Another day, another debate about yet another piece of anime fiction and how canonical it is to its lore’s timeline! (Looking at you, One Piece!) Canon Vs Non–Canon happens to be the bane of my existence because I believe in a comfortable little thing called ‘Fanon’, aka make up your headcanons, because I’m too busy shipping the enemies together. But sometimes, the difference is important and needs to be cleared out. Just look at Code Geass, for example.
Let me get this out of the way. Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Rebellion? It isn’t canon. However, when it came out, people were confused. The movie came out of the left field with how the original anime ended. But even the creators have confirmed that the movie is set in an Alternate Timeline, not after the anime’s end. However, you can already tell that was the case when you put the movie and the anime side by side and see how some details and characters don’t add up.
But creating alternate timelines to further explore a story’s potential isn’t all that uncommon in anime. As mentioned previously, this is something that One Piece tends to do a lot. It constantly releases movies and then retcons them out of canon as an AU (Alternate Universe) occurrence. This way, it can delve into all the possibilities the plot can explore without having to commit or tamper with the mangaka’s vision of the story.
But that doesn’t have to be the case for all anime that do this, including Code Geass. But with Lelouch Of the Resurrection, which came out nearly a decade after the anime ended, it’s easy to tell why it’s not canon to the original timeline. But if it isn’t, well, that’s what Lore Analysis is for! Where we break down some of the most popular queries regarding specific anime on the internet. Today, it’s Lelouch Lamperouge’s miraculous revival!
Shirley Fenette: Now You See Her, Now She’s Dead.
So, Shirley Fenette is an interesting character in Lelouch’s life. When you compare her to the other female influence in Lelouch’s life, Euphemia, the most glaring similarity between the two that emerges is how both of them died as a result of the Geass backfiring on him.
And both deaths took a terrible toll on Lelouch. With Shirley, he killed her father and used the Geass on her twice, yet she fell in love with him every time. They even become a couple by the 2nd season. So, when she’s killed by Rolo Lamperouge when she discovers the truth of him being an assassin who forced his way into Lelouch’s life through his own Geass? It’s a loss, to say the least.
However, when Shirley supposedly returns at the beginning of Lelouch Of The Resurrection, fans are bewildered. She died in Lelouch’s arms, despite him using the Geass to tell her to live, but she lost too much blood. She shouldn’t be alive unless the continuity itself is an alternate timeline.
Code Geass -The Curious Case Of Lelouch’s Survival
Speaking of people who shouldn’t be alive by the end of the Code Geass anime, on top of that list is Lelouch himself. The writer for the anime, Ichiro Okouchi, even confirmed that Lelouch was dead in a 2008 interview.
And yet, that’s the entire point of Lelouch Of The Resurrection existing, to give him a revival. Okuichi further explained that this movie was not a sequel to the anime, but the subsequent movies that came after. Namely Lelouch of the Rebellion I — Initiation, Lelouch of the Rebellion II — Transgression, and Lelouch of the Rebellion III — Glorification.
These movies differ from the original anime through the presence of certain omitted scenes, subplots, and even specific characters. This isn’t even mentioning all the additional content that was added. There is a clear timeline difference, even if it is subtle.
Here, the anime and the movies become two separate occurrences: One where Lelouch did die as the infamous Zero in a bid to bring Brittania down, and one where his loyal companion, C.C., faked his death to keep him safe.
So, is Lelouch dead or alive? Well, that depends on which continuity you consider canon!