Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
, a two-season anime television series that aired from 2006 to 2008, plays with a lot of anime tropes in interesting or entertaining ways. The anime takes place in an Alternate History
setting where The British Empire
won the Revolutionary War, but lost a later European conflict against Napoleon (who went on to conquer the British Isles and forced the Empire to flee to America). The Brit-controlled America evolved into the Holy Britannian Empire, which eventually gained control of over a third of the world.
Seven years before the beginning of the main story, Britannia launched an invasion of Japan to secure their stocks of a rare mineral that makes a new power source possible
. This conflict ended in short order thanks to Britannia's powerful Humongous Mecha
(called "Knightmares"), and after its victory, Britannia stripped Japan of everything
: its autonomy, its national identity, and even its name. The Empire now refers to the country by a numerical designation based on when it conquered the territory (in this case, "Area 11"
, which leads to Britannians referring to Japanese citizens as "Elevens").
In the present day, two childhood friends run into each other by chance after years of separation: Suzaku Kururugi and Lelouch Lamperouge. Suzaku, a career soldier of Japanese origin who hates bloodshed
, has risen through the ranks of the Britannian military with hopes that he can gain enough authority to change the system from within and return a number of once-lost rights back to Area 11. Lelouch, an exiled Britannian prince in hiding, wishes to crush Britannia from the outside to both avenge his assassinated mother and create a safe future for his disabled sister — but he has become disillusioned by his inability to act without reprisal.
All of this changes when Lelouch encounters a Mysterious Waif
called C.C. (pronounced as "See Two"), a refugee from a top-secret Britannian research project. She offers Lelouch a Faustian deal
that grants him "The Power Of The King", otherwise known as a "Geass". Lelouch's Geass manifests as a Magical Eye
which allows him to issue a single absolute command to any individual that said individual must
follow to the best of their abilities — up to, and including, suicide.
With this new supernatural power and his already-remarkable intelligence
, Lelouch finally makes his move
against Britannia by assuming the guise of a mysterious masked freedom fighter called "Zero"
. Zero soon makes contact with a ragtag group of Japanese freedom fighters and begins molding them into his own personal army, which he names The Black Knights. Suzaku soon ends up as the recipient of an amazing opportunity of his own: the Empire hand-picks him to become the test pilot of its newest Knightmare prototype
, the Lancelot — which puts Suzaku on a direct crash course with Lelouch as two friends, unaware of each other's identity, both fight in their own way to reform a corrupt empire.Geass
began airing in October 2006 and became a runaway success as it spawned a merchandising juggernaut and won numerous industry awards. The brainchild of Goro Taniguchi and Ichiro Okouchi, who did the anime adaption of Planetes
brought their style and flair for the dramatic to the Real Robot Genre
. The series also received a good bit of early word-of-mouth thanks to the decision to hire CLAMP
as character designers.
The second season, Code Geass R2
, aired on Japanese television from April to September 2008. R2's reception was... varied, to say the least. Some fans viewed certain scenes as distilled awesome
or charmingly exaggerated
, while others viewed them through a more cynical light
; the resulting clash in opinions ended up with both sides creating tons of memes
. Bandai Entertainment
originally licensed both series and the first three manga in America; the anime ran in its entirety on [adult swim]
. In 2013, FUNimation
rescued the U.S. license.
For media related to this anime (including side stories, spin-offs, and various other adaptations), please go to the Franchise page
The Code Geass franchise contains examples of the following tropes:
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- Manly Tears: Suzaku during the Grand Finale. Jeremiah does it, too.
- Marry Them All: Kaguya certainly seems to like the idea, given that she tries to initiate it with Kallen and C.C.
- The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Appears in Another Century's Episode: R. A strange case in that it came to ACE first rather than initially being in a Super Robot Wars game.
- Matron Chaperone: Alicia Lohmeyer's role seems to be less to protect Nunnally's virginity (Nunnally is blind and in a wheelchair and hasn't started dating yet) than to keep her from getting too far out of line politically. She appears to be a Shout-Out to Miss Rottenmeier from Heidi, Girl of the Alps.
- May-December Romance: Directly implied between Tianzi & Xingke.
- Mayfly-December Romance: C.C. the ageless, deathless witch is romanced by seventeen/eighteen-year-old boys.
- Meaningful Name: Almost every Britannian Knightmare Frame has a name that references Arthurian legend (though Arthur himself is ... a stray cat that Suzaku adopted).
- Meet Cute: A bunch, but perhaps the most obvious is the Crash-Into Hello / Rescue Romance when Princess Euphemia falls from her window onto Suzaku.
- Memento MacGuffin: Suzaku's pocketwatch (more accurately, his late father's pocketwatch), which symbolizes his being stuck in the past. When he leaves it behind during the first season's finale (with the body of the woman he loved, shot dead by his best friend), it's supposed to signal the fans that the kid gloves are off.
- He also keeps his pin(?) designating him as Euphemia's knight, holding it introspectively and brandishing it at others as a symbol from time to time (notably in R2 episode 17).
- And Rolo's locket, which was given to him by Lelouch. It symbolizes... the er, "brotherly friendship" between him and Lelouch.
- Also, Euphemia's quill pen, which he keeps with him and uses to write. His cat Arthur is shown running off with it in R2 episode 5. Boy, he sure does have a lot of stuff on him.
- Memory Gambit: Lelouch, in episode 16.
- Mercy Kill: C.C. to Mao.
- Midair Repair: Plus upgrade. Using missiles.
- Mid-Season Twist
- Season 1 - Zero is defeated for the first time by Cornelia.
- Season 2 - Zero agrees to the SAZ plan.
- Mid-Season Upgrade: Kallen gets the Guren Mk. II, while Suzaku gets some wings for his Lancelot.
- Mildly Military
- Million-to-One Chance: In R2 episode 24, Nina creates an anti-FLEIJA device that has an extremely slim margin of success, requiring key data to be input 19 seconds before detonation and only having a 0.04-second window of opportunity even if everything goes right. Lelouch and Suzaku manage to pull it off - mostly through strategy. Lelouch is a genius and so can input within 19 seconds, and Suzaku uses his "live" Geass, which forces him to fire the FLEIJA Eliminator with perfect timing.
- Mind Rape: Mao's treatment of Shirley and C.C.'s distraction of Suzaku. The first was unforgivable, the second accidental: C.C. didn't control what he saw. Then there's the Emperor implanting Lelouch's fake memories, which bears a very uncomfortable resemblance to an actual rape scene, since Lelouch is being held to the floor by Suzaku while he screams, thrashes, and begs his father to stop. By episode 21 of R2, it is revealed that Charles had also done the same by using his Geass on Nunnally to cover-up Marianne's murder.
- Mood Whiplash: To such a bizarre extreme that sometimes it seems almost as if the producers, writers, and characters have forgotten what horrors transpired in the previous episode. Occasionally gets a Lampshade Hanging.
- Mooks: Almost a given in an action series.
- Moral Myopia: One of the key points of tension behind the plot is the treatment of underprivileged "numbers" as second-class citizens by native Britannians, as well as the very exceptionalist and Social Darwinian worldview of Britannian society in general.
- More Than Mind Control: Schneizel to Nina. Schneizel to Nunnally. Schneizel to everyone. Lelouch manages some moments of his own, too.
- Mao's treatment of Shirley counts as this as well. It doesn't work completely, though.
- The Morality/Mortality Equation: Causes bad things to happen whenever Lelouch lowers his morals.
- Multilayer Façade: Lelouch has three or four identities: Lelouch Vi Britannia, Lelouch Lamperouge, Zero, and the king of geass. The second series adds another identity, since there are two different Lelouch Lamperouge identities depending on who he says his real sibling is. People who are close to him, like Nunnally, Suzaku, and Milly might know two of the identities, but C.C. is the only other person who knows all of them. In the last five episodes, he complicates it further by pretending that Lelouch Vi Britannia is a monster.
- Mundane Made Awesome: One word... BUBBLES! note
- Mundane Utility: The Absurdly Powerful Student Council in Ashford pulls out an old Humongous Mecha to... make a giant pizza. Though on second thought, that could very well have been an intended feature in the original design.
- Mukokuseki: The only real difference between Asians and Caucasians in this series is whether your hair color is black/brown/white or preposterous; however, with racism as one of the main themes, some have noted that this may be part of the point. Lelouch and Suzaku in particular are, to the viewer anyway, able to easily pass off as the other's race.
- Taken to its extreme in Kallen, who is half-Britannian, half-Japanese, yet she can pass both as a full Britannian and full Japanese.
- Must Make Amends: What Nina Einstein tries to do in Code Geass R2, after the bomb she built under Schneizel's orders completely obliterates a good part of Tokyo.
- The Mutiny: R2, episode 19. The Black Knights mutiny against Zero/Lelouch.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Several characters display this trope, but most notably Nina in R2 after her F.L.E.I.J.A. destroys a good portion of the Tokyo Settlement, as well as millions of lives.
- Myth Arc
- Named Weapons: Most characters with personal Knightmares have a custom Knightmare with a unique name. Though curiously not Cornelia, who just has a Gloucester.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Schneizel el Britannia. Not to be confused with a smorgasboard of traditional German dishes.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Emperor Charles's speeches before large crowds instantly call up images of Hitler or Goebbels addressing similar audiences. The fact that these speeches are mostly about Social Darwinism, and that the 'hail' in 'All hail Britannia!' is actually pronounced much closer to German 'heil' than to English 'hail' by the Japanese voice actors, also helps.
- Nice Job Breaking It Lelouch: In episode 22, Lelouch jokingly tells Euphy about his Geass power. Then he finds out his joke about ordering her to kill all Japanese causes her to do exactly that, as he then was unable to control his Geass anymore like Mao. She orders the Britannians to slaughter all the Japanese, and seems to be doing it herself as well.
- Night of the Living Mooks: Charles uses his Geass power "The Dead" to turn skilled soldiers into the nearly unkillable undead Knights of the Round in Nightmare of Nunnally.
- Ninja Maid: Sayoko
- Nipple and Dimed: We get a quick flash when Suzaku tackles a naked Kallen (It Makes Sense in Context).
- No Blood for Phlebotinum: Britannia conquered Japan to gain control of the majority of the world's Sakuradite.
- Noodle Incident: Whatever happened at Aomori with Kallen and C.C. Slightly un-noodled by a postcard in the Zero Requiem DVD.
- Toudou's "Miracle at Utsushima".
- "That one time that chick ran away..." "Don't bring up old stories now!" while chasing a cat in episode 6.
- We never get to learn why exactly Rakshata has such a grudge against Lloyd, nor why she insists on referring to him as "the earl of Pudding".
- Noodle People: Most of the characters, due to the CLAMP character designs.
- Reinforced by Takahiro Kimura, whose style also has those traits as he adapted the character designs for animation.
- No Romantic Resolution: Well, Lelouch is at the end dead after all. The closest he got to a resolved romance arc ended with a dead Shirley and/or his farewell kiss to Kallen, neither of which counts as much of one.
- There's also C.C.: near the end, Kallen asks her if she's in love with Lelouch. She replies "I don't know" but it's relatively obvious that the answer is "Yes".
- Nostalgia Filter: A rare in-universe example. The drug "Refrain" causes hallucinogenic flashbacks to pleasant past experiences.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The last four episodes.
- Not Quite Dead: Used only a bit (once in the first season, 2-3 times in the latter half of the second season). But nonetheless it has become somewhat of a meme, so much that someone made a small comic about Euphemia coming back from the dead after the end of the series.
- The count could easily be increased, depending on what definition you use. Season 1: C.C. (a bunch of times, but it was expected after the first), Suzaku (in episode 1, saved by his father's watch), Villetta (shot by Shirley) and Mao. Season 2: Villetta and Ohgi (Ohgi was wounded by kunai and then both of them jumped off a cliff into a shallow river full of rocks; neither is even scratched with no explanation provided), Nunnally and Sayoko (they survived thanks to a decoy shuttle, but the audience was still initially misled), Orange (returned after sinking into the ocean), Cornelia, Guilford (with no explanation too), Suzaku (briefly believed to be dead during the final episode of R2; never visibly shown to exit the Lancelot Albion before its final explosion, so how did he get out is left unexplained). That's at least nine potential instances.
- Not What It Looks Like: Shirley keeps catching Lelouch in what look like romantic encounters with Kallen; Kallen keeps finding Zero (who is also Lelouch) with C.C.
- Pretty much all the Black Knights think C.C. is Zero's mistress.
- A more convoluted example: In an incident not long after Suzaku starts school at Ashford, he's attacked by Arthur the cat and falls on top of Shirley. In closeup, it looks like a highly suggestive embrace. For a second or two, they look as if they're about to kiss, whether deliberately or not. But as soon as the camera pulls back to a medium shot, the situation looks more innocent: Suzaku's hands are not on Shirley's chest; one is on her arm and the other is in Arthur's mouth — Arthur is biting him. And on second viewing it's clear the whole scene is a Red Herring: Shirley's eyes are shiny and romantic not because she's being embraced by Suzaku but rather because they've been talking about Lelouch, with whom she's in love.
- Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Sakuradite is explosive enough that for most of the series it stands in for any kind of uranium or plutonium-based weapons. However, it's shown early in Season 1 that Nina has a hobby doing pioneering research into nuclear fission. The writers play this off as her being a token Child Prodigy that will remain in the background, only going back to her for Fanservice from time to time. Later you find out that her research overlaps with what Lloyd is doing on the Lancelot project so she winds up mattering to the story in a more meaningful way. This is something of a reveal for the viewers who, being Genre Savvy, are going to presume that the practical harem Lelouch has set up with the student council girls means that they're just going to be The Chick for the entire story. This is a good way for a writer to take advantage of the viewer's expectations and pays off in an unexpected way when she interrupts the season-finale's climactic battle by walking into the courtyard of the school carrying a home-made atom bomb, says she's going to use the bomb to get revenge against all of the Black Knights for killing Euphemia, and announces that she's going to punish all of the disobedient Japanese for revolting instead of letting Euphemia and the Britannian master race just exterminate them. Suddenly a bunch of what seemed like pointless Fanservice turns out to have all been there to help set up important story elements.
- When she finally pushes the button her nuke fails to detonate (she is a high school student, after all). Lloyd verifies the idea as being grounded in real science, so instead of chiding her for her behavior the Britannians give her nuke project government grant money so she can research her theoretical super-bomb. Although the fans are divided on this element of the show, you can neutrally say that this is an excellent example of the writers making sure that the character turns out to be more important to the story than just a token geeky kid who sits in the background like in most series.
- When season two rolls around she finishes another prototype nuke which, thanks to the government backing her research, actually works this time. This helps her turn out not to have just been a token nerdy kid all along. This lets the atom bomb fall into place as season two's MacGuffin. The show's various superpowers start trying to use Mutually Assured Destruction to finally stop Zero and his now global anti-geass anti-tyrant revolution.
- This actually sets up one of the best literary subversions of this trope, as season two's episode 18 finally depicts an atom bomb being used against millions of innocent people. Although the viewer would have been able to see this as just another A Million Is a Statistic moment, an off-screen Nunnaly apparently gets killed, too, forcing the audience to feel like they've suffered a loss instead of witnessed a plot device. This moment also marks a major Heel Realization for both Nina and Suzaku.
- Oddly Named Sequel: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
- Word of God says it stands for "Reconstruction" and "Revolution", the two major phases in the show.
- Oh, Crap: Loads and loads. A prime example is when Lelouch and Suzaku took over Britannia. It's a global Oh Crap moment.
- A more tragic one is when Lelouch finds out his Geass stays on permanently, right as he joked to Euphemia about ordering her to kill all the Japanese people, which she proceeds to do right away, ordering her troops to do the same. Being the Magnificent Bastard that he is, he utilizes the ensuing chaos to further his own agenda, albeit regretting it tremendously.
- One example, close to a Villainous Breakdown, occurred when Cornelia utterly Out-Gambitted Lelouch in their first battle and demanded that all Knightmare Frame pilots in her own forces show their faces. He had a massive panic attack.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The hymn of Britannia, generally played at appropriately ominous circumstances such as Clovis's funeral and Suzaku's knighting.
- One Degree of Separation: Just how many main characters had connections to each other before the story started?
- 108: The number of Emperor's wives and the number of dates with school girls Sayoko sets up for Lelouch.
- One-Man Army: Pretty much any of the Knights Of The Round for the Britannians, and the Four Holy Swords as well as Kallen for the Black Knights.
- One Person, One Power: The Geass-bearers all have one power each. Some, like Lelouch, are more versatile than others.
- One-Way Visor: On Zero's helmet, allowing for it to serve as his mask.
- On the Next
- Outside Man, Inside Man: Poor Suzaku and Lelouch.
- Paranoia Gambit: "Orange!"
- Pendulum War: Particularly during R2, several battles often go back and forth until the winner is determined by either whoever got the most recent Knightmare upgrades or, failing that, whether or not Zero's latest plan was successful.
- Picture Drama: Nine per season on the Japanese DVD volumes, and a couple more were released separately.
- Pimped-Out Dress
- Plot Hole: In the early episodes, C.C acts like she doesn't know who Charles is. In addition, a secret government group experiments on her and plans to hand her over to Charles. Considering we later learn C.C was once the head of the Geass Directorate, and she was once a close confidante of Charles and Marianne, this doesn't make sense.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Rivalz Cardemonde and Shinichiro Tamaki.
- Power at a Price: The whole series can be interpreted as a moral about the terrible ramifications of one man being given power above others. Almost invariably, Geass users end up having lost more than they have gained with their ability.
- It's also Lelouch's quest to make something of his Geass despite the awful cost. He's partly successful, although even that is open to interpretation.
- Power Incontinence: Played straight down to having Applied Phlebotinum to allieviate it, or try to. Mao's headphones seem to only help a little bit, perhaps more as a placebo than anything else. Lelouch's contact lens works perfectly, but he acquires it... too late.
- The Power of Love: Episode 11 of R2. Lelouch, after consulting Shirley, delivers an epic, over the top declaration that the power of people's love will change the world. The English title is even called "Power of Passion".
- Also very cynically employed By Lelouch on Rolo.
- Power Perversion Potential: Considering his gigantic unwanted harem and his mind control eye, Lelouch could get a lot of use out of this. And in the Visual Novel's PS2-only Blue Moon Path, the protagonist Rai DOES. On anyone from Nina and Kaguya to Suzaku, and Lelouch himself.
- Powers in the First Episode: There is no indication that supernatural powers exist until the last few minutes of the first episode, when C.C. survives getting shot, makes a contract with Lelouch, and he orders the enemy soldiers to die.
- Pretty Little Headshots: When one character is shot in the head at point blank range, all you see is him falling to the ground, and it's clear that there's no exit wound. Might be explained by the fact that all or most of Code Geass's firearms (throughout its entire parallel history, no less) are actually some form of coilgun◊, which means that bullets are of a smaller caliber and that they travel slower than in real-life. It might make sense, since we see people getting shot multiple times with them and still getting up/recovering. This would also explain the odd, tinny pop the guns make when fired or when the bullets strike something metallic.
- Though there are several other times when characters are shot in their heads and blood is shown to spurt opposite the entry point. However, despite gratuitous amounts of blood, exit wounds are never really shown.
- Prince Charmless: Odysseus.
- Product Placement: Pizza Hut and, less memetically, the Japanese ISP BIGLOBE.
- Psychic Radar: Mao is shown to be able to detect the presence of other minds and hear their thoughts if they're within 500 meters. It's utility is somewhat hampered by his inability to turn it off.
- Psychic Static: Attempted but failed.
- Psycho Lesbian: Nina: After hearing that Princess Euphemia wsa killed by Zero, she makes the this utterly insane face◊ and tries to blow up the Tokyo settlement with a Sakuradite-bomb to avenge Euphemia, but, thankfully, the bomb doesn't work.
- Punished for Sympathy: Narrowly avoided. Kallen, along with Lelouch, is threatened with execution by the Black Knights when they accuse her of being under the geass of their leader who they are now betraying when she tries stepping up to his defense. After noticing this is Schneizel's doing and that he has no way out, Lelouch lies to have her spared his fate.
- Punny Name: Knightmare makes the mechas sound rather terrifying.
- Purple Is Powerful: Purple eyes seem to run in the Britannian royal line, and my god are they powerful!
- Pyrrhic Victory: The Battle of the Narita Mountains fits this for Cornelia and the Britannian forces. They took down the Japanese Liberation Front base and destroyed the new Knightmares that the JLF had acquired, but lost two-thirds of the Knightmare Frames that they were using in the battle, and Zero, the Black Knights and many of the most important JLF fighters escaped. All in all, the real winner was Lelouch.
- Quit Your Whining: Kallen does this to Lelouch during his Heroic BSOD brought about by the reopening of the SAZ. Played with in that she is exactly as unsure as he is.
- Suzaku does this to Lelouch, with a mixture of Get Ahold Of Yourself Man, when Lelouch finds out that Nunally is alive, and begins to despair. Suzaku tells him to suck it up and remember Zero Requiem.
- Quote Mine: When Schneizel secretly records the private conversation between Lelouch and Suzaku and uses Lelouch's Sarcastic Confession to deliberately giving Euphemia the order to kill the Japanese, sans Suzaku catching Lelouch in the lie, to turn the Black Knights to his side.
- Rage Against the Heavens: The ultimate aim of the Emperor and V.V. is to kill the gods, calling them a threat to humanity. That's what the Sword of Akasha is for.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tamaki gives a short one to Suzaku in episode 5 of R1. After which he attacks Suzaku only to be quickly throw to the ground.
- May or may not be a coincidence that The Betrayer of the series pilots Lancelot.
- Recycled In Space: The show's premise is frequently described as "Death Note WITH GIANT ROBOTS!"
- Redemption Equals Death: Rolo.
- Red Herring: Lelouch sends Rolo, a psychopathic assassin who is extremely possessive of him, on a rescue mission to save Nunally. As might be guessed, Rolo has every intention of killing her, even thinking about it, but he never manages to reach her.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Suzaku and Lelouch. Kallen and C.C.
- Refuge in Audacity: Lelouch's plans, reputation, and leadership of the Black Knights all seem to thrive on this ... which is why he is a Magnificent Bastard.
- Reincarnation Romance: Invoked by Shirley in her Last Words.
- Relationship Upgrade: Happens to Shirley and Lelouch in episode 12 of R2. It doesn't last very long however...
- The Remnant: How the last prime minister of Japan is treated.
- Rescue Romance: Princess Euphemia manages a real one with her vertical Crash-Into Hello Meet Cute with Suzaku, but then tries to follow it up with a fake one in which she is being chased by enemies. He soon catches her in the lie, but it deepens their romance anyway. Turns into a reciprocated Bodyguard Crush when Euphie makes Suzaku her official knight.
- La Résistance: The Black Knights.
- Rhetorical Request Blunder: Lelouch says that with his mind control powers, he could tell Euphemia something like "Kill all the Japanese." Bit of bad timing on that one, as Lelouch lost control of said powers at that exact moment.
- Rich Boredom: Princess Euphemia
- Rival Science Teams: Lloyd & Cécile vs. Rakshata.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: At first. Lelouch's motivations change radically throughout the series and Britannia is still standing tall at the end of the show.
- More specifically, when Suzaku briefly goes crazy after Euphemia's death and blasts through squads of Knightmares roaring a Big "NO!" at the top of his lungs.
- Lelouch does this towards the Britannian Geass research facility after Shirley's death. He orders everyone there killed, even though they're non-combatants.
- Rollerblade Good: All Knightmares.
- Royally Screwed Up: Britannia's Royal Family and, by extension, the plot.
- Rule of Cool: This applies whenever Lelouch uses geass to make miracles. Suzaku is often the embodiment of this.
- Rule of Funny: A lot of the antics of the Absurdly Powerful Student Council don't make much sense except for this trope combined with generous helpings of fanservice.
- Rule of Glamorous: The character designs.
- Rule of Sexy: For example, the position the Guren forces its pilot to assume would be absolutely terrible for the lumbar. The result: this◊.
- Rule of Symbolism: Where to begin? The show is packed with symbolism, much of it religious, political, or both.
- Sad Battle Music: During the Black Knight's betrayal of Lelouch.
- Sanctuary of Solitude
- Sarcastic Confession: Lelouch to Suzaku in R2 17 at Kururugi Shrine. Backfires in more ways than one.
- He does this with Euphy as well near the end of Season 1 when explaining how his Geass ability worked. Unfortunately for him, he just lost the ability to control it, and like Mao, his Geass from that point on was always on. So when he jokingly told her to kill Japanese people, she went and did exactly that.
- Save The World Climax: It starts being about a fallen prince's vendetta against his country of origin and a terrorist group struggling for their country's independence, and ends up being about saving the world from one Assimilation Plot and two nigh-omnicidal well-intentioned extremists in quick succession.
- Say My Name: The whole show lives off this trope, but the most iconic ones are are of Lelouch and Suzaku screaming each others name at each other through the series. The most perfect example of this trope is the very ending of the first season, where it ends on a Cliffhanger between the two holding a gun at each other, and screaming the others name before it cuts to the credits.
- School Festival: All of episode 21 is dedicated to the annual school festival; about half of R2 episode 5 is as well.
- School Uniforms Are the New Black: Lelouch wears either his school uniform or his "superheroic" Zero outfit. He even wears his uniform when he makes his grand entrance to declare himself emperor, though he dumps both outfits after that in favour of white-and-gold imperial robes.
- Screw Destiny: Lelouch seems to be a big believer in this, after what happened to both his mother and sister, as well as his father's apparent callousness attitude towards him.
- Secret Keeper: Some characters, such as Euphy, found out who Zero really was prior to the reveal in R2. However, when the Black Knights do find out who Zero truly is, and the bad things he's done to some of them or their friends, they debate amongst themselves as to whether to keep Zero's identity a secret, or reveal it to the world and therefore lose a lot of what they suffered and fought for. They ultimately decide to keep it private, and merely claim Zero died in a battle, so it comes as a complete shock to the surviving Black Knights at the end when Zero once again shows up and kills Lelouch.
- Self-Made Orphan: Lelouch becomes one when he Geasses the collective conciousness of mankind into using its power of pantheistic godhood to remove his parents from existence.
- Suzaku killed his father, the Prime Minister of Japan, Genbu Kururugi, during Japan's war against Britannia. He did this in order to force Japan to surrender, thus ending the bloodshed of the war and preventing Japan's total destruction, since Genbu actually preferred to have Japan destroyed rather than under Britannian rule. It worked, but the character is so horribly torn by guilt that the incident gives him Trauma-Induced Amnesia for years.
- Self-Parody: Several of the side materials, but especially in the Nunnally in Wonderland picture drama/OVA.
- Serious Business: There are luxurious underground gambling clubs for chess, frequented by millionaires, Mafia bosses and the like. Bring your own extremely expensive chess board and bet a fortune.
- She Is Not My Fiancée: Lelouch, regarding C.C. In Season One, episode five, when C.C. pops up unexpectedly at Lelouch's place, chatting away with Nunnally, she makes some cryptic remarks about a bond between her and Lelouch and a promise he made about their future together. Nunnally, not having any way of knowing about the Geass, makes the not altogether unreasonable assumption that C.C. is referring to secret wedding plans. When Lelouch tells Nunnally that C.C. is just joking, C.C. claims she never jokes.
- Ship Sinking: Occasionally. Can't possibly keep up with the Ship Tease.
- Ship Tease: Constantly. Nearly every conceivable pairing.
- Shooting Superman: A bunch of guerillas, when faced with Princess Cornelia's personal Knightmare Frame, start firing on it with small arms. They have no effect, and Cornelia promptly kills them all.
- Shout-Out: In R2 episode 5, C.C. cosplays as Chachamaru and Shirley as Mikuru.
- Kallen's Hot-Blooded fighting style, suspiciously Shining Finger-like attack, and Black Knights hairstyle are a fairly obvious shout-out to Domon Kasshu. To the point that fans insist that she's somehow Domon's daughter.
- In episode 5 of R1, when Suzaku takes Euphie to the Ghetto there are two figures on the ground at the memorial site, one looks a lot like Ultraman, and the other Godzilla with a beak.
- The opening scene of the first season shares several similarities with the opening scene of Neon Genesis Evangelion.note
- Lloyd's ''Congratulations!'' could be a reference to that one anime with a(n) (in)famous scene featuring that same word.
- The Geass-mark is identical to the shape of the Gundam Deathscythe's antennae, though this may just be a coincidence... but then again. Both shows are made by Sunrise, so it may be intended.
- The Guren S.E.I.T.E.N. Eight-Elements Type bears quite close resemblance to the the Gunzan, which in its own show was repaired and named Gurren.
- The sequence shown when Lancelot is equipped with the Float System is strangely similar to the sequence played when the X-105 Strike is equipped with its Aile Striker Pack. The overall design is more similar to that of the ZGMF-X 09 A Justice's back-mounted weapons platform. Similarly, the Float System mounted on the Guren Mk.2 is a mix between the Aile Striker Pack and the Force Silhouette.
- One of the cosplayers at the festival in episode 21 looks a lot like Remilia Scarlet with a darker color palette. It's rather easy to miss, as it's only on the screen for a few seconds.
- Suzaku's lines to Lelouch about the latter betraying the world before it betrays him hearken back to one of the most famous quotes from Romance of the Three Kingdomsnote :
Better I betray the world than the world betray me!
- Clovis' state funeral is a scream-out to Garma's from Mobile Suit Gundam, with Emperor Charles taking the place of Gihren Zabi in deliberately using Clovis' death to advance Imperial power and his Social Darwinist ideology, fists in the air, and "All Hail Brittannia" in place of "Sieg Zeon."
- Shower of Angst
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: In R1, Suzaku does this to Lelouch. In R2, Lelouch to Emperor Charles and more spoilery, Marianne.
- In R1 Episode 16. Lelouch to Mao ("NEVER SPEAK AGAIN!")
- The Sixties: Converted to the AD/CE calendar, the main bulk of the series takes place in a much more advanced version of the same time period as Mad Men.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Actually a pretty idealistic story overall, despite how utterly depressing it can be, especially if compared to the likes of Death Note.
- Slow Clap: At Suzaku's knighting. Started by Lloyd, then the rest of the Britannian audience picks it up.
- While Lloyd was the first to start clapping, it was really only after Andreas Darlton gave applause that the remaining Britannians joined in.
- The Social Darwinist: Emperor Charles.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Ohgi/Ougi. Variations on Tohdoh. Euphie/Euphy.
- Spanner in the Works: Lelouch's love for Nunnally has crumbled his plan thrice. First during the Black Rebellion, second during Pacific Aerial Assault, third when she's apparently killed in the Second Battle of Tokyo.
- In general, his love for his friends serves as such a trope, as it usually causes him to do irrational actions that will cost him. The aftermath of Shirley's death led to his assaulting the Geass Directorate, which led to questioning from other members of the Black Knights who are beginning to suspect his actions.
- Suzaku coming in at the most inopportune moments and keeping Lelouch's plans from bearing maximum results also counts. Ditto Villetta, who seems to have been created with the sole purpose of sabotaging things for Lelouch.
- Sphere of Destruction: What happens when you set off F.L.E.I.J.A.
- Spoiler Opening
- Statuesque Stunner: Viletta Nu, Cornelia Li Britannia, and Milly Ashford.
- Status Quo Is God: The blatant aversion of this trope is one of the show's biggest selling points.
- Stock Footage: The Geass sequence eats up a couple of seconds per episode.
- Stolen Good, Returned Better: After Kallen and her Guren are captured by Britannia, they strap a crapload of high-tech upgrades onto it only for her to break out and steal it right back.
- Straw Fan: Diethard fits this to a T. He joins The Black Knights only because he was pretty much Zero's #1 fan and like Kallen, he's fiercely loyal to Zero viewing him as a source of inspiration and admiration. From then on however, he's portrayed as the resident Token Evil Teammate with others distrusting him. Near the end he is killed by Lelouch/Zero himself after defecting to Schneizel when The Black Knights crumble, dying in shame.
- Suggestive Collision: Kallen falls over Lelouch in a suggestive position, lampshading their uncertain relationship.
- Super Empowering
- Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom: F.L.E.I.J.A. — a nuclear bomb, named for the Norse goddess of love and beauty.
- Supernatural Aid
- Superpower Lottery: The Geass powers obtained by a contract vary in their usefulness. In Nightmare of Nunnally, Marianne happens to get just the right power while on the brink of death, transferring her soul into Anya's body.
- Super Prototype: Justified with the Lancelot. Cecile mentions that Lloyd spent their entire budget on the Knightmare, which is why the special unit seems to consist solely of the head scientist, his aide, and the pilot. They had to borrow the truck they haul the Lancelot around in.
- The Shen-Hu was considered so high-spec that no one could pilot it.
- Super Reflexes: Kallen, being a combat mech pilot, has incredible reflexes, which tend to act up even when she is playing an Ill Girl in school. In one episode, when Rivalz accidentally sends a champagne bottle cork right into her face, she notices it even before he does and deflects it with her hand.
- Suzaku Kururugi has been shown to be able to dodge bullets from machine guns.
- Super Robot Wars (Made its debut in Super Robot Wars Z2)
- Surprisingly Good English: The textbooks, news articles, magazines, etc. Makes sense since it takes place in a Japan under British rule.
- Occasionally averted, such as with the Knights of the Round—the original Japanese had them as Knight of Rounds, which makes little sense. The hotel hijacking episode also had some Engrish on the news cast.
- Sword of Damocles: ...The Damocles.
- Tagalong Reporter: Diethard is this for the Black Knights.
- Take a Third Option: The Special Administrative Zone is a threat to Lelouch's powerbase, but he can't destroy it because it's the project of his beloved sister, Euphemia. The solution is to incorporate it into his plans.
- Tame His Anger
- Tanks for Nothing: Japanese tanks are no match for Britannian Humongous Mecha. Oh, the irony.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Lelouch's penchant for prerecorded conversations, which is taken to its logical conclusion with his "dialogue" with Schneizel, which nigh anticipated what he would actually say. Subverted however in that said messages are designed to be as general and filled with deliberate pauses as possible, giving the illusion of a conversation. Neither are they intended to hold up for too long, serving more like distractions and feints as they're far from perfect.
- Tear Jerker: In-universe- Prince Clovis's televised memorial service. According to Jeremiah and Diethard, who even invokes this trope by name.
- Tears of Remorse
- Technicolor Eyes: Violet or purple eyes seem to be a somewhat common Britannian trait as Lelouch, Rolo, Euphemia, Cornelia, and Nunnally all have one or the other; C.C. and Viletta both have gold eyes, and Anti-Villain Suzaku has green eyes (which are very unusual but not impossible for a Japanese person).
- Tempting Fate: "Don't worry Nina, there are a lot of Britannians at the convention center. It's not dangerous like the ghetto."
- Happened twice in episode 10. First, a couple of JLF soldiers are musing that no one would invade their territory then Zero walks in and geasses them both. The second time was when Cornelia and Darlton were both thinking that the rebellion in Area 11 will finally end when they defeat the JLF. It then cuts to the Black Knights preparing for battle.
- Thanatos Gambit: Lelouch uses the Zero Requiem to die for world peace — and win the gambit. This involved in part propping an image of himself as a monster in the eyes of the world.
- Theme Naming: The Humongous Mecha used by the Knights of the Round: Lancelot, Gawain, Tristan, Mordred...
- The code names that Zero gives the Black Knights are the first letter of a chess piece and a number. P-1, R-1, Q-1, etc.
- They Died Because of You: In episode 16, Mao calls out Suzaku for the death of his own father, Genbu Kururugi.
- Lelouch gets blamed for this by Shirley when her father is killed during one of Zero's missions. To make matters even worse for him, her father was a relatively upstanding person who wasn't an Asshole Victim, which shocks him even more when he learns about it.
- "They Still Belong to Us" Lecture: Schneizel uses this trope against Lelouch.
- The Thing That Goes Doink
- Third-Act Misunderstanding
- Time Skip: The first seasons and second season are separated by a gap of one year. Then it happens two more times in one-month and two-month periods.
- To Be Lawful or Good: Several characters are faced with this tough decision at times, usually Suzaku or Lelouch.
- Token Enemy Minority: Diethard.
- Token Evil Teammate: Diethard, again.
- Token Good Teammate: Euphemia li Britannia and Andreas Darlton are this to Britannia in general. They both meet tragic ends.
- Took a Level in Cynic: Lelouch acquires this at age eight, when his mother is murdered in what may be a court intrigue, about which his father the Emperor does nothing. When Lelouch calls him out on this, his response is to send the kid over to an enemy country as a hostage and bargaining chip. Not long after, he invades the country that is hosting his own child, in a very bloody war. No wonder the kid ends up the way he does.
- Totally Radical: "You fellas know full well what this badass mother can do!"
- Trademark Favorite Food: Pizza for CC; to a lesser extent, perhaps also pudding for Lloyd.
- Transforming Mecha: R2 introduces the Tristan (robot-to-fighter jet) and the Shinkirō (robot-to-submersible fighter jet).
- Trapped In Villainy: Played with in R2: after becoming The Emperor, Lelouch instructs his most faithful followers (particularly, Sayoko) to surrender to his enemies and to claim that they only obeyed him out of fear. But then again, he is not exactly a villain.
- Trauma Conga Line: The universe of Code Geass LOVES to kick you when you are already down and crying.
- Trope Overdosed: Dear God, even the summary is convoluted. Here's a little game for you: compile the content on this work page on a word processor, then compare it to all the Gundam universes and see which one has the bigger file size.
- Try Not to Die: Among other times, Lelouch to C.C. in the first season finale, after she kisses him. Her response is "Hey, remember who you're talking to".
- During the Black Rebellion Cornelia essentially ordered Guilford to come back alive after he covered for her.
- Twice Shy: Millie invokes this during a special event which she designed specifically to bring Lelouch and Shirley together - sort of, anyway. Later, as she explains this reasoning, she also points out that the two of them are just so shy.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Between Lelouch and Suzaku, in Season One, episode five. A bit of a Ho Yay / Foe Yay as they each pontificate and allow the audience to the commonality and common purpose that, ironically, will divide them.
- It's a running feature in the show. Some of them are awesome, others (the dialogue shared by Bismarck and Kaguya when the UFN forces came to liberate Japan) is just Narm.
- Undying Loyalty: Jeremiah Gottwald, who amped it Up to Eleven!
- Unexplained Recovery: Guilford, who somehow survived his mecha getting caught in the FLEIJA.
- Un Paused: Used extensively, as Rolo's Geass stops time (or close enough). Once unpaused, characters continue to fight in their mechas, monologue, or beg intermittently for Rolo to stop using his Geass.
- The Unreveal: While Lelouch is understandably shocked when he finds out who the White Knight is, audience members have already seen him in action many times, so it's not as surprising to most people when his identity is revealed in-universe.
- Unwanted Harem: Lelouch is insanely popular with the girls at Ashford Academy; it gets even worse in R2, when Sayoko, in the process of running around disguised as Lelouch, manages to set him up with 108 dates within the span of 24 hours.
- Unwilling Suspension
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Ohgi and Villetta. R2 19. Enough said.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Lelouch, Schneizel, Charles and Marianne all try to create their various ideas of a perfect world, and all are prepared to get their hands dirty.
- Villainous Rescue: Schneizel's Avalon blocks a barrage of missiles heading toward Lelouch and Suzaku. Nearly an unintentional Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work, since his follow-up to fire the Gawain at our characters buys Lelouch enough time to figure a way out of the situation.
- Visual Innuendo: A ridiculous one with Mao and his chainsaw.
- Was It Really Worth It?: One of the main goals of the Zero Requiem was to make all the major players (and the entire world) realize just how pointless war and violence really are. The whole first half of the final episode involves every character going through their motivations and discussing this question.
- Wave Motion Gun: Hadron Cannons and the upgraded radiation wave in R2.
- We All Live in America: Despite the fact that Japan is under Britannian rule it still seems very Japanese in customs. Even the schools.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The various Japanese resistances don't always get along, to the point that Lelouch has to purge the ones that get in his way.
- We Have Reserves: In the battle at the end of R2, Lelouch's strategy is essentially to keep throwing his troops at the Damocles until it runs out of tactical nukes.
- Wham Episode: Episode 22 takes the Nice Job Breaking It, Hero trope and elevates it to a whole new level when Lelouch accidentally Geasses his sister into killing all the Japanese.
- Starting with episode 13, R2 whams every episode.
- Episode 7 of the first season is perhaps the first instance of this trope, where Lelouch suffers his first major defeat due to fighting against a Dangerously Genre Savvy opponent who essentially uses his tactics against him.
- Wham Line: Mao to Suzaku ("Get your hands off of me, father-killer!")
- Although Euphy meant well by this, she delivers a speech version at the end of episode 21 when she proclaims to create a zone where 11's can go back to being Japanese and there's no distinction between them or Britannians. Lelouch does not take it well, as Euphy essentially neutered his operations as Zero and the Black Knights with that proclamation.
- What Happened to the Mouse??: Played straight at the beginning of R2 but subverted later on when it tells everyone what happened to nearly every character after the Black Rebellion; many of the rebels were captured and executed, while others escaped.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Lelouch delivers one to C.C. when she tells him about Mao; he's mad that she would burden a young child with Geass and then abandon him to his fate rather than trying to help him, or failing all else, putting him out of his misery.
- Lelouch himself gets called on this from time to time by various characters or his subordinates who sometimes questions his motives for taking certain actions, especially by Suzaku.
- When It All Began: The invasion of Japan, and the attack on Lelouch's family.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: C.C.'s "one wish" that Lelouch was originally obliged to grant her by their contract was to finally die, which would make Lelouch bear the curse of immortality in her place. Implied that Mao already refused to do so because he was too attached to her, leading her to seek out another to do so..
- Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Happens most every time characters get excited or scared.
- World of Ham: This series is one of the reasons the trope exists. How CAN one not be a LARGE HAM in a world where even the SCENERY is CHEWING THE SCENERY?. And the MUSIC. And the HUMONGOUS MECHA. And the laws of PHYSICS. It is MANDATORY to be hammy in such circumstances! Anything more subtle, given the circumtances, would be a DULL SURPRISE!!!
- Given the TRAGEDIES of the series, one could consider this COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED!!!
- World of Silence: The "World Without Lies" that Charles, V.V. and Marianne planned to create.
- The Wrongful Heir to the Throne: While Crown Prince Odysseus of Britannia is not as egotistical or racist as his father or some of his siblings, he is somewhat of a milquetoast Inadequate Inheritor compared to the more competent usurper Lelouch.
- Xanatos Gambit: Lelouch and Schneizel are experts at it.
- In episode 7 of R1, C.C. gives Lelouch a succinct description of the trope: "If you're so good, you should be able to set up the conditions however you want" (i.e. "create a win-win situation for yourself"). He takes the words to heart for his next plan: he and his new Black Knight Organization rescue Britannian citizens from a Japanese terrorist plot. Cornelia has no choice but to acknowledge the Black Knights (and let them leave in peace) in order to keep civil unrest from growing in the wake of Britannian deaths at the hands of "Elevens".
- Rolo's conversion into Lelouch's ally also counts. See the trope page for details.
- Schneizel is an interesting take on this: he will not fight if he can't be certain he'll win (note his chess match against Zero, where he forfeited with a florish, and his last big scene in the series, where he flees from a fight where he has only a chance — however high — of winning.
- Yandere: Mao to C.C., Nina to Euphemia, Rolo to Lelouch, even V.V. to Charles.
- Though Nina only becomes Yandere after Euphemia's death, so it's up to debate if she's playing the trope quite straight.
- You Are a Credit to Your Race: "Honorary Britanians," those from conquered nations that have been granted citizenship. The title carries both implicit and explicit patronization.
- You Cannot Kill An Idea: Zero's stance for fighting against injustice and tyranny, largely caused by the Britannian Empire, but also anyone who would manipulate people for their own gain, such as the eunuchs in the Chinese Federation. So when Lelouch finally takes over the world at the end, Zero once again shows up to fight against him, which is quite a shock to the Black Knights, as they discovered Lelouch was Zero, so wondered who this new Zero was.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: It's a pretty common trait regardless of race.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: How the various immortals are created.
- Lelouch does this with Suzaku at the end, "cursing" him to live a life where he fights against injustice and tyranny as Zero. Suzaku gladly accepts the terms.
- Young Conqueror: Lelouch vi Britannia, though it seems it is common in the Britannian royal dynasty: while Nunnaly's reign is more A Child Shall Lead Them, Euphie is revealed to be a very gentle but determined version of this trope, Schneizel, while slightly old, is still quite young, and Charles and VV are heavily implied to have been this in their youth.
- Zero-Approval Gambit: Zero Requiem.
- 0% Approval Rating: Toward the end of the series, Lelouch gets Britannians to disapprove of Britannia so that his assassination will cause world unity.