Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 5

Code Geass is stupid. But how stupid? Let’s find out together.

SILLY.ARABS

Very authentic Arabs.

Episode V – Blessed Be The Maker and His Hatred

  • Code Geass provides us with proof that lands outside of Japan actually exist.
  • It’s a desert battle over flat, open sand-dunes, except no defender would fight in such conditions. They’d choose a fortified position.
    • Why are those tanks so close together? Tanks don’t fight in such tight formations. No one does.
      • Why are those tanks so weird? That’s the most bizarre construction I’ve seen so far. Does it provide some sort of advantage when fighting on sandy sand?
  • “GLOUCESTERS?” – Asshole that’s about to die
    • How on EARTH could we have expected the Britannimericanns to use weapons platforms that have had six previous generations of development?
      • Inconceivable. Not even the Prophet could have seen this coming.
  • Of course they’re wearing traditional Arab head-garments and robes in the middle of combat. They’re Arabs. It’s not like Arabs wear normal military uniforms in battle conditions. It simply wouldn’t be possible to convey to the Japanese viewer that these might be Arabs without resorting to lazy stereotypes.
    • Fucking racists.
  • “Serupham” is not an actual place. It just just sounds vaguely Semitic. In fact, it sounds reaaaaaaaaaally Jewish.
    • Friends don’t let Japanese friends depict other cultures.
  • These Knightmares are painted fucking purple against white desert sand. How are they being surprised by them? A blind kangaroo rat could’ve seen them two thousand miles away in fucking Australia.
    • And why are they wearing capes? Is that supposed to protect against the sand? Because this is a sandy place in a sandy part of the Middle East and the Middle East is only filled with sandy sand dunes filled with sand?
      • Do they put fucking capes on tanks when they go into battle in the Middle East? Is that what they do? Because it’s a desert?
        • Fucking racists.
  • Wait, wait. “Fake Knightmares?” How are these giant, impractical weapons platforms that are, like, ten times the size of Knightmares and bear absolutely no resemblance to them in form or function “Fake Knightmares?”
    • Oh wait. My bad.
  • And there’s a random-ass golden-domed mosque on the hill there, just in case you had survived your previous violent encounter with this massive anvil.
    • Can you guess where Carmen Sandiego might be? I think we have some clues.
  • Why is Cornelia’s giant Knightmare standing majestically and wreathed in flames? The mosque wasn’t even that big. Where are its remains? Did they drop a fucking nuke on it?
  • “Impossible! One unit did all this!” -Very Arab Guy
    • No, it didn’t. There are at least three other Knightmares running around. Why would you pick those to be your last words on this earth? They aren’t even factually correct.
  • WHY IS HER KNIGHTMARE WEARING A CAPE? WHAT FUNCTION DOES IT SERVE?
    • Man, it must be hot in that getup. Explain to me why Cornelia li Britannia is wearing a corset while piloting a massive war machine in the middle of an equatorial desert.
  • “We’ve done it. Area 18 has been established.” -Cornelia li Britannia
    • Oh, so that’s it, huh. You blew up three weird machines and a mosque and defeated the entire Middle East.
      • Sure.
        • Okay.
          • Someone go give George Bush a ring. Tell him how easy that was.
  • And now they’re just randomly heading off to Japan. Like, right now.
    • “Hey guys, we’re done here. Time for Japanimation.”
    • “Huh? We’ve been here for less than five minutes. Shouldn’t we kinda stay around for a bit and set up a provincial government? Or deal with local militias–“
    • “DON’T INTERRUPT MY JAPANIMATION TIME, TERRY.”
      • “Also, I seem to be suffering from massive heatstroke in this corset. Could be problem.”
  • That viewscreen is showing her still standing in the fire. Was the mosque filled with oil barrels or something? Is that it?
    • Or are they fighting a raid boss now?
  • “Area 11 won’t be as easy as our usual assignments.” Cornelia li Britannia
    • How do you know that?
      • No, seriously, how do you know that? Japan has been been conquered and suppressed for almost a decade. How is it harder than conquering the entire Middle East?
        • It sounds like fucking vacation to me.
          • “I agree, milady.” -Random Asshole
            • Someone has a lot of brown on his nose.
  • Ooh, I guess Cornelia is supposed to be threatening because she’s…mean or something?
    • Look at that hair. I sure hope it doesn’t catch on any of the extremely sensitive equipment in this very cramped cockpit.
      • Are they ever going to bother showing these people wearing vaguely practical clothing, or is Sunrise going to keep throwing whole libraries of Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs at us?
        • What’s that, Abercrombie? You’ll pay me how much? Well, all my objections have suddenly vanished.
          • Ka-ching.
  • Meanwhile, thousands of miles away at the luxurious Palace of the Ashfords, Louis XIV turns in his grave out of furious envy.
  • These fucking automatic doors are everywhere.
    • Is this school’s budget one trillion double dollars?
  • C.C. scares the shit out of Lelouch. It’s funny.
  • Wait, so, um, explain to me how Nunnally is casually accepting this random green-haired girl who sneaked up on her in her own house in the middle of the night?
    • Wouldn’t that be, oh, I don’t know, a trigger of some kind?
      • Might resemble a vaguely similar event that happened in the past to Nunnally…
        • You know, a highly traumatic one…
          • …………………….
  • Yes, that’s all Nunnally is worried about. This “Zero” guy she heard about on TV. Not the complete stranger who infiltrated her house and is now drinking her tea.
    • I’d say at least ten thousand psychologists would jump at the chance to study Nunnally Lamperouge and her very disturbed cranium.
  • “Shi-tsuu.” I always loved how C.C.’s name is a homonym for a dog breed.
    • It’s so topically misogynist.
  • “You have such an odd friend here. Imagine, only going by her initials!” -Nunnally Lamperouge
    • Wow. That’s right. It is a little odd. In fact, it sounds reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally fake. Which begs the question why you took her into your house and served her tea and crumpets instead of calling the fucking police.
      • Nunnally actually believes “gullible” is not in the dictionary.
  • Nunnally presumes that this mysterious woman with the obviously fake name that she’s never seen or heard of before is Lelouche’s girlfriend.
    • I keep asking myself how lazy the writers in this show will get. I never learn my lesson, and I never will. I can never forgive them for the death of my son.
  • C.C. says really weird stuff that any normal person would find incredibly suspect.
    • How did I know Nunnally would presume C.C. was talking about marriage? It’s like these writers are five years old.
  • C.C. continues to act like a vicious witch, but Nunnally can’t pick up on any of this.
    • “I hate jokes.” -C.C, the most mischievous character in the series by far.
  • Nunnally has the insight of a wet brick.
    • She doesn’t even pick up on the very obvious sounds of her brother dragging a woman into another room.
      • Better hope an actual burglar doesn’t come visit Nunnally, cause she’s fucked then.
        • Apparently anyone can infiltrate this school with one hand tied behind their backs, even though Sayoko, their maid, is later shown to be a fucking ninja.
  • Why is that crane rocking back and forth like that? It’s like it’s a pendulum or something. Are these writers completely unfamiliar with the physical properties of paper?
    • I guess they know as much about paper as they do about the Middle East.
      • Or Arabs.
        • Or military combat.
          • Or character development.
            • Or continuity.
              • Or font formatting.
  • Lelouch just leaves Nunnally to clean up the mess. What an asshole.
    • He also jumps straight to violence against women, but this is Japan, so it’s perfectly acceptable.
  • Lelouch is surprised that the girl who magically spoke to him via telepathy and gave him magical powers was able to survive a bullet to the head.
    • Right after MSGT survived a bullet to the spine.
      • Has Lelouch been paying any attention to the behavior of this universe?
  • Lelouch vi Britannia wants us to believe his bullshit about having a “schedule”, as if he’s been carefully planning the destruction of the Holy Britannia(n) Empire in his head all this time.
    • After all, destroying a superpower is in the same category as time management and disciplined studying for Calculus II.
      • Which begs another question: what would Lelouch have done had he not ran into C.C. and attained magical powers? Are we supposed to believe his plan was still viable without that?
        • Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuullshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
  • Also, why did he say “schedule?” Does the Japanese language not have a word for schedule?
    • According to Google Translate, it does. Behold:
      • 予定
      • 計画, Aizen Sousuke and Light Yagami’s favorite word.
      • 時刻表
      • 一覧表
      • 時間割
      • And it goes on.
        • Let me guess: they wanted to use “schedule” to make it sound more dramatic. Shakespeare would be proud.
  • Never mind there’s no way Lelouch’s retarded “schedule” could’ve been remotely practical or that it completely contradicts his lackadaisical mindset that was presented to us at the beginning of the series.
    • Think about it from a literary standpoint. Lelouch was in a nadir of ennui then. That’s what makes his encounter with C.C. and all these events significant: Lelouch did not have a plan and was resigned to his ignominious fate as a normal high-school student. Spinning some ridiculous tale about how Lelouch has been planning the destruction of Britannia in his noggin this whole time just to make him seem more like a “genius” completely ruins his character.
      • I would pay mounds of cold, hard cash to see Code Geass and all its fucktitude analyzed in a college writing course.
        • That would be awesome.
  • That is a fucking stupid shirt, Lelouch.
  • Man, it’s a good thing the Palace of the Ashfords has fucking soundproof walls, otherwise it might be dangerous to talk about such incredibly sensitive matters in Lelouch’s room right after Lelouch and C.C. acted incredibly suspicious in front of Nunnally.
    • Nah, Nunnally probably went back to watching Blues Clues.
  • “I’d intended to do it [destroy Britannia] without this power.” -Lelouch vi Britannia
      • Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuullshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
  • “Just as I’d expected. This guy’s fascinating…” -C.C.
    • Real C.C. would have said this: “Holy crap, this punk is a deluded shithead. I’m out of here.”
  • C.C. brushes off the threat of the military as harmless. It’s just a “small part” of the military that involves the Third Prince.
    • And the Emperor.
      • And another psychotic weirdo with magical powers just like her.
        • And a facility with hundreds of people with Geass powers.
          • “Small” means something else in Japanese, I guess.
            • Hmm. No. It’s right here. 短い. Means “small.”
              • Huh.
                • Excuse me while I go shoot myself.
  • “Just hiding normally should be enough.” – C.C.
    • Yes, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s not like this school is literally in sight of the capitol complex.
      • Better hope V.V. isn’t there randomly to investigate these blatantly Geass-influenced events and just looks outside the window to his left.
        • Shooting myself seems to have failed. I must try again with larger bullets.
  • Why does C.C. even need to sleep? She’s immortal.
  • And she just disrobes right in front of him. We can assume, however, that Lelouch did not get a boner, because he has no penis to begin with.
  • Lelouch rambles on about what’s convenient for him as he rises over a barely covered C.C. in the missionary position.
    • Okay, maybe he does have a penis after all.
      • Oh my God…I hate this show.
  • Lelouch, in a fit of logical pique, demands answers to very reasonable questions. C.C. declines to give him any, probably because there aren’t any.
  • In this universe, it takes about three seconds for the sun to rise.
  • “Biglobe News.”
    • In this universe, the very same corporation developed in Japan. Just like Pizza Hut.
      • Ka-ching.
  • Cecile mentions that there have been seven other attacks since Zero appeared…which was literally last night.
    • Continuity’s ghost is demanding vengeance. Again.
      • However, I have learned that if you toss him a bag of Doritos and a laptop with Netflix, he just drifts off into a stupor for hours.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald is suffering the consequences of his actions.
    • I don’t know how this is possible.
      • Fuck literal time travel. I can handle that. Why are they punishing him now after all the other stupid shit he did?
  • Lloyd and Cecile are babbling on about stuff that makes no sense. Yawn.
  • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re back to the very Japanese people who haven’t changed their Japanese clothes in five days. They must reek of udon and tofu, which I can assume is all they eat. Because they’re Japanese.
    • Hey, if the writers can do it, I can do it too. Everything is fair game now.
  • “The Britannians are in chaos, thanks to Zero!” -Random Japanese Asshole
    • It has been less than twelve hours. How on earth is the entire administration of Japan in chaos after the appearance of one person who did nothing but rescue someone? He didn’t blow up the capitol building or anything.
  • Something about the Gurken Mk-II and Kyoto and…whatever.
    • Where is this fancy Japanese palace even located? Why aren’t they meeting in a highly fortified and practical location? Look at those flimsy walls and all that wasted space.
      • No, we have to sit through another shitty scene because these prick writers insist on telling us these guys are Japanese. WE GET THE MESSAGE, YOU FUCKS.
  • Wait, why wouldn’t Toudou ally with Zero? Isn’t that a good thing? To get on-board with someone who (somehow) has the world’s attention right now? How is that a bad thing for your cause?
  • In Moogle…wait, I’m sorry. In Biglobe, which paid lots of money for this plug, Lelouch searches for “Suzaku.” Just “Suzaku.” Not “Suzaku Kururugi.” No other specifying search parameters. Just “Suzaku.”
    • I hope nobody else or nothing else in Japan or Japanese history is named “Suzaku.”
      • Liiiike….
        • A major constellation.
        • A film.
        • Two Japanese emperors.
        • A video game developer.
        • A major street.
        • Multiple characters in fiction….
    • But of course the search is successful. Are we sure Lelouch’s magical powers are confined to the Geass?
      • That shit is sorcery. Pure fucking sorcery.
  • Lelouch notes, unironically, that C.C. is an asshole.
    • Also, there is a chessboard in this room. The exact same chessboard that noble was using Episode 1, with the exact same chess pieces Lelouch found in a random, scorched corner of the Shinjuku ghetto.
      • Apparently, in this parallel universe there is exactly one chessboard manufacturer, and they are some lazy motherfuckers.
        • But no, Pizza Hut is exactly the same. In fact, C.C. is eating some delicious Pizza Hut Pizza right now. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some juicy Pizza Hut Pizza right now? Get any toppings and two medium pizzas for $6.99.
          • Mmm, I love money.
            • I mean, pizza. Pizza.
  • C.C. tells Lelouch not to answer her if he doesn’t want to. However, the writers know they have to explain some of this horseshit before the fans catch on, so he obliges for no other reason.
  • “Orange was just something I made up.” -Lelouch vi Britannia
    • Lol, yeah. That’s the only thing made-up in this series. Pbbbbbth ha ha ha ha ha.
  • Speaking of made-up things, let’s move onto these magazines. It’s time for some lovely Engrish.
    • SILLY.ZERO-MAGAZINE
      • What the fuck?
        • I don’t get it. I don’t.
          • How do you pull off “Viceregal Offices Discuss More Stringent Security Measures to Counter Terrorism”, but fuck up something so simple as “Newsmagazine?”
            • These people need to take a font-formatting class. It’s a matter of national security.
              • Not that “Eleven or Japan? Colony Administration Questioned” or “Margrave Jeremiah and the Heavy Price of Orange Suspicions” make much sense.
                • My brain is broken.
  • “The whole world’s looking for you.” -C.C.
    • No, it’s not. Zero has appeared once in Japan and no one has any clue what he’s about. I’m pretty sure nobody in Europe or Africa or Asia or even Britannimerica itself know who the fuck Zero is or care.
      • “Because of you, the world is moving.”
        • This show has its head so far up its ass, it’s seeing this morning’s pizza slices.
  • Lelouch’s grand plan is to thrust the world into even more chaos, costing many innocent lives and inflicting horrible suffering on innocent people.
    • Ra ra, Lelouch.
  • Hey, it’s Mount Fuji. I wonder where this scene is located. Maybe Thailand.
  • MSGT is cleared of all charges due to “lack of evidence”, despite the incredibly corrupt justice system that had in its possession the gun used to murder Clovis with MSGT’s fingerprints on it and the inexplicable inadmissibility of the ten thousand reams of evidence proving him innocent. Why? Because a crazy terrorist said otherwise on national TV. Well, that settles that.
    • Here you go, MSGT. Accept these complimentary Pizza Hut coupons as an apology.
      • The plot always gets what it wants.
  • Did Euphemia li Britannia just pop into existence from four stories up wearing a heavy dress and MSGT’s malnourished arms catch her like she was a down pillow?
    • The Laws of Physics are all sitting in a corner together, drinking scotch and listening to “Piano Man.”
  • “Um, you aren’t hurt, are you?” -Suzaku Kururugi
    • You should be asking yourself that, MSGT. More specifically, your broken forearms.
      • And what a stupid question. It’s not like she jumped from a height from which no human could land without suffering horrible injuries or anything.
  • “Forgive me! I didn’t think there was anyone below me!” Euphemia li Britannia
    • Then how did you plan on surviving? That is pure concrete they’re standing on.
      • Oh, she’s been chased. Good thing nobody seems to be actually chasing her. She is being chased by imaginary people.
        • Euphemia li Britannia is completely bonkers. Just like everyone else on this show.
  • The Purebloods are talking about something that nobody cares about and acting like Cornelia wouldn’t have just replaced them anyway regardless of what they did or did not do.
    • They seem to be perplexed by how none of these events make any sense whatsoever. Life has much more in store for them.
      • If only someone knowledgeable would inform the military that people with magical mind-fucking powers exist. That seems like a very relevant fact that the military should know about.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald was clearly a rapacious asshole before all this happened, but people are just questioning his actions now?
    • It’s like everyone in the colonial administration of Japan attended a massive LSD rave and are all just now coming down from the sweet high.
  • Hmm, if only General Bartley had told the military what he knew about these magical girls and their magical powers. That would have, I dunno, completely cleared his name and ruined Lelouch’s plans in an instant.
  • Hey, Villetta. Maybe you should talk to someone about this extremely troubling and bizarre pattern of highly convenient memory loss. It might be important.
    • Also, why can’t Villetta remember what happened with Lelouch? Lelouch didn’t specify in his order for her to forget everything about him. I can understand her forgetting about actually handing over her Knightmare to him, but not her forgetting the three minutes of interaction she had with the innocent “Alan Spacer” beforehand.
      • Oh, these writers are just making shit up as they go along? You don’t say. J.J. Abrams must be mentoring them.
  • Euphemia li Britannia is being “chased” by “people”, so of course MSGT takes her to an open square in the middle of broad daylight and walks calmly at a pace of exactly 0.3 miles per hour.
  • MSGT does not suspect that “Euphy” just might be “Princess Euphemia,” whose face and arrival was undoubtedly all over the news.
    • Particularly after she reveals she knows exactly who he is.
  • MSGT finally catches onto the fact that Euphemia isn’t being chased by anyone, but he sure didn’t seem to give a shit beforehand.
  • Oh, I get it. Euphemia is nice and sweet and kind. Mmm hmmm.
    • Can you say “moar tragedy bait”?
  • That is a fucking loud cat meow. It’s like it has a loudspeaker in its lungs somewhere.
  • The wild, feral cat bites MSGT. Oh well, who cares about rabies. Let’s go look at this traffic light that has blue bulbs instead of green ones.
    • Because it’s Japan. It’s not like the Britannimericans would adopt their own infrastructural conventions after conquering a nation or anything.
      • Fucking racists.
  • Why are Cecile and Lloyd traveling in a massive weapons platform? Why not just go pick up MSGT in a normal car like normal fucking people?
  • “They had no evidence [to convict Suzaku].” -Lloyd Asplund
    •  Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuullshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
      • That doctored gun Jeremiah Gottwald showed MSGT sure seemed like “evidence.”
  • Why weren’t MSGT and Euphemia in the frame beforehand? I should note the car Armored Personnel Carrier that Lloyd and Cecile are in is facing the direction MSGT came from, and the frame clearly showed a long section of the oncoming sidewalk. They were only talking for about four seconds. So why did they just suddenly appear out of nowhere?
    • And that’s another bag of Doritos sacrificed to sate the ravaging ghost of continuity. Such a cheap price for such wonders.
  • Does nobody in the Holy Britannia(n) Empire keep track of the Third Princess of Britannia right after the Third Prince of Britannia was assassinated under mysterious conditions?
  • “Unrequited love is the mark of a kind person.” -Euphemia li Britannia, MD in Psychology
    • I want to slap Euphemia in the face and send her back to medical school, where she belongs.
  • MSGT takes the Third Princess of Britannia on a shopping trip just after being released from custody due to being suspected of killing the Third Prince of Britannia. Absolutely nobody in the Holy Britannia(n) Empire gives a shit about this either.
    • [sobs internally]
  • Look at how rich the city of the imperialist bastards is.
  • What, are they communicating via telepathy now?
  • LOL, Lloyd and Cecile are inconspicuously stalking these two in a massive APC and not one person seems to give two fucks about it either. Everyone is on drugs. EVERYONE.
  • “Su-NEWS.”
    • Is that a reference to something stupid? It sure seems like it.
  • “JAV11.”
    • The fuck does that mean?
      • Do these animators just insert random numbers and letters into the frame to make things look cool?
  • The regicide suspect is now being allowed to take the Third Princess of Britannia to a violent ghetto that was just subjected to untold destruction.
    • Logic has joined the Laws of Physics, nursing their sorrows over a bottle of warm sake.
  • I need to eat something that is not Pizza Hut.
  • Lelouch is searching about information about himself on his very un-chic laptop.
    • It’s a good thing the Holy Britannia(n) Empire does not monitor the Internet.
  • Why did Kallen Statdfeld’s Derriere say “bathroom”? Does the Japanese language not have a word for “bathroom”?
    • What does Moogle say? We wonders, we wonders…
      • 浴室
      • トイレ
        • Both of which are more common than バスルーム.
  • I like how KSD just presumes the bathroom phone had Caller ID. Why wouldn’t the Palace of the Ashfords have magical bathroom phones with Caller ID on them? It does make sense, as much as it pains me to say.
  • Lelouch casually reveals that the call she got from Zero came from inside the school. Wow. He’s pretty free with such critical information.
  • C.C. hates jokes, but she sure loves fucking with Lelouch.
  • Lelouch handles this situation in the worst way possible: kissing Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere.
    • No, not literally. That would be interesting.
      • And of course Shirley is right there at that exact moment.
        • C.C. must be loving this.
  • Bartley is being flown back to Britannimerica in a ridiculous restraining contraption.
  • C.C. has no concept of “operational security.” She’s also wearing Lelouch’s shirt. Awwwkward.
    • Does she honestly think none of the other students would pick up on the fact that they’ve never seen her before?
  • Lelouch tests his magical power on a girl, forcing her to go to the same spot at the school at the same time every day for the rest of her life. Exactly how much would that fuck her up?
    • This much:
      • SILLY.OBAMA-THIS-MUCH
  • Wait. Lelouch seems to call the power “Geass” on a whim. C.C. seems to act like she’s never heard of that term before, but everyone else who knows about Geass would be using it anyway. So how did Lelouch arrive at precisely that term as well? Did he look it up on Moogle–I mean, Biglobe?
  • Lelouch has zero qualms about testing his magical powers on innocent people.
    • Ra ra, Lelouch.
  • Why does Lelouch says “specs”? Does the Japanese language not have a word for “specifications?”
    • Oh Moooooooooooooooooogle, darling.
      • 仕様
        • It’s right there.
          • You lazy fucks.
  • I’m sure nobody will notice the mysterious girl with long, flowing neon-green hair talking with Lelouch on the rooftop.
  • “I won’t do anything to endanger us.” -C.C.
    • Except this.
      • And that.
        • And that other thing.
          • No, I’ll just endanger us constantly and nothing will happen because PLOT.
  • SHINJUKU GHETTO IS SAD.
    • There’s the Tokyo Metropolitan Building Again, except the last time we saw it was standing up perfectly straight and could support the weight of Knightmares.
      • Doritos packet #3.
  • There are lots of graves, just in case you weren’t sad yet.
  • Imperialist Britannimericans are acting like imperialist assholes.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald is still allowed to pilot a Knightmare after two back-to-back incidents in which he fucked everything up while piloting a Knightmare.
  • Villetta threatens these poor comms guys with a fucking rapier. Why? Why not just use a gun?
  • Oh look, it’s Purple Blazer, causing trouble for all mankind.
    • Why are all of these people speaking Japanese? This makes no sense.
  • GASP. SUZAKU LOST HIS SUNGLASSES.
    • THOSE WERE OAKLEYS, YOU SICK BASTARD.
  • Purple Blazer gets his ass kicked. Yay.
    • But he’s right. Suzaku is a traitor in every way, shape, and form.
  • Wait. C.C.’s entire outfit is a one-piece?
    • That’s so fucking stupid I can’t even wrap my head around it.
  • Lelouch’s Geass range is “270 meters.” That’s almost 900 feet, or well over two football fields long.
    • But it still requires “eye contact.”
      • Which isn’t a meaningful concept past a certain distance anyway. Does looking in their general direction count?
        • “It also appears that the subject has no memory of events before, during, or after the power is used.”
          • Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuullshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
            • Yes, they do. Geass doesn’t just wipe away their entire life’s memory. Obviously it only blanks out a very limited amount of short-term memory, the limits of which will never be clearly delineated for the convenience of the plot.
    • It also damages the subject’s cerebrum. Wow. What a great and useful power.
  • “My opponent is an empire which controls 1/3 of the entire world. There’s no such thing as being too careful.”
    • Except for the veritable constellation of incredibly reckless and stupid things I’ve done that have put my plan into serious jeopardy already.
  • C.C. rightfully points out that Lelouch’s plan is retarded.
  • Oh God. Here comes the philosophizing.
    • “Is it bad to be weak?” -Suzaku Kururugi
      • No, not inherently, but it does kinda suck.
  • MSGT is intent on breaking the cycle of hatred by fighting under the banner of a malicious, bloodthirsty, racist, expansionist, genocidal imperial power.
    • Ra ra, Suzaku.
      • And now he wants to create a world without war. See above.
  • Lelouch essentially states that the only way to win is by winning, regardless of who the victor is.
    • Ra ra, Lelouch.
  • MSGT doesn’t want his father’s death to be in vain, so he’ll fight under the banner of the malicious, bloodthirsty, racist, expansionist, genocidal imperial power that conquered his father’s country.
    • Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald was ambushed like an idiot. One wonders how he managed to become a “margrave” in the first place.
  • How will brutally killing Jeremiah Gottwald in cold blood wipe away your disgrace? That’s a very Japanese way of thinking, Mr. Britannimerican.
    • Very Japanese, indeed.
      • Hey, is this show being written by Japanese people?
  • “This is how we deal with the traitors among us!” -Lord Kewell
    • The Holy Britannia(n) Empire could not have conquered a nursery rhyme book, let alone a developed country, with this level of incompetence.
  • How did MSGT and Euphemia not notice the giant APC following them in around in broad daylight this whole time?
  • Lloyd is such a lovable asshole. He’s about the only likable character on this show.
  • It’s really convenient how MSGT not only presumes they brought the Lancelot with them in this random APC for some reason, but that he turns out to be right.
    • It’s almost like this was all planned out ahead of time.
      • Like with a script. Or something.
  • MSGT is going to jump headlong into a combat situation that he knows absolutely nothing about, regardless of any innocent bystanders that might be bystanding about.
  • Now we have to wonder why Jeremiah Gottwald isn’t dead yet. How long does it take four Knightmares to destroy one? They keel over from the slightest gust of wind whenever its convenient, but now Jeremiah Gottwald’s Sutherland is suddenly more resilient than carbon-nanofiber steel.
    • Consistency has now joined Logic and the Laws of Physics in the corner. They’re breaking out a karaoke machine.
  • “Don’t worry, Jeremiah. We’ll say you died in battle.” -Lord Kewell
    • Do you honestly think anyone will buy the excuse that Jeremiah Gottwald happened to die in a battle that nobody else participated in?
  • Why isn’t Jeremiah dead yet? WHY? HOW DO YOU SUCK SO BAD?
    • And what the fuck does this little spat have to do with the imperial family?
      • WHY DO NONE OF THESE CHARACTERS HAVE BRAINS?
  • Um. Question. What channel are all these morons broadcasting their comms on? Is it a public one? Because Suzaku just joined in without knowing what frequency they were on.
    • Has anyone at Sunrise ever thought about the logistics of how people piloting giant robots manage to so clearly communicate with each other, even across franchises?
      • No.
  • Yes, thank you for announcing the obvious to us, Jeremiah Gottwald. You’re useful.
    • Legolas wants to date you.
  • I wonder how this incident will be recorded in Britannia’s military records. It’ll probably be hilarious.
  • MSGT babbles on about the battle being “meaningless” when he has no idea what’s going on.
    • Remember. These guys are trying to kill Jeremiah Gottwald, the person who was gleefully trying to execute MSGT literally yesterday.
      • This show is so badly constructed that I can use the word “literally” correctly in every circumstance.
  • What does “MVS” mean? Is it some Engrish monstrosity? I want to know. It is very important.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald rightfully doesn’t understand why MSGT is saving him.
  • Kewell, if you couldn’t kill Jeremiah after ten minutes of dialog, you sure as fuck can’t kill him now.
    • Also, great timing, Villetta. You might have radioed Jeremiah two minutes after you figured out what was going on and just prevented this whole situation from happening.
      • But seriously, Jeremiah’s glad you’re here.
  • Holy shit, Kewell just throws this horrific weapon of mass shrapnel at them without thinking about it.
    • It’s a good thing MSGT’s magical shields are invincible and protect Euphemia’s body from the ten zillion pieces of shrapnel flying at her from every angle.
  • No. Seriously. How did Euphemia just survive that without a scratch?
    • The same way she fell from a four story window without breaking anything.
      • The Laws of Physics just hammed that note hard. They’re singing “Hallelujah.”
  • So, Kewell. How are you going to whitewash almost killing the Third Princess of Britannia?
  • Everyone is surprised at the Third Princess of Britannia being among them, probably because they don’t know how to keep track of their own royal family members.
    • Hmm, Kewell, maybe you were right. These people do need saving.
  • Oh, sure, Lloyd. Euphemia isn’t well-known because she’s a student and has never been seen in public before.
    • Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuullshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
  • Why does Euphemia have the gall to compare MSGT’s father to a genocidal bastard like Clovis?
    • That’s a paddling, Euphemia.
  • There’s Cornelia, finally. Not that anyone really cares.
    • Also, why does she call Cornelia “Onee-sama”?
      • Here we go again.
  • That’s a fucking stupid outfit, Cornelia. You have no peripheral vision whatsoever.
  • Sigh. MSGT gets enrolled at the Palace of the Ashfords?
    • Why? Because there is a God, and He knows no love.

 

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Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 4

Code Geass is stupid. But how stupid? Let’s find out together.

Said your mother when you were conceived.

Said your mother when you were conceived.

Episode IV – The Usual Idiots

  • Oh yay, a slightly different recap. Praise Hojo.
    • This “mysterious” girl will definitely not come back into the story.
  • It may or may not surprise you that “Geass,” referring to the Irish folklore taboo, is actually spelled “geis” or “geas” and pronounced like “gehsh.” I’m going to take a wild gehsh and assume the Japanese writers looked it up on Moogle, read it once phonetically in Engrish, and then ran with it instead of taking all of twenty seconds to confirm its pronunciation, like I did.
    • Anyone want to fight me on this assertion? Anyone? The starting wager is set at one trillion dollars.
  • Lelouch’s grand plan is to use an unreliable magical power that can be used exactly once on a person to destroy an entire world empire inhabited and run by billions of people. Call me skeptical, but I don’t think it’s gonna work.
    • Besides, it’s totally warranted to want to cause untold death, upheaval, destruction, and chaos by destroying an empire just so you can avenge your mother and make a world where your sister can be happy, even though she already is happy and Lelouch knows that only three-ish people were responsible for his mother’s death.
      • What an admirable, admirable protagonist.
    • Why is Nunnally not in counseling? What twelve-year-old girl would be well-adjusted after being held by the bullet-ridden, blood-soaked corpse of her mother?
  • The Emperor is not fat. He’s big-boned.
    • What a surprise the Emperor is not the end of the plot. Lelouch has not considered the possibility that there might be other magical girls out there giving other people magical powers.
      • Genius.
  • Oh Suzaaaaaaaaaaku, my darling. Look at how well the Britannimericans are treating you.
    • Why is Jeremiah even bothering with this fake interrogation? He knows MSGT had nothing to do with his death.  I can’t imagine he gives two shits about due process or anything.
      • Uh, hey, Jeremiah, I have some issue with your plan that I just thought of. They’re nothing big, but just hear me out:
        • Lloyd, a Britannimerican noble who undoubtedly outranks your retarded ass, can put MSGT in his lab at precisely the time you say he killed Prince Clovis with multiple witnesses to back him up. There is no way anyone besides you believes in this sham accusation, so there is no way this can advance your position politically.
        • Executing an obvious scapegoat–particularly the son of the last free leader of Japan–for blatantly racist motivations will not endear the Japanese populace to you and might cause further unrest, which again, would only draw attention to yourself and your systematic incompetence.
        • Why are you even in charge of this investigation? Doesn’t the Holy Britannia(n) Empire have agencies to investigate this sort of thing? What exactly is your position or authority? Wouldn’t the other members of the royal family be just a little bit interested in overseeing the investigation of the death of one of their siblings?
          • As far as I know, Jeremiah Gottwald is just a random Knightmare pilot. How is any of this happening?
        • Oh yeah, Jeremiah. I’m sure MSGT will admit the crime he did not commit just so he could be subjected to a mock trial as an honorary Britannimerican under your trustworthy purview. Your psychological insight knows no bounds.
    • This is just another shitty scene to show how one-dimensional and cruel these Britannimericans are, although I will admit it is a tad entertaining to watch MSGT get the shit beaten out of him for the third time in as many days.
  • Why does Nunnally call Suzaku “Suzaku-san”? Why? Weren’t they friends? Can these Japanese writers not write realistic dialog in their own language?
  • Asshole Japanese guy, whom I shall call Purple Blazer henceforth, yells at Ohgi for not claiming the Japanese resistance assassinated the Third Prince of Britannia. Purple Blazer does not realize how badly that would go for them.
  • What’s with this random shitty graffiti? Who let a four-year-old scrawl a skull and then a happy sun on the same metal door? Oh, I get it. This hideout is rundown. That totally needed to be anviled in there.
    • HOLY SHIT. How lazy are these animators?
      • Look at that shit.
      • SILLY.WA-TER
      • Wa-ter.
        • Did they want to claim credit for their shitty-ass font formatting?
          • “Water” wraps around the whole water bottle. What…I don’t…
            • Did they buy these from Japanese Wal-Mart?
      • These fucking chauvinists.
        • Wa-ter.
  • Of course there’s a Japanese flag, but I have a question: why is it exactly the same flag we use in the real world? That rendition has a very particular history behind it.
    • Namely, it is not this flag:
      • SILLY.IMPERIAL-FLAG
      • Which flew over large swaths of the entire Pacific Rim for three-ish decades and is about twenty million times more offensive to Asians than the Confederate Flag is to Americans.
      • The flag was changed after Japan was defeated in World War II by the Allies. So, what, are they implying the Japanese people are cosmically destined to build a racist, imperialist, genocidal empire and then be defeated by a morally superior Western power?
        • ‘Cause that’s the shittiest destiny I’ve ever heard of.
  • Who is Naoto and why the fuck don’t I care?
    • He’s also definitely not Japanese.
  • Why did he just say “riida?” Does the Japanese language not have a word for “leader”?
    • Google gives me twenty-five other possible candidates. Are you telling me that none of them would have sufficed here and the Japanese had to borrow “riida” from English just to convey that basic, neutral concept?
      • Ugh. I hate my life.
  • Who is this random geezer and why the fuck don’t I care?
  • Just in case you did not know: Britannia owns this land.
  • These kids must be so bored. I bet none of them cared about the Third Prince. Half of them probably thought he was a real asshole.
  • Why did they show those birds fly by? Was to that make the scene interesting? If so, then scrap the scene and come up with something else.
  • Lloyd, a Britannimerican noble, is wringing his hands over losing MSGT even though he has all the evidence in the world needed to prove his innocence.
    • Also, MSGT did not earn 94% piloting efficiency (whatever the fuck that means) after one session while having never piloted a Knightmare in his life.
      • Nor does Lloyd have any basis to believe that no other young Britannimerican pilot in the entire Empire with years of experience and proper training could match this random almost-dead Japanese guy he picked up off the street.
        • Nothing. Makes. Sense.
  • WHY DOES THE ENGLISH IN THIS SHOW SUCK SO BAD? DID THEY REALLY THINK THEY COULD GET AWAY WITH “MEASURE RESULT”?
  • Yes, Cecile. He should tell them to release Suzaku. That would make sense. But you are a woman, so you have no say.
  • What the…? Lloyd says: “Since Bartley’s disgrace, the Purelbloods have been in control of the military.”
    • Huh?
      • Have these people never heard of this alien concept called the “chain of command? 
        • How are the Purebloods now in control? Is there no other general in all of Area 11 that could have assumed command?
          • Or a colonel? Or a major?
            • How the fuck did control of the entire military in Japan suddenly shift to Jeremiah Gottwald? That is not fucking possible.
              • Wa-ter.
  • The mighty Purebloods are racists whose mentality is utterly detrimental to the ability of the Britannimerican military to maintain its ranks or hold conquered territories.
  • Also, why are Shirley and Lelouch randomly talking about this at the exact same time? How could this possibly have come up in casual conversation?
    • “Hey, Lelouch. Wanna bone?”
    • “No, Shirley. Let me just tell you about these ‘purebloods’ you never asked me about.”
    • “Uh, okay, but can we bone after? There’s a locker room right over there.”
    • “No. Sex is gross.”
    • “Oh well, too bad there aren’t a thousand other young, healthy, virile boys surrounding me. I’ll just ask Jim when we’re done.”
    • “Yes, Jim is fortunate enough to have a penis.”
    • “Totes. So, ‘purebloods?'”
  • Two hours ago, Jeremiah Gottwald snidely remarked about how a cursory investigation wouldn’t find the real killer. Two hours later, Jeremiah Gottwald pencil-whipped an obviously cursory investigation because beavers.
    • I get it. Jeremiah Gottwald is an asshole. I got it the moment I saw him.
      • Also, apparently he’s a margrave, also known as a marquis. That explains nothing.
  • Lloyd: “I doubt there’s anyway he’ll be found innocent.”
    • Alas for all the evidence we have at our fingertips that prove his innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt.
  • Rivalz is talking. This should be illegal. Someone call the police.
  • Lelouch randomly decides to give up gambling, not that anybody cared enough to stop him in the first place.
  • Of course we see a razed Tokyo Tower. Why not?
    • Why the fuck not.
      • It’s not like we knew this was Japan. I thought it was fucking Chile.
  • Obvious propaganda is obvious.
  • Why did Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere go to this den of propaganda?
    • Oh, right, the magical bathroom phone told her to.
      • I forgot.
        • Unfortunately, now I have remembered.
          • Wa-ter.
  • Behold: “Japanese” terrorists. One has blue hair, one has brown hair, and one has an afro.
    • How were they even let in here?
  • Let’s watch what impossible scheme Lelouch is spinning here. Count how many seconds it takes before you suffer an aneurysm.
    • I’m so glad this place does not have any security cameras and that nobody in the building knew what Lelouch vi Britannia looked like.
      • That was three seconds, by the way.
  • “His Highness’ memorial program was handled very well.” – Jeremiah Gottwald
    • Except for the part where I violently stormed his funeral procession in broad fucking daylight.
      • Which apparently had zero political consequences for Jeremiah Gottwald.
        • That was two seconds.
  • Diethard has the same voice as Kotomine Kirei. No wonder I like him.
    • Henceforth, Diethard shall be known as Kotomine Kirei.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald is such an asshole that he openly suspects and derides Kotomine Kirei for doing his job competently.
    • This summer in bookstores: How to Lose Friends and Influence Nobody, by Jeremiah Gottwald, with a special forward by Lelouch vi Britannia.
  • No, Jeremiah Gottwald, you weren’t important enough to have a memorial video prepared for you beforehand, just like you aren’t now.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald tries to shove Kotomine Kirei into military intelligence. And fails.
  • What is Jeremiah Gottwald’s plan? Does he honestly think executing the son of the last free Japanese leader will ingratiate himself with the populace or advance his standing somehow?
    • It won’t. There is no way it could.
  • Villetta rightly points out that Jeremiah Gottwald’s plan is fucking stupid and will almost certainly backfire.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald says he’ll personally provide security in his own Sutherland, because that went so well last time.
    • Villetta, you might want to quintuple the security force just in case your boss trips his Knightmare over a fucking pebble and breaks it.
      • Yes, Jeremiah Gottwald, a clearly unstable individual, plans to surround himself with a throng of loyal Britannimerican onlookers, then slaughter any “troublemakers” delicately with a giant machine gun.
        • There is no way such a plan could possibly go awry.
  • This elevated train line goes through the ghetto. Why? Is it going to another ritzy Britannimerican part of town? Why would they restore the city in a patchwork pattern, forcing them to build such infrastructure to service them?
    • Also, if Japan was defeated in less than a month, how was the entire Kantou plain devastated so thoroughly? Did the Holy Britannia(n) Empire just carpet-bomb the fuck out of everything?
      • Wait, this train marks the border of the Britannian district? Isn’t that, um, kinda dangerous?  Why isn’t this train bombed weekly?
        • Why do the train stops have Japanese names? The Holy Britannia(n) Empire went to such lengths as to rename the entire country. Why is this next stop named “Okubo?”
          • And the line is called the “Chou Soubu” Line. Fuck authenticity.
    • This train is painted red and purple, just in case you were wondering if it belonged to Britannia.
  • That’s a Pizza Hut ad.
    • Pizza Hut is an American restaurant chain. This is an alternate universe with profoundly different geopolitics. Do they think a pizza franchise in this weirdly alternate universe would come up with that exact same logo and advertising aesthetic?
      • The Japanese love money.
        • Wa-ter.
  • How did Lelouch clear out this car?
    • No, he did not use his Geass to do it. That wouldn’t stop any passengers not already in the car from coming back in where there was room.
      • This is not a clandestine meeting place, Lelouch. Dozens of people can see you.
        • FEAR THE MASKED FIGURE STANDING UNDERNEATH A PIZZA HUT SIGN.
          • HERE IS THE PEPPERONI THOU HATH REQUESTED.
            • THAT WILL BE TEN DOLLARS.
              • CASH ONLY. UNMARKED BILLS.
  • The excuse is that Lelouch used his Geass to do it. Something like the following will happen in approximately five seconds:
    • “Hey, Bob. Let’s go to the next car. It’s way less crowded.”
    • “Okay, Steve.”
    • “Wait, why is everyone staring into space like zombies with red halos in their eyes? Should we call someone?”
    • “Yeah, call an ambulance or something. I’m gonna go check the next car.”
    • “Good idea.”
      • But it doesn’t.
  • Lelouch does not look sketchy at all. Everyone seems to take him really seriously despite how comical this whole situation is.
  • Oh ho, the hue changed. How not creative.
  • Is he speaking through a microphone? His voice just changed.
  • Why did the Japanese guy just say “tour”?
  • This scene is trying to be so dramatic, but with the fucking Pizza Hut signs in every shot, I can’t help but see it as an argument with the pizza delivery guy on Halloween.
    • “WHERE THE FUCK IS OUR PIZZA, MAN? AND WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU WEARING?”
    • “IT REMAINETH WARM AND FRESH INSIDE MY HIDDEN KNAPSACK, BUT FIRST YE MUST PAY ME OBEISANCE.”
    • “WE DIDN’T BRING ANY CANDY, MAN. JUST COCAINE.”
    • “THEN THY TONGUES SHALL NEVER KNOW THE TASTE OF HEAVEN.”
  • “Terrorism will not defeat Britannia.” -Lelouch vi Britannia
    • Who is trying to destroy Britannia via terrorism.
      • Lelouch might want to listen to his own advice.
  • “Terrorism is merely a childish nuisance.” – Lelouch vi Britannia
    • I’ve got it. All we have to do to defeat ISIS is send Lelouch to talk to them. They’ll give up.
  • “Don’t mistake your enemy. It isn’t the Britannian people, but Britannia itself!” -Lelouch vi Britannia
    • Which is made up of the Britannian people.
      • How are you going to damage one without harming the other?
  • “What you need to fight is a war!” -Lelouch vi Britannia
    • Oh, a war. That’s a much better idea than terrorism. All our problems are solved!
      • Also, didn’t you fight a war already? And, um, lose? Really badly? (Somehow.)
        • “Without involving the civilians!”
          • Every military leader in history is laughing.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere rightly points out that everything Lelouch said is completely retarded.
  • These people actually think that Lelouch is going to take off his mask. Lol.
    • Also, how has Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere not recognized Lelouch’s voice by now?
  • It’s another Japanese flag. There’s a slight possibility that Japanese people might be talking.
    • There’s tatami. An Asian man is sitting on his knees as if meditating. He has a sheathed katana in front of him. I conclude there is a very slight possibility that this involves Japanese people.
      • Oh look, Japanese people. I, for one, am shocked.
        • Why are they all wearing hats inside? Do they not know that every soldier in the world takes his hat off when inside?
  • That old guy’s eyebrows are monstrous.
    • They must be at least an inch wide.
      • And those whiskers, damn. This guy knows how to groom himself.
  • That other old asshole’s hair is wild too. It’s like he has wings on the back of his head.
    • Jesus Christ, is this even a military?
  • Lloyd says “Congratulations!” to a guy who is about to be executed, a guy whose innocence he could prove in five seconds. And both of them know this.
    • Lloyd is a fucking prick.
  • “You might be getting a trial, but nobody’s on your side.” -Lloyd Asplund
    • Not like you could do anything, Lloyd.
      • Also, you have the most unfortunate surname ever coined.
  • Hey, Suzaku: you still think you can change the system from within?
    • How is MSGT not a jaded sociopath at this point? The world keeps stepping on his dick at every turn.
  • BREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK.
  • Who designed this city? Who designs a city in such a retarded manner as to require a cable-span bridge to cross a bottomless chasm in the middle of the metropolis? Why is it there?
  • Wait, have they not finished MSGT’s trial yet? Man, this is one efficient-ass autocracy.
  • The Ashford Academy Student Council has a giant HD screen TV in its meeting room.
    • They need it.
      • For very good reasons.
  • Kotomine Kirei is in charge of this spectacle. All will be perfectly fine.
  • How much did they pay these idiots to come here? Like, five bucks each? Geez.
  • Man, guys, I don’t think MSGT is gonna be able to go anywhere. You kinda went a little overboard with the guards and the fucking straight jacket.
  • Who the fuck was that random girl and why the fuck don’t I care?
    • Oh wait, that was a sound of one of those bamboo tubes they have in Japanese gardens. I think she might have been Japanese.
      • Subtle, Code Geass. Really subtle.
  • The following conversation is actually taking place:
    • “But we know that Suzaku’s innocent.”
    • “The court deemed our testimony inadmissable. It can’t be helped.”
      • Why is it inadmissable? It’s military records obtained during combat. It cannot, by law, be inadmissable.
        • Not that the trial has even taken place yet, you fuckers. This is such a lazy plug for a gaping plot hole.
          • I hate these writers with all my heart and soul.
  • Is nobody the least bit annoyed by how obvious this propaganda is?
  • Why is Jeremiah Gottwald directing the trial? Is this parade supposed to be the trial? What authority does he have as a military judge? Have these writers never researched a military justice system before?
  • Oh my God. We get it. Lelouch is coming to save the day. We don’t need to see him putting on his outfit, you lazy punks.
    • And where is he even doing this? And why now?
  • “There’s no way just the three of them can do this!” – Purple Blazer
    • Very good point, asshole. Too bad there is no loving God.
  • They renamed this street “Third Street,” but couldn’t rename a fucking train stop. The Holy Britannia(n) Empire has priorities.
  • Uh, hey, Jeremiah Gottwald. I have a few questions again. Nothing major:
    • How did you guys lose Prince Clovis’ car? How did you let it get stolen? Why wasn’t it reported stolen?
    • Why are you, the Marquis of the entire region personally overseeing security for this charade, letting the car through even though your subordinate just told you it’s a massive security risk?
      • It’s almost as if this was all planned out ahead of time.
        • No, not by Lelouch. I mean by some asshole writers who couldn’t make it anywhere else but Sunrise Entertainment.
    • Why is any of this happening? Why is Jeremiah letting this happen? What the fuck is his reasoning behind it?
      • Wa-ter.
  • Everyone somehow doesn’t see the car approaching the procession down the completely empty 10-lane highway. Is everyone in the Holy Britannia(n) Empire blind?
    • If so, then I’ve got some bad news for you, Lelouch.
  • Hey, idiots. I don’t care how Lelouch got Clovis’ car. Anyone in their right mind would command his forces to intercept it and prevent it from reaching the procession. This scene doesn’t make an ounce of sense.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere seriously asks herself if the Britannimericans will be fooled by the scrap heap she’s driving. Do they not realize that every square millimeter of this road is being watched by high-definition video cameras that hundreds of millions of people across the world are tuning into?
  • Why does Lelouch say “clear”? Does the Japanese language not have a word for the verb “to clear”? One that would probably sound way cooler?
  • How did this car get through any security checkpoint? How?
  • Ummmmmmmmmm, what just happened? Did Lelouch just set that curtain on fire?
    • How did it burn away cleanly in, like, three seconds? That is not how fire operates in this universe
      • So Pizza Hut exists and has the exact same logo, but fire burns things instantly. Right.
  • So, um, is Lelouch speaking English or Japanese in this scene?
  • Somewhere out in North America, the Emperor is giggling, as is half of his family, because they all recognize Lelouch’s voice.
    • Also, how is Lelouch projecting his voice that loud? Does he have a mic? Where is it? Where are the speakers for it? In the car? I sure as fuck don’t see any.
  • “Zero? As in nothing?” -Diethard
    • No, idiot. As in the number, not the abstract concept. What normal person would think that?
      • These writers are so fucking pretentious.
  • JAPANESE PEOPLE ARE STANDING IN THEIR JAPANESE DOJO WITH THEIR JAPANESE FLAG AND JAPANESE KATANAS LOOKING VERY JAPANESE.
  • MSGT does not recognize the voice of his best friend.
  • Hey, here’s an idea: how about you shoot him, Jeremiah? Like, with a gun. Or do you not know how to use one?
    • Because that would explain your fuckup the last time.
      • Wa-ter.
  • Oh. It’s, uh, C.C’s containment pod.
    • Hmm. Okay. Slight problem:
      • How did Lelouch get that? At no point did he retrieve it. In fact, he high-tailed it out of there once Villetta gave him her Knightmare. Plus, the military recovered MSGT in the same place. Did they just leave the pod there?
        • I think continuity’s maimed ghost just floated past me, wailing.
  • Lelouch, how does terrorizing the innocent civilian populace with the threat of POISON GAS advance your cause?
    • Not to mention no one has any idea what the thing is anyway. So who the fuck cares?
  • Yes, let’s keep standing around watching the TERRORIST and hope he explains what this suspicious looking device does.
    • This announcer is high as a kite.
  • OH WOW, JEREMIAH GOTTWALD. YOUR PLAN BACKFIRED. WHAT AN UNEXPECTED TURN OF EVENTS.
    • Also, since when do you care about other people’s lives?
  • That gun also has a purposeless light on it. Some marketer has to be making millions off that shit.
  • Why did Kotomine Kirei call that asshole an “amateur”? Does the Japanese language…no, I can see them needing to borrow that one. That’s fine.
    • A better question would be why Kotomine Kirei had that random video camera nearby in the first place.
  • Why doesn’t the Holy Britannia(n) Empire use these things called “snipers” and carefully “snipe” the terrorist in the head without damaging the capsule?
    • There is no way Japan was beaten by this lunacy.
  • Lelouch must’ve starched the beeswax out of that collar.
  • Somewhere out in North America, the royal family is assembling to descend upon Japan and arrest Lelouch for killing on of their own.
    • But first, they must order pizza.
  • Let’s all trust this masked man who claims he killed Prince Clovis. He is very credible.
  • Doesn’t anybody in the military know this capsule is harmless?
  • “He’s playing this whole thing like it’s a show!” -Diethard
    • Just like we are, but it’s different! Somehow!
  • Shoot him, Jeremiah. It’s what you should have done five minutes ago.
  • Lelouch says “Orange,” but he’s speaking in Japanese. But he’s speaking in English, and it would sound really weird to say something like “Are you sure you don’t want them to know about orange?” in English. Like, that implies he’s talking about the color. It just makes him sound like a retard.
    • Which he is.
  • Wait, Lelouch’s plan is to use his Geass on Jeremiah. Again: this scene is being monitored by hundreds of cameras, in particular one that is a few dozen feet away, and he thinks nobody at all will notice his little eye socket open up to reveal his purple eye, general features, and the big red sigil in his iris. Nor does he think this footage will get back to the Emperor or anyone else who knows about Geass.
    • Same for you, Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere. You didn’t even try to hide your face. God.
  • Jeremiah’s behavior completely changes, but no one questions him or follows through or has any fucking clue what’s going on.
    • These is no way Japan was beaten by this idiocy.
      • Wa-ter.
  • Lol, Lelouch has the physical capabilities of an obese rhino. How did he jump and run that fast?
  • No, Lelouch. You did not plan this out.
  • Ohgi’s Knightmare is shot to hell, which breaks the cables holding Lelouch and Co. from falling into the bottomless chasm they jumped into. Lelouch and Co stumble off and fall to their deaths.
    • Oh wait, no. They’re all alive somehow.
      • Including Ohgi, who just took ten bullets to the face.
        • And there’s continuity’s ghost again. He’s not a very happy ghost.
  • There is no way any of them just survived that. Jeremiah was obviously completely insane and just one person among dozens. Any other soldier would’ve ignored him or suspected him of collusion and gone after Lelouch and Co. With Ohgi’s Knightmare blasted to pieces, they had no other way to get out of there. The writers just did not want to bother completing the scene. They skipped over any real resolution and moved on.
    • Days of Our Lives has better writing than this show.
  • Actually, no, Oghi. You should all be freaking out at what just happened, since none of it MADE ANY GODDAMN SENSE.
  • Ohgi admits he couldn’t have done it. Then he talks about fighting a war with Britannia.
    • Yeah, Ohgi, you’re right. You’re a terrible leader.
  • MSGT refuses to fight against the Empire that just tried to execute him for a crime he didn’t commit. He then insists that Zero is evil for killing someone whom he witnessed order the wholesale massacre and destruction of an entire city because he couldn’t do be arsed to do his job. There is no ethical reason for MSGT to object to what Zero just did. He just saved his life without killing or harming anyone, innocent or otherwise.
    • The only reason MSGT is mad at Zero is the same reason Padme dies at the end of Episode III.
      • And the same reason the Star Wars Prequels happened.
        • Wa-ter.
  • Then, MSGT decides to go back to that Empire and actively fight for a bunch of racist murderers in the blind hope that he can “reform” it. Fuck you, Suzaku. You’re a terrible person.
  • “Because I think the ends are just as worthless if the means to them are wrong!” -Suzaku Kururugi
    • There was absolutely nothing wrong with Zero’s methods.
      • Apart from them not making any sense.
  • Lelouch rightfully points out that Suzaku’s entire philosophy is intellectually and ethically bankrupt.
    • MSGT has the gall to thank his rescuer for risking his life to save his own while simultaneously rendering that risk completely meaningless.
      • There is a very good reason everyone hates this asshole.
  • How does MSGT plan to walk back there in an hour?
  • Why is MSGT suddenly getting a fair trial? Because some weirdo claimed he killed Clovis? The system seems to think they have a gun with MSGT’s fingerprints on it. That’s awfully convenient.
  • Also, is this all supposed to have taken place in the space of an hour? How is Nunnally still awake?
  • C.C. gets her rape face on.
    • I hope you don’t suffer any more trauma from this, Nunnally.
      • Jesus Christ, what is wrong with this show?

The Avengers: Age of…ugh…

Spoilers, idiots.

I think it’s safe to say a solid fraction of the American Empire went and saw the Avengers: Age of Ultron last night. In retrospect, this might have been a bad idea in light of how crowded movie theaters tend to be, yet I don’t think this dampened or interfered with my experience overall. I can tune other people out just fine. What I couldn’t tune out was the movie, which by about halfway through, I honestly was trying to do. I’d say this movie has plainly exposed the cracks and fissures in the Marvel Universe and how it is likely to fall apart at the seams. Not only did I have to sit through three or four identical trailers for some other superhero movies that did not interest me whatsoever (yes, that includes Jurassic World), but I had to sit through a two-hour-long trailer for another five years of this shit. God.

No one will *ever* get tired of this.

Gee, I wonder if the Avengers will win.

If you had to ask me, I’d wager Joss Whedon probably got more a lot more creative freedom on this movie than he had on the first Avengers. Since the vomit-inducing disaster that was Dollhouse, I thought humanity had learned not to let Joss Whedon run amok in a studio unsupervised. I guess not. Whedon, much like his partner-in-crime J. J. Abrams, has some really great ideas and a unique style that can make a movie unforgettable if applied intelligently, but much like their mentor, George Lucas, they need adults to keep their darker impulses in line and remind them what a good movie actually looks like. That did not happen this time around. The result is a two-hour-long mess of endless, boring action scenes, half-hearted character development, an almost comical villain, disjointed themes, horrible philosophy, and an ending that makes you unsure if anything of substance really happened when all was said and done, triggering a neverending cycle of existential angst.

Let me address a complaint/apology I’ve already heard from people about AoU: “you had to follow Agents of SHIELD and the Winter Soldier to really get it.” Okay, 1) that’s a really shitty way of handling your franchise’s universe, and 2) no, you didn’t. I had enough knowledge on the EHMAZING plot twists and developments that I knew vaguely that Hydra was Shield (somehow) and that Hydra are the bad guys. That’s really all I needed to know. I didn’t feel like I was lacking too much on the backstory, to be honest. Sure, the movie opens in some stupidly-named fake city in Eastern Europe (as opposed to the many real cities in Eastern Europe with amazing scenery and rich histories they could have easily made use of) with the Avengers beating up some Hydra guys whom I’ve never seen before and couldn’t care less about. They also don’t speak Russian/Serbian/Ukrainian/Whatever despite being obviously Slavic and surrounded by Slavic people, but none of that mattered because I knew what Loki’s scepter was and how valuable it could be. Past that, any information about Hydra and whatever didn’t seem to be and didn’t turn out to be anything important. The movie’s plot was decently contained to its own scenes, so I don’t hold this against it. I have the whole rest of the movie to do that.

And it will be glorious.

And it will be glorious.

So, surprise, they get the scepter and clean out the Hydra base. Here the movie starts to break down, specifically the scene where Scarlet Witch messes with Stark’s mind. Not only was it very poorly done in terms of cinematography, but the movie had no sense of what kind of thematic continuity it wanted to achieve. After watching this scene, I assumed the movie would be a little more psychological and focus on the Avengers’ deepest fears and weaknesses. Buuuut nope. The movie had one scene in Stark’s head and that was it. There was no follow-up, i.e., no thematic bridge. This is not trivial; it was the crippling flaw of the whole film. It’s especially relevant afterward: while all the We-Can-Build-Ultron-We-Have-The-Technology scenes were happening, I had no idea that Scarlet Witch’s nightmares were influencing Stark. He just seemed totally normal, talking with Banner and making his cutesy-wootsy chit-chat with him. The movie didn’t reinforce or deliver on what it tried to set up, as if it had no idea what it wanted to set up in the first place. A simple way to do this would’ve been to have other flashbacks in Stark’s head while he’s analyzing the Scepter’s data or whatever and have him mutter to himself. Show him sweating or agitated, then maybe have Banner come in and have Stark lightheartedly brush him off or even shoo him away, etc. See what I mean? Instead, post facto I have to be told that his nightmare was what drove him to make a mistake, but even that theme of hubris falls apart immediately, because it’s very clear that Stark had nothing to do with Ultron’s emergence. He was at a fucking party when the whole thing was happening. So instead of feeling angry or betrayed by Stark as a viewer or sympathizing with his humanity, I have no investment in what’s happening period.

Then, since these movies can’t possibly sit still and let things percolate for five seconds, they have to jump to a whole number of subplots and stilted character developments that just seem to come out of nowhere. Let’s take Romanov and Banner’s little romance. Was there ever any sort of hint of attraction between the two characters before suddenly right now? I mean, we didn’t have any real time to get to know these characters in that way since the Avengers came out. My point is that it felt slapped on. Like, with freaking kindergarten glue. Maybe I’m missing something because I’m gay and I don’t find either Romanov or Banner physically attractive, but it just didn’t work for me at all. I was bored during these scenes. If you really want to make a film about character development, then make the film about character development. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. This movie tried and ended up puking on the floor. Another way it did this was during the party scenes: there were people here I had never seen and didn’t care about either. Who’s this guy joking about the tank and the general? Who’s the random Korean lady whose name they said, like, once? Why am I supposed to be laughing? In contrast, one of the best scenes in the film was the post-party scene with them all trying to pick up Thor’s Hammer. This fit well and was done well, not to mention it had a clear thematic connection to the idea of teamwork and camaraderie. Maybe I was being too hard on the movie initially. Maybe things will get better.

Things don't get better.

Things don’t get better.

Buuut Ultron shows up. Sigh, Ultron. What happened to you? Oooh, artificial intelligence is scary, I guess. Seriously, though, Ultron was the least-compelling villain I’ve ever seen in a Marvel film, hampered most by, again, not knowing what he wanted to be. Wasn’t he supposed to this massive machine intelligence that could protect the world on his own? Then why did he just seem like a random, wisecracking asshole without the imposing presence or intellect such a character would naturally have? Then we find out that he’s kinda like Stark for…some…reason, but he hates being compared to Stark for…some…reason. Then he hates humanity for…some…reason. Like, why? Why did he get that way? Why did Stark build a homicidal Hal? Why did anything of this shit happen the way it did? What was his motivation? What did humanity do to Ultron to piss him off so much? What did…geez. Oh, wait, we’re moving on. Ultron’s gotten away with the Scepter, because all these people are useless until they aren’t. Then the cracks start widening into fissures and my eyes gloss over to protect themselves.

What do I mean by that? I mean we have to sit through another ninety minutes of uncompelling action scenes. Who else was bored after the first five minutes of the Avengers tearing robots to shreds? Well, I was bored two minutes into it. Suck on that, nerds. I couldn’t take Ultron’s little minions seriously at any point during the film; they were about as effective as the Trade Federation’s droids. On that note, did anyone notice how all the major flaws in this movie are eerily parallel to that of the Star Wars Prequels? I can’t help but notice this: no thematic consistency, bland characters, a weird plot, a bad villain, an overemphasis on action scenes with cheap enemies that nobody cares about, a stilted, awkward romance, etc. The salt in the wound was how the cinematography was just…bad. Everything was so fast and wildly shot that I couldn’t even enjoy the action because my eyes were barely keeping up with it. It would’ve been nice if I’d had, oh, an extra second here or there to process that cool combo Thor and Captain America did. That would’ve made the movie a bit more fun, and fun was what the movie lacked most of all. What’s that sound? Oh, it’s a million rabid Joss Whedon fans wagging their tongues about how witty their self-styled idol is. A snarky jab here and there does not make a movie fun. I said the lack of thematic continuity was what sunk the film and I meant it: the movie was trying so hard to be “dark” that everything just felt depressing. Everything felt gloomy, morose, and suppressed. Some of that was just the lack of originality in the delivery too, considering they obviously took out a clipboard with “Things we have to have in a Marvel movie” and went right through it. One of the worst was Captain America’s very-not-inspiring speech that we’ve seen a thousand times before. Hey, I have a nice way to subvert that: after having a bunch of thoughtful, psychological character development scenes that end in some sort of painful yet meaningful triumph for the team’s cohesion, have Captain just kinda peter out and go like “Yeah, you know the drill.”

Then the maw of hell opens wide.

Then the maw of hell opens wide.

Nope. Instead, we go to Africa, where we meet the Maksimov twins and learn how not to pronounce Slavic names. It’s MahkSEEmuhf, not MACKsimahf, you ignorant morons. Anyway, Ultron finds a random group of beached container ships somewhere and misses a very obvious opportunity to use a slaveship metaphor. Did nobody else catch this? I mean, there’s a fucking greedy-ass white guy overseeing a bunch of African people working for nothing in a cramped ship with poor lighting. Maybe Ultron might’ve been more compelling had he explained his misanthropy a bit, particularly with such a low-hanging fruit hitting him in the face. Yawn. Ultron wants the McGuffinanium that will do something that we don’t understand but probably don’t need to regardless. As the movie demands, the Avengers show up and fight in this confusing, industrial environment with yet another set of really disjointed scenes that drag on for ten minutes. Then, finally, Scarlet Witch does her thing to all the Avengers and makes them go all crazy in their very pretty heads. This was the most interesting part of the movie and the one I was expecting and anticipating: psychological thriller roles! Yay! Then I was expecting the battle to peter out and the focus would shift over to all the Avenger’s nightmares. I may have been drunk at the time to expect something so natural to proceed from this, because what I got was twenty-ish minutes of typical disaster porn in which somehow nobody dies, which completely ruins the impact of the disaster porn. Another suggestion, Joss: how about you have Iron Man and Hawkeye running around the city trying to gather up the rampaging Avengers spliced in with inner scenes that show what’s tormenting them and driving them to such madness? Instead of wasting so much screentime on a boring fight between the Iron Man and the Hulk, one we know Stark is going to win, how about you cut to Banner waking up from his own nightmare and beholding the devastation he has just unwittingly inflicted upon New New Mombasa? That would make this half-hour, you know, exciting?

We have now reached the obligatory lowpoint of the film with the Avengers, again, running away with their tails between their legs after a defeat. Yawn. Our course this time takes us to…some random house in backwoods Americana, where we meet Hawkeye’s lovely wife and children that the movie took all of four seconds to set up or hint at. Was this ever mentioned in the Winter Soldier or another film I missed? I dunno, nor do I think anyone would’ve remembered anyway. This, again, is the perfect opportunity and environment for some rumination and psychological focus on the Avengers’ inner demons as it affects their teamwork, so of course it doesn’t happen. Thor eschews spending time with the team and building up his relationship with them, opting to go off to shoehorn into the movie a tie-in to the larger Marvel Universe that ended up proving totally unnecessary. Captain America sulks and whines at Stark about how he didn’t tell the team about something he didn’t even know was possible nor could they have possibly understood on a practical level even if he had, so this scene falls on its face. He also wonders why Stark doesn’t want to talk about what happened between them the night before, even though it was the most magical moment ever and Stark was so wonderful and blah blah, ha ha, gay jokes about Stark and Captain’s sexual tension or something. Romanov and Banner note about how their barely-established relationship is practically impossible, which is why no one cares about what they’re saying here. Then Romanov wastes her potential nightmare arc by talking about–not showing–that she was sterilized and thus can’t be a mom, because that’s what all women really want to be, right? Mommies.

Silly women.

Silly women, thinking and all.

This is another rabbit trail I want to talk about, namely the irritating misogyny in these films. Why do all the female characters in this franchise suck? Yon Black Widow doesn’t cut it anymore, particularly after we find out her BIG INNER REGRET is not being able to have children. Really? Not Budapest? Not any of the mental torture she was subjected to as a child? Not being forced to be an assassin that kills people with no normal life? Really. Okay. Also, can we have at least one other female Avenger? Scarlet Witch does not count. She was a B-character with nothing of substance beyond her relationship with her brother, whose death was so weirdly done and so pathetically telegraphed that I was chuckling when the dramatic music started playing. Considering almost no time was devoted to either Scarlet Witch or Quicksilver to begin with, I wouldn’t have cared had I known more about her anyway. We could’ve found out about their backstory in a more creative way than having Quicksilver talk about it in a totally-not-native Slavic accent. I should also note those two characters are idiots, being unable to suspect the towering, red-eyed machine monstrosity that’s talking about “extinction” and “evolution” in such foreboding terms. Eventually Scarlet Witch has to be shown a literal vision of an extinction level event to figure out that Ultron might be a bad guy. Does her English suck that bad? What did she think he wanted to do? Make cupcakes?

After wasting another twenty minutes of time not focusing on the inner troubles of a film that is clearly trying to spin itself around the theme of inner troubles, Mace Windu shows up literally out of nowhere (how did he get to the house? What mode of transportation did he use to get there? Was he waiting there in Hawkeye’s barn for weeks waiting for the Avengers to arrive?) and gives another speech about how the Avengers need to come together, an issue the previous Avengers film had already addressed and resolved. Now it feels tacked on and cliche, because the movie didn’t bother to provide us with the thematic experience it thinks it wants us to absorb. Then the movie just kinda totally forgets about this whole psychothriller aspect and whisks us all off to South Korea to go chase after Whats-her-face (you write such strong female characters, Joss). Ultron is there with the McGuffinanium to build a new body that he clearly doesn’t need but really wants for some reason. This is also ironic, since he babbles on about evolving and how “nothing but metal will be left alive” after his new iteration on Zechs Marquise’s Armageddon Remake–all while lusting after some bullshit mechano-organic hybrid body. The Avengers show up to stop this inexplicable dastardly plan, and the Smirnov twins realize they’ve been working for a monster who looks very much like a monster and has never hidden the fact that he’s a monster. The telegraphed allegiance shift out the way, away we go: time for a truck chase scene through Seoul in which amazing amounts of mayhem and destruction happen, yet nobody dies or even suffers a paper cut. Alas, all bad things must come to an end.

Like all good Stark Trek.

And good Star Trek. Sigh…

Back to the Halls of Justice, which Ultron doesn’t decide to attack even though he knows exactly where Avenger Tower is, has successfully attacked it before, and had a major hard-on for dat body that he immediately loses all interest in. To ensure Joss Whedon doesn’t have to write any more scenes involving women for a while, Black Widow is captured, locked up, then left alone and unmonitored to jury-rig a radio. Like, Ultron doesn’t even torture her or tackle her psychological issues, again missing another obvious opportunity to establish a theme. The Avengers disagree over whether or not to put Jarvis into the magical body of magic. For some reason. Jarvis has, after all, done nothing but serve the Avengers faithfully and even protect the Internet from Ultron without even knowing about it, but apparently everyone is mad at Stark for the thing that was clearly not his fault and doesn’t want to use the obvious weapon they need to give them a critical edge against Ultron, who is trying to make humanity extinct. Who is doing what? Why? Why does everyone hate AI so much? Stuff happens, glass shatters (shattered glass apparently does not cut human skin), and Thor shows up after his cold spa day to force this plot to move forward. Jarvis melds with the magical body and has a really awkward scene where he kinda-sorta-maybe explains who the fuck he is and what his motivations are. Then they mention the Mindstone, which is the dumbest and laziest name for a magical gem ever, rendering Thor’s spa day utterly pointless except for the fact that we got to see him without his shirt on. I dunno. Let’s get this ending sequence over with.

We return to Not-Moldova and find out that Ultron has been building an army of Iron Man suits based off the equipment the Avengers apparently did not bother to clean out or destroy after their successful raid, something which would’ve prevented this scenario from happening. We also find out that Ultron’s grand plan is to induce an extinction-level event by turning Not-Moldova into a comet, which begs the question as to what was the point of the whole rest of the movie. Why didn’t he just do this in the beginning? What purpose did the McGuffinanium serve? What is going on? So the movie cops out and doesn’t make rescuing Romanov a thing. Banner just kinda rescues her awkwardly and then…I dunno. They attack, and they fight the robots, and people scream, and the town lifts off, and Magic-Jarvis barely participates, and Mace Windu shows up with a helicarrier that nobody noticed at all or heard coming even though it’s propelled by giant-ass fans that crush all life on the surface below them, and Scarlet Witch blows things up, and they say witty things, and people kinda-sorta get paper cuts but don’t really die, and Quicksilver dies and nobody cares, and they save the day as expected. So. Fucking. Boring. I was laughing at the big scene where Ultron’s minions were fighting the Avengers while Ultron was just standing there doing, like, absolutely nothing, even though he could’ve just flown in during the confusion, hit the McGuffinthingie, dropped the comet, and won. The movie honestly thought two minutes of confusing action in which the Avengers totally dominate their foe without any struggle would be exciting. Maybe it was exciting for the five-year-olds in the audience, but I was about ready to pass out. Then everything is fine and dandy and that’s somehow supposed to mean something to me.

I'm lying to myself.

Everybody lies.

Finally, to twist the knife in the wound, we have to sit through a scene where the last one Iron Man Suit with Ultron in it talks with Magic-Jarvis so that Joss Whedon can have his chance to spin his quasi-pacifist, semi-misanthropic bullshit. I will pay someone money to go find a cardboard tube and shove it down Whedon’s throat every time he tries to write something that is not cutesy-witty. Joss Whedon, you are not the scion of Socrates. Make up your mind: either humans suck or they don’t. Either humans are worth it or they’re not. Don’t feed me this high-school rhetoric about how “there is grace in their failings” and all this nonsense. It is not convincing. This scene was so awkward and contradictory that I didn’t understand what happened. Nothing Ultron said made sense; nothing Magic-Jarvis said made sense either. So nobody was right or wrong, and I had no idea how to feel. Cut to the end scene where we are apparently exactly where we were at the end of the last Avengers movie, bringing the relentless cycle of existential dread to a close: Thor runs off for another spa-day even though we all know he’s gonna come back, Banner runs off to Fiji even though we all know he’s gonna come back, Stark talks about retiring even though we all know he’s going to come back, and Black Widow and Captain start training more Avengers. Yay. Was that all worth two hours of my time?

No.

No, it wasn’t.

But you know what is?

Video games. Sweet, sweet video games.

Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 3

Code Geass is stupid. But how stupid? Let’s find out together.

Oh. A gun. I thought you'd never ask.

Oh. A gun. I thought you’d never ask.

Episode III – Lelouch Lamperouge’s Day Off

  • It’s this fucking recap again. As predicted.
    • In the face of the Knightmare Frame, Japan lost its marbles and forgot it could shoot bullets at the following established weak spots: the eyes, knees, foot propulsion units, arms, legs, and any other part resembling a human joint.
      • Remember last episode where we learned there have been six previous generations of Knightmare frames…somehow? No way this weapon was a surprise for the Japanese military. Therefore, I submit a formal request to Sunrise to stop lying to us and reveal themselves for the Lizard Overlords they really are.
  • The Knightmares randomly open up their cyclops thingamabobs and scan things or something. Why do they do that? What function does it serve? Do they have no knowledge of the battlefield until they use that? If so, that makes them blind at almost every point on the battlefield.
    • The real answer is that the animators thought it looked cool. Without even thinking about it.
      • This is not necessarily a bad thing:
        •  SILLY.ALL-THE-CROSS-EXPLOSIONS
  • Are we still on this recap we’ve seen twice already? How inattentive do they think their viewers are–oh wait, it’s over.
  • I know it’s a cool shot, but that part of the opening where Zero is standing on a 2-inch-wide pillar randomly located in the ocean isn’t something anyone but the most physically apt human being could do. Lelouch is the exact opposite of that.
  • “The False Classmate.” That’s a very good title, albeit confusing, because all these “high-school students” attend, maybe, two classes out of the year, still get full credit, and don’t miss out on any relevant information that would affect their careers or ability to function in society. So who is it referring to?
    • Fuck literacy. Fuck education. Fuck viable job paths. I CAN PILOT GIANT ROBOTS.
      • It worked out so well for Shinji.
  • Yeah, soldier. You’re smart. What did happen to that POISON GAS that started this whole massacre out of the blue anyway? Where did it go? These are important things to wonder, but life is confusing and disappointing, so don’t expect anything satisfying.
    • Where are the Japanese people? There are no Japanese people in this shot.
      • Real Japanese People:
      •  Japan's Economy Shrinks More Than Forecast After Record Quake
      • Not Japanese People:
      •  SILLY.NOT-JAPANESE-PEOPLE
    • THAT GUY NEXT TO KALLEN STADTFELD’S DERRIERE HAS FUCKING BLONDE HAIR.
      • And now there’s a random French Guy?
        • I’m very confused.
  • Hmm. Prince Clovis has been giving orders that are so out-of-character as to defy belief, and now you realize he’s the only one on the command floor. Hmmm. I have a theory: you need to be fired.
  • Why does Lelouch’s gun have a red lightbulb on it? What does that do? How does it add to the gun’s functionality? It still fires bullets, not lazers. What’s the point of the lightbulb?
  • Clovis tries really hard to pretend to be nice and compassionate after casually ordering the massacre of 40 million people twenty-ish minutes ago.
    • Great plan. I’m sure it’ll work.
  • Hey, um, Lelouch? Why aren’t you calling Clovis out on his rank moral travesty instead of thinking entirely about yourself and your “tragic” childhood that was better off than, oh, 90% of all humanity ever?
    • Our fearless leader, ladies and gentlemen.
      • These guys take forever to talk. By now, competent security forces would have stormed the place and taken Lelouch captive. Thankfully, no such things exist in the Holy Britannia(n) Empire. They have no need of them.
        • Except for, uh, right now.
  • Holy shit. These random terrorists storming the Royal Palace had such an advantageous position they were able to lay strafing fire through all the open windows of the palace? What was everyone else doing? Smoking weed?
    • And how the fuck did Nunnally survive? How did they hit everyone except the small, helpless child being held in her mother’s arms?
  • Clovis, again, it’s not so hard to believe you’d be complicit in the cold-blooded murder of someone. Go back three bullets (hee hee) and see for yourself.
    • One death is a tragedy, but a million is breakfast at Clovis’.
      • His favorite dish is blood crumpets.
  • Sigh. Here is why Lelouch sucks as a character and a messiah figure. Instead of chastising Clovis for ending his short career as Third Prince by trying to one-up Pol Pot, Lelouch makes everything about this massacre and all the events of the past two episodes all about him and his personal vendetta with the Empire. Then instead of thinking about it for five seconds and turning the Third Prince into a reliable source of information or influence within the internal workings of the Empire, Lelouch wastes his trump card a singularly personal question, as if Clovis would know anything about the murder of Lelouch’s mother. What is he basing this hunch on anyway?
    • Surprise, Clovis knows jack-shit. Too bad for that Geass.
      • And then he just straight-up murders the guy. Not that Clovis didn’t deserve it, but that’s the problem: Lelouch didn’t seem to give a shit that Clovis had done all those bad things. Why did he kill him? Just because he didn’t like him? Woo, go Lelouch. I believe in you now.
  • Ashford Academy, home of spoiled Britannimerican children who pay no attention to their royal history and have not already recognized Lelouch Lamperouge as Lelouch vi Britannia.
    • They must all be smoking weed and/or pixie dust.
  • Just to emphasize how fucking spoiled these kids are, we’ll have a creepy horseback riding club member strut his horse right outside the window. Most schools struggle to get a budget for a good music program. How much money does this school have?
    • MY RANDOM ENGRISH WORD WILL MOTIVATE YOU BITCHES.
  • Wow. So the leader of the Ashford Academy Student Council is a perverted whore. This place is nuts.
  • How big is this fucking school? It makes Versailles look like a run-down hostel.
  • In a world not run by sociopaths, the school would have been evacuated after a supposed incident involving POISON GAS. Fear not: Milly Ashford knows best and checks out girls years younger than her in the school locker room.
  • Gee, Lelouch. Why would the tyrannical World Empire cover up the fact that its Third Prince had been inexplicably murdered in its own backyard?
    • I have a suggestion, Lelouch: go back to your history class at your fancy-ass academy and learn how autocracies tend to operate. Then you won’t ask retarded questions.
  • Uh huh. Lelouch has already been shown to be a sociopathic crazy man. Why is he vomiting over killing Clovis?
  • Jeremiah somehow has the brains to recognize that the mysterious killer of the Third Prince won’t be found by a cursory, superficial investigation, but not the brains to fight inexperienced Japanese rebels using inferior technology.
  • Villetta spins some cockamamie idea of moving up in the world in the wake of Clovis’ untimely demise. Lelouch was 17th in line to the throne. That leaves at least 15 other people who could succeed the Emperor. How does this change the political situation of the Empire in any way that either of them could exploit?
    • In other words, Villetta is high as fuck.
      • I still want to know what country she’s from.
        • And what hair dye Jeremiah uses.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere shows up at Ashford Academy. Like magic. From pixies.
    • The girls gawking over her clearly imply she has been at the Academy for a while. How did Lelouch not recognize her?
  • Geez, that name must’ve been hard for Rivalz’s voice actor to pronounce.
  • Rivalz, you must be high too. Doesn’t anyone question how a frail girl who is never in school somehow remains at the top of the class? That isn’t how scholastic ability works, you know.
    • SUSPICIOUS SUSPICION IS MENTIONED ONCE AND SUMMARILY IGNORED.
      • Rivalz somehow knows all of Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derrier’s personal history, but teases Lelouch for having a crush on her. Lelouch does not tease him back for being an obvious creep.
  • “What’s a bee doing in here?” – Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere.
    • What…?
      • Huh?
        • Has Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere never been outside in its life?
          • You’re in a lush garden filled with trees and flowers.
            • Do you not know what bees do?
    • EVERYONE IS HIGH AS FUCK.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere has a violent outburst in the middle of an open courtyard which she karate-chops a bee out of thin air and rants about how she has to act like an invalid.
    • Everyone was freaking out at the bee two seconds ago. Did she think nobody would keep watching her? Or that her voice wouldn’t carry?
      • Oh wait, everyone is high. I forgot.
  • “Oh crap, he saw me!”
    • No shit, asshole.
  • Aaaand Lelouch not only wastes his trump card yet again, he uses it in a conspicuous setting in which any number of a hundred normal things could interrupt his mindrape of this girl.
    • Like, say, one of Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere’s terrified friends coming over to see if she was okay. That might throw a wrench in this scenario.
      • But of course it doesn’t happen, because no one in this universe knows what the fuck bees are.
  • Man, it’s a good thing nobody in this courtyard is listening to Lelouch talk about being in Shinjuku yesterday and piloting Knightmares.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is half-Britannimerican, half-Japanese. Which definitely explains why she looks nothing like a Japanese person.
  • Oops, something went wrong. What a shock.
    • Luckily for Lelouch, Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is as retarded as she has ever been, as she refuses to question why she doesn’t remember talking to this weird guy she’s never met or why he specifically mentions Shinjuku and reacts as guilty as humanly possible. Nor does she recognize his voice after listening to it over the radio for hours.
      • Duuuur, what’s a bee, Kallen? What’s a bee?
  • Lelouch is a retard. He already knew his magical powers had limitations through his encounter with Villetta. Why didn’t he test it out beforehand instead of risking everything offhand?
  • Holy crap, Nunnally’s maid actually resembles a Japanese person. There is some order to this galaxy after all!
    • But because this show sucks ass, they had to dumb it down for the audience (which is primarily Japanese) and show them making origami cranes. Because there are no other elements of Japanese culture these Japanese writers could think of.
      • This scene also establishes that Sayoko knows British.
  • Why does the top-secret not-POISON-GAS military research facility use crappy laptops instead of top-of-the-line mainframes and equipment? Is it to show we’re in the future?
    • Fuck you.
  • Wait. Wait wait wait wait wait wait. These people know exactly what Geass is and what it’s capable of. They have Geass-empowered subjects in containment literally right next to them. And later on, we see that mind-controlling powers are a dime-a-dozen among their research subjects. So explain to me how these people are running around with their heads up their asses without the slightest inkling as to what’s going on?
    • Seriously, why doesn’t General Bartley put two and two together and figure out that C.C. probably ended up giving someone a mind-control Geass? This is the obvious conclusion that they are obviously missing, and they have all the relevant information to come to this conclusion after two seconds of thought.
      • Bartley, you already know that the Emperor knows what you’re doing. Or should at least suspect it.
        • This show is so fucking bad.
  • There is no way Nunnally does not know what origami is after living in Japan for almost all her life. It was probably the first thing they showed her when they arrived in Japan eight-ish years ago. This is only done to setup the fact that Sayoko is their very Japanese maid and establish a shallow motif of compassion for Nunnally because the writers can’t think of competent ways to develop her character.
    • God in heaven.
  • What did her talking fast have to do with her soup dripping from her mouth? She wasn’t talking when she put it into her mouth.
    • This studio can’t keep track of basic continuity.
  • Why does she call Lelouch “onii-sama?” What normal Japanese person would call their brother that? And how would that even translate properly? Dude, these two characters aren’t Japanese. They’re British…ish. Their culture does not have equivalents for “ani” and “otouto,” nor do Western cultures call each other by their social positions so stiltedly. Nunnally would just call him “Lelouch.” So why doesn’t she?
    • Because these writers are racist idiots, in case it wasn’t obvious as the color of the sky.
      • By the way, it’s totally appropriate, grammatical, and natural among Japanese families to just call each other by given names. This goes beyond racism. It’s sheer laziness. The writers are following established tropes without thinking about anything whatsoever.
        • News flash, anime fans: Code Geass is commercial trash, not an anime masterpiece. It’s about as creative and intelligent as Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Blah blah blah, if you fold a thousand cranes, a wish comes true. The trope is fulfilled, the motif is established. Let’s move onto something else that doesn’t make me want to punch people.
  • Nunnally wishes for the world to be a gentle place. She is living in an elaborate mansion with a maid of a conquered people in a conquered land and never has to want for anything.
    • Nunnally is a shallow, spoiled, vapid child without an ounce of perspective.
  • Lelouch responds with a bland platitude that no insightful person would believe.
  • Let’s stop for a second here: there is nothing physically wrong with Nunnally’s eyes or body, right? It’s just the Emperor’s Geass affecting her, correct? So how does Lelouch not suspect something is really weird about all this, particularly after having just received magical mind-control powers?
    • “Psychologically-induced blindness” is bullshit, people. The human nervous system does not work that way. No, don’t try to use “psychosomatic response” as a euphemism for plot magic. There has to be some sort of damage to the brain, the nervous system, or the eye for one of the most fundamental and critical human senses to stop working. People cannot subconsciously will themselves to stop seeing or hearing, and thank God that is so.
      • So again, Lelouch should be a little disturbed by how his sister cannot see for no discernible reason.
        • How is she so well-adjusted anyway for having witnessed the wholesale murder of her mother? Put her in counseling, for God’s sake.
  • Wait, maybe they do all have brain damage.
    • Or I do.
      • Shit.
  • The Ashford family, which runs a palace-school in a conquered Britannimerican territory that is literally in sight of the capitol complex, is sheltering an exiled Prince of Britannia.
    • The Holy Britannia(n) Empire has no need for “intelligence.”
      • And why are they sheltering them anyway? Isn’t that risky? What are they getting in return? Are they doing it because they’re nice?
        • Oh, wait, no, they glossed over that and moved on. Okay.
  • I have to laugh, Lelouche. As if none of these bright, elite Britannimerican students haven’t figured out who you are.
    • After all, you look exactly like him, are still using your name, are still using your mother’s maiden name (really crafty there), and have your sister, Nunnally, right there with you.
      • I do hope none of them ever get the whimsy to type “Lelouch vi Britannia”–or even just “Lelouch”–into Not-Google, otherwise your whole scheme is totally fucked.
  • Oh, pity poor Lelouch. I’m pretty sure an oppressed Japanese child scrounging for dirt to eat would trade places with you and your terrible fate of living in comfortable mansions and being political tools/prey of others’ conspiracies.
    • You pretentious jackwaggit.
  • “I have to make a world where Nunnally can live happily.”
    • The perfectly comfortable life with her brother in a mansion where she is waited on hand and foot without fear or want doesn’t count, apparently.
      • Remember this, kids. It might have some relevance somewhere down the line.
  • Yeah, Japan. The Japanese invented the pinky promise. No other culture has something remotely similar to this.
    • Wikipedia seems to indicate the pinky promise has existed in America since 1860, if not earlier. Hmm. That’s weird.
      • It also seems to indicate the Japanese tradition of 指切り likely originated in China.
        • China. I wonder where that is.
          • Do you still like this series? I fucking hope not.
  • How did Sayoko communicate a Japanese poem to Nunnally without her having a deep knowledge of Japanese culture or language? It’s almost as if this whole scene was written by Japanese writers with only the most vague sense of how other cultures outside their own operate or might communicate things.
    • China. Never heard of it.
  • That’s the grossest pinky promise I’ve ever heard of. I love it.
    • Lelouch, I hope you do eat a thousand needles. It’s the least you deserve.
  • Don’t worry, Nunnally. I’m sure Lelouch will never lie to you.
    • Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever.
  • Is this fucking scene over yet?
    • It is. Hooray.
  • “This the only weapon I have.”
    • Not your intellect. Not your connections. Not your scandalous knowledge of a potential cover-up of your mother’s murder. Nope. No other weapons.
  • So that’s interesting. The Britannia(n) capital was transferred to America after being defeated at Edinburgh. That sounds rather fascinating. Maybe the show should concentrate less on Lelouch’s idiotic plotting and more on this alternate history.
    • I know, I know. Bad joke.
  • Lelouch does some basic investigatory work. I’ll admit, this does put him ahead of L in the intellect department at least.
    • Though that’s not saying much.
  • HOW BIG IS THIS SCHOOL?
    • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is talking on a radio on an open balcony. Sound waves travel approximately two feet in this universe and go no further.
      • Nor is anyone intercepting this radio communication somehow.
  • Wait. This isn’t a radio communication. This is a cellphone communication.
    • Holy shit. They are sooooooooooooooooooooo fucked.
      • Like, completely, totally fucked.
        • Jesus Christ, you idiots. Don’t you remember who built the fucking cellphone network here after the war? You really think the Britannimericans won’t intercept this call?
  • KALLEN STADTFELD’S DERRIERE SUSPECTS LELOUCH, CONFIRMING THE EXISTENCE OF AT LEAST ONE FUNCTIONING NEURON IN HER BRAIN.
    • But she can’t recognize his voice. It’s probably just one neuron. Alas. I had such high hopes for her.
  • Why do they paint their Knightmares purple? That’s fucking stupid.
  • Wait, what just happened with Bartley and Jeremiah and all them? Why did he brazenly attack a funeral procession? How is something so sacrilegious going to advance his standing in the Empire? Why didn’t the show tell us what just happened?
  • So the student council has its own separate mansion for a club house. That’s it. I feel absolutely no pity for any of these people anymore. They can all burn in a fire.
  • What was Lelouch planning to do once he brought Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere here? He knows she can kick his ass. What was his plan?
    • Skipped over that too. Instead, let’s learn how spoiled these kids are some more.
  • Oh, so Milly’s dad asked her to let Kallen, a borderline truant, into the school’s student council. That makes no sense.
  • Why did Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere bow just like a Japanese person would? THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT JAPANESE.
  • Rivalz is the secretary. Pbbbbbth. No wonder this student council gets jackshit done.
  • Shirley, of course, lists no official role in the student council as part of her introduction. She does, however, mention she’s in the swim club. What relevant information that Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere would never be interested in.
    • Some forty-year-old Japanese guy would, though.
  • Nina doesn’t even tell her anything about herself at all. Fuck it.
  • Rivalz suggests underage drinking. Rivalz is da bomb.
  • Did nobody catch how Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere caught that cork like nothing? Why don’t these people ever suspect anything their nervous systems tell them?
  • That wasn’t remotely sexual in anyway.
    • Nor is this totally necessary shower scene.
  • Oh, poor Lelouch. He lives in a mansion with his sister. Here’s a single, solitary tear from the Native American people.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere doesn’t seem to consider how jumping to conclusions like this and giving away the truth about her physical condition might backfire.
    • She also a knife in her purse. For some reason.
  • Why does she say “yes” and “no” in that sentence? Does the Japanese language not have words for either?
  • What. What the fuck.
    • Why is there a random phone in this bathroom?
      • Why is it there?
        • Who would authorize the expense of installing a phone line into this bathroom?
          • What?
            • How?
              • Why?
  • No, Lelouch. There is no way you could have planned this out.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere has no concept of “operational security.”
    • This resistance is more doomed than the Noldor.
  • Ha ha ha. Lelouch spins it as a game on the Interwebs. Ha ha ha.
    • I hate these writers so much.
  • Oh yeah, KSD. Lelouch, whom you believe to be innocent, has no reason to suspect you for A) lying about how weak you are and B) for having a fucking knife in your purse and threatening him in the shower with it after C) getting a weird phone call from some guy that mentioned a “ceasefire.” Isn’t it kinda weird how cool and calm he’s taking all this?
    • Huuuur, what’s a bee, Kallen?
  • This school has automatic doors. It has fucking automatic doors and fancy phones in every bathroom.
    • I hate this school so much.
  • Again, there is no way Lelouch could have planned that.
  • Lelouch gives examples of how the student council just doesn’t require much work. You heard it, people: creating a school budget, planning major events and festivals, etc., do not take work. Lelouch has never worked a day in his life.
  • There’s a Cross-Dressing Party?
    • A Silence Masquerade?
      • A Swimsuit Day?
        • (I wonder what demographic this is for.)
  • Clovis is dead. The mass murderer is dead. Everyone is so, so sad.
  • Hey, Suzaku. Still think you can change the system from within?
  • Drown, you motherfuckers. Drown in your champagne with a bathroom telephone wrapped around your necks.

Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 2

Code Geass is stupid. But how stupid? Let’s find out together.

Don't think about it too much, or this happens.

Don’t think about it too much, or this happens.

Episode II – The White Knight Rises

  • As of August 10, 2010 of the Imperial Calender, “Britannia” still does not have an adjectival form.
    • Nor did Christianity ever happen.
  • Wait, Japan was defeated less than a one month? What? Japan is, like, the size of California, but spread over four islands and surrounded by water. It took the Nazi blitzkrieg three weeks to overrun Poland, and that was an unfair matchup over flat, open European plain. I don’t care how fancy your Knightmares are (which they aren’t); you can’t overcome geography. There are only a few spots where you can conduct an amphibious invasion of the country, all a huge fucking bitch to pull off. No. Fucking. Way.
  • See? The Japanese have a word for pride. 誇り is even used here. So why did Rivalz use “puraido” last episode? Does the Japanese language suck?
    • Yes, this is fucking important.
  • Blah blah, the Japanese are now Elevens for some reason. We get it. Don’t tell me we’re gonna get this exact same recap for the next six episodes or something.
    • Sigh, we are, aren’t we?
  • Oh God, it’s a Suzaku-themed episode.
  • EVERYONE IS DEAD.
    • Except C.C, tee hee.
  •  Enter Villetta, Tragedy Bait 2.0.
    • And whose hair is in violation of every military regulation ever.
      • What nationality is she, anyway? No one has golden pupils. No one, Japan.
  • Wait, those murderous idiots were part of the royal guard? Who puts sociopaths in the royal guard? Or sends them to track down POISON GAS? Hasn’t the Holy Britannia(n) Empire invented special forces yet?
  • Well, she just fired a giant rifle at an innocent student in the middle of a small, metal warehouse. Lelouch is now deaf.
    • Did those massive bullets not have any force when they brushed past him at a zillion miles per hour? Are the laws of physics a lie perpetuated by the Illuminati? How is he still standing up?
    • Not to mention shrapnel. In a parallel universe where physics behaves somewhat consistently, Lelouche has a giant piece of iron sticking through his sternum right now.
      • If I lived in that universe, I would not have to keep watching this.
  • Oh dear, Lelouch’s magical powers have limits. How inconvenient.
    • Luckily for him, Villetta is an idiot, as you shall soon see.
  • “Alan Spacer.” That’s the best you could do, huh, Lelouch? “Alan Spacer.”
    • Bbbbbth ha ha ha.
  • Yes, Villetta. Exit your machine of war, where you’re perfectly safe, right after you’ve just examined a horrific scene where a dozen royal guards have been obviously gunned down in cold blood and there’s a suspicious Britannian student who should not be alive or here in the first place. Yes. Nothing is suspicious about this situation whatsoever.
    • Oh look, that didn’t go very well.
      • This may have consequences, Villetta. Bet you feel stupid now.
  • Where did all the bodies go? Lelouche already used his Geass on her. He was just one guy. Did he use the Knightmare to cart the bodies away? Did he make Villetta do it?
    • No, he shut off his Geass right after his gave her the command. So where did the bodies go?
      • Hey. Did you guys forget about continuity?
        • You did, didn’t you? Fucktards.
  • Gee, MSGT is alive, even though he was shot in the spine with a gun at point-blank range with no obvious protection. How did that happen too?
    • I think I need to stop asking this question.
      • How can he move around? Why is able to get up like that? He was just shot two hours ago.
  • No, I don’t buy that a fucking pocket watch was able to block a bullet. I mean, look at that thing.
    • SILLY.WATCH
      • Did the bullet just evaporate after it went through the glass? Why isn’t it more damaged? What the fuck?
        • WHY DOES NOTHING IN THIS SHOW MAKE SENSE.
  • Elevens say gods live inside objects. Do they? I think that’s simplifying it a bit, you moron.
  • They think the POISON GAS was released? Are they, um, stupid? Do they not see and hear the massacre going on in the ghetto they are actually in right now?
    • They are very stupid.
      • Hey, MSGT, do you still think you can change the system from within?
  • Lloyd, what are you doing? Why are you handing this random person you met an hour ago the keys to your Empire’s superweapon? Shouldn’t you, like, examine him first? Get some physical and psychological data on him? Make sure he’s not crazy? That sort of thing?
    • I like how they obviously dodge the question and implication that MSGT clearly has no experience with one of these machines whatsoever. Why is Lloyd doing this? How does this make sense from his perspective?
  • Lloyd, I’m pretty sure you have oversight. You have to get this guy cleared for piloting a Knightmare. And he has to go through training, be commissioned, etc. Is this even a fucking military?
  • Wait, whom did those random tanks just kill? They didn’t look like Japanese people at all.
    • I’m right. Look at the frame.
  • Ah, Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere returns. Out of thin air. Like magic. From pixies.
    • Sure, I’d be willing to accept pixies at this point, given how retarded everything else is this series is.
  • Man, it’s a good thing the Holy Britannia(n) Empire hasn’t invented the concept of radio intercept yet, otherwise Ohgi and Kallen Stadtfeld’s backpack radio transmission might be compromised.
    • They spent all that money on building Knightmares. That’s my explanation. Or pixies.
  • Kallen, no. Playing decoy is a bad idea. You’re painted fucking orange. You’re a walking target. You’ll just get sniped by helicopters or a bazooka or something, and then you’ll die.
    • And what the fuck is Ohgi gonna do? He has his backpack radio and one random guy with a bazooka. How he is going to evacuate forty million people?
      • Does anybody think about what they’re saying before they open their mouths?
    • Also, you should be trying not to get caught period.
      • Not that they seem to be interested in taking prisoners anyway, you idiot.
  • Cut to Shirley in the girl’s locker room, right after you show people being slaughtered in a war zone. This show flows like the music of Bach.
    • Or diarrhea.
  • [5:37] That’s a Tomagatchi. Is this 1997? Is Nickelodeon still good? Is the Gameboy all the rage? Why is Shirley’s phone stupid?
  • Man, it’s a good thing gunshots and giant machines of death aren’t loud, otherwise Shirley might suspect something.
    • That is gunfire, Shirley. Can you not hear it? I’m pretty sure Knightmares aren’t soundproof.
      • Although I have nothing to base this on, really. These things are ridiculous, after all.
  • How. Does. Lelouche. Know. How. To. Pilot. This.
    • How?
      • HE HAS NEVER BEEN IN ONE BEFORE.
  • Surprise: the Britannimericans aren’t livecasting their massacre to the whole wide world. Next week: will Tyrion get a fair trial?
  • Yes, Lelouche. The tyrannical government is going to spin a cover story about the massacre. Yes, you have to spend five minutes figuring this out.
    • What a genius.
  • I also have to wonder how a military Knightmare has access to the civilian cellular network.
    • And Bluetooth.
  • What did you just say, Lelouche? “They can’t call in reinforcements?” Uh, yes, they can. They control the media. They control everything. They can bring in whatever-the-fuck they want.
    • What a genius.
      • I’m pretty sure it’d be hard for you to get out of the Shinjuku ghetto by yourself with or without them calling in reinforcements.
  • So Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is spotted, as predicted.
    • And now the men are chasing Dat Ass.
  • Lelouche magically knows her radio code, even though there is literally no physical way he can know it.
    • If you know what I mean.
  • Man, it’s a good thing the Holy Britannia(n) Empire doesn’t have air superiority in its own backyard, otherwise running on an elevated, exposed railway might be a bad idea.
    • Jeremiah, why are you chasing her? Call in the helicopters and planes you have slaughtering people and shoot her in the face.
      • And that’s not a euphemism. I mean actually shoot her in the face with bullets and end this monstrous baby of a series before it grows and devours all life.
  • Oh look, a train is using the railway. One has to wonder why the train is running through an ACTIVE WAR ZONE.
    • No, no, Lelouche totally planned this, even though there is literally no way he could have.
  • Why didn’t Jeremiah just jump onto the train like Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere did? Is he gay? I can think of no other reason why he’s letting the train push him back. What is he doing?
  • Lelouche ambushed Jeremiah. How did he do that? How did they not detect the giant machine of war moving into that building?
    • Gee, the giant machine of death that costs ten billion dollars each was just rendered utterly helpless by rifle fire aimed at its leg propulsion units.
      • Lelouche is a genius.
    • How did Lelouche vanish? Has the Holy Britannia(n) Empire not developed radar? Knightmares do not have stealth. They are probably the unstealthiest things ever invented by humankind. How did she not notice Lelouche leaving?
      • Pixies.
  • Lelouche, you did not predict a train filled with Knightmares would be running through an ACTIVE WAR ZONE unescorted. You did not.
    • Also, it’s a good thing they’re standing around on this open, exposed, elevated railway in the middle of an ACTIVE WAR ZONE that is actively being destroyed.
      • The Holy Britannia(n) Empire deserves to burn.
  • So now they have Knightmares, the machines that were just easily defeated with basic tactics.
    • And, of course, each and everyone of these ragtag Japanese resistance fighters knows how to pilot them.
      • I’m just gonna go find the nearest airbase and hop into a plane. Let me see how far I get. I’ll be back.
        • It turns out they stopped me at the front gate and arrested me.
          • Hmm, well, they let me in for some reason, but it turns out I don’t know how to fly a plane because I haven’t trained on it ever, flown hundreds of hours, or been certified.
  • Also, why is that woman in the train car wearing a miniskirt in an ACTIVE WAR ZONE? And a pink shirt? Hey, how about you wear something remotely camouflaged or practical?
  • Ha ha ha, that was Sasuke’s voice. I caught you, Sasuke.
    • THAT’S IT. NINJAS. IT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING.
      • Except nothing.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere rightfully wonders how the fuck any of this is actually happening.
    • Unlike me, however, she is wise and stops asking this question.
  • Meanwhile, the massacre has been conveniently paused and the Britannimericans, who outnumber these Japanese a zillion to one and have complete air and information superiority, are doing absolutely nothing.
  • Gee, I wonder what that building is. It couldn’t possibly be the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. That’s never been seen in an anime before.
  • Lelouche, it seems like you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, probably because you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.
    • Wait, when did he have the time to get that chess piece? Does time not work the same in this parallel universe?
      • Pixies.
  • The Britannimericans are discussing the overwhelming superiority of their army that they are not using.
  • Clovis is on the scene for some reason. This man has no military experience and is clearly a fucking retard, but the military just goes along with it. That’s how militaries behave.
    • Man, it’s a good thing none of these random subordinates have ears, otherwise they might wonder who this “girl” is they’re very suspiciously talking about.
  • Let me get this straight: the Britannimericans stripped these Knightmares’ IFF transponders for some reason, loaded them onto an unescorted train, then sent that train through an ACTIVE WAR ZONE.
    • Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……………….
  • Dude, what the fuck did you just say? “The Britannians won’t use traps because they have absolute military superiority”? What?
    • Who let this retard into a giant machine of war? Go make him read Sun Tzu before you let him anywhere near a knife ever again.
      • Good God, these people are going to get themselves killed.
  • HOW DOES OHGI HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE PILOTING A KNIGHTMARE? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHH–
  • Uh, if these signals are being intercepted (which they are), your plan is fucked anyway. Who cares if you tell them their name or not?
  • How does Lelouche know any of this information to this level of precision? Generals would be jealous over his Command and Control.
  • Clovis is a racist, because he called the Japanese “monkeys.” This is the opposite way to make people hate someone.
    • Unless you’re a sixteen-year-old anime fanboy that falls for this kind of shit. Then it works perfectly fine.
      • I feel so bad for these Japanese voice actors having to pronounce all these weird-ass English words. Their mouths must bleed after each recording session.
  • How did the Britannimericans not know they were there?
    • They did. They obviously did. There is no way they did not know.
      • I am going insane.
  • If Lelouche has complete knowledge of the battlefield in his random-ass Sutherland, why don’t the Britannimericans have it too with far more platforms at their disposal?
    • Pixies.
  • The Holy Britannia(n) Empire could not have conquered a tree house, let alone a developed country, with this level of incompetence.
  • Wait, what? That was, like, four Knightmares v. three of the exact same model in an open battlespace. How did the Britannimericans hit nothing and the Japanese hit everything?
    • Also, why aren’t their screens showing the enemy units as well?
      • Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?
  • “The enemy has five options.” You don’t know that, Lelouche.
  • Don’t you have radar? You do. I know you do. Use it, for Christ’s sake.
  • Jeremiah, you have no inkling as to the tactical situation. You ejected. Go home and fuck Villetta.
  • I don’t know what’s happening. Nothing makes sense.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere randomly fired a lance or whatever into some random point in the asphalt, causing a massive earthquake that swallowed all the Britannimerican Knightmares. Sigh.
    • No, Lelouche, you did not know that would happen.
  • Uh, Lelouche, why do you think you can defeat a world empire after toying with rank idiots? Are you an idiot too?
    • Yes.
  • ARE WE ONLY HALFWAY DONE WITH THIS EPISODE JESUS GOD WHAT AM I DOING.
  • So, MSGT was allowed to pilot the Empire’s superweapon after “reading the manual.”
    • Pixies. Fucking pixies.
      • I need some pixie dust.
  • HE WAS JUST SHOT TWO HOURS AGO. HE IS NOT FIT FOR COMBAT.
    • That outfit is ridiculous.
  • “I don’t want you to do anything reckless.”
    • She says as she’s letting this random, unknown person pilot the Empire’s superweapon.
      • Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
        • Pixies.
  • Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, her name is Cecile. She’s a woman. That’s why it took two episodes to find out her name.
    • Wow, the Lancelot has no eject system? Well, no matter. It’s a Knightmare. It’s highly durable and can withstand all conditions easily.
      • Except the slightest amount of directed weapons fire.
  • Huh? There have been 7 generations of Knightmares? What?
    • What?
      • No, seriously. 7 generations?
        • Actual military engineers developed six previous generations of these retarded weapons?
          • Have they not drank themselves to death yet?
  • Energy Filler. That about describes this startup sequence: filler.
    • Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.
  • This startup sequence has twenty phases. Somehow this is a good idea.
    • My god, the Engrish. I hope these voice actors get dental.
      • Oh, now they move the first-aid trucks away from the untested Knightmare frame while it’s in the middle of its fireup sequence.
        • Good luck, all you other patients in those trucks.
  • Why does Lloyd say “full throttle”? Would half the Japanese viewers even know what that meant? Or even make heads or tails of it whatsoever?
    • It must suck to be a Japanese person over the age of thirty.
  • Suzaku has some pain from the bullet wound to the spine he received two hours ago. I’m sure it’s fine.
  • So, um, how did that random Japanese pilot survive a bitchslap to the face from the Lancelot? That seems, I dunno, impossible.
  • How is no one detecting this massive machine of death? How do these things ever have the element of surprise over anything?
  • Oh look, Lelouche is racist too.
    • Also, I think Sasuke just died. YAAAAAAAAAAAAY.
  • How do the Britannimericans have energy-repulsion technology? Why haven’t they ever used this revolutionary technology before? And they managed to fit it onto the arm of a Knightmare?
    • Bullshit.
  • How is Lelouche not tracking this thing from his Omniscient Knightmare?
  • Damn, that shield must use up a lot of energy.
    • It’s also hardly surprising a bunch of inexperienced guerrillas have no idea what they’re doing, Lelouche.
  • Uh, MSGT, do you not realize you are working for the Evil Empire? Are you that stupid?
  • LOL, Suzaku just broke that woman’s fall with the metal hand of a Knightmare. That woman is dead.
  • Why did Suzaku just stop? He was winning. Why stop?
  • Did that Japanese guy just suggest that unleashing POISON GAS onto the city would’ve been a good idea?
    • I dunno whom to root for. Everyone is a mass murderer just waiting to happen.
  • Why did Clovis do any of what Lelouche asked him to do? He didn’t use his Geass on him. Why?
  • Oh thank God, the episode is over. I have a date with a razor.
    • PIXIES.

Heroes of the Storm and the Deathly Release Date

SILLY.SNAPE-PREPAREDBlizzard announced the Heroes of the Storm release date today. June 2. Huh. Well, I’ve been playing HotS up to my eyeballs–enough to keep me from posting on this blog–and have a pretty high MMR, so I’m confident enough to speak on the game’s current status, particularly as to whether or not the game is actually ready for this sort of transition. Snape, loving curmudgeon that he is, has already given away my opinion.

As an aside, yes, I am alive. I do plan to post more, but there’s not too much to talk about as far as anime or whatever goes this season. I will do another Code Geass post soon, as that was a shitton of fun to write and read. Lelouch Lamperouge must be taken to task for all his “grand” schemes that make no bleeping sense whatsoever. I will need many bullets.

Get it? “Bullets”? They’re…eh. Philistines.

Oh, I was talking about Heroes of the Storm. Yeah, Blizzard, I don’t think you know what you’re doing. The game isn’t ready. It just isn’t. I play at high Diamond level and am pretty close to Master. From my perspective, the game has a lot of grime that needs to be rubbed off before you toss it out for public consumption. Most notably, we need more Heroes. Lots more Heroes. I was talking to a friend about it just now and we both agree the Hero pool isn’t sufficiently deep enough to create a healthy meta that supports flexible team composition selection. Sylvanas was a good step in the right direction, but since you’ve so thoughtfully set us down a collision course with destiny, we need about six-to-seven more Sylvanases to be in a decent state come June. Given that you’ve been releasing champions around every six weeks, that’s not enough time for more than two champions…unless you’ve got some surprise package of Heroes in the pipeline just waiting to go. To be honest, I was hoping today’s announcement was going to be a Diablo trio of Heroes or something thereof. Talk about disappointment in that category, but it just brings us back to the relative dearth of meta-viable Heroes to take into the Nexus. In an interview a few months ago, Blizzard stated clearly there were six Heroes in development at that time. Since then, both Lost Vikings and Sylvanas have been released. So that leaves us four. I’m going to assume that since then at least one other Hero has moved into the acute development stage or whatever you want to call it, so say five. Five isn’t enough, especially when there’s no guarantee all of them will have the same release-date quality as Sylvanas.

But that’s not all, Blizzard. There are other problems afoot at Hogwarts, since this school is run by morons who think putting soul-sucking, life-scarring Dementors a hundred yards away from school children is a perfectly sane idea.

Talents. Talents, talents, talents. Talents are a relatively new development in HotS, and it shows. Jaina and Sylvanas both demonstrate that Blizzard is finally getting the hang of what talents ought to look like, but so many other Heroes need an update in that department. There are only a few meta-viable talent builds for every Hero; many of those are sub-optimal. Some Heroes are stuck in the short end of the pool as far as that goes. Tassadar, Tyrael, Uther, etc., all have talents that suck really bad and no one will ever pick in any universe, prime or alternate. Furthermore, that’s not the kind of change you can realistically push out in the space of seven-ish weeks. Sure, surprise me by all means, but I remain skeptical, as I ought to.

Then there’s matchmaking, the canker afflicting HotS. People are not really matched well based on their actual MMR or some other solid performance indicator, but speed and general accuracy. This is less of an issue at the lower ends of the game where no one knows fuck-all and runs around thinking Anub’arak is OP or something, but it quickly becomes a serious issue the higher your skill level goes. At the very top end, it’s pretty annoying at best to be matched regularly with people at half your projected MMR, not that the other team doesn’t suffer from this just as much. It still takes the wind out of the sails of high-end competition. Few things in HotS are more enjoyable than a high-level match between equally skilled teams, win or lose. Trust me, I’ve done it. The problem is that it’s so rare that you have to slug through ten matches of Gazlowe-obsessed weirdos before you can face gather a proper team comp.

Suffice it to say, I’m not sure if Blizzard has listened to Illidan on this matter. We’re not ready for public release. The game systems need to be refined more, the talents need serious attention, we need more Heroes to shake things up and provide more viable picks and counterpicks, along with a simple team/guild/clan system and other similar features. HotS has the potential to be a great MOBA, but that only comes with time and patience. Am I wrong to suspect this release date is more internally dictated rather than developer-oriented? Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet one of my horcruxes on it.

I have no horcruxes, by the way. That was a joke.

5 Things Game Developers Apparently Believe (Are Legitimate Excuses For Their Screwups)

(In response to this from Kotaku. The views expressed henceforth are my own.)

Before I joined the military, I worked at Starbucks as a barista. My formerly conservative views and upbringing gave me a pro-military leaning when it came to American men in uniform. Despite this, I didn’t spend all my time spewing vitriol at the big-budget Pentagon on how carelessly they were using our troops. I didn’t have to: they obviously were. Still, they offered a bunch of reasons why people just didn’t understand the realities of war. I didn’t care then or now. It turns out that, despite not knowing much about the real-life military, I still kind of expected them to follow all those inconvenient rules of engagement and Geneva Conventions and to get shit done in a reasonable time frame with as little loss of life and expenditure as possible despite all the unimaginable conditions they endured every day. Funny how that works.

Six or seven-ish years removed, I still expect that of the military, even though I know a little more about what it’s like in uniform as opposed to outside of it, probably because we are responsible for a vast amount of power that can (and has) ruined entire countries. I mean, I guess it’s probably hard for those guys manning our nukes in Montana somewhere to wake up at 0400 or whatever and deal with the most monotonous, horrible job that they hope to God never ever gets exciting, but I still kinda ruthlessly expect them to foster and maintain that sort of discipline each and every day while they’re handling devices that can bring about The End of All Things (complete with Howard Shore score) in the space of a few minutes. How unreasonable of me. The gall.

I say this stuff as a deliberately hyperbolic example, so let’s take it down a notch: I guess it’s pretty hard to build a building, e.g., an apartment complex, a type of facility in which billions of people live. To make matters worse for my spoiled ass, I happen to reside in a developed country with a decent standard of living and the inconvenient expectations that brings about, so I expect the facility to be safe, clean, protect me from the elements, and all the other sort of things I trade a little over one-fourth of my paycheck for. If, in the course of my residence, I spy a hole in the corner of my study, the roof starting to cave in, or simply a lot of bugs of the various types that shouldn’t be there (apart from spiders. I really don’t give a fuck about spiders and oh my god would you stop freaking out over them), I basically have grounds to complain about this, right?

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

1. Making games is a thousand times harder than you think (so it’s not our fault if we fail miserably)

I am an atrocious blogger. Check how often I post (and what I post about) if you don’t believe me, but jeez, I’ve gotten a little tired of the game industry coming up with all sorts of variations on this same comic mea culpa, which really just says “fuck you faggots it’s not our fault” in regards to stuff that clearly is. It’s hard to feel empathy for them when, oh, I don’t know, the developers for Assassin’s Creed go on record saying “it’s really hard to make female animation models, so fuck women. They’re not important!” then shit out a game that tried to coast on the same tired formula of their franchise’s last five games, hoping you wouldn’t notice how the rendered dolls behaved and appeared very much like the vanguard of Cthulhu.

Let’s say you want to make a game. The first thing you do is set goals. Over the past twenty-five years or so, one of them has tended to be to fix most of the critical bugs before shipping things. Then you can move onto things like story, gameplay, themes, etc. Done.

Nope.

Nope.

To make a game now, you need to focus on monetization. This is a fancy corporate term for squeezing money from your potential consumers who have stuck with you all these years, all due to a vicious cycle of spiraling costs and development times for much smaller profit margins, one we loudly lament on our Twitter feeds but refuse to do anything about, since the actual people above us tend to sign our paychecks. I can understand that you have families and can’t really be asked to be moral crusaders at the forefront of changing the industry you’re stuck in or wish to remain a part of, but then that probably means shouldn’t throw stones from your glass houses, as eventually some people might a mistake your attempts at catharsis as a legitimate opinion. Again, the gall.

Maybe I should have read the Necronomicon after all.

Maybe I should have read the Necronomicon after all.

And that’s just the most vocal people at the top, you know, the ones with some capital and wiggle room to freely express themselves in a public space once in a while. Since this is their livelihood and career, one that doesn’t tend to allow crossover into other sections of society, the unfortunate lower members of the studio have to shut up and deal with their studio heads’ questionable management methods and objectives and knock out the overwhelming pile of shit in the “To Do” pile on their desks. Granted, I haven’t worked in the game industry, but considering this is how it works in almost every company or organization worth a damn, I’m going to guess it applies to the oh-so-special cadre of persecuted game developers. Then you have to deal with the inherent uncertainty that comes with an industry with little solid ground and studio shutdowns and hoping Metacritic doesn’t tear the kitten you’ve labored on for five years into tiny pieces and, and, and…

I haven’t even mentioned design and code, because I’m giving up trying to follow the general literary format of the original article for no reason. Let’s skip straight to my point:

No one. Fucking. Cares.

This little “explanation” is something nearly everyone in the work force has to deal with. No one outside the military really understands us; as mentioned before, we’re still expected to do our jobs. Nobody outside the finance world understands it; it’s still kinda expected (but not really forced to, thanks to the power of Mammon that people still haven’t figured out is entirely imaginary) to do something productive for society. Nobody outside the video game industry really understands it; you’re still expected to meet a basic level of quality.

You’re not special snowflakes.

2. Games look like complete ass for 90% of their production (which is why we never explain anything)

You know what I love about Blizzard (that company that makes WoW and some other games whose names I can’t really remember right now…weird…)? Apart from their generally consistent output of solid iteration on established franchises, they’ve become masters at pretending to be really earnest people whose fans don’t empathize with, yet refusing all the while to elucidate and build a culture of transparency of how decisions are made in their meeting rooms. They’ll make long Blue Posts on their forums once in a while about how “we really try hard and care and blah blah blah” while making absurdly clueless decisions about problems in their own games, ones that their vigilant raiders were screaming at them for weeks to fix. Eventually, after a thousand and one mistakes, you stop believing they’re sincere. What’s baffling is that they (and almost all other game studios) insist on adhering to some unspoken Biblical Commandment that internal decisions and priorities are sworn to greater secrecy than CIA black ops, as if revealing their whole methodology–one uniquely tailored to their own institutional culture–will ruin everything. I don’t know why. To go back to my own experience, how the military works is not exactly mystifying. In fact, it’s one of the better understood ways of living in human civilization, since shitty stuff happening to you for inscrutable reasons beyond your control continues to remain literary gold. To be sure, the military doesn’t want you to know the precise details of what it’s up to right now unless you actually need to know, but that’s somewhat reasonable. Not for the video game industry, though. Imagine what would happen if they were transparent. They might get…embarrassed.

SILLY.KOTAKU-RANT-3

Exhibit A.

The above poorly generated meme refers to the brief scandal in World of Warcraft known as Candlegate, in which Ion Hazzikostas (a cool guy that I met very briefly while my face was painted and stuffing itself with a mistakenly large pizza) declared, to the best of his knowledge in that minute, that they wouldn’t be nerfing an in-game item (yon Candle) even though it was clearly overpowered and causing some serious issues. Twenty four hours later, a hotfix was implemented to nerf the Candle. Oops. Egg on face. Hazzikostas was working off the information on the top of his head, but it still reflected a telling sign of the left hand not knowing what the right was doing, if not more. Suffice it to say, attempts at transparency in a corporate structure at odds with the very idea tend not to go very well.

Obviously, it’s not hard to imagine why this aversion to transparency endures. Video game developers are people, and much of what happens in those studios undoubtedly arises less from holistic creative aspirations–or even EA-style shenanigans–and more from the gritwork that we love to watch Frank Underwood spin: politics, self-interest, and ruthless pragmatism. You don’t really want to admit even the possibility that Casey Hudson ruined the Mass Effect franchise for the sake of his own ego or whatever (an unverified and unverifiable rumor, but to quote Mordin Solus: “theory fits evidence”), so you keep your mouth shut. You don’t want to try to put your foot down against Activision’s goal to release another soulless Call of Duty clone to keep the money coming in, so you keep your mouth shut. In a close-knitted industry where much of your resume involves your reputation, burning bridges safely is an opportunity most members will never run into.

The problem is that this sort of mentality actively instills among your fans a very skeptical, hostile, and altogether unforgiving culture towards you. It’s not like your feeble PR antics actually fool any significant number of people. They just communicate that our concerns and desires ultimately have no say: you’re the corporation, we’re the consumer, and we should learn our place. So if corporations want to continue avoiding transparency like the Black Death, they need to accept some amount of unbridled and at times ridiculous levels of criticism from us in return. It’s not like our concerns mean much to you. Why should your concerns mean much to us?

3. When the devs use the word “excited”, they’re not blowing smoke up your ass (except when they are, so good luck trying to tell the difference)

Really? No, really? This is a point? “The devs have feelings too”? You know, I generally assumed someone involved in such a nascent thing as the video game industry would have some kind of passion for it. How else would you get anyone to even start the damn thing? I also assume they’re working under a number of constraints that force them to do stuff they would rather not do, like oversell a talking point that a manager wrote for them. It’s not as if every other human being has ever had to do this.

This is how demeaning this article gets, since apparently everyone who criticizes a game is a Metacritic trollwhore who just wants to shit on game developers’ hopes and dreams and see their families starve. It’s like the author, now a game developer himself, hasn’t considered that most gamers are reasonable, intelligent people who work just as hard as they do (or harder) and would like to see some consistent return for shelling out their hard earned cash on an entertainment medium they enjoy and have dedicated significant portions of their own limited mortal passion and attention to. Let’s be fair: there are some idiots on the Internet who haven’t really thought through the logistics and realities of making a video game, but let’s be fair: those are few and far between. Most of us hating on you for demanding that we pay $60 for The Order: 1886 have some legitimate grievances with a pattern from your industry, a pattern that is no longer explained away as a fluke or variance. It’s become a damnable habit, and you’re just catching on to how we’re catching on. Uh oh.

4. Game devs actually read a lot of critical writing on their work (but don’t actually have to care)

All right, I do believe this point a little more than the others, if only because I watched the Dragon Age team fall on their swords repeatedly to appease the idiots who thought Dragon Age 2 was the Beast and False Prophet all tied up into one baby-eating package. On the flip side, who gives a flying fuck? Consumer criticism, by definition, is ex post facto, i.e., after the transaction is completed. From the standpoint of the law, the video game consumer has very little wherewithal or standing with which to resolve their buyer’s remorse (those massive EULAs have consequences). Keep in mind: we’re not talking about buying some rip-off toy from a mall vendor because we fell for their cheap sales pitches. We’re talking about $50-60 purchases that you, the developers, spend literally years building hype for. You promise us a tremendous amount of shit in the hopes we’ll buy it, much of which borders on blatant deceit. To our credit and often folly, we tend to follow through, because we care about games and tend to have active interest in experiencing this pastime of ours. To claim you empathize with our anger after you have managed to get us to hand over our money that we cannot get back from you is a little rich. At best.

No, it’s as rich as escargot, assholes. There is an implicit contract between the game developer and the gamer: you give us good shit, we buy it from you. If you don’t give us good shit, we at least have a right to complain loudly, as that’s the only thing we can do. No amount of bitching, Reddit-level quality or otherwise, will get a court to listen to us and force you to fork over those greenbacks. You’ve won. The only thing you have to do, as far as we can tell, is move onto the next game. You’ll repeat the cycle. Again, I’m more than willing to entertain the idea that game developers don’t always (or often) have a choice in what they can accomplish during a game’s development cycle, but examples of developers truly listening to feedback and making serious changes–changes they often don’t even have the corporate leverage to effect–are few and far between. Again, Dragon Age is really the only example that comes to mind off the top of my head. Not all of what they changed was good anyway. In the end, those people who hated Dragon Age 2 lost out on their money and time, even though I disagreed with them and spewed vitriol at them myself. Sure, maybe some of their reactions might prove a bit immature in the grand of scheme of things, but yours has no weight whatsoever.

In other words, game developers score no brownie points by claiming “we have passion too.” In the context of the basic video game transaction, they have the upper hand. For them, passion is a luxury. We, as video game players, only buy video games we have passion and interest in to begin with. That is literally the only thing making us willing to fork over several hours’ wages for something like this. When a flagship franchise for a next-gen console barely has enough content to match the real-world number of hours the average worker might have slaved away to buy it, you lose all standing for pity with us.

5. If you think something sucks, that’s not really news to the dev team (so suck it up anyway)

Oh. This again. I get to be enlightened by how game developers have limited resources and have to establish priorities. Yawn. I already explained that we, as normal people, understand this. Going back to Item #2, however, due to the gaming industry’s crippling allergy to transparency, we never get to know why those choices were made. Why do game developers insist on belittling us with stories about how “we have to make hard decisions” while never explaining what the calculus of those decisions is? You think we care if we don’t have any substantive details? Answer: we don’t. Here Anthony Burch waxes rueful about how his team had to choose between the bulk content of Borderland’s 2 and the ending. I dunno, that seems like a pretty big strawman to me, to say nothing of how it speaks to how out of touch he seems to have become with the average gamer. Very few people bought Borderlands 2 for the quality of the story, an element it barely even had. The entire game is sold up on reckless mayhem combined with some silly antics and quality voice acting to provide a transparent excuse for carnage. We want the guns, the classes, and the mindless violence. Claptrap is not Fall-From-Grace. He’s a mascot that produces cheap laughs. Sacrificing the ending of a game that did not prioritize literary quality from the outset is not a sacrifice. It’s called structure. We don’t expect Call of Duty to have an amazing story either. Or Blizzard games post Frozen Throne. Even claiming to value story is a reputation that a gaming company tends to have to earn.

Let’s go back to my favorite dead horse: Mass Effect 3. Explain to me the priorities of that game. It was the end of the trilogy, the closer to two previous games that had constructed a memorable array of characters in a rich and inviting universe we all loved. I’d hazard to say the story of that game should have taken priority over everything else, assuming all that talk about passion wasn’t pure flatulation. Instead, it seems pretty clear said story was low on the priority list. Forget about the nightmare that was the ending for a moment: Mass Effect 3’s story was the weakest of the three games regardless. There was a very noticeable shift in the actions of the characters and how the stories were told in the first place. All the piles of hype about how the story would have branching endings and radical outcomes based on what you’d done before turned out to be ashen night. But what did seem to have the priority of the developers? Oh, the gameplay. I should note that Mass Effect 2 had solved that issue already. Despite the outrage over thermal clips, the gameplay was tight and crisp. What other major iteration was needed? Apparently lots, because the gameplay was the best in the franchise, revamped and sparkled up for all to revel in. Even significant amounts of development time were dedicated to building a feature into a singleplayer RPG that nobody had ever asked for: multiplayer. I bet the months and resources appropriated to that could have been spent on giving us a final boss, or, maybe, a credible concluding scenario that fit the overall tone and themes of the franchise. Oh, but I just remembered Item #4, so here’s a little clarity for you: nobody remembers Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer. Everyone does remember the ending. Those last three minutes ruined the entire Mass Effect franchise and permanently scarred and besmirched the Pixar-like reputation of Bioware as a studio. I certainly hope that the studio discussed priorities after that fiasco.

It never gets old.

It never gets old.

You see, there are priorities, and there are basics. Assassin’s Creed didn’t get that right. Watch Dogs didn’t get that right. More and more games seem to be following in those footsteps. But beyond all that, merely having a list of priorities does not mean those priorities are well-conceived. It’s perfectly possible to ruin a game with the wrong set of priorities. What we’re a little miffed about these days is that you keep making the same mistakes. You keep throwing out games that nobody could believe were ready for release, yet you adopt the corporate line the moment shit hits the fan. A few months later, you rant about how nobody understands you. But we do: you are a normal person, in a normal job, in a normal industry, and we still expect you to do that job. Just like the military, stress and logistics are no excuse for massacring a village. The complexity of building a plumbing system doesn’t make the consumer a whiny brat for suing you when that shoddily built system ruins their month. But in the video game industry, we don’t have any recourse. You take our money and that’s that, often by outright lying to us. So we get to bitch in return and call you names on this giant bathroom wall.

Until you put your money where your mouth is, we’ll keep opening ours. It’s the only option we have, after all. How’s that for constraints?