This deluxe Collector’s Edition contains the entire Code Geass saga: The 50 episodes of the original two seasons of the television show; the alternative cut of the story compiled in the Movie Trilogy; the sequel film Code Geass: Lelouch of Re;surrection; and the spinoff OVA series, Akito the Exiled. In this complete collection, we can follow Lelouch, Suzaku, C.C., Nunally, and the rest of the world’s fated young warriors, as they navigate the complicated web of love and betrayal that weaves the wars fought with their Knightmare Frames in the name of deciding the future of the Earth’s great superpowers.
It’s hard to believe that the original anime is going on nearly twenty years old now. There was a time when it felt like Geass was going to be anime’s Next Big Thing, considering how ubiquitous it seemed in the industry and its fandoms. While it has no doubt earned its accolades, it has been a hot minute since the gloriously melodramatic and campy chronicles of Lelouch vi Britannia and His Super Robot War was at the forefront of my mind (probably not since I reviewed the movie re-edits near half a decade ago).
That all changes today since it is impossible to ignore the absurdly large and elaborate Collector’s Edition box set that Crunchyroll will release this holiday season. If you take nothing else from this review, let it be known that this sucker is huge, and a full display of its contents will take up the entirety of a modestly sized kitchen table, such is the stage that Lelouch demands for his presence.
As you metaphorically stand here and reel as your mind boggles at the sheer, indulgent girth of this thing, I imagine you’ll have a few questions. The first one is likely, “What the hell does this veritable chest of Geass-y wonders contain?” The second question is probably, “Holy crap, it’s been over fifteen freaking years since I last saw ; does it even hold up?” Finally, once your eyes adjust and the shock wears off, you’ll almost certainly wonder, “What kind of unspeakable crimes am I going to be forced to inflict upon my poor, innocent bank account to get ahold of one of these Collector’s Editions?”
Allow me to be a tad circuitous and address that second point first. Unfortunately, this Collector’s Edition contains over thirty-four hours of anime (plus several hours of commentary tracks and other features that have been ported straight from the original Blu-ray releases); I do not have time to get into the nitty-gritty of the massive undertaking that is . If you are either not familiar with or have forgotten , here is at least a brief refresher: This show (and its movie, and its sequel movie, and its spinoff OVA) is a concentrated dose of unadulterated mid-00s cheese, equal parts science-fiction intrigue and high-camp YA-fiction melodrama with a healthy dollop of badass mecha madness thrown in for good measure.
Is it good by the standards of 2023? Based on that description, you can imagine why so many people have come to love its particular brand of mad soap opera spectacle over the years. I can also just as easily see newbies bristling at the pacing of the 50-episode-long TV series while also struggling to keep up with the much more streamlined (sometimes to a fault) movie series, never mind the fanservice-laden indulgences of Lelouch of the Re;surrection or the extra-deep-cut explorations of the setting that Akito the Exiled offers. More than anything, is A Lot™, with a capital A. I wouldn’t ever recommend diving into this Collector’s Edition without giving the show a preview, to be sure. For the fans that have been ride-or-die for the last seventeen years, though, this new set is a perfect monument to an old favorite.
Like the show whose Blu-rays it so opulently cradles, this set is A Lot™. We’re talking a gilded box covered in Geass’ gorgeous artwork, nearly a foot in height and length, and a weight of nearly 15 pounds (if my bathroom scale is to be believed, that is). Inside, in addition to the series’ discs—housed in lovely, holographic chipboard cases—we’ve got some fun little trinkets to show off, which I’ve pictured above. The “Geass Symbol” necklace is a nice bit of jewelry. The nifty Lancelot Key USB stick is the kind of fun tchotchke that’s something you could find a practical use for since it’s always handy to have an extra 60 GB of portable storage lying around, even if it doesn’t come preloaded with any digital goodies like I might have hoped for.
The show’s real star, though, other than the awesome box display itself, has to be the fully detailed chess set that comes with the box. The pieces, which you can see above, are all modeled exactly after the ones the characters use in the show. The material used to make the pieces is maybe a bit flimsier than I’d have preferred, but they’re quite handsome to behold, all laid out on display; also, you can play the game chess with them. The set also includes four magnetic boards that can be snapped together to create a lore-accurate playing space that can satisfy all of your specifically chess-themed Lelouch role-playing fantasies.
If you’re a hardcore fan of , then this Collector’s Edition would be an instant must-buy…except for one tiny detail, which is the price. To be blunt: This chonker is as expensive as a brand-new PlayStation 5″ (which translates to an MSRP of US$549 as of the time of writing this review). That’s not quite as big of a blow to the savings account as, say, the US$800 collection that Sentai put out a few years ago, but the cost still puts the Collector’s Edition in the upper echelon of the most expensive anime releases that I’ve ever seen. For such an asking price, I wouldn’t have minded a few more pieces of collectible memorabilia/artwork and maybe some sturdier materials for the chess pieces. Then again, the extravagant box is a work of art in and of itself. It is also worth mentioning that each set’s Certificate of Authenticity comes with either a six-month subscription to Crunchyroll‘s streaming service (a roughly US$75 value) or a US$60 discount coupon for the Crunchyroll store.
Much like the experience of watching itself, this Collector’s Edition is an investment. Casual fans or franchise neophytes will probably want to stick with the far cheaper option of streaming the show first. If you happen to have a physical-media-loving Otaku in your life who also happens to have an extraordinary amount of shelf space to dedicate to a flagrantly excessive obelisk of a box set, then the Collector’s Edition could make for one hell of a stocking stuffer this Christmas. Just be sure that they really, really love first.