Code Geass R2: Worst/Best Birthday Present EVER.

PART THE FIRST: FANBOY RANT
I. PRELUDE

I have to vent. Really, I do. REALLY. I’m proud of the Geass writers, and of Goro, and of Sunrise, and etc etc etc. Really, I am.

BUT

II. THE RANT

I hate you, Rolo. My hate for you knows no ends. You could be the nicest, sweetest guy on the planet Earth, really you could be, and I will hate your guts until I rip them out and splatter them all over the walls like we’re in a Saw movie.

YOU

killed the purest, sweetest love Lelouch (YOUR ADORING BROTHER, WHO LOVES YOU [or so you think/fervently hope]) will ever have a chance at getting in this cold, cruel, twisted world we call the Code Geass reality.

YOU

for the sake of your own personal, homoerotic, incestual (????????????) feelings for Lelouch killed someone who actually had a chance of Lelouch loving because she was the only one who could possibly understand him.

YOU
KILLED

SHIRLEY

FENETTE

and therefore you must die before episode 25.

III. FIN

~fin~

PART THE SECOND: THE ACTUAL, SENSIBLE POST

Okay, so, I’m not really all that pissed. Well, I am, but that’s one thing and this is another. There have been Rumors afoot, or Whisperings, or something, to the effect that Code Geass R2 has lost it, or has otherwise somehow declined in quality since the first season.

THIS IS NOT TRUE.

Yes, it is, as otou-san is so fond of describing it, a “trainwreck“, but, according to ME, it’s not about watching the trainwreck of the series totally succumbing to such abstract concepts as “pandering” or “fanvervice” or “excessive use of Cheese-kun” (just so you know, that bit in episode 11 with C.C. reclining in underclothing and hugging Cheese-kun was pure awesome and I dare you to say otherwise), but, rather, about watching the trainwreck that is Lelouch’s life, as everything he’s done comes back to haunt him–as the narrator conveniently explained for the audience, “karma” is at work here.

One thing that Geass hasn’t done, though, is lost its writing ability–the first season was full of wonderfully pandering moments as well (such as the episode where Kallen and Euphemia are naked for 75% of the episode)–but on top of that, Geass has managed to deliver the goods when it needs to. In short, all the people stating that Geass is “pure entertainment” are 100% correct–Code Geass is, as far as I can tell, distilled, filtered, and purified Taniguchi Goro, left in an oak barrel to age for seven years. Yes, he has made some great masterpieces of anime that are Actually Good (Infinite Ryvius, PLANETES, Gasaraki if you count that), but we seem to have forgotten that he directed s-CRY-ed, which functions essentially like a proto-Geass, in the sense that it’s Goro cutting loose and going full throttle with the amps kicked up to 11. He’s a very good director, yes–but that’s because he’s very good at being both “serious” and “totally insane”, and this is why he is awesome. There are plenty of directors who are good at one or the other, but Goro is good at both, sometimes at the same time (see: PLANETES).

It’s way too early to call this, of course, but R2 12/13 shares almost the exact same setup as 21/22 from the first season. You know, Bloodstained Euphie and all that. That episode. As much as it pains me to have Shirley die that way, it’s completely understandable. Rolo is, of course, upset that Lelouch is spending time with Shirley (and not him, his beloved brother)–we saw this in 12 with a tiny and barely noticable moment of foreshadowing, when Lelouch talks about Shirley for a bit and Rolo makes a barely audible “Ehh?” Lelouch didn’t help matters, both through his manipulation of Rolo to get him on his side (which was strategically advantageous at the time, but isn’t now that Shirley is dead–not that he knows Rolo killed her) and his manipulation of Shirley as a result of Sayoko’s independent actions and back in s1 when Mao was giving Lelouch the run-around. And, of course, Lelouch’s manipulation of Shirley comes back to haunt him when her Geass is released by Jeremaiah (itself made ironic by Jeremaiah’s apparent motive in this episode, which wasn’t to kill Lelouch but merely have a chat with him, BUT we don’t know whether he’s manipulating Lelouch like Lelouch manipulates others AND I am getting a headache so I am ending this parentheses now), which direct her actions in 13, which lead directly to her running into Rolo, and then what she says to Rolo, which gets her killed.

The horror of it all, of course, is that none of these people are wrong at all in what they did when they did it–it’s just that all these things collided in the same space of 24 hours, leading to…this. And as pissy as I’m going to be now that Shirley is dead, as mentioned above, I respect the staff behind this series more now, because they are not afraid to Kill Their Babies, and even though I would like to drop a rock on the Sunrise building, I’m glad they did this, and I hope they don’t bring her back through some contrived medium (unless it’s to create even more crazy drama, of which I will wholeheartedly approve). And, besides, I don’t really hate them–as in the case of Itazura na Kiss, I was (figuratively) screaming and shouting and punching monitors in; in other words, my disbelief was completely suspended. And that’s what we’re supposed to feel when watching anime/reading a book/whatever, right? Even if on a more objective scale, Code Geass is a poorly-told story, who cares, beacuse it wasn’t trying to do that–it was trying to get me to shout at the TV. Which it did.

God, I love you, Taniguchi Goro, even if you are a bastard at the moment.

PART THE THIRD: IN MEMORIAM

REQUIESCAT IN PACE

(That is Latin for “DIE ROLO, YOU BASTARD”, as far as I can tell)

P.S.: Yes, it is my birthday today. Or, well, the day Code Geass R2 13 aired. Thanks for the wonderful present, Goro!

7/6/2008 NEVER FORGET

18 Responses to “Code Geass R2: Worst/Best Birthday Present EVER.”


  1. 1 CrazedFanBoy 7 July 2008 at 1:01 am

    I feel the excat same way! Its weird, I have no friends to talk to that like this series so its irratating..but episode 13..whew..

    Yah even though…i suppose in a way that Shirley’s death will create more twisted events to happen..i think they could have done something else as well and keep shirley…this could be a very likely sign that this isnt going to be the HAPPY ending type of series…

  2. 2 Camario 7 July 2008 at 1:21 am

    I’d drink to that.

    Not really, mind you, but the phrase is nice. :)

    This blog post, surprisingly enough, sums up a lot of my thoughts, not just about this episode but the series in general, in a far better way than I usually can.

    Which makes me happy…and sad, for obvious reasons.

    PS: Gun X Sword would also be Actually Good in my book, despite also having lots of “pandering” and derivative elements.

  3. 3 metatr0n 7 July 2008 at 1:39 am

    I totally agree with you…
    I can somewhat accept it if Shirley will die sometime in a dramatic manner sooner or later… but come on! To die in the hands of that uke-shota-yandere named Rolo is unacceptable!

  4. 4 issa-sa 7 July 2008 at 2:02 am

    I think I’d rather just have cake for my birthday :P Of course I can’t complain about 100% entertainment distilled, filtered or not XD
    Goodbye Shirley, you will be ‘missed’ for that dim hope of a cheesy merry happy ending for this show that you provided.

  5. 5 Son Gohan 7 July 2008 at 2:44 am

    I am not sad that Shirley is gone, she should have transferred to Britannia after the Mao incident in season 1. It was farfetched to keep her in the Academy when she lost all memories of Lelouch. How come she never questioned why her friends remembered Lelou while she didn’t?
    Now they corrected this mistake. She was the least useful of Lelouch’s haremettes anyway.
    Also, he deserved retribution for killing Euphie. Karma, indeed.

  6. 6 EvilDevil 7 July 2008 at 3:36 am

    Damn you Zero, I dont like u and I hate your guts, but you better get and kill Rolo, you hear me!!! I want him dead!!!

  7. 7 Kaiserpingvin 7 July 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Drama, delicious drama.

    What stuck out with this episode was Orange-kun. I’ve always liked him for being slightly irrational and chock-full of absurd theatrics, and now he upped the ante a bit by crushing the image of him already established and going protagonist. Possibly.

    Shirley dying was kind of obvious, but not this way. I can scarcely imagine the punishment Lelouch will administer to Rolo once he knows. It’ll be MORE wonderful melodrama.

    I loves melodrama.

    And happy birthday!

  8. 8 CG Fan 7 July 2008 at 7:41 pm

    For some reason i can’t shake the feeling that what happened to Jeremiah will similarly happen to Shirley. She plays too big a part to be taken out that quickly. I think she’s gonna be revived as well, with some cyborg stuff :P

  9. 9 rroknedaj 7 July 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Firstly, Happy birthday.

    I, like you was throwing my hands around in the air while trying to muffle my screams of frustration (it being 12 a.m and all) when I was done with episode 13. I still think that was a rather slipshot way of killing Shirley. Shouldn’t such an important character deserve a better death? Her death seemed really meaningless after the episode was over, but then again this is Code Geass.

    Rest in peace Shirley, thank you for being the only sane character in an insane world. =(

  10. 10 lol 7 July 2008 at 11:57 pm

    With Jeremiah on his side, he will de-geass Suzaku and regeass him to work for Lelouch. Kinda can guess by the last ed picture with Suzaku stuck around Lelouch’s chain while holding a gleaming sword (presumably to smite lelouch’s enemies ).

    another outcome could be that Shirley’s death will make Lelouch emo for a bit, then he will either blame Suzaku, further distancing them, or it will be the catalyst for bringing them back together as friends/ allies.

  11. 11 The Animanachronism 8 July 2008 at 5:37 am

    rroknedaj raises a good point: it’s hardly anime’s masterpiece of flippant slaughter (that’d be either the Tominesque or Nadesico 3), but Shirley’s death, assuming she stays dead, was pretty meaningless. Then again the height of Geass‘s drama (need I say ‘Genocide-tan’?) came about in a pretty flippant manner. She could affect the plot as a motivator more now she’s dead than she could when she was alive, I suppose.

    On the subject of Orange-kun, I think certain fans had already built up an ‘Orange-kun is Cool’ movement as a joke. I don’t know if the same happened in the Japanese-speaking fandom, but it wouldn’t surprise me if his upgrade to badass theatrical cyborg is partly service for them. It certainly functions as service for me. I was sold on him when he burst into the first season’s finale, piloting a giant mechanised orange.

  12. 12 OGT 8 July 2008 at 7:20 am

    I’m pretty sure that there’s no way you can have a more useless death than some of Tomino’s (my favorite is the guy who survived Zeta–ZETA–only to die in the first episode of DOUBLE ZETA. That’s pretty ignoble), but I don’t think Shirley was offed solely because the writers were like DEATH = DRAMA. If it hadn’t been Rolo killing her, then that could have been plausible, but it was Rolo, and there you have it.
    .
    That said, I don’t think Shirley’s death was that meaningless, but I don’t think we can really judge that until we see what ramifications it has. I don’t think they killed her off just because they could, but we won’t know what’s going to happen. And, like Genocide-tan, the whole incident seems to serve as something that’s just throwing a wrench into Lelouch’s life–in the case of Euphie, his Geass spiraled out of control at the worst possible moment; in the case of Shirley, his own prior actions came back to haunt him. If nothing else, it’s serving as a reminder that Lelouch can’t really control everything, and that things might be slipping out of his control. So, really, they aren’t that useless, and I don’t think either of them were done “flippantly.” But I am a stubborn bastard.
    .
    And, yes, Orange-kun is amazing. I can’t be the only one who thought s-CRY-ed when I saw his cyborg Geass canceller.

  13. 13 The Animanachronism 8 July 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Heh. Zeta was truly brutal, and I was rather amused that Yazan Gable arrived into Double Zeta in an escape pod – literally from a MS, but I felt metaphorically from the mass cast slaughter of the previous series.

    You’re right of course that we’ll have to wait and see what happens because Shirley died (similarly, other bloggers have pointed out how the death in Nadesico 3, which seemed such a throwaway event at the time, resonated throughout the show).

    I’m pretty sure I saw some s-CRY-ed crossover artwork as soon as we saw that Orange-kun had an artificial arm in the first season.

  14. 14 reiatsu 9 July 2008 at 9:12 pm

    When you think about it, this has to relate to Euphie a little more in the end. Her and Shirley died from completely opposite causes, euphie getting unexpectantly geassed, and shirley gettin unexpectedly de/un/not geassed. Also, I dont think Shirleys coming back, but her death may the sole event to cause the series to end the way it does.

  15. 15 aaa 11 July 2008 at 9:34 am

    Well, i disagree you. I love watching The death of Shirley.
    Hahahaha
    lol jk.^^

  16. 16 otou-san 11 July 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Trainwreck or not, I also said that I believe they wrecked it on purpose. Pure entertainment that works on me too: CC’s drawers are great, but hand me one of these crazy plot twists along with my popcorn any old day.

    Shirley had to die, and they made it pretty obvious last episode that she was going to — after all, Euphie isn’t fresh in our minds anymore so doesn’t Lulu need a little kick in the ass too? I wouldn’t have expected her to eat it so soon, or for that matter at Rolo’s hands.

    Either way, I have to commend Goro/Sunrise/whoever for delivering two episodes in a row of both main kinds of entertainment Geass offers.

    BTW, anyone remember Kallen?

  17. 17 OGT 11 July 2008 at 6:16 pm

    @otou-san: Yeah, I’m not going to press that point any more–I don’t think we disagree, just on the use of the word “trainwreck”.

    In general: yes, Shirley’s death was pretty predictable–I figured she wasn’t going to live after that whole deal with Mao–it’s more surprising that it happened at this point in time.

    I pretty much did the fanboy rant because I felt somewhat obligated to do so, being a diehard Shirley fanboy (Useless Fumiko Orikasa Character in a Sunrise Mecha Show clause, see also: Meyrin Hawke). Pissed or not, I felt the actual death and the lead-up to it was quite well-done in terms of writing, so I’m not really that upset.

    And to the Rolo fans/supporters: I don’t hate him, because he’s this season’s Nena Trinity. And I oh so love (to hate, but really love) Nena.

  18. 18 otou-san 12 July 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I don’t hate Rolo either, but he’s no Nena Trinity — Shana’s voice doesn’t come out of Rolo.


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