Released 2006 in Japan, 2008 in America via Adult Swim Broadcast. Licensed for American distribution and English dubbing by Bandai Entertainment.
Age ratings vary from source to source. "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion" was rated R+ by AnimeList.com (for "mild nudity"), TV-M by Adult Swim, and 13+ by Bandai Entertainment.
The second season was released as "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2". There are also multiple manga adaptations, side-stories, alternate retellings, and spinoffs, many of which are available in English through Bandai Publishing.
On August 10th of the year 2010 the Holy Empire of Britannia began a campaign of conquest, its sights set on Japan. Operations were completed in one month thanks to Britannia's deployment of new mobile humanoid armor vehicles dubbed Knightmare Frames. Japan's rights and identity were stripped away, the once proud nation now referred to as Area 11. Its citizens, Elevens, are forced to scratch out a living while the Britannian aristocracy lives comfortably within their settlements. Pockets of resistance appear throughout Area 11, working towards independence for Japan.
Lelouch, an exiled Imperial Prince of Britannia posing as a student, finds himself in the heart of the ongoing conflict for the island nation. Through a chance meeting with a mysterious girl named C.C., Lelouch gains his Geass, the power of the king. Now endowed with absolute dominance over any person, Lelouch may finally realize his goal of bringing down Britannia from within!
(Source: Bandai Entertainment)
Yay! I get to talk about Code Geass (squee!). Now if haven't already guessed, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is probably my favorite anime of all time. I've watched it probably 6 times now. If you are even considering watching this, GO BUY IT NOW. If I had to give the idea in a nutshell, it's pretty much Death Note mixed with the good parts of Gundam SEED. Yet...it's so much more than that! GO WATCH IT NOW.
Sub Versus Dub
Both the sub and the dub of this series are both fantastic, so I just recommend sticking with your natural preference. The sub cast is the best in the business. The dub cast is made up of the best in the business--Johnny Yong Bosch as Lelouch, Yuri Lowenthal as Suzaku, Kate Higgins as C.C...if you have favorite English VA, they probably appear in this series or its sequel. Personally, I prefer the dub.
This is a Sunrise-produced mecha series, so expect lots of giant robot fighting and explosions. However, when the action isn't inside mechs, it's pretty bloody. This is a war story, and the accompanying violence include scenes of genocide and bombings as well as the usual battle violence. No flying limbs or organs, but there is a lot of blood (Splatters from wounds, pools around bodies, etc.). Characters are threatened with chainsaws, knives, and guns. Characters are forced to commit suicide or murder against their will.
The most condemning (and for me, the most irritating) part of Code Geass is the fanservice. One large-chested girl takes a takes a shower, and a bit of nipple is seen from the side. Later, a boy interrupts this same girl bathing in a waterfall; she proceeds to charge with with a knife him only to be thrown to ground (still naked), cuing a enormous breast bounce which, again, shows some nipple (this time from the front). Elsewhere, a woman sits up in bed and the sheet slips down revealing her nipple for a second. Also, C.C. is shown nude holding her chest in the ending credits. There are also scattered instances of undetailed male and female nudity (hair usually covers chest) in dream sequences. On the DVDs, the special feature "Picture Drama Episode 3.25" is to be avoided as it is an unentertaining useless fanservice bathhouse scene.
IMPORTANT These in-show nudity instances can be avoided by watching the TV or (Bandai-uploaded) Youtube releases, which blurs out all breast detail. The episodes in question are Spoiler: episodes 3, 13, & 17.
Sexual Content (see, I had to do two parts to cover it all!)
Characters kiss. Side characters make comments about chest sizes, underwear stealing, and sexual orientation. Characters fall on one another in embarrassing positions. The ending credits include a picture girl teasingly groping another girl. Multiple female characters wear cleavage-bearing shirts and short skirts. Most disturbingly, a female character masturbates (it is insinuated that she is a lesbian).
On the DVDs, Picture Dramas depict cross-dressing.
C.C. is repeatedly referred to as a "Witch" and once as "the devil" due to her power to give Geass. Lelouch refers to himself as a demon at one point. References are made to Shinto beliefs in nature spirits. Suzaku's childhood home was a Shinto shrine. Ashford Academy also has a chapel/church for some reason.
Morality-wise, nothing in this series is black and white, and if this is upsetting to you, don't watch this. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion made me really think about what is right and wrong, and when is it right to kill. Lelouch believes that in order to abolish great evil, the ends justify the means, even to the point of killing and deception. Suzaku, on the other hand, believes that no matter what may be gained, the ends never justify the means. Then there is the issue of Geass. Lelouch's Geass gives him the power to command anyone to do his bidding. Is it right for him to command others to kill or lie for his own benefit and thus violate their free will? These questions are never given a clear answer, which may be concerning to some.
On an unrelated note, it should be noted that Britannia, while a monarchic empire, bares strong resemblance to America (The capital of Britannia is in America). The rebellion led by Zero and his supporters is clearly terrorism, but given the evil of this empire, its meant to be seen as justified, thus casting terrorism in a positive light. Elsewhere, the emperor clearly calls the triumph of the powerful and the oppression of the weak as simply a part of evolution.
Like I said before, I adore this series. The female leads a strong, the emotions are raw, and the moral questions raised really make you think. However, for many, the greatness of the good in this series outweigh the content issues. While this is not a completely original story idea, it is most well-executed of its kind, and is a must see for any anime fan.