Lelouch vi Britannia (ルルーシュ・ヴィ・ブリタニア Rurūshu vi Buritania), whose alias is Lelouch Lamperouge (ルルーシュ・ランペルージ Rurūshu Ranperūji), is the title character and Byronic Hero 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 vi Britannia|
|Code Geass character|
Lelouch vi Britannia dressed as Zero while showing his Geass
|First appearance||"The Day a New Demon was Born"|
|Created by||Ichirō Ōkouchi|
Sayaka Ohara (child)
Johnny Yong Bosch
Michelle Ruff (child)
|Nickname||Lulu, The Black Prince, L.L.("Lelouch of the Resurrection" alternate universe only)|
|Title||11th Prince of Britannia|
99th Emperor of Britannia
|Relatives||C.C. (wife, "Lelouch of the Resurrection" alternate universe only)|
Charles zi Britannia (father, deceased)
Marianne vi Britannia (mother, deceased)
Nunnally vi Britannia (sister)
V.V. (uncle, deceased)
Schneizel el Britannia (brother)
Cornelia li Britannia (sister)
Euphemia li Britannia (sister, deceased)
Clovis la Britannia (brother, deceased)
Odysseus eu Britannia (brother, deceased)
Guinevere de Britannia (sister, deceased)
Meribell mel Britannia (sister, deceased)
Julia mel Britannia (sister)
Carine ne Britannia (sister)
Laila la Britannia (sister)
|Allegiance||The Black Knights|
United Federation of Nations
Holy Britannian Empire
|Position||Leader and CEO of the Black Knights|
2nd Supreme Council Chairman of the U.F.N.
De Facto Leader Of Euro Britannia
99th Emperor of the Holy Britannian Empire
Lelouch was designed by the group of manga artists Clamp, who aimed to create a stylish and visually appealing character. 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. Despite his ruthless methods to destroy an empire, he still has several strong relationships that made him a likeable character. His voice actors Fukuyama and Bosch have 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.
For the 10th anniversary of the series, Taniguchi decided it was necessary to do further development with Lelouch which lead to the newest film. While the staff believe the franchise will be expanded in following years, they no longer plan to use Lelouch's character.
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 la Britannia, 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 his half-sister, 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 Kamine Island to search for Nunnally, but is confronted by Suzaku. The second season reveals that Lelouch is defeated by Suzaku, who arrests his former friend and brings him to his father.
Akito The Exiled
After Suzaku brings Lelouch to Charles, he offers to hand him over on the condition he be inducted into the Knights of the Round, much to Lelouch's dismay. Charles agrees, and uses his Geass to alter Lelouch's mind. With this, Lelouch becomes the empire's Evil Military Adviser, Julius Kingsley, wearing an eyepatch over his Geass.
Lelouch makes a few appearances in the miniseries, first seen in Suzaku's custody as he clutches his right eye while begging his friend for water, only to be silently turned down. In his second appearance upon arriving in St. Petersburg, Kingsley proudly declares that the Emperor has placed him in charge of all the Eastern front operational planning for Britannia's military.
In the third episode, Lelouch encounters Shin Hyuga Shaing and others for a meeting. In which he tries to arrest the others in his plan. Lelouch showcases a clip to create fear and havoc within the city. Later on, he plays chess along Hyuga, but starts hallucinating Kingsley and past memories from Rebellion. Later on Hyuga figures out that he was both Zero and Lelouch and calls his squad. Suzaku, in an attempt to defend the secret, kills most of the squad whilst Lelouch rips off his eye-patch. Eventually, both are captured, with Hyuga later declaring Kingsley executed and revealing that he is Zero.
From here, Lelouch begins to regain his memories in a traumatized fashion, prompting Suzaku to strangle him, until Lelouch begins to cry and beg Suzaku to kill him. They are saved by Rolo Lamperouge, and from there Charles is forced to use his Geass on Lelouch again. This time, he is unaware of his royal heritage or being Zero, but still lives a life strikingly similar to the one he led at the start of the series.
A year after the Black Rebellion, after the Emperor wiped out his memories, Lelouch is living as an Ashford student with Rolo Lamperouge assigned to oversee the delusion under the guise of 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 and presumably killing Nunnally. Schneizel then convinces the Black Knights to betray him with a despondent Lelouch willing to be killed by his former comrades, until Rolo sacrifices his life to save him. Lelouch decides to go to Kamine Island and defeat his father. Joined by Suzaku, he learns the truth that his mother faked her death and has been aiding the Emperor in their goal to wipe out individuality from the world. Lelouch, awakening his full Geass powers while rejecting the reality his parents intend, controls the will of the C's World entity itself to erase the Sword of Akasha and his parents out of existence. One month later, Lelouch 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. He then requests that Britannia join the U.F.N, but proceeds to take 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, who has Nunnally in his custody and commands the Damocles (a floating fortress which he intends to place into a position which would allow him to fire nuclear weapons worldwide), and the Black Knights now under Kaname Oghi. In the final battle, as Suzaku fakes his death, Lelouch outwits Schneizel and places him under a Geass command to serve Zero. From there, learning that Nunnally has regained her sight and has been acting on her own plan to unite the world through the fear of the Damocles, Lelouch uses his Geass on her to give him the Damocles' key. With Schenizel and the Damocles both under his control, Lelouch declares himself the ruler of the world. Two months later, Lelouch arranges for the public execution of the Black Knight leaders and the U.F.N. representatives. It is then, as Nunnally, the U.F.N and the Black Knights learn afterwards, that the Zero Requiem's final phase takes place with Lelouch being killed by Suzaku in the guise of Zero. With his death, Nunnally succeeds her brother as Empress and the world unites in a new era of peace and cooperation. In the spinoff OVA, Miraculous Birthday, he briefly uses his power in the afterlife to say goodbye to Suzaku, Nunnally, Rivalz, Nina, and Kallen before departing.
Lelouch of the Resurrection
In the events of the 2019 film Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection, which takes place a year after the events of the recap movies, Lelouch's corpse is revealed to have been smuggled away by Shirley and resurrected from the dead by C.C. But C.C. reveals that Lelouch lost his memories because his soul is sealed within C's World. Eventually, C.C. manages to finally fully resurrect Lelouch when she helps Kallen, Kayo, and Lloyd free Suzaku after he and Nunnally were kidnapped by the Zilkhistans who need the latter to restore their country to its former glory. Leouch momentarily resumes his identity as Zero to rescue Nunnally, bequeaths his alter ego to Suzaku before traveling the world with C.C. under the alias L.L., which according to director Taniguchi was Lelouch's idea of a marriage proposal
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, the 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 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 the 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 they were used as political tools. 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, which define both his actions and his motivations. Perhaps his most notable is that he rejects his father's beliefs of Social Darwinism. He believes the world can live in cooperation rather than through conflict and struggle. To achieve this aim, he believes that the ends justify the means; he is willing to commit acts of evil to bring down a worse evil in the process, and is always focused on getting results regardless of the methods used. Lelouch also has strong beliefs concerning death and killing, thinking that a person should only kill if he is prepared to die himself.
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 Lelouch's orders to the best of their ability. Once it is cast, the orders can neither be changed or canceled, nor can the subjects resist its absolute influence. Also, Lelouch can only cast Geass on a person once; afterward, the power won't work on them anymore after its conditions have been fulfilled, unless their initial command has been removed by a Geass canceler.
Even without his Geass, Lelouch is a formidable opponent. Having a peerless intellect, he is capable of devising and executing plans and strategies with fantastic speed and precision. He rarely battles opponents directly. Instead, he usually attacks with coordinated groups or armies focused under his direct command. He thinks of his battles as chess games, at which he is a masterful player, always beating anyone who played against him. Lelouch often gambles on his chess games against Britannian nobles and other skilled players as a pastime as a student. As a teenager, he makes use of his masterful skills as a commander in real battle, anticipating his enemies' moves and giving orders on how to respond to his forces, and utilizing traps and schemes that were strategically put in place to destroy the enemy. 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 superior 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 faster and 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, the 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.
Lelouch's character has been well received by viewers of the series, appearing in various anime polls. Lelouch was voted the most popular male character of 2006, 2007, and 2008 in Animage magazine's annual Anime Grand Prix and Newtype magazine named him the best anime male character of the decade. 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, though noted that Lelouch' made the character 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 Light Yagami from the Death Note series, 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. 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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