These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
For that matter, the death of Rolo himself was quite the Tear Jerker, even for many who'd previously despised him.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Lelouch and Suzaku get this quite a bit. What are their real motives? To what extent are they lying to themselves, or to other people? Are their efforts for the good of others, or merely for their own satisfaction? And will their plans even work? These questions are present for both, albeit in different ways.
Suicide and sacrificing yourself in combat for people who hate you is not honorable! Why won't you get it, Suzaku?!
Ass Pull: Both seasons had some, notably the revelation that Nunnally had been blinded by Geass and then shot, in order to make the crime scene look like Marianne had been murdered by terrorists, as a cover up for V.V's role. It came across as rather contrived.
Bathos: Based on comments made by the creators in audio commentaries and interviews, the creative staff had a ton of fun juxtaposing both the comedic and the serious, even during the same episode, plus generally bullying Lelouch.
Also, the animation from some of the TV episodes could get sloppy at times. Facial expressions didn't look the way they were supposed to or characters were off-model. In particular, Episode 20 of R2 was one of the worse offenders. The DVD release cleaned up most of it.
Examples of differences between the TV version and the DVD version can be found here◊ and here◊.
Breather Boss: Viceroy Calares, who's about as incompetent as Clovis, is Lelouch's first enemy in R2, and decidedly less difficult to defeat than most others before or since. This was done due to Executive Meddling, which insisted that the first few episodes of R2 echo the start of R1 to acquaint new viewers to the show.
Broken Base: Many events. The Zero Requiem in particular results in this. In spite of the end revealing that everything Lelouch did was to bring about a genuine peace people chose for themselves, as well as democracy, freedom, and happiness for all his friends at the cost of the world hating his memory forever, some fans were still acting like he was completely evil.
The entire second season is a Base Breaker for whole swathes of the fandom.
Complete Monster: Luciano Bradley, the Knight of Ten, is a Psycho for HireBlood Knight for the Britannian Knights of the Round who is utterly despised by almost everyone around him. Luciano appears to be a member of the group solely so he can kill other people and be lauded for it, and when Kallen is held captive, Luciano makes advances to indicate he's going to rape her before fellow knight Gino stops him. Luciano participates in an assault on Japan and is positively gleeful about slaughtering every Japanese person he can get his hands on before facing off with Kallen. He has no compunction sacrificing or killing his own men and seems to even relish the chance to do so. Hateful, cruel and bloodthirsty, it's telling that none of his fellow knights mind when Luciano's dead.
Contested Sequel: R2 can be seen as these to fans. And let's not get into the ending.
Crazy Awesome: Some of Lelouch's plans as Zero are as insane as they spectacularly awesome and effective. Collapsing the Tokyo Settlement's construction base to destroy Cornelia's forces along with a chunk of the city and erupting Mount Fuji to take down a flagship and an army are just 2 examples.
Jeremiah catapults into this territory in the Season 1 finale and never looks back.
Creator's Pet: Ohgi and, to a lesser extent, Villetta. For those who despise him, Rolo counts too. He was very well liked among female staff members on the show and he ended up dying easier than he probably deserved to because of it.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: For certain viewers the Wham Episode near the end of season 1 qualifies. The ending of the second season is also a particular point of contention among fans, with both ardent defenders and harsh critics. It's a conclusion that includes giving a seemingly happy result for a few people who got off lightly if not scot free for what they did, while other more sympathetic characters had to settle for a bittersweet resolution at best. The matter of Lelouch's death is especially controversial, with the man himself seeing his own orchestrated passing as a final victory and the fans being split on whether this is a satisfactory end or a source of apathy.
Somewhere in between the above, the betrayal of the Black Knights left part of the audience disliking a lot of characters, at least aside from a few darkhorses (i. e. Jeremiah, Lloyd).
Deconstruction Fic/Fix Fic: The fandom has written fics that re-address various controversial scenarios in a manner more suitable for their specific authors, both to fix the perceived problems and to call attention to them, by either treating them more realistically or at least showing alternate possibilities to the canon outcome. For instance, different takes on how the late series betrayal could have turned out as well as on the ending of either season are available.
Designated Hero: Suzaku often falls into this. Particularly in R2 where he, like Lelouch, is very clearly straying from the path of heroism, and he tends to see what he's doing as righteous more often than Lelouch does for his own deeds.
Ohgi and Villetta, among other characters responsible for the betrayal and later fighting Lelouch as Emperor. Then again, the latter ends up running with it as part of his Thanatos Gambit.
Designated Villain: Lelouch deliberately set himself to be this for the whole world via Zero Requiem.
Die for Our Ship: A good part of the fandom hate Rolo got came specifically from people who thought he killed Shirley only out of romantic jealousy, believing him to be a Depraved Homosexual.
Rolo kind of has this attitude himself toward Nunnally, and in fact that was the reason he killed Shirley, to prevent her from reuniting Lelouch with his actual sibling, which was not helped by her memories having been restored and realizing that Rolo and Lelouch were not actual brothers. It didn't have anything to do with Shirley personally; he never really gave a damn about her or her feelings for Lelouch either way.
Jeremiah Gottwald identifies himself as blatantly racist and disobeys orders so that he can take part in a massacre in the very first episode. It's quickly forgotten due to the brutal Humiliation Conga he goes through.
Ear Worm: "JIBUN WOOOOOO!", a repeated phrase in the first opening song, "Colors".
Ending Fatigue: So Emperor Charles and Marianne's plan to create their perfect world were foiled. Normally that would mark the end of the story. Except that Schneizel's still around to execute his plan for world conquest and that the United Federation of Nations isn't bound to let Britannia off the hook so easily. Despite the connotations of this trope, it works.
Mao, who appeared only for a short while, but left an impact due to how Crazy Awesome he was.
Urabe. His pre-Heroic Sacrifice declaration of solidarity to Lelouch, which helped restore Kallen's faith in Zero, as well as his ability to look past nationality or status, did not go unappreciated by the fans, especially following the betrayal by the remaining Black Knights.
Milly Ashford, the Student Council President. Many a fan is quite fond of her, and wishes she had more plot relevance in series.
Esoteric Happy Ending: Aside from the questionable events leading up to it, the Zero Requiem can come off as this. The damage to Japan and the world at large paints a rather pessimistic picture of the future when all is said and done. There's also a clear contrast between the tragedy of Lelouch's death and the happiness that follows it, which may be hard to swallow.
Evil Is Sexy: Lelouch, C.C, Mao, Cornelia, Schneizel, Clovis, Jeremiah, and The Kinghts of the Round.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Despite Word of God saying their relationship was merely one of mutual respect or perhaps surrogate mother and son, Lelouch and C.C. still get an incredible amount of shipping. It probably doesn't help matters that they were shown being awfully close in the series and official art.
Villetta said she would kill Shirley a thousand times after she forced Villetta to wear a seriously skimpy bikini for the swim club. In episode 13 of R2 the advice she gives Rolo accidentally helps cause Shirley's death. Doubles as Harsher in Hindsight considering Villetta using Shirley a season earlier really helped get the ball rolling there.
Lelouch's extremely fake-looking sword, which Suzaku as Zero uses to impale him in the finale.
After causing an avalanche at Narita, Lelouch jokes that he should have consulted Nina about this. This has a relatively apparent and obvious FAM a few episodes later, when Shirley's father died in the avalanche as an unintended victim of Lelouch's plan, and a more subtle one later when Nina's scientific expertise creates a bomb that kills millions of people.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Polish fans view Monica as one of them (Mostly because her surname is Polish, sort of). Though her biggest fanbase is made up by Spanish-speaking people apparently (the only stories on fanfiction.net about her is written in Spanish), reasons unknown.
Also present in Ace Combat Zero. During the last level (which is coincidentally named "Zero"), Pixy (Lowenthal) shoots down P.J. (Bosch). It seems as if Yuri is destined to kill Johnny.
During the Guren's first taste of battle, Jeremiah says it's impossible for Elevens to have created such a powerful war machine, dismissing the notion that the Japanese are capable of creating hi-tech weapons.
Informed Wrongness: Lelouch, at least in part. Not a saint by any stretch, nor are his many mistakes and various offenses limited to being "informed" rather than shown, but the punishment he suffered was less bad karma than bad luck. And even though he did a lot of good for the world by the point the UFN was formed, the narrative sees fit to punish him by fake killing his sister and have his subordinates betray him, to the point where he sacrifices himself for world peace, all the while characters who were more at fault, if not responsible for any of his problems, reaped the rewards instead.
Iron Woobie: Guilford got separated from Cornelia, geassed by Zero into defecting to the Black Knights, and almost got himself killed. He only gets to cry after he is reunited with his princess.
Lelouch himself, considering how much he puts up with, even if he does give in.
Lelouch. He DIES happily in a fabulous way. As an example, Cornelia calls him a coward for attacking her from behind. He makes no attempt to deny it, but calls her one, too. Cornelia, the goddess of war who is always charging into battle in front of her knights and has just made the decision to fight to the last. As is pointed out in the commentary, he says this in such a way that we believe him anyway.
Schneizel lacks the theatrics, but goddamn, he's efficient.
Emperor Charles and his wife Marianne just as much so.
Mary Tzu: Somehow, various characters are able to correctly predict the plans of their enemies no matter how convoluted they are, or how little information they have on those plans—Lelouch and Li Xinkge, especially, have a blatant exchange in the second season. Face it, any supposedly military geniuses in the series are this.
Lelouch even comments on the improbability of Xingke being a genius tactician and an Ace Pilot.
Have hours of fun with your friends debating at which of the many possible points did Lelouch cross it (if he even did at all). Two likely candidates are blowing up the JLF ship and lying to his men about it, or his assault on the Geass Order, which results in the massacre of unarmed, though not innocent, civilians.
Well meaning as he may have been until right at the end of the first season, Suzaku may have well done it by not caring that Charles geassed Lelouch into amnesiac servitude. Now, Suzaku may have been justified in his anger at Lelouch for offing Euphemia, but Charles had been responsible for Lelouch's start of darkness in the first place and the cause of his rebellion, as well as the reason Japan had been occupied, and was now, as of Akito the Exiled using said son as a tool of conquest, something anathema to his being, which in of itself was what Suzaku hated Lelouch for for doing via geass, making him even more of a hypocrite than what the originally revealed canon events showed.
Rolo crossed this by shooting Shirley Fenette because she mentioned wanting to reunite Lelouch and Nunnally, the one thing Rolo did not want. Even now the fandom is divided whether or not his Heroic Sacrifice redeemed Rolo.
Schniezel crosses this when he leads Nina to believe that building FLEIJA would fulfill Euphemia's wishes, which directly leads to Nina's (arguable) crossing when she does build the damn thing!
Possibly an unintentional example, but Viletta crosses it by convincing Ohgi, through likely deceptive testimony, to lead the Black Knights in turning on Lelouch. Especially when you consider that it's only because of Lelouch that Ohgi's still alive.
Euphemia treads the line on occasion. Horribly deconstructed in the end, as her biggest and kindest plan (which would've made her a 100% Purity Sue, had it worked) is one of the things that gets everything worse for everyone in the cast, and got her killed.
Almost everyone who knew Marianne seems to think she was tremendously wonderful and has sworn loyalty to her; those who weren't thrilled appear to be horribly wrong. However, this is massivelysubverted in the end..
It is true, however, that Shirley actually made Lelouch genuinely happy, and as such, had she lived and managed to maintain a relationship with him, it's easy to imagine her succeeding in saving him from the despair he would be consigned to not long after her death and the chain of subsequent events that included Nunnally's apparent demise and the Black Knights betrayal. Her death is often considered the first step towards Lelouch's eventual demise.
Replacement Scrappy: Rolo was one of these for Lelouch for replacing Nunnally. And he could be considered one of these for much of the fanbase who like Nunnally better, too.
Ron the Death Eater: The Black Knights (after the betrayal), Lelouch, Suzaku, Shirley, C. C. and even Rolo.
Rooting for the Empire: In spite of Lelouch's goals, it's not uncommon to side with Suzaku in the Season 1 finale considering Lelouch is responsible, if accidentally, for Euphemia's massacre and Suzaku and Cornelia want to avenge her and clear her name.
This also applies to those who disapprove of Lelouch's actions and anyone who agreed with the likes of Schneizel.
It could even apply to Lelouch and Suzaku running the actual empire, as they were deliberately trying to make themselves some rather convincing villains. It helps that their primary opponents are the Black Knights, who just betrayed Lelouch in true Kangaroo Court style.
The Scrappy: In particular, Nina, Suzaku (for some), either Rolo or Shirley (depending on who you ask), and, late in R2, Ohgi.
Seasonal Rot: The second half of R2 is particularly prone to being labeled as this.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: The result of having various girls in a potential or active relationship with Lelouch, whether romantic and otherwise.
Snark Bait: The general over-the-top nature of the show, especially in the second season, makes it a very entertaining MST piece, depending on how cynical your viewpoint is.
Strawman Has a Point / Villain Has a Point: Schneizel's argument that Ambition Is Evil and that our desire for happiness ultimately leads to greed and conflict is actually well-thought out and makes a lot of sense from a cynical worldview. It's not too hard to imagine someone siding with him. Lelouch's counter-argument is more idealistic, based on Rousseau Was Right or, in other words, the concept that "People Are Good" and will always struggle to overcome sadness. At the same time, he had already jumped the Despair Event Horizon and given up most of his remaining scruples to contemplate any alternatives, though. He's also likely just saying this to keep Schneizel talking so he can pull off his plan.
Superlative Dubbing: General consensus, although there is debate about this. Of course, the intensity of the show and a lot of the lines are such that to not completely understand everything that is said with all voice inflections may simply be short-changing yourself of the experience.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Due to Executive Meddling, sizeable chunks of R2 were rewritten between seasons. This resulted in several plot lines that were either dealt with too quickly or outright dismissed. The worst is probably the subplot involving Marianne's death. She's revealed to be inside Anya and is killed in the very next episode, even though her murder had been one of Lelouch's main motivations since the very beginning of the first season. What's more, Empress Marianne herself was part of an arguably "evil" plan and abandoned her children to build a new world for them, which flies in the face of how other characters previously viewed her as admirable and near-perfect. This really should have been better explained in order to properly reconcile both sides of her portrayal.
Also, the "Euphinator incident" is despised by many, mainly because they feel that having Euphie's plan actually go into action and horribly collapse would have been a lot more interesting than having an absurd Diabolus ex Machina crush it before it starts and cause Euphie to be killed, as having it happen and fail with Euphie still alive would give her some VERY interesting Character Development to go through, potentially pushing her away for near Purity Sue status and to becoming someone who, while not dark and cynical, would be alot less cheeful and optimistic, and forced to look at things more realistically. That's preferable to being Stuffed into the Fridge, in any case.
The debate over whether the original Britannian state or the island nation qualified as the true Britannia. The island nation has even less screen time than the E.U. as a whole and having Britannia in North America just seems to have been an effort to have an evil empire located in America.
Remember when C.C. entered in contact with Suzaku during the first season, which caused the two to black out several times and C.C. realized something important about him? It's never brought up again within the story but, according to the staff, Suzaku was apparently meant to either have a Geass power that gave him increased physical abilities or at least the potential for acquiring one.
The faction of Britannian nobles who wished to turn traitor and join the Black Knights. The only thing we got out of them is a conversation between Zero and Diethard. We get a scene where Darlton arrested them and that's it, we never mentioned them ever again.
Trolling Creator/Ship Tease: When browsing through the Ho Yay section of this page, the amount of official artwork dedicated to homosexual ships, primarily Lelouch/Suzaku. Makes one wonder, are CLAMP just fooling with us or are dropping hits to 'canon' ships
True Art Is Angsty: The story's cripplingly depressing at times but it's still one of the most popular anime in Japan and/or the world.
Unintentionally Sympathetic/Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Many fans hold very conflicting views on the subject. In fact, even the series staff has admitted that the show plays around with morality so much that matters of right and wrong, as well as what is considered sympathetic or not, are quite open to viewer interpretation.
While Lelouch was acting for a greater good during the R2 finale, his actions brought chaos to the world and some fans wanted to see the show explore the fallout of the damage he caused. At the same time, even though Lelouch was presented as Jumping Off the Slippery Slope mere episodes before the betrayal, it's still not hard for the audience to find him more sympathetic than the Black Knights themselves. At that point, his endgame involved countering the Britannian Empire via an international alliance in the UFN, which appeared to be less destructive than the alternative.
On the other hand, Lelouch usually had the camera working in his favor and he still received preferential treatment right until the end, so it's very hard to claim he was ever supposed to be "unsympathetic" in absolute terms. Which in turn allows for some criticism from the other side of the argument, those viewers who think the series in general was too pro-Lelouch and should have given his opponents more sympathy points.
The Black Knights could also be considered another case, since their betrayal involved an under the table deal for Japan without the knowledge of the UFN, whose nations ceded their military to as part of their representation. They aren't called out for their mutiny and only a couple of members show any sign of regret or remorse for it, which made the rest of them come across as highly unsympathetic. So in spite of the above point that Lelouch received more screentime, they get to live at the end as in-universe heroes while Lelouch dies a pariah.
The Black Knights were only presented as "heroes" in a narrow sense, consisting of being the opposition to Lelouch, as part of an intentional fabrication meant to fool the ignorant in-universe masses. From an overarching narrative perspective, the whole point of the ending is for the audience to cheer for Lelouch and empathize with him on an emotional level, not with the Black Knights who betrayed Zero. In fact, it was the outright success of Lelouch's plan, after completely defeating the Black Knights and Schneizel, that allowed him to portray himself as a pariah and manipulate the course of events to engineer the survival of his fallen foes and the victorious return of a new Zero to the global stage. It's all about applauding the Magnificent Bastard, not the heroes-in-name-only who were left at his mercy. The last episode does not hesitate to emphasize how awesome Lelouch is, including Kallen praising him in the epilogue and the very last scene with C.C. remarking that he has overcome the isolation of Geass.
That said, one common point of contention, which can be understood for or against Lelouch if not both in terms of sympathy, is to what extent Lelouch had been driven by a Death Wish after losing everyone. He had thought Nunnally died in the FLEIJA blast and this influenced his later actions, though even Suzaku tells him that her survival doesn't change why they were going forward with the plan for other reasons.
The Unintentionally Unsympathetic part is arguably shared with Rolo. It seems the audience is intended to feel bad for Rolo when Lelouch casts him out, especially due to the lack of love in his life, in spite of how he's killed several people including a random soldier who might have heard something important, a few unarmed children and Lelouch's semi-girlfriend Shirley. Not to mention that he decided to kill Nunnally, the one person Lelouch was trying to save, to keep him for himself.
Wangst: Some of Lelouch's angst early in the second season, when he's afraid to confront his sister after she joined up with Suzaku in order to follow Euphemia's plan for the Special Zone. The underlying source of it is understandable, given the character's psychology, but his outward reaction was still comically exaggerated. In fact, Lelouch can't even see any news related to her, abuses his powers to release stress and briefly attempts to use drugs within a single day!
And one episode later, when Suzaku goes through some angst as well. His grief over Euphie is also understandable, but the fact is he's been participating in global conquest yet continues to be all "She's the only one who understood me!" at the same time.
When he accidentally Geassed Euphemia to commit genocide. It's not so much the fact that he did it as the primary reason it happened. Worst Rhetorical Request Blunder ever! Admittedly, naming an action that would be entirely contrary to nature of the victim in conversation as an example of what Geass can compel is a reasonable way of impressing how powerful it is, so it's not too unreasonable that Lelouch would use such an example.
And let's not forget that before giving this example Lelouch's eye causes him pain three times over the course of the episode. Once right before stating the example... Not once does he ask C.C.'s advice after the first one, and he makes NO effort to stop Euphemia while the two are still in the room together. He freaks out and can't reach her after she tries fighting the command for almost 30 seconds.
Lelouch didn't simply let Euphemia run away; He DID chase her, but, as we were shown before, he has such a poor stamina that he couldn't keep up to her.
Not only that, but he doesn't learn the lesson that he should not overuse his Geass, or use it frivolously, which he arguably should have started thinking after seeing what Geass had done to Mao. He continues to Geass people for petty reasons, such as to get away more quickly during a school chase or to vent his spleen on some thugs. For crying out loud, man.
At least in the case of the thugs, it was because Lelouch was in the midst of a breakdownnote whether Heroic or Villainous is up to the reader and deliberately done.
Really, C.C.? After all Mao's been through, did you really think that after walking out on him he'd just let it go?
Ditto the Black Knights for betraying Lelouch based on the word of the enemy commander who just nuked Tokyo.
Nunnally trusting Schneizel. You've lost your faith in the two people you spent most of your life with after being exiled in Japan, you're capable of detecting lies, and yet you choose to trust the most shady person in the world? Really?
Woolseyism: To a certain extent, the "conversation" between Schneizel and Lelouch, where he had recorded his part in advance, seems to make more sense in the dub. It's admittedly a translation quality/choice issue, in part, given that fan subtitles aren't necessarily perfect to begin with, but some viewers thought that the initial version implied Lelouch was predicting his opponent's words to the letter, at one point correctly anticipating being interrupted. In the dub, the interruption was played down considerably, and Lelouch's lines were made much more vague and believable than in the fansubs. Read the transcript here. Beware of spoilers.