Guilty Crown – 13

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I keep hoping Guilty Crown is going to do something to make me really like it and to bring some excitement to this NoitaminA block, but every time it seems to get a little momentum going it shoots itself in the foot.

OP2: “The Everlasting Guilty Crown” by EGOIST

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To be fair, “shooting itself in the foot” is too harsh a description for what happened this week, as episode 13 really wasn’t bad.  It’s more like two steps forward, two steps back, because GC really hasn’t been able to maintain a run of top-notch (by its own standards, anyway) episodes for more than a couple of weeks.  I liked episode 12 quite a lot, and this was an important ep in many ways, for while 12 was mathematically the start of the second cour this was the real start from a story standpoint.  The stage was set – we had a plot reset, a new OP and ED (both fine, FWIW) and the animation once again looked really good.  Guilty Crown seemed like it had a world of possibilities open to it again, but it responded with an episode that felt oddly disjointed from the rest of the series, and a little forced.

This show has much in common with Last Exile: Fam in that both series have a lot going for them, but break down in the execution.  Fundamentally both shows suffer from weak writing, though I’d argue the weekly script work is actually worse in “Fam” – worse dialogue, worse development among the main cast – but that show has the more interesting supporting cast and better overall concept.  Here, we have a concept that seems pretty derivative and muddled to start with (though there are intriguing elements to it), but at least the writing has occasionally flared up and given us some genuinely interesting episodes.  Choose your poison, I guess.

What we have here is Gai seemingly dead for real this time, and the surviving main girls from Undertaker having taken up residence at Shu’s school (where their unexplained presence seems to have been noticed by no one at all).  Tokyo is under lockdown after Lost Christmas II, and the school is inside the quarantined “Loop 7” – which means none of the students can go home.  Put a bunch of teenagers in quarantine for two weeks and the tempers will flare, and we get some obligatory school drama with a couple of toughs threatening Ayase (who’s probably the most interesting character on the show for me) before Tsugumi comes to her rescue.  Souta suggests that they hold a culture festival to let everyone blow off some steam, and while that seems pretty preposterous to me under the circumstances – even with Kuhoin’s grandfather airlifting supplies in – well, I was prepared to see if the writers could muster anything of interest from it.

Instead, we get a fairly rote stream of developments with Souta helping Inami plan an EGOIST concert and an appearance by Daryl – still undergoing the blatantly telegraphed road to eventually switching sides – literally butting heads with Tsugumi while acting as Segai’s undercover spy.  We also get a look at what Segai has in mind for the school, as he sets up a local gang of toughs calling themselves “Philanthropists” with some military tech and sends them in to attack the school.  Naturally Shu and Ayase come to the rescue, with Aya showing off her rocket-shoes void, and the two of them do some serious posing in a way that suggests the Shu-Inami pairing might not be as inevitable as the OP/ED suggests it is.

At no point during the episode could I suspend my disbelief enough to really immerse myself in the drama, and that’s too often been the case with Guilty Crown.  It just doesn’t feel natural very often, and that’s a problem.  I’m not disinterested in what’s going to happen from here, with GHQ apparently having been reformed as a puppet organization to support Keido in his role as the new strongman President of Japan.  The short-term plan is to wipe out everyone in Loop 7 (which of course includes all our heroes) under the pretense that they’re all infected and beyond help.  And Undertaker may indeed no longer exist, as it’s now leaderless and divided by the barricades.  I’m modestly curious about all that intellectually, but I’m just not the committed to any of emotionally.  And that’s always going to limit just how much Guilty Crown can ever really matter to me.

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ED2: “Kokuhaku” (Confession) by supercell

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11 comments

  1. A

    I feel like the show has so much potential. It could have focused more on Shu's guilt of 'using' his friends, their voids, in the first half, bringing him to a realistic breaking point, then when whatever happened last episode would happen and his powers would now let his friends unlock their true selves by letting them use their own voids.

    They need to do a reboot using the same scenario, but a real plot or something.

  2. b

    I should have seen this coming you know. We had a beach episode before so why not a cultural festival? *facepalm*

    I agree that the last part with Keido putting them on quarantine for a long time and possibly wipe them out presents a mildly interesting plot point at this time but with all that's happened up to here, most importantly this episode, I just don't feel like taking it seriously anymore.

  3. i

    This episode felt more of a reintroduction to most of the characters in GC (and why is the first half not 11 episodes long I do not want to know why cause THIS should be ep. 12). And which pair the writers want us to ship anyway (not going by OP/ED – been deceived too many times already)?

    At least the plot should be there next week (the preview got the rest of the cast back in plus a few more of those "bullies" IIRC).

  4. There's usually some cool stuff, here, but mediocre writing is such a hard thing to overcome…

  5. A

    I liked the episode. Luckily for me, I got pass the mediocre writing and just accepted Guilty Crown as it is. Just like in Mirai Nikki, although it's writing is not bad, I just appreciated it. In doing so, I was a bit emotional at Ayase. Though I thought that her void was some kind of Endlave, those jet boots are still fine. Like seriously how can Shu pull an Endlave on Ayase's chest. hahaha.

    I loved the new OP and ED. I getting hyped just watching it. And that serious Shu and his brownish-red eyes that is turning red even without using voids.

    Even though the turn of events is a bit predictable, I still love the plot and setting. I still aim for Guilty Crown's potential. Like in the new ending. Most of the first half of the song, you see Shu curled up and depressed. Then he makes a stand and run with Inori. Then slowly runs faster and overtakes her. Hope that the story will be like Shu in the ED. This is were the story will "run" faster.

  6. b

    Ok, so if Shu didn't have the power to give the Voids to their owners, does that mean he could have worn those Void boots of Ayase's?

    Something to think about 😉

  7. S

    So. GC has finally won me over. First thing's first: the writing is a 7 on a degree from 1 to 10. It's above average, rarely great and never perfect, but sometimes surprising, thrilling and interesting.

    But the writing is but only one aspect out of many. Let's see… I love the art (wow, look at that: http://bit.ly/x6SVnP ..10/10) and I love the music (9/10). The Seiyuu are great (8.5/10). There's just no reason to always be such dick about the writing. if you add all the numbers together, you don't get a score of 7. You get something pretty brilliant, and it's a shame to lose sight of that.

    Also, I was under the impression that many people took refuge at the school, so blending in wouldn't be a problem.

    I think the blatant posing is in a way a message to all the reviewers calling it low-brow: "We look fucking awesome, so why not flaunt it?" I can respect that.

  8. Wow, 7/10 is pretty charitable – I'd go maybe 5/10 myself. And no show with Kaji Yuji as the lead could ever get an 8.5/10 for seiyuu from me…

    It has been generally trending better, but it has a long way to go to close the deal with me. It does look great and it isn't badly written, but for me GC is mostly empty calories.

  9. A

    I completely agree with you Stot. Definitely much better that the other shows this season. I still look forward to the upcoming episodes every week. Though I did consider all the other aspects of the anime, I still give it a 7/10. Even with its visuals and story. It's not that bad but not that good either. But still above average.

    @enzo, a 5/10 should be given to something that your already dropping but still willing to watch when the you feel like it.
    I give the Gundam Age a 6/10 even though I'm a great fan of Gundam.
    Mirai Nikki a 7.5/10
    Hunter X Hunter, 7/10
    Another, 5.5/10
    Brave 10, 5/10 (I already dropped it. but still downloading.)
    Phi Brain, 3/10 (only watch the 1st episode. but I have a copy until ep 4)

  10. I didn't say 5/10 overall, though – just for the writing. With all the other aspects (visuals, music, etc) factored in, the overall score would certainly be higher than that.

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