Code Geass R2: The Return of Zero

One word: YES.

So here we are, close to a year and a half following the conclusion of the first season of Code Geass, and the second half of the story starts now. I missed you, Taniguchi Goro. You and your overly dramatic and theatrical hand gestures. I swear, Goro put Lelouch’s crazy theatrics into Code Geass just for me. Well, okay, not just forme, but I certainly love them all the same. Perhaps that was the best part of the episode, for me, bunnygirl Kallen aside.

As I’ve heard, R2 1 was pretty confusing to watch, since one would expect the series to have started from the ringing gunshot we heard at the end of the first season. Since it did not, and instead thrust us into memory-implant Lelouch’s daily life, I assume that’s where the confusion came from. it became quite obvious about halfway through, though, that what they were trying to do was re-create the events of the first episode of season one, except they’re different this time. The deal is sealed when Lelouch (vi Britannia!) commands his assailants to die, which, of course, they do. I was most happy.

The interesting part of the episode, though, was actually something related to a class I’m taking at the moment. We’ve been talking about how the West looks at Japan (and how Japan looks at the West), and fresh on my mind is the sexual politics of postwar exchange. I won’t bore you with excessive anthropological detail, but the gist is that Japanese women lusted after the Western man for the mystery, enigma, and protective stewardship associated thereof. The Western man, in turn, lusted after the Japanese woman, out of a desire to protect and coddle. This, of course, leads to feminized views and imagery of Japan in postwar exchanges, perhaps best personified by Arthur Golden’s novel Memoirs of a Geisha.

Now, let’s open the Taking Things Entirely Too Seriously department, and apply this to bunnygirl Kallen.

It should be obvious that Britannia views Japan, or Area 11, to be precice, not as humans, but as objects to mock, laugh at, and lust after. And here we have Kallen, the icon of sheer manly womanhood from season one, in a bunnygirl outfit. Yes, this is to get the horomones of Kallen fanboys raring up for their post-episode doujin escapades, but it serves as an interesting reminder of the politics of international exchange. WIth the Black Knights reduced to  ruin, Kallen is left, not to kick ass and take names, but rather to seduce and charm the Britannians into a false sense of security. The mafioso who roughly abused her and tried to sexually dominate her, then, is a picture of the West, especially during the years of the Pacific War/World War II.

Of course, Kallen is in the bunnygirl suit not because she wants to be, but, again, to seduce the Britannians into a false sense of security. It’s part of the plot to return Lelouch to his rightful place as Zero and head of the Black Knights, so rather than being poured into the sexual mold, she is instead jammed into it. When All Hell Breaks Loose and C.C. joins the fray, Kallen immediately reverts to Season One Kallen, and is once again kicking ass and taking names. It’s an image of a Japan that will not take being feminized any longer. She subverts the “aww, isn’t she cute” feeling for the “oh god she could wipe the floor with me” feeling, which produces, or should produce, the twin effects of sexual arousal and stimulation of political thought on the concept of Japan-West relations. Or, well, it does with me.. I should note that I’d rather somehow replace Kallen for Shirley in the bunnysuit, but you take what you can get.

I do think, upon considering it for a bit, that Goro’s original statement (that was later retracted, I believe) for Code Geass to be a socio-political commentary (with hot girls) holds some weight, as the above indicates. But I’m some kind of crazy nutcase who can’t fully get out of school mode while watching anime, so there you go.

Overall, although this episode wasn’t really all that much, neither was the first episode of Code Geass season one. The drama will no doubt build, and build fast and hard from now. I can only  hope that I have more overly theatrical arm gestures in store for me. I don’t know why, but every time Jun Fukuyama slips into Zero voice, it’s pure awesome.

No,. I’m not gay. I promise.

1 Response to “Code Geass R2: The Return of Zero”

  1. 1 animeguy 8 April 2008 at 5:38 am

    Complicated analysis… I was just happy to see Kallen in that skimpy suit jumping around and kicking butt, that’s it ^^

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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April 2008

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