I’ve been trying to do something other than reviews for a while now but time and creativity have been scant so nothing came of it until now.
As the title says, this is intended to be a series of posts to appreciate anime characters that have made a lasting impression on me. I’m going by series for now since that seems easier but I expect there will be mixed posts somewhere down the line if I manage to continue this. Needless to say, the five here are also my top five favorite characters from Code Geass.
I watched Code Geass because I was suffering from Death Note withdrawal and it showed up in a lot of recommendations. I’ve never been particularly into mecha (except Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann because that show’s great) but Code Geass, with its psychological elements and unusual hero, sucked me in instantly. Unfortunately, this meant I ended up with Code Geass withdrawal soon afterwards but heh, it got me back into anime so I’m not complaining. Now, onwards to the post.
(Reader Beware: Spoilers Await)
01 Lelouch vi Britannia
“I must spill yet more blood, so the blood already spilt will not be in vain.“
0 points to D for originality. But I usually tend to like the protagonist best (unless they’re wastes of space like Mirai Nikki’s Yukiteru) and when the protagonist is a magnificent, manipulative anti-hero, it’s extremely easy to like him. Lelouch, in the beginning, is an ordinary high-school student who also just happens to be a prince of the world’s most powerful regime. A series of unfortunate events grants him the ability – the titular Geass – to mentally manipulate people into obeying his commands and he promptly proceeds to organize an armed revolution against his hated homeland.
That’s enough of the character info, let me tell you why he’s a favorite of mine. Lelouch is pretty much the embodiment of everything that makes up Code Geass, i.e, fun, campy, borderline insane and fabulous as all fuck. There’s not a dull moment whenever he shows up on screen whether it’s concerned with guess-game strategies or giant robots juggling giant pizzas. I like unheroic protagonists and Lelouch certainly fits the bill. His intentions from the beginning are anything but noble. He has no issues with using people and though he does try to take care of them, at the end of the day his priorities are his sister and his own vengeance. Even all the carnage he has intentionally and unintentionally caused, including the deaths of his friend’s father and his own half-sister, does not deter him from his crusade against Britannia. His growth throughout the story, from a revenge-obsessed prince to resistance leader to enemy of the world and its questionable savior is fascinating and at times frustrating. He’s a contradictory mess; ruthless but compassionate, selfish but sacrificing, malicious but benevolent. And I just really like the guy, especially his crazy strategies that are immensely ridiculous but highly entertaining all the same.
“Without death, all we have are random events, accumulation, you can’t call that life!”
To be honest, I find it hard to choose between C.C and Lelouch but I guess Lelouch’s wins by a tiny margin. My first impression of C.C, from that early scene where she meets Lelouch, was pretty inaccurate. She seemed like an unimpressive, docile girl who conveniently gave the main character super-powers. That opinion didn’t last long once she took on a more active role in the story. An immortal who wishes to die after existing for such a long time, C.C bestows people with the power of Geass in the hopes that they’ll kill her in return. Her desire to die is strong enough that she goes along with the main villains’ plan, though rather resignedly.
In the beginning, C.C is understandably indifferent to pretty much everything and helps Lelouch only because she can’t afford to have him die on her before fulfilling her wish. Through the course of the series, she seems to develop a degree of affection for others, mainly Lelouch. But despite her apathy, C.C is a great character for her snarky remarks, unruffled demeanor and occasional moments of vulnerability. She’s mischievous at times and often willful. There’s the sense that she’s just coasting through life, enjoying it as much she’s capable of (which isn’t much), while waiting for it to come to an end. If she’s lonely, she seems to have become accustomed to it. While I usually like growth and development in characters, C.C’s appeal is that even after all the shit that goes down in the series, most of which directly involves her, she’s largely unchanged by the end. Not entirely unaffected but it’s nonetheless just another chapter, albeit an important one, in her long life. Hers is a melancholic existence, yet another example of the less glamorous side of immortality.
(Also, she’s obsessed with pizza and how can I not love a girl who loves pizza that much?)
03 Cornelia li Britannia
“Guilford, don’t treat me as though I’m another one of your women.”
Cornelia’s a bit of a problematic fave. On one hand, she’s a mean asshole who has whole-heartedly embraced the social Darwinist principles of her father. But on the other hand, she’s a legitimately interesting character who’s brave, blunt and driven. Cornelia’s blind patriotism is her most defining characteristic, at least at first. Focused more on the military than in politics, she has gained an impressive reputation as Britannia’s ‘Goddess of victory’ thanks to her skill on the battlefield. As the story progresses, her previously steadfast pride in her country seems to take a backseat to her personal attachments, particularly towards her deceased sister Euphemia.
Of the four main royal children in the series, Cornelia is pretty unique. Though smart and a good leader, she seems to lack the immense charisma and intellect of her brothers Lelouch and Schenizel as well as their manipulative nature. Nor is she anything like the sweet and unbiased Euphemia; quite the opposite in fact. But Cornelia’s forthright attitude is charming in its own way and her ruthless streak certainly suits her. The juxtaposition of the hardened general and the caring sibling adds some depth to her, making her into more than a villainous figure that’s easy to hate. In a way, it’s possible to understand why Cornelia is the way she is given her upbringing and the supremacist ideas she must have grown up believing. I still wanted to throw her into a volcano multiple times throughout the series but all the same, she was never once boring, whether she was trying to capture her brother’s murderer or clear her sister’s name. I also have a weakness for warrior women which is part of why she’s #3 here.
04 Jeremiah Gottwald
“Orange, you say? That’s the name of my loyalty!”
Jeremiah Gottwald: 50% Man, 50% Machine and 100% Pure Loyalty. For the majority of Code Geass, Jeremiah was just another character that I didn’t really care about. He was an antagonist who wasn’t particularly interesting and was actively irritating whenever he came on screen. The Orange incident was hilarious for all the misunderstandings and troubles it caused him but that was the only thing interesting about him, even after he returned as a significantly stronger cyborg. Then season 2 came around with a ton of twists and Jeremiah attained new dimensions as his past was explained.
Jeremiah’s sudden declaration of loyalty to Lelouch and his cause is definitely one of the show’s wilder twists. The man who until that point seemed to be a self-centered noble seeking revenge to soothe his wounded pride is revealed to be a failed knight who had to resort to desperate measures to save his skin. It’s easy to understand why he did what he did, though some of his actions at the beginning remain needlessly malicious. To me, most of Jeremiah’s appeal lies in how over-the-top and hilarious he can be. After wholeheartedly embracing Lelouch as his master, he takes great pride in his allegiance including the past events that earned him great ridicule. It’s funny and a little endearing. Plus, being the Lelouch-fan I am, I’m partial to a character who’s so enthusiastically devoted to him till the very end.
05 Kouzuki Kallen
“Until the very end, Kouzuki Kallen would not abide by authority.”
Kallen is first introduced as a terrorist who’s on the run after stealing a dangerous weapon, thought to be poison gas, from the Britannians. She’s among the Japanese freedom fighters whom Lelouch directs/manipulates for the first time and later becomes a key member of the resistance group Black Knights. Kallan is noted for her excellent piloting skills, which is probably the best in the series. Being half-Britannian, half-Japanese, Kallan leads a curious double life; a meek and frail young noble by day, ass-kicking Knightmare pilot by night. Well not necessarily day and night but you get the idea.
Kallan, despite her identity switching, is one of the most straightforward characters in Code Geass. She doesn’t have a hidden agenda or ten. Her goals are simple; freedom for her country and maybe revenge for her brother. Something that sets Kallan apart from her fellow resistance fighters is that, unlike them, she does have the chance to lead a normal and comfortable life as a Britannian but rather than choose the easy path, Kallan opts to risk her life in order to fight for her beliefs. Her hot-headedness is tempered by common sense (at least most of the time). All in all, she’s a passionate girl with an admirable sense of justice. I also like how her love for Zero/Lelouch does not render her blind to his faults or define who she is as a person as it does with Shirley.
While I’m at it, I might as well make a Top 10 list out of this:
- Schneizel el Britannia – Blond, more smiley version of Lelouch
- Euphemia li Britannia – Sweet enough to give you diabetes
- Suzaku Kururugi – Gets a little too hung up on the ‘right way’
- Rakshata Chawla – She’ll just chill and make robots while the wold burns
- Gino Weinberg – A breath of fresh air amidst the angst