CODE GEASS: Nunnally in Wonderland
「ナナリー in ワンダーランド」 (Nanarī in Wandārando)
“Nunnally in Wonderland”
How you end up reacting to this comedic, light-hearted, frequently downright silly, spinoff OVA based on the Code Geass series depends pretty much entirely on what you’re looking for in it. If you’re expecting a serious story with a similar feel to the rest of the franchise (I sincerely hope you’re not) then you’re in for a fair bit of disappointment. However, if you’re looking for a good laugh, plenty of satire and proof that a series can make fun of itself, you’ve come to the right place! As far as seriousness goes, it was certainly not on the table when Sunrise sat down to create Nunnally in Wonderland. In fact seriousness was on another table in a different anime studio entirely!
Fair warning – it’s not fully animated. The majority of OVA is done in picture drama format but with the occasional interjections of some pretty cool fully animated scenes. As a fan of the original Code Geass picture dramas, I can’t say this bothered me too much, particularly when you take into account how frequently it managed to get a laugh out of me! That’s not to say it’s perfect though – at times it strays from being humorous into being downright silly which detracts a little from the enjoyment. On the whole though, it has something for pretty much any kind of Geass fan, particularly with its frequent references to fandom (more on that later)!
I imagine most people will be somewhat familiar with the story of Alice in Wonderland, and I for one can say that it was one of my favourite childhood stories, so it’s always entertaining to see different takes on it. Of course, there are only so many times you can see the same plot before it becomes incredibly boring, but what stands in Nunnally in Wonderland’s favour is seeing how well they blend the characters from the original anime into each of their roles, along with the addition of constant references to the original franchise. Typically, as many such adaptions do, characters were pulled not only from Alice in Wonderland but also from Through the Looking-Glass. It’s always interesting to see how this seems to inevitably happen these days – as though people are no longer aware of the distinction between the two works. But that’s pretty unimportant in this context!
Before I get into the main body of this post, I want to quickly comment on the music. A huge part of the Code Geass atmosphere came from the music for me. So much nostalgia came into play just hearing the old themes as Lelouch (Fukuyama Jun) used his geass to recreate Wonderland for Nunnally (Nazuka Kaori). Countless times throughout the OVA, the distinctive soundtrack of the original series brought up associated memories and added to the unique spin on Alice in Wonderland by giving it an extra touch of Code Geass. It was certainly great to hear it again… which reminds me… why haven’t I done a soundtrack review on it yet? I should get on that sometime!
Moving swiftly onwards, let’s talk a bit (a lot!) about the characters and their roles, since that’s pretty much the main focus of this OVA – to satirise the original anime through its characters and references. It’s actually a little surprising to see how well each of the Code Geass characters slot into the various roles taken form Alice in Wonderland! Lelouch, with Fukuyama Jun’s wonderful tones, spellbinds us as the narrator – it’s something I would love to hear much more of. At the same time, he makes a brilliant Mad Hatter in his Zero form – it’s a role that almost seems meant for him! Of course, if he can only fulfil one of these roles for the bulk of the story, I’m glad it was the narrator – his dramatic interludes in which he betrays his siscon nature with borderline creepy comments were extremely entertaining! I worry a little for Nunnally though…
The first of Wonderland’s inhabitants is of course the White Rabbit. It’s a little strange to see Anya (Gotou Yuuko) fill this role given her usually quite nature, but her deadpan deliveries (and awesome outfit!) more than made up for that! I can only imagine just how horrified she would’ve been to discover the loss of her precious ‘memories!’ She’s quickly followed by Sayoko, ever the noble maid while simultaneously fulfilling the Dodo’s role in the story! We can’t forget Rakshata, our smoking caterpillar who still retains her scientific hobbies with question after question for Nunnally on the side effects of her latest inventions. It’s a little sad that neither of their seiyuu appeared for the OVA, but given their minor roles I suppose this is no surprise.
Milly (Ohara Sayaka) and Nina (Chiba Saeko) are up next, taking on the roles of the Duchess and Cook respectively. No surprise to see Milly fitting perfectly into her role, even announcing the opening of the next big event in style! Nina uh… yeah I can’t really say cooking is one of her specialities. Certainly not when the meals all contain highly deadly miniature F.L.E.I.J.A. which would certainly do a lot more than cause everyone to start sneezing… I would not eat that stuff. I hope none of you would either!
Kallen (Koshimizu Ami) makes a typically dramatic entrance (hares kick, geddit?!) along with Rivalz (Sugiyama Noriaki) as the lazy Doormouse (which works surprisingly well, particularly with his half-assed sucking up to Milly!). Naturally, her immediate reaction as a Black Knight is to find herself in an epic (carrot?) duel to the death with one of her Knight of the Round nemeses, Anya! Let’s not forget about breaking the fourth wall since a certain someone is suspiciously absent!
Where Anya’s memories are held in her phone, Shirley (Orikasa Fumiko) has once more lost hers, wandering aimlessly as a Faun. At least she didn’t die this time! Kaguya and Tianzi take the place of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee as the identic- wait… something’s off here… Oh well, I guess Code Geass had a distinct lack of identical twins, and those two are the closest viable option and needed some form of cameo eh! But why on earth are they arguing over stockings and pantsu?! Li Xingke as Humpty Dumpty… no I don’t get it. If there’s a reference there that’s gone completely over my head. At least Orange-kun got to transform into a terrifying creature once again! Though there was a distinct lack of oranges.
O-ME-DE-TOOOOOOU! It just would not be the same without cameoing Lloyd’s (Shiratori Tetsu) crowning moment of pure insanity. I feel a little bad for him once again being forced to eat Walrus Cecile’s (Inoue Kikuko) legendary bad experimental lunches! Rolo (Mizushima Takahiro), saddened by his heart condition, takes on the role of the Mock Turtle. Wait, why is he naked? Is this a thing? The irony of his joke about stopping time and his demise was a nice touch, particularly in light of Viletta’s (Watanabe Akeno) relationship issues with Ohgi. Not even remotely surprised that that relationship would prove problematic!
C.C…. Cheshire Cat… the acronym alone almost makes this worth watching. Why did no-one think of this before the announcement of Nunnally in Wonderland? C.C. (Yukana) is a perfect embodiment of the Cheshire Cat. Her personality needs no modification whatsoever – even in the original Code Geass she had the mischievousness, meddlesome and curious nature down to a T! Let’s quickly brush on by Darlton and Guilford as the Lion and the Unicorn because who cares about side characters who have their development pushed casually aside!
Wakamoto remains as badass as ever in his role as the Emperor (or the King of Heart rather!). As always, he remains wrapped around the finger of the Queen of Heart – Marianne (Dodo Asako) in this case. Did she have a penchant for chopping off people’s heads in Code Geass? I imagine not, but who knows what went on behind the scenes! Kind of ironic seeing V.V. as her retainer despite having been responsible for her death! And at long last we have the entrance of Euphie (Minami Omi) as the White Queen, still seeking equality for all in the form of the ‘Special Administrated Zone of Croquet’ while Cornelia (Minagawa Junko) dotes on her as the White King. Yuri fans rejoice! Sunrise has heard our pleas!
There is a flip side too… Schneizel (Inoue Norihiro), the Red King and Kanon (Mito Kouzou), the Red Queen are clearly inserted for the fujoshi (*coughMochicough*)! See, it really does have something for every kind of Code Geass fan! Oh and there was the whole Damocles made out of croquet equipment thing.
To be perfectly honest, the whole croquet thing was pretty dumb… and once again Britannia’s internal politics become their downfall allowing Nunnally to flee before events became even dumber. Not a moment too soon either… surely there was something better they could’ve done with that portion of the story? But let us not dwell upon it, for lo and behold! Gino (Hoshi Souichirou), the Red Knight playboy appears to duel Suzaku (Sukurai Takahiro), the white-knighting White Knight astride his horse, Lancelot Albion! At this point, I solidly expected to see some brilliant animated action! Instead we got something better…
So uh… it would appear Sunrise is aware of Spinzaku. This has to be one of the best references to fandom I’ve seen in an anime to date and more than makes up for the croquet tomfoolery. But to say that Spinzaku was the only thing that managed to get me to laugh through the entire OVA would be wrong. Other than some questionable elements, the comedy was pretty damn good. The dramatic pauses were perfectly timed and had just the right amount of impact to amuse me and the antics of each of the characters were entertaining in their own ways.
Perhaps it sounds like I’m being too lenient on some of its flaws, but at the end of the day, I enjoyed it. Does anything else really matter in an OVA designed purely for the sake of entertainment? Sure, it would probably have been much better as a fully animated one-hour OVA, but for what it was, it definitely worked. If you don’t like picture dramas (or humour), you may not enjoy this, but if you do, it’s certainly one of the better ones I’ve ever seen!
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – References to both the original series and fandom make for an entertaining picture drama! #NunnallyInWonderland
- Were Milly’s breasts always that big?
- Wait, why are there two of her and Lloyd during this scene?!
- Shirley… there’s a particular phrase I want to use right now…
- We can certainly see just how much the animators favoured C.C. – just look how much animation she got compared to all the other characters!