Code Geass R2: Lelouch Lamperouge, Devious Mastermind

Quiver in fear, Rolo, for you have been destroyed by the brilliant intellect that is Lelouch Lamperouge. Feel honored, if your inferior intellect is capable of feeling honor.

So, yeah, this was pretty much the best episode of Code Geass that I can remember. Setup for R2 seems to be over now, and now things start in earnest. There is nothing I like better about Code Geass than Lelouch playing mind games with people, and Fukuyama Jun is so good at delivery that I half-believed what Lelouch was telling Rolo. Seriously. And then I had to slap myself and say “Wait, this is Lelouch, he’s just manipulating Rolo’s mind” and was seriously impresed.

Rolo seems to be a very interesting character, especially given the characterization he’s given in this episode. His usefulness extends only as far as his Geass power can reach, and that’s a pretty small radius to alter time perception. The meeting he overheard between Viletta and the other observers of Lelouch wherein they totally trash him served as excellent foreshadowing for Rolo’s later mindplay, and we didn’t even notice anything was up. It’s clear, in hindsight, that the casual “meh” attitude Rolo had was developed simply to cope with the crippling lonliness and lack of self-worth he possesses. We don’t see that, though, until after Lelouch warps Rolo’s mind enough to bring out his inner feelings. I, for one, didn’t see that particular plot twist coming, so kudos to Goro and Okouchi Ichiro for pulling that off and even foreshadowing it in such a way that you don’t even know it’s foreshadowing until you get to the end of the episode and think about it for a bit.

It’s clear, though, that Lelouch isn’t trying to win over an ally so much as bend Rolo to his means. He fully intends, as he said himself, to leech Rolo dry of any benefit he can, while still making him feel wanted and loved enough to keep him working for him. In the space of four episodes, Rolo has gone from being the BAD END of the PSP game, where he holds ultimate control over Lelouch’s life, to the exact opposite, where Lelouch holds Rolo dangling over a pit of snapping piranas thirsty for human flesh. He might as well be God in the Jonathan Edwards sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, and, worse, he’s quite enjoying himself as he torments others.

It’s interesting of Lelouch that he’ll forego the usual respect afforded to other human beings simply out of his desire to overthrow his father, Charles. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the little I know about Steven Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, and as I haven’t seen that yet I can’t talk in clear specifics (I’m going to watch soon, though, a DVD of a recording of an actual stage performance with George Hearn in the title role, as opposed to the Tim Burton version, as I’d rather watch the unexpurgated version before the expurgated, but that’s just me), but I’m pretty sure there’s similiarities you can draw, such as using violent methods to exact your revenge upon cruelties performed upon you. The only difference is that Code Geass is successful and Sweeney Todd has never been a major success since its release in the 70s, so drawing comparisons will either make a small subset of the population amazingly happy, or draw the attention from one to the other, which is probably a good thing no matter which way it’s sliced. When I actually watch it, I might see if my notion remains valid, but I suspect it will.

But, yes, Lelouch doesn’t pull punches for people in his quest for revenge. He’s a clear anti-hero, yet, given how sympathetic his plight is, you can’t help but cheer (if that is the correct word) him on and marvel at his cunning intellect as he quashes everyone in his way and somehow has everything work out exactly as planned even when the plan came into being three hours ago. I kind of wish we’d have more anti-heroes in anime, but Lelouch is a fluke of Code Geass’s timeslot You can trust Taniguchi Goro to take advantage of whatever he can, when he can, and I can’t help but think that Code Geass was massively improved over the original concept due to the timeslot swapping. You both love and hate Lelouch as a character, or, at least, I do (much heavier on the “love” side though), which always makes for much more entertaining and complex viewing. After all, if you can’t cheer on a villain, who can you cheer on?

1 Response to “Code Geass R2: Lelouch Lamperouge, Devious Mastermind”

  1. 1 vjc3 6 May 2008 at 6:28 am

    When you think about it, Lelouch is becoming more like his father while he tries to overthrow him.

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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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