But the point is that we've had three episodes to develop since then, and what's happened since is actually kind of interesting. I mean, the long and the short of it is that Ange seriously fucked up, and she's being held accountable, and it's neat to see how she's developing in response. But she is
developing, and there's some nuance to be seen in the characters around her. Plenty of pandering, yes, but there's a pretty legit story there as well.
I am emphasizing the first episode since the start of any story is of vital importance. The concept sounds legit, on paper, but the way it is being implemented and the resulting implications are more questionable. She's being held accountable as part of the exploitative nature of the narrative, which is also arguably disproportionate given that Ange shouldn't even be blamed for her upbringing. In other words, I have a problem with both sides of that equation. Along with the other issues, that kind of development methodology doesn't interest me.
If there is indeed more nuance to the cast after the fact, although I doubt it is significant enough to compensate so far, then the creative decision to introduce us to the world and its cast of characters like this is still subject to criticism. Beyond that point, we once again come back to the matter of exactly what is needed to make a story "not legit" and this will inevitably vary from person to person. Ultimately, it's not impossible that the series will massively improve in the long term. I just don't think it's worth such a risky investment. If you're fine with that, then I'll disagree but can still respect your choice.
Cross Agne has used it all of once thus far, with the threat of it an additional time. That's it. And it didn't do anything whatsoever to legitimate it, either -- it was portrayed as something shocking and wrong, and the perpetrator was killed in ep 3 (and those who resent her death are being portrayed as bad guys, so there's that as well). There are no instances of the protag raping anyone and getting away with it, so I don't think Valvrave comes out looking very good here.
My objections and those of other people aren't only limited to the scene where it actually happens, but the show's whole atmosphere and attitude around the subject matter. There is a form of implicit legitimization when viewed from the angle that her mistreatment was payback for how she treated the Norma. Since she was a horrible person, it's alright to do a few terrible things to her. Some of the perpetrators were punished, like the woman from episode two, but now it seems she wasn't so bad after all. Plus it seems anyone who is genuinely kind to Ange is going to end up dead. Hilarious but unappealing. In short, I don't like where the "team" dynamics of this thing are going, based on what I'm hearing and reading every week. The Valvrave scene can be seen as offensive, no argument there. I merely found it less disgusting.
Geass took itself way too seriously. At least CA knows what it is and rolls with it; with Geass I have to adjust for the hype before I can even begin to engage with it, and that's just too much damn work.
That's a matter of perspective. Drama and seriousness are related yet distinct. Compared to Cross Ange or VVV, I would say the series had more balance in its approach without being unaware of its own craziness. You can say Lelouch took everything surrounding him too seriously, but not the other way around. In fact, if you read what the creators had to say, even early on, they never took it too seriously and weren't asking for that. I think the show itself, as well as its side materials, directly reflect this. Stylistically speaking, Code Geass had more in common with GunxSword, which also had a protagonist who is serious about his motivations yet surrounded by a lot of silliness, than with any Gundam or the recent "Geass-likes" made without Taniguchi's involvement.
By the sound of it you're basing that on one episode, so how would you know? Having watched the lot of them I can say I'm definitely hooked, because they actually are giving me reason to think there's something to her as a character. And while the dragons haven't been justified just yet the battles are cool enough that I'll give them some rope to work with there. I'm not about to call this a great show, but it's still better than it has any right to be given the obvious pandering and such.
Mostly, but not exclusively. I'm not watching anymore, but I have been keeping up with reactions across the board and reading about each episode.
For me, the hook here is "I don't care about this character, but there's just enough there to think I might eventually, so I'll let you try and sell me." Sometimes you don't get everything you want in a story handed to you on a silver platter. I admit that this crew is hardly one worthy of the benefit of the doubt, but for some reason I want to give them a chance this time around.
Then my last word on it, both for you and Fireball, is this: I hope you will not be disappointed later on.