Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (Kōdo Giasu: Hangyaku no Rurūshu)

Politics are not my bag, but anime shows that deal with them intrigue me. Mobile Suit Gundam, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Ghost in the Shell all deal with the subject in very detailed and sometimes hard to follow ways. Code Geass is the same in that respect even though the show moves at a lightning fast pace. We are immediately placed in a world where discrimination against the Japanese is not only tolerated but encouraged. The Japanese people have been stripped of everything from the name of their country to their own land. Everything essentially belongs to the Holy Britannian Empire now. Japan is now called "Area 11" and the Japanese are now called "Elevens."

The Britannian Empire is a monstrous affront to individuality and freedom, but there is no one strong enough to fight the Empire. The cruel Emperor who controls most of the world cannot be stopped it seems. The so-called "terrorist groups" that fight against Britannia for the sake of Japan are disorganized and have no one to guide them. The Japanese freedom fighters need help, but where can they get it from? Who is insane enough to fight against Britannia?

Enter Lelouch Lamperouge. Lelouch is a schoolboy with a grudge against the Britannian Empire. In fact, Lelouch is actually the son of the Emperor of Britannia, but the world does not know this. Lelouch has a younger crippled sister who was hurt when Lelouch's mother was killed years ago. Lelouch has always expected foul play and blamed his father for her death. So Lelouch and his sister Nunnally live on school grounds owned by the Ashfords with the hopes that neither the terrorists or the Britannian Empire can find them.

But one day something very strange happens to Lelouch. He comes across a witch who can give him the power of "Geass" in return for his services. Lelouch accepts her terms even though he does not know what she wants from him and he is given the power of "Geass." This formidable power allows him to control people. All he has to do is look at someone and he can control them.

The only limitation to Lelouch's Geass is that it will only work on a person once. After that, they cannot be affected by it ever again depending upon the order Lelouch gives.

For example: If Lelouch tells a woman to draw a smiley face on a brick wall every time she passes one then she will do just that for the rest of her life. But Lelouch could never tell her to stop drawing smiley faces because he had already used his power on her once.

This power finally gives Lelouch the opening he needs to bring down his father's empire. But he cannot do it alone or as himself. So he creates the identity of Zero and seeks to unite the Japanese terrorists in order to create an army strong enough to bring down Britannia as Zero.

But to the outside world Lelouch must remain a typical schoolboy caring for his crippled sister. No one must know his secret.

Lelouch is very much an antihero and some of his decisions are downright shocking. Some things I just couldn't believe and I didn't know whether I hated Lelouch or still liked him.

This is a very difficult show to watch at times because it has the tendency to get very bleak and depressing. Power does indeed corrupt and those who set out to change the world are often changed more than any changes wrought on the world. This is very true in Lelouch's case. To be Zero and use Geass, Lelouch is using evil to try and vanquish a stronger evil. Lelouch creates a world of lies and people die in the process. Even many that Lelouch cares about, but he can never be truthful about his existence. He takes the sin upon himself and moves forward. He began his journey for a peaceful world by shedding blood and he will continue to shed blood even if he has to destroy the world to re-create it again.

To quote Dave Mustaine: "Can you put a price on peace?"

Again, this show is very heavy. But it is a tremendous show and all fifty episodes will just fly by. Plus there are giant fighting robots called "Knightmares." How can you say no?

I command you to watch this show...

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