This contains spoilers… So if you’re interested in watching this anime then DON’T read this!
My wife’s cousin is a bit of a nerd and he’s the awesome kind of nerdy older relative that buys me game consoles and new video games, stops by once a week to drop off fresh issues of JUMP, burns me DVD’s of DBZ, and he’s always awake at late hours of the night so you can call him drunk and incoherent and he’ll cruise over in his Skyliner GT and pick you up.
He also tells me what animes he thinks I should be watching and what mangas he things I should read. Now our taste for such things differs ever so slightly. As a lit major in college I have trouble just appreciating stuff without over analyzing it in a pretentious condescending way. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy anime and manga.
I bring up my wife’s awesome older cousin because he made me watch an anime called Code Geass. This was way back in 2008… but I was reminded of it last week because of the KONY2012 movement that has taken the world by storm.
Code Geass is a depressing fucking story and the ending is kind of terrible (more on that later). But if you’re a fan of mecha and emo-level depression, then this might be for you. (Think Machiavelli meets Gundam meets Evangelion)
This is an anime set in a sort of parallel universe where the evil empire, Britannia, has rolled over Japan in the year 2010 and stripped the Japanese of pretty much all rights and freedoms. To top it off they’ve renamed Japan “Area 11” and the people are called “elevens.” (How that’s worse from being called Japan and Japanese, which are also not in the Nihongo lexicon, I don’t know)
The protagonist of this story is an anorexic exiled prince of Britannia with a tongue twister name: Lelouch Lamperouge (it’s even worse in Japanese, レレーシュ Lehlehhhshu). His father, Charles zi Britannia, is the evil douchebag running the show, and his mother was “murdered” some time ago. As a character he’s pretty well constructed, not an idiot, and a bit of a tragic hero, which I dug. He’s motivated by his desire to protect his sister Nunnally, who for most of the show is confined to a wheelchair and blind; trying to figure out what happened to his mother; and his intense desire to personally destroy his father and the empire of Britannia.
Lelouch and his sister live in Japan at a sort of boarding school for social elites and royal leftovers. On his way home in the first episode, Lelouche happens to meet up with a green haired witch girl who enters into some sort of “contract” with him which grants him the power of “geass.” There are several characters with geass and like snowflakes, no two geass are alike. I think they’re determined based off of the owners personal disposition or something like that.
Lelouch’s geass grants him the ability to command people to do whatever the hell he wants as long as he can come into direct eye contact with them. His first use of this power is ordering some Britannia soldiers that are trying to kill him to shoot themselves in the face while he watches.
Then, Lelouch hooks up with some resistant fighters called the Black Knights. He becomes the leader pretty much right away and adopts an alter ego named “ZERO” that is a mix of Darkwing Duck and Voldo’s mask when he’s wearing his really gay outfit.
There’s a lot of cool battles and one-on-one fights. The nightmare frames are updated more times than an Apple product so the action sequences manage to keep an edge without getting repetitive, plus the introduction of different and unique geass keeps things fresh. The geass are also not without weakness, which is a nice touch.
Now for some spoilers.
So they fight. Lots of people die. Lelouch leads, but rarely takes the high road… with his eyes set on his goal he ignores morality usually and just tries to get from point A to point B efficiently, which I like.
He eventually confronts his father and discovers that his dad (and his mom) want to use the green haired witch to basically recreate the entire world into a utopian place through the vision of Charles zi. Lelouche thinks that sounds lame and stomps them out with his geass. (aka, parricide…)
Then surprise surprise. Even though the evil overlord is gone, the Britannia empire is like Fanny Mae and just too big to fail, so nothing really changes too much. Lelouch becomes emperor of Britannia and suddenly he’s the most reviled person in the world. Instead of trying to work for peace Lelouch embraces the dark side and implements his “zero requiem” strategy.
This entails him going further down the crevasse and trying to be even worse than his father. He’s opposed by his brother and sister, plus being that he’s switched sides technically, the Black Knights fight against him as well.
Lelouch defeats them all and forces the world into submission with a large WMD arsenal.
The final act in the zero requiem plan is having Lelouche’s friend dress up in his old Zero garb and assassinate Lelouch during a parade.
This brings world peace because everyone hated Lelouch so much that once he was dead the world came together to become a perfect utopia.
I told you the ending was fucking stupid…
I mean, even Son Goku, who’s a terrible father and absolute imbecile knows that the world’s next great threat is always just around the corner…
Which brings me to the KONY2012 movement.
I watched the video. It was fucking stupid… not all of it… but the ending was just horrible, plus I was distracted with how terrible a father the director was.
I mean, he uses his son like a stage mom from Toddlers & Tiaras… I understand what he was trying to tell us. He wanted the viewers to acknowledge that his message is so simple that even a child could understand. Of course a child could understand… children who love their fathers believe what their fathers tell them!!! My own father had me believing (for a while) that baby oil was made from babies for Christ’s-sake…
On the one hand this has done an excellent job galvanizing the interwebs and getting Joseph Kony’s name out there. But to what end? I mean, with all this reach that they have it’s like renting a bulldozer because you want to move single brick a few inches… (while making millions in new donations.)
Joseph Kony is an evil bastard who probably deserves to die and of course deserves to be brought to justice, I’m not arguing against that. But this isn’t like taking the bottom log out of a Jenga stack… Evil and corruption is a hydra, not a serpent. Once Kony is gone those child prostitutes and soldiers will still be out there and someone else will usurp the power… and we’ll need a new viral video to deal with him (or her).
The way we fight against people like Joseph Kony isn’t throwing money at Invisible Children so they can keep producing videos. It’s spreading education and rolling up your sleeves and helping out yourself.
I think videos that spread attention to charity cases are usually a good thing. And I would support Invisible Children personally even if they used a portion of my donations towards video production. However, this Kony2012 idea is just too naive, stupid, and pandering… I mean, I’m sure even a child would understand. After I force fed him that opinion of course.
Websites to research charaties:
Personally I like Holt International, I know that it’s a Christian run organization, but even if you’re not a Christian there’s something about sponsoring a child that seems more substantial than chasing an African warlord…
Disagree? Did I get something wrong? Feel free to let me know in the comments below! Hell, even I tweeted Fluffee’s KONY2012 video before I even watched it… but that’s just because I love me some Canadian stoner…