Yuri’s been pretty thin the last few months in anime – most of what is there is yuri goggles and/or wishful thinking. ^_^ So it’s nice to see at least one or two characters here and there that aren’t completely made up from whole cloth by Yuri fans.
To be accurate, this series is really an Autumn 2006 anime series. I’m just getting around to it now.
Code Geass is in no way a “Yuri anime.” It’s an action story, set up like a multi-level chess game. And for that, it’s worth watching. As long as Sunrise and Gonzo have some kind of actual ending for it, it’ll be worth having seen. If they screw up the end with a reset or something else half-assed, we shall never mention it again. ^_^
I’ll try to be brief about the setup, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to both coherent and brief. Here goes:
In 2010, the Brittanian Empire invades and defeats Japan, turning it into a subjugated space of the empire, known as “Area 11.” For many reasons, a young Brittanian, Lelouch, wants to bring down the Brittanian empire. His best friend, the son of the defeated Japanese Prime Minister, Suzaku, would like to set his people free, but believes that the system can be changed from the inside. When Lelouch gains a mysterious power to control people’s minds, he creates a false persona, Zero, to lead a rag-tag band of Japanese resistance fighters; turning them into a knightly order and the enemies of Brittania. Suzaku becomes, through chance, the pilot of a superior armor technology. Unbeknowst to one another, the two friends fight on opposite sides of the battle – and each against their own people.
Okay…that’s the bare bones of the plot in a nutshell. Hope it makes sense. The details that flesh those bones out are the bits that make the series intruiging, so I won’t go into them. Just go watch it.
By day, Suzaku and Lelouch attend a Brittanian school, very high-class. Which brings us to the details which are pertinent to this review.
The president of the student council (clearly a new code for “lesbian,” like “riding a motorcycle”) is Millay. In early episodes, she shows pronounced attention to women, in particular Lelouch’s obligatory love interest Shirley. (Shirley is actually an excellent character, don’t let my previous comment diminish her in any way.) As befits all good anime lesbians – or at least the recent ones, anyway – Millay is barking mad, with boundary issues. She’s kind of fun in a loopy, not-at-all-real way. She seemed the front runner for “lesbian character with unrequited crush,” for most of the first few episodes.
In Episode 08, Millay, Shirley and Nina all go to a resort for some R&R. Nina is a squirrely, timid geek girl, who has massive fear issues. She clearly fears both men and 11s, (as the Japanese are called). Japanese men bring her to near-hysteria. So, while the three girls are at the resort, one of the Japanese guerilla organizations take them and all the others at the place, hostage.
Among the many that are caught up in the situation is Euphemia, the Vice Governor General of “Area 11” a daughter of the Britannian King AND obligatory love interest of Suzaku. (And yet, like Shirley, she’s a great character.) “Euphie” is quite likeable, even as a representative of the invading forces.
When Nina’s terror causes her to insult one of the Japanese rebels, it looks like she’ll be hurt pretty badly, killed, maybe…or worse. At which point Euphie stands up and introduces herself by name in order to save Nina’s life.
And all of a sudden, Nina takes the lead for “lesbian character with an unrequited crush.” Because she falls head over heels for Euphie. Understandably – how many times have we seen a girl fall for a guy who’s saved her? 14 million? You know – “My hero!” and all that. So let’s give Nina the benefit of the doubt, okay? Thank you. ^_^
Sadly, in episode 12, the writers make Nina do dirty things to herself while she looks at a picture of Euphie, something that was really uneccessary for the story or the character, but I’m sure someone, somewhere, got off on it. And it does hammer home the point that Nina’s feelings are *not* just admiration.
Now, since neither Millay nor Nina can have the one they want, there’s some folks who want them to end up together, so they can have the one they’re with. My personal jury is still out on the matter. I’ll let you know when they make a decision.
Art – characters designed by CLAMP, with fetching giant robots – 7
Story – So far, riveting – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 5
Service – 5
Overall – we’ll give it a 7 at the moment, and see where it goes.