*WARNING – SPOILERS BELOW*
Code Geass R2 – Ending Scene
Zenko and I agree on this one as well. Above is the full 10 minute segment that is the entire scene that we’re talking about. This scene is the final tragedy in the spiral of tragedy that is Code Geass. What’s interesting about the scene is that there are several overlapping elements that really affect how powerful the scene is. Part of the strength of the scene is that it’s up for interpretation.
There’s a lot going on in this scene. On the surface level, it’s our hero at the height of his villany, getting assassinated. As if that’s not complicated enough, there’s the ultimate purpose behind it. It’s supposed to represent, literally, the death of tyranny. What’s sad is that we know he wasn’t trying to be a tyrant, but it was his goal to seem that way. Everyone in the crowd is either afraid or unhappy. The scene is a stark contrast – everyone is happy and cheering, liberated upon his death. However, those that knew him best, who realized what he was doing, were heartbroken. One of the strongest points was one of his closest friends, upon realizing the ultimate purpose, lied to her friends through her own tears, to protect his purpose. And yet, even the death was done in Lelouch’s distinctive, almost over-dramatic style. Zenko cries for 8 minutes solid each time she sees this scene, which has happened more than 5 times.
The official ending is ambiguous on purpose – you interpret the tragedy in your own way. Did Lelouch live, or did he die? These two separate camps both have solid points. Most of the argument has been beaten to death in the forums. However, we will provide our own unique spin on the events, below.
*WARNING – ENDING INTERPRETATION SPOILERS*
In our distinct opinion, we think that Lelouch Lamperouge is dead, resurrected as R2, the immortal. R2 lives by taking CC’s (C2’s) “Code.” There are several reasons, ranging from to thematic to Japanese translation.
1) Lelouch living is actually more tragic than him dying.
The constant theme leading up to the ending scene was that of redeeming the world and being punished for his actions. Generally speaking, it’s atonement for getting lots of people killed, but in particular, the accidental geass use on Euphemia. As a philosophical question, how does a single death, Lelouch’s, pay for all the lives he has taken? He is merely dead. The end. If you remember what C2 has said about living with the power of “Code,” it’s nothing but suffering. Thus, by taking C2’s “Code,” Lelouch will eternally pay for his actions, including surviving the deaths of everyone he cares about, including C2. And yet, it also serves another purpose – no one else will get the power of Geass because he will not give it to them. However, he is relegated to an eternal life of loneliness, separated from humanity. With that in mind, is death really the more tragic option? It is important to say, though, that it is also very kind to C2 – it resolves her only outstanding plot issue.
2) Some facts are consistent with Lelouch being immortal.
The main one is Nunally’s reaction upon touching Lelouch. She reacts in exactly the same way that someone who touched C2 did. It’s the same as when Lelouch touched C2 and when C2 touched Suzaku. Also, this adds to the scene because it means that the flashbacks were also seen by Nunally, meaning that she knew why he did what he did.
The other part involves the confrontation with Charles. Charles’ immortality, and immunity to geass, seemed to activate after he shot himself in the chest. That means that the Code may require death in order to activate. This is supported by C2’s backstory. If you remember this scene, the nun kills C2. It’s never explicitly shown, but the Nun’s got a knife and C2 gets bloody.
As an aside, what better way to activate your code than to die in front of millions of people?
3) The interpretation is given away in the title of the anime – Code Geass R2.
I actually didn’t realize this. Zenko had the epiphany one day, while washing dishes. Alright, here’s where we go into Japanese transcription.
First, the name シー・ツー (Shī Tsū) is often transcribed as CC. Literally translated, it’s C2. If her name was CC, it would be シー・シー (Shī Shī ). That sounds too much like “Death.”
Next, we have ヴイツー, (Buitsū), often transcribed as VV. As above, literally translated, it’s V2. Do you see where we’re going here?
Our main character’s name is, ルルーシュ・ランペルージ (Rurūshu Ranperūji). His nickname, given by Shirley, is ルル (Ruru). If he did, indeed, acquire the Code, he would no longer be Lelouch, but he would be R2. This makes the title, Code Geass: R2, make actual sense.
But wait, isn’t his name Lelouch? Yes. However, in Romaji – Romanized letters of Japanese Katakana, it’s ru. There is no “L.” The official Romanization tables for ラ-リ-ル-レ-ロ are: ra-ri-ru-re-ro. Interestingly, the sound that makes is between the English “R” and “L.” Japanese learning English will often have a great deal of difficulty distinguishing such words as “right” and “light.” In this case, Lelouch seems more like a western name than Rerouch, which seems like a poor attempt.
To be fair, there is no actual indication that the double letters after gaining Code has anything to do with their original names, but it seems to be a decent assumption.
4) The “uncut ending?”
There’s some talk floating around that the “official” ending we see had about 2 seconds cut out of it, where it shows that the masked farmer at the end is Lelouch. The idea is that the ending was made ambiguous on purpose, in line with a common Japanese practice. There is a dispute as to the authenticity of the clips that include the additional 2 seconds.
We think that Lelouch Lamperouge is dead, succeeded by R2, the immortal. This is the saddest scene, in particular, because we believe Lelouch is immortal. This is also why this is here instead of “Saddest Anime Death.” Thanks for bearing with us.