bahamut (marrow) wrote in ship_manifesto,
bahamut
marrow
ship_manifesto

SOFT METAL SKIN, a suzaku/lloyd (code geass) manifesto

Title: Soft Metal Skin
Author: marrow
Fandom: Code Geass
Pairing: Suzaku/Lloyd
Word Count: 3056
Spoilers: Throughout the entire series, although most of it is rather vague.
E-mail: stelliferous@gmail.com
Notes: Thanks to synard for being my beta. I couldn't have finished it without you.





  ✖introduction (hello hello hello)

Originally, when Code Geass first aired in Japan and became popular in the states, I had no interest in it - no desire to watch it whatsoever. There were times that I looked at the art (CLAMP has never been my favorite group, but I do like what they do), and the fanart, and being as I often frequent 4chan, avoiding it entirely would have been impossible either way. At that point in time, I had been devoting my time to other things, however, so even that didn't manage to draw me in.

My interest didn't bloom until it began airing in the states. Since I had a passing interest and often watched Adult Swim, I decided that now would be the time that I would decide whether or not I liked it enough to watch the entire thing. Of course, I spend so much time doing things on the computer that I didn't watch it so much as listen to it, only turning around when something struck my interest, until one of my friends pointed out Lloyd to me. I couldn't help but laugh at him, being loud and boisterous, apparently no care in the world, and after that I kept watching episodes to catch the bits and pieces with him in it, until I finally decided to break down and watch the entire thing straight though through means other than the television.

Eventually, I found that Lloyd was becoming the character most important to me in the series; his struggle to be human while also trying to separate himself from the painful things that humanity is so accustomed to is a relatable one. How many people wish that humans were not the fragile things they are? How many people wish that loss was not so painful? How many people wish that their emotions did not control them?

Alongside of that, Lloyd's interacts with Suzaku struck me, Lloyd often showing his most human side due to the boy's influence. Without Suzaku, Lloyd's importance in the series is diminished and his character growth (however little of it there may be), is impossible. From that, my interest in the ship bloomed.

The pairing between Suzaku and Lloyd is actually one of the less well-known of the Code Geass pairings - it's especially difficult to find original content that comes from the states, though it's a little more popular in Japan, for whatever the reasons may be. I've wondered from time to time why this is so, and besides coming up with the obvious answer that it gets ignored in the face of so many other popular pairings, there's also the issue of Lloyd being a supposed father-figure for Suzaku. I suppose this would stop some people from considering them as a pairing in a romantic or sexual sense, but I see their relationship as much more than just a familial one. There's so much potential in their interactions that I can't ignore the questions of "what could be?" or "what could have been?".

One of the first scenes I remember seeing that truly drew me in was during episode 8, when Suzaku jumped into the explosion created by Zero in order to save the hostages in the hotel along with his friends, and Lloyd screamed at him to stop (and then collapsed back in relief when he realized that nothing had happened). I thought his reaction was an interesting one, considering how detached he was suppose to be, not bogged down by the concerns so many of the other characters possessed, and after that I started really paying attention to the two of them and how they interacted.

Because of this, they became the only pairing I can truly call "OTP".




  ✖suzaku kururugi (the white knight)

Suzaku is a boy with quite a lot of guilt issues who tries his best to project a cheerful and happy exterior in order not to worry or be a burden to the people around him. He's optimistic, almost to a point a naivety - Zero wishes to reform Britannia and asks for Suzaku's aid, but Suzaku declines, stating that means gone about in the wrong way are not worth it in the end. He acknowledges that Britannia is corrupt, but instead of becoming "evil" to defeat "evil", he wishes to change it from the inside. Of course, there's a lot more to the boy than just that - his guilt, self-hatred, and belief that means acheived through the wrong ways are not acceptable. All stem from the death of his father when he was a child.

When Japan was at war with Britannia, Prime Minister Kururugi insisted that his country fight to the death, and he refused to surrender to the enemy. His son didn't agree with this, however: he felt that it wasn't worth the number of lives being lost to uphold Japan's pride. They got into a heated exchange, and Suzaku ended up killing his father. This was covered up, of course, and Suzaku's life was spared, the press story being that Genbu Kururugi committed suicide, and Japan was thrown into disarray. Eventually, the country surrendered because of Suzaku's actions.

It's because of this that Suzaku believes that one must go about proper means when trying to induce reform, and also the reason he often throws himself into danger. He hopes to atone for his father's murder with his own death.

He's far from being a static character, however. After Princess Euphemia (the only person who he saw as understanding his ideals) dies, he becomes much more reserved, his cheerful attitude downtrodden, but does not give up on his beliefs and continues to try and go on as he had been, along with the added weight of a desire for revenge upon Zero.

Suzaku is further thrust into despair during R2, when, because of Lelouch's command that he not die (which he issued to Suzaku earlier in R1 with his Geass) and his refusal to retreat, his fires the F.L.E.I.J.A. warhead equipped on the Lancelot in Tokyo, killing thousands. Afterward, he resolves to achieve his goals no matter what the price, his optimism broken.

In the end, Suzaku is just a kind person who wants nothing more than for the world to be at peace, but finds his ideals do not always work in the face of reality and because of this spirals further and further downward to become the reserved and cold person he is at the end of R2. Most of his rage and anger ends up directed toward himself, as he often blames himself for things that both are and aren't his fault, a process which only serves to enlarge his self-loathing and causes him to abandon any desire he may have once had for his own happiness.




  ✖lloyd asplund (the white bishop)

Lloyd, in comparison to Suzaku, is a different creature entirely, especially in the realms of ideals and self-worth. Lloyd acts care-free and cheerful, seemingly perfectly at rights with the world, and is almost always in his element, submersing himself in the world he prefers - a world of the artificial. He has become almost entirely detached from humanity, and tends to view people as nothing more than parts (and that's only when they're useful to him). His foremost interests lie in machines as well as science itself, both of which are immutable presences in the world which he can invest himself in.

Lloyd is generally much more realistic than Suzaku, and because of this, he views people much more easily as fragile and transient, not worth forming bonds with. He obstinately refuses to get close to anyone, pushing them away from himself in order to avoid the pain that comes from enduring loss. It's almost contradictory to his attachment to logic, but Lloyd is also a very emotional person. That alone is probably part of the reason why he goes to such lengths to protect himself from pain. Another reason why he is so detached from the humanity which he is reluctantly a part of is because of his inability to empathize with other people - his inability to put himself in another person's place, because he is often incapable of understanding their emotions.

Of course, it's obvious by all of this that Lloyd isn't as simple and lighthearted as he may at first seem. He even goes so far to say, in R2, that he has been "broken from the beginning", which reveals quite a lot about the way he sees himself. Lloyd seems to be jaded with life in general, and while he's not quite the type to be entirely pessimistic about things because of it, he tends to take an extremely realistic view toward any issues he's confronted with, which tends to cushion the blow and allow him to detach himself from the reality of the situation. For instance, he expects for people to die, so when faced with large amounts of death he shows almost no emotion (or no proper emotion) toward it, as it's something he expects in the first place and something he feels there's no use in showing sorrow over.

Lloyd doesn't have anything much in the way of ideals. He's selfish. To him, the most important things are his own happiness and well-being, which contrasts greatly with Suzaku's desire for self-sacrifice. He appreciates his safety and his life over things like pride and the happiness of others, and even the general state of the world - there are people who he cares about, however, in the beginning of the series and throughout, he doesn't even seem to realize this himself. His trust in science and logic is also important to him, but this is mostly an escape from a world he finds painful and confusing.




  ✖the pairing (you're special)

Lloyd and Suzaku are people who are important to each other, both personally and as far as the story is concerned. Lloyd and Cecile are Suzaku's family. Both of them are always there for him throughout the duration of the series, and are the only people who stay close to him who can really understand what he goes through. Suzaku subtly pushes his friends away because he doesn't wish for them to become embroiled in his affairs, but Lloyd and Cecile are already a part of that side of his life, his work in the military, his desire to see the world a better place, and his revenge. Lloyd and Cecile accept Suzaku for who he is and ask nothing more from him than for him to pilot the Lancelot. Lloyd even, at one point, allows Suzaku to take the Lancelot to fulfill his revenge, even though he took the machine by force at first (and hit Lloyd). They see the very worst of him, yet don't judge or condemn him for it, nor do they push their beliefs upon him.

We don't see a whole lot of their interactions during calm time, but the second Picture Drama gives a bit of insight to the way they act around each other. During the Picture Drama, Suzaku returns to the trailer, and Cecile approaches him by telling him to say "I'm home." when he comes back instead of telling them that he's "reporting for duty". When he says it the first time, she tells him to say it like he really means it, and when he does, Lloyd interrupts Cecile's "Welcome home." by saying it loudly and hoisting his laptop up over his head.

When it comes to Lloyd specifically, Suzaku is one of the few people who really understands just what kind of person the scientist really is; even in the beginning, before Suzaku knows very much about the man, he give him kindness and respect that Lloyd often only gets from other people due to necessity and not because of genuine fondness or kindness. Suzaku actually gives him the benefit of the doubt and attempts to understand why he acts the way he does, not just jump to the conclusion that he's a bad person or an undesirable person to be around because he doesn't get along well with others. In the second season, he tells Millay that Lloyd is not a bad person, that he just has a difficult time being human, which easily demonstrates his understanding. Cecile and Suzaku are two of the only people who genuinely care for Lloyd, and that makes all the difference.

As far as Lloyd's character is concerned, Suzaku is no less than necessary. Most of what we see of Lloyd are his interactions with Suzaku. Though Lloyd often acts detached toward both Suzaku and Cecile, saying that he does not care for them would be a definite fallacy. He approaches everyone one with the same amount of bluntness and lack of politeness, but there are two rather key differences (at least at first) in his relationship with Suzaku. Firstly, Suzaku is Lloyd's devicer, his "perfect part". Without Suzaku, the Lancelot cannot run, which makes him necessary in a way that allows them to become closer over time. Secondly, is that Lloyd finds Suzaku interesting. He approaches the boy almost like a project to be studied. This initially allows him to get closer to appease his curiosity without getting emotionally involved. The man seems to slip as time passes, however, not realizing that he actually is becoming involved because he is so convinced that he does not care.

Because of this interest in Suzaku (and most likely, Suzaku's kindness as well), he becomes attached to him emotinally. Although it may be difficult to say whether or not his outbursts during battle are because he is worried for the Lancelot's well-being or Suzaku's (or both), there are times throughout the series that he demonstrates kindness toward Suzaku that we do not see him express otherwise. For instance: His expression while watching Suzaku with the Princess implies that he may not necessarily feel how he acts. When Suzaku is first knighted by Princess Euphemia, the nobles in attendance refuse to applause because he is an Eleven, but are forced to join in when Lloyd begins clapping for him despite their silence. Lloyd also does kind things for Millay from time to time at Suzaku's urging. And as well as kindness, Lloyd also shows sadness because of, or perhaps for, Suzaku. At the very end of R1, when Suzaku takes the Lancelot to go after Zero, Lloyd expresses sorrow over the possibility of losing his devicer. Though he denies that he cares whether he lives or dies to Cecile, it's obvious that he isn't okay with the possibility of that outcome. These human reactions that we see from Lloyd are only shown in relation to Suzaku. That we see this very human side of him at all makes it obvious to me that Lloyd's story is one of his struggling humanity, his fight to stay detached as he slowly begins to genuinely care for another human being and his conflict at caring for someone who so often puts himself in such dangerous positions.

There may be less material to work with later on considering Lloyd's involvement in R2 is much less than his involvement in R1, but there's certainly enough to imply the direction his development was going in. One scene that always stood out to me was Lloyd's exchange with Nina when she wanted to have the Lancelot equipped with F.L.E.I.J.A.

Nina: Um, professor Lloyd...

Lloyd: Do you plan on equipping a strategic weapon to a tactical weapon?

Nina: There is enough reason for it. All the material in the region under control will be completely annihilated by the collapse effect of F.L.E.I.J.A.

Cecile: Wait! You want Suzaku to fire that kind of weapon?

Anya: Massacre his own people?

Nina: Suzaku, do you still affiliate yourself with the Elevens? I want to leave F.L.E.I.J.A. in your hands.

Suzaku: You want me... to shoulder it?

Nina: You're Princess Euphemia's Knight, no?

Lloyd: [ turns on her. ] Aha! Nina, this contradiction will not only kill Suzaku, but you, too...

(R2; 16)


Whereas in season one, Lloyd asked Suzaku why he was in the military when he wanted to save lives, and told him the contradiction would kill him when he answered that he was in the military to save lives.

It's a bit more obvious when seen, as Lloyd's expression is probably more telling than his words are (R1, R2), but he does not seem quite so thoughtless at sentiment of Suzaku's death any longer.

Though it may be subtle, Suzaku changes Lloyd quite a bit throughout the series. It's because of this that I see them as being so important to one another - they just wouldn't be the same people they are if it was not for the other.




  ✖why ship it? (metal & flesh)

There are a lot of things I like about the pairing, besides it being so versatile in the realms of canon (Suzaku's personalty changes quite a bit throughout the series, and consequentially, his interactions with Lloyd do, too), although those are mostly personal preference. There's so much I can see in them, and so many places you can go with them, once you delve into the world of fandom. It's a pairing that can be sweet, sad, domestic, tragic - even that and so much more all at once.

Lloyd is one of those people who Suzaku cares for greatly, while Suzaku is the first person who Lloyd has ever actually been forced to face his feelings towards. It's very easy for me to see those feelings with romantic connotations - Suzaku is the first person who has ever manged to make Lloyd break from his detachment, and he didn't even realize what he had done. Lloyd is attached to Suzaku in a way that is different from his attachment to Cecile, who is the only other person that he really cares for - there's a sort of sorrow and desperation in the way that Lloyd does not wish to attach himself to someone who he knows is at a high risk to meet his end on the battlefield, but in the end, is unable to help where his emotions take him. Even more tragic is Suzaku's "death", which effectively proves Lloyd's philosophy right. Of course, it's easy enough to bypass that by saying he would eventually find out the truth, but there's always a possibility that he may not.




  ✖appendix (exit music)

credit where credit is due;

► Couldn't have done it with out May (synard), who served as my beta. ♥ thank you so much!

► I used wikipedia as a reference for certain details and to figure out which episodes I was talking about specifically.

► Most of the screenshots came from the Code Geass R2 Fanlisting, and the Rebellion Screenshot gallery (which is down).

► The graphics used on this essay are all from moe.imouto.org.

► All of my friends, for putting up with this weird obsession. ♥!


recommendations;

As I said at the beginning of this essay, fanworks for them aren't the easiest to find. Most of the fanfiction I know of is either by me, or by people I've requested it from. There are some very nice art websites, though.



(fanart)



Vivid Soul もしくは 愛する者は正気無し ♪ One of the first sites that I found. The art is very attractive and smooth, and it's one of my very favorite sites.

Order♫ Suzaku/Lloyd
Other Pairings♫ Schneizel/Lloyd
Warnings♫ Gender-bending, M-preg
Rating♫ R





COLOR BOX ♪ A lot of cute art.

Order♫ None; Mostly Lloyd solo
Other Pairings♫ None
Warnings♫ Gender-bending/cross dressing
Rating♫ G






title unknown ♪ This is one of my favorite sites. The art is cute and high-quality, and there are plenty of images. Lots of gag-centered things, as well.

Order♫ Undefined with a a good amount of solo Suzaku and solo Lloyd.
Other Pairings♫ V.V. shows up a lot, and there are other characters/pairings accounted for in minor
Warnings♫ None
Rating♫ NC-17






石良屋本店《ISHIRAYA-HONTEN》 ♪ Lots of good quality images and some comics. I like this one a lot, despite the abundance of other pairings.

Order♫ Lloyd/Suzaku
Other Pairings♫ Clovis/Lloyd, Schneizel/Lloyd
Warnings♫ None
Rating♫ R






nove9 ♪ Another favorite of mine. I really like the art; the style is pretty and everything is very high-quality. This is the first site with a more serious mood.

Order♫ Undefined
Other Pairings♫ Schneizel/Lloyd
Warnings♫ Character death
Rating♫ PG-13






YAG(ヤグ) ♪ Doesn't have too much Lloyd/Suzaku, and it's pretty much just oekaki, but what's there is good. I like it a lot!

Order♫ Lloyd/Suzaku
Other Pairings♫ I... can't remember. Gino.
Warnings♫ None
Rating♫ PG-13






title unkown(the characters are corrupted on my computer) ♪ Mostly Lloyd/Suzaku. Quality varies, but there's something about the style I really like. Another favorite. Also: This one actually has some porn that's Suzaku and Lloyd, not just them/random people!

Order♫ Lloyd/Suzaku
Other Pairings♫ Schneizel/Suzaku, some Suzaku/Lelouch
Warnings♫ Crossdressing, explicit imagry
Rating♫ NC-17






C-Room ♪ Has a lot of cute Lloyd/Suzaku comics. Quality varies, but I'm still rather fond of it.

Order♫ Lloyd/Suzaku
Other Pairings♫ Quite a few, but I didn't really check it out.
Warnings♫ None
Rating♫ PG-13



(communities)

code_geass → probably the biggest Code Geass community of Live Journal. If you want to find something related to the fandom, your best bet is to look here first.

purin_hakushaku → a community for Lloyd.

suzaku_knight → a community for Suzaku.

devicer → a community for Suzaku/Lloyd. It isn't very active, but if you look around a bit you might be able to find something to your liking






Tags: #anime/animation, code geass
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