Now that most of Code Geass' first season has aired on Adult Swim and Bandai's release of the DVD's and manga are underway, I thought it'd be good to have an independant thread dedicated to the release of the various manga and light novels that are being published by Bandai Entertainment. There are many different adaptations of Geass put to print. Here's a summary of the different licensed releases as they stand. This list was updated on 7/6/09 Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion This is the main adaptation of the TV series. In addition to the normal release, the manga is an extra for the limited edition release of the anime. Volume 1: Now Available Volume 2: Now Available Volume 3: Now Available Volume 4: TBD, possibly 9/30/09 Volume 5: TBD Suzaku of the Counterattack An alternate story that focuses on Suzaku as the protagonist. If my understanding is right, Knightmare Frames--the mecha of the Geass world--do not exist in the story. Volume 1: Now Available Volume 2: Now Available Nightmare of Nunnally In this story Nunnally Lamperouge is the protagonist, not Lelouch, and she receives the power of Geass. Volume 1: Now available Volume 2: TBD Volume 3: TBD Code Geass Light Novels A novelization of the television series. The adaptation of the first season covers a span of five light novels. The novels seem to have suffered significant delays, but there are now listings up through stage 3 (i.e. what is apparently the fourth novel) and it's possible to preorder them. Stage 0, Entrance: Now Available Stage 1, Shadow: Now Available Stage 2, Knight: 8/30/09? Stage 3: TBD Stage 4: TBD Quite a lot of material! I'll kick things off with a review of my own. _______________ Being curious about the Code Geass manga, I walked into the nearest Borders and found a copy of volume 1 lying around. Here's some thoughts. First off, the art isn't all that bad, but anyone reading this who's seen the show will notice pretty quickly that the CLAMP influence seems mostly absent. This isn't surprising, as CLAMP's style is not one easily imitated. Faces seem more rounded, and most significantly most characters give off a very young look. You even sometimes have that little convention of speech bubbles featuring miniature drawings of the characters' heads. The result is a comic that comes off as more cute than stylized, from my point of view. The plot seems trimmed down and scaled back. First off, the "poison gas" pod containing C.C. is not stolen by Kallen and the rebels, but is instead aboard a military plane which crashes for unknown reasons. Lelouch discovers C.C. at the crash site, at which point he is discovered by the Britannian thugs and receives his Geass power. This happens exactly like in the series, but the chase scene and the cleansing of the shinjuku ghetto are not factors in any of this. In fact, completely unlike the series, mecha are not present in this volume at all. The Japanese resistance seems very low-key. If Ougi and the other members of the Japanese resistance exist in the manga, they didn't appear in volume 1. Instead, it's just Kallen teaming up with a group of generic lackeys. The most significant change is that more focus is given to Ashford Academy. In the manga both Japanese and Britannian students are attending Ashford, which was once a Japanese school and is now taken over. The Japanese students seem mostly resentful of this, and publically protest about how history books are censored to omit Japanese history. Said students also protest at being called Elevens, whereas many Britannian students abuse their status and force Japanese students to make way for Britannians. The leader of this little "troupe" is an unnamed student that apparently has a parent in the military. I think they may have actual power, since the leader is shown to be carrying a gun. Suzaku is an Ashford student at the beginning of the story. When Rivalz gets into trouble for being a jerk and deriding the protests of the Japanese students, Suzaku steps in and gets them to back off. True to the series, most Japanese think of him as a traitor. This resentment emerges at school: in one scene Lelouch walks up on Suzaku to find him trying to wash his uniform, which he notices has an insult painted on it. I think this is a good touch, as it brings into focus some of the social issues that were very present at the start of the Code Geass series but not directly talked about much in favor of other plot elements. Getting back to Kallen, she's just doing small-time stuff. The big activity of her group in this volume is destroying a statue of Prince Clovis at Ashford--very unlike stealing C.C.'s container from Britannia and Kallen piloting a Sutherland, like in the anime. Her group is pursued by the enforcement troupe but are saved by Lelouch, who does his best Kamui impression by wearing a cloak and a hood. Clovis does eventually give the order to cleanse Shinjuku, the reason being that Japanese resistance is tough enough that searching for C.C. is too difficult. However almost immediately Lelouch appears, getting him to rescind the order and then executing him just like in the anime. Later, when Lelouch attempts to recruit Kallen to his cause when he calls her to the roof of Ashford Academy, he throws her Clovis' brooch as proof that he's serious about changing the world. It is here that he is shown wearing the Zero mask for the first time. Overall, I'm pretty lukewarm about this volume. It has some interesting ideas and the focus on school life gives us a somewhat different perspective, mostly about what kind of crap Suzaku has to go through for taking the path in life that he did. That said, many anime characters simply do not exist here, and things are so small-scale that one wonders whether the manga will reach the heights of the TV series. If Lelouch builds a true rebellion in this manga, he will be building it from nothing even more than he did in the anime. Serious fans should give it a look, but I think for the casual fan and newcomers it can pretty easily be skipped. It's not a case where I can say you're getting as much from reading this as you would from seeing the anime itself. I'm going to keep tabs on this manga adaptation, but I'm hoping for more from Suzaku of the Counterattack and the Code Geass novelization.