Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection is a bizarre film. It has no reason to exist given the events of the original 2006 anime and the franchise’s three-part theatrical remake. Despite this, it’s an epilogue that stays true to the vision that brought this magical mecha universe to life over a decade ago. The result is a flawed adventure that reunites some of the show’s best characters for one last satisfying battle of cat and mouse.
The film begins two years after Lelouch sacrifices himself. The world has come together to create the United Federation of Nations, whose sole purpose is to promote peace. While campaigning at a refuge camp in the militaristic Kingdom of Zilkistan, Lelouch’s sister Nunnaly and the current Zero, Suzaku, are kidnapped by a mysterious group of Knightmare Frames. Kallen, Lloyd, and Sayoko embark on a mission to rescue the hostages just as C.C. is passing through the country with an assignment of her own.
As its name suggests, Lelouch of the Re;surrection does indeed revolve around the concept of bringing protagonist Lelouch Lamperouge back from the dead. The plot makes it clear from the get-go that this was not the young emperor’s intention after the events of the Zero Requiem plan. Rather, C.C. wants to revive Lelouch in order to have him fulfill a promise he made three years prior. This would see the pair travel the world together in search of Geass artifacts to collect.
In a way, the film is much more about C.C.’s growth as a human being than it is an opportunity to further explore Lelouch’s character. While it’s easy to see the protagonist’s transformation unfold throughout the original series and the movie trilogy, C.C.’s character development is less noticeable. Studio Sunrise makes amends to this here, fleshing out the immortal master’s personality and cementing her as an individual worth caring about by the time the credits begin to roll.
Outside of C.C., it’s interesting to witness Lelouch of the Re;surrection‘s supporting cast react to the prospect of the emperor being resurrected. While some like Kallen and Ohgi have realized the nature of Lelouch’s sacrifice since the events of Zero Requiem, others like Cornelia would rather have him remain dead. The movie does a good job of highlighting each individual’s reaction, but unfortunately doesn’t explore the Black Knights’ skepticism. Rather, each cast member unquestionably devotes him or herself to Lelouch’s cause as Re;surrection approaches its climax, which feels like a missed opportunity.
Speaking of missed opportunities, the titular hero’s sister is once again relegated to the damsel in distress role. Nunnaly’s authority in the new world that Lelouch established feels like an afterthought when diplomats are shown arguing against Zilkistan’s stance on terrorism. Even though she’s one of the World Humanitarian Agency’s top-ranking officials, Nunnaly merely serves as a device to drive the action along.
This isn’t a terrible thing, considering how well the film handles its fighting sequences. Nearly every scene offers a satisfying mecha brawl that feels right at home in the Code Geass universe. Belligerents on either side quickly devise ways to turn the tide of battle, though fans of the original show may be able to accurately predict where certain situations are headed. The tactical intrigue here is as exciting as it was in the past, as Zero and the Black Knights take on two opponents that are seemingly able to predict their every move.
Though the villains in Lelouch of the Re;surrection aren’t as memorable as Charles zi Britannia or Mao, they are fascinating in how well they keep audiences guessing. Shalio and Shamna take advantage of the prophetic powers available to them at every turn and are able to ramp up the stakes significantly by the time the film enters its third act. When all is said and done, it’s easy to feel sympathy for the siblings and the people of Zilkistan. The film’s conclusion may make fans question whether the Black Knights were right in their aggressive initiative.
The politics in the movie do manage to successfully build upon the universe that Sunrise crafted with the original series and the remakes. The first act does get a bit carried away with the information it divulges to audiences, though thankfully a lot of it is fleshed out through the character interactions and fight sequences that follow.
Lelouch of the Re;surrection won’t convince skeptics of its importance, especially considering how it follows the film trilogy’s slightly altered canon. This being said, it is worth a viewing for those that are curious to know what may happen if Lulu really did come back from the dead. Diehard fans of the show are certainly in for a treat, as the film maintains the same look, sound, and personality it had years ago. Otaku who never became invested in the series may find little worthwhile here.
Thank you Funimation for the opportunity to review Lelouch of the Re;surrection in advance of its premiere nationwide on May 5. Check out the film’s website for showtimes near you. Stick around after the credits for another scene!