The Battle of Narita: Great Battles in Anime History

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As long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of exalted characters.

~Edward Gibbon

6 Months after the Black Rebellion

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Gilbert G.P Guilford!”

The man in the red and yellow uniform of the Glaston Knights strode purposefully to the podium amidst the applause of the assembled knights and Britannian Notables. After carefully arranging his notes, he began:

“Ladies and gentlemen, before we begin this tactical lecture, I would like to acknowledge the presence of his Excellency, Viceroy Calares and his staff who today, takes over the reins of government as his majesty’s duly constituted representatives in Area 11.

In the past 6 months, we of the provisional government have managed to rebuild from what some are terming the greatest threat to Britannian security in our long history. The Black Rebellion has left Area 11 in a shambles both the economically, politically and militarily as well as fanning racial hatreds higher than ever before.

And yet, despite all this, we have managed to restore order to Area 11 by rebuilding our infrastructure and restoring critical government and economic institutions. More importantly, we have managed to restore peace by capturing many of the primary movers of the organization behind the Black rebellion, the Black Knights.

However, today’s lecture is not about our successes, but our failures. And there have been many. Need I remind you ladies and gentlemen, that although Zero, the mastermind behind the Black Rebellion is dead, holdovers from his inner circle have eluded capture? Need I remind you that our perceived weakness here in Area 11 has led our enemies, the EU to escalate their war against us? And lastly, need I remind you that our previous Viceroy, Imperial Princess and Commander in Chief, remains missing?”

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Eyes swiveled to the Cornelia Li Britannia Commemorative PlateTM featured prominently at the end of the hall. Then, he continued:

“As such, today we shall focus on one of the greatest strategic failures of the Britannian army, not within this conflict alone, but in its entire history. The Battle of Narita was planned to be the final nail in the coffin of the Japanese Liberation Front and put an end to years of internal strife in this area. And yet, when the smoke cleared, the battle lines of the Japanese resistance had been redrawn, but not in our favor. The black knights, who we thought to be an ineffectual group led by a lunatic, proved to be better armed, better organized and better led, than any of us thought possible. Further, our pyrrhic victory over the JLF galvanized the financial backers of the Japanese resistance to throw all their resources behind the Black Knights. There may have been conflicts before this battle ladies and gentlemen, but Narita is where the black rebellion truly began.

And so, without further ado, I shall begin this lecture:

Proceed to Gilbert G. P. Guilford’s Tactical Lecture

mechafetish: All information regarding knightmare frames are courtesy of Mecha Anime Headquarters. Visit them for they are awesome.

By the way, comments are disabled on the slides. Share your thoughts below when you get back.

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22 Responses to The Battle of Narita: Great Battles in Anime History

  1. moritheil says:

    I’m really liking the effort that went into this presentation.

    Switching between tenses was kind of jarring, but I enjoyed it overall. It’s nice to see a review blog switch up its format now and then.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Not to speak for mechafetish, but yes a lot of work went into this and posts like this. That you appreciate it makes a big difference thank you.

      Check our categories and you may find other posts like this as well as other formats.

      We Remember Love isn’t a review blog. We don’t do reviews. Rather, we make ‘critical explorations’ of the texts we write about. And I fanboy a lot.

      If our posts occur as reviews to you then we may be doing something horribly wrong lol.

  2. Camario says:

    That’s a very nice analysis. Narita was probably the most tactically and strategically interesting battle in the entire show. The fact it was a two-parter certainly helped.

    Though that’s not to say there was nothing interesting elsewhere, even if a lot -I wouldn’t say all- of the subsequent battles were increasingly simplified or just shortened. In the end, Code Geass had a few good battles and many mediocre ones, but Narita remains great.

    The Changing Tools of War has a fairly accurate assessment of how battles and Knightmare Frame technology evolved after this battle. A small nitpick: There weren’t any 6th generation frames at the time (aside from the Gawain, which has been retroactively referred as such in materials outside of the show).

  3. Owen S says:

    Epic presentation is epic.

    I have no idea how many hours went into making/writing/putting that together, but it must’ve been a labour of love.

  4. lelangir says:

    epic geass picture /saved

  5. revolemina says:

    This was extremely satisfying to read in a metatheatrical way. But you neglected to include an accompanying soundclip of Beethoven’s Symphony no.5!

  6. mechafetish says:

    @ everyone

    Thanks! It took about three weeks of work, but this makes it worth it!

    @ Camario

    Ah. I didn’t know that. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to peruse as much of the supplementary material as I would have liked. Thanks for the info!

  7. gloval says:

    I’d think this could be found later on in a CG world history textbook LOL.

    Revolemina’s suggestion of adding sound is good. Perhaps, as a level-up, you might want to create a video summary.

  8. ghostlightning says:

    @ revolvemina

    I would probably use Beethoven’s 3rd, but we’re CSS n00bs so we wouldn’t know how to add fancy features. In the future perhaps.

    @ gloval

    That’s the idea. We keep finding all these books, papers, and other publications in these anime worlds we visit. We’re doing our best to process and write about them quickly and for your amusement ^_^

  9. vendredi says:

    I’d go out on a further limb than Camario and say that Narita was probably the high point of the entire series. I’m fairly certain most of the trainwreck allegations came several episodes after Narita as the coherency of the plot started to go downhill.
    Narita also felt like the last time that grunts made any sort of significant contribution; as the series went on it felt like all the mecha battles devolved into hadron cannon spam.

    • ghostlightning says:

      I agree.

      The 2 battles of Tokyo had good thrills, but not the same level of completeness:

      Tactical plausibility
      Elegant duels
      Contribution of ‘grunts’

      The ‘terrain’ trap/tricks Zero used became somewhat trivial/forced, and the mecha mostly did ‘patented’ ‘killer-moves’ and/or massive AoE (Area of Effect attacks).

      This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy them – just acknowledging that they’re not in the same class as the Battle of Narita.

    • Camario says:

      I’m certainly tempted to agree, but not quite.

      Narita combined many of the better aspects of the series, especially in terms of nuanced combat as we both agree, but I wouldn’t put it in such absolute terms. Nothing was really on the scale of Narita, but I found the engagements in episodes 13, 17 and 24-25 to be fairly detailed without necessarily relying exclusively on cannon spam even when Gawain was around (post-19).

      The second season was a different matter, generally fitting your description once everyone had access to flight packs and beam weaponry, although there were still interesting tactical moments in episodes such as 6 and 23-25, off the top of my head, even if the role of grunts had become at best marginal if not non-existent by then due to the presence of super prototypes.

      Still, the last episode had one of the better one-on-one encounters with remarkable little beam spamming, considering how much combat had changed by then, and even a fitting return to ground-based basics.

      As far as the plot goes, that’s a slightly different can of worms. I would say it was more inconsistent than incoherent as a whole. Narita was a key turning point for the rebellion, but while it was also the catalyst for other events in Lelouch’s story, I’d say there were still a number of plot relevant moments of equal if not superior importance.

      Sorry for the lengthy reply.

  10. animekritik says:

    ultimately Code Geass is an argument for those historians that would say “great people” matter, which used to be the common sense view but not anymore. These days it’s more fashionable to argue that history is about the masses and that so-called “great people” just follow popular trends and implement popular policies.

    Love the first pic!

    • Camario says:

      I think the truth (so to speak) is somewhere in between.

      Mass movements and currents are important in terms of the larger, structural historical trends, but the influence of individuals can be key at certain points in time, delaying or accelerating the process in many ways.

      Rather than having to choose to just one, both factors should be studied. Of course, anime usually tends to favor “great men” almost by default.

  11. ghostlightning says:

    @ Camario

    Lengthy replies are welcome, especially of this quality. Subjectively Narita established the standard by which I judged subsequent encounters.

    As for the 2nd Battle of Tokyo, I did like the final Guren vs Lancelot fight, though my disappointment in it lies more in it not being long enough – but this is subjective and arbitrary and is not meant to decide the quality of the show.

    I’m with you regarding the plot. I don’t think it’s incoherent, but there are inconsistencies. Overall I really enjoyed this show and I’m more than willing to remember my love for it in the future.

    @ animekritik

    Yes, it’s romantic to think that way. Though in terms of tipping points I still hesitate to dismiss the contributions of individuals.

    My first encounter with the criticism of history was when I read Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace.’ He had quite a few things to say about the historians he’s read. It’s been some time since I last read it (10 years?) but your comment gave me the same feeling as he did.

    I feel that it is within the psychology of the human being to band socially and compromise with each other in order to control dominant individuals.

    This then reminds me of Nietzhce’s Master/Slave morality discussions, where the slaves being more populous construct normative behaviors/opinions/moralities to assert itself/themselves against the dominant masters.

    This may be behind why it’s so fashionable to diminish the contributions of the Lelouches in (anime) history (lol), and the contributions of the large figures in history.

  12. Nivek says:

    Well, i will to say: You make one of the BEST AAR(After Action Report) of all Code Geass History(for nothing you’re a military entusiat and a very good one, better than me,xd), a very well detail and written, with a lot of technical detail and ‘advice'(I’m feel who i’m reading a true militaty report in CG World).

    And like you say in the page of Implication of Knightmare Frame, always the battle was between the most HAX Mech and less strategy like this One(In fact Narita was maybe one of the most realistic military battle in Sunrise History, Beside One Year War or Gihren Greed games)

    well i loved it(you can send me the .pdf file, i want to have one copy, maybe translate to Spanish to some friends of mine), and if you can, make more like this one(I’m Hate the Macross series for the reason who SONGS never Finish Wars)

    thank for the aricle

    Att
    Nivek

    • ghostlightning says:

      Thanks, on behalf of mechafetish.

      Give me a little time to create a .PDF file of the whole thing. I’ll send it to you when it’s done.

      Too bad you don’t lime Macross. It’s our favorite thing. Songs aren’t supposed to end conflict, except in anime. But we like anime, and if we wanted something really realistic, we’d look somewhere else. Thanks again!

  13. Pingback: The Purpose of Anime and Manga (Part V) | We Remember Love

  14. Specialist290 says:

    As a mecha anime fan, a military history buff, and a college history major, I have to commend you for this. It definitely looks quite professionally done, and the conclusions at the end certainly seem to fit with what I’ve seen in the series (which I’m currently in the process of rewatching right now; unfortunately, schoolwork cut me off from watching it all the way through when it first aired).

    That being said, now that I’ve found this site, I’ll be putting it in my bookmarks and checking it regularly. I certainly appreciate intelligent, informed discussion, and I like what I see here. I’m even half-tempted to try to write something up for the site myself, if that isn’t too presumptuous of me.

    • Thank you. Speaking for mechafetish, we love it that you appreciate the work done here. I recommend subscribing using rss, or by email (I do the former for the blogs I follow).

      By all means, if you can add to this “Great Battles” series, I would love it. Tell me what you have in mind.

      • Specialist290 says:

        Well, I wasn’t going to add to the “Great Battles” series itself — that would be quite a daunting task for one person, I’d imagine! I do appreciate the invitation, though.

        Actually, at this point I’m having a hard time crystallizing my idea in my head. I’ve been reading a bit of Erich Hoffer’s The True Believer and rewatching Code Geass lately (which is how I found the show). I originally wanted to do something with both of them — maybe doing a comparative analysis to see how Hoffer’s words apply to the Black Knights (and maybe to the Zeon faction in UC Gundam, though honestly I’m only familiar firsthand with the Mobile Suit Gundam compilation movies), but a few other ideas have been snatching at my heels here and there.

  15. Pingback: We Remember Love Says Goodbye, and Thank You For All The Memories | We Remember Love

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