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.
Angst Aversion / Hype Aversion: Tell someone this show is one of the saddest and most depressing they'll ever see and they'll definitely think twice about watching it. Tell them it spawned one of the most horrifying Broken Bases in history and they'll start running very fast in the other direction.
Ass Pull: Both seasons had a few of these, arguably, though the first one had less. Most notably, That Lelouch's mother was alive and was also apparently evil.
Nunnally gives us a couple of these in quick succession near the end of the series: she had been seemingly Killed Off for Real by the not-a-nuke while escaping in a shuttle, but several episodes later she reappears, completely alive and -at least initially- without any explanation for her survival (Sayoko later points out both of them were in another shuttle instead of the decoy one). And then, she reveals that she's not actually blind and apparently just hadn't opened her eyes for years. What?
Nunnally was blinded by the emperor's geass, which was shown to be potent enough to suppress a permanent geass. Lelouch also comments on Nunnally's willpower being strong enough to break their father's geass.
Nunnally was never blind. This was established from day one. Lelouch always said that while the bullet wounds on her legs were real, her blindness was psychosomatic. The ass pull part was the revelation that it was Geass that made her blind, plus the fact that their parents actually shot Nunnally and staged the scene to make it look like the Empress was murdered by terrorists to cover up V.V's role. The contrived lengths they went to was the ass pull.
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.
Broken Base: Any theme/character/THING in this series will have at least one huge group loving it and another totally loathing it! By the end of the series, the pro-Lelouch vs. anti-Lelouch halves of the fandom were so divided that, 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, one side was still acting like he was worse than forty Hitlers. That's as many as four tens. And that's terrible.
Complete Monster: Luciano Bradley of 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.
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.
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.
Deconstruction Fic: The fandom is quite fond of tearing down the epilogue of R2 by showing the realistic political consequences of the power vacuum Lelouch left in his wake.
The betrayal is another target.
Designated Hero: Suzaku often falls into this, chiefly 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 deed.
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.
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. Fandom homophobia ahoy!
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.
Draco in Leather Pants: Nearly every character who's not The Scrappy tends to get these for fans. Lelouch, Suzaku, Cornelia, Mao, Schneizel, C. C. and Rolo in particular, which is ironic when half of these characters ALSO fall under the opposing Ron the Death Eater trope.
Ear Worm: "JIBUN WOOOOOO!", a repeated phrase in the first opening song, "Colors".
Esoteric Happy Ending: Depending on how cynical the audience wants to be, 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.
Not to mention the necessity of certain events and actions taken to get there.
Evil Is Sexy: Lelouch, C.C, Mao, Cornelia, Schneizel, Clovis, Jeremiah, and The Kinghts of the round.
Fan Dumb: Unfortunately, every popular anime has these. Just take a good look at the various communities. While certainly moderated well, heaven forbid if you get into Ship-to-Ship Combat or characterization/plot interpretation territory.
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.
Here's a fun fact for you: Over on LiveJournal, the Suzaku/Lelouch community has almost twice as many members as the Lelouch/C.C., Lelouch/Kallen and Lelouch/Shirley communities combined.
Fashion-Victim Villain: Lelouch's Emperor outfit is awesome, but his "Popehat" just makes him look weird, leading to much snickering from the fanbase.
The actual outfits are actually pretty snazzy. They're just... really detailed. With eyes all over them. Suzaku's outfit has skin-tight bare shoulders, for instance.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: 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.
Also, 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.
God-Mode Sue: Rai, the Player Character in the Code GeassVisual NovelLost Colors, is a rather extreme case. He's effectively a "best parts" combination of the show's male leads, being as smart as Lelouch and as strong as Suzaku; and while the anime does have a character like this (Li Xingke), he has disadvantages such as the Incurable Cough of Death; Rai has none. He also possesses a Geass almost identical to Lelouch's, but based on speech rather than eye contact. On the plot side of things, he either become Zero's right hand, Suzaku's partner, or he can revive the Japan Liberation Front single-handedly and oppose both sides. On the romantic side, you can end up partnered with virtually any character from Code Geass, regardless of annoying little things like Canon romantic rivals.
Although this didn't stop Rai's Geass from going out of control in his past and killing everyone he knew including his mother and sister in his backstory plus most endings in the game don't end well for him all JLF endings either see him dead or in a coma . since the game is a visual novel and a dating sim spin off of the series that helps to explain the romance stuff. The ending that seems to be the main one (the one you get first time you play the game and have to do to get the other paths and endings) is the Geass ending where he ends up with no one, hardly affects the plot, goes back to sleep and geasses everyone to forget about him so it balances out in a way.
Ho Yay/Les Yay: A LOT in this series. Between Lelouch and Suzaku (often shown in OFFICIAL artwork), Rolo for Lelouch, Gino for Suzaku, Milly for Shirley, C.C. and Kallen in the CD dramas, artwork, and manga, Nina for Euphy, Cornelia for Euphy, Cornelia possibly for Nonnette in the game Lost Colors, Marrianne and C.C., Alice for Nunnally in Nightmare Of Nunnally and even Schniezel and his aid, Kanon which is also supported by official artwork. Did I get them all despite leaving out Tianzi and Kaguya?
Oh, I did. V.V. going all yandere for his brother Charles.
Also present in Ace Combat Zero, during the last level (which is coincidentally named "Zero", Pixy (Lowenthal) shoots down PJ (Bosch). It looks like that Lowenthal is destined to kill Bosch.
During the Gulle's first taste of battle, Villetta 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.
Hate Dumb: Suzaku has a massive one, despite his and Lelouch's actions often being comparable in moral standing, many treat Suzaku as if he is a monster even when the events at hand aren't even really his fault.
Ho Yay Shipping: Memetic Mutation aside, CLAMPonly did the character designs. And yet many in the show's fanbase love to dig into this trope, as there are certainly enough opportunities to do so.
To start with, Lelouch and Suzaku are rather ... obsessed with each other in what's more properly described as Foe Yay.
Then there's Schneizel and his absurdly feminine and outright Yaoi Fangirl teasing assistant Kanon who shows up in R2.
Kaguya, who makes fans invoke Les Yay towards any woman she speaks to, but especially the Tianzi.
And then there's Kallen and C.C., who seemed to have an almost Lovely Angels dynamic early in R2 (which is expanded upon further in radio dramas, official artworks, and the manga adaptation.)
Gino and Milly invoke this with how touchy feely they are with their respective friends (Suzaku, Shirley). Shirley even describes Milly (somewhat correctly) as a Dirty Old Man on the inside.
Big Badass Cornelia tends to be much more sweet touchy-touchy with her younger sister Euphemia.
Rolo claims he sees Lelouch as his older brother, but seemingly acts as though he's in love with him, to the point where some viewers saw his killing Shirley as a case of Murder the Hypotenuse.
CLAMP has continued to provide fuel for this through their artbooks. And it sure doesn't help matters that their Code Geass illustration are highly reminiscent of their X illustrations, which are just crammed full of Ho Yay!
Diethard's admiration of Zero and desire to document him and turn him into a legend occasionally comes off like this (especially his reaction to Zero's return).
Informed Wrongness: Lelouch. Not a saint by any stretch, 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.
Jerkass Woobie: A portion of the cast is packed with this kind of character; Lelouch, C.C, Suzaku, Kallen, Jeremiah, Emperor Charles, Marianne, Mao and Rolo.
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.
Schneize lacks the theatrics, but god damn he's efficient.
Emperor Charles and his wife Marianne just as much so.
Mary Tzu: An unfortunate side effect of the encroaching Hollywood Tactics as the series progresses is that the brilliant strategists of the series become this. 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.
Misaimed Fandom: "Lelouch brainwashing and killing innocent people is awesome! Wait? Why did he order his own death?" And on the opposing team, (even after the intention and results of the Zero Requiem were revealed): "Hooray! Lelouch the tyrant is dead!"
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!
Nightmare Fuel: You get loads of both onscreen and Fridge variety horror with this show.
For starters, Mao's smiling, happy-as-can-be delivery of "I'll make you compact!". With a chainsaw.
And then, if you want something more subtle, try the disturbing little detail that almost everyone under control of the Geass, if specifically ordered to kill someone(even themselves!), will have deranged smiles plastered across their faces. The one exception, Princess Euphemia, arguably does something even more disturbing by having that same gentle smile she always does... While gunning down the people she had been trying to help.
Euphemia's Geass is by far the most nightmare-inducing in the entire franchise, due to how it is presented. When most people are geassed they do what they are commanded with a minimum of fuss - maybe they blink once or whatever and there's a flicker of recognition that they don't necessarily wish to do what they're "ordered" to do, but nobody really resists. What Euphie is ordered to do, however, runs so contrary to her deepest, most primal mental impulses that she spends a good minute writhing in pain, trying to force herself to ignore the command and is fully cognizant of the geass rewiring her mind. (This is assisted by great animation and voicework in both languages.) You can see and hear the girl pathetically trying to fight it and her mind bending ever further as Lelouch realizes just what the fuck he did... and then, with a practically audible "snap", it is done and she is broken, and you know what must come next. There's a lot of agreement that the show lost some people at this point due to how effectively terrifying this scene was.
Lelouch does say in the final minutes of the episode that she resisted because such a savage act was completely against her nature.
There's also the squirm-worthy Mind Rape scene in the the second episode of R2, which comes unpleasantly close to resembling a real rape.
Schniezel's declaration of his plans for world domination and godhood. There's just something about how his expression and tone change not a flicker while he's speaking of ordering the deaths of millions that makes the viewer realize something: This man is flat-out fucking insane. Somehow, despite the obvious(and awesome) displays of mental instability by Lelouch and others , this comes off as truly disquieting.
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.
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 the pacing problems in R2, several interesting plot lines were either dealt with too quickly or outright dismissed a few episodes after being brought up. 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 her previous portrayal as admirable and near-perfect. This really should have been better explained.
Also, the "Euphinator incident" is despised by many, mainly because they feel that having Euphie having her plan actually put into action and horribly collapse would have been alot 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 Britannian empire actually being in North America. It could have provided a lot of debate over whether the original Britannian state or the island nation qualified as the true Britannia and created tension between the two Britannia's over which is a pretender. 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.
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.
In a comical scene from the second season involving Les Yay to Mily a secondary character said "Now it's not the time to come out of the closet." Then, in the English dub "Get back in the closet please"... That was so offensive that they made a second version with "Why do you have to be so different?"
Token Enemy Minority Diethard also doubles as the Black Knight's Token Evil Teammate. Later he abandons the Black Knights and dies in shame. He is the only member of the Black Knights to not have a happy ending, as opposed to his Japanese counterparts.
In fact, pretty much ALL Britannians (i.e. white people) that was ever affiliated with the Black Knights are evil in some way. The aforementioned Diethard is the resident Token Evil Teammate, Rolo is a cold-blooded Tykebomb assassin, Jeremiah was formerly a very racist noble, and Gino served the Knights of the Round and killed a number of Japanese prior to joining. Even Lelouch, who is one of the more noble characters in the series, has many byronic tendencies. Apparently, you must be Japanese to be a purely good member of the organization. Also note that the story considers Ohgias being "purely good". Of course, none of the Japanese Black Knights are called out on their wrongdoing.
This apparent cultural bias with the Japanese Black Knights and the portrayal of Diethard is especially jarring, considering that when he joined, it was stressed that The Black Knights are a Multinational Team fighting for justice, and your ethnic and cultural background are not of importance.
This is debateable but this may have been deliberate on the part of the shows team to show that the Black Knights aren't above issues like racism, cultural stuff etc. plus it's only ever Zero who preaches the stuff about equality even Kallen has issues with seeing Britannians other than evil (though she grew out of it) and to show that they aren't white but grey (especially later on in R2 where their actions have dire consequences) but yeah it can be jarring to viewers that they never get called out in it while Lelouch suffers more than he deserves for his actions which as stated above in the Esoteric Happy Ending can lead viewers to view the ending as anything but happy.
Nina. Her character embodies pretty much every negative stereotype associated with lesbianism (insanity, attempted murder-suicide, obsession with her crush to the point of yandere-ness) and a few new ones (when was the last time you saw a Psycho Lesbianindirectly kill 40 million people due to her grief?).
Wangst: Lelouch's angst in the second season when being afraid to confront his sister is hilarious. His angst is so exaggerated and funny that he can't see news related to her and even abuses his powers to release his stress. It then becomes even more ridiculous when we see Lelouch trying to take drugs in less than 24 hours!
And one episode later, when Suzaku goes into emo mode. His grief over Euphie is understandable, but the fact is, he is participating in a global conquest, and that he is all "She's the only one who understood me at the same time pretty much says it all.
Considering how over the top some characters and the show can be at times with Angst, which led to some people to view such scenes as Narm. The whole show in some peoples view could qualify as this.
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 reasonable 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 CC's advice after the first one, he makes NO effort to stop Euphemia while the two are still in the room together. He freaks out and lets her run away 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.
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?
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: The "conversation" between Schneizel and Lelouch, where Lelouch recorded his part in advance, made much more sense in the dub. The original included Lelouch predicting his opponent's words perfectly, at one point correctly anticipating being interrupted. In the dub, the interruption was removed entirely, and Lelouch's lines were made much more vague and believable. Read the transcript here. Major spoilers, of course.
alternative title(s): Code Geass Lelouch Of The Rebellion