Code Geass – Lelouch of the Rebellion –
The Meaning, Plot and Characters Explained – Part 1
Code Geass Explained.
Code Geass. The title already encloses the two sources of power dominating in the anime series. I expect you to be here to find out the answers to the main subjects that Lelouch and Co. put on the table. And be careful, your majesty inform you of possible spoilers below! The relations and the interactions between characters and their role inside the plot. For a more philosophical insight, let’s see Part 2!
Having watched the series (you have to, other was go back and see it!) you already know that Code Geass is set up in an alternative universe where the nobles of all Europe fled to the American colonies and ruled there from that time. The resulting world’s superpower country is “Britannia”, the place where:
“All men are not created equal. Some are born swifter afoot, some with greater beauty. Some are born into poverty; and others are born sick and feeble. Both in birth and in upbringing, in sheer scope of ability, every human is inherently different! Yes, that is why people discriminate against one another, which is why there is struggle, competition, and the unfaltering march of progress! Inequality is not wrong, equality is!”
Emperor Charles zi Britannia
The Eleven’s. People like numbers.
The direct consequences of differentiating people on rank, by means of nepotistic views is also reflected in the names: the invaders who live in splendor (Brittannians) label the inhabitants of Japan as Eleven’s (since Japan is now known as Area Eleven). If people are jus number there’s no bad on treating them as pawns. This concept is further highlighted by Lelouch’s plan to obliterate Britannia.
Lelouch and Suzaku. Two princes, two philosophies to change the World.
In the contradictory world of Code Geass, the prince of invaders (Lelouch Lamperouge) stand up for the Japanese rebels while the prince of Japan (Suzaku Kururugi) is determined in changing the system by inside. The both aims to put the basis for a world of equal rights, stopping Britannia’s greed of subordinating humanity to its rules governed by the selfishness of their Emperors. The repeated motive is the well known: “For Nunnaly’s sake”; however, investigating deeper we are going to find out that Lelouch and Suzaku’s actions have in first place emotional roots.
Suzako’s side: a path for redemption.
From Suzaku’s background we know that he killed is father Genbu to end the war between Japan and Britannia in a short time. That was his childish and immature view: a selfish desire that conditioned the future of Japan. In order not to make the sacrifice of his dad vain he wants to change society and Britannia’s structure following the rules avoiding a hard face to face. The approach of temporary preserving the status quo reflects the character’s moral principle that a victory accomplished with evil methods has no value. In truth, that code of living is the initial conviction of Suzaku who deeply changes his behaviour after the death of his beloved Euphemia. Since that tragic event he starts fighting blinded by hatred: he smashes everything that separates him from the objective. Suzaku’s attitude appears in first place to be spotless and governed by his pure intentions. But his valiant actions are determined predominantly by the need of redemption: it’s the cause for Kururugi’s tendency to put his own person in danger when the occasion arises.
Lelouch’s side: a path for revenge.
From the tragic day of Marianne’s murdering and the consequences Nunnaly had to face, Lelouch swore to obliterate Britannia. The instinctive research for revenge is the boost inside the mind of the Emperor’s son. The goal of creating a more equal world comes afterwards, when Lelouch has got through his personal growing-up process. It’s particular evident in the first season that he considers the people as mere pawns, pawns which are under his direction.
His mindset get struck by the bloodshed in which he accidentally involves Euphemia. It’s a turning point: the end of season 1 (R1). The changed attitude emerges in R2 when in the shoes of Zero he tries to save Kallen who was an hostage of Schneizel (Britannia). Moreover, at the end of season 1, Lelouch betrays Zero’s principles abadoning his mates to look for Nunnaly, his selfish desire. Inspecting these few lines you may have that Lelouch and Suzaku are specular characters. You’re right. But there’s more: they are intimately bonded by faith, events and friendship which will make them converge to the same pier.
Lelouch and Suzaku’s reunion: the Zero Requiem.
We have just said that Lelouch and Suzaku start their journey from opposite sides. Lelouch vi Britannia, the black knight, the one who is ready of getting rid of his name and private life to achieve the goals. No matter what it costs. The one who weaves his plane without corcern for other people’s feelings. And on the other side, Suzaku Kururugi: the white knight who wants the change from within, the symbol of a spotless morality also depicted in his posturing.
Understanding each other experiencing similar dramas.
Both positions become warped during the anime: Shirley, Euphemia and Rollo’s deaths have an impact on Lelouch’s plan: he realizes the real world Nunnaly’s asking, the true shape of happiness and therefore he experiments what he needs to sacrifice to reach the prefixed aim. At the same time, Suzako is approaching the path from the opposite direction: he is already aware of other people’s humanity and he does not treat them as mere objects; but when firing the F.L.E.J.A. he finds himself in the same situation Suzako was with Euphemia. He became a murderer without willing though. Since that very moment, anger gets burning up inside his souls consuming his ideals.
For the ideal of Zero.
From opposite starting point they catch up in the middle: the Zero requiem. Here, the plot sets its greatest retaliation: the black becomes white and the white black. The man who felt guilty and wanted to atone his life with death is forced to live due to the Geass command. Lelouch, who wanted a gentler world for his sister where to live with is destined to death [BUT…].
The Zero Requiem marks a non-returning point: Lelouch and Suzaku have sacrified too much to step back. Even Lelouch ath the end of the series, using his Geass on Nunnaly communicates us that he has grown up: to accomplish the plan also his sister’s position can be forced.
I can’t say that these are they salvific paths because all of the victims they were the cause of, but the right burden to stand for the choice they made.
The anime title hides the two powers that ruled the plot. The Geass who gives to his user a unique ability: in the case of Lelouch that of making people do whatever he wants. Then we have the Code which is the gift of immortality for the possessor. Moreover, the code bearer is able to grant to the people he wants, the geass. At its ultimate stage the Geass’s possessor has the power to steal the code from its bearer, becoming immortal.
That’s the explanation how Charles zi Britannia acquired immortality after taking V.V.’s Code (V.V. is his brother). C.C. is immortal and that’s the reason she wants Lelouch fullfils the agreement: she points out she’d not living since life is for definition limited. But in the last episodes it’s also possible to find out why Lelouch is likely to be alive. Geass and Code gained from the same possessor are incompatible each other. But Lelouch has likely inherited the Code from a person different from C.C. which is his father Charles. This fact would explain why Nunnaly touching his brother’s hand get acknowlegdes by mean of images all the sacrifices Lelouch has made to destroy and recreate the world.
The role of Mao.
Mao in Code Geass plays the role of an ancillery character, that is highlights and empowers some particular aspects of the trama. The theme that emerges as contrast between Mao and Lelouch is the strength of the second to not ose his focus on his aim. Mao, in fact, is no longer able to stand the power of Geass which as literally compromise his mental stability. In a very structured way, the ancillery character is also the one who can see other’s characters thoughts and make them explicit. A clear reference is made here to the hidden desire of Suzaku of paying his faults with its own death.
A chess play.
The anime gives the spectator the hint that it’s all already woven, all is set according to a predefined strategy. The pawns-like approach makes this anime very similar to Death Note. Do you remember the first episode of R1? Well, all the moves are precisely chosen by the authors. An example? The first move of Lelouch regards the King. Lelouch as Zero the (future) leader of Black Knights exposes first, makes the first move again Britannia challenging Jeremia Gottwald. And in the end, Lelouch sacrifices the most powerful pawn, himself, the King to win the game.
The ancient view, the present sight and the future perspective:
Charles zi Britannia, Schneizel El Britannia and Lelouch vi Britannia.
The 98th Emperor of Britannia, Charles does not set as the villain during the entire plot of Code Geass. His plan set up with Marianne is to deny the essence of humanity: its individuality. A communion among life and death is what he wishes for. That’s not solving the problem but simply destruction of it.
Besides, Prince Shneizel proposes a stagnat society governed by fear of mass destruction weapons (F.L.E.J.A.) but as Lelouch and C.C. states, that’s not life, it’s merely experience since people cannot step forward, they are just frozen by force.
Lamperouge. The man who was a lie.
And here we come. Lelouch, who hide himself behinf the mask, who lied to everyone. He lived a life of lie to destroy and recreate the world. A world where kindness is extended to everyone.
Why do people lie? It isn’t only beacuse they struggle against each other it’s also because there’s something they’re seeking.
Lelouch vi Britannia.
The core of the Machiavellan principles according to that “the ends justifies the means” traspires throughout the opera and early becomes Zero’s and Lelouch way of acting. That way of acting that initially separates him from Suzaku. The same ideology that lead to his sacrifice at the end of the anime. Because results are the most important: a gentler world. And it has no matter if Lelouch is now immortal because his faith was to renouce to his personal life with Nunnaly to bear the burden of the Kings.