Stop and go rebellion limits Lelouch’s mileage
by Bob Johnson
Code Geass is a show about family. A family that you want to kill, and the friends whose families you accidentally kill, and all the random dudes that you kill along the way, but who cares about them?
Our ‘hero’ is Lelouch VI Britannia, a fallen prince of a globe-spanning empire run by his father, evil George Washington. He has been hidden with his crippled sister Nunnally at a private school in Britannia-occupied Japan, now known as Area 11. A master of logic and strategy, he starts off with two conflicting goals; to make his family pay for his disgrace and the murder of his mother, and to make the world safe for onee-chan.
After gaining the power of Geass from C2, an immortal cult priestess, Lelouch discovers he can issue one unbreakable command to any person he meets. This is just what he needs to finally begin his rebellion against the Area 11 occupation force, and compel his royal relatives to finally tell him the truth. Steadily he builds a media presence with a supervillain persona, then an elite vanguard for the revolution, and once he gains the financing and technology of Japan’s underground elite, his eventual victory seems assured. But the show goes off the rails right about there, as Lelouch refuses to make quick moves to seize the country. Instead we detour into the background of the Geass cult, only finally getting back to that conquest thing at the season finale.
Of course the logic of Geass makes no sense at all. If you can issue an unbreakable command, why not go with something like “Do everything I tell you” ? For a show to put so much energy into plans and strategy, and not at least lampshade this, seems off. Also, if C2 can give Geass to anyone, why doesn’t she do this more often? Oh, it drives everyone insane. And she feels bad about that. But she can’t stop doing it? Maybe she’s really an Ardat-Yakshi and can’t get off without melting bishonen brains.
While being handwavingly shonen when it comes to anything plot-related, Code Geass doesn’t shy away from a certain adult appeal – this show’s fanservice is legendary. The leading ladies are lesbians or just accidentally fall onto each other’s boobs. And your imaginary girlfriend will be unable to put down her yaoi paddle whenever Suzaku is strapping into the Lancelot under the watchful eye of Count Megane Shonenai.
If you want drama with your cheesecake, Lelouch is fawned after by the sweet Shirley (who Milly also has a thing for), the tsundere Kallen, and the ancient but loliform C2. One of the mooks from Lelouch’s army picks up a lady who turned from a badass Britannian agent into a sweet and perfect waifu following a serious blow to the head (thanks, Japan 😐 ). Suzaku has to fend off throngs of fangirls to accept rabu from his princess; this causes Nina to devote her yuri energy solely to the cause of nuclear devastation.
Despite its shortcomings, the show has some rewatch value. Instead of focusing on Lelouch, pay attention to Suzaku Kururugi, our real hero. Suzaku fights institutional racism to become the first Japanese knight in Britannia, and pilots the most badass mech in the world. If Lelouch would just stop fucking with everything, Lt. Kururugi could change Britannia from within. Was that really naive?
Though there is a Season Two, the Table Heavy Industries analysis division informs me that it’s not worth it to continue. Judging by the way the show was already puttering out, I’m inclined to agree. This show promised to deliver the revolution in 30 minutes or less. What I got was stuffed with hot cheese, but the toppings slid off instantly, and when I thought about it, I noticed my Pepsi was missing.
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