Welcome back to The High Notes! This week, we’re heading into the world of anime again to showcase a tiny sampling of the awesome music from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. Admittedly, this is one of my favorite series in general, but a major part of what makes it so good is the soundtrack. Each song in Code Geass seems carefully crafted to create just the right mood for a given event. The background tracks contribute so much to the anime’s personality that this article will focus on them rather than on opening or closing themes.

Just in case you haven’t seen this series, here’s a quick plot summary: It takes place in a universe where the Empire of Brittania has taken over much of the world by using giant mechs to dominate battles. The series tells the story of Lelouch Lamperouge, a Brittanian high school student living in Area 11, which was formerly the country of Japan. Lelouch vowed to destroy Brittania after it took over Japan, but up to this point in his life, he hasn’t had the power to do anything. Suddenly, after he happens across a group of terrorists, Lelouch gains the use of Geass, which manifests itself as the ability to make a person obey any command. Armed with this new power, Lelouch dons the mask of Zero and begins a rebellion to overthrow the Brittanian government.

Now that you have a general idea of what this anime is about, let’s dive into some music!

Birth of a Demon
First up, we have a song that made an appearance in Code Geass‘ very first episode. “Devil Created” plays in the background during one of the most important moments in the series: the point at which Lelouch gains his Geass.

The music starts off with some ambient sounds as Lelouch realizes just what kind of power he has obtained. As the song and the scene progress, the tone changes to something more sinister and foreboding, which works well as a way to lead viewers into the series. This song was composed by Kotaro Nakagawa, who you might recognize from his work on the music for Hayate the Combat Butler!! and Planetes.

Something a Little Cuter
Though Code Geass is fairly serious most of the time, it also does comedy very well. “Stray Cat” is a song that first appears in a particularly amusing episode in which Lelouch’s secret identity is almost revealed by a cat that got the Zero mask stuck on its head.

The beginning of the song plays in the background when Lelouch first spots the cat walking around with his precious mask. The chase begins as he attempts to catch it before his fellow students figure out that he’s Zero, and the music picks up the pace here as well. Of course, since the cat keeps getting away, chaos ensues. This track is a playful, lighthearted tune that suits the situation perfectly. The other major composer for the series, Hitomi Kuroishi, created “Stray Cat.” She also composed some theme music for Planetes and worked on the soundtrack for Last Exile.

Time for a Festival!
Since part of the series takes place in a high school, it only seems natural that a school festival would be part of the plot. Some of the craziest parts of Code Geass take place during these times, and this song (aptly named “School Festival”) is an appropriate theme.

This music really captures the excitement and chaos associated with a huge event. Throughout the festivals, the student council members constantly run around trying to get everything to come together, but it seems like they always hit some kind of snag. “School Festival” has a lot going on and keeps a quick pace that makes me picture the shenanigans in the story every time. This is another piece from Nakagawa.

On a Serious Note…
We’ll close off this week’s column with something a little more serious. “Innocent Days” usually plays during particularly poignant moments, and it always leaves an impact on listeners.

Kuroishi composed and sang this lovely insert song, which takes over any scene you hear it in. It starts off slowly, picking up speed and increasing in loudness as it reaches the chorus. I don’t know what the lyrics mean, but in the context of the series, it seems to speak of regret and sadness. It has a haunting beauty that makes it one of my favorite pieces in the entire anime.

That’s it for this week! Did you enjoy this spotlight on the music of Code Geass? Leave us a comment to let us know what other shows or games you think deserve to be highlighted in the future.

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