There's only one thing you need to know about the Spring anime season, and that's - Lelouch Vi Brittania is back! After Code Geass established itself as one of my favourite anime series of 2007 (well, it started in 2006, but I digress), I've been waiting on tenterhooks for the show's second season to begin. That time is now upon us, so was it worth the wait?
Code Geass R2 begins a year on from the end of the original series - Zero is reported as dead by Britannia (although they know themselves that this isn't true), C.C. is sporting a new outfit and hanging out with the remains of the Black Knights, Kallen Stadtfeldt is working as a bunny girl in a casino (cue Kallen fan service shots), and Lelouch is back at Ashford Academy. Indeed, Lelouch's behaviour throughout episode one of R2 is intriguing, as he seems to have little interest in, or recollection of, either his powers or his life as Zero. Has he actually forgotten, or merely suppressed those memories as deeply as possible? This state of affairs gives us a rather different Lelouch from the one we remember, although I'm sure it goes without saying that amnesia doesn't last for long...
Probably the most bizarre change in R2 is the introduction of Rollo, a younger brother for Lelouch who is introduced to the show as though he'd been there all along. I really hope this gets explained at some point, because as of the end of episode one its a stupid addition that really ruins any attempt at continuity (ignoring all the other questions floating around my head after this opening episode).
All in all, this episode actually mirrors rather closely the opening episode of the original series - Lelouch beats a Brittanian at chess, Lelouch finds himself accidentally in the middle of a scrape, Lelouch meets C.C. and ends up gaining (or rather regaining) his power, which he puts to use in exactly the same fashion as he did in the opener for the first season. Let's just hope the series gets a little more original from here on in.
I'm not even going to try judging Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 from a single episode, as it would be patently unfair. This opener goes down the action-packed route, making no bones about choosing straightforward action over Lelouch's more tactical, thoughtful approach, and also making much of the Britannian's cruelty towards the Elevens/Japanese, which has clearly become much, much worse in the year since the first series was set. There are lots of questions that need to be answered over the next few weeks, but right now the return of Code Geass is the only answer that I need, and a very welcome one it is too. The rest can wait.