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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Code Geass: The Good Governance

Since I already spoiled my next project, I decided to make a prologue for it. Yes, it's Code Geass. Please be sure that you already watched the anime for both season one and two. Stop here if you never watch. The next article will reveal plots, characterization, and philosophy.

Provocative Idea

Japan under Britannia? Now that's what I call a bright idea. We know in the past Japan was the one who occupy lot of countries around Asia. It never had been occupied before. We also know that Britain was a country with a long history of occupation. Making both kingdom met together in such condition was a new way to see the meaning of occupation itself. Please understand that this article didn't mean to 'badmouth' any country that was involved in Code Geass.

Let's get back. Japan under The Holy Britannia Empire. What kind of impact that would change Japan itself? Moral values? Cultures? Or.. pride? Maybe all of them. At least, you can see it through Code Geass' characters. Kallen, who was half Japanese-Britannia had decided to defend Japan. Some admirals from Japanese showed their loyalty to their kingdom. You can see how they were all still using katana as symbol of their pride.

Like any other place who had suffered occupation, the Japanese became '2nd grade citizen' who had limited access and freedom. The Britannia went even further by calling them simply as 'Eleven'. In the end, the smell of racistm implicitly spread.

Politically -- Good?

Lelouch had no white motivation to put a side to Japanese. From the very beginning, we knew what he thought, and we knew his goals. However, it was also an interesting stuff to think over. While he actually pursued for his goals (ego), he also gave a benefit for the Japanese itself. The same pattern went to The Chinese Federation. But what gave me the shock was the last episode of second season. Lulouch became a dictator but -- again -- this time was to free the entire of the world. A dictatoral regim turned into a democratic atmosphere. Nice ending but it took a big sacrifice from a young man. Was it worth? It was, indeed. But, was there actually any other way? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Lelouch had already took his life always on the line of danger. The use of Geass, the identity of Zero, the identity of a monarch, it was all connected and probably hard to be believed by ordinary people. Other than that, the secret of Geass would create another disturbance if it was revealed.

Politically or not, Lulouch tried his best to keep everything in balance; including his friendship.

The Loneliness

Having Suzaku on enemy's side, had turned up side down Lulouch's world. Their friendship was ruined, their brotherhood was vanished, they suspected one each other's mind, they fought over their beliefs. But Lulouch knew Suzaku was the only person he could trust (to take care of Nunally), he knew that he needed him. For this reason, I think, they both balancing one each other.

Though for some part Lulouch looked pretty evil, I was pretty touched by his thought about friendship. The one that really melted me was when Lulouch saw his friends during the festival and asked the left members who was still at school to be together again by the next year. Not only respecting the important of friendship, I personally could see his loneliness.

The same loneliness was explicitly shown by Suzaku. Becoming a total orphan from young age, bearing the sin for the whole life, and be an everybody's enemy -- I think it was a big sacrifice. I wonder if young people right now would dare to take the same risk as he took. So I think this was a quite epic choice of a young person.

For some reasons, I think, friendship was a medicine for lonely heart and that dragged most character in Code Geass to value their friendships.


What a genius thing about Code Geass was the tight plots that remainded me to Death Note. It had so much similarity that made me thought the writer(s) was the same person. After I check Wikipedia, I found out that both Gorou Taniguchi and Ichirou Oukouchi had no relationship to Death Note's writing process. However, both had involved in strong plotting stories. Taniguchi worked on Honey & Clover, Garasaki, and SoltyRei. Oukouchi worked on Wolf's Rain, Eureka 7, and Brave Story. The way Lulouch thinking was close to Light from Death Note. They also resembled due to their ability to manipulate situations.

As Japan was under occupation of Holy Britannia, I think this was like a 'black comedy' from a Japanese sight to feel a 'what if Japan is once under occupation'. This was not a new idea, actually. Jin Roh had performed a situation where Japan was under German occupation after WW II, and the views more realistic. However, Jin Roh didn't cover the impact of occupation as much as Code Geass because it focused on espionage.

In reality, we know that recent government in Japan denied their occupation impact in several country especially the issue about local women whom forced to be prostitude for Japanese army. I cannot predict how the next Japanese generation acts due to the 'missing' history in their education (in some history book, it didn't mention about Japanese occupation). But hopefully Code Geass gave a little hook (not only to Japanese) that occupation only brings benefit to some people. The second message is that dictatorship may work well at the beginning but it won't last forever. As humans always want freedom. Sooner or later, they will rebel.

For our present life, it is obvious that wars are exist. A minority groups who hold the power can be so crazy to make war for resources or (the worst) for fun. Let's hope this type of person will vanish from history and we can live in peaceful. And those -- the victim of wars - can heal their mosaic fragments in their heart.

*enough spoiler!*

Wikipedia: Code Geass
Wikipedia: Gorou Taniguchi
Wikipedia: Ichirou Oukouchi

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