Archive for the 'code geass r2' Category



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?

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Code Geass R2: Divine, Delicious, and Deadly Desserts

This picture sums up the first two words. Rolo comprises the third.

It actually seems to me that in this episode, Sunrise was baiting the fangirls with tempting images of brotherly love between Lelouch and Rolo. “Aww, look,” the shots seem to say, “aren’t they just the cutest couple? Please go and create hordes of yaoi doujin after watching this episode.” I mean, it’s all there: the tender loving care false-memory Lelouch exhibited for Rolo, the wonderful birthday present of a locket (a heart-shapted locket, no doubt symbolic of their eternal love and devotion for each other) to Rolo, and Rolo’s worried affection for his older brother. Throw into the mix the fact that the original character designs were done by CLAMP and we’ve got some kind of mad crazy giant robot manlove fest.  ()DISCLAIMER: Not that there is anything wrong with manlove fests. It’s just that I’m male and therefore not interested in manlove fests. You can, however, sign me up for mad crazy giant robot girllove fests that aren’t named Kannazuki no Miko)

Of course, probably half these things were made up, and the other half of them are elaborate fictions created by Rolo, an undercover agent, and Lelouch, who is really Zero. It’s an elaborate fiction of passionate brotherly love, made all the more untrue by the final scene, where Rolo reveals his Geass to Lelouch. I mean, time stop? We already had mind reading. Did Lelouch get slapped with the bottom of the barrel, past-expiry, heavily discounted Geass power or something? God only knows what Charles li Brittania’s dual Geass powers are. Is V.V. behind all this? Is C.C. some kind of Geass weakling? Why am I asking questions no one knows the answers to, including this one?

Anyway.

The fiction of Rolo and Lelouch’s relationship as fangirl fanservice means that Code Geass is subverting things left and right. A boy-boy pairing where the happy fun love time didn’t actually happen? It’s like Goro is making some kind of elaborate statement about and/or practical joke upon the fujoshi. Most pairing fantasies exist outside the strict canon of the series, with justification (sometimes flimsy, sometimes valid) for said pairing found scattered throughout the series in small canon hints that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that <Male Character X> would like to be in the pants of <Male Character Y>. (Again, DISCLAIMER: Not like there’s anything wrong with this sort of activity. If guys didn’t do it too, there’d be a hell of a lot less erodoujin) Goro here offers tantalizing glimpses of Rolo and Lelouch, and then by the end of the episode they’re pointing guns at each other (well, okay, it started out with Lelouch pointing one at Rolo, but that situation got kind of turned around). It’s a conscious admission that this theoretical pairing is a complete fiction, because that’s clearly not how the two characters feel for each other.

Whether or not this is actually what’s going on is another thing entirely, but I found it an interesting aspect of the episode. As for me, well, I’ll leave complicated pariings maths to the much more dedicated, and continue to be overly excited at every glimpse of Lelouch x Shirley. I fell in love with Shirley all over agian in this episode, because she’s so darn cute. Useless, yes, but a cute useless. She just wants to be with Lulu. Can’t a girl dream?

Code Geass R2: Geass: The New Terrorist Recruiting Tool?

Hello, Anya. Are you a bad enough girl to top the mighty power of Shirley? Only time will tell…

Code Geass R2 continues its parallel plotlines with the same episodes of season 1, which is most likely deliberate and not unintentional. Essentially, they’re starting the story over again, only everything’s changed. The story parallels (episode 1 being Lelouch gaining/regaining the power of Geass, episode 2 being Lelouch assuming the guise of Zero and commanding the terrorist cell to victory) are most likely done to give a sense of familiarity, since it’s been a year and a half since we last saw our good buddy Lelouch. It’s a statement direct from Taniguchi Goro that, yes, this is Code Geass, and we are Back In Action.

It occurs to me that perhaps Suzaku’s sudden change of personality might be partly due to the death of Euphie, but also partly due to Lelouch’s old command to him to “Live!” way back on the island episode (which was the best episode ever, by the way: any episode with a lot of serious plot content where any female characters present are without clothing for most of the episode can”t possibly be a bad episode). It could be that that Geass from a year ago is sticking with Suzaku, enough to make him turn against his best friend and turn him in for the reward of being with the Knights of Rounds.

We’re only seeing setup here still, so the plot isn’t kicking into full-gear yet, but I can tell that I’m in for another 25 episodes worth of terrorist essays and complicated analyses, which I’m entirely certain is not what Goro is intending with Code Geass but I’m going to do them nevertheless because I can. Zero’s little declaration of war and peace make me wonder just how much of the PR schtick that actual terrorsits buy. We all know that Lelouch’s true objective isn’t the recovery of Japan as a nation, but instead the defeat of his father, Charles di Brittania (I’m assuming here that he’s supposed to be Charles I, and anyone who knows English history will see why), for very personal reasons. That means we can infer that his entire speech wasn’t his true beliefs (although he may certainly believe it) but rather just him showing off as much as he can to win as much support as possible for his entirely selfish cause.

This raises the question of just how much terrorist masterminds believe in the causes they claim to be. It’s probably something we can only explore in fiction, as I doubt many people are close friends with Osama bin Laden (are you catching the possibly uintended parallel between this name and Lelouch vi Britannia? I certainly just did)  or whoever the hot new evil terrorist is nowadays, and it’s extremely unlikely that those who are that close to him would ever betray him. But Zero, and Lelouch with him, do make me consider this question. If the terrorist mastermind all the terroristlings follow doesn’t really believe in the cause that they do, how would they react? Terrorists that are part of a major cell are usually indoctrinated at a young age off the poverty-stricken streets of whereever the cell happens to be operating, and they (assumedly) blindly believe whatever they’re told, because if you’re hit over the head with a doctrine, you tend to eventually come to believe it

And what of Geass? Lelouch has the power to instantly and irreversably indoctinate someone in an instant. It’s amazing that he hasn’t done this before. Kallen insinuated as much when she confronted Lelouch and demanded to know if her thoughts and feelings were her own. I can’t quite recall her backstory, but I don’t recall any in-depth pre-Zero indoctrination going on, and Lelouch told her that her thoughts were her own on his behalf. In a series that’s primarily about toying with the thoughts of people, this is an important question. The very existence of Geass makes one (edit: me) question how much of their beliefs are their own, and how much are planted there, either by a mass media outlet or a magical power of command. Is it nature? Nurture? From whence does personality come?

The power of Geass as a sure-fire indoctrination tool is frightenting. So why doesn’t Lelouch use it? The most likely answer is that Lelouch is reserving his Geass as a trump card, rather than as a common recruiting tool. After all, it can only be used once on a person. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, that in a later episode (possibly near the end) Lelouch conscripts an entire army of Geassed soldiers to fight against Brittania. Of course, that might mean we get into a Geass war with Emperor Charles, which wouldn’t be a very fun thing for Lelouch.

This post might possibly be an incoherent mess compared to my usual things, as I keep thinking of things to say and start shoving them willy-nilly into the text, but for some reason my brain is now working overtime on Code Geass. I certainly hope that, somehow, in the next 23 episodes, Code Geass R2 provides enough material to answer these questions, and possbily raise several more for my overthinking pleasure. And, if not, well, at least we have Goro over-the-top-ness and melodrama and cute girls. I can’t really complain with that.

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.


NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

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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