After our first part last week, let’s move on to the characters of Code Geass, most of whom are really worth talking about, for better or worse.
Let’s start with the main dude, Lelouch vi Britania. He’s an evil mastermind who has one goal: eliminating the Britanian Empire. How does he achieve this goal? By manipulating everyone he can. He uses his Geass to get people to do his bidding and doesn’t stop at anything. Lives don’t matter to him as he’s willing to kill anyone to achieve his goal. No one stands in his way and he will mow down any opposition. With his enemies being his siblings, he knows how to handle them well. He does run into some problems at times, but he manages to slither his way out one way or the other.
He’s a cool, charismatic leader who quickly gains many followers. He hits all the right spots with the Japanese community and manages to get staunch followers who are only concerned with what the guy is doing and not who the guy is. Lelouch knew his way with words to the point that he didn’t even have to use his Geass on a lot of his followers to get them on his side. As Zero, he leads the Japanese rebels against the Britanian Empire and launches attack after attack. He even claims to be a hero of justice, with his Black Knights only targeting the evildoers.
Lelouch didn’t agree with two of Charles’ main points: first he didn’t believe that only the strongest should have the right to live as the weak are also human, and secondly he didn’t agree with Charles wanting to live in the past or the “good ol’ days”; Lelouch believed that whatever had happened had happened and we should look forward to making a better future.
Lelouch lost a lot as Zero. He lost the only two people who trusted him despite everything else, he lost all his friends, and he was about to lose his imouto. All these things helped strengthen his will to make the world a better place.
Lelouch makes the ultimate sacrifice in the end, beautifying his story. He becomes the world’s most powerful individual who is at the same time, the most hated person on the planet. But all of that was planned. He made himself into a tyrant ruler so that he can get himself killed at the hands of the very symbol of justice he created. His death brought about a big change: Nunnaly took the throne with help from Schniezel and Suzaku to make the world a better place; a place where Nunnaly could live peacefully, a place without wars, a place in line with Suzaku and Lelouch’s ideals.
His sacrifice is also an atonement for his sins. All the killings he did irrespective of the reasons deserved the death penalty and he was aware of that, which is why he accepted his fate.
Lelouch had a mask on, both literally and metaphorically. He’s a cold-hearted person when he’s in his Zero persona, but inside he has shown to have a rather soft side too as he goes all out to save Kallen when she gets caught for example. He puts up an act showing that he is ruthless, when in fact he isn’t that cruel. In his high school student form, he acts like a normal kid and plays along with everyone else’s jokes when in reality he’s annoyed by almost everyone around him.
Lelouch’s actions are rather difficult to judge. Not in the sense of right or wrong, but in the sense of whether everything was planned or not. Of course to the Britanians Lelouch is as wrong as one could be and to the Japanese he is their freedom fighter and leader. But is everything occurring till the very end planned by him? Was Zero Requiem planned from the moment he took it upon himself to change the world? Did he plan on becoming the most hated person when he first started off?
When we see Lelouch throw a fit after his plans are foiled by an unexpected person, we’re inclined to think that not everything was planned from the start and he came up with some plans based on the situation. But when we see how perfectly he predicted an entire conversation with Schniezel beforehand, how his famous line of “to kill you must be prepared to be killed” fits in perfectly with his death, how he tries to distance himself from everyone at every opportunity, and how he takes all the blame for everything, we’re made to think that maybe he really did plan Zero Requiem from the get go. Regardless, Lelouch did know how to turn any situation in his favor, which was the reason why the Black Knights were only concerned with results and not with who was giving those.
The Black Knights are Lelouch’s loyal army and they follow every order of his without question because they know that he will give them victory. They blindly trust him despite not knowing who he really is. They feel that it isn’t necessary information since they’re concerned with results only and Zero is giving results. But it doesn’t mean that they would let themselves be used like pawns; when they learn the truth, they try to eliminate him since they start to feel that he may not be the good guy they think he is. Lelouch made these people into a force to be reckoned with. He didn’t use his Geass on anyone; he brought them to his side through his words only and made them into a force that would continue to preserve justice even after he’s gone.
While Lelouch was a good character, his best friend wasn’t the same. Where Lelouch wanted to change the entire system by taking over it by force, Kururugi Suzaku wanted to change the system from within, a goal for which he joined the Britanian army. He wanted to prevent more deaths so he joined the army so that he could rise up the ranks and then end everything; but then he ended up causing even more deaths… the army probably wasn’t the best place to start his dream.
Both friends had the same idea: making the world a better place. But the difference lied in their approaches. Lelouch wanted to take over forcefully and then give things an overhaul, while Suzaku wanted to do things “the right way”. In the end, they ditch the supposedly right path as Britania gets taken away by force.
Coming back to Suzaku, while he’s portrayed as a nice guy, he has many unlikable aspects. We wouldn’t say that he “sacrificed” his social standing for his ideals; he was blinded by his ideals as he willingly became a dog for the Empire against his own countrymen and fought against them. He even sold off his best friend and his imouto-like figure to their enemies for the sake of his ideals. He would switch sides almost immediately where he saw convenient; he first became Charles’ lapdog; then later on supported Schniezel’s coup; and in the end worked for Zero, his sworn enemy: Euphemia’s killer, a liar, a terrorist, etc. Loyalty is one thing this guy doesn’t have.
You could say the same about Lelouch for scaring off the Chinese in the first season but then seeking asylum with them in R2, but Lelouch had ulterior motives, unlike Suzaku who doesn’t hesitate in becoming someone’s pawn as long as he can fulfill his dream. This is precisely why Suzaku is a very unlikable character. The guy has so many contradictions and loyalty problems that you just can’t come to like him.
C.C is the mysterious, sexy, green-haired woman who is immortal and gave Lelouch his Geass. She is a bit intriguing at first; one wants to know what exactly is she. But interest in her starts dwindling as we learn more and more about the Geass, and we end up not caring much for her at all. She’s sexy and a bit fun at times, but that’s all.
Schniezel and Euphemia are separate beings from their other siblings. Schniezel came off as a good guy too, but he later revealed his true colors as the F.L.E.I.J.A he had created was to be used to scare people and rule over them with an iron fist. He fired at people like they were nothing and pulverized a whole lot of them. Schniezel became the only thorn in Lelouch’s side as he was the only person Lelouch had never beaten at chess, which shows how much he outclasses his little brother. He was also an entertaining guy like Lelouch with his mind blowing strategies. Lelouch acknowledges his onii-san’s brilliance, which is why he didn’t kill him but ordered him to follow Zero so that he can help out Nunnaly after his death with Suzaku–the new Zero–by her side.
Euphemia was a sweet girl who wanted peace in the land, much like Nunnaly. Despite knowing Zero’s identity, she never revealed it because she wanted to believe in Lelouch despite being well aware of the hatred he had for Charles and his kids. She wanted to work with Lelouch instead of working against him. Her method was to bring him over to the good side instead of killing him like her siblings would do. She was a nice girl through and through, until Lelouch blemished her name by accident. She didn’t want to kill anyone, but the Geass forced her to bloody her hands. And in the end, with her killing spree getting way out of hand, Lelouch is left with no other choice but to kill her and she ends up as one of Lelouch’s losses in this battle.
Shirley’s role is similar to Euphemia’s. She was the only other person who believed in Lelouch and still loved him despite knowing that this kid is in fact Zero and not the Lelouch she knew before. Lelouch was responsible for her father’s death along with that of countless others but she still fell in love with him, not once, but twice. Her role here was to die, just like Euphemia, and deal a big blow to Lelouch. Her death is one of the three strong emotional scenes of the show (which includes Euphemia’s and Lelouch’s deaths too).
There are more than these nine characters we mentioned, but these are the only somewhat interesting ones who are worth talking about. Rolo is highly uninteresting; his character is just too weird overall. Killing is second nature to him; he gets so easily swayed by Lelouch’s sweet words to the point that he stays with him even after Lelouch openly announces his attempts to kill him. He easily gets used by everyone around him. He’s just too unlikable.
Nothing stands out for Kallen other than her body, probably, and that she’s an awesome pilot. She’s basically the same as her fellow Black Knights and is one of the more trusting of them, as she tries to believe in Lelouch till the very end. She represents the Black Knights’ mindset, but doesn’t really have a specialty. They try to push her forward as a potential love interest for Lelouch, but in the end, Lelouch only considers her a friend.
The other members of the student council are unimportant side character who are just… there. Nunnaly’s character doesn’t get much focus in the show as Lelouch is the main focus. Her existence is simply there to keep Lelouch moving forward. The other royal siblings are also rather uninteresting. If we’re missing a character or two then that means that they weren’t worth the time.
As you can see, the major appeal here was Lelouch. He’s the focus of the show and everything revolves around him. He’s an all round brilliant character and you just can’t help but support him in his seemingly evil plots. You want to see him destroy everything in his path as he makes his way to the top of the world. And then there’s that glorious ending which seals the deal.
We’ve said that the ending is glorious, beautiful and it perfectly ends the story. So then why the third season? Why bring Lelouch back to life? It has been announced that the Lelouch in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection will be the same one and not one of a parallel universe or a clone or a robot. This then begs the question of how will they bring him back to life! Lelouch clearly died in the last episode. There’s no mistaking that Suzaku’s sword pierced him and that he died right in front of Nunnaly’s eyes. So how will they bring him back to life?
Even if they bring him back convincingly, then what will he do? He already spent two seasons changing the world and he succeeded in the end, so now what? Will he change the world again? Didn’t he just entrust the peace of earth to Nunnaly, Suzaku and Schniezel? Has he stopped trusting them or something?
And most of all, do we really need a third season? The story was perfectly completed with that beautiful ending, so what more is there to add? There’s nothing more to tell in this story. The only thing it’ll do is ruin the ending by bringing back the dead guy. This third season is only an opportunity to milk more money out of this franchise. The Akito OVAs probably weren’t enough to give Sunrise all the cash they want out of Code Geass.
The Code Geass series is an exciting journey, though not without its flaws. There are plot holes here and there (like Nunnaly inexplicably surviving the F.L.E.I.J.A), some ruinous developments (the twist to Lelouch’s backstory) and some unlikable characters (Suzaku, Nina, Rolo). But then we have Lelouch; the mind games; the strategies; the politics, the theme of oppression; the cool mecha action… and that superb ending. Code Geass has its flaws, but the positives end up succeeding in making this an enjoyable series. As for the third season, let’s hope we don’t have to pretend it doesn’t exist later on.
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