I’ve been looking forward to this week’s episode of Code Geass R2 all week long, and I’ve been looking forward to blogging it since Taishou’s creation. Geass R2 is one of two anime premiering this season that I plan to keep track of from week to week.
Since I’m a week behind on Geass R2 and I’m too lazy to do a retrospective post, I’ll summarize my experience with Code Geass to this point. I started watching the first season of Code Geass at Honya’s recommendation, and in no time I was totally captivated by it. The characters, the mecha, the story, the art, the style and atmosphere – they were all sublime on so many levels. After about the midpoint of the series, every episode just kept getting better than the last, and some of the late-season plot twists left my jaw on the floor. Unfortunately, however, the final episode of season one and the first episode of season two didn’t bridge very well, and left me wanting more. With an amnesiac Lelouch, new characters like Rollo introduced out of nowhere, and no sign of Nunnally, there were too many questions left unanswered. And with that in mind, here are my thoughts on the second episode of Code Geass R2:
While a lot of my friends hated Suzaku from the get-go, I always had a little soft spot for him (maybe because I admired his manly athletic skills and his shiny Lancelot). Well, now I hate Suzaku too. For him to sell out his best friend like that, holding Lelouch down while the Emperor raped his memory with Geass, all for the sake of his own promotion – dammit, Suzaku is a total douchebag. In season one, he was a little naive and a lot misguided, but his heart was always in the right place, and in the final episodes justice was on his side. But there’s no trace of the old Suzaku in his current cold and heartless incarnation. I worry that, now that Suzaku is clearly a villain, he’ll lose all of his complexity as a character. The only hope I see is that, in the flashback, Suzaku shot Lelouch’s gun instead of Lelouch himself. Maybe there’s still some mercy left in him?
Lelouch, one of my favorite anime characters ever, is back to his old ways, playing “battle chess” and making theatrical speeches to the public all over again. His announcement at the end of the episode was pure win, and reminded me why I love him. What I’ll be interested to see, however, is his relationship with Kallen. The scene they had together in the Babel Tower was… almost romantic, in a wierd kind of way, and I wonder what sorts of feelings those two have for each other.
It was pretty obvious from the moment the Vincent appeared just who was piloting it. That made me angry even though I thought the Vincent itself was pretty cool, and I’ll be anxious to see the other new Knightmare Frames as they roll off the lines.
There was a lot of badassery in this episode. Guilford taking over as Governor pro-Tempore was awesome, and a smooth homage to Cornelia, who unexpectedly became another one of my favorite characters during the first season. The Emperor is a badass on a whole other level, with his hulking presence, dominating speech, incredible Geass, and mysterious “weapon that destroys gods.” I expect to see a lot more of both of these characters as the story goes on.
I also need to give a brief line for the return of Diethard and Rakshata, both very welcome, and for the Chinese guy with a sword, who seems like he’ll be pretty cool soon. It looks like the Black Knights will be back to full strength in no time, and it looks like the Chinese Federation has more than a bit part to play in this story.
So, as far as final impressions go, it’s great to finally get some answers after the huge cliffhanger ending from the first season. I feel like a lot of this episode’s content should have been in last week’s episode! Also, someone’s finally at least remembered that Nunnally exists. What I’m going to worry about now, however, is how much plot-hacking will be going into this season of Code Geass. The Vincent is the first of several seemingly-invincible Knightmare Frames that promise to be introduced this season, and two more characters who possess the Geass have already appeared. Zero may have a flair for the theatric, but I hope Code Geass R2 doesn’t become too over-the-top for its own good. But this was a good episode, and I have faith in the series right now.
Stupid sexy Lelouch.