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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, Geass 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 charminglyexaggerated, 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:
Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Milly twice mobilizes the entire student body to a specific task with nothing but a PA announcement. Milly being part of the (former) noble family Ashford (as in Ashford Academy) does give at least some reasoning behind it. And the fact that she promised a kiss from a student council member, and all the student council members are bishonen and bishoujo. Then again, her last act as student council president was to organize an event where a person snatching another's hat would designate those two as an official couple ... and not, apparently, just for the duration of the game.
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: So spacious that Mao manages to use it to hide, not just himself, but Nunnally and a bomb ... which is suspended about 30 feet above Nunnally from a long rope.
Adaptation Distillation: The Lelouch of the Rebellion manga covers the first half of R2 in the course of about a single volume, and several less-than-well accepted points of the story have been changed.
Aerith and Bob: In this anime, characters with names like Jeremiah and Shirley play alongside characters with names like Lelouch and Villetta. Counts doubly for Schneizel, which is not only not a name but manages to sound like a German foodstuff. Note that if the name sounds really weird, there's a strong chance the character is a child of Emperor Charles.
Also C.C. when searching for Mao. She has a guy pinned to a wall by his throat. With one foot.
Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Avalon, the Emperor's Great Britannia, the Ikaruga (which is submersible as well), and several other flying airships which are either passenger transports or cargo ships.
Airstrip One: All the conquered territories of the Holy Britannian Empire. Japan is now "Area 11".
Alas, Poor Villain: When Mao dies, we know that he only became this way because of what C.C. did to him.
General Darlton, one of the more tolerant and heroic Britannians, is immediately executed by Lelouch after completing a Geass command to betray Cornelia. He snaps out of it just long enough to see what he was forced to do.
The Alliance: The United Federation of Nations, the group that forms from the remnants of the EU and the Chinese Federation to oppose the Britannian Empire.
All Nations Are Superpowers: The world of Code Geass is divided between the Holy Britannian Empire, the European Union and the Chinese Federation. Neutral nations like Japan tends to be conquered by the Britannians.
Alternate History: And it can get pretty out there. For example, The American Revolution failed because Ben Franklin sided with Great Britain. Then Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Europe, including England, so Britannia rebuilt its empire on the other side of the Atlantic. It is indicated that such changes are due specifically to the presence of Geass. In addition, the existence of Sakuradite can be used to Hand Wave some of the technology and history changes.
The series is even taking place in an alternate history; if you look up the information about the timeline ofCode Geass, you'll see that it takes place in what would be the 1960s by real-world reckoning. That's right, they got flip-phones about half a century earlier than we did.
The waters are muddied further with the implication that the current Britannian regime is very fond of historical revisionism... and because we spend most of the series from the viewpoints of people at least brought up in the Britannian system, that's where most of our info comes from.
And I Must Scream: Not in the way you would think. While in a particularly bad mood Lelouch Geasses one man to bark like a dog and another to dance like an idiot. It sounds funny but then you realize they'll be doing exactly that until they die, unless they get un-geassed or have a geass canceller hit them which removes it.
Anyone Can Die: Perhaps less so than in other series, but several important characters still experience this throughout both seasons.
Arc Words: Subverted; Zero says something about "orange" during the Suzaku rescue, the implication being that it's the code name for a collaboration between himself and Jeremiah. When C.C. asks Lelouch what "orange" means later, he admits there IS no deeper meaning; he simply chose an arbitrary word and allowed everyone's innate curiosity to assign meaning to it.
Artistic License – Geology: When the F.L.E.I.J.A. bomb is deployed, leaving at least a 1300 meter-deep crater, the now exposed terrain is completely uniform. No geological layers at all. Though considering the forces involved, it can be imagined that an uniform crust would have melted on the sides of the crater, consisting of all the matter vaporized in the explosion.
Hmmm... it seems to cause a disintegration/black hole effect. If it worked through heat, the surroundings would still be white-hot after the explosion instead of clean-cut.
Assimilation Plot: What the Ragnarok Connection, the Emperor's and Marianne's ultimate plan, aimed to achieve. It's pretty similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion's Instrumentality, but with a different set of symbols.
Played straight with the Britannian Emperor, Cornelia, Guilford, and the Knights of the Round. Marianne, Lelouch and Nunnally's mother, is also implied to be one, as she was highly respected amongst many of the Britannians.
On the Black Knights side, Kallen, Tohdoh, the Four Holy Swords, Xingke, Gottwald/Orange after his Heel-Face Turn and joins Lelouch, and CC when she isn't fighting one of the main Britannian leaders/Knights.
Refreshingly averted with Zero himself. He is a skilled strategist and can turn the tide of battles, but does poorly when he's facing the enemy head-on, or trying to get away from them without some kind of help.
Despite being blind and paralyzed even Nunally manages to ring up a decent kill count by the time the series is finished.
Badass Longcoat: Subverted with Ohgi in his Deputy Commander uniform, since throughout the series he's for the most partuninspiring. Played straight with Tohdoh and possibly Lelouch and Suzaku in their civilian disguises
Bad Guys Play Pool: Played with. Gino, Lloyd and Cecile play pool shortly after Suzaku nukes Tokyo. They are the bad guys, but Cecile and Lloyd clearly disapprove of Suzaku's behavior at this point and let it show. Gino is more apathetic, but he didn't approve, either.
Subverted precisely one time in the entire series, where the otherwise Bishoujo looking Nina learns about Princess Euphemia's death and has a mental breakdown, complete with the facial expression you'd expect in real life. It's absolutely horrifying.
If you even try to harm Nunally, Lelouch will either kill you or permenantly shut you up literally
Big Bad Ensemble: Emperor Charles zi Britannia and his son, Prince Schneizel el Britannia. The former has an Assimilation Plot called the "Ragnarok", where all humans, living or dead, will become one being in an attempt to destroy all gods and unite all humans. The latter has an A God Am I mindset, with the plan to launch a Kill Sat called the Damocles that fires F.L.E.I.J.A. missiles, all to unite the world through fear.
Big Damn Heroes: When Lelouch finally reaches the end of his rope, runs out of cards, put into checkmate, is completely and utterly screwed... this happens.
Though it didn't happen at the end of R1.
Lloyd did this once during the Black Rebellion when he saved the student council.
Lelouch does this unintentionally when his dramatic entrance in episode 20 of R2 coincides with Bismark's near-execution of Suzaku, giving Suzaku enough of a distraction to escape.
Big "NO!": Several times. In a show full of hams, it's to be expected.
Bodyguard Crush: Reciprocated, blossoming into a real relationship, between Princess Euphemia and her knight Suzaku. Later, another between Kallen and Zero.
It's rife within the royal family. First Charles & Marianne then with Cornelia & Guilford.
Book Ends: "One should not kill unless they are ready to be killed themselves!"
Also the first episode of R2 shares many parallels with that of the first season. Lelouch goes through his daily life and beats a Britannian in chess before getting involved in a terrorist act. He then meets C2 and, right before he's about to be gunned down, he gains the power of the Geass and orders the firing squad to kill themselves.
Additionally, the first and last openings were performed by FLOW, while the first and last endings were performed by ALI PROJECT.
The first season both begins and ends with Lelouch in a dark, enclosed place, with his back against the wall and blood on his face.
Bound and Gagged: Happens regularly in R2, though more the former than the latter.
Episodes 5 and 12 of R2 are filled with Fanservice and contain almost no main plot advancement whatsoever, except for the mandatory cliffhangers at the end.
Episode 21 of the first season is full of light-hearted fluff, and is sandwiched between the high-powered action sequences of episode 20 and episode 22.
Episode 6 of the first season, where a cat accidentally steals Lelouch's Zero helmet, and due to some misinterpretations by Nunnally, causes the entire school to go looking for it. It's really lighthearted compared to the next episode, in which Lelouch suffers his first major defeat and is nearly captured/killed in the process.
Break Her Heart To Save Her: Subverted. Before Milly's graduation event in R2, Lelouch considers doing this to Shirley, but he never really got round to it.
Viletta: She's totally head over heels for you. She did shoot me to protect you.
Lelouch: That's why I can't get her involved in this any further.
Played straight later with Kallen.
Break the Cutie: Played horrifyingly straight with a good portion of the cast.
Brick Joke: Lelouch tests his Geass by telling a girl to once a day make a new mark on an unmarked brick of the building. Several times in the series, you see her walking to and marking the building, and during episode 5 of R2, you see the marks on the wall with the last mark being only half done.
This is actually becomes a little less humorous when some minor lines in the supplementary material or within the show bring up that this girl is now living in Britannia and keeps getting up int the middle of the night and trying to walk out of her house. The Geass never wore off.
Broken Faceplate: This happens very dramatically in the season 1 finale. Suzaku shoots a bullet straight at Zero's forehead; the mask slowly cracks, falling into two pieces on the floor and finally revealing Lelouch's identity to both him and Kallen. Then his forehead starts bleeding...
Bulletproof Human Shield: Cornelia has no qualms about using one of her own subordinates as a Knightmare-flavoured shield should the need arise.
Buxom Is Better: Try to count the number of named characters without large busts over the age of 15.
Call Back: A somewhat chilling one occurs in R2. In episode 10, Lelouch inspires his command staff to battle by declaring he will demonstrate to the Chinese Federation the difference between strategy and tactics. Six episodes later, Nina is discussing mounting the F.L.E.I.J.A. on the Lancelot, and Lloyd cautions her not to confuse a strategic weapon with a tactical one. This distinction comes up again in "Nunally in Wonderland."
Another instance of a call back occurs with Lelouch's first two uses of his Geass in the first episode of either season: first, to order a group of soldiers to die; and second, to play the innocent to lure a knight out of their Knightmare, then order them to give to to Lelouch.
Call to Agriculture: Lord Jeremiah ends the series in an orange grove. Possibly also a reference to when he had to face demotion or a dishonorable discharge. The Euphemism they used for the discharge was "start an orange farm." It shows not only that he wanted new growth after the war, but also reminded him daily of [ his choice to join Lelouch.
Cast from Hit Points: Most Geass users have some kind of drawback, such as Lelouch's where he can only use his Geass on a person once. In Rolo's case, stopping time causes a lot of physical stress to his body, so he can usually only use it for a short amount of time. He then does a Heroic Sacrifice in order to save Lelouch from getting killed after the Black Knights find out what he did using his Geass ability, and how he apparently played them all for fools.
Char Clone: Lelouch. He's an estranged son of an important political figure, he has a grudge towards a whole family of nobility, he has a fake name, he wears a mask, he has a younger sister, he's handsome, he's charismatic, he has no loyalty to anyone except himself, he has no qualms about killing people who are nice to him in the past. In fact, if you take this perspective, Code Geass becomes Mobile Suit Gundam with the perspectives skewed, instead of following Amuro (Suzaku), you're following Char.
Kallen has Char's piloting ability and his penchant for red mecha.
Characterization Marches On: Nearly all of the Britannian Empire were purely evil, racist, and ruthless in the first season, but the second season gave it more shades of gray, with the main ones in charge (Emperor Charles, V.V, etc.) being the only truly evil ones, and they have understandable motivations. In the end, Luciano Bradley is the only Britannian left with absolutely no redeeming qualities.
It's still a very dark shade of grey though since millions are dying in Britannia's conquests with no Britannian actually caring about how War Is Hell for the loser. They're mostly Punch clock villains but a world conquering and enslaving one. But an example less related to morality would be how early on Cornelia remarks on Guilford having a number of mistreses but for most of the series he acts like he has a Bodyguard Crush on Cornelia.
Cherry Blossoms: The power souce is called Sakuradite, is rose-colored and even produces rose-colored explosions.
Rose- or pink-colored smokescreens are common, too.
Celibate Hero: Lelouch honestly doesn't seem that interested in women or sex. Possibly a Freud Was Right given his fixation on avenging his mother and creating a better world for his sister. It is implied that, aside from these two, he does love C.C., Shirley and Kallen, as shown by refusing to let Kallen throw away her life for him and choosing to avenge Shirley's death. But, though each of those three have surprise-kissed him at least once, the only time Lelouch tries making a romantic or sexual advance of his own is when he's in the middle of a Heroic BSOD and is looking for anything that might comfort him. He makes this advance on Kallen, no less.
Chess Motifs: Start with Zero's uniform — which could almost be a human-sized classic Staunton chess set king◊ stuffed into a superhero cape. This was done intentionally - designer Kenji Teraoka revealed in an interview that the King and Queen from the show's eponymous chess set are modeled on Zero and C.C.. And the list goes on and on and on.
Childhood Friends: Suzaku and Lelouch. It's one of the major early driving factors for the show since Lelouch is so reluctant to see him as an enemy or use his geass on him..
Kaguya Sumeragi — head of the influential Sumeragi House; High Chairman of the UFN; Japan's representative on said council — is only about fourteen by the events of R2.
Nunnally begins her rule of Britannia, the world's last remaining superpower, when she has just turned fifteen.
Lelouch himself is only seventeen (presumably he turned eighteen during the time skip). While not exactly a 'child' per se, he is very young to be leading a full-scale rebellion. And later ruling most of the world.
Cliff Hanger: Almost every episode, albeit with widely varying levels of intensity. The first season finale ends with a cliffhanger that makes you want to blow something up with a bomb. If anything, the second season still further upped the ante, concluding with a The End... Or Is It? in the series finale's epilogue.
Coincidental Broadcast: In episode eight of the first season, the Black Knights catching the hoteljacking incident on the news.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Excluding the first few episodes[note Britannia was colored red for those, on maps the nations have been colored blue for Britannia, yellow for the European Union, and red for the Chinese Federation/UFN.
Conspicuous CG: No, not the mecha — during Kallen and Suzaku's final battle, there's a clip in which the surrounding scenery seems to be made up of cel-shaded 3D graphics. Also, flags in the wind and trains.
Nunnally's garden during Operation Pacific Ambush
During the big showdown with Emperor Wakamoto there is a massive tower of shimmering CGI. This makes sense when you think about the circumstances and who's involved.
Contemplate Our Navels: In the very last episode, everyone goes through the "Why we fight" speech. And I mean everyone. And they all do it at the same time.
Cool vs. Awesome: The second battle for Japan in R2 between the United Federation of Nations vs the Holy Britannian Empire. Both sides get moments where they shine, and most of the major characters play some role in it.
Their second battle at the end of R2. Major characters take a beating, and it shows as they can't fight or fly nearly as well after having taken extensive damage.
Kallen and Suzaku's final battle, where they finally get to beat the snot out of each other's Knightmares without holding back.
Crapsack World: The Britannian Emperor invades nations because of his "survival of the fittest" philosophy even if he doesn't believe in it. If he wins, you and others like you, will be relegated to ghettos where you will live in poverty. The ghetto is subject to army raids. If you want a better life, swallow your pride and head to the government building where you can sign a document that says you are now an honorary Britannian. You are now eligible for employment (the really demeaning ones). Life in the settlement is marked by racism. Britannians can beat you up in the street and no one, not even police, will help you. Being a Britannian in Area 11 is especially dangerous because of clashes between the army and the Black Knights. The Chinese Federation is no improvement. The only bastion of freedom and democracy in the world is the European Union, and they're losing their war to Britannia.
It's also suggested that Australia is a completely neutral territory (think Switzerland during the Second World War, but it doesn't play a role in the story, so its internal status is unknown.
Crushing The Populace: Nations conquered by Britannia are called Areas. All cultural identity is extinguished and citizens are completely at the mercy of the soldiers who can kill them for sport without anyone batting an eye.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Not just Lelouch, but his opponents within the Britannian Empire aren't stupid either most of the time. They will often have some form of counter to either fight his strategies, such as Cornelia during their first encounter, and later using Nunnally as the Viceroy for Area 11 after Zero makes his reappearance in R2.
It seems that in this Alternate Reality, miniskirts are completely acceptable in all contexts. The Black Knights' female uniform includes a miniskirt. It's like Mustang got his dream come true.
A special mention also must be made of the demure, imperial princess Euphemia, making a groundbreaking political announcement on live worldwide TV, being lifted up on the hand of a giant mecha with a giant pizza behind her, wearing a dangerously short dress with bystanders all around the mecha's feet. Somehow no underwear is seen, and she seems completely oblivious to the risk.
Date Peepers: In episode 3 of the second season, Milly, Rolo, and Rivalz all spy on Shirley and Lelouch's "date" to find a present for Villeta, their Physical Education teacher. However, Lelouch spots them peeking from a nearby bush when he glances at a mirror in a wine shop. He also uses this opportunity to blackmail the Britannian spy ring observing him as well.
Death Is Dramatic: At least with sufficiently major characters. Minor characters, especially those with no real ties to the main characters, tend to suffer fates offscreen with little to-do.
Decoy Getaway: C.C. sometimes dresses as Zero to aid Lelouch in his plans and/or to lend him plausible deniability. In the second season, Sayoko does the opposite (of sorts) by disguising herself as Lelouch (the Rich Idiot with No Day Job version).. As if to top them both, at the end of R2, Suzaku kills Lelouch at Lelouch's own request and takes up the Zero identity.
Defeat by Modesty: Lelouch secures his freedom when Kallen grabs him the first time by telling her that he can see her. She's in the shower, so this revelation gets her to draw the curtain and let him go.
Defeat Means Friendship: Applies to many characters who fight Lelouch, or those on his side who wonder if he's really as good as he claims to be (and they find out he is).
Deflector Shields: First introduced on the Lancelot's arm gauntlets. Later shown on a large scale with the Avalon.
Despair Speech: Lelouch near the end of Turn 20: "My name is Lelouch vi Britannia, I am the eldest son of Empress Marianne, the prince who was abandoned by his empire. If anyone wishes to stop me, let them try, if there is anyone who can go beyond my despair."
Destroy the Abusive Home: This is definitely Lelouch's motivation, having been born and raised in an aristocratic, totalitarian empire, which gets its kicks from invading other countries and subjugating them to their will.
Deliberately Triggering the Trap: In episode 7, Cornelia tries to lure out Zero by attacking the Saitama Ghetto; Lelouch immediately recognizes it's a trap since it's an almost perfect recreation of Clovis's attack on Shinjuku Ghetto in the first couple of episodes. He still goes anyway because of his overconfidence.
Disproportionate Retribution: Lelouch plots revenge against most of his family members for the Britannian invasion of Japan. It doesn't stop there. His response to Rolo murdering Shirley is to wipe out the entire Geass Order. While there were undoubtedly some monsters in that number, he still has his minions slaughter kids. Tykebombs, yes, but kids. Rolo had killed an SIA man for touching the locket Lelouch gave him.
Lelouch calling out Charles on his refusal to end the global violence is reminiscent of how people still believe Emperor Hirohito could have averted Japan's involvement in World War II.
Ohgi is a member of a race considered inferior by a conquering empire who lives in a ghetto. He has dark, curly hair and is a member of a resistant movement who used to be a teacher before the war. He wears a yellow Star of David over his jacket.
Dramatic Sit-Down: Lelouch does this after the Euphinator incident. He goes to somewhere private and sits down and cries. He accidentally made his second-favorite sister commit genocide. He was forced to kill her and then he turned it into his political advantage.
DVD Commentary: With the Japanese producers and cast. (Includes subtitles.)
The Ending Changes Everything: Not as much of an example as most others, as it doesn't cover the whole series, but The Reveal of what the Zero Requiem is entirely changes the context of the final arc and several key conversations.
Unfortunately, not only does it not encompass more than a few episodes, it fails to give us strong insight into the participating characters motivations. Or, exactly, how it's supposed to work.
Enemy Mine: Lelouch occasionally sides with the Britannians, such as when the hotel jacking takes place, or stopping the invasion by some of the former Japanese government officials.
Engineered Public Confession: The Chinese Eunuchs should REALLY have considered the possibility that their conversation with Zero could be recorded before they gleefully mouthed off about how "the people are ants" and that the much-beloved child empress is "just a puppet who can easily be replaced." Hilarity Ensues as the entire Chinese Federation simultaneouslyrevolts in anger.
Evil Britannian: Aside from a few sympathetic named characters, most Britannians are portrayed as evil or at least uncaring. Britannia is an alternate-history country where the American Revolution failed and Napoleon conquered the British Isles. Britain and the United States have no equivalent country in this series.
Exotic Eye Designs: All Geass users have their pupils change into a bird-shaped sigil. Those that fall into the command of a Geass have their sclearas highlighted with the color of the Geass itself.
Exploited Immunity: In one battle, C.C. (while fighting in Knightmare Frames) grabs her opponent and tackles them both into the ocean, attempting to crush them both with the water pressure. C.C. is immortal and can regenerate, so she has nothing to worry about.
Expy: Several characters look like or have a personality similar to characters from the Gundam meta series or from previous CLAMP works. Sometimes, these overlap.
Lelouch resembles TRC Kamui, especially in the CLAMP artwork.
The CLAMP lineart design for Nunnally is a direct recycle of xxxHolic's Kohane Tsuyuri.
Kallen has many similarities to Domon Kasshu. It doesn't help that Kallen's mother is voiced by Yuri Amano (who voiced Rain Mikamura in G-Gundam).
Euphemia and Suzaku also look almost exactly like Lacus and Kira. Very similar plot wise too.
Lelouch and Kallen are, as previously mentioned, aspects of Char Aznable
The Britannian Royal family are the Zabi family, with Charles being both Degwin and Gihren (passionate speeches), Schniezel being Gihren (hands-on leadership, want his dad's place in the hierarchy), Cornelia being Kycilia (ruthless and cold personality, horrified by her brother's actions), and Clovis being Garma. Nunnally certainly shares personality traits with Mineva (used as a pawn).
Failure Gambit: The ending of the series is an example of this, as well as Thanatos Gambit and Zero-Approval Gambit, as Lelouch, now emperor of Britannia, intentionally makes himself the enemy of the world and then dies a martyr's death at the hands of Suzaku, who is disguised as Zero, the hero of the people. This plan—the "Zero Requiem"—results in most of the world's strife being blamed on the tyrannical Lelouch, and ultimately unites humanity, just as Lelouch had hoped to do.
Fake Memories: The Emperor gives these to Lelouch — and the whole damn school as well — with his geass, during the Time Skip. Long before this, he did it to Nunnally as well, which caused her blindness.
Faking Amnesia: In the second series of Code Geass, Lelouch adds this to part of his masquerade early on in order to throw off suspicion that he has regained his memories.
Fanservice: Every female character is subjected to this. Especially Kallen.
Several of the male characters have their moments too: Suzaku's and Gino's Knightmare Frame-pilot outfits are really tight. Lelouch has at least one shower and shirtless scene.
Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Skirts cling more closely to contours than should be possible, particularly at the rear. Displayed by too many characters to count.
For Science!: Lloyd Asplund lives by this trope, and doesn't care for much anything else. He even tells Nina in R2 that if she wants to perform science experiments, she must destroy her heart, or it'll just get in her way (which it does when the FLEIJA goes off).
Rakshata largely lives by this trope, but usually to build stuff to counter what Lloyd's created. Both of them are often shocked by a new item created by the other
For Your Own Good: Charles and Marianne justify their actions throughout the series as being this, but Lelouch (correctly) doesn't buy it for a second.
From Bad to Worse: Code Geass operates on a continuum in which everything is slightly worse than what came before it.
Fun with Acronyms: F.L.E.I.J.A. The "J" doesn't appear to stand for anything, and is just there to make the pronunciation approximate the mythological name "Freya".
The other possibility is that the "J" is there to make it sound like "flayer". It does rather effectively to the outer skin of Knightmares that are destroyed when Schneizel is trying to get to the heart of the opposing force. That is Lelouch.
Future Spandex: The Black Knight pilots get to wear some form-fitting spandex-like suits, but many Britannians wear their dress uniforms when inside Knightmare Frames.
Gainaxing: Less than what you'd usually expect, for a series with plenty of fanservice, but it still happens a couple of times in both seasons.
Gambit Pileup: Episode 20 of R2, what with the Emperor activating the Sword of Akasha, Schneizel starting his bid for the throne, and Lelouch gunning to take down the Emperor. It actually gets simpler after that.
Gambit Roulette: Guessing the exact time, place and replies of an upcoming conversation, when you don't even know that you'll be taken captive at the time you need to have it, and recording your half of it in advance is quite insane.
Geas: What is traditionally referred to as a geas is not what the series calls a geass. However, Lelouch's ability essentially allows him to put others under one.
Generican Empire: The United Federation of Nations, which is actually more of an alternate United Nations with military power than an actual empire.
Played with a bit: the woman hadn't been falling for too long, and Suzaku boosted up to her height, then began to fall to catch her without much injury. She and her child would have probably been bruised though. Same with Kallen, since Zero was blown out of a ship, not falling.
Gratuitous English: "Yes, my lord", "homeland", "fottage", "perpetrator", and "ALL HAIL BRITANNIA!!".
Grey and Grey Morality: Suzaku and Kallen have some discussion about their beliefs and why they're fighting for their respective factions, with Suzaku seeing himself as stuck on his path while Kallen fights on behalf of all those without his options for advancement.
Handshake Refusal: Subverted upon her introduction, Rakshata Chawla radiates a rather arrogant Insufferable Genius aura and, when Zero offers her a handshake, it looks like she will refuse it for a moment. She decides to accept, however, in a symbolic move of acknowledging a fellow genius in the rebel leader. It is later shown that Rakshata is not actually that arrogant or smug, but she certainly acted the part when joining the rebellion.
Harmful to Minors: Lelouch and Nunnally witnessed their mother's murder at ages nine and six, respectively.
Hollywood Tactics: The larger the battles in Code Geass, the more this trope rears its head. The smaller and earlier battles (such as the massacre of Shinjuku Ghetto) appear sensible for both Lelouch and the Britannian forces (at least when Clovis isn't giving orders), but by the time of Code Geass R2, everyone's armies eventually end up using Napoleonic massed-infantry tactics (or "line of battle" tactics from the Age of Sail in the case of naval/air-naval forces). Vehicles that would be better suited to a support fire role are lumped into tight formations with the rest of the Cannon Fodder.
Also justified when Rolo uses Lelouch's mech. He makes a comment akin to: "I didn't know the absolute defense field was so hard to calculate! My brother must be a genius!" And honestly, most of Lelouch's time on the battlefield is using that thing.
Hufflepuff House: The EU, as well as most members of the UFN, much to the annoyance of some fans. Fortunately, the Akito the Exiled OVA set in Europe seems intended to rectify part of this.
Hypnotize the Princess: Done literally, but not to its traditional end; Lelouch Geasses Clovis to get info on his mother's murder, only to find he doesn't know anything (then he kills him), then Euphemia on accodent leading to the oft-mentioned genocide (leading him to have to fatally shoot her to fix the situation), then Cornelia at the end of R1 (Clovis suggested she might know, but she doesn't know anything either), in R2 geassing most of his siblings to serve him when he ascends to the throne, and finally geassing Schneizel and Nunally aboard the Damocles. Hell, he even does it to HIMSELF in an attempt to throw Mao's mind games.
Idiot Ball: Lelouch joking to Euphemia about being able to make her murder all the Japanese. Given the way the sequence is Dude, Not Funny!, awkwardly drawn out, and begging the question "why are you saying all this?", it was rather obviously just a setup for an incoming plot twist.
Informed Ability: Lelouch's skill at playing chess — the game, as opposed to his The Chessmaster status. We see him playing chess about four times, twice he wins. To be fair, he didn't actually lose the other two, and they were against fellow chessmaster Schneizel and a mind reader.
Also Tohdoh's military skill. Battles led directly by him do not go so well. However, he does justify the apparent disparity by saying that his reputation is largely hype (it is also possible that he was a master of pre-Knightmare era tactics, but failed to adapt to the realities of Lensman Arms Race). Xingke at least makes good on the hype surrounding him.
Insistent Terminology: Done both ways. When called Elevens, characters of Japanese origin will angrily say "We're not Elevens, we're Japanese!" and during the scene that Nina makes at a ball in the Chinese Federation, Kallen tells her that she isn't Britannian, she's Japanese. Nina then rather hysterically says "No you're not! You're an Eleven!"
In Spite of a Nail: Despite the fact that Word of God has an extensive explanation for how the the universe of the series diverged from our own, this isn't too apparent when watching it, as so many features (like shopping malls, news stations, etc.) match the real world, and the Japanese resistance group uses the "red sun" flag, giving the obvious impression that it is a remnant of this world's Japan. Outside of Britannia, every country has its usual name. Although it's hinted that the "official" history of Britannia is mostly or entirely made up. According to official records, the first divergence is a celtic superking uniting all clans and stopping the romans from conquering england, the discovery of sakuradite near stonehenge and Japan, Elizabeth I having a son, the american revolution failing through the bribing of Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon founding the EU and conquering england, the remaining english establishing themselves in America and elizabeth the third marrying the duke of Britannia, giving name to the nation of Britannia. Due to hints, many fans assume however that most of the early events were made up to make Britannia seem more legitimate (like linking the royal family to the celtic superking). Some other fans place the point of divergence even further down the line, due to the incredible similarities with the real world.
Instant-Win Condition: The Final Battle of R2 - Lelouch's forces get obliterated, Suzaku gets beaten by Kallen, but once Lelouch seizes control of Damocles, his enemies have no choice but to surrender.
Ironic Echo: Not an exact echo of a quote, but it was certainly ironic that the long-blind but now sighted Nunnally should end up begging Lelouch to open his eyes.
That whole scene where Nunnally is screaming in despair for the dead Lelouch while the world chants "all hail Zero" is incredibly poetic in its irony.
"We're friends, aren't we?". First said by Lelouch to Suzaku during the start of the Black Rebellion then said by Suzaku when he took Lelouch to the Emperor to be mind scrubbed.
Lelouch and Suzaku's shared monologue in episode 5 about why they want to solve the world's problems (war, terrorism, discrimination). Schneizel says something similar when he revealed he will use Damocles to subjugate the world.
Irony: Three-quarters through season 1 of Code Geass when Suzaku is going to sacrifice himself to hold Lelouch/Zero in place for a massive missile strike, Lelouch whips out his Geass and commands Suzaku to 'live' thereby making a Heroic Sacrifice impossible. Exactly one season later in R2, while fighting (and losing to) Kallen the Geass activates causing Suzaku to fire the FLEIJA warhead, destroying most of Tokyo and supposedly killing Nunnally.
Also ironic is hoe the freedom fighter Lelouch, who reveres the human will, has the power of Mind Control that can crush it completely.
A case of Cosmic Irony occurs early on in Code Geass when nobody can figure out who Zero is, but Lelouch almost gets unmasked by a cat.
Two episodes after her declaration of The Power of Love and just one right after she finally requites her own love for Lelouch, Wrong Genre Savvy Shirley is killed by Rolo. Especially ironic in that she could have saved Lelouch from the path he would go down in the subsequent arc, and that her death was a catalyst for much of it.
Also Ironic that after the "Orange Incident" Jeremiah was told by Guilford that his options were to continue working as a grunt, or go work on an orange farm. His profession after Lelouch's death? He works on an Orange farm with Anya
On a smaller scale, the main antagonist of the story is the world's most powerful superpower, the Holy Britannian Empire, which, despite controlling over a third of the world at the start of the series...doesn't actually control Britain. It does appear to be based on the Holy Roman Empire, which was neither holy, nor roman, nor an empire; similarly, the Holy Britannian Empire wasn't holy (it was anti-theistic, for example the Emperor denounces the Ten Commandments for Social Darwinism and planned to kill God) and wasn't Britannian (i.e. the British Isles), although it is an empire. note It's been all but officially confirmed that creators' intention are that the Britannian Empire is suppose to be an allegory for the US. As much sense as that makes, once you know that you can see some of the evidence of this... if you happen to have read the show's manual.
Lelouch's entire plan to save the world was based on an attempt to make it 'gentler' for his sister Nunnally. He cares about this plan so much he sacrifices his own life for it, but as he lies dying in front of her, she tells him that the only kind of world she ever wanted was one where they could live together.
Also, Suzaku killed his father to stop a war, but it really just started one.
Also ironic is that at the beginning of the series, Lelouch took on the title of Zero, to become a symbol of Justice against he Britannian emperors tyranny, while Suzaku had joined the military hoping to change Britannia from within. At the end of the series, Suzaku and Lelouch had Their roles switched. Suzaku became Zero, as a symbol of Justice, never to live again as Suzaku Kururugi, while Lelouch became the Britannian Emperor, and gave his life in the process of changing the system from within.
Earlier in the season, Villetta and Rolo are assigned to the OSI detail to watch over Lelouch in order to keep him from using his Geass or becoming Zero. Lelouch manages to flip the script on them both via blackmail of the former's relationship with Ohgi, and convincing the latter that he has no future with Britannia, respectively. (Unfortunately, he fails to keep an absolute leash on either.)
Kick Them While They Are Down: In the second season, Nina is having a My God, What Have I Done? moment after her Fantastic Nuke has just killed 35 million people. Suzaku, fresh from his own such moment and having taken it far worse (he fired the nuke), decides to congratulate her for making a weapon that will allow Britannia to win the war. This, however, is nothing compared to what both Charles and Schneizel do to Lelouch.
Leaningonthe Fourth Wall: Zero's early Paranoia Gambit involves threatening to reveal the existence of "Orange" to the public. Lelouch admits later that he chose the word completely at random, but for the audience, it's a nice nod to the visual indicator of someone under a Geass influence, the orange-rimmed eyes.
Lensman Arms Race: After the end of the first season, the main Humongous Mecha of the series start to steadily grow more powerful in terms of their weaponry or equipment upgrades, as new technologies have been introduced and distributed among the warring factions. Although that said, older-generation models are still shown as mainstays among many of the factions even in R2
Let no Crisis Go to Waste: Lelouch accidentally orders Euphemia to commit genocide, and mere minutes later grabs the opportunity to use the incident to start a war.
Lets See You Do Better: When one of the rebels complains to Lelouch about being cut off in episode 10 of Season 1, the rebel claims he should be the leader. Lelouch then pulls a gun on the rebel, then immediately offers it to him, and says that if anyone can do better than him, then they should shoot him right there and now and take charge. No one dares to do it.
Let Them Die Happy: Before she died, Euphemia asked Suzaku if the people were happy with her creation of the SAZ. Needless to say, he didn't tell her that she killed them all while under the Geass's control.
One of the most jarring examples in any series is when Rolo perishes in Episode 19 right after the Black Knights expel Lelouch. Even though Lelouch has been spending the entire season up to that point trying to punish the imposter by getting Rolo "accidentally" killed this impostor "brother" narrowly saves Lelouch's life then proves he'd rather die protecting the only family he's ever known - even if that family started out as just another group he was supposed to infiltrate. To his credit Lelouch actually shows some compassion by begging Rolo not to sacrifice himself. As Rolo's illness finally takes the toll Lelouch reassures the unaware Rolo that he sees them as true brothers now. Since he was just expelled by the Black Knights Lelouch is left completely alone now, burying the impostor, who was the only person he had left. This all happens in the wilderness, where he has to mark the lone grave all by himself, after burying Rolo with Lelouch's own bare blood-stained hands. This entire plot twist feels like the writers were trying to deliberately give the most sympathetic and gut-twisting send-off to the single character that was most despised by the fans. If you had to do this to your brother, be they real or not, you'd probably wind up going insane, too.
Lightning Bruiser: The signature role of (almost) every Knightmare Frame depicted in Code Geass; even the early model Glasgows tore through slower and more conventional armored vehicles during the invasion of Japan (as is seen in many early Cold Openings of the first season). New models—especially the Lancelot and Gurren in all their forms—trump older Knightmares by being evenmoreof a Lightning Bruiser than they were.
Like Father, Like Son: Though their reasons are different, both Lelouch and Charles have the same goal: Destroy the world, and create a new one.
Living with the Villain: In Season 1, Suzaku goes to school with Lelouch and Kallen. In Season 2, Lelouch is under watch by Villetta and Rolo, who are posing as a teacher and his younger brother, respectively.
Loophole Abuse: In episode 8 of R2, Zero accepts Nunnally's plans to restart the SAZ, and privately makes a deal with the Knights of the Round that he would be exiled instead of executed for his most recent terrorist actions. Suzaku agrees to the plan, and then after they announce Zero's exile, the Black Knights create a smokescreen in the area with 1 million Japanese, during which they all don Zero costumes. Since they were all Zero, Suzaku would have to be able to identify the real Zero (which he is forbidden to do), let them all go (and thus give Zero his army), or order another massacre (which would no doubt caused more rioting and rebellion in Area 11). Ultimately, Suzaku decides to let them leave, his reasoning being that the insurgents are better off gone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 highlysuggestive 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.
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 utterlyOut-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 a Hold 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.
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.
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 HelloMeet 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.
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 himTrauma-Induced Amnesia for years.
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.
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 For context, uttered after he kills his father's sworn brother whilst mistakenly believing the latter to be plotting to kill him, and getting called out on it by Chen Gong:
Cao Cao: 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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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 Yandereafter 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.
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.