It has been one year since the defeat of the Black Knights and the supposed death of Zero. On this particular day, C.C. is at the helm of a publicity blimp flying over the Tokyo settlement. With her is Urabe Kousetsu, the one remaining free member of the Shisei-ken, and a handful of men who are ready to embark on a special operation. Meanwhile, at Ashford Academy, gym teacher Villetta is chasing Lelouch, so he runs into a chemistry storeroom and puts two chemicals together to create a smoke screen that allows him to get away. In order to catch him, Villetta jumps out of a window and manages to land on someone she thinks is Lelouch, but it turns out to be just Rivalz wearing a wig. The real Lelouch gets away on a motorcycle driven by his brother Rolo, and Rolo points to how Lelouch always skips class. As he rides along, Lelouch thinks about how it’s been one year since the Black Rebellion and how things have calmed down in Area 11. With all the rumors flying around, he and Rolo had even considered returning to the Britannia mainland.
Rolo then asks Lelouch about the future aspirations list that he was supposed to have filled out, but Lelouch still hasn’t decided if he wants to go to college because he’s tired of being just a student. Still, he also knows that it’s useless for him to enter the workforce since the major firms and aristocrats remain at the top, and he feels that he’d only become part of the adult hierarchy. As the motorcycle passes by a big screen television showing Governor-General Carares directing an execution and spouting Britannia propaganda, Lelouch thinks about how the Elevens lost because they didn’t have power. He feels that if they hadn’t acted up, then this area wouldn’t have been demoted to its correctional education status, and so he considers Zero to be a fool. Over at the main Britannia building, Carares is set to meet a Chinese Federation delegation but is more concerned about a certain strategic operation that’s going on at the Babel Tower. Carares questions what the Emperor is thinking because he knows that the remnants of the Black Knights can’t do much with Zero already dead. Unbeknownst to Lelouch, his approach to the Babel Tower is being watched by a Britannian force.
Lelouch arrives with his chess set, but he’s not there for money – he just wants to battle someone stronger. At least, that’s what he tells Rolo because in truth, it’s just to kill time. Inside the tower, the two find an arena where two Eleven brothers are fighting each other, and seeing this causes Rolo to want to go home. Lelouch uses the chance point out how the Britannians are enjoying themselves while the Elevens are working, and he talks about how the Elevens were defeated twice – once with Prime Minister Kururugi and once with Zero. He then accidentally bumps into bunny-costume waitress Kallen, and she immediately apologizes because she knows her place as an Eleven. Lelouch claims that he hates holding his position as a Britannian over anyone, however Kallen says that people without power have to endure it, even if the other party is wrong. Lelouch is confused and asks her not to force her values onto him, so Kallen apologizes again, but she also reveals something between her fingers. Before she can do anything though, a gambler named King grabs her by the hair because he wants to see her face. King views her as merchandise and tells her that people who don’t win have no rights, and it is this arrogance that causes Lelouch to challenge him to a game of chess, despite Rolo’s objections.
Meanwhile, the captured members of the Black Knights are being held in the same prison block. Shisei-ken member Chiba Nagisa sees Zero as a traitor even though Tamaki still believes in him, and when Ougi suggests that there might have been some reason, she finds it hard to believe because Zero disappeared as their leader during the final decisive battle. Toudou eventually puts an end to the discussion by saying that Zero is dead. Back at the Babel Tower, Lelouch has just finished winning against King. Though King is shocked, he’s more concerned about his prestige if others find out, and he accuses Lelouch of cheating. However, right at the moment his men restrain Lelouch, an explosion rocks the tower, and Kallen uses the chance to kick King in the face. The culprits are C.C. and the remaining Black Knights in their blimp, and in the ensuing confusion, Kallen pulls Lelouch away from everyone else who’s trying to flee. All of this also causes the group that was watching Lelouch, Britannia’s Secret Intelligence Agency, to start their operation.
Around the time that this is going on, Carares is greeting the Chinese Federation representative Gaohai. When two of his men try to confiscate the sword of Gaohai’s bodyguard Li Xingke, the swordsman responds by cutting off both men’s belts in one swift motion. Before things can progress much further though, everyone’s attention is turned to the sound of explosions coming from the Babel Tower. By now, Kallen has gotten separated from Lelouch, so she instead finds her allies who have brought her the Guren Nishiki, and she’s been keeping the key for it hidden between her breasts the entire time. Lelouch meanwhile has been reunited with Rolo again, and the two find their way to a shopping mall in the building. They stop when a custom-model Burai crashes through the ceiling in front of them. The Knightmare seems to hold its hand out to Lelouch, but several Britannian Sutherlands then enter the plaza via the windows and begin firing recklessly as they try to battle the Burai. The two brothers use the chance to escape again, and Lelouch leads them to a part of the building that’s still under construction. Lelouch notices just in time that there’s a soldier with a gun in here too, but while he manages to save Rolo from harm, he loses his balance in the process and falls down a dark shaft.
Fortunately, Lelouch lands safely on some plastic material, however he’s now too far down the shaft for Rolo to hear him and for him to get a cell phone signal. At first, Lelouch is unsure of what to do, but he quickly realizes that he has to go save his only little brother and starts making his way back up the Tower. Lelouch eventually arrives in a room that is filled with dead bodies, including King’s, and though he initially blames the terrorists, he realizes that there are dead Elevens here too. After nearly throwing up, he notices that the Burai from earlier is hiding in the shadows in front of him, and from its cockpit emerges C.C. Saying that she’s come for him, C.C. explains that she’s his ally and that Britannia is his enemy. She then tries to remind him of their contract and how only she knows the true him, and this causes Lelouch to start to walk towards her. However, just as he gets close, C.C. gets shot in the chest. Lelouch manages to catch her, but he’s surprised to see that the one responsible for the bullet is part of a large group of Britannian soldiers who have just appeared. These men then begin incinerating the dead bodies and proceed to kill off anyone who’s still alive.
From the cockpit of the Sutherland that is with this group emerges the Secret Intelligence Agency leader, and he has with him a book labeled “Lelouch’s Activity Log.” After he reads off all the things Lelouch had done earlier today, he reveals that Lelouch was the bait for them to lure the witch C.C. out. Lelouch is still confused, but the man feels that he doesn’t have to speak to Lelouch any more and instead has his troops prepare to shoot Lelouch so that they can get rid of all witnesses. Realizing that this could be the end for him, Lelouch despairs a bit before wishing he had power. To his surprise, C.C. suddenly gets back up and kisses him on the lips, causing him to experience certain visions all over again. She tells him that he already has power and awakens the memories of what she calls the Power of the King by releasing the seal that was on it. As his memory returns, Lelouch realizes that he’s Zero, and he recalls what Suzaku had said to him during their final confrontation. It is with his old attitude back that he now questions his opponent about if being powerless is a vice means that having power is justice.
The Secret Intelligence Agency leader doesn’t take him seriously and says that there’s only death for the bait, so Lelouch turns that around and, with his Geass power activated, orders all the men to die. After all the Britannian soldiers kill themselves, Lelouch thinks to himself about how his previous memories had been planted, but the truth kept calling to him. He thus feels that it’s not he who is wrong but rather the world, and the world can change. It is at this moment that Urabe’s Gekka and Kallen’s Guren Nishiki come crashing through the ceiling, and they bow down to Lelouch who they know is Zero. Accepting them, Lelouch acknowledges himself as Zero and declares himself to be the one who will destroy and create the world. Meanwhile, somewhere in Britannia, the Emperor meets with Anzu, Zino, and Suzaku, the latter of whom says that he doesn’t intend to give up the right to anyone – he will personally kill Zero.
ED: ????????? (Shiawase Neiro) by ORANGE RANGE
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Mirror 3
I have to say, though I don’t listen to their songs that much, ORANGE RANGE really surprises me with the variety of their music because neither the OP or ED sound like typical for them. In a very good way though. The parts of the OP that were in the commercials still don’t sound like them to me. As usual, the OP had a lot of juicy tidbits that cause you to wonder what will happen with the likes of Nunnally or Orange-kun. The ED meanwhile seems to hint that V.V. is contracted to the Emperor or something.
You know, I had been worried that GEASS might not live up to expectations since it’s technically a Sunrise sequel series, and a lot of times those don’t fare as well as the original (i.e. Gundam SEED Destiny and to a lesser extent, Mai-Otome). Fortunately, R2 gets off to a great start, and I ended up loving this first episode. It had the right pacing for reintroducing all of the characters, and I thought that the parallels with the first episode of the first series were a nice touch, especially since the episode titles are so close to each other (“The Day The Devil Was Born” in the original vs “The Day The Devil Awakens” here). It also doesn’t hurt that this is now being shown in HD, so the animation quality looks as good as ever, if not better.
What kills me of course is all the unanswered questions still floating around (chief among them what happened in that cave at the end of episode 25), but I guess this wouldn’t be any fun if they answered them all right away. I’m also curious to find out what happened to Rolo during all this, who Rolo truly is, and how Lelouch will treat him different now that he’s got his memories back given how, before then, there were several times in the episode where Lelouch’s main focus was on saving his brother. It seems like there are so many different directions they can go with Rolo’s character (from making him a bad guy to killing him off), so it’ll be interesting to see how he turns out.
The other thing I wanted to comment on was how it looks like the Emperor will be playing a pretty major part this season. He had a direct hand in sending the troops who were trying to lure C.C. out, and as the OP shows, he’s got a Geass power in his right eye. It’s still not entirely clear if he knows that Lelouch is Zero though. In a way, it makes sense that he’d be showing up more now because theoretically if Lelouch is going to be ultimately victorious, then he has to face and/or surpass his father, probably towards the end of the series. That is pure speculation on my part, though there are undoubtedly several plot twists yet to come involving the Emperor, particularly since he holds the key to so many mysteries. Of course, a lot can happen in the 24 or so episodes we have left, and if this first episode is any indicator, then it looks like we’re in for a very exciting ride.