Code Geass 17: The stage is set

Before I begin, let me just do a completely irrelevant take on HD anime and movies:

My friends call me a quality freak, since I only download high quality anime files (.avi and then .mkv files after the latter became more widespread) despite the huge size and the strain it would inevitably have on my school’s limited bandwidth. Mkv files look gorgeous on my laptop, and even better on the HD-TV at home. Heck, even Rumbel’s Soul Eater subs (.avi files) look beautiful on the big screen. My only gripe right now is the fact that my laptop is not strong enough to handle big .mkv files, and they stick quite often (VLC doesn’t display the subs, which crosses out my only alternative right now). Other than that, it’s awesome!

This post is about Code Geass R2 though, so I’ll get right back to the topic…

Summary: A more detailed account of the episode’s content will be addressed when I type up my personal thoughts, so I’m gonna keep this short. This is another episode used to set up for the upcoming final battle, though quite a lot of developments happened within the episode itself. We learn that the battle to liberate Japan may well be the one that decides the fate of the world, as explained by Kaguya and Bismarck at the beginning of the episode. The episode follows two major fronts, one being the Black Knight’s first wave of offense against Britannian forces protecting Area 11’s borders, and the other one being Lelouch’s encounter with Suzaku. Eventually these two fronts converge and the main focus of the attack is revealed : a direct assault to the Tokyo Settlement mounted by Ikaruga and the main Black Knight generals themselves!

Commentaries:

Episode 17 does not contain any major revelations (unless you count the fact that Schneizel finally heard about the power of Geass from Suzaku as a major revelation for him) but a lot of explanations are thrown around, and a mini-tragedy unfolds… Well, here goes:

The middle-aged man

The middle-aged man

...and the killer loli

...and the killer loli

I personally am a sucker for this kind of juxtaposition of characters. Not because I’m a fan of middle-aged or loli characters, but because I love seeing the strategists from both sides deducing the enemies’ strategies and announcing their own before a battle. In this case, they are just talking about the significance of the battle to liberate Japan, but that’s good enough. Though I doubt an army the size of the Black Knight’s right now could be mobilized on such short notice, I’m willing to let it pass for the sake of entertainment. That said, I’m quite satisfied with the explanation given by the two leaders on the importance of this battle. Lelouch has managed to create a counter-balance to Britannia’s military might, but the longer he tries to maintain it, the less likely he is to completely overthrow the Brittanian rule over the world. That is not to mention armies from different countries have different fighting styles and strategies, their teamwork is definitely inferior to that of the Brittanian army elites, sent to guard Area 11. The Black Knight’s attack is a wager with enormous stakes at hand. Win the battle, and a massive landslide effect will occur, causing revolutions to spring up in Brittanian colonies (much like the liberation of many countries at the end of the colonial period in the real world) which will very likely change the course the world will go in. The United Federation could act as our UN and insane amounts of countries will spring up seemingly out of nowhere. This could lead to the world Sunrise has created become very much alike to our world at present. It could also be that after the Brittanian Empire is taken down from its throne, the United Federation will become the new bloc that governs the world (much less likely to happen due to the UF being a gathering of different countries in the first place). But I digress.

To talk about the future, the Black Knights must first win the battle. The feat is not as easy as it sounds, since there are some rather unpredictable elements that could change any well thought out plan: the wildcards that include the Knights of Round on the Brittanian front, and Xing Ke, Toudou, Jeremiah, Guilford, and Karen on the Black Knights. Out of all these characters, the one I dislike the most would definitely be:

Sadistic, much?

Sadistic, much?

Enter King Bradley, I mean Bradley-kyou, the vampire of Brittania, and current no.1 on my Code Geass most unsavoury character. Since his appearance in the last episode, he has establish himself as a sadist, a warmonger, and a heartless bastard all in one. I don’t hate him, for a man like him definitely has a place in the Brittanian army. In fact, Bradley is sometimes necessary in carrying out ruthless missions that no one else is able to do. He is sadistic, but not overly arrogant. His abilities merited him a place in the Knights of Round, so he is definitely no pushover. From his brief fight scenes within this battle, he has proven himself to be efficient and pragmatic, perhaps even overly so. What really ticked me off about the guy is the fact that he is willing to sacrifice a damaged friendly airship to damage the Black Knight’s control vessel. Though his reasoning may be sound in a completely robotic perspective, it doesn’t sit well with me that a human being can make such a decision so lightly, or even enjoy it like he did.

Brutal, efficient and a powerful asset to an army? Yes.

Ability to be a major thorn in Lelouch’s operations in the future? 9/10

Chance of death before the end of the season: High 70s, low 80s. Bradley’s character is most likely also very persistent and perhaps even suicidal. While this will put him in many life threatening situations, his attitude will probably get him out of a good bunch of them. I believe he will die before this is all over, though.

On another note, Lelouch’s meeting with Suzaku didn’t go quite as I had expected. The first indication came from this:

The black crow, never a sign of good luck. It seems Lelouch and Suzaku’s friendship is a cursed one. Definitely more tragic than the one between Kira and Athrun in Gundam Seed in my opinion

And then this:

This snapshot made me cringe, as I can see the connotations and I don’t enjoy seeing them at all.

BL fans are probably divided in their ranks here, since this here screen indicates a more SuzaLulu approach than the opposite 😛

Lelouch and Suzaku got off on the wrong foot (quite literally) at the beginning, starting from when Suzaku mentioned Euphemia’s name. Struck by guilt, Lelouch admitted to all of Suzaku’s accusations of his sins (even to the ones he didn’t commit, or did so by accident). Lelouch probably everything was as good as his fault, especially Shirley’s death, and makes no effort to explain to Suzaku about it. Good thing Suzaku’s not an idiot, and he realizes Lelouch is lying (though he doesn’t really know the full story). By telling Lelouch to make his lie a reality, Suzaku is willing to give him a second chance. Though he says it is only for Nunally’s sake, I believe Suzaku also desires peace and a place amongst his friends, and his ideals are coming back to him.

All people deserve a second chance. So Suzaku has given Lelouch his 2nd chance. Now why won’t people give this kid one?

This snapshot took me ~20 tries to get. Damn VLC

But alas, the supposed strongest alliance between Zero and Lancelot was not to be. If it were to happen, the Black Knights would not have to worry about Freyja being fired and many lives would definitely be saved. Many lives can still be saved, but the chances are less than 100% now that Lelouch feels he has been betrayed by Suzaku yet again. The mini-tragedy I mentioned lies here, where the two friends lost their only chance at reconcilation, thanks to Schneizel’s cunning plan. By arresting Lelouch at this point, Schneizel hopes to achieve one goal: to stop the war from happening. Devious as he is, Schneizel is not bloodthirsty and would much rather see cooperation than dominion. If his operations in Europe were not indication enough, his offer to spare Lelouch’s life is another sign that he does not enjoy the sight of bloodshed. Personally I think Schneizel was speaking the truth when he addressed Lelouch in the car, but blinded by rage and by a newfound conviction, Lelouch chose not to listen to this alternative (not to mention all the repercussions it would cause to Zero’s followers). Fortunately, Zero has a back-up plan…

Ooh, creepy. But pure genius at the same time

Rather than taking his chances with Guilford by trying to convince him using Cornelia, Lelouch used his Geass on her Knight to ensure that he would serve him. Bounded by the Geass’ rule of one, Lelouch thought to disguise himself in Guilford’s eyes as Princess Cornelia to ensure that his orders on the loyal knight are absolute. I like this escape plan, as no one would expect Guilford to turn traitor. Though if he didn’t show up, Lelouch would be in a dire situation.

Your screams won’t reach him when there’s someone else shooting at him at the same time, Suzaku.

Lelouch’s inner monologue saying that Suzaku is his first and final friend really bothers me. It indicates that Lelouch has completely close himself off to the world, caring for nothing and nobody else but his objective. I cannot help but think Lelouch’s reasoning will become impaired thanks to this chain of events, and though he made an impressive return to Tokyo along with the Black Knights’ main force including the Ikaruga, he will probably never be the same again. I now wonder how much of his humanity Lelouch is able to keep after all these soul-tearing events, losing the people close to him one by one like that. Only time will tell, but I’m going to take this as an indication of the worse coming before the good (if the latter ever decides to show up):

Lelouch enters full-blown evil overlord mode. Transform!

Smile for the camera, Maou-sama! Oy, get rid of those tears, they make you look unmanly!

Despite the comment, I think the tears are a good sign. He hasn’t completely lost it, or he would have become someone like Bradley. That would have been very bad. There was supposed to be more commentaries made on other stuff happening in this episode, but I feel Lelouch’s story merits more attention than the rest, so I’m gonna end this commentary section with another evil face:

All your cards are belong to us!

I can’t decide who looks more evil…

Ending thoughts: Well aside from the huge scene the betrayal made in this episode, everything else gives me this uneasy feeling that’s hard to shrug off. Too much is at stake, and too many things could go wrong:

Diethard may have kidnapped Viletta to ensure that Ougi behaves, but I’m afraid it’s only going to cause more problems for the Black Knights.

Suzaku is sent on one guilt trip after another in this episode when he inadvertently betrayed his friend and was forced to tell Schneizel about the Geass. With such an unstable state of mind, I doubt he will be able to shoulder the responsibility of carrying the Freyja. Hang in there, Suzaku, at least know that you’re a better chocie than Bradley!

What exactly will Kallen say to Gino’s offer? I expect a flat out no, but how else will she return to the battlefield but to play along?

Having learned of the Geass, Schneizel becomes an even more potent opponent. The odds are against Lelouch this time. What is your move, Zero?

I also have a really, really bad feeling about Lelouch sending Rolo to get Nunally. Having seen what he did to Shirley, I wonder why Lelouch is willing to put his sister at the risk of this unstable killer?

Those are some random, coherent thoughts that sprung up while I watched the episode (I didn’t count ones like “Oh shit Galahad’s sword is so cool!” or “Why are Kallen’s breasts so big?). I must admit, that is a lot of relevant details put into an episode where the main focus is undoubtedly Lelouch’s story. I really enjoyed the episode, especially Lelouch’s actions in it. For a person under heavy duress (the stress of organizing and commanding a war and Nunally’s safety weighing down on his mind), his severe reaction to Suzaku’s “betrayal” is not surprising. It is a preordained event prepared by the script writers, and therein lies the tragedy. No matter how much Lelouch desired  to trust in others and to find his place with his friends, he is doomed to be perceived as a sinner and to have his close ones taken away from him. Euphemia, Shirley, C.C and now Suzaku have all been snatched away by foreign factors. Lelouch is walking the knife’s edge right now, and I would hate to see him fall from grace again after coming this far. Still, the ending still 7-9 episodes away, and a lot of things can happen in that time. Here’s hoping Code Geass will continue to entertain and surprise me as it has done to this point.

PS: Oh and before I end this post:

Is anyone else of the opinion that this personification of Empoleon looks like Lelouch?

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2 Responses to “Code Geass 17: The stage is set”


  1. 1 point09micron 5 August, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Empoleon has a Black Knights logo on his face. OH GEASS NO!

  2. 2 gookiefish 7 August, 2008 at 3:48 am

    Well it’s pretty hard to follow up such an insanely long and detailed commentary as that ‘cos you pretty much said it all. It was nice to be able to read this post right after watching the episode. Good work with the screenshots!

    I share most of your opinions, particularly those regarding Bradley, Lelouch and Suzaku. I personally hate Suzaku, as many of you may well know, but I am quite concerned for Lulu. He’s beginning to appear more and more like Light (Death Note) with those cracks of insanity promising to emerge, as well as having one of his biggest rivals as his only friend. In the end, Light was able to kill L, but will Lelouch kill Suzaku? Or will it be the other way around? (I would just die if that was the case – Suzaku as the final judgement? Yuck – he’s even worse than Lelouch in my book).
    What irritates me though, is that Lelouch refuses to acknowledge anyone other than Suzaku as his friend, but in my opinion there are other people who have been better friends to Lelouch than Suzaku..though I suppose these are people he met after becoming Zero so all his relationships henceforth were viewed as being part of his plan.

    I also agree about Rollo. I’m actually wondering whether there’s more to Lelouch’s plan to rescue Nunally then meets the eye, because surely he wouldn’t be that reckless (particularly because we all know how Rollo feels about Nunally). However, I suppose his judgement is not at its best at the moment, given that he just tried to trust Suzaku which majorly backfired. I wouldn’t care that much if she died anyway, gven that I find her intensely annoying, but that would have drastic implications on Lelouch.

    Anyway, it seems the action will only continue in the next episode, so I guess we can all look forward to that. I wonder if it will merit a post rival to No Sushi’s again? Let’s hope so ^^


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