Dune/Geass

The parallels between the two stories are fascinating. I’m almost finished with it, and already I can say Code Geass’ first season was so close to Dune that you might think that Code Geass is even based on Dune. Many of these parallels have been pointed out by Vendredi.

Spoilers from both follow…

Universe
A desert planet to which the protagonist is banished to with his family by the Emperor. The planet has the most precious substance in the universe: Spice. Spice not only has special properties that prolongs life and increasing strength, it is also very dangerous to obtain. An overarching empire controls the ‘great houses’.A country where the protagonist is banished/exiled to with his family by the Emperor. The country has two different, precious substances: Sakuradite and Refrain. Sakuradite is as precious as Spice, and Refrain has the same ‘druggy’ properties as spice (being able to see into the future and past). The Britannian empire watches over its different areas.

Code Voice

Fremen <–>  Black Knights

Sardaukar <–> Knight of One, Two, etc.

Worms/Ornithopter <–> Hadron-Cannon Equipped Knightmare Frames/Normal KFs

The Voice/Great Control <–> Lelouch’s Geass

Characters

Paul <–> Lelouch: Both characters are ‘masterminds’ who have significant control using their “voices” that people must follow. They are both somehow related to their emperor-father, and have at least one of their parents die, which forces them to fight. They both are outsiders and yet have the unquestionable loyalty of a group they were only accidentally introduced to. They both have sisters. Of course, Paul is a bit more ideal (should I say too perfect) with formidable fighting skills (unlike Lelouch) and the ability to look into many possible futures. They both have ‘alter-egos’ Muad’Dib and  Zero; to which the fanatical hordes chant throughout the series.

Jessica <–> C.C.: Both the ‘mysterious’ power that trains/gives them their power. Both Jessica and C.C. have lost and gone through a lot in their lives (Jessica through Reverend Mother-ship and gaining memories of past and C.C. Through immortality). Both are called witches throughout the story for being misunderstood.

Chani <–> Kallen: Powerful female side/lead characters who fall in love with the main protagonist. Both are adept at fighting and are terrifying in battle.

Stilgar <–> Toudou/Ougi: (this may be a weaker parallel), both are the leaders of a militant group  (Xing-ke’s was China’s coup) that the main character ‘inherits’ and gains control over.

Halleck <–> Xing-Ke: Perhaps either Stilgar or Halleck can play the role of Ougi, Toudou or even Xing-Ke, all are capable side characters. I think Halleck gets to be Toudou or Xing-Ke, just because he’s been more trained in strategy/tactics.

Story

1) Exile to planet/country–Paul to Arrakis, Lelouch to Japan

2) Royal arrival–Paul’s father as Duke, Lelouch as part of Ashford family.

3) Traumatic experience–Slaughter of Atreides family, Slaughter at the Shinjuku Ghetto.

4) Power GET!–Paul eats spice and gains power to see the future, Lelouch gets Geass.

5) Recruitment of militia–Paul becomes leader of Fremen, Lelouch becomes leader of Black Knights

…. More to come when I actually finish Dune.

Vendredi

To be fair, the similarities between Code Geass and Dune are in a sense to be expected; Dune is the father of modern space opera in the same way that Lord of the Rings is the father of modern “epic quest” type fantasy – very few of what we might think of as science fiction has escaped its influence; take Star Wars, for example – the first movie begins in orbit above a desert planet and depicts a somewhat more anachronistic society – knights, pirates, and sorcerers. While I doubt that Herbert invented the idea of the space opera, Dune did depict a far less conventional view of the future – in many ways, more a reflection of the medieval past.

This is an enduringly popular trope, I think, and is often contemplated in a lot of “softer” (i.e. less focus on the hard science) sort of science fiction. Many mecha shows fall into this vein: a mechanical suit of armour that defeats all other conventional weaponry does strike the imagination in the same way that common depictions of knights in shining armour strike the imagination (On the other hand, knights in shining armour, like mecha, are completely divorced from actual physical reality… but the difference between knights in fiction and knights in fact is another distinction altogether).

But back to Geass vs. Dune. I think Phazys nails a lot of solid comparisons, and even more comparisons can be drawn if one delves deeper into the series, even down to the fact that both Lelouch and Paul have grandiosely named master plans for humanity – the Golden Path and the Zero Requiem, respectively, that involves a complete restructuring of human organization and governance via dictatorship/sacrifice. The Golden Path is more prominent in the subsequent books, but I found the similarity pretty striking.

There’s two particular comparisons though to which I feel more should be said.

1.Bene Gesserit and the Geass Order

I think C.C., V.V. and by extension the whole Geass Order is analogous to the Bene Gesserit – their motives are mysterious, they possess considerable knowledge and have been experimenting for generations to bring out the most in human nature. The C.C. = Jessica comparison is rather apt; it shows that not all Bene Gesserit are blind devotees, and in the same way C.C. is a bit of a maverick, although her relation and the nature of the Geass Order is never made explicit.

2. Desert Power

Phazys sort of touched on this with the Worms/Saurdukar = Knightmare Frames, but I believe the concept is a little deeper than a straight equivalency. Near the start of the book, Duke Leto lectures Paul on what the Atreides need to control Arrakis: desert power. The theme is rather subtle and not the best-explored one, but I think it’s very integral to Dune.

Essentially, Leto’s stratagem is to win the loyalty of the local Fremen, who have been shaped by the hostile ecology of Arrakis into lethal fighters and incredible survivalists – able to control the Worms, understand the locations of the spice, etc. In a sense it’s part commentary on the influence of geography on human society, and also on the need for a new culture to somehow assimilate into, or at the very least engage meaningfully, with the indigenous culture of a new locale. This of course contrasts with the antagonists of the book, the Harkonnen, who marginalize and attempt to exterminate the rebel Fremen.

I think Geass also touches on this to some extent – despite the superior military supremacy of Britannia thanks to the Knightmare Frames (or in Dune, the Harkonnen victory due to the super-soldier Saurdukar), the Empire is still largely unable to decisively triumph over “those Elevens”, in part because the symbolic stamping out of the local culture (ex. renaming Japan to “Area 11”) provokes outrage and hostility.

At the end of the day, however, I’m not sure if the Dune similarity is even intentional, or if the producers have even read Dune. It’s definitely quite the similarity, but while Geass is a great joyride, I found it sort of lacked the same thematic impact that Dune had. Although I guess that is to be expected when comparing a literary classic to a Sunrise anime…

Jeka

To be honest, this is something I cannot contribute to having not read Dune at all. (Please proceed to flame me and call me a loser adore me)

My comment below can pretty much sum up what I have to say. That is all.

~Jeka

fisharson

Can not contribute to this discussion because he has not yet finished watching Code Geass.

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