Guilty Crown – 16

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I was almost fooled by the last two episodes, but…

Let me remind you of a couple of things I said in the post last week:

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.

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. 

Remember all that stuff last week about how maybe Guilty Crown had figured it out at last? I’m not going to retract all of it, because it’s not like this episode was terrible, but it did display some of the same distressing qualities that have plagued the show far too often. I still can’t get past the notion that the characters aren’t distinct entities who develop and behave organically, but simply plot elements – useful plug-ins to get the story where it needs to go. I’ve always held strongly (both as a writer and a reader) that the characters should drive the plot, not the other way around – and in Guilty Crown this week, we got a whole lot of the other way around.

Dammit, why can’t an anime character stay dead for once? Yes, I called Gai’s revival last week but BFD – with the way this series has progressed it’s like you needed to be a genius to see this coming.  The sad thing is that the best moment in Gai’s character arc was when he died – and I don’t even mean that in a snarky way.  He was a plot device, basically, but his demise was written well enough to give the character a little bit of pathos.  Now they had to go ahead and ruin it by bringing him back, to use him as a plot device again.  Because that’s what Guilty Crown does.

Shu is a perfect example of this.  My biggest worry coming off the very solid last two episodes was that Shu’s character would be totally transformed as if a light switch had been thrown, because that’s what the plot called for – and that’s exactly what happened.  I understand that Hare’s death was  traumatic for him, but in a well-written show the focus would have been on how that experience started him on the path that ended where he was in this ep – because that’s the interesting part.  Instead, we bypassed all that messy character development and got the new Shu – heartless, cold and fond of James Dean rebel poses.  Yeah, we get lip service to how he’s only doing this because he has to – but that’s all it is, lip service.

With Undertaker officially back in the story – right up to the top – the strategic pieces have been shuffled again, and that’s actually still an interesting thing to watch unfold.  At least Argo had the common sense to realize that Shu’s transformation was totally unrealistic and that he was acting like a total dickhead.  With Kuhouin’s grandfather having contracted with Argo and Oogumo to rescue her so he can sell her off to a rich foreign businessman, they’ve both become Shu’s natural enemies – though as was obvious all along Yahiro is really the one pulling Shu’s strings.  The “Void Prince” is running quite the dystopia now – symptomatic students being used as fodder for deadly assignments, harsh penalties for disloyalty, steep late fees for overdue library books…  It’s a hell indeed.  Frankly it doesn’t seem all that different from the world Gai was pushing for, but Argo doesn’t quibble with small matters like that.

Where things get really interesting is when Shu finds out that when a person’s void is destroyed, so are they – and that Hare died in such a way.  He being a total douchebag now he decides to follow Yahiro’s lead anyway, but meanwhile unbeknownst to him Inori is apparently killing Kuhoin – and apparently slowly being taken over by Mana.  Also unbeknownst to him is the fact that it looks as if Gai is being resurrected out of a pool of slime by his mother, though for what purpose Segai plans to use him we don’t know yet.  Shu is sure to be force fed a big piece of humble pie at some point, though whether that means death of just humiliation I can’t say just yet.  And if comes down to this Shu facing off against Gai, I can’t see myself having much of a rooting interest there.  Since no one stays dead on this show, maybe Dan Eagleman will show up next week to spout hilariously insulting Americanisms and set things right by punching Segai in the face again?

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23 comments

  1. C

    All of a sudden I kinda miss the first twelve episodes. This feels like it's headed towards a BAD END.

  2. d

    The best bad end is everyone who died, dies again. And Inori dies with Shu.
    Ayase and Tsu survives.

    If Ayase and Tsu dies than it is the Bad bad end.

  3. C

    Hare and Yahiro then?

  4. A

    YES deafvader! the best possible solution ever.

  5. A

    yes, i totally agree…i honestly wouldn't have minded if the series did end at episode 12.

  6. A

    "steep late fees for overdue library books… It’s a hell indeed"

    Haha, I had a pretty good chuckle reading that.

  7. d

    Well Shu is still believable in that he is not a total dictator. He could have punished ayase. Seems like even the king has to follow the rules. Even now when Shu realizes that Hare died because her void was destroyed, he still has to follow them. He set up the system and he has to follow it to the end. If not Anarchy will come. And undergarments would become the new voids.

    Does it make a different whether the antibodies made a new bioweapon or not? The fact is that they still killed Hare and it is still the Rank F people showing off that killed her. Not to mention the red line is coming. Dum sum dum

  8. C

    I'm pretty sure that Yahiro was the one who destroyed Hare's void with his assault rifle/machine gun.

  9. d

    It was an enemy helicopter. Trust me i know. I was marathoning it.
    Yahiro was just a witness.

  10. E

    I am currently downloading it, but.. Gai comes back?!
    WHAT
    THE
    HELL
    !!
    I hope your prediction that Dan comes back would happen.
    He would give Shuu a punch on the face, saying
    "You don't have enough guts, damn brat!"

  11. You know, it occurs to me now that my original above the fold comment was a little spoilerish. My apologies.

    Alas, I was joking about Dan – but hey, who knows with Guilty Crown?

  12. d

    Who knows? Everyone does cause the predictability and foreshadowing is always here to stay
    :)

  13. P

    He's gone full-on Hitler in the space of one episode. What the heck is this trainwreck?

  14. d

    This train wreck is called Guilty crown cause it crowns itself the most guilt feeling anime ever. makes you feel guilty for wasting your life watching pointless shows like this. Even the studio feels the guilt and makes the title the pun to express its apologies to the mass public.
    The next time a show called "Remorse king" comes out remind me not to watch it.

  15. A

    Yeah you preety much summed up my thoughts

  16. K

    To me this show just "Jumped The Shark". I absolutely hated this plot development with Shu. Its just damn crazy that he would turn so heartless these last 2 episodes. Inori killing the former president is another WTF moment. Pisses me off that the anime makers did something so blatantly stupid. Its like they are trying to troll the anime fans. Makes me want to just drop the series.

  17. S

    I know it seems to be a polar shift in Shu's attitude, but I don't think he really wants to be that way either. I think the only real place that he showed this is during the Argo tackle, he more specifically asks Argo "Can you think of any other way to keep people safe?" Of course this falls back BEFORE he finds out that having your void destroyed = death.

    Either way, I'm glad that they aren't following the normal arc progress (oohhh so soft -> kinda soft -> resolve issue -> be strong). It is an old formula that works, but gets BOOOORING. I'm hoping this turns out to be a way to save all of the others around him by putting on this facade (although his face holding Argo's void makes me think otherwise).

    You also saw the inner turmoil with Gai, during the rain scene where Inori gives Shu the entry bracelet and Shu finds out that Gai really doesn't want t be as cold hearted as he has been to people. Gai only shows his bad face to Inori and Shu gets the same moment in the flowery looking place.

    In my eyes, Argo is spot on with calling out Shu's facade of looking like Gai. That is the only way Shu knows how to protect people effectively as his wishy-washy thinking inadvertently got Hare killed.

  18. A

    It's all Yahiro's fault. Maybe he really is part of Segai's plan.
    LOL. Inori is scary. Turning into Yuno..

  19. s

    And all I wanted was a tied-up Katawa Shoujo…

  20. S

    Bah, disgusting.
    And not long ago, I was completely thrilled by it.

  21. E

    I am speechless … The average child could manufacture a better "storyline" than this. What a g'damn waste of animation!

    WHY ARE THERE STILL 8 (or 7?) MORE EPISODES?! At this point the only ending that will please me is if the entire cast – headed up by Shu and Inori, (excluding Prez Kuhoin and the undertaker girls) – goes out in some sort of massive earth scorching blaze of retribution.

    I am praying (in vain) that somehow the sales of GC just TANK. Maybe then we'll be spared from ever reliving this horror!

  22. A

    Then why are you watching it? Stop watching if your not satisfied on whats happening. I you got a better storyline, then just imagine it yourself.

  23. I feel like I've more or less made peace with GC and its flaws, and decided I was interested in enough of it to see it through to the end. And the last couple of eps showed real progress in my view. But eps like this last one really make me shake my head…

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