Minor characters can sometimes be just as fascinating as the major ones, if not more so. Minor Character Spotlight takes a look at figures from anime who may not drive the engine of the story, but who is fascinating nevertheless. Today, we're going to take a look at Mao from Code Geass, a character whose story makes me tear up a little whenever I think about it.
Mao first appears as an unhinged and powerful man who manipulates Shirley into trying to kill Lelouch. This particuclar struggle ends with Mao being shot by the police - but he survives those injuries and escapes, kidnapping Lelouch's younger sister Nunnally. Thanks to his Geass, which allows him to read the mind of anyone who gets within 500 feet of him, Lelouch struggles to figured out where he's taken his sister, but once he figures out the flaws in Mao's system with Suzaku's help, rescuing Nunnally is over and done with in a matter of hours. He uses his Geass to stop Mao from speaking, then C.C. jumps in and shoots him in the neck, killing him instantly.
The reason he's so easily defeated is actually because he's been slowly driven insane by his Geass. Thanks to overuse, he can no longer turn off his mind-reading ability, and has to live in seclusion in order to stop the relentless barrage of other people's thoughts. The only thing that keeps him going is a recording of C.C.'s voice, and a powerful drive to see her again.
Why, you ask, is C.C. so important to him? Well, it's because she picked him up off the street when he was a six-year-old orphan in China, gave him his accursed powers, raised him to adolescence, and then abandoned him when he couldn't fulfill his end of the Geass bargain, which was to kill her. . In the meantime, she also became his lover. Little detail is provided on that point, but the mixing of parental and romantic roles seem to have done a number on Mao's mental state - nor could the expectation that he murder the only person in the world who seemed to care about him.
What he wants has nothing to do with Shirley, Nunnally, or Lelouch - he wants to see C.C. again. Actually, he wants to be totally alone with her, which makes sense given how deeply painful it is for him to be surrounded by people. Given that he was threatening bodily harm against others, it's understandable that C.C. had no choice but to kill him. Still, the fact that she saddled a child with uncontrollable abilities, then abandoned him to handle the consequences on his own when it no longer benefited her, was deeply unsettling. Hearing her muse about whether or not she should have killed him earlier, as a mercy, was even worse.
Before she killed him, C.C. told Mao that she used to love him. Apparently "used to" was enough for him - he seemed almost happy to be killed by his beloved C.C. Think about it - Mao's life is so terrible that he'll joyfully accept death at the hands of the one person who made his life into such a disaster in the first place. That's devastatingly sad - probably one of the saddest stories in all of Code Geass, excluding those of the protagonists.
Mao didn't deserve to die like that - especially if he was going to be largely forgotten afterward. His narrative purpose as was to warn Lelouch - and the viewers - that Lelouch's Geass could also rampage out of control. This was the most heartbreaking thing they could possibly have done to get that point across. Cue me getting a picture of Mao tattooed across my face in memorial.
What other minor characters do you think deserve more attention? Let us know, and maybe we'll shine a spotlight on them!