Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his many interests and his favorite topic.
He is not as macho as some mecha anime protagonist, but Lelouch vi Britannia is someone you don’t want to mess with. For one thing he could make you obey. That thing in his eye, the Geass will take control of your mind. And if you got an immortal hottie doing your bidding and a small private army of revolutionaries, who needs bulging muscle anyway?
Lelouch vi Britannia is both an impressive and nasty piece of work. He is an anime antihero in par with the bastards like Light Yagami and Vegeta. Nevertheless the guy is not perfect. Again as I always point out flaws is not a bad thing. It helps connect the (anti)hero to audiences though too much could ruin a character. Yes I’m looking at you Shinn Asuka and Shinji Ikari! We know how Lelouch is capable of doing a lot of wonders. Yet he is still human with a lot of human flaws. Making an empire fall on its knees sounds smart enough, though freaking out at the wrong time will make an experienced rebel cringe. If you know what I mean, just read below for more.
The Smart Things He did
Let's start first with the many wonders he did.
1. He Could Play Chess Well
Don’t you know how hard it is to play chess? I also play chest and do martial arts. But between chess and martial arts I prefer martial arts for it won’t give me a migraine. Chess requires a certain level of intellect just to learn how the piece function, something I don’t have.
And when it comes to chess skills I’m never in the level of Lelouch. He managed to beat a pro with just his King, a weak piece considering it could only do single steps. He is so good he developed a habit of slipping out of school to do bets.
2. He Mastered the Geass
The day Lelouch received the Geass from the mysterious (but unusually hot) C.C. he didn’t just used it. He studied it. Yes he knew it could control minds but he went to certain lengths to understand his new weapon. How long will it last? Will it work on the same person twice? How far can he use it? How important is eye contact? Throughout the show we saw it testing his Geass to unfortunate subjects and the result is a deeper understanding of its inner workings.
3. Commanding a force without battlefield experience.
Okay playing chess is one thing, but jumping into a live battle to take the lead is another. We saw Lelouch in the earlier episodes of R1 commandeering a Knightmare frame and leading the revolutionaries to victory. And he is just a schoolboy! It will take years for an officer to be a master tactician, and he nailed it in his first try.
4. Managing a Rebel Force
The idea of the Black Knight isn’t originally his’ but C.C.’s. What’s genius here is how he manages and maintains such an effective fighting force like a pro. Lelouch already has a knack of leading an army, but running a rebel unit brings in different sets of problems. For one thing they need funding, equipment, new recruits, not to mention flashy uniforms (it still bothers me why the female members fight in short skirts). Amazingly Lelouch pulled it off.
And thanks to his small fortune and a shady sponsor going by the name Taizo Kirihara, the Black Knights went into battle armed with explosives, Knightmare Frames, a command truck, submarine, assault rifles and anything a rebel unit need to destabilize an empire. And yes even without the Geass he made his men do what they are told thanks to his psychopathic charisma.
5. He Has a Good Aim
Caring for your younger sister and doing housework brings in some unexpected benefits. Lelouch has to do anything by hands, and yes he has a good hand and eye coordination. So good that aiming a pistol and doing good shots is a piece of cake. He never engages in a fire-fight and most of the time he lets the Geass do the dirty work, but he has a better aim than an average person. That’s amazing considering that he never hits the range.
6. Living a Double Life
Lelouch sucks at covering his tracks. We will get to that in a moment. Doing things cleanly may not be what Lelouch is good at doing, but at least he managed to hide from almost everyone in school that he is Zero.
I’m not sure if his schoolmates are stupid or Lelouch is really a master con artist. But the fact that no one suspects him of rebellion in school as the Black Knights deduce who he really is meant that he played his student role really well. Oh yes, he is sleeps in the class like an expert.
7. Using Planning and His Environment to Fight
Again this is a case of brains winning over brawn. Lelouch is not the type that will slug it out head on. His encounter with Mao is pretty messy, but the psycho ends up beaten without throwing a single punch. Even in his Knightmare Frame Lelouch will resort to tactics and deception as what he did to Cornelia during the Black Rebellion. Who needs heavy weaponries when you got your environment as your weapon?
The Stupid Things He Did
As what's mentioned here our boy here is also capable of equally laughable mistakes.
1. He Never Works Out or Learned to Fight Physically
Yes I know, I said earlier that you don’t need bulging muscles if you have the Geass and an army of rabid followers. But weight gain isn’t just the reason why people work out. Lelouch is a type of teenager who spends little time sweating and he will die an unhealthy death if he never met C.C. And being fit could help him move around in a fight, but then again being the leader all he needs to do is to sit on his throne and direct orders to the field. But at least he should have learned some basic bare handed self defense move.
We saw how there are times that the Geass won’t apply. And a little bit of fight proficiency will help him escape Suzaku in the end of R1.
2. He Never Mastered the Knightmare Frame
Lelouch could run a Knightmare frame and that’s it. When he stole the Knightmare Gawain, it was C.C. who did all the combat piloting. He sucks at a head on assault as Suzaku almost finished him at certain times. If he’s really that smart, he should have addressed such weakness and get a pilot’s training.
3. Tendency to Lose His Cool
This showed Lelouch’s lack of battlefield experience. In the battle anything can happened, and the enemy will fight dirty if they wanted. Intellectually he is amazing. Emotionally he is prone to breakdowns. After some victories, nothing prepared him from the horrors of combat. He carried his guilt of causing the death of Shirley’s dad pretty well. But when Nunnally got involved things could get out of hand. In R2 he got so messed up that it took Kallen’s bright slap to put him to his senses. Then an incident during the Black Rebellion caused the Black Knights their victory thanks to Lelouch’s sudden impulse to leave.
4. Leaving the Black Knights in the Midst of the Battle
Thanks to his tendency to lose his cool, Lelouch left the Black Knights when he heard Nunally got taken. Yes she is her dearest sister, one of the reasons why he became Zero. There is no point being Zero without Nunally. But it would be better if he could just continue the fight as they are on the verge of victory. He could just send the whole Black Knights to search for his sister later. He just caused them their victory and it ended as a lose-lose situation; the rebellion is crushed, Nunally is gone and Lelouch’s memories being erased.
5. Turning His Half-sister Into a Mass Murderer
I truly blame Lelouch for this. Yes he had no control over the Geass at that time but why did he confronted Euphemie in the first place? He went to her with nothing important to do but to stage a suicide so the people will blame her. It’s all about pride that drove Lelouch to face Euphemia as she is about to mess up his plan! In the end he paid for his stupidity in such a bloody way
6. Complicates Matters
Turning Euphemia into a murderer is just an example of how he has tendencies to mess things up. And near the end of R2 as the Black Knights are turning against him, he further turns their gears by acting evil and admitting how he used them. The breakdown of the Black Knights could have been avoided if Lelouch never lied.
In the end of R2, we loved how he died and it gets me thinking if that’s really necessary. How about just becoming a good leader instead, gain a lot of allies, learn to discredit or use his Geass at Schneizel, convince Nunally that this is all for the best and come up with a story on why Euphemia went berserk (he could blame the Emperor’s brainwashing). No one has to die!
7. Clumsy and Careless
Perhaps his most laughable flaw; for a feared rebel leader Lelouch is clumsy! Why did he let the cat steal his mask? What will the people say when they heard how Zero was exposed by a stupid cat? And he never checked Shirley’s things properly when he is in her bedroom cleaning traces of his memories. He forgot to dispose of a note in the corner of her room.