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Code Geass R2 Final Thoughts

Finally finished Code Geass, so a couple of additional notes on top of my previous comments:

The final six episodes, and the final 4 in particular, completely pull it back together and more or less save the whole thing. It’s where the series was, and should have been, going from the beginning, and a fantastic closing act. Even the mech fighting gets interesting again for the most part, including a final duel sans-flying, which was far cooler than any of the rest of the supermecha overload. Lelouch gets a nice, hard fight and to pull two vicious, carefully-planned blindsides, one of which is, indeed, the best in the series. His ultimate plan—which wasn’t where I necessarily expected the series to go until late in the game, but made perfect sense and was was satisfyingly decipherable—was characteristically unsympathetic and merciless in its execution. One hell of a finale—in some ways literally—to be sure.

It’s also painfully obvious that with minor adjustment the end segment could have immediately followed the first two seasons and the series wold have been better for it. Almost more annoying, the glut of new characters introduced during the filler in the first two thirds of R2, and some of the filler plot, made it impossible to just say “skip the first 18 episodes of R2″—there’s only a few good bits, but you’d feel like you missed as much as you actually had.  It also glossed over several decent sub-plots in a montage near the end that could easily have been more interesting than most of the fanservice-heavy filler.

In closing, two heavily spoiler-riffic comments that are mostly musing to myself, though if anybody has a good answer I’d love to hear it:

One, the series seemed to go a little soft at the end, letting far more characters survive—happily, even—than I was expecting. I’m actually not at all one for tragedy—I much prefer happy endings—but this series had laid on the melodrama so thick that having it get nice to so many in the huge main cast seemed out of character. I expect it was yet another cave to fans (as with the rest of the fanservice in R2) but really, it wasn’t necessary and took away a little of the impact. I will confess to being happy the maid lived, but the double-twist with Nunally was somewhere between a twist of the knife and far too kind. Not quite sure which, really, though if nothing else it served to demonstrate Lelouch’s dedication to doing something decent (on a large scale) at any cost.

Two, which follows from that, is what we were meant to infer from C.C.’s comment in the last shot. You could assume that she’s talking to dead people again, but I’m guessing not. On the one hand, having Lelouch live takes a lot of the punch out of the end. On the other, I’ll buy that, presuming he is alive, he had no other choice to grant C.C.’s end of the bargain, and he was not the type to go back on his word. The question, then, becomes mindset; certainly he was willing to put his life on the line from the beginning, so he wasn’t exactly the save-his-own-skin type regardless of how many backup plans he kept handy, at some point he seemed to develop a death wish, accepting that as punishment for his sins, and in addition to attempting to sacrifice himself for the greater good at least once he even attempted to exile himself to an eternal, undying purgatory.

Now, had Nunally been dead, living (in fact, being unable to die) would have been a most fitting punishment, and that’s where I had been expecting it to go. If she’d lived and he died, that also would be appropriately fitting. Since they both (presumably) lived, though, there’s real question of why he would have accepted survival. Possibilities:

Did he stay alive for the sole reason of granting C.C.’s wish, condemning himself to exile in a world where he can have contact with no one else, ever? That’s acceptable self-punishment, and I’d accept that as motivation fitting for his character.

Or, do we read it as a semi-happy end for him—if so, that’s just weak, and doesn’t really align with his character. If we further interpret the folded crane to mean that he talked to Nunally before exiling himself, that’s even lamer. He wasn’t the half-assed type, and it’d mean he would burden his sister with the knowledge he was immortal and exiled.

Personally, given the horrors he willingly wrought, and that he seemed increasingly burdened by them as he went “more good,” I’ll chose to believe that, assuming he’s alive, it’s still punishment for him (particularly once C.C. eventually dies and he is truly alone). It’s in character and the end emotionally works better that way, too.

Of course, given the pandering the series already succumbed to, there is this nagging feeling that they wanted to leave a loophole for another sequel. That, certainly, would be lame, and Pizza Hut says it’s probably the truth.

5 Responses to “Code Geass R2 Final Thoughts”

  1. Savan Says:

    More Spoilerrific-ness!!!

    I think your thoughts on this pretty much align with mine, but maybe (just brainstorming) the crane was something C.C. kept for a memoir of Nunally? Seems kinda unlikely though, given the lack of on-screen build and evidence of closeness between the two of them.

    Regarding Lelouch, I think the most likely reason for him to have so many back-up plans is just for the purpose of promoting his strategy. Since, what good is dying if your plan hasn’t finished yet? For him, saving the world in his way is just as important as living a little while longer to tell their most beloved person ‘goodbye’. I can see him ((maybe it’s the fangirl in me)) having developed a little more than the feeling of ‘stay with you and grant you your wish’ for C.C.’s purpose, I like to think that its also a little bit for himself. Though, in light of his willing-ness for self-punishment, it seems less likely. Although, maybe that was something that could not have been avoided, and he -had- to risk eternal purgatory in order to prevent the antagonist’s progression. I’m not sure he would have asked C.C. to do what she offered to do if he knew about it, since he probably would have guessed it was possible, and since he didn’t ask, he thusly wouldn’t have asked.

    I can’t help but feel a little bad for C.C. since she’s certainly sustained a bit of a crack to her psyche. For her sake, (and the tiny cheering voice for Lelouch) I hope the crane is a memoir of Nunally for him, and that C.C. isn’t just talking to people who aren’t really there.

    Let me know your thoughts ^_~*

    p.s. – I also hope that there is no R3, it’s nice to have an opening like that for fan collaborations and brainstorming etc (like this), but I think the ending was brilliant. Painful as Hell’s Fire, but brilliant. I cried so hard so long during the last two episodes, and in several other places in the series. I usually don’t like such melancholy, but this time, I was charmed by the story and Lelouch kept me coming back for more of his plans and acts. I wonder how much business Pizza Hut got off of this series, courtesy C.C. and the student council?

  2. otakubaka Says:

    God Geass R2 was amazing! One of the best anime ever!

  3. Marc Says:

    (Yay, actual comments of substance instead of endless spam!)

    From a pure fanboy (in my case) perspective, sure it’s nice to have Lelouch survive and maybe even get to be a little happy living with C.C. But that’s not the point; Code Geass is all about the tragedy, and if he lives (relatively) happily ever after (somewhat literally), that’s not near tragic enough. If he gets to say a goodbye to Nunally and she knows he’s ok, even less so. No, it’s tragic if he is willingly killing himself as part of the plan, and all his friends/minions don’t realize it until it’s too late. THAT’S tragedy.

    Further, from the perspective that Lelouch is the ultimate strategist willing to make ANY sacrifice–which was kind of the whole point–having him willingly sacrifice himself as the culmination of his master plan is the ultimate exclamation point. It’s the pure, grinning selflessness of turning himself into the most hated man on the planet and having himself killed without anybody (except Orange–gotta love his epilogue job) knowing that he did it for the sake of everyone but him. Awesome as a plan, and powerful tragedy. Even more so if nobody at all knew it, and went on thinking he was truly the villain.

    I also disagree hugely that the end was brutal; on the contrary it got downright nice. The end of the first series, THAT was brutal. But on top of bringing Nunally back from the dead pretty much EVERY major character survived, and most even ended up being happy. Ohgi/Villetta, nearly the entire school, heck, even Chen Xin (however your’e supposed to spell that) lived, and he was doomed from minute one. Frankly, given how unsparing it’d been to that point and how many minor to mid-level characters got mopped up in the big showdown, I was downright disappointed in how kind it was to the cast.

    I note that I’m not big on melancholy either–I actually MUCH prefer happy ends–but if you’re going to do tragedy, go all-out. Oh, I do agree that there’s no reason Nunally would’ve given C.C. a crane if Lelouch wasn’t there–despite being around the same house Nunally barely knew she existed.

  4. www.janime.tv Says:

    what a twist

  5. giandude Says:

    The end was pretty cool. Lelouch comes back and is a jerk about it. He also finally has Suzaku on his side. Although here is the problem; is Lelouch always on the good side or is Suzaku always on the bad side? If Lelouch ends up like kira and dead at the end of the series that will be a huge let down. I want to see some compelling motivates from characters and good story. I can give them a pass for these last two episodes as long as it ends on a bitchin’ note. This episode is a little better then the last episode but dang is it not why I liked this show in the first place.