Ep. 189 - Oldest Ride, Longest Line

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Ep. 189 - Oldest Ride, Longest Line

Gundamn! @ MAHQ Ep. 189 - "Oldest Ride, Longest Line"
- Download Now!: 64 kbps - 89 min., 0 sec. (1:29:00) - 40.9 MB

Episode Summary:
We're joined by special guest AmuroNT1 for a Review & Discussion of the Code Geass OVA Series "Akito the Exiled"!

Join the Conversation about this episode @ Gundamn.net!

Segment Breakdown for this Episode:

01. Intro: "Neo's News!"
Runtime: 0:00:00 - 0:23:56

02. Main Segment: "Anime Spotlight - 'Code Geass: Akito the Exiled" Eps. 1-5 (OVA Series, 2012-2016)
Runtime: 0:23:56 - 1:25:49

03. Outro: "Closing/Peep the Websites!"
Runtime: 1:25:49 - 1:29:00

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Re: Ep. 189 - Oldest Ride, Longest Line

Wow, talk about a blast from the recent past. I mean that in a positive sense. Despite disagreeing with several of the complaints and also feeling frustrated by parts of this discussion, I still enjoyed listening to your opinions on Akito the Exiled. Whatever else happens in the future, the [email protected] crew has always had a fun dynamic and I am glad that's still the case. It's also nice to hear more from Amuro too, even though I imagine that he wouldn't say the same about me. :lol:

Mind you, I think you guys did make some fair points and others were at least quite understandable, regardless of not sharing all of them. I agree that the OVA series has pacing issues and might feel disjointed at times. This is especially true towards the end. Most of the characters didn't have a ton of charisma either. I agree the show did have a darker tone at first, which then changed, but there was a lighthearted transition during the third episode rather than coming out of nowhere (and there were still a few dark moments later).

At the same time, I managed to enjoy most of the story and gradually sympathized with a few members of the cast (I think my view is not too far from Amuro's in that one specific area, since Leila and Klaus were also my favorites). Beyond that, I looked for a path through the messier bits (both inside and outside of the show itself) and eventually found the final results to be satisfactory.

To be honest, I am fundamentally glad that the ending wasn't nearly as emotionally draining as the original show's conclusion. As much as I didn't have a ton of fondness for Akito himself, I thought it was nice that he became a better person, even if it was through a more or less predictable "emotionless guy gains his emotions back" route. In fact, the whole gypsy thing at the end is more fitting than some might suspect, in my view, given that most of the cast were either literally or figuratively exiled and felt isolated from mainstream European society.

The underlying story itself is relatively standard stuff that we've seen before, this is true, but I felt there was plenty of creativity involved in how it was told. In a few words, I appreciated what Akito the Exiled was doing differently from the original TV series (a tale of a single unit's survival, not a grand conflict), liked the director's overall approach (a lot of showing instead of telling, use of symbols and abstractions, color palette choices, etc) and accepted the limitations of the format. It's a flawed yet still interesting work in my opinion.

My main disagreement here is that various situations and topics which were dismissed as confusing or nonsensical during the recording either had relatively reasonable explanations, implications derived from the context or at least had received previous foreshadowing. And yes, there were also quite a few loose ends and ambiguous supernatural aspects, yet the number of actual "plot holes" seemed smaller to me.

I'll put the rest in spoiler tags for the sake of not scaring away anyone who clicks on this topic.
I don't think that coming up with only two new Geass users (Shin and Leila) qualifies as excessive. Honestly, R2 had already established that many, many people had access to Geass. That's already part of the universe by this point. By extension, I would say that their respective Geass powers were quite unique (not "copies" of Lelouch's mind control, not at all) and reflected their personalities as well as the themes of the story (Shin's was edgy and self-destructive, Leila's was kinder and more constructive). I do accept that these powers were not clearly explained, in terms of explicit rules or helpful exposition, but they are neither random nor illogical.

Leila didn't need to use a Geass on the commander from the first episode. She simply made him lose control.

There's no canonical reason why the Emperor shouldn't be able to brainwash Lelouch by rewriting his memories twice. The idea appears to be that Charles wanted to make use of Lelouch to solve the Europia vs. Euro Britannia stalemate, but once the whole Julius act proved him to be unstable (Lelouch resisted that fake personality), he sent him back to Ashford. That way, at least Lelouch could be useful as bait and remain sane by living in a far more familiar setting (a brother instead of a sister, same school friends, etc).

Should Lelouch and Suzaku have been present here? I didn't need to see them myself, they already had their spotlight back in the day, yet for me it wasn't a terrible idea. Like guest stars, they briefly showed up and had a couple of decent scenes in one episode. Then they effectively went away. The fact they didn't take over the entire story remains a positive in my book.

We actually do learn a good chunk of completely new information about Europe, which was almost totally ignored during the TV show beyond some vague whispers about the war. That's a decent contribution in my opinion and already justifies the existence of this side story.

Was all of the potential exhausted? No, not really, but I think the Code Geass universe did expand with this OVA in various ways and it opens up new possibilities for future projects (I wouldn't be surprised at all if Taniguchi's and Okouchi's interpretation of the time/space lady shows up during the upcoming sequel to R2 or even in the new recap movies...so I guess Amuro might get to see another take on his RPG/fanfic-ish idea ;)).

Going back to the setting discussion...there's at least two separate sequences in the first episode dedicated to telling us about the concept of Euro Britannia. They're a faction of Britannian nobles of European descent who want to regain their rightful lands after the Revolution kicked their families out. In other episodes we get to see how they're organized (their leader was a Grand Duke or Archduke, so that's someone who is technically a high-ranking vassal of the Emperor) and a little about other parts of their society. I was left wanting more, once again, but I didn't dislike what was present on this front either.

I will accept that there wasn't enough time given to the political power games involving General Smilas, This is undeniable and like Chris said it would have been more interesting to see that get additional focus.

Comparatively speaking, it is a shame that Akito the Exiled didn't have more running time to fully address more of these ideas. Which ties into another problem, admittedly, because the density of content was often a lot higher than what seems to be prudent on paper. There was a ton of emphasis placed on carrying out world-building and establishing the mood. I don't think that's useless, but perhaps the script should have been leaner in order to properly fit within four or five OVA eps.

Regarding the way the Japanese trio became friends with Akito and Leila...at least a couple of months passed between episodes two and three (possibly more, I don't have the dates right here). That, plus their shared battle experience, does set things up for a reconciliation of sorts, They also did the Code Geass / Sunrise thing of producing picture dramas and other extras, where the characters get to interact more directly, though sadly none of those are in the Funimation release.

Yes, Shin was not a very good villain. Maybe better than some of the lamer Knights of the Rounds from R2, but it's true that he's insane and juvenile in his motivations. Except for Akito, who was undergoing his own rehabilitation (because of his thing with Leila, you know), I didn't think they all just automatically forgave his sins at the end though. He still messed up big time.

The floating skull thing was arguably the weirdest part of the final episode. It happened during a flashback while Akito and Shin had their whole Newtype-ish sequence, so I initially took that as a symbol of Shin's hate and twisted state of mind. Turns out that's not too far from the truth (well, specifying that Shin basically got the Geass by killing his dad, which maybe ties into a very old piece of official info about Geass bloodlines from way back in the day of the TV series).

I have to disagree with Neo about the mecha technology of Akito the Exiled being far more advanced than R2's robots. The difference in capabilities is a matter of perception due to the use of 3D for all movement, which affects almost every single the mecha, including whenever some older models from the original show appear in the OVA. Remember we got to briefly see the original Lancelot in action during this OVA and it was also shown to be more capable than what it ever looked like during the first season.

Europe might be more advanced than Britannia in certain aspects (mainly the rocket/space tech), but the Alexander Knightmare Frames are basically "glass cannons" that rely on agile movement. They lack armor and durability even by Code Geass mecha standards, so in a way they're not a real replacement for the tin cans.

I thought the centaur mecha was fine. Not so much the gear lance, I can leave that aside, but for me a knight-related machina is basically what a Code Geass-style mobile armor should be. That's why I like it more than many of the new mecha from R2.
By the way, I've noticed something rather curious. While a lot of the complaints about Akito are either from angry fanboys or reasonable yet confused or disappointed people...it's ironic that some folks who aren't especially fond of Code Geass seem to have more of a liking for this OVA.

Not across the board, absolutely, since there are people such as the Bakacast crew who like both the original series and this spin-off. There's also me, overly verbose Code Geass fan that I am.

Still, perhaps Nick Creamer over on ANN (who rated Akito the Exiled with a B- score in its original language, and slightly lower with the English dub) put it best:
Overall, I'm not sure who I'd recommend Akito the Exiled to. Fans of Kazuki Akane's other work will likely appreciate Akito's tonal choices, but the story being told often doesn't feel matched to the gravity of its framing. Fans of Code Geass may enjoy how this story fleshes out the Geass world, but they likely won't appreciate its wholesale abandonment of Geass's style of storytelling. All that said, I ultimately came to enjoy Akito's strange fragmented being. Bold experiments in beloved franchises are always a risky choice. Akito may not always succeed, but it's a compelling effort nonetheless.
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