Sugar in the Geass Tank

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.

Battle Plans depend on Pizza (Hut)

In an alternate history where there is no America, or America is Britain? or you know, whatever, ‘Murica still develops the franchise restaurants it needs to conquer through mass obesity.

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.

Kallen pilots doggy-style

Kallen serves with distinction.

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.

Maybe look it up:

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Written by Ichiro Okouchi, directed by Goro Taniguchi
Produced by Sunrise, Licenced by Funimation

1 thought on “Sugar in the Geass Tank

  1. ” 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.”

    Funny, I would argue the series -even during the so-called detour episodes- keeps on building towards Lelouch’s attempted rebellion at least in an indirect way. But if you ask me I wouldn’t say that’s the point of show per se either. It’s more about what Lelouch is really struggling with, which is both himself and the world around him, rather than just taking over places. All in an over-the-top and often exaggerated manner, which I actually really like in comparison to shows that are a lot less amusing.

    “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.”

    On the contrary, doing that would be far too hasty and irresponsible. I don’t see any real logic, other than a purely rhetorical one, in insisting this should be an option. It wouldn’t really work out in the long run either, in practice, since Lelouch could become too lazy and used to having slaves around. That’d make him overconfident as well as vulnerable to those who can counter Geass and then turn those slaves against him. It’s not much of a valid objection.

    “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?”

    She does, as a matter of fact, want to give Geass to people for her own specific reasons. I’ll just say that Lelouch’s not the first one to get that sort of power and she’s tried to get other people to fulfill her contract for said reasons. Which aren’t particularly original reasons, admittedly but they do make sense in my opinion.

    Finally, I would argue the show promised the audience a rollercoaster ride with a variety of elements and it did deliver on that.

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