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Stage 1: The Day a New Demon was Born

 

Review by Chris Guanche

July 29, 2007

 

Summary

 

In the year 2010 a.t.b., a young boy named Lelouch Lamperouge plays with his friend Suzaku Kururugi in a field in Japan. At the same time, the Holy Britannia Empire declares war on Japan to seize control of the nation's resources. Thanks to the use of combat mecha known as Knightmare Frames, the Britannians easily overwhelm Japan's conventional defenses. The conquered nation is stripped of its name and identity, becoming just "Area 11." When the initial fighting ends, Lelouch swears to Suzaku that he'll destroy Britannia. Seven years later, Tokyo has become a settlement colony for Britannian citizens. A panicking old man plays chess with a noble, but he leaves when Lelouch arrives to be his substitute. His friend Rivalz Cardemonde reminds him they have to get to class, but Lelouch declares that he'll win the game within nine minutes. At the Ashford Academy, Shirley Fenette complains to Milly Ashford and Nina Einstein about how Lelouch and Rivalz bet on chess matches. Lelouch finishes his match in 8:32, and Rivalz says he likes betting with nobles because they always pay. Outside, Prince Clovis La Britannia makes a public address regarding a recent terrorist attack in Osaka. He vows that in the name of justice he won't bend to the will of terrorists. After making his address, Clovis returns to his party and sycophants. Media producer Diethard Ried watches the address, and General Bartley Asprius rushes in to report an important theft to Clovis. Clovis orders Bartley to send his personal Knightmares to retrieve the stolen goods. As Rivalz and Lelouch drive on the highway in their motorcycle, a truck attempts to pass them at high speed. The driver turns sharply to avoid hitting them and crashes into a construction site. Lelouch sees a strange light coming from the truck's trailer and heads down to have a look. As Lelouch climbs onto the trailer he hears a female voice. The truck's driver, Nagata, suddenly backs out and returns to the highway, causing Lelouch to fall inside the trailer. Several military helicopters close in on the truck and open fire. Nagata asks Kallen Stadtfeld what they should do now, and she says she'll take care of it. One of the helicopters fires again, but Kallen destroys it with a slash harken grappling hook from her Glasgow Knightmare. Kallen then destroys the other helicopters, but a VTOL arrives and deploys Jeremiah Gottwald's Sutherland. Kallen attacks with her slash harkens, but Jeremiah fires his own along with his assault rifle. With her slash harkens and left arm damaged, Kallen ejects the left hand at Jeremiah. A Sutherland piloted by Viletta Nu appears in front of the truck and fires, wounding Nagata and forcing him into the Shinjuku ghetto. Lelouch assesses the situation and realizes that it'd be dangerous for him to get out now. Special envoy Lloyd Asplund says he wants to help Bartley recover the stolen item, and when his assistant Cecile Croomy asks what it is, Bartley explains that it's a chemical weapon.

 

The wounded Nagata drives the truck through an old subway corridor. Soldiers are deployed to the Shinjuku ghetto where the Japanese "Elevens" live to find the stolen weapon. Because the soldiers are former Japanese known as "Honorary Britannians," a Britannian commander offers them rewards if they find the weapon. Nagata crashes when the truck hits a gap in the ground, and a Britannian soldier spots the truck. Nagata opens the trailer, and the soldier runs in and jump kicks Lelouch. The soldier holds Lelouch to the floor and tells him not to kill anymore, and Lelouch kicks him away. Lelouch points out that Britannia made the poison gas weapon, and the soldier removes his helmet and reveals that he's Suzaku. The poison gas container suddenly opens, but inside is a green haired girl in a strange outfit. A Britannian commander arrives and orders Suzaku to execute the terrorists. Suzaku refuses because Lelouch is a civilian, and the commander shoots him in the back. As he dies, Nagata detonates explosives in the truck. Clovis' mobile G-1 Base enters the Shinjuku ghetto, and he orders the ghetto's complete annihilation to cover up the theft and preventing news of the theft from getting out. Sutherlands launch from the mobile base and begin indiscriminately killing Eleven civilians. Although he's content to participate in the massacre, Jeremiah is ordered to lead the search for the poison gas. As they run through the subway corridor, Lelouch asks the girl what the hell she is. He's shocked that the Britannians went so far as to kill Suzaku. He reaches an exit, but the Britannian commander is there with several soldiers. Elsewhere, Lloyd laments not being able to launch the Lancelot since it has no pilot. Lelouch's position is suddenly revealed when he gets a cell phone call from Shirley. The soldiers throw Lelouch against a wall and prepare to execute him, but the girl jumps in the way and is shot in the head. The Britannian commander had hoped to keep her alive, and Lelouch wonders if he's going to die too. Lelouch thinks of his sister Nunnally, and suddenly the girl grabs Lelouch by the hand and speaks to him mentally. She says he seems to have a reason to live and offers him power if he'll grant a wish for her. The girl says that if Lelouch agrees he'll live differently from other humans because the power of the king will make him lonely. Lelouch agrees to the contract and stands up to face the soldiers. His left eye has a strange glow, and revealing himself as Lelouch Vi Britannia, he orders the soldiers to kill themselves. The soldiers agree and shoot themselves in the neck. Lelouch thinks about how the life he's been living is a lie, but now he has power.

 

Commentary

 

There's a lot going on in this episode, but the series gets off to a good start. In an alternate future, the Britannian Empire rules about a third of the world, including the United States. Using Knightmares, they easily conquer Japan and make it one of their territories. It's anything but a pleasant occupation, as the Japanese live in ghettoes and are derisively called "Elevens" for Japan's new name, Area 11. The Britannians live in a prosperous colony settlement, and Prince Clovis doesn't hesitate to have Elevens exterminated like trash to cover up the theft of the poison gas container, which actually contains a mysterious girl. Lelouch is swept up in these events, which put him on the opposite side of his friend Suzaku. Although shot in the head, the mysterious girl lives and grants Lelouch the special power to give people orders they have to follow. Lelouch declared as a child his intent to destroy Britannia, and now he has the power to do it.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Code Geass Episode 1 Code Geass Episode 1

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