It’s like in between seasons the Code Geass animators suddenly discovered the wonders of alternative camera angles.
There was a particular episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex where we see an internet chatroom (a futuristic internet chatroom where people go into this cool conference hall and have intelligent conversation rather than repeat memes and bad spelling repeatedly) discuss the possibilities behind who is the Laughing Man and what their aims could be. For the whole episode. And it was fantastic. Admittedly this is not really Code Geass’s style since nothing ridiculous happened in those 20 minutes but there was a tiny bit of dialogue in these latest episodes that I thought was super clever. Suzaku had shown up at school and his friends, knowing he was the person who caught Zero, tried asking him who Zero really was. Is it a girl, is it a prince from another land, is it Prince Clovis.
That last one in particular got to me because of how much sense that theory made, and how far from the truth it isn’t really. How many other crazy yet believable theories exist out there. They hint at them every now and then with magazine covers, but Geass is more concerned with piling on the plot twists. Shame, but it would probably bog the pacing down. Stand Alone Complex and Code Geass are pretty different anime in many ways after all.
The whole ‘who is Zero’ thing is a reoccuring theme throughout the show. It has gotten particularly noticeable recently with the second season being largely about whether this new guy is the same Zero or whether that matters or anything of that sort. Obviously this is a theme they continue with right throughout the show up until the ending itself (I’m acting under the assumption that a few people reading these posts have not seen Code Geass before so I’m avoiding talking explicitly about future plot twists, but just remember HE’S NOT THE CART DRIVER). The lack of trust in Zero because he wouldn’t show his face in the first season wasn’t touched on too thoroughly. They did often cover the idea that Lelouch didn’t want to reveal anything because if it got out that a forgotten Britannia prince was Zero, it would instantly destroy his credibility since it would be construed that he was just using the Japanese to become king. But this season it has been far more about the very concept of what is Zero as a pure symbol.
Which is why this scene is so goddamn perfect. The build up to it reiterated the points about what does it matter who is Zero and what Zero by himself is supposed to represent. They were laying the foundation for you to understand what this scene meant. It’s the perfect plot twist in that regard, to the point that you could see it coming even if you couldn’t foresee exactly how it would pan out. Never mind the fact that the twist makes no logistical sense since I’m pretty sure somebody would notice that they were making 1 million Zero costumes. I mean did they all go to Halloween outfit stores, and in which case why are they not all dressed in ‘Sexy Terrorist Leader’ outfits. But to consider the logical underpinnings behind Code Geass plot points is to miss the point. If you hadn’t already got that by episode 2 where Lelouch somehow got his hands on an entire platoon of Knightmare frames. The twist is brilliant. Even the dog is wearing a Zero mask. Perfect.
Shall we start counting the number of things wrong with this picture? There is something small but noticeably different about the fanservice from S1 to R2. For example, in S1 C.C had a fine arse. She also wore a figure hugging outfit. Sometimes when she bent her body we would catch a glimpse of that finest of backsides. Obviously the creators made a conscious decision to give her that wonderful bum and catsuit. But it never felt like we were perving on her. She was in control and just so happened to have a wonderful rear end. Similarly we saw Kallen’s boobs, but it felt more like incidental than us perving on her. Again sure, they made the decision to have her naked, but it didn’t feel like we were looking through a spy camera.
This season though it feels way more like perving. The camera angle mentioned earlier has been used multiple times and it just looks silly and depraved. Kallen has a bum, and we can check it out and appreciate it, but when they shove it in your face like that it feels like we are taking advantage of the character. Pantyshots also make an appearance where they didn’t before, the most bog standard of perv view cameras. It reeks of desperation, which it shouldn’t considering this is season 2. Surely you’re supposed to put in these desperate pandering attempts because you’re trying to get more people on board because your attempts at storytelling have failed. But Geass has already been proven a giant success. You don’t need to resort to these sorts of…I suppose you would call it ‘male gaze’. It makes you think the creators wanted to put this shite in, which is why it depresses me more so than if it was a sequel trying desperately to get pervy viewers since normal folks didn’t want to watch it for the story.
It sounds weird, but bunny suit Kallen was actually less obtrusive than the mecha camera angle choice. Bunny Suit hinted at some really dirty shit that was going on for Elevens in new Japan with forced prostitution by royals. Yeah maybe the directors chose the bunny suit on their fiery redhead to also appeal to the trouser fiddlers, but it still works in context so it didn’t bug me. Even Kallen storing her mecha key in her breasts is fine since when you don’t have pockets you gotta make do with whatever is on hand, or on chest as you would have it. But the behind the arse camera angle, like you are preparing for some sort of medical procedure up there, just makes me think of Cross Ange. Heck I think some of the staff on R2 went to work on Cross Ange so hey, now we know that fantastic lineage.