Hiyo, everyone! It has been a while since I did a top list on this blog, and I’ve been gradually rewatching Code Geass, which I previously covered as my favorite anime, so I figured it was a perfect subject to discuss! In this post, I’ll talk about my five favorite moments from Code Geass R1 – that is, the first of the series’ existing two seasons. I’ll probably do another list for the second when I finish rewatching it, but that could be a while. Anyway, unlike my previous review, this post will be absolutely teeming with spoilers and will assume you have some knowledge of the series. If you haven’t watched it yet, I can’t recommend it enough! And, um, you probably shouldn’t read this post until you do. xD
5. The end
I guess beginning with the end is so overdone by now that it has become a cliche, but in this case, it’s still an accurate reflection of my opinion. R1 ends with Suzaku finally confronting Zero, his greatest enemy, and shooting the top of his mask, cracking it in two – only to have his worst suspicions confirmed in learning Zero is Lelouch, his long-time friend. With Kallen watching, Suzaku lays all that he knows bare – he reveals that Lelouch has been using a supernatural ability, his Geass, to control people. When Lelouch suggests a temporary alliance to save Nunnally, Suzaku will have none of it – he says Lelouch would just betray his trust, as the world betrayed Lelouch.
I love this scene because it shows just how far apart the two once-friends have grown. And Lelouch is visibly angered by Suzaku’s accusation; I believe this is the first scene in the series where it is presented to him so bluntly. It’s the culmination of the strife between the two throughout R1. At the end, Lelouch and Suzaku each aim their guns at each other – then there is a brief shot of Nunnally in some distress followed by blackness. The end of the season. I started watching Code Geass after the first two series were already released, so that didn’t really bother me, but I can’t blame anyone for hating that scene for its cliffhanger ending if they were watching while the series was ongoing. That’s just mean!
4. Euphemia orders Suzaku to love her
This scene is a short one, but I just can’t get enough of it! After thinking through the conflict that had occurred between herself and Suzaku, Euphemia finally comes to a striking realization, with a bit of help from Nina: she discovers that Suzaku suffers from self-hatred just as she does. Rash as ever, Euphemia contacts Suzaku in the middle of a battle and demands that he love her – and promises she will love him in return. Suzaku’s instinctive reaction of “Yes, your highness – huh?”just makes the scene even cuter!
This moment is particularly dear to me because I deal with self-hatred, too. Suzaku and Euphy can’t love themselves, so they each take on the responsibility of loving the other instead. It’s just so adorable, and had to ship it!
Until another event occurred…
3. Shirley follows Lelouch and discovers he’s working with the Black Knights
This entry may seem a little weird to some. The Black Knights are holding an operation to ostensibly save a submarine containing members of the Japan Liberation Front, but it’s not the battle itself that interests me, but the events leading up to it. As the beautiful “Stories” plays in the background, Shirley learns that Lelouch, the boy she’s had a long-time crush on, is working with the Black Knights, the terrorist organization responsible for killing her father. Meanwhile, Lelouch, under the guise of Zero, explains to his subordinates that they have to stay the course; that, to atone for all the blood they’ve spilled, they have to spill even more, and eventually succeed.
“Stories” played a large role in this scene’s influence over me. The feel of that song perfectly captures the tone of the unfolding events; everyone is trying to do what they feel is right, and despite those intentions, the song signals a tragedy in the making. The same sort of scenarios play out all the time in real life. Conflict is essential to who we are, and at this moment, it struck me more powerfully than ever.
2. Mao’s Death
Having kidnapped Nunnally and rubbed Lelouch’s weaknesses in, Mao agrees to confront Lelouch in his game of choice – chess. Winner takes all. The problem for Lelouch is that Mao’s Geass allows him to read minds over a large area, or, alternatively, focus his abilities on an individual and hear their every thought. Lelouch enters the situation knowing all about that, and he believes this is his last chance to save his sister’s life. But, as expected, Mao uses Lelouch’s own strategical prowess against him, then wins the game. Gleeful, he watches Lelouch melt down and presses the button designed to set off the bomb to end Nunnally’s life.
It doesn’t go off. Instead, Suzaku, who had been helping Lelouch, bursts into the room. By doing a high-precision maneuver, he disabled the bomb, and Lelouch’s chess game had been a diversion – one he himself hadn’t known about. With the help of a reflective surface, Lelouch used his Geass on himself so he would forget his own plans. Completely taken off guard and beaten by Suzaku’s comically overpowered physical abilities, Mao uses the only weapon he has – he reads Suzaku’s mind and reveals that Suzaku killed his father to end the previous war between Britannia and Japan. As a result of that action, Suzaku has been carrying a death wish with him, and that’s the reason he’s always so willing to risk his life.
But the visor Mao usually used to protect himself from Lelouch’s Geass had been removed. Furious, Lelouch gives his immensely satisfying command: “Never speak again.” Robbed of the voice he relies on to control others, Mao leaves – only to find himself face to face with C.C., the only person he loves and the one who gave him his Geass.
But C.C. has had enough. She’s finally ready to clean up her past mistake. With a bullet, she ends Mao’s life.
I like this scene because it pushes so many characters to their limits. It makes everyone face their pasts. I also found Lelouch’s Geass trick particularly clever. The scene plays out in a wild rollercoaster of emotions that I just loved to death!
Um, speaking of death…
1. Euphemia’s death
Throughout the series, Euphemia is depicted as unfailingly benevolent. She struggles to make the world a better place so earnestly and impulsively that you can’t help but root for her. So, when Lelouch finally takes her hand and tells her she’s won – that he will assist her in running the specially administrated zone of Japan she’s creating to put a stop to the violence – it’s quite cathartic.
That doesn’t last.
Lelouch’s original scheme involved having Euphemia shoot him, something he had told her she would do. She prods him about that, and he admits that he has the ability make others obey him. Euphemia scoffs, leading Lelouch to joke that he could even order her to kill the Japanese people, and she would have to obey.
That’s the moment his Geass starts acting up. The command takes, leaving Euphemia a mess begging not to be forced to do something so horrible. Lelouch tries to stop it, but it’s too late; he can’t undo the damage. Eventually, Euphemia succumbs to the order and runs off to do her new, dark duty.
The Japanese people gathered outside have no idea what hit them. Even the Britannian soldiers are shocked. But Euphemia takes the first shot, and the slaughter begins in earnest.
Chaos erupts. Through tears, Lelouch orders that the Black Knights make the most of Euphemia’s actions and orders her death. But, when the time comes, he himself is the one to shoot her. With Suzaku watching.
Enraged, Suzaku dives into battle, grabs Euphemia with his Knightmare, and flees. Euphemia is immediately hospitalized aboard the command ship, but the doctors quickly conclude she won’t make it. So Suzaku is left to speak with her in her final moments.
The emotions reach a crescendo when the song “Innocent Days” begins playing. Suzaku – who is Japanese himself – asks why she gave that order. But Euphemia remembers nothing. For a moment, it looks like she might again fall under the command’s spell, but, faced with the thought of killing the man she loves, she closes her eyes and finally snuffs out the Geass. “Innocent Days” alteernates between a mournful melody and a triumphant one as the scene shifts back and forth between Zero, who condemns Euphemia as a murderous hypocrite as the people wish her the worst, and Euphemia’s death bed, where Suzaku tells Euphy the lie she needs to hear – that her project was a success – and she asks him to complete his education in her place.
Then she flatlines, and the music with her. It’s replaced by a chant of “Zero, Zero, Zero!” as images flash by. Of Zero standing triumphant before a crowd having just established a new nation. Of Suzaku crying and reaching out for Euphy as he’s pulled away from her body. Of Zero’s supporters brimming with joy. Of the badge Euphy gave Suzaku when she named him her knight.
Cornelia, Euphy’s sister, sums up the scene succinctly at the end with the phrase “Dear God” when she learns what happened. Just like that, Euphemia, who pushed herself to her limit to help everyone, who was willing to give up her status as royalty to make the world a better place, has her legacy sealed as “Massacre Princess.”
Those events moved me to tears. The writers so masterfully pressed conflicting emotions right up against each other with perfect juxtapositoning; it all hits like a truck. And I love when media can draw an intense emotional reaction from me, so I love this scene. My descriptions can’t do it justice. It just has to be watched.
Aaanyway, that’s the end of my list! Have you guys watched Code Geass? If so, what were your favorite scenes in R1? If not, which scenes in anime move you the most? I hope to hear from you in the comments! Until next time, I hope you have a great time! Ciao!