Warning Might contain spoilers.

In a word: meh. In another word: gross.

The concept is interesting enough, and clearly beholden to the superb-though-flawed Code Geass, but the show is infinitely less compelling—a lecherous and leering[1] bundle of incest, rape metaphors (if you can call them metaphors), and actual rape. Not a single character is worth caring about. When Gai, a main character, goes from being one of the protagonists to making a heroic sacrifice, being resurrected, and revealing himself to have always been a villain, you’re left not shocked but wondering how any of it makes sense. But then this is a show where a 17 year old psychopathic Juvenile Officer of "GHQ" […] nicknamed "Daryl the Butcher" due to his vicious ways (a direct quote from the wiki ) is told ‘Daryl, you’re a good person deep down’. No. No he isn’t. Not in the least. Why would you say that?

I persevered, on the recommendation of a friend, but I lost any microscopic traces of emotional investment I had in Lelouch-lite Shu when he entered his tyrant phase in one of the many telegraphed twists. The story painted the abrupt shift as being a direct consequence of the trauma he endured, but neither was there any justification for him to align himself with literal thugs and rapists nor was there any sense in it.

To be frank, the show could have ended after the first half, before this unwarranted transformation, and nothing of value would have been lost. It’s supposedly about an apocalyptic, world-ending threat, but it never felt as if it affected anything outside of Japan, which perhaps contributed to why the ending felt so dissatisfying even after everything else that had come before… although, of course, there were many reasons for that dissatisfaction.

I mustn’t omit to mention the strange and unsettling family dynamics. I understand that this is partly intentional, to paint Mana as a villain, but I don’t think the writers were quite aware of how much incestual subtext they infused into Shu’s family interactions (or at least, I can only hope they weren’t). It made my skin crawl.

  1. Much like the last thing I wrote about, coincidentally, but somehow much worse.