|Lelouch vi Britannia|
|Code Geass character|
Lelouch Lamperouge as seen in the anime series
|First appearance||Season 1, Episode 1|
Sayaka Ohara (child)
Johnny Yong Bosch
Michelle Ruff (child)
|Title||11th Prince of Britannia
99th Emperor of Britannia
|Relatives||Charles zi Britannia (father)
Marianne vi Britannia (mother)
Nunnally vi Britannia (sister)
Holy Britannian Empire
United Federation of Nations
|Position||Leader and CEO of the Black Knights
99th Emperor of the Holy Britannian Empire
2nd Supreme Council Chairman of the U.F.N.
Lelouch Lamperouge (ルルーシュ・ランペルージ Rurūshu Ranperūji?), whose real name is Lelouch vi Britannia (ルルーシュ・ヴィ・ブリタニア Rurūshu vi Buritania?), is a title character and the protagonist of the Sunrise anime series Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. In the series, Lelouch is a former prince from the superpower Britannia who is given the power of the "Geass" by a witch known as C.C. Using the Geass and his genius-level intellect, Lelouch becomes the leader of the resistance movement known as The Black Knights under his alter ego Zero (ゼロ?) to destroy the Holy Britannian Empire, an imperial monarchy that has been conquering various countries under control from his father. His Japanese voice actor is Jun Fukuyama, and his child self is voiced by Sayaka Ohara. His English dub voice is provided by Johnny Yong Bosch with Michelle Ruff doing Lelouch's child voice.
Lelouch was designed by the group of manga artists Clamp who aimed to create an appealing character due to his style and visual appeal. The character of Lelouch has been recognized as one of Japan's most popular characters during the time Code Geass aired appearing at the top of several polls. Publications for anime and manga saw Lelouch as an interesting character as although he wishes to destroy an empire using ruthless methods, he still has several strong relationships that made him a likeable character. His voice actors Fukuyama and Bosch have also been praised for their work as Lelouch's voice.
Creation and design
While designing the concept art for Lelouch, the series' original character designers, Clamp, had initially conceived of his hair color as being white. Nanase Ohkawa, head writer at Clamp, said she had visualized him as being a character to which "everyone" could relate to as being "cool", literally, a "beauty". While developing the character during the initial planning stages, the series' core staff at Sunrise, director Gorō Taniguchi, writer Ichirō Ōkouchi, and the production team discussed numerous possible influences for the character with Clamp, such as the Japanese idol duos KinKi Kids and Tackey & Tsubasa.
During the early planning stages for Lelouch's alter ego, "Zero", Clamp had wanted to create a mask never witnessed prior in any Sunrise series. Zero was one of the earliest developed characters. Ōkouchi wanted a mask to be included as a part of the series, because he felt that a mask was necessary for it to be a Sunrise show. In early designs of the character, Zero possessed long silver nails.
His Japanese voice actor is Jun Fukuyama, and his child self is voiced by Sayaka Ohara. His English dub voice is provided by Johnny Yong Bosch with Michelle Ruff doing Lelouch's child voice. Bosch commented that when voice acting, his most preferred roles are Lelouch (Code Geass) and Nero (Devil May Cry 4) since they both possess "good emotion to play." For Lelouch's laughters, he tends to have several emotions in mind such as fear and joy. Bosch also commented having felt emotional when the character of Lelouch died.
Lelouch vi Britannia is the son of the Emperor of Britannia, Charles zi Britannia, and the late Imperial Consort Marianne, making Lelouch the Eleventh Prince of the Holy Britannian Empire. He was seventeenth in line to Imperial throne prior to his mother's assassination, an event which also left his sister blind and crippled. His father banished him and his sister Nunnally to Japan, where he was used as a political hostage. It was during his stay at the Kururugi household that he first met Suzaku Kururugi, who would later become his best friend.
His mother's death and his father's apparent unconcern about it were huge blows to Lelouch. He always felt that it was unfair for both his mother and sister, and therefore made it his goal to pursue a better world for Nunnally. He also seeks to discover the true reason for his mother's death, as she was murdered in the Aries Imperial Palace, a place terrorists would be unlikely to penetrate successfully without being noticed, if at all. Lelouch is an individual who is calm, sophisticated, and arrogant due to his aristocratic upbringing. At school, Lelouch conducts himself as a sociable, likeable, and often easy-going student; however, in reality, this is a mask to hide his true nature. As Zero, his true nature is expressed. His charisma and beliefs in justice gain him the trust and respect of many soldiers and leaders.
Lelouch possesses very strong philosophical beliefs: beliefs that define both his actions and his motivations. Perhaps his most notable motivation is that he rejects his father's beliefs of Social Darwinism. He believes the world can live in cooperation rather than competition and conflict. To achieve this aim, he believes that the ends justify the means; he is willing to commit evil if it means bringing down a worse evil in the process. Lelouch also has strong beliefs concerning death and killing, thinking that one should kill only if they are prepared to be killed themselves.
Lelouch's Geass, given to him by C.C., grants him "the power of absolute obedience," allowing him to plant commands within a person's mind upon eye contact, similar to extreme hypnosis. Activation of his Geass is visually represented by the manifestation of a Geass sigil in his left eye. Commands dictated in this state are written into the minds of anyone he makes eye contact with. The people under this power obey whatever orders Lelouch gives them. They cannot be resisted or taken back when they are applied. It can only be used once per person.
Even if without his Geass, Lelouch is a formidable opponent. He is capable of devising and executing strategies with fantastic speed and precision. He rarely battles opponents one-on-one. Instead, he usually attacks with coordinated groups or armies under his direct command, or using clever plots, schemes, and deceptions to gain an advantage. He also thinks of his battles as chess games, at which he is a masterful player, always besting any opponent who played against him. Before he received his Geass power, he often gambles on his chess games against nobility and other skilled players out of sheer boredom, which he wins of course. As a teenager, he utilizes his masterful skills in real battle, by predicting his enemies' moves and countering them, and when he's faced with overwhelming odds, Lelouch almost always comes up with a plan that destroys all of the enemy forces at once in a spectacular fashion. In contrast, his physical state is poor; however, he displays above-average hand-eye coordination, both with firearms and the keyboard-based control system of the Shinkirō. Lelouch is also shown to be very charismatic and persuasive, able to win the support of the populace through well-delivered speeches combined with his ability to make miracles through excellent strategic planning. In episode 14 of R2, V.V. remarks that Lelouch is a lot like his father.
Lelouch usually operates standard Knightmares, but pilots such as Suzaku and Cornelia, both of whom are masterful pilots who use more advanced models, are commonly able to overwhelm him in single combat. Lelouch is typically accompanied by Kallen, who serves as his personal guard. After stealing the advanced model, Gawain, Lelouch co-pilots it with C.C., controlling the weapons and command functions while C.C. handles navigation and flight, until it was lost in the ocean, when trying to deal with Jeremiah. After the Black Knights are exiled from Japan, Lelouch pilots the Shinkirō, which has the strongest defense of any Knightmare, but it requires an intellect of his level to perform the complex calculations needed for it to be effective.
In Code Geass
Lelouch is introduced in the first episode of the series as a student of Ashford Academy, where he is a member of its student council. He accidentally boards a truck used by Japanese resistance operatives. Within the truck is a capsule holding a witch known as C.C. (pronounced "Cee Two), who sacrifices herself to save him from the military forces trying to recapture her. When it seems as if her sacrifice was pointless, C.C. offers him the "Power of the King", the mythical power of Geass. The Geass manifests itself in him as the power of absolute obedience, which allows him to make people obey his orders without question. With his new power, Lelouch begins his rebellion against the Britannian Empire, starting by killing his half-brother, Clovis, after extracting information about the murder of his mother, Marianne. He takes up the identity of Zero and later forms the Order of the Black Knights, becoming a revolutionary and gaining popular support amongst the people.
The turning point in his rebellion comes when Euphemia li Britannia declares the region under Mount Fuji the Special Administrative Zone of Japan, giving the Japanese people their name and country back, albeit in a much smaller area. Lelouch confronts her at the opening ceremony and tries to have her shoot him, hoping to make himself a martyr. When she says she plans to give up her royal title, he surrenders and agrees to work with her. However, at this moment his Geass permanently activates without him knowing, and an offhand comment about ordering her to kill the Japanese causes Euphemia to do just that. Lelouch reluctantly kills her and uses the massacre as an excuse to spark the Black Rebellion, in which he declares Japan to be an independent nation and leads an attack on the Tokyo Settlement. The attack goes well at first, but when Lelouch learns that Nunnally has been kidnapped, he abandons the battle, leaving his forces helpless against the better-organized Britannian military. Lelouch makes his way to Kaminejima to search for Nunnally, but is confronted by Suzaku.
A year after the Black Rebellion, Lelouch is living as an Ashford student, having had his memory deleted by the Emperor after Suzaku captured him. To maintain the lie, Rolo Lamperouge was assigned as Lelouch's younger brother. Lelouch's memories are restored by C.C., and he resumes leadership of the Black Knights, gaining Rolo's trust in the process. When Nunnally is appointed as Governor of Area 11 and announces her plans to reestablish the Special Administrative Zone of Japan, Lelouch engineers the legal exile of the Black Knights by getting the Britannians to agree to exile Zero in exchange for bringing one million participants for Nunnally's new Japan.
The Black Knights escape to the Chinese Federation, where Lelouch begins forging an alliance with the other world powers to create a force that rivals Britannia. He starts by destabilizing the Chinese Federation, returning control to Empress Tianzi from the High Eunuchs. Once Lelouch's new alliance, the United Federation of Nations, is formed, their first act is to liberate Japan. Despite Lelouch's desire to protect his sister, his Geass forces Suzaku to shoot a nuclear weapon, destroying a large portion of the Tokyo Settlement. Schneizel then convinces the Black Knights to betray him but Rolo sacrifices his life to save his brother. Lelouch decides to go to Kamine Island and defeat his father. There he erases his parents by ordering an entity known as the C World to disappear with his Geass. One month later, he usurps the Britannian throne and appoints Suzaku as his knight to set the stage for their ultimate plan, the Zero Requiem.
As Emperor, Lelouch dismantles the Britannian class system and frees every colony; however, Lelouch takes the council members hostage after it is revealed that Britannia's large population would give him a majority voting block. This brings him into conflict with Schneizel and the Black Knights who are led by Kaname Oghi. In the final battle, Lelouch outwits Schneizel, placing him under a Geass command to serve Zero and claims victory when disarming Nunnally. Two months later, Lelouch arranges for the public execution of the Black Knight leaders and the U.F.N. representatives. Suzaku, disguised as Zero, interrupts and stabs Lelouch through the stomach, this being the culmination of the Zero Requiem as they had planned.
Appearances in other media
In Code Geass: Lost Colors, the video game for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, there are a several different endings and clips of Lelouch that involve the main character, Rai who joins the same school. Across the game, the player can make Rai befriend Lelouch. Rai can also become Lelouch's best friend as well as Zero's partner. In the video game Another Century's Episode: R, Lelouch makes an appearance in his Knightmare Frame, Shinkirō. He also appears in the spin-off with his Shinkiro. Lelouch and the rest of the Code Geass R1 cast make their debut to the Super Robot Wars franchise in this game, using their R1 Knightmares.
The Code Geass manga follows the same basic plot as the anime, but with several differences. Knightmares do not exist. As for Lelouch's character, he is still the same as he was in the anime. He takes on the identity Zero, but largely focuses on his activities with the Black Knights.
Nightmare of Nunnally features Lelouch's transformation into Zero by merging with C.C. This time the Geass grants Lelouch supernatural strength allowing him to battle the Knightmares in hand-to-hand combat. Surprisingly Lelouch knows the same martial arts as Suzaku. After several fights against Britannia, Zero orders the Black Knights to side with the army to defeat the Emperor as Euphemia is due to take over the empire. Once the Emperor is defeated, Zero's death is announced, as Lelouch inherits C.C.'s name and immortality, becoming C.C. The Demon King and goes forth to spread Geass and to promote conflict around the world.
In the manga Suzaku of the Counterattack, Lelouch obtains his Geass in the same way as in the anime series, except that his Geass symbol is slightly rendered. Many of the Black Knights are not loyal to Zero and often split off into renegade factions or act without his knowledge. Lelouch is held responsible for a terrorist attack when a Black Knights faction had gone renegade without following his instructions. He later goes to kill his father only to discover that he was already killed by Schneizel, his half-brother; however, it is later revealed to be Schneizel's scheme to get Lelouch executed and to take C.C.'s Code. Near the end of the manga, Lelouch tries to use his Geass on Schneizel, but the latter punctures his left eye, leaving him never to use his Geass again.
In Tales of an Alternate Shogunate, set in 1853 at the Bakumatsu Era, Lelouch is the commander of the military counterinsurgence brigade known as the Shinsengumi, formed under the orders of the Shogunate to fight the rebel group known as the Black Revolutionaries, but was secretly the leader of that group as Zero and has gained information from within. The event is set in Kyoto, and Lelouch had recently acquired his geass from C.C. and had stolen Britannian's new Knightmare, Gawain.
In a special Code Geass Picture Drama episode, Lelouch appears on December 5 for Ashford Academy's school festival, helping Rivalz, now school president, along with some of his friends. However a battle erupts in school grounds by the Neo-Chinese Federation, led by a former eunuch, whom takes everyone hostage. With help of his friends, Lelouch manages to stop the Federation soldiers. In the aftermath, the entire episode is revealed to be a dream which the ghost of Lelouch used to thank everyone. In a special OVA parody episode, based on the Alice in Wonderland story, Lelouch is narrating the story and appears in the role as the Mad Hatter.
Lelouch's character has been well received by viewers of the series, appearing in various anime polls. Lelouch was chosen as the most popular male character of 2006, 2007 and 2008 at Animage magazine and Newtype magazine named him the best anime male character of the decade. He was chosen the most popular male character of 2006, 2007, and 2008 at Animage magazine's annual Anime Grand Prix. In the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation Awards from 2008, Lelouch was nominated as one of the best male characters. In 2014, NTT customers voted him as their 13th favorite black haired male anime character. His voice actor Jun Fukuyama also won the "Best Actor in a Leading Role" award for his portrayal of the character at the first Seiyu Awards in 2007. Fukuyama's work as Lelouch's voice actor also lead him to win the Tokyo International Anime Fair in the category "Best Voice Actor".
Critics for anime and manga series have also commented on Lelouch's character. Anime News Network's Carl Kimlinger stated that Lelouch "is hard to like" because of his narcissistic personality, but noted that his bonds with Nunnally and his friends make up for that. Bamboo Dong from the site agreed with Kimlinger because of Lelouch's arrogance but at the same time commented that such traits made him interesting to watch. Gia Manry from the same site listed Suzaku and him as the third best "frenemies" in anime due to how their friendship falls apart as a result of their rivalry. Mostly positive response were given by Danielle Van Gorder from Mania Entertainment due to Lelouch's differences from most of anime's protagonists and how his double life as a Zero and as a student is shown across the series. Chris Beveridge from the same site praised Lelouch's actions in R2 when he becomes Britannia's Emperor, describing him as "the classic angle of the villain with good motives" because of the dangerous actions he does for a greater good. Beveridge also commented on his confrontations with Scheizel and Nunnally, mentioning the rivalry across the series in the former and citing the latter as heartbreaking.
IGN compared him with Death Note's Light Yagami and the Count of Monte Cristo's Edmond Dantès due to his double life and his questionable methods, respectively. The double life aspect has also been praised due to how such change also differentiates the show's tone from a high school comedy to an action show, and how he "winds-up" between his two selves. Moreover, his reasons for evil actions have also been found to help viewers to like the character. Also from IGN, Ramsey Isler found Lelouch's double life trait as rather comical as after short prologue of his role as Zero in an episode, he is seen doing homework at school for being absent to classes. Kevin Leathers from UK Anime Network enjoyed Lelouch's personality as his cold persona made the series "refreshing" from other mecha anime. Johnny Yong Bosch's role as Lelouch's English voice actor has also been praised due to how Lelouch's villany and youth characteristics are portrayed. Lelouch is ranked 23rd on IGN's 2009 list of best anime characters of all time, and 18th on IGN's 2014 list.
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