In terms of great anime, Code Geass ranks highly, and that largely is due to how powerfully Lelouch enthralled his audience. Whether he used his geass on you or not when you saw him, you were compelled to pay attention. Thanks to Ichiro Okouchi’s mindful approach to the story, it is one that has stood the test of more than a decade and still maintains a devoted fanbase.
Code Geass aimed to create the story of a young man willing to do whatever it took to make his world better for those he loved, and, just like that young man, the show was steadfast—especially in its final act: Lelouch’s death—and then Lelouch of the Re;surrection brought him back. So, here are five reasons why resurrecting Lelouch was a great idea, and five reasons why it was terrible.
10 It Kind Of Feels Like Fan Service
Fans had theorized for years that Lelouch was alive and based those theories around C.C.’s final line. Was she addressing him directly or simply talking to him the same way some people talk to lost loved ones? That dissection of the scene showed the strength that the series had and how it had trained its fans to always expect a clever trick from its protagonist.
But the creator insisted from the outset of the series Lelouch dying was the endgame and that bringing him back to life, while awesome as a long-time fan, also kind of feels like it cheapens the high stakes world that Ichiro Okouchi built.
9 Seeing Lelouch In That Trailer Was A Rush
With that in mind, it was still one of the most exciting moments in 2019 for anime when a trailer dropped for a new Code Geass that heavily featured Lelouch on screen. We’d already gotten a taste of that feeling before when Akita the Exiled premiered as fans tried to decipher when it took place and if this confirmed that Lelouch was alive after the end of the original series. But, getting to see Lelouch using his geass once more in a trailer for a film with resurrection in the title? That was a moment fans won’t forget.
8 It Made Shirley Less Of A Character
So, the argument that the film cheapens Lelouch’s death has one good counter-argument. The team behind Code Geass released three films before this that created an alternate universe that changed key events throughout the series without ruining the major plot points. Lelouch still has himself assassinated, and Nunnally is still put on the throne of Britannia, but the key to saving Lelouch turns out to be Shirley losing her complex storyline of high school love and a burdening need to avenge her father’s death.
In a series that hinged on creating complications for its characters, it’s a shame that the only way they could conceive Lelouch surviving was through uncomplicating one of their best female characters.
7 Without Lelouch Surviving, Nunnally Would Have Probably Been Killed
Lelouch surviving doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Nunnally being captured and Suzaku being unable to save her, but, without him, the chances of her escaping were low. Because this isn’t a direct sequel to the series, it is impossible to say that Nunnally would have been kidnapped on that goodwill mission, but it seems likely.
Plus, since they were going up against someone who had the ability to travel back in time when she died, without Lelouch’s unmatched strategic prowess, it is hard to believe that Nunnally didn’t end up dying in the main reality. So, everyone should be thanking Shirley for stealing a corpse.
6 They Made An Alternate Universe Where C.C. Cared Just A Little More
2019 was a big year for alternate universe shenanigans thanks to the fourth film in the Avengers series: Avengers Endgame. To Ichiro Okouchi’s credit, he had been building to it with the three recap films that preceded Lelouch of the Re;surrection. But the secret to the twist that people had been debating for years turned out to be that Lelouch did die with no intent to survive.
He hadn’t stolen the Code from his father, and it wasn’t activated when he had Suzaku kill him. Instead, he is resurrected through C.C.’s plan because, in this universe, she decided to hold Lelouch to his promise to her that she would never be lonely again—which leaves fans asking why wouldn’t she do this in the main timeline?
5 It Gives Us Some Idea About What Might Have Happened After Lelouch’s Plan Worked
Nunnally was left behind to lead the world into peace after Lelouch sacrificed himself as the sacrificial lamb he believed his world needed. It was clear that she possessed the quality of a benevolent ruler, but the question remained if the rest of the world would be able to accept her or see her as someone weak to be deposed.
With Suzaku as Zero by her side, there was some assurance she would be safe, but, in Re;surrection, we get to see that she has successfully been handling peacekeeping missions. Although it does imply that she could have been captured, it still shows that she was a capable ruler, deserving of a place as Lelouch’s successor.
4 It Endangered The Message Lelouch’s Death Stood For
This one isn’t about the relationships the fans have with the work. It’s just common sense that, if Lelouch’s plan was to unite the world around the destruction of an evil emperor, then, if he’s just walking around in the world, it’s going to be a problem if people find out that his death was a lie. There doesn’t seem to be any mass social media for someone to just tweet about Lelouch Lamperouge, famously murdered emperor of Britannia, walking around, but the plan is now in danger of being undone.
3 It Makes More Sense
C.C. wasn’t the most active character in the plot of the main series. For the most part, she was satisfied to see what Lelouch would do with a power that had caused her so much hurt and loneliness. In ways, that’s a large part of her story arc, being shown that the curse she thought she bore wasn’t exactly as it seemed.
However, if C.C. was meant to be in love with Lelouch all along, it is hard to accept that she wouldn’t try to stop him from enacting his plan, or at least come up with one of her own so that they could both get what they want. Creating this alternate universe where C.C. is the one responsible for his resurrection gives her an agency that she didn’t entirely have before.
2 It Broke The Creator’s Long-Held Hard Line
By the end of the film, the implication is that Lelouch is going to continue being “dead.” He gives up his name and starts going by the initials L.L. to imply that while he may have returned, he’s not going back to his old ways. And, with Nunnally saved and Suzaku returning to being zero, then things are back on track for the peace Lelouch wanted.
So, why did he actually have to die in the first place? He’s a master strategist who is able to deduce that someone has the power to travel into the past when she dies after she is able to predict all of his moves. So, if he’s that smart, how did he not know that him actually being dead wasn’t vital to his plan?
1 It Gave A Satisfying End To The Love Story
Romance was never at the heart of Code Geass, so it’s no surprise that the ending of the original anime didn’t exactly wrap up their story in a way that made shippers happy. Instead, it gave us a forlorn C.C. who seemed to have found happiness thanks to Lelouch but didn’t need to be with him.
As stated earlier, though this universe’s C.C. is less satisfied with letting Lelouch call the shots, he didn’t consider her in terms of killing himself, and so she didn’t see any need to take his feeling into account in bringing him back to life, and seeing him change his name for her was just downright adorable.
Resurrecting Code Geass' Lelouch essentially undid the anime's climactic ending, but it also helped to rectify a few niggling plot issues.