Code Geass 18: Spiralling downwards?

No pictures this time. Nightspeed’s subs (or my laptop) won’t behave and the episode didn’t run smoothly, so I’m not motivated enough to look for screenshots. Let me just start be saying my feelings for this episode are conflicted, and I am both glad and resentful of the amount of time allotted to an anime episode in general. More details on this after the jump.

Summary: The Gefjun Disturbers succeeded in disabling the Tokyo Settlement as well as any Knightmare Frames from the 5th generation and below, but that does not mean things will go smoothly for the Black Knights. Schneizel predicted the final battle would be in Tokyo and stationed his forces there beforehand. Brittania’s sixth generation Knightmare Frames, the Gareths, were also stationed to guard the Governor building and that put another wrench in Zero’s plans to rescue Nunally. While Suzaku did not immediately sortie on the Lancelot, Nina tries to do it herself, claiming that with the FCC she would be able to make it to the Governor building and fire the Freyja. Suzaku then enters and asks her if she had the will to fire the Freyja as well as the will not to do so. Meanwhile, Gino makes to sortie in the Tristan.

Upon entering the Settlement premises, Zero’s Shinkirou is immediately accosted by Suzaku’s Lancelot, who demands him to cease the attack on grounds that the Lancelot was equipped with a tactical nuclear warhead. Zero does not believe this and with Jeremiah and Guilford’s help, manages to temporary immobilize Suzaku. The Tristan arrives shortly afterwards and frees him, however. On another front, Asahina and Chiba are stumped themselves as they are confronted by a division of airborne Gareths in a battle for control of the Govenor building’s airspace. The Black Knight’s initiative is now lost, but Zero’s plans to rescue Nunally continues with Rolo’s unhindered infiltration of the building. The latter, however, plans to kill Nunally so as to assert his position as Lelouch’s only brother.

As Zero’s battle continues in a stalemate, Anya appears and challenges the Shinkirou’s absolute shields with a point-blank Hadron cannon blast. Before the shield gave out, Anya is again struck by a strange headache somehow affiliated with the power of Geass, and the Mordred drops out of battle. Zero does not have much time to rejoice, as the Shinkirou is immediately trapped by Bradley’s Valkyrie unit, while the Vampire himself threatens to break the worn-down shield and take Zero’s life.

While all this was happening, Nunally is brought to an escape shuttle and is set to escape once the Gefjun disturbers are destroyed. Sayoko manages to locate Kallen and help her to launch in the improved Guren, labeled Gurren SEITEN 8 by Lloyd and Cecile themselves. With a significant upgrade in speed, armor and destructive capabilities, Kallen makes her way to Zero just in time to save him and then promptly dispatches of Bradley with the Guren’s overwhelming power. However, the Black Knights are facing casualties as well. The Gefjun disturbers have been destroyed, power is restored to the Governor building, and Kinoshita is killed in battle. Moreover, the Emperor’s flagship seems to be approaching Area 11 from the Pacific Ocean. Though Schneizel claims that Charles himself will not arrive at the scene of battle, this puts a dent in the Black Knights’ morale. Apparently unbeknownst to this, Toudou leads his squad to directly assault Schneizel’s flagship, only to be interrupted by Asahina, who claims he has Kinoshita’s testimony on Zero’s actions that proves that he can not be trusted. The latter is inside the Governor building and on his way to arrest Rolo, who has already gained access to one of the Knightmare Frames set to guard Nunally’s ship when she makes her escape.

With all the pieces moving according to his plan, Zero hastily orders Kallen to take down Suzaku, the only remaining nuisance. The Lancelot was completely outclassed and is soon incapacitated. Suzaku then accepts that it is his fate to die then and there, but just as Kallen’s blow arrives, Lelouch’s Geass kicks in and Suzaku manages to escape and fire the Freyja, which explodes in the air above the Governor building. As the weapon detonates, the building is completely engulfed in its blast (whose primary area of effect has a 1300m spherical radius from detonation point) and the people inside are all killed, including Asahina, Sayoko and most importantly, Nunally herself. Lelouch heads directly to the blast radius but is saved by Guilford, who sacrifices himself to push the Shinkirou away from the blast. After the collapse effect finishes, Lelouch contacts Rolo and asks to speak to Nunally, but Rolo only confirms the fact that she is dead. Lelouch then bursts out in rage, calling Rolo a liar, before weakly repeating his request…

Thoughts: Let me just clarify what I said at the beginning of this post. I loved the episode for the action and the way it works itself up to the grand finale. However, I didn’t like the fact that the strategic aspects of the battle was merely skimmed over and not explored properly. What is the significance of taking Tokyo? To establish the fact that Area 11 is free from Brittanian influence. By removing the Governor, Britannia’s symbol of power, the Black Knights aim to liberate their homeland on the first step towards creating world free from Britannia’s dominance. At least, that is what Zero promises them. However, was any of this really seen in the episode? Apart from capturing the Governor, are there not other things to do if one wishes to change the balance of power in a nation? What about taking down enemy communications? Putting troops to occupy major production facilities? Were the Black Knights not planning on taking over Tokyo and setting it up as their new base of operations (I assume liberate to mean they plan on doing something else after taking out Brittanian occupation, not just the literal meaning)? Apparently not. The amount of troops brought to this battle is pathetic for a conquering army and makes it feel more like a rescue mission. I may be wrong, but looking at the episode, I’d say the only fighters the Black Knights had for this operation are Zero, Guilford, Jeremiah, Toudou, Asahina, Chiba, Kinoshita and a few of their squad members (very few in fact, they are just not shown!). Oh wait, there’s Tamaki, who acts as a final backup. But when the Black Knights have to rely on Tamaki for something, I’d say their backs are really facing the wall then. How could this happen after barely an hour of combat? (I’m no expert on comparing Anime time vs. Real time, but I think the 2nd battle of Tokyo should not have lasted more than 1 hour at most) If I recall correctly, the forces that invaded Tokyo were comprised of the Ikaruga and two other battleships. The Ikaruga has the capacity to hold a good deal more KFs than was shown in this episode (recall the Chinese Federation Arc, the pursuit episode).

Though I am more than aware a lot of these details were left out due to lack of time (and that’s why I am resentful for the limited time they give to Anime episodes) and to concentrate more on the central events in this episode, I remain a bit unhappy about this. Still, I must respect the script writers and Sunrise for keeping me entertained even after all these omissions. I liked the flow of the episode, the setting up (I knew something drastic would happen when Lelouch dismissed Suzaku’s claim that he had the Freyja aboard Lancelot), the battles and the irony of it all. All the things Lelouch did until now, every word he said, every order he issued in this episode served to bring about his own sister’s demise, the one person for whom he fights. If I said the ruin of Lelouch and Suzaku’s friendship last episode was a tragedy, this is even worse. In Lelouch’s haste to save Nunally, he brought about her doom when he ordered Kallen to take Suzaku out.

I feel sorry for Nunally. Normally I don’t take a stance when it comes to weak (physically), naive and idealistic characters, but I tend to feel and act the opposite of what my peers do. Euphemia and Nunally, if left well enough alone, could very well reach a compromise between Brittanians and the Japanese. The fact that they are both Britannians might hinder this fact, but it won’t completely ruin their plans like what Lelouch did. Both times his actions were not wholly based on his judgment (or his judgment was impaired), but the fact remains that he caused their deaths, directly (in Euphie’s case) or indirectly. Now that the characters who represent a peaceful way of thinking are all dead in this show, I can’t help but think it will spiral ever downwards into chaos and destruction. I will still enjoy it, but now that the limiter is removed, I expect even more carnage than before.

A bit late for this, but I don’t know where to put it: I really enjoyed the banter between Kallen and Gino in this episode. While I didn’t like Gino at all before (all the BL tendencies… ugh), he’s shown in this episode and the last that he can be quite decent. He’s a good friend to Suzaku, a decent opponent who respects his foes and is far more honourable than someone like Bradley could ever be. I’m glad the latter died such a painful and pitiful death. Gino’s philosophy is that of one who lives in the present. Though he and Kallen exchanged pleasantries off the battlefield earlier and both respected the other as a warrior, he does not let such things impair his judgment. There is no happiness at seeing a familiar face or sorrow at having to fight its owner on the battlefield, there is only the present battle to be enjoyed. Gino does not lose his emotions but reserves them for a more peaceful context, where he can laugh and joke with his friends and all that jazz… ok that was far longer than I expected. In conclusion, Gino = not a bad chap. Done.

Thoughtless rants: The Gurren SEITEN 8 is soooo coool!!! I love the way Kallen just nonchalantly kills off Lelouch’s captors and reports for duty like nothing happened. Go Kallen! Also notice that she, like Gino, does not let her emotions run rampant on the battlefield (no “Oh Lelouch I’ve missed you” or something sappy like that. It’s pure business with Kallen) and prefers to live in the moment, following what she believes in. Maybe that’s why she and Gino get along… ok this was supposed to be thoughtless.

On another note: yay Sayoko finally bit the dust! I liked the mysterious maid character, but they could have made her a hitwoman instead of a ninja and it would be so much cooler. Ninja maids are creepy, and I’m glad she’s out of the picture now. No more silly ninja antics! Now serious business only (insert Indian accent here).

Tamaki = useless. I didn’t mention him in the summary for a reason. He’s comic relief, but bad comic relief. The decision to keep him in the Black Knights and not have him assigned to guard some country is beyond me and has me questioning Lelouch’s logic.

I don’t bite into this C.C = moe and loli = power thing. Just wanted to confirm that.

Why isn’t Rolo dead yet?

Ok that’s enough. Shutting up now.


2 Responses to “Code Geass 18: Spiralling downwards?”

  1. 1 Charz 11 August, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Yeah. Gurren Seiten is fantastic. Really nice design.

  2. 2 gookiefish 15 August, 2008 at 4:01 am

    This episode was indeed very exciting, and I have to say one of the best episodes in a while – and no, I’m not just saying that because Nunally died.

    I agree with the points made about the battle – they could have put a tad more thought into making it more believeable, though realistically (as mentioned) time constraints and audience appeal prevent them from doing so – it is the drama that occurs during/along with the battle that grips the audience, so they (generalising here) hardly notice or are bothered the inconsistencies within the finer mechanics of the thing.

    I am very pleased that Bradley bit the dust. It’s a pity that Suzaku couldn’t join him – but I guess as one of the major protagonists they can’t kill him off yet and he has that irritating geass to ‘live’ on him. Pity.
    I didn’t have anything against’s kind of a shame she died. I always kept forgetting about her, and then was like…wait, who’s that? Oh, it’s just the ninja maid.^^ I thought she was pretty cool actually – she has that ‘purely business’ approach, like Kallen – but she lacked substance of character. Well, I guess that was the point, but still, it made her a little boring. All the maid fans will be disappointed, though the episode compensated in fan service by entertaining us with Kallen’s breasts (that poor girl is going to have back problems). No scantily clad C.C shots though…
    Anyway, getting distracted here.
    I’m not going to rant about how wonderful it is that Nunally finally died [Yes, I’m heartless and unlike No Sushi, I don’t have any sympathy for the weak and naive characters] though it’s not all good news because I’m sure Lelouch is going to be quite pathetic for the next few episodes. Is the descent into madness imminent? Methinks so. Well Rollo missed his chance to kill Nunnally, but this probably means his life will be prolonged for a bit longer as Lelouch is still clueless about Rollo’s ulterior motives – which continues to amaze me after the Shirley incident.

    The Knights of the Rounds had a lot of screentime in this episode, and aside from Bradley getting his ass whipped by Kallen (GO KALLEN!) and Suzaku’s shameful shenanigans, there was Anya’s interesting (albeit brief) entry and exit from the battlefield. They better explain what the hell is going on with her and that geass, as well as who she is really is before the season ends otherwise I’m going to be really mad. [For no apparent reason, I’ve decided I like Anya. She’s a loli character with guts, unlike the weak and naive ones]. I agree that Gino has grown on me first I also thought he was going to be an annoying BL character, but I’ve enjoyed his interactions with Kallen and think of all the Britannians Knights, he has the cleanest track record.

    Last thing I’m going to say is…KALLEN RULES! Seriously, she is the one of the few likeable character in this series that hasn’t completely lost the plot. I love her approach, her attitude and her ability to kick ass in battle. All hail Kallen!

    With that, I rest my case. Sayonara.

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