Before I continue, let me affirm that yes, I do see the drop in animation quality in the last couple of episodes. The context of that is a little different with GC than with most series, as we’re really talking about a series that was so gorgeous to begin with that a sizable drop still leaves it above-average in terms of production values. But the flipside of that is that this is a series that really depends on eye candy for appeal, because so far the writing has been pretty generic to say the least. So when I see the loss of detail in backgrounds and faces and just the smallest loss of fluidity in the action scenes (which still look damn good) it’s a worrying sign, and it means the series better get its act together on the creative front.
Fortunately, it comes through with a solidly above-average episode this week. There were still more than a couple of groaners, but generally speaking it had a brisk pace to it and it was nice to see Shu take the initiative and confront his situation head-on instead of moping about it. Mind you I still think his loyalty to Undertaker is pretty misplaced – at best they’re the lesser evil – but he chose a path and he even recruited his muggle friends to help out. That’s all good, and it Gai manages to stay dead this time my view on the series will really have taken an uptick. Alas, I think that’s very unlikely to happen.
There’s still some mystery as to just what’s happening when the Anti-bodies start broadcasting their new hit single, but Gai strongly implies that it’s something different from a traditional Apocalypse outbreak. We know that there’s an exchange of precious bodily fluids happening between he and Inori in those midnight sessions, but as I expected it’s not the obvious one – she’s giving him her blood to combat his creeping sickness. Just why her blood should be effective and just what his condition is we don’t know with certainty, but she clearly has some serious powers at her disposal because her song also acts as an antidote to whatever the Anti-bodies have unleashed.
While I fear Gai won’t stay dead, it looks as if we do have a couple of definite departures – Dan Eagleman is sent off the Elysian Fields by Segai, though not before he gives him a serious falcon punch for daring to point his gun at a woman (Haruka). So long, you grossly offensive caricature – you’ll be missed. Major General Yan is toast, too, joining the choir invisible at the hands of his son Daryl. Patricide, eh? Well, it’s not as if you couldn’t see that one coming. I still think Yoshino-sensei is trying to set up Daryl as kind of the Viral of this series – the angry subordinate of the bad guys’ team who eventually turns his coat and joins the goodies. But so far, he’s mostly a punching bag who gets his lunch handed to him just about every time he steps into battle. He has a long way to go in terms of GAR to be in Viral’s class.
So as it stands we now have a three-way power struggle happening, with GHQ, Anti-bodies and Undertaker. Anti-bodies has overthrown GHQ and seized control for now, using the pretext of a terrorist attack by Undertaker at Haneda Airport which is in reality the execution of their own plan. Haruka seems to have officially come over to Undertaker’s side now, having escaped from Keido and Segai thanks to Dan’s doomed gallantry. After her run-in with Inori and Gai she seems to jump on board too quickly, but no doubt it’s out of worry for her son. For Shu’s part, it was a ballsy move to ask his friends to not only give their voids but themselves in support of the attempt to rescue Gai and Inori. They’re in up to their necks now, thanks to him. He does show the ability to use all their voids at once, which I could see as being damn useful, but runs into trouble when he’s just on the cusp of success – in the form of the blond boy who once again reveals himself at the very end of an episode, sticking around long enough to reveal he also has the Void Genome and to use it to kidnap Inori. Looks like he may the top boss, or the next-level mid-boss anyway. I wonder if we’ll be seeing a de facto alliance between Undertaker and GHQ, under the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” premise.