So, it’s taken me a while to write on this topic in particular.
Not because I have nothing to say – on the contrary, I have loads to say on this issue. Only problem is, apparently so did everyone else! Haha.
As I mentioned in this post, I only started watching Code Geass to understand the “Eren Yeager might pull a Lelouch” references I continually heard tossed around. I didn’t expect to stumble upon a complete masterpiece that I utterly fell in love with.
It’s been so long since I’ve seen an anime series so well-crafted from beginning to end. It was amazing, but something always stuck with me after my watch – was Lelouch still alive after the end of Code Geass?
I would personally like to believe so, and rewatched certain episodes to gather evidence for this theory.
Before I started to write, I went online to see if anyone else had similar feelings and found this 10+ year old debate on the matter. Then there were cannon spin-offs, unofficial ones, DVD extras where Kallen admits her love for Lelouch in a poem, and two infamous interviews with the writer and director of the series.
I started reading some of the theories, and ended up giving myself a headache.
Deciding to back off for a while, I let this series marinate in my head a few more weeks – rewatching episodes here and there.
And here we are today, where I finally think I’m ready to share my own theory on this matter. I also came across a very well-written and succinct four year old review of the series and its themes on Reddit.
I’d like to incorporate and expand on this theory with my own thoughts towards the end of this article.
So without further ado, here’s what I came up with on why Lelouch is still alive at the end of Season 2 of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.
In episode 20 of Code Geass we finally learn what happened to Lelouch and Nunnally’s mother, Lady Marianne. But before we go into this, it is very important to note the initial interactions between Lady Marianne and C.C.
Lady Marianne enters C.C.’s mind as Anya Alstreim before revealing herself and speaking to her. Lady M asks C.C. why she sealed off her code, to which C.C. replies she had no clue.
If you remember, episodes earlier Charles was going to kill C.C. and grant her ‘presumed’ wish of death. Lelouch tries to stop it, saying he will make her true wish come true.
When the two exit The Thought Elevator again, C.C. reverts back to her younger slave-self from centuries ago. Her core consciousness now hiding deep inside the depths of her mind.
On Kamine Island in Season one, Episode twenty-five, even earlier in the series now – Lelouch sees some of C.C.’s memories. Lelouch learns her real name, and realizes what her true wish might be – to be loved.
After expressing not remembering who she is, or people she once loved, Lelouch tells her –
“You are not alone. We are partners. If you are a witch, then I’ll become a warlock.”
In episode 21, Lelouch meets with Charles zi Britannia and Lady Marianne in The Thought Elevator. Lady Marianne explains that she used her geass power to target Anya Alstreim and hide her consciousness within her mind.
Throughout the series Anya suffers from memory loss and even keeps a video diary to try and make sense of her conflicting thoughts. In the previous episode during their talk, C.C. mentions that Marianne never completed her contract.
“As long as my body existed, there was a possibility that I might one day return to it…” – hence Charles removing it immediately after the incident.
Given this revelation, by logic I initially believed this was how Lelouch sustained his life force, or consciousness.
After the threat of Zero (now Suzaku) killing Lelouch vi Britannia, there is a moment where the camera cuts away. Lelouch’s back is turned toward us as he faces the crowd. For a brief moment, I thought Lelouch did as his mother had and projected his consciousness into the mind of an unsuspecting child.
Or any spectator, really.
Then during the sequence where Nunnally telepathically realizes Lelouch wasn’t really evil, we see his life flash before his eyes. Memoires of his journey as both Lelouch Lamperouge and Lelouch vi Britannia. All of the events that happened, and the people and women he loved glide across the screen before his eyes close one final time.
Nunnally starts crying, Cornelia sends her people in to extract the prisoners, and the surrounding crowd shouts for their hero, Zero.
After Kallen’s epilogue scene, we have C.C. on the back of a cart in the countryside doing a monologue on the geass – the power of the king. C.C. talks about how it causes isolation, but that’s not quite right, right – Lelouch? – before beckoning her head up towards the sky.
Beside her, lays one of Nunnally’s pink origami cranes.
As Lady Marianne mentioned earlier that once her consciousness had resurfaced, she was able to telepathically speak to C.C.’s mind. I assumed that this was the case with Lelouch, but reading another theory actually changed my mind.
Which brings us to the theory…
In their theory post, Reddit user dhaval_dongre lays out their reasoning for why Lelouch is alive, and immortal by the end of the series.
Building on this, I would like to take us back yet again to conversations in The Thought Elevator during Season 2, episode 21.
When Charles and Lelouch are in the library, they have a very telling conversation.
Charles asks his son “you want the truth from me?” and proceeds to call Lelouch a hypocrite and liar.
And, it’s true.
Lelouch does nothing but lie and hide behind false masks, something Suzaku urges him to “do until the end” to ‘atone’ for his ‘sins’. It could be worthy here to note that Suzaku is also a huge hypocrite, (and fired Damocles – despite being under geass) but that might be a conversation for another day.
“That’s true. I’ve been lying all along. Not just my name and personal history, I’ve hidden every aspect of my true intentions. But that’s common sense, isn’t it? We must say what others want to hear. We must assimilate ourselves. If we didn’t, then nations and people and these things called communities wouldn’t exist. Everyone lies when they must. To friends, to society, everyone has a different face.
But, is that a sin?
What is one’s true face?”Lelouch’s monologue, Code Geass
During this monologue, we are shown various images and flashes onscreen. The camera lingers on the ‘masks’ of society for a moment, before changing from society’s mask, to a geass mask when Lelouch remarks “everyone has a different face”.
The geass mask then turns to a blank mask as he continues.
Finally, to the Zero mask and then Lelouch’s face when he asks “what is one’s true face?”
In theory, we could postulate that these are Lelouch’s masks he has worn.
The first, a societal mask of the genius, but aloof student Lelouch Lamperouge.
The second, the mask of Lelouch vi Britannia, scorned prince seeking revenge for the injustices against his family.
The third is blank, a mask wearing neither humor nor sadness.
The fourth is Zero, the “miracle worker” and leader of the Black Knight rebellion.
The fifth is the regular face of Lelouch.
Later on in this episode, Lelouch wears the mask of Zero and declares himself as “Zero, the miracle worker”. Just before this, Suzaku internally ruminates that “…Euphy never said that Lelouch was Zero, right up to the very end. Even Shirley didn’t!”
Once Charles mocks Zero for trying to use his geass on him, he replies that it is not for him.
Lelouch, the real core being of Lelouch, then petitions god to not stop the march of time.
“I don’t intend to defeat god! This is a request! That’s right! Now, I know who I really am.”Lelouch, Code Geass
God grants Lelouch’s wish and Lelouch fully unlocks his geass after realizing why he truly wanted that power in the first place.
“Even so, what I want is a future!”Lelouch, Code Geass
Which brings us back full circle to why Lelouch sought revenge and then wielded the power of the geass in the first place: he wanted a future for himself and Nunnally. Where their status, or outsiders could not interfere or influence their ability to live freely.
(I believe he even so much as states this exactly in the beginning of season one, but his reasoning for the rebellion kind of gets jumbled along the way as more events happen.)
The geass is cast, and The Thought Elevator is destroyed by god. C.C. falls to the ground and cradles herself, asking Charles to stop this. Charles begins to disintegrate after trying to entice C.C. to help him, and Lelouch admits “This is no lie” with a full geass in both eyes.
Lady Marianne starts to dissolve as well, as Charles zi Britannia laments “I thought I was immortal”.
“Are we being swallowed? By C’s world?”Charles zi Britannia, Code Geass
Lady Marianne then wonders why C.C. isn’t disappearing, and she notes that she realized “the only people you love are yourselves”.
This is why we can postulate that Lady Marianne never fully realized her geass! Because she could not fulfill C.C.’s true wish – to be loved by someone.
Marianne then confirms this by saying “no, we love Lelouch and Nunnally”…but not C.C. or even V.V. for that matter.
After Lelouch’s speech about Nunnally’s smile, Charles charges at him.
It is then, that Lelouch absorbs his code from Charles’ hand around his neck. Once finished, saying “…even so, I reject the world you propose. NOW BE GONE” and his parents dissolve into the eternal consciousness.
Thus, giving Lelouch CODE GEASS.
Actualized when he was killed by Suzaku, as Charles’ code was activated when Lelouch shot him.
All that’s left to tie in is a comment by Reddit user shiangtazn9 in the same thread.
There is no “L” in Japanese, the phonetic sound would be “R” instead. The seasons of Code Geass are referred to as R1 and R2. This could stand for a round of chess, or rebellion – such as rebellion 1 and rebellion 2.
But, there is a third option.
This could be a reference to Lelouch’s later code name, L.L. or in Japanese, R.R.
In the same vein as C.C. and even V.V.’s name containing double initials, and separate from their true name.
But, what do you think?
Is Lelouch an immortal by the end of Code Geass? Was there too much Pizza Hut product placement in the show? And who else do you think C.C. was talking to telepathically during the series?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more anime discussions & theories in the near future!
☆ In Asian Spaces
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