Randomosity on Fridays: Schneizeleffort

Happy Friday! Something a little different with our randomosity today, friends. There seemed to be a little more than passing interest last week about the definition of schneizeleffort, the funny term I used in one of my 2012 resolutions.

So I thought I'd fulfill at least part of that resolution and silence your curiosity about what this term is. It's so useful! It's like the motto of my life.

BUT before I get to that, I'd like to turn your attention to two things:

1. Our blogging/vlogging buddy Sophia Chang's One Year Blogoversary giveaway is still happening. You could win a signed copy of J.A. Yang's Exclusively Chloe OR a critique from Alz and myself (up to 25 pages). So if you're interested in either or both, I'd hop over there soon and enter on the rafflecopter form.

2. It's Lunar New Year weekend! The New Year falls on Jan. 23 this year, and thus begins the Year of the Dragon! This also means I will likely be rolling aboard the fatty train again, the next stop being Fattyville. Choo choo!


One of my resolutions for this year is to be more schneizeleffort.

The Urban Dictionary entry defines it as:

Putting forth the minimum amount of effort required to complete something.

This concept is named after a character in Code Geass, Schneizel el Britannia.

Here's the long-story-short version of the history of this word/concept. (I'm going to talk a bit about anime now. I used to be more into it...before I became so schneizeleffort.) It starts with an anime called CODE GEASS.

Swooshy! Dramatic! You look like a CLAMP creation!

In college, I got into this anime because I saw the above promo and thought, "PRETTY! Looks kinda like CLAMP...OMG CLAMP character designs?!" CLAMP, fyi, is the name of a mangaka group known for their beauteous artwork and angst-tastic stories. Some of my first series were by those ladies.

See, CLAMP draws pretty and epic-looking things.

So I was eager to check out Code Geass because it was pretty, based on art by CLAMP, and I liked the premise. It's a show about a genius Britannian boy, who leads a revolution against Britannia. Oh and he's a Prince of Britannia. What's not to like?

Then I glimpsed this guy in the Season 1 opening, and I was like, WHO IS THAT SHADY BLOND?

Blond, poncy, shady-lookin': you must be evil!
That is SCHNEIZEL, the second prince and Prime Minister of Britannia, and half-brother to the main character.

He is quickly set up as an antagonist but doesn't actually show up in Season 1 until the last few episodes. Then, he's more or less the main antagonist in Season 2, which was a good thing because by then I was in love.

Being VERY PRETTY is, of course, an easy way to win fangirl favor, but he was also an interesting antagonist. He's set up like he might be evil, and he's a strategical genius like our MC. The MC spends much of the series dreading going up against him because of this. He's also ruthless with his tactics - a sort of ends-justify-the-means sort of guy and he's insidiously manipulative. But this is contrasted with his charisma and the fact that he seems like a decent guy in general. He cares about his siblings, about the welfare of the Empire, about peace and order. He has a sense of duty to his people, wants peace, and he's not snobbish. He hires people based on talent/merit.

He's incredibly good at his job/running the government/waging war, so why "schneizeleffort"?

As the series went, I had the dawning realization that Schneizel was just COASTING on his natural talents. It doesn't seem like he's ever TRYING. He puts the minimal amount of effort needed into achieving his goals, and since he's a genius and has tons of $, goals are generally achievable. For example, about to totally crush the enemy? Offer them a peace treaty because it requires less effort (and incidentally, makes him seem merciful)! And when the going gets tough, he just u-turns himself out of there.

Emotion? Too much effort!
In fact, I'm mostly convinced he just doesn't really care all that much about a lot of things. Or he does but in a clinical, detached kind of way. He rarely looks as evil/shady in the actual show as he does in the openings/promo pics. He doesn't show too much emotion either way. One of his siblings actually describes him as "having no desires."

His schneizeleffort is great on the show though because the MC is a drama queen king, who does put a lot of effort into staging this revolution, but Schneizel comes in and ruins everything without giving a flying Cheese-kun. It's awesome. And hilarious (for me).

The person who actually coined the term "schneizeleffort" is koda (or miasmacloud) from gg fansubs. They were one of the main fansubbers for Code Geass.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE of a "schneizeleffort" character from another fandom is Mycroft Holmes from the Sherlock Holmes stories. I haven't actually read the stories, but after watching BBC's TV series Sherlock, in which Mycroft plays a small role, the Sister and I looked him up. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about him:

"Possessing inductive powers exceeding even those of his younger brother, Mycroft is nevertheless incapable of performing detective work similar to that of Sherlock as he is unwilling to put in the physical effort necessary to bring cases to their conclusions.
...he has no ambition and no energy. He will not even go out of his way to verify his own solutions, and would rather be considered wrong than take the trouble to prove himself right. Again and again I have taken a problem to him, and have received an explanation which has afterwards proved to be the correct one. And yet he was absolutely incapable of working out the practical points...
—Sherlock Holmes, speaking of his brother in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter"
After which, I said, "OMG, so he's just the schneizeleffort version of Sherlock!" I'm starting to wonder if this is a common characteristic of older brother types to geniuses, who are themselves also geniuses...

So you see the many applications there are for this word. I suppose a synonym for schneizeleffort could be "half-*ssing" something. Also, the application of schneizeleffort can only work to your advantage if you are already naturally talented enough to get away with coasting through life. Schneizel had that whole born-into-privilege-and-wealth thing going for him, on top of being a genius.

I don't have either of those things, so the schneizeleffort thing is an upward slope for me. The irony is that I need to expend effort to get to the point of being able to schneizeleffort my way through life...

ANYWAY, there you have it. The definition of schneizeleffort. I hope I have enriched your vocabulary. That aside, I wish you all an early Happy Lunar New Year!

Hah! 1/2 a resolution completed!

Have any fun/weird/in-joke terms to share?

*I didn't schneizeleffort my way through this post. I should've. Sorry sleep-deprived self!


Connie Keller said...


I love your new word. How do you pronounce it properly? (What can I say, I'm a word freak.)

Interesting word--"half-*ssing." We all think/say/spell the word as if it's...well, you know. But the word is actually half-adzed. I thought so until I actually saw an adze and learned all about it and the word phrase it inspired. An adze is a tool used to smooth wood, and if you didn't do a job...well, it was only "half-adzed."

BTW, "adze" is a great Scrabble word. (It can also be spelled without the "e," which makes it even better for Scrabble.)

Emy Shin said...


I don't remember why I stopped watching it, but Schneizel sounds so much like my kind of guy.

And now that I know what "schneizeleffort" really means, I'm inspired to jump on the train -- because most things in life really don't need full effort.

Danyelle L. said...

Okay, I'm going to have to check this one out. I kinda love the idea of an MC that's putting so much effort and passion into something only to have his plans ruined by someone whose not even really trying. :D

Happy Lunar New Year weekend!

Sophia Chang said...


wait. Did you just say you have to actually expend effort to even GET to Schneizeleffort? GAAAAAAAAAAH

And I hope Schneizel is pronounced the correct German way (I hate when other languages butcher it)

Ariana Ferrone said...

Oooh, Code Geass. Ooh, antagonists. Oooh, minimal effort. I think that's how I coast through life.

Golden Eagle said...

Thanks for the explanation!

That's some great artwork.

Lydia Kang said...

OMG, this post was too funny! I should pay you for keeping me so entertained.

Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful word. It's like soldiering (a term used in my 'organizational behaviours' lectures which means where the employees of a company do the minimum work required giving an illusion of what they can actually achieve) but a much better word. If they'd said schneizeleffort in my lectures I'm sure I'd have paid much more attention.

Shallee said...

Ha ha! I love this! I think the idea creates interesting characters, like you said-- that anime sounds awesome. I think we all have to put in a bit of schneizeleffort sometimes in order to survive the busy-ness of life.

ali cross said...

I totally love that Schneizle guy now! (yes he was pretty, but I love the description you gave of him. kinda reminded of Damon from Vampire Diaries, lol)

Lydia Kang said...

Oh, and I forgot to say, "Gesundheit!"

Sarah said...

* bows to you * Surely you went beyong schneizeleffort to put together this post; that was a very thorough explanation. And I appreciated the pictures. There are plenty of clinical terms we could use to describe these guys. They sound somewhat anhedonic and low initiative, for example. However, I wouldn't want to overpathologize, especially when I could just say "schneizeleffort" ... wait, maybe I'm showing schneizeleffort right now, with this comment ...

Lecea said...

Great post! I watch Code Geass for the same reasons :)

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