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.