowballs into full-scale conflict for Area 11's indepence.
Though Lelouch is ever-passionate toward his cause, he realizes his role as a former Britannian prince makes him an easy target for either side. While he makes a few missteps early on, he uses his Geass power to ensure that individuals do what he wants and even has them forget him entirely. The series presents a curious combination of a sci-fi world with fantasy elements, though the rules concerning Lelouch's Geass as well as his alter ego Zero ground the series and force him to plan each phase of his rebellion carefully.
Though there are many interesting and entertaining characters in Code Geass, Lelouch is by far the most intriguing. Because he is fighting for something so significant, he recognizes that certain sacrifices will have to be made. He is willing to destroy and kill his enemies if it means a better world for his sister Nunally and the Japanese people. Lelouch walks a fine line between anti-hero and anti-villain, hoping to reach his ultimate goal through methods that are not exactly virtuous, but still holding true to his intentions. As the series progresses and Lelouch learns more about his powers, there is a sort of spiraling that occurs - the more time he spends using his Geass and manipulating people, the more he has a tendency to behave in a darker manner.