Guilty Crown – 07

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I don’t know what’s more remarkable – that Guilty Crown keeps finding ways to get stupider, or that it continues to by oddly entertaining in spite of it.

After a little break, the anti-internationalism is back in full force this week – more specifically anti-Americanism in this case. It arrives in the person of preposterously caricatured American GHQ Col. “Call me Dan!” Eagleman.  Right down to the name, he’s a stereotype that would put Shinryaku Ika Musume’s Three Stooges to shame with his blond hair, brawny arms, pot belly and “shoot ‘em up” enthusiasm.  More insidiously, he’s also got the attitude that Japan is worthless without GHQ (read, America) to keep it running.  He’s condescending and stupid at the same time, which is somehow what I suspect most internationals think of Americans at their worst.

Also joining the cast is Kuhoin Arisa (Endo Aya) President of Shu’s class at school and heir to the Kuhoin conglomerate that Gai seeks to cut a deal with to supply Undertaker with the money and equipment it so desperately needs.  Initially she comes to Shu’s defense when some pinheads attack him as a traitor and a “slimy criminal” when he returns to school, but she’ll be even more important later in the story.  Meanwhile we get the heaviest dose of fanservice the series has offered for a while, not least of which comes from Shu’s MILF Mom.  She looks way too young to be Shu’s mother and is one of that breed of anime parents that their kids refer to by their first names – in this case, Haruka.  I suspect this is done at her insistence.

We really haven’t seen any interaction between Shu and his Mom, and their relationship isn’t as cold as I expected.  It’s about as clichéd and old hat as it could be – what else is new – in that she’s a boozer who walks around in her panties and embarrasses the hell out of her son.  But for all that, he seems to genuinely love her and she him, which I wasn’t sure was the case as there seems to be more tension in Shu when he referred to her than would be explicable by the fact that she’s rarely home.  Even more interesting is that when Gai calls Shu to help him with a job – winning over Arisa’s Grandfather to their cause at a party on his yacht – Haruka is an invited guest.  Given her job and the fact that this appears to be a party for people skeptical of the GHQ, does this say something about Haruka’s politics?  Or perhaps she was simply excited to go to a glamorous party, and the party itself was innocuous.  Given that Gai was the one who told Col. Dan that it was a rebellious gathering in the first place, that’s possible.

All I know is, thank goodness there’s always someone who has exactly the void Gai needs whenever there’s a problem – if that weren’t the case, life would be tough. In this case that’s Arisa, who has some sort of shielding void that’s just the ticket when Col. Dan flips his anti-aircraft guns on their side (kinda clever, I must admit) to shoot Dragoon missiles at the Kuhoin yacht.  It’s all part of Gai’s elaborate plan to show off to Kuhoin-sama just how clever Undertaker is.  To the strains of the “Viennese Waltz” Shu uses the void to intercept the Dragoons and they explode in a display of fireworks as the elites dance in the ship’s ballroom, blissfully unaware.  It’s that kind of unapologetic absurdity that makes Guilty Crown charming in its way – most series would never have the balls to mount a scene like that, but GC has absolutely no shame.

If it sounds like every compliment for this show is a left-handed one, I apologize – it’s not intentional, I promise.  But it’s hard to point out the good in the series without highlighting the bad, and vice-versa.  It’s kind of raising stupidity to an art form in a way not too many series have for a while, though the xenophobic aspects – while interesting – do have a whiff of unpleasantness about them.  There’s some nice humor this week too – “Is it true that there’s lots of gays in the army?” and Sekai’s general lax attitude towards Col. Dan.  I’ve been on pins and needles waiting for the charms to run out and get to the point where Guilty Crown needed to show me real originality and substance or risk becoming wholly tiresome, but happily enough it hasn’t happened yet.  Somehow, some way, this show still entertains me even as it makes me groan – which it does more than any other show currently airing.

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  1. K

    What I found very interesting is the picture at the end of the anime. Shu in the middle, his mom on one side and ?

  2. I agree – that last screencap is an interesting one…

  3. F

    If by "interesting", you mean "beating us over the head with more foreshadowing"

    You know what the real problem with this show is? Its not that its dumb. There are plenty of incredibly stupid, yet very fun and awesome shows. Its that its by Production IG, and Production IG sucks at stupid. This is a Sunrise show. It should be done by the same team thats doing Horizon right now. Now THEY know how to be completely balls to the wall insane, but have it work.

  4. F

    BTW, Endo Aya was using her Sheryl Nome voice for Arisa, and it was incredibly distracting.

  5. Z

    Gai is working hard on his harem 🙂

  6. @Fencedude
    I disagree – Horizon doesn't work for me because it's not that stupid, but it pretentious – at least to me. GC is many things, but it's not pretentious.

  7. F

    You see, I think its the exact opposite. Guilty Crown has an aura of pretentiousness about it by its very nature. Its a Production IG show on noitaminA, two things that are, inherently, pretentious. (whether or not this is deserved is another question, but its quite true).

    Horizon's setting and backstory is hilariously obtuse and overwrought, but the actual plot, both of the current season and of things to come, is quite straightforward. It was laid out in plain language by Masazumi in episode 8.

    In contrast, Guilty Crown has yet to establish a point. I'm pretty lenient on such things, but its really starting to push it.

    Both shows feature an "oppressed Japan" aspect, but Horizon hasn't stooped to making the antagonists into caricatures. Though in Horizon's case the oppression is less "boot on the neck" than in Guilty Crown.

    Its also way less pandering than Guilty Crown. Again, I have no issues with pandering (that Arisa shower sequence was the best part of the episode), but its undeniably true.

  8. Z

    Well, there is obviously quite a lot more thought behind Horizon then Guilty Crown and it tells when it comes to the depth of the story. But I think I will go write something about Horizon on a forum dedicated for it instead of here 🙂

  9. I don't think this is the place for that debate either. Neither show will be in my top 10 for the year, that's for damn sure.

    But you know, whatever else you say GC continues to draw commentary in massive numbers. As UN-GO gets better and deeper every week, I continue to see much higher pageviews and comment counts for GC. So whatever the cause, this is a show people are watching and talking about.

  10. F

    UN-GO was an unfortunate casualty of me just not having enough time. I really do want to watch it (which is why I haven't so much as looked at your posts on it), but I just have no room for it. And at this point I'm too invested in the GC trainwreck to drop that. I've watched 7 episodes, I can't stop now!

    I don't think its particularly shocking that GC is beating the pants off of UN-GO though, regardless of their relative quality.

  11. Z

    UN-GO is a casualty for me as well. But from my impression of it so is it deep in a psychological maybe even depressing way. Horizon is on the other hand a fairly light hearted and cheerful story, despite some sad events. When I talked about depth so was it on a intellectual level. It's similar to many an old sci-fi classics in that it's a detailed world with a developed technology, economics, politics, religion etc for multiple characters and factions.

    Horizon is doing pretty well in Japan, so we will most likely get more seasons of it 🙂

  12. A

    So um, is it just me or are they drawing Shu a little differently, like he seems older?

  13. He looks about the same to me, Anon.

  14. t

    "Its that its by Production IG, and Production IG sucks at stupid."

    No matter what you think of IG so far,it's irrelevant,none of the major staff (apart from the music composer) have worked on an IG show before

    I'm pretty much getting what I was expecting,which is,like Enzo says, something that keeps finding ways to get stupider,and continues to be oddly entertaining in spite of it.

    Guilty Crown is like the the NoitaminA equivalent of Phi Brain to me

  15. S

    Agree. This show gets lamer almost every week but it still maintains a certain charm to keep me watching. The writing is bad but not quite Blood-C bad yet so maybe there's still hope?
    Shows like Guilty Crown will almost always be received better than the likes of Un-Go. Eye candies versus sophisticated story telling? The former stands out for the general viewers.

  16. b

    Endo Aya, school stuff, MILF, pantsu, bra, party, Col. (Guile) Dan, convenient Void, missiles, fireworks, GaixArisa, keikaku doori for Gai, foreshadowing picture.
    Did I miss anything?

    And yet I didnt quite like the episode.
    Feels like nothing really happened despite all those things. I still dont get their motivation for rebellion nor do I get attached to the characters for me to care about them. And its getting tiring to repeat that it has great visuals and sounds for positives since that's all it has for positives.
    I'll still stick around coz I've invested my time on it, it may develop it's own appeal later on and it's fun to see people going at each other's throats talking about this.
    MAL's GC forums already had 3 threads locked coz of the bashing/defending for this show.

  17. C

    I bet that's Gai in the far left on that last pic. You can see a bit of his hair. And I don't know why but I think the girl is Gai's sister.
    All theories here.
    Also Misato Katsuragi FTW!

  18. C

    And the girl has Gai's cross.

  19. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's Gai as well. Which makes you wonder if Shu's entire life is one big gaslighting by Gai.

  20. m

    So Gai adds another valuable member into his (strike: harem) rebellion. Also there's now a meaner and more annoying Sky High in the mix. Is this really a noitimina show?

  21. d

    Is haruka really the mum? Or just someone who works in an orphanage and picked up 3 kids??
    She just seems to young.

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