My vague memory of Code Geass R2 is that the show mostly stayed on course until around about episode 18 and a certain thing with Rolo happened and then the whole show went off the rails. Not that Rolo was the glue holding the thing together. I don’t think I’ve written a single thing about the guy in these Code Geass posts, which goes to show how much of an impact that guy left on me. Rather that Code Geass started trying to juggle too many stories at once, leaving it a bit confused and garbled as it came to a conclusion. At least that’s what I thought back when I was young and stupid. Coming back to it now, if anything R2 has improved. The writing at the start was a bit stodgy while it tried to recapture the feel of the first season by basically copying it exactly. Then the China arc started which I’ve tried to forget about. Since then though it definitely feels like it found its focus again and the dialogue is back to being snappy.
And, by the ultimate measure of Geass quality, I burst out laughing on multiple occasions from something ridiculous that happened.
The fight above Tokyo is pretty great in a very shounen battle sort of way. Not that people stand back and explain their moves rather than doing any fighting. The good type of shounen battle where one side starts to get the upper hand, only for some new character to jump into the losing side and turn the tide. Then some other character on the baddy side jumps in with some new weapon and things look bad again. Multiple little missions are taking place, turning the battle at every little step. Kallen suddenly jumps out of her cage she’s been held in for the past several episodes and jumps into her new and improved Guren. Orange flails around yelling about loyalty for some reason.
No Orange, I’m sorry, but your loyalty is a load of bollocks. You were never about loyalty. You were a disgraced Britannian noble who was hell bent on revenge because you wanted to return to your old social standing. It was about not wanting to be amongst the common soldiers, not because you were loyal to Britannia. Some of that Sakuradite obviously got into your brain and made you think you were something you never were (can we take a step back for a second and appreciate the magical compound that drives all this future tech is named after sakura leaves and you find it in Mount Fuji). You want to know something about loyalty? How about you have a brief chat with this guy.
Guilford is his name, for those of you just reading these posts and not following along watching Code Geass with me. In which case shame on you, both for not rewatching Code Geass with me and also for forgetting his name. As I’ve rewatched the show, a bunch of characters I once considered to be pretty great are instead forgettable and others have shown themselves to be far more interesting than I once believed. Orange is an obvious example of someone I now don’t really care for. I also can’t say I’ve been as interested in C.C this time around. On the more positive side, our boy Lloyd has been a constant source of enjoyment right throughout the series. His latest trick is to stand there and look horrified as how SOMEHOW the modified Guren he made ended up back in Kallen’s hands, as if that wasn’t the most predictable thing ever. He also had a couple of choice words to say about the use of Fleiya, which rattled Nina, and anything that rattles that awful mass murdering racist is a good thing.
The character who has raised the most in my estimations though was Cornelia. She’s got the bombast and the great lines down which are what really make a great Code Geass character. Lelouch, Emperor Fluffy, even Lloyd have this down which makes them endlessly entertaining to watch. Having Cornelia stride into a situation usually means everything is about to get a whole lot more entertaining. And where she goes, her loyal knights followed. The first fellow died last season in the very last battle, but I remember liking him a lot. Mostly because he was the one Britannian who stood up for Suzaku when all the others were being awful racists because he had fought with Suzaku and knew his valour. He was the second character to applaud him after he got accepted as Euphie’s knight, after Lloyd of course. Then there was Guilford, the lone light of loyalty, staying true to his princess long after she disappeared. He died trying to save her, even if he was saving Lelouch because he was Geass’d. That’s true motherfucking loyalty, none of this Orange bullshit.
This loser continues to entertain me. There’s a particularly wonderful scene with him and Schneizel. The Black Knights are about to engage in a very important diplomatic discussion with the head of the Britannian forces, and this guy walks into the discussion room. Diethard tells him to buzz off but Schneizel tells him to stay because he knows exactly how he will react to his news. The Britannian intelligence corps hadn’t been sitting on their arses wondering how this Zero guy keeps getting away. They had all this info on every key member of the Black Knights. Schneizel knew this guy would react badly to being told that Zero was tricking them all along with his Geass power. Schneizel knew he represented the grunt forces and turning him would represent turning what your average Japanese person would think. It was a very clever little scene that showed some quick thinking on the part of Schneizel, demonstrating his intelligence by showing rather than simply telling you he’s really smart.
What is Gino’s point in this story anyway? Nearly every other character I understand. From Diethard to Nina to Rivalz, they all have a purpose. Gino though, for all his screentime, doesn’t appear to have any reason to be here. It’s a bit of a problem with R2’s new characters. Rolo makes sense. He’s the imposter for the one thing that truly matters to Lelouch, symbolising what was taken away from him and what he’s trying to protect. Xing Ke represents the other territories joining up with the Black Knights as this war spreads beyond the borders of Japan. Anya…has something to do with Lelouch’s mum? This is the part of the story where R2 lost the plot a little for me, but let’s leave that whole silly part to one side. But Gino has done fucking nothing the whole time. I prefer the random cute mecha pilots who we see for just one second saying “oh no, my *insert name of mech here*” before they blow up.
Of all the dumb things Lelouch does in Code Geass, this might be my favourite. He’s just Geass’d a bunch of people to follow him, which firstly is cheating. You can’t geass a person then tell them they have to do everything you say. That’s the point of geass in the first place. That’s like getting one wish and asking for unlimited wishes. You’d think someone as smart as Lelouch would have figured out that loophole ages ago. But anyway, he’s geass’d these random mech pilots and got them to form an arch for himself to walk under in the middle of the forest. There’s nobody else around. Just a bunch of brainwashed grunts. But he’s putting on a show and gosh darn he’s not going to let a lack of proper audience stop him.
The next Code Geass post will be the last, at least for the main series. It will probably be 5,000 words long, and that’s before I even start to get into The Cart Driver himself. I will get all sappy and sentimental then. For now, here’s a bunch of penguins being controlled by the geass.