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The Correct Order In Which To Watch The Code Geass Franchise

The "Code Geass" anime series is one sci-fi/fantasy franchise with epic storytelling, memorable characters, supernatural powers, and lots and lots of mecha battles. But it's also a series with dense lore that can be daunting to newcomers. The series is set in a near-future Earth with an alternate timeline, in which three superpowers control the world: the Holy Britannian Empire, the Chinese Federation, and the European Union. At its core, the franchise tells the story of an exiled prince who's gifted with a magical ability that helps him lead a rebellion against the Britannian Empire.

That story was told over two seasons of TV in Japan between 2006 and 2008. Since then, the "Code Geass" franchise has spawned numerous spinoffs and other media that flesh out the world and other characters. Some tie into the main story, while others take place in entirely different timelines but still involve many of the same characters.

With so much "Code Geass" out there to watch, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here's a guide on how to watch the "Code Geass" franchise.

You can watch them in order, but the original 2006 and 2008 series are essential

Warning: Spoilers for the first two seasons of "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion" below.

Many newcomers to the franchise start with the two original anime series, which tells the story of Lelouch vi Britannia, the heir to the empire who's sent to live in Japan. There, he receives the magical "Geass" ability, or the "Power of Kings," which allows him to command anyone to do his bidding.

"Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion," or R1, aired in Japan from 2006 to 2007. Spanning 25 episodes, it details Lelouch's Black Rebellion, in which he leads the Black Knights against the Empire of Britannia. For the essential "Code Geass" experience, many move on to the follow-up season, "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2." The follow-up series was broadcast in 2008, with another 25 episodes. After Lelouch's rebellion ends in failure, R2 begins when he's captured and brainwashed by the forces of Britannia. 

There are also two feature-length recaps of these two series that were released in 2008 and 2009 but are currently out of print, via My Media Chops

Here's where the other stories fit into the timeline

Chronologically, after R1, the next titles to watch in the series are the five OVAs — or home video movies — collectively called the "Code Geass: Akito the Exiled" series. These take place in the European region of the conflict between the Black Knights and the Empire of Britannia and follow an elite squad of European mech warriors who team up with rebels to battle Britannian forces. R2 follows the events of this series. 

Up next are the four OVAs that were released between 2017 and 2019, collectively named the "Lelouch of the Re;surrection" series. "Initiation," "Transgression," "Glorification," and "Resurrection" are a retelling of the events of R1 and R2 that take place in an alternate reality version of the world of "Code Geass." They can be watched before "Lelouch of the Rebellion" and "Akito the Exiled," but many watch them after.

"Z of the Recapture" is an upcoming anime series that is set after the events of "Resurrection" and set in the same universe, according to Otaquest. Finally, "Nunnally in Wonderland" is a standalone parody of "Alice in Wonderland" about a character from "Code Geass" who wanders into the famed Wonderland. It was only released in Japan.