In 2010 a.t.b., the Holy Britannian Empire declares war on Japan. Through the use of advanced Knightmare Frame robots, Britannia conquers Japan in one month and renames it Area 11. Seven years later, the Europia United Army’s 132nd Regiment is carrying out a rescue operation in Saint Petersburg, but Britannian forces have hindered the operation and surrounded the regiment in the nearby city Narva. E.U. Maj. Leila Malcal notes in her journal that their wZERO special attack force has launched an operation to rescue the stranded unit. The members of wZERO are all Japanese men, and Leila notes that the operation’s success rate is almost zero. Because the E.U. doesn’t want to face public backlash over the deaths of their soldiers, they’re instead using Japanese non-citizens to fight. Elsewhere, the wZERO’s Alexander Knightmares run through a forest in insect mode and come under fire from Britannian Sutherlands. The Alexander pilots respond by grabbing onto the enemy units and self-destructing. Aboard a Britannian G-1 Base, Lord Falneze listens to reports of the enemy units self-destructing. With only two Alexanders left, Leila reports to Lt. Col. Anou that it will be 40 minutes before they can start evacuating the 132nd unit. Anou is angry at Leila because the enemy numbers are higher than expected and thinks the operation has some deficiencies, but she notes that he changed things at the last minute. He asks if she doesn’t like the self-destruct system he added to the Alexanders, to which she answers that it’s a pointless waste of resources. Anou doesn’t care because it’s Elevens who are dying and they enjoy dying anyway with notions of seppuku and kamikaze. Leila asks Anou what will happen to the 132nd unit if the Britannians wipe out wZERO and experience a morale boost. She says that they’ll be failing their responsibilities if Operation Alpha fails. Anou sticks a gun in Leila’s face and refuses to take responsibility for what he sees as her failures. Leila grabs him by the arm and disarms him, but the gun fires and sets off an alarm. Maj. Hamel of the Special Bureau then rushes in and demands to know who set off the alarm. Hamel knocks Anou out with an injection, and Leila asks deputy commander Klaus to help her deactivate the Alexanders’ self-destruct system. As the fighting continues, Akito Hyuga is surrounded and switches his Alexander to humanoid mode to attack Gloucester pilot Wilhelm. As Akito’s eyes glow with the power of Geass he destroys several Sutherlands before killing Wilhelm. Akito rushes into a marshy area and singlehandedly destroys several more Sutherlands and a custom Gloucester Swordsman.
The 132nd unit begins its retreat, and Leila is informed that Akito is the only survivor from wZERO. Britannian forces fall back to the Area 13 base and Falneze is disappointed that the Seraphim Knights couldn’t best the E.U. forces. As the E.U. convoy falls back, Akito asks a truck driver for a lift. The truck driver is friendly until he sees Akito’s ID and realizes that he’s an Eleven, but he gives him and his Alexander a ride. In Paris, Gen. Smilas promotes Leila to Lieutenant Colonel and puts her in command of the wZERO unit. He has high hopes for her but notices that she doesn’t look happy. Leila notes that she needs many resources for the next operation, but the unit suffered too many casualties during the last operation. She wants to boost their numbers with soldiers from the main army, but Smilas notes that the public doesn’t care if people from other nations die fighting for them. Smilas states that logic isn’t enough to win people over, but Leila mentions that Akito was able to fight and create peace. Smilas asks her to reflect on what happened with Anou, and she realizes that she should’ve replaced him before the operation. Leila leaves and meets with Akito, who is serving as her bodyguard. They attend a party to celebrate the rescue of the soldiers from Narva, but the party is filled with nobles. Akito scoffs at the number of nobles, and Leila is approached by her stepbrothers Daniel and Stefan. They’re then joined by her stepbrother Johann, who tosses aside his bimbo escorts and introduces himself to Akito. He mentions that Leila is his fiance and grabs her by the arm, saying that she’s adopted. His father decided to have them marry, but he grabs her by the chin and says the thought of marrying her disgusts him. Johann laughs that he’ll make Leila his whore, so Akito deliberately spills his drink on him. Johann tries to attack Akito, but Akito twists his arm behind his back and warns him that all Japanese are highly skilled with blades. Akito lets him go and leaves with Leila, who says she didn’t know Akito was skilled with blades. He tells her that’s just the stereotype that Europeans believe all Japanese are skilled in karate and blades. Akito then mentions Leila being a black belt in Aikido, which he heard from Capt. Anna Clement. Leila explains that her parents were Britannian nobles exiled in Europe, and after they died the Malcal family took her in. Akito finds it amusing that Europeans have time to compare blood and family lines and offers to erase that world for Leila.
Elsewhere, Japanese rebel Ryo Sayama meets with a criminal group for a transaction to acquire a Glasgow. Ryo’s partner Yukiya Naruse hacks the pilot ID to allow Ryo to pilot the Glasgow. The criminals pull out their guns when Yukiya insults them, but the boss asks them to calm down. Ayano Kousaka asks Ryo about revenge for Shinji and Mariko, but he tells her to be patient. Yukiya counts down from 30, and Ryo rejects an offer from the boss to join their organization. Ryo and Ayano duck behind cover when the countdown reaches zero and several explosions are set off. With one of his legs blown off, the boss struggles to crawl away and asks for a doctor. Ryo is willing to help for a price and laughs. The boss asks if they’re terrorists with the Order of the Black Knights, but Ryo pulls out a gun and says he wants world peace before killing the boss. Leila rides with Smilas in a car, and he notes that given their current situation it might not be long before Britannia conquers them. He mentions the flight of the nobles from the continent 300 years ago after the revolution, and he thinks that’s why Napoleon Bonaparte was executed. Leila mentions that Napoleon wanted a dictatorship, but Smilas notes that a skilled dictator is more beneficial to humanity than a democracy of ignorant people. Smilas says her father wished for that, which is why he was killed. Their car drives by the fenced in ghetto where Japanese exiles are forced to live. The convoy travels along a highway and is tracked by Yukiya on his laptop. Ryo boots up the Glasgow’s systems while Ayano waits in position along the road. Akito sits in the cockpit of a Gardmare in a transport truck and senses something just before several bombs explode and cause part of the highway to collapse. Akito’s truck crashes into the railing, which prevents the hatch from opening. Ryo attacks with the Glasgow and destroys two other Gardmares. Ayano tosses a grenade under the car, but Leila and Smilas are able to escape in time. Ayano grabs Smilas and sticks a sword up against his neck. Akito smashes out of his truck and opens fire on Ryo. Ryo is able to dodge his attacks and damage the Gardmare, so Akito ejects before it explodes. Akito rushes toward the Glasgow on foot and fires a grappling line to the cockpit. He reels himself in and fires a grenade round at the Glasgow’s crotch. Ayano rushes over to help Ryo, but Leila takes her down and orders Ryo out of his cockpit.
Akito thinks it would be too much trouble to let them go, and Yukiya threatens to blow himself up. Akito dares him to try because his friends will also die, and Ayano tells him to do it so they can die together. Leila asks them what their goal was, and Ryo explains they were after the newest Knightmare. Leila asks what they really want, and Ryo answers that they want a place to belong. He says there’s no place in the world for Elevens, and Akito asks if he wants to build a country for Elevens. Ryo says he only wants a place for them, so Leila asks them to join her unit. Elsewhere, Lord Manfredi meets with Shin Hyuga Shiang and discusses how the Knights of St. Raphael were annihilated at Narva. Shin is surprised that the E.U. was able to fight back, so Manfredi explains that the enemy apparently came out of nowhere. Shin mentions General Hannibal who attacked the Roman Empire thousands of years ago, so Manfredi wonders if they’re facing Hannibal’s ghost. Manfredi tells Shin that he’ll soon be able to join their noble ranks, so Shin asks to take over the Michael Knights. Manfredi laughs at Shin’s ambition and says he’ll be ready to take over in about five years. Manfredi thinks that Shin is closer to him than a blood brother and believes they should create a new world together. Shin calls that pathetic and thinks that Manfredi is unfit to lead the Michael Knights. Shin activates Geass and tells Manfredi that it’s time to go on a trip, so Manfredi pulls out his sword and slits his own throat. Later, Leila walks through a forest and spots Akito laying down stones in a cemetery. She asks him what he’s doing, and he explains that these are the graves of the men who died at Narva. Before the mission, the men promised each other that the survivors would bury the fallen. Leila says she’s also responsible for their deaths, and Akito comments that they sortied with a smile. Akito imagines the ghosts of the fallen asking him why he fights, and he answers that it’s so he can die. Leila asks if he’s OK, and Akito comments that he’s talking to the dead. He says he can hear their voices because he’s died before.
After several years of picture dramas, Akito the Exiled presents a return to standard storytelling in the Code Geass universe. The battles with the E.U. were a fairly small focus of Code Geass R2, so it’s good to see that expanded here. There’s a new faction of Euro Britannia, which consists of Europeans who are loyal to the Britannian Empire based in North America. The alternate history of the Geass universe is briefly touched upon here, including how Napoleon kicked Britannians out of Europe and forced them to relocate to America. This series focuses on Akito Hyuga, a cold Japanese expatriate whose motives are somewhat unclear. His eyes glow with the effect of Geass when he fights, and he claims that he fights to die. I wonder if his Geass order is to live on like Lelouch did to Suzaku in the TV series. We’re also introduced to Shin, who possesses a command Geass and is presumably related to Akito. Shin definitely has his own motives, but I wonder how they will play out. I don’t mind a person with Geass appearing in this series, but I hope we don’t see a flood of characters with Geass powers. One of the things that made the first season of the TV series special was that Geass gave Lelouch a big advantage over all his enemies, so it becomes less special if everyone has it. We know from R2 that things don’t go well for the E.U., so I can’t imagine the events of this series playing out well for anyone. Despite the absence of Lelouch, the OVA feels much like the TV series, aside from the switch to CG for the Knightmare fights. I was wondering how this OVA would stack up without the charismatic Lelouch to guide the story, but so far it’s proved entertaining enough. The next episode is teasing the appearances of Suzaku and C.C., so I wonder how many more TV characters might show up before the end of this series. I’ll be looking forward to more.