Written by Cristian Stanic
Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Rebellion is one of the most influential animes of the late 2000s, rivalling its contemporary juggernaut Death Note (that aired in the same year) for the top spot in the “super-powered sadist, mind game, world domination” genre.
With 2017 being its 10th anniversary year, now seems like a good time to look back on what made the show so iconic, and speculate on what we might be seeing in its upcoming third season, Lelouch Of The Resurrection.
In a year filled with great anime like Hellsing Ultimate, Haruhi, Gintama, Black Lagoon, and the previously mentioned Death Note, Code Geass managed to find its niche and stick to the anime community consciousness, still generating ludicrous amounts of hype after a decade of relative silence.
The latest Code Geass side story, Akito The Exiled, was met with mixed reviews. Perhaps they failed to capture what made the original so fresh and exciting when it first aired. The original show bluntly tackled themes of racism and oppression, with Lelouch leading a Japanese revolution against their imperialist dictators of Britannia. It was edgy, and made no apologies for showing some excessive brutality when it was called for.
Lelouch, and his alter ego Zero, was a perfect main character for such a mature show. He’s ruthless, sadistic, smart, but also incredibly flawed. He often breaks down into hysterics when things don’t go as planned, and those moments of pure hysteria are thrilling to watch. Watching the person you’re meant to be cheering for lose his mind is strangely enjoyable. Lelouch is not perfect, he can lose, and when he does, it reminds you of how high the stakes really are.
Code Geass might have some of the best giant robot fights in the genre (this is from the studio Sunrise, it’s kind of their thing), but the real heart of the show is insane mind games, and political ‘measuring contests’ between Lelouch and his various opponents. The best moments in the series aren’t the giant fights, they’re the moments when it seems that Lelouch is going to lose when all the chips are down, but he pulls out some crazy bluff you weren’t expecting. This show constantly throws curve balls at the audience that always keep it engaging. As Lelouch constantly alludes to, every episode is like a game of chess, but it’s like 10-person chess, and every person is either a genius, a total idiot, or someone who just wants to flip the board to cause some chaos.
The final thing that makes Code Geass so special is the ideological conflict between its main characters Suzaku and Lelouch.
It is similar to the battle of ideologies between L and Light in Death Note, but in that, you’re either on Team L or Team Light. There isn’t really a grey area. In Code Geass, it’s all grey area. You’ll find yourself jumping back and forth between who to root for almost every single episode. Lelouch is the radical terrorist who wants to liberate his people by attacking the government. Suzaku also wants to liberate Japan, but he believes in doing it the “right way”. By working with Britannia, he believes he can change the system from the inside with minimal bloodshed. These views put these best friends in the path of conflict over and over, and it can lead to some absolutely gut-wrenching moments. Lookin’ at you, season 2 finale.
So to wrap this up, let’s look at what we know so far about season 3. Firstly, director Goro Taniguchi has explicitly stated that this is not set in an alternate universe, and Lelouch is not dead! (FYI, we always knew he was the one driving the hay cart during the credits, we always said he was alive, #LongLiveLelouch!)
We know Sunrise is still animating it (thank goodness), and CLAMP is still providing their… Unique character designs for it. Goro Taniguchi returns as director from seasons 1 and 2, but that’s all the staff that have been confirmed so far. The story is set several years after Zero Requiem, and as we see in the trailer, it appears everyone has moved on with their lives and is living happily, until terrorist attacks start up again, and Zero has to return. All the favourite characters are there, such as Jeremiah ‘LOYALTY’ Gottwald, and Princess Cornelia, along with the former members of Zero’s rebellion.
For now, all we can do is wait. There’s likely going to be more details announced once the theatrical cuts of season 1 and 2 have finished airing in Japan, sometime in May 2018. Until then, you can catch up on everything Code Geass with the 10th-anniversary Blu-ray and DVD in stores now, along with the full series of Akito The Exiled.