Guilty Crown – 15

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After 15 episodes, I think we need to confront the possibility that Guilty Crown has figured it out, and is turning into the show we all hoped it would be.

No no, it’s not perfect.  From a logic standpoint, the whole notion of the red wall closing around the school is pretty silly (though it does work nicely as a metaphor).  And I’m quaking in fear that the person Shinbungi says he’s supposed to get to see if he beats Segai at chess is Gai.  That would represent one of the forehead-slappinngest LOLWUT moments of the year in anime.  And I’m still not sold on Daryl’s character arc, which I’m still convinced is conceived in the mold of Viral from TTGL, but is being executed with none of the subtlety and style.

But in the larger scheme of things and looking at the problems Guilty Crown has faced earlier in the run, those are comparatively small issues. Shu is undergoing a real character arc at last (though I dearly wish he had a better seiyuu to bring it to life).  The series is starting to hone it’s scattershot focus and deal with the elements of the plot that were most interesting, and ask some important and troubling questions in a more general sense – some of the same ones that Yoshino Hiroyuki asked in Code Geass.  As with that series the asking is a bit clumsy and the approach the show is taking is rather broad, but at least the questions are being asked. 

Hare being the next to go doesn’t come as a huge shock, because she was fundamentally extraneous to the plot in a way none of the other central characters are.  Given that the show has always been about Shu’s personal journey in much the same was Evangelion was about Shinji’s, the other characters can be viewed through the lens of how they impact that journey – and on that score, it seems obvious in retrospect that Hare’s main function was the one she fulfilled here, to push him over the edge at last.  She’s the last real tie to the Shu of old, the timid boy who existed before all this started.  And she was given a pretty darn good sendoff, I have to say – a very noble act of self-sacrifice and death in a pool of her own blood, though just why her corpse crystalized is one of those “GC moments” that doesn’t seem to make sense on the face of it.

Of course that tragedy was brought about by the stupidity of Souta, leading his “F Troop” void holders on a hopeless quest to find more vaccine.  Souta’s initial sense of betrayal was quite valid though, as Shu abjectly broke a promise to him not to rank the students by their voids and rule accordingly.  As he himself noted, Shu remains easily moldable and reluctant to stand up to stronger personalities.  What we’re presented with here is a pretty frank ethical and moral question – is Yahiro right in saying that Shu needs to divide the students into tiers, ruling over them unconditionally and deciding who might live or die?  With too little vaccine too go around for everyone, there were no other obvious options at his disposal – but does that justify going along with Yahiro’s plan, effectively denying lower-ranked students vaccine so the high-level ones (especially Shu) can live?  I still believe Yahiro has an ulterior motive here – possibly even that of being a mole – but his actions still seem feasible even if that’s not the case. 

In this black and white choice of relativism vs. idealism, is there no third way?  It’s a fact that generals don’t fight on the front lines, their own survival placed at a higher priority than that of their men.  It’s ironic that while Hare dreamed that Shu might be a King, what she had in mind seems very different than the reality her death seems to have pushed Shu towards.  The question of whether kindness is a strength or a weakness is certainly a theme here, and the danger for the series is that Shu’s transformation is too extreme and too immediate to be believable.  It’s not much of an arc if a character simply jumps from one place to another without traversing the territory between, even if he’s tested by a traumatic experience. 

I suspect that’s where we’re going to find out if Guilty Crown really has turned the corner and found its voice, or has merely stepped up its game temporarily.  But stepped it up the show certainly has, and I don’t think there’s any question that the last two episodes have been the strongest consecutive efforts the series has managed.  If it hasn’t demonstrated subtlety yet, it’s certainly proved it has the ability to engage and even challenge its audience a little.  Given that the series still looks absolutely fantastic, that’s enough for now – although that won’t stop me from hoping it can deliver even more.

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  1. A

    I believe the reason why she turned "crystal" is cause the heli destroyed her void.

    Since they did kinda emphasize at that scene and only after that did she crystalize.

  2. S

    Yeah, I also thought her void being destroyed outside her body turned her into a crystal.

    I wanted Hare to stay till the end. She was my favorite character so I hope that Ayase or Shu really step up their game. To start it, it sounded like Shu was definitely going to be the one to step it up with the clear change in demeanor at the very end after cleaning house.

    Overall, I liked the show from the beginning, and it is showing changes that progress the story. We all had a gut feeling he would turn into a BA from the second OP.

  3. A

    To be fair, guilty crown, has really got into the game, i mean the show is not perfect, but it was the hype of the fans in the first place, that raise the standars so much , if this show , wasnt so hyped im sure people will enjoy it a bit more.

  4. A

    This is the best episode by far. I like how the story is heading. It gave me the chills when Shu was punching Souta into the ground going into his character change. But I laughed hard with Shu's miserable shout when Hare died. Well you're right Enzo, for wanting to have a better seiyuu for Shu. But he did bring out the emotion for me. Except for the shout!

    I felt bad at Inori. I was thinking, what was Shu doing to her. I didn't expect Shu to do that to Inori. Even with all the circumstances. But I didn't expect Inori to resist too.

    Guilty Crown just keeps getting better and better. Though it took it's time to reach this point. But I still want more. It still has a lots of potential and I'm willing to bet that Guilty Crown will show it on the upcoming episodes. (Maybe just wishful thinking – but I do believe this.)

  5. A

    To the second anonymous:

    I think that even without hype, people wouldn't enjoy the first half. It just wasn't very good. They wouldn't watch it either: Many would have dropped it after the 3rd episode.

  6. Even so, Anon (why not give us a name, Guys?) the first GC Blu-ray sold 10K in the first week, confounding the stalker system and the know-it-alls. Even with the budget for this series, 10K is well North of the Manabi Line. If GC is chartered with paying for more "true" NoitaminA shows down the line, then I'm very happy it's doing so well despite all the (sometimes deserved) ridicule.

    And indeed, this is what I've noticed – fans love to criticize and mock Guilty Crown, but very few seem to stop watching it.

  7. A

    Hahaha. That is so true. Like I said before. It's more like a Guilty pleasure, right Enzo?

  8. S

    People criticize it for not progressing fast enough, right? Or that the main character is still in slump mode when he needs to be in kick-butt mode?

    It seems like the Void concept in general means devoting AT LEAST 1 episode to each of the individual voids and their use and the emotional effects with them. That is a HUGE TIME DUMP just to make sense of a strategy that will last about 1/2 of an episode. I don't know why people were expecting this to be a fast moving story when there is so much devoted to backstory that is NECESSARY.

    Eureka 7 protagonist was whiny and slow to come around but I would say most of us loved that series.

  9. I don't know – maybe it is a guilty pleasure, but I do find it interesting to speculate on why people keep watching it. I've never been among the harshest critics, so for me the answer is mostly because I usually sort of liked it, and now because it's getting better. But to listen to the tone of some criticism there are a lot of people who never liked it at all, yet kept watching it.

    I speculated even before the show started that it was going to have a hard time living up to all the hype, and I think that's part of the problem. NoitaminA is part of the problem. I just think GC was never as bad as its critics made it out to be.

  10. A

    It's sorta like this. Most of you're classmates talk about this new transfer student. You heard rumors that she's a genius. Then when you finally meet her, you found out that she's ugly. You also found out that she's not that intelligent. But she does have good grades. Since she became your seatmate. You noticed how kind she was and she was always willing to help you. You got close and was attracted by her charm or charisma. Then you no longer think that she is ugly. Just that she is your friend.
    -True story. Sorry it's just me being weird and comparing her to something like an anime.

  11. A

    "I just think GC was never as bad as its critics made it out to be."

    I can't tell you how much I agree with this.

    Also with Kaji Yuuki, is it me or do people just really hate his voice and project that onto his characters? I don't mind his boyish voice though I think he could have more diversity. But just with recent series like GC, HanaIro, Aquarion EVOL I couldn't help but feel the hate towards the characters were slightly misdirected.

  12. I won't speak for anyone else, but I just find his performances very repetitive, and I don't find him especially convincing in the emotional moments. It doesn't help that he's terribly overused at the moment, too.

  13. K

    I don't know I only watched the first 5 episodes (and yes I was critical and did drop it) and I thought the show was pretty awful. I don't know if it get better but if takes until well past the half way mark for the show to supposedly improve then that's not saying much for the shows quality in my opinion.

  14. A

    I honestly didn't see why it was SO horrible. There have been much worse written shows who aren't nearly as entertaining but I guess we're all built with different tastes and tolerance levels lol.

    It's all subjective. For me personally I loved the first 5 or so episodes, got bored around ep 6-8 and felt it started to pick up at ep 9 with a few drops here and there. My opinion of the show hasn't been so black & white. I didn't see a jump in quality past the half way mark but I guess the second arc has so far been more consistent in enjoyability.

  15. C

    He's better at voicing Issei.

  16. b

    Well, Kaji Yuuki's voice is a bit high-pitched and kind of perfect for voicing characters of middle-school and highschool boys. His screaming voice is a bit grating but he's okay. Though yeah, he's freaking everywhere >_>

  17. d

    Why I like guilty crown. Firstly cause of Kayano Ai, but she barely speaks.
    Why I now watch it. I like Ayase and Tsu. I love Hare. Hare is gone.

    There is a girl who is way better than the main girl. The guy must land with the main girl. So what do you do? Call GunDam Age and pull a Yurin,

  18. E

    Hare! God, she made this show so much more watchable for me … Luckily there seems to be an upswing so hopefully GC will be able to carry itself from here on out. The voice acting is still a bit grating. I personally really enjoyed Kaji Yuuki in No.6, KtB, and Ao no Exorcist … but this was a COMPLETE miscast if you ask me! He's not horrible by any means, he's just not "shounen fire hero" (lol) material and I think Shu needs a little of that to be believable.

    As for the whole let-down after the hype. I personally encountered 0 hype for this show (where was this hype?) my let down was purely based on face value. The thing about GC is I've never stopped wanting it to be really good and I think that's why I'm still watching. Plus I've invested a cour already and winter is pretty thin in terms of what I'm watching, so why not stick it out?

    In any event if Gai is alive after all that … I will srsly put my head through a wall from the sheer WTF-ery … and for the record, I LIKE Gai!

  19. As for hype, it topped just about every fan poll I saw for the fall season going in, so it was definitely there. Code Geass writer, I. G., pretty graphics. It was hyped.

  20. R

    Well I did drop this show around episode 8 but everything I keep hearing about it sounds like it keeps getting worse and worse and worse…

    If you found some light at the end of the tunnel that's fantastic, but I wouldn't hold out on it. Yoshino is quite possibly the worst writer in the anime industry (For anything naime original), that keeps getting employed at least. Every episode keeps sounding like a fanfiction about his own scenario he created, where he goes in any direction he feels like. I don't think there's any sense of a guiding force to his plot and where he wanted to go with it.

  21. A

    I have a nightmarish fear that this show is going to continue killing off the good characters (first Dan, now Hare) until only Inori and Shu are left.

    I will rage so hard if that happens

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