I missed you, CLAMP arms and legs.
We kick off a second season of Code Geass this week, and this episode does a pretty good job of living up to the hype. It may have started off with a weird and unexplained timeskip, but they redeemed themselves with a healthy does of plot hints, action, and for the love of all that is holy, Kallen in a bunny girl outfit. Oh yes, it was mighty delicious. If you watched the first season and enjoyed it you can’t miss it.
OP: “02″ by Orange Range
Quite a bit different sounding then say, the first Bleach OP by Orange Range, this one is a lot less hip-hop and more rock. Overall it’s a pretty well done OP which plenty of action, shots of all the characters, and hints of future plot development such as the Geass symbol in the Emperor’s eye.
After a short recap of last season, the episode starts out with C.C. piloting a very large blimp over Tokyo filled with the remnants of the Order of the Black Knights. Back at Ashford Academy, Lelouch attempts to evade capture by Villetta, who is now a teacher at the Academy. With the help of Milly and Rivalz he escapes along with his brother Rollo. On the way to a chess match with his brother, Lelouch muses on the year that has passed since Zero’s rebellion, seemingly having forgotten that he was Zero. We see shots of the current Governor-General executing Elevens and spouting off some racist reasonings for doing so.
Meanwhile, a small, elite Britannian military group is tracking Lelouch as he heads to Babel tower for his chess match, seeking to draw C.C. out. Lelouch and Rollo arrive at the tower and take an elevator up to the gambling floor, noticing how poorly the Elevens are treated here as well. All of a sudden he bumps into Kallen who is serving drinks in a bunny girl outfit (good lord she looks hot), but does not recognize her. She attempts to place what looks like a tracking device on him, but she is grabbed from behind by the big mafia boss. Lelouch, both because of his disgust for how the guy treats her and the fact that he is the chess player he came to play, challenges the boss to a chess match.
Lelouch wipes the floor with the mafia boss, who is none too happy at the result and decides to plant some evidence of cheating and pulls a gun on Lelouch. However, at that time C.C.’s group makes their move and attacks the tower, signaling Kallen to start kicking the crap out of all the mafia guys. The shady looking fellows from before who were tracking Lelouch are ready as well, and launch their own Knightmares.
The Chinese delegation of the consul Gaohai and his guard Li arrive and speak with Carares as the Black Knights begin their assault. Inside, Kallen attempts to drag Lelouch along with her, but the explosions and falling pieces of the building separate them, and Lelouch attempts to escape with his brother. They evade the Brittanians temporarily, but Lelouch gets blown off a ledge by an explosion, and falls into a net several floors below Rollo. On his way back up he runs into C.C., who tells him that she has come to pick him up, and that they had a contract with one another. Also arriving are the Brittanian special forces, who shoot C.C. as Lelouch runs to catch her.
As they begin to burn the bodies, the Brittanian leader tells Lelouch how they have been following him and using him as bait. But now that his job as bait is finished he says Lelouch will be disposed of. Enraged at the concept of dying here without accomplishing anything, Lelouch wishes once again for the power to escape and fight the world. C.C. interrupts him and sits up, kissing him in order to bring him into her world again. She unseals his lost memories and his Geass, and Lelouch stands up to confront his attackers, using his Geass and commanding them to die in the name of Lelouch vi Brittania. They oblige, shooting each other and committing suicide as the Black Knights arrive. The final shots are of the Emperor and three of his Knights, one of which is Suzaku who declares that he will be the one to kill Zero.
Nippon banzai! Yay! Er, well the whole evil white man oppressing the poor Japanese people was a bit heavy in the first half of the episode but that’s to be expected. It’s one of the few parts of this series that keeps me wary being a white guy myself, but it is an important part of the story. As a student of politics and history, I know all too well that the most successful rebellions are those born out of oppression and racism.
CG was never a stellar vehicle for slice of life comedy, but this scene did remind me of the first season antics of the Ashford Student Council. Although seeing as how Lelouch got his powers back quick-like, I don’t think they will spend much time on comedy this time around. That’s a good thing, because there are waaayyyy too many unanswered questions out there, and the action and drama is done much better.
The first of many parallels with the first episode of season one, the Lelouch in these scenes has that same personality that he had before he got his Geass. He is apathetic toward school and his future because to him the world is unchageable and corrupt. He coasts along in life, looking for distractions to kill time, once again choosing chess as a something to fight the boredom.
Uhhh, wait what was this show about again? Dammit once again I was distracted by Kallen in a bunny suit. I kind of zoned out for a minute the first time through this… Ahem, well it’s good to see Lelouch still hates arrogant Brittanians who flaunt their status over Elevens and embrace the survival of the fittest beliefs of the Emperor. His chess game is still in top shape we see.
Oh yeah, thattagirl. A surprise attack is surprise!
Li is the new character I’m looking forward to seeing in action the most. A skilled swordsman and an apparent distate for Brittanians bodes well for future developments. I think Zero and Li would make a great team eh?
It’s good to see Kallen has all of her, uh, assets. And by assets I mean keys to the Gurren, really. I was glad that they wasted no time in giving us mecha action in the latter half of the first episode. I was aware before this aired that there was a timeskip and some sort of memory loss, and I was afraid they were going to spend a couple of episodes meandering around with that and not engage in much action. Thankfully the writers at Sunrise know what people want to see, as well as what sells merchandise and DVDs.
Rollo looks pretty spineless, but we have so little info on him that it’s hard to say. Why the hell didn’t we know he had a brother until just now? Is he just a fake implanted by the Emperor/his cohorts to replace Lelouch’s memories of Nunally? Aside from the events that transpired at the cave at the end of season one, this is my biggest unanswered question. Who is he really?
I also appreciate the fact that we didn’t have to wait 5 episodes for C.C. to come and get Lelouch. The fact that this was all a planned operation to get Zero back dawned on me pretty early, as well as the fact that Lelouch had completely forgotten what happened before. It seems as though C.C. was in charge of things while he was gone and knew that she had to find the perfect moment to retrieve him since he was under surveillance by the elite forces of the Emperor.
An angry Lelouch is an entertaining Lelouch, and the way in which Jun Fukuyama relishes in the words of every emphatic declaration Zero utters makes Lelouch one of my favorite anti-hero protagonists of all time. I eat all this crap up with gusto.
The whole Lelouch and C.C. romance thing was never one of the more interesting parts of the show, because thankfully they didn’t spend much time on it. Their bond is born of necessity and both always realized that they needed the other, and that at the end the only two left standing would be them.
And that question was, “what is the matrix?” Er, wrong show here, but definite parallels to Neo before he was unplugged in The Matrix, whether intentional or not by the writers.
The entire scene with C.C. was an obvious parallel to the final events of the first episode of season one. First C.C. gets shot, and then when the Brittanians are about to kill Lelouch, he becomes angry and wishes for the power to stop them and change the world. He then receives that power and orders them to kill themselves, completing the cycle of the first season in order to remember what he was doing this all for. Also note that the special forces leader gives hints that he knew about the Geass, as between the order and the Geass going into effect he said something along the lines of “What? Don’t tell me…” One wonders just how many people out there know about the Geass, because a lot seems to have transpired in a year.
Ah I missed you arrogant, long-legged Zero, what did I ever do without you? Waste no time, my friend, start up on those silly Brittanians. This scene also appears to show (by the presence of an unmasked Zero with Kallen and some other Black Knight), that Zero’s identity as a Brittanian has been revealed to the Order and seemingly accepted by them enough to come back and rescue him. One would assume some of them also know about the Geass, Kallen especially since she encountered him face to face.
The overly idealistic character we love to hate returns, this time apparently a super elite knight of the Emperor and much less friendly after a year. One would hope he still hasn’t forgiven Lelouch for blowing away his woman, the ever irritating Euphie, and seeks to destroy him for good.
ED: “Shiawase Neiro” by Orange Range
I’m not a big fan of the music side of this ED, but I suppose it suits the softer tone of most EDs. However, the art stills are definitely to my liking, showing well drawn pictures of several of the main characters. This includes V.V. in pose with the Emperor, another sugguestion of the Geass power hinted at in the OP? The best shot was a very Yuko-looking C.C., which shouldn’t be too surprising considering these are CLAMP designs.
Looks like Zero is wasting no time staging a quick comeback and assault on the Brittanian forces and their new douchebag Governor-General. Also hints of some Li action, the pimp-looking Chinese dude with a sword.
Well that about wraps it up for this week. Lots of questions still up in the air aside from what I already mentioned, such as what happened to some of the other characters (Cornelia, Lakshata, and my buddy Diethard for instance). I am a rabid fanboy of this series, so you won’t see the satire you experienced with THAT’s previous coverage of a Sunrise show (I don’t have the ability to do so as Crusader does anyways). However, do expect lots of shots of Kallen looking delicious and Lelouch strutting around or laughing manically. Until next time…