12 CommentsPodcast / By Scamp /

I am the official Code Geass expert and appeared on ANNCast

I need this framed

I am the official Code Geass expert! You know this because when ANN asked the general public who they should bring on to talk about how fantastic Code Geass was, they were bombarded with people saying you had to get this Scamp guy on. So I did and you can listen to it here. I was a wee bit nervous. Not because I had to go on a podcast or that it had a lot of listeners, as I’ve had both those experiences before. It was I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to defend this dumb anime I love so much. I think I did a good job. You can decide. As a bonus you get to hear my real name and my sexy Irish accent.

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12 Comments

  1. Major
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I don’t recall you ever doing a bad job on a podcast. This was a pretty good one too.

    There were a couple of weird moments where I did wonder why you didn’t try to expand your arguments into other areas. To cover more ground and have an extra thing to say, rather than occasionally just going back to the same point.

    What you did mention was absolutely fine. Just might have felt too…self-restrained, once or twice, I guess, compared to how Hope and Zac weren’t afraid to go on for longer with their opinions.

  2. Outcast
    Posted September 10, 2015 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Yay, you and JesuOtaku in the same podcast! Scratching one off the bucket list.

    I agree with Major about the podcast; could’ve used more of you in there, but not complaining about what we got.

  3. DarkEnergy
    Posted September 10, 2015 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    I loved it.

  4. MusubiKazesaru
    Posted September 10, 2015 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    Good for you Scamp. Are you guys still going to do the preview for the Fall sesaon? I always loved them because they made me laugh my ass off.

  5. Anon
    Posted September 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what to feel about seeing scamp selling out and becoming an anime superstar right before my eyes.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 16, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      I feel so dirty but it feels so goooooood

      (btw didn’t get paid for ANNCast appearance, just in case someone thought I was)

  6. Posted September 10, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    As someone who uh, doesn’t particularly for that show, I was interested in that episode in the sense that…I didn’t actually disagree with you at all! Or anyone else, for that matter. That is to say, despite the fact that there were–as you noted–three distinct outlooks on the series overall, it doesn’t seem like there was significant disagreement on any of the points brought up. Everyone was just looking at the same set of things, deciding “yeah, that was bad,” “yeah, that was stupid,” “yeah, those episodes didn’t need to be there” and so on, but concluding “and that’s why it’s bad” or in your case “and that’s why I love it!”

    Based on the podcast, the gist of your argument is that despite major lapses in planning, writing, and characterization it’s the strength of the execution that’s what makes this series entertaining throughout. It is that quality of execution which is what’s been missing from the subsequent derivatives released since this. Is that accurate?

    Since the podcast, I’ve been mulling over what the tipping point is for this: why do I like other shows which are bombastic roller coasters of madness but not this one? It took me too many Twitter posts, but since comments are more permanent, I’ll summarize them here:

    In the Marvel comics, there’s a supervillain known as The Purple Man, soon to be seen on Netflix’s upcoming Jessica Jones show. The power of The Purple Man (in the comics at least, nobody’s seen the show yet) is that if he is in proximity to someone and tells them to do something, they obey without question. Familiar yet? The reason he is a good character is that he uses this power the way that the viewing audience would expect a person to do if they had that power.

    And so we get to the main up/down vote issue with regards to titles like Code Geass or Death Note: can you, the viewer, accept that the characters with very similar powers do NOT use their powers in the obvious way one would? For all the rules these anime put forth regarding the usage of the powers in question, they never say “oh, by the way, you cannot do this very obvious thing.” Since the characters with said powers are presented in the context of the series as “geniuses” and do not immediately use their powers in this manner, your enjoyment depends upon you inventing the rule in your head of “I guess they must just know that the obvious use of the power is not allowed, or won’t work.” If you don’t invent that rule, you’ll just sit there going “no, it’s not that complicated! Just do this!” Of course, as you noted in the podcast, in R2 it is shown that the obvious application of such a power DOES indeed work. At which point even an invented rule is null, and you must be wondering “why not do that every time?”

    And that’s my stumbling block: I simply can’t accept when a character presented as a “genius” who has this very powerful ability does not use it in a manner obvious even to a non-genius like myself, because it exposes the artifice of the writing: the only reason they don’t is a meta-textual “because then there wouldn’t be a show, since it’d be over too quickly.”

    PS: deedley dee potatoes

    • Major
      Posted September 10, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      @AWO:

      Assuming your questions aren’t only rhetorical, they do have a couple of answers.

      One, the underlying principle of your complaint is almost like asking why didn’t Gandalf, that wise old mage, just give the One Ring to the giant eagle and not waste everyone’s time with the whole Fellowship expedition.

      If you do want to criticize various fictional works for having “smart” characters who did not make what appears to be an optimal decision, then some of your own favorites aren’t going to be immune from this skeptical stance.

      For instance, did Light Yagami always make the best or most “obvious” choice with his powers in Death Note? No, not really.

      But that doesn’t stop people from both thinking Gandalf is acceptable as a person of great wisdom (the equivalent of a “genius” in your words) and they can keep watching/reading Lord of the Rings without suffering from a headache as soon as they realize better plans of action existed.

      In the case of Lelouch, I would also point out that he is not a machine of cold hard logic. The guy is evidently a teenager and a rather immature one at that. A high intellect isn’t immune to emotional impulses, not even in real life, and I think the armchair generals, so to speak, who criticize his actions tend to overlook this factor.

      Two, I think there is a valid character-based reason why the “genius” character of Code Geass wouldn’t make the supposedly “so obvious” choice until much later: he would have been prematurely crossing a line that was too much for him at the start.

      Lelouch doesn’t start issuing those “follow all of my orders!” commands until almost the end of the story. That’s when the man is ALREADY on a clear downward spiral to self-destruction and has gone through emotional fallout that has wiped away his last remaining moral objections.

      In short: yes, the guy with an magical eye of hypnotism doesn’t want to have a huge number of mindless slaves around him or otherwise abuse his powers with open-ended commands that could cause unexpected consequences. At least not under normal conditions, which aren’t applicable during that part of R2.

      When Lelouch uses that Geass on a Naval Officer (and the legions of soldiers he brainwashed to serve him a few episodes later), he’s basically not giving a single damn about whatever happens to that guy in the course of following the rest of his orders. It’s not like Lelouch ever HAD to take care of anyone in particular, that’s not it, but he was limiting himself before.

      Finally, I don’t think you are being entirely accurate about Scamp’s opinion of the show.

      In fact, it’s because of that very reason why Scamp should have talked some more. Especially about certain subjects, which are better represented here on his own blog and other places.

      In other words, Scamp thinks there are quite good and interesting parts of the show on the character and writing levels too.

      Not everything, no, but I don’t think we need to judge shows in terms of absolutes. The implication that there are only flaws and absolutely no positives on those fronts is, well, not really supported by his position.

      Not even on the podcast itself, but especially not if you take the time to read his views in more detail.

      The silliness and theatricality of Code Geass all is great and very entertaining, of course, but that’s not everything he (and many of us fans who have a similar opinion) likes about it. Nor are those two things even inherent “flaws” per se.

      • Posted September 10, 2015 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        No, it’s not almost like asking “why didn’t they just fly the eagles to Mordor?” because the actual text of Lord of the Rings (and yes, the dialogue of the film) explicitly states why. I don’t NEED to invent a reason in my head for why they don’t do the obvious thing there, as they’ve immediately ruled that out BEFORE the “have a halfling sneak past!” plan is even proposed. The Internet just has no attention span and does not realize that the remainder of their extremely popular “one does not simply walk into Mordor” meme image addresses this succinctly. This is the dialogue from the film, verbatim:

        “One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep and the great eye is ever watchful. ‘Tis a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this.”

        There. Done. That is the reason they cannot just give the One Ring to the eagle and fly straight to Mount Doom, which would indeed be the obvious and first thing anyone would think. With that immediately discounted, we can THEN go into the alternatives.

        As to your reading of why Lelouch doesn’t do this: this is not a matter of requiring cold, hard logic. “Follow all my orders from now on” is in fact the irrational, impulsive response someone would have! I’m not going to say your reading isn’t valid, but it does seem like you have to ascribe traits to the character of your own volition to come to it rather than find something supported by the text. It’s not like early on in the series, he says “well, I have this power, but I must use it responsibly!” such that we all can unequivocally see his actions in R2 signify a decline of his morality. (This isn’t exactly a series that deals in subtlety.)

        As for my mis-evaluation of Scamp’s assessment of the series: I understand he’s detailed his positions quite thoroughly via posts here, but my observation was based purely on what I heard him say on the podcast. I’m saying I don’t think that substantiation really came through in the audio.

      • Major
        Posted September 10, 2015 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        Hey, you’re actually right! It wasn’t the best example, since they did try to cover that possibility. Just the first one that came to mind.

        I’d say the phrase might not be explicit enough for everyone to remember it. Such as myself and yes, at least some of those who bring up the meme.

        Still, let’s not be too literal here and lose sight of the forest because of the trees. I don’t think Lord of the Rings would be ruined for me without that paragraph. How about you?

        My argument is that Lelouch was actually portrayed as having at least some implicit or explicit limits to his morality from quite early on.

        You’re right that Code Geass isn’t really attempting to be subtle, but there are still parts of it that people forget. Like with your reply to my Lord of the Rings example. The show is too long and too dense (I said dense, not deep!) in terms of content to recall every detail.

        But that’s why I still remember when Lelouch goes ahead and sometimes shows a genuine degree of concern for others, or how he recruits his own soldiers without using hypnotism, or what he criticizes about Britannia in general and his dad in particular: the strong using the weak for their own benefit.

        Later, he’s asked about why doesn’t he use Geass to bring Suzaku over to his side, which seems to be the logical solution to everyone’s problems. And the man explains why he didn’t do that. That reminds me, for him it’s a matter of pride too.

        If you analyze his less-than-evil actions from that perspective, there is support for what I have stated. It’s certainly not contradicted by the narrative until the man literally wants to paint himself as I’M EVIL NOW in R2’s last eps.

        So I guess we agree that Lelouch has irrational impulses then, but in the case of this argument I think they go hand in hand with his other beliefs too. He’s not Jeremiah or Rolo who can be more or less defined exclusively as irrational.

        “I’m saying I don’t think that substantiation really came through in the audio.”

        True. That’s why I admit Scamp could have talked a little (or a lot) more at a couple of points. No argument there.

    • Major
      Posted September 10, 2015 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      I forgot one point:

      “It is that quality of execution which is what’s been missing from the subsequent derivatives released since this. Is that accurate?”

      Based on what has been said before by Scamp and my own experience, the derivatives also have worse characterization, especially surrounding their main characters since you are making a distinction between execution and that particular aspect.

      By the way, even Suzaku has some pretty interesting parts to his character when you can look at him as a whole, beyond his clear philosophical weakness that the podcast brought up.

      It’s unfortunate there wasn’t a longer discussion of how he contrasts and compares to Lelouch. Suzaku’s own naive idealism doesn’t make him a real challenger and Lelouch is cooler to like, sure, but that’s not the full story.

      After all, this is the same show that argues Suzaku’s ideals were ultimately just an excuse to fuel his self-hatred and martyr complex, as someone who was already a murderer who “broke the rules” even before episode one. In other words, Code Geass itself knew that Suzaku was being a hypocrite all a long and this explains a lot of his presentation as a straw man.

      Rather than Suzaku just “giving up” by becoming Zero after all that happened during the series, he was going back to his former self on some level. I think that sort of analysis is very interesting when fully considered.

  7. Nagisa33
    Posted September 12, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Very solid unpacking here by everyone. I had a great time hearing your respective views. Hope’s mention of the phenomenon of Code Geass was a salient point. The conversation around it and afterwards was just as entertaining as the show itself. Your mentioning of a few twists, characters, and scenes helped me remember how my brother and I reacted to them at the time and why we enjoyed them. Thanks for that.

    Zac’s “It’s the animest anime to ever anime” line made me chuckle and it’s pretty true. It was a part of the charm and it almost had something for everyone. Watching Code Geass was when my brother and I first started getting into anime and we were floored with how ridiculous, dramatic, and colorful the series was for us. I wonder how new fans would receive Code Geass? Maybe like how they receive something like Aldnoah.Zero? The conversation around that series seemed to permeate the fandom.

    Good job Scamp. This was an entertaining retrospective that brought back some fond memories to boot.

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