Certain stories are such a perfect storm of ideas and spectacle that they resonate with the zeitgeist and leave a lasting influence. It’s a double-edged sword that leaves many stories so much a product of their time that revisiting them can undo the magic that made them so special and effective in the first place. So it is with Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. From the vantage point of our current climate, the setup is politically naïve at best, while the themes of xenophobia, cultural erasure and media manipulation are handled with such broad strokes that big ideas are framed almost entirely as teen angst. Here it offers an illusion of intelligence, rather than any real depth. At its heart, Code Geass is a story about imperialism, positing a world in which Britain’s empire didn’t come to an end but instead encompassed most of the globe. It’s interesting that the antagonistic force here is British imperialism, while wilfully ignoring Japan’s own imperialist history. Nevertheless, Britannia rules with an iron fist – literally, with its superior firepower and mechs. After entering into a Faustian pact and earning the ability to control others, high schooler Lelouch sets himself on a crusade. [...]