Guilty Crown – 18

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I think I’ve been pretty patient with Guilty Crown, and I thought I was all-in on the silliness of it.  But I might finally have reached my limit.

This episode makes me think of a chef working at a restaurant late at night, when he looks around and sees all the stuff he’s going to have to throw away when the restaurant closes.  So he takes everything that’s left over, tosses it into a big pot, simmers it for a while and tells the front-of-house manager to add it to the “Specials” board.  “What do you want to call it?” the FOH guy asks.  The chef thinks about it for a minute, scratches his chin thoughtfully, and says “Let’s call it Guilty Crown.”

I don’t really have a hell of a lot to say about the episode, to be brutally honest.  It didn’t annoy me as much as last week’s did, maybe because I vented most of my rage after that episode but probably because this was more random and preposterous than actually stupid.  I mean for starters, how is it that Shu didn’t bleed to death?  I see no indication that Inori gave him any kind of medical attention – there’s no sign of cauterization, or suturing, or even a goddamm band-aid.  OK, let’s just stipulate to that and move on.  The problem for me is that none of what should be the emotional payoffs had any real impact on me, because they weren’t earned by the story.  The fundamental issue is the same as it’s been all along – these characters just do whatever the plot needs them to do.  There’s no sense of a character journey for me here – I don’t hate Shu, but I don’t feel much empathy for him either.  I never liked Gai so it’s easy enough to hate Gai 2.0, but he’s obviously undergone some kind of radical identity altering which makes the whole issue of hating Gai effectively irrelevant. 

About the closest I came to feeling for anybody in this episode is Inori, which is ironic as she’s been mostly a flat character for much of the series.  But there was at least a certain poignancy in her situation as portrayed, watching her old leader and friend do terrible things (especially to Shu).  Obviously she’s wrestling with Mana taking over her body (not that we’ve gotten a good explanation for that or anything that’s happened) and she’s agonizing over the killing machine she’s turning into, the “bakemono”.  At least in her pledge to protect Shu there’s something understandable on a fundamental level, a precious nugget of straightforwardness in this incredibly jumbled mess of a plot.

As to that, I don’t really see much point in worrying about plot when none of it really makes sense.  Lots of peopled died – Arisa’s grandfather died in the process of killing her to clear the stain on his family name (‘cause he’s a samurai, y’know).  Daryl may or may not have died standing up for Tsugumi against Gai, ‘cause he-…  Well, he just did.  Gai used a bunch of voids to make a Lance of Longinus to destroy the UN bombs and bombers about to destroy Tokyo (and the void owners).  Somehow he’s working with Kido Kenji (remember him?) who’s controlling a satellite which he uses to blow up the entire Seventh UN Fleet.  Just why everyone is taking orders from Gai we’re not sure, but it’s apparently all the fault of an organization called Ba’at that’s older than the Freemasons and Zionists (seriously, Zionists?  Seriously?). Oh, and Haruka feels bad Shu’s arm got cut off, but it was all for the best. That’s some tough-love parenting right there.

The good news is that soon enough we can turn NoitaminA over to Nakamura-sensei and Watanabe-sensei, and put all this behind us.  Probably my best hope at this point is that Guilty Crown finds a way to end with some dignity, because there’s no way this monstrosity can be turned into anything meaningful in a month.  I don’t expect the ending to make sense, but I have enough residual fondness for the show that I hope it can at least be coherent and inspire some small measure of emotional response (exasperation doesn’t count).  And please, for the love of all that’s good and pure in the world, don’t let the strong Blu-ray sales convince anyone to make a second season.

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  1. A

    Arisa didnt even shed a tear for killing her grandfather, what a bitch, i really hate that character now, and shu's mom taking parental protection to a whole new level.
    Poor inori is the only thing that keeps me watching this trainwreck, and well secretly hoping that shu do something awesome in the end, have waited 18 episodes and nothing yet.

  2. b

    Gai-sama?? Really? REALLY?!!
    I freaking lol'd and facepalmed so hard.

    And why is Inori walking in the middle of the freaking road when she just learned one second ago that she was being targeted? I lol'd though when she was going down Shu's pants when she was getting possessed. But really, really?! A sudden transformation to a monster? Just…wtf.

    This is freaking ridiculous it's not even amusing. Only one more month until this is over, though saying that makes it feel much longer. Shit, I'm never gonna hear the end of this on MAL for the next month.

  3. B

    I just about lost my shit when Inori was fighting the Endlaves and it queued the super dramatic music. I mean I almost DIED laughing like the weasels in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I can't even believe this crap has good DVD sales, humans are officially idiots.

  4. B

    And just in case anyone who wants to defend this show reads this, yes, I'm aware that I don't have to watch it if I don't like it. But I have a compulsion to finish every show I watch no matter how terrible, I'll see it through to the end just like I always have with every other show I've watched.

  5. A

    You keep telling yourself that.

  6. d

    This is seriously the best show ever. There must be something in it that makes me come back week after week. I don't know what it is. Did they create Visual Drugs or something?
    You know you shouldn't be taking it but you still go back to it??

    If I am not wrong, that Gai is not Gai. HE said he is the same race as Inori. So they are both clones…

  7. I

    GE, I'm so with you that Sakamichi no apollon and Tsuritama could not come soon enough.
    I dropped this show at ep 2 and reading this I'm pretty glad I did, since the worst kind of show is a show where you don't care what happens to the people in it.

    High BD sales, WTF japan.

  8. The sad thing is, there was something about it that kept me from dropping it – something likeable in spite of the silly plotting and weak character development. And I was feeling pretty optimistic by episode 16 that it had finally found its voice, as the run-up through that ep was quite good. But the last two eps really leave me discouraged.

    There's just no way this show should be on NoitaminA. There's a place for shows like this (though you always hope they'll be better, GC isn't terrible) but it's not in the NoitaminA block.

  9. l

    Uchuu Kyodai is still my most anticipated show, not Sakamichi no Appolon. I hope they do this well, because it's an beyond awesome manga.

    Anyway, regarding GC: I watch this while being brain dead. I just accept whatever they throw at us by now xD.

  10. Spring is loaded – it would be hard to pick one series I'm most anticipating at this point. Those two are certainly on my radar.

  11. E

    I am still downloading.
    But are you serious?
    HE took down stealth bombers by himself?
    What's next? Take down the moon?
    [just like in DBZ?]
    Ha ha ha.

  12. A

    Honestly this kind of review pisses me off. Sure it isn't perfect, but I happen to like the show. And everything makes sense, if you aren't a moron.

    First of all Inori is a vessel for Mana, the mother of the virus crap, which put the Pathogen people into the power. The Death group or whatever, basically wants to use the pathogens and the virus to do whatever the hell they want with the world. But they need the mother of the virus to control it, hence wanting Inori. Gai is just a huge tool. Anyways, Inori was almost fused with Mana before, but it was incomplete, obviously some of it affected her, hence her crazness. Shes manipulating virus for the "monster" form, similar to the abilities of Mana.

    Arisa is a bitch. Lets just leave it at that.

    I can understand your frustration, I had it with this show too. But I'm not fond of the negative reviews that it seems to be generating. Most of it spans from idiots who can't get the simplicity of the storyline.

  13. You just keep telling yourself that.

    I defended GC long after most had set it to the torch. In the last two weeks it's completely given itself over to silliness. Bad writing is bad writing, and this is bad writing. If it makes you feel better to feel righteous and call people names, that's your right, but I think there are better ways to waste your time.

  14. S

    I've generally agreed with your reviews, but I also think the sudden change of attitude you had with GC in the last 2 episodes is a bit surprising. I think I liked GC much less than you did at ep 16, but my view on GC did not suddenly degrade to the hate you seem to have for the show now. The last 2 eps weren't great, for sure, but in the context of the whole show it didn't seem to be terrible either. Arisa's character change – a tad sudden but I personally thought the build-up was there – I saw it happening long before it happened. Gai's revival was a disappointing addition for me, but I also wasn't surprised (mainly as he "died" so fast and without enough emotional build up).

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I've only recently started visiting your blog (after you advertised on RC)and I really like your blogging style so now I'm a regular (lurker) here.

    But yeah I've found GC mediocre but not terrible, and regardless of the hate, it's the show I look forward to the most every week, after Another (which is amazing).

    And for all the haters who want think the Blu-ray shouldn't sell well…Well let's be honest. Why are you still watching the show when it's so bad? There seems to be this irresistable urge for you to finish GC regardless of the many flaws…and the amount of people still watching this show while writing tons of hateful comments every week should more than explain why it's selling so well. 😛

    Thanks for posting anyway, Enzo. I think I disagree with you current view on GC personally, but I think we can agree to disagree on this point, as I love all your other writing.

  15. A

    lol GE, it's like you used my words back at this Anon, even though we're not the same Anon..

  16. Snipyro, I really do think there's been a serious shark-jump in the last two eps – though of course that's just my opinion. Yes, this show was never great and yes, there's some element to it that keeps me watching (though TBH, at this point that's somewhat due to the fact that there's no way I'd drop a show after 18 of 22 eps). But from my POV you had maybe the 2 best eps of the show followed by maybe the 2 worst. That's disappointing.

  17. A

    I completely agree with anon. I also hate negative reviews. But what the heck. It's Enzo's reaction. It won't affect me a bit. I make it a point to watch the episode first before going to LiA and RC. So that I will have an impression of my own, not to be influenced by others. But really.

    Perfect description on your first paragraph Enzo. As much as I like GC, the emotion wasn't really there.

    The thing is, GC was aired way too early. They should have made a manga or a novel first. To sort thing out and should have picked better writers.

    I'm still eager to watch the next ep.

  18. Here's my question to the folks who hate negative reviews, and I ask it seriously. If I have a negative reaction, what would you want me to do? The way I see it my options are three :be honest, lie and say I didn't, or skip the post altogether. Is there a fourth option I'm missing?

    For the record, if a blogger never criticizes, they're accused of being a soft touch. You can't do this without pissing off somebody.

  19. S

    Keep your current style up! Even if I don't agree with negative reviews, it's really interesting to see the viewpoints of others. Your overall honest opinions in everything you blog is what keeps me reading – regardless of whether or not we share the same views.

    Just keep writing the way you always have, GE! 😀 I particularly love the attention to detail and your interesting theories in your Another posts.

  20. A

    Same goes for me Enzo! Like I said, "I also hate negative reviews. But what the heck. It's Enzo's reaction." So answering your question, I would say be honest like always.

    I like your style. I like reading your viewpoint and the opinions of others. But like I said, I have my own opinions and I won't let anyone change it. It won't affect me even all the comments and review are negative. If I like it. Then I like it.

    Anyway just keep doing what you do and have fun. That is what matters. If other people don't like it, its up to them. It's important that you like what you do.

    I agree with Snipyro, I just love your Another posts.

  21. A

    Part of the reason I keep watching it is the "hint of potential" as I call it sometimes, though it is also known as "a waste of what could be a really awesome plot".

    The "hint of potential" can pull through sometimes, such as with Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. The first two episodes still suck, but it got SO MUCH BETTER. But that was actually based on a novel, not an original story, so who knows.

  22. S

    Good review. As I said in the last review, I'm disgusted by the plot. I wouldn't have been if I hadn't once like the anime, but now all that remains after an episode is a rueful bitter taste in your mouth, like you've swallowed something rotten and taboo after deviant sex.

    This episode they twisted Arisa further, to a being that's not even the shadow of the woman she was in the first season. And next target for the plot writers was Inori, but that wasnt as retarded as they probably intended. Pure luck, perhaps? or was there a decent thought behind it? I'll never know.
    Next up is Ayase and Tsugumi. The only two decently scripted persons remaining in the story. I suspect they won't be twisted for another two or three episodes, though.

  23. E

    Some people missed this important fact : we keep watching because we got it for free…
    Seriously, I wouldn't spend a penny on this anime. [But I am willing to spend it on other…] [see the difference?]
    I don't question Inori turning into a bakemono
    I really can't accept why Arisa is such a bitch. Isn't she a fine ojousama before? Can people change that quickly? And why did she fall in love head over hell to Gai? When did it started? [Apparently her betrayal to Shuu is Gai's order]. When did they communicate? When did Gai seduced her? Isn't Neo-Gai just come out of a test tube lol.

    I can only hope for one thing now.
    Shuu should better beat of crap out of them all, in a most horrible way possible.
    How will he get the power to do so?
    By any means, please.
    We are already turning blind anyway lol.

  24. T

    Seriously, Guilty Crown decided to take whatever good aspects were left to the show, and threw them out the window in the past two episodes.

    It's a real shame too, because like Enzo said, I felt that the show was finally "finding it's voice" by around episode 15-16. And then they brought back Gai, and everything went to hell =___=

  25. S

    I still have optimism for this series. I like it, but I can't express why. It is a show that has pissed me off in a lot of ways, but still left me wanting to know "Whats next!" I can see why it is getting strong sales; it looks beautiful, it has characters that flaunt to each audience (albeit their role in the story goes down the chute), and it doesn't conform to what people expect (peaks many interest).

    Can they turn it around within a month to something EVERYONE loves? Probably not, but I had the same problem "Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai." I was yawning through the first 10 episodes, I lost interest every 2 episodes, but the VERY LAST EPISODE made the entire series worth it. I went from straight up yawning for hours to crying the very last 10 minutes. I REALLY hope the creators have something in store to make this series be good in its own regard.

  26. A

    Good on you for having optimism. We've been lacking a lot of that for this series.

    I was the opposite for Ano Hana though, I LOVED the first 10 episodes and thought the finale was lackluster.

  27. m

    I agree with above Anon. I Love Ano Hana too and can kinda agree that the finale was lackluster, but at the same time, I can't think of a better way to end it. I was crying my eyes out too.

    And those 10 episodes that you hate were the reason that I loved the show. It was just so real. Anime and other Japanese things like dramas and movies are usually just so full of perfect people. Or people who get have super power, or can speak wonderfully, or are just so cute. But Ano Hana was just real. It was real kids dealing with tragedy and real reactions. How they reacted to their friends death, and how that changed who they became 10 years later. Then how they were able to not only overcome and let their friend pass on, but how they were able to truly look at themselves and in turn put that truth out for the others to see. It was just so real. It pulled me in. And no matter how many times I've seen it it doesn't fail jerk a tear out or two.

    yeah, just had to say that.

  28. l

    I'm here just hoping that Guilty Crown didn't end up as one of my dropped anime … At first I thought Guilty Crown is awesome and likewise! But I had been disappointed for some long episodes between 15-18, and I definitely dislike Arisa's and Gai's character development thorough the anime. I hope the scriptwriter could do something about this. :/

  29. A

    Enzo, just speek your mind as usual. You are pretty good at explaining your reasons for what you like and dislike and I find you to be pretty balanced. Also… sometimes a badly developed script/characters are just what they are: bad script/characters ^^;; . People are free to like what the like, but it won't kill them to call and see things for what they are.
    As an old school and aged watcher, my first example would be Sailor Moon: I love it to bits, but it's also, ironically one of the most flawed series I ever watched: plotholes, time-travelling delivered in a nonsensical way, loose ends and forgotten plot points and characters… it's a mess, both the anime and the manga (they sort of balance each others in differenta aspects, but still there are more holes than in Emmenthal cheese). I could go on listing the flaws it has and my dissatsfaction over those for DAYS. It's my one skeleton in the closet and I know it all too well, and frankly some parts of it are pretty crappy from an 'objective' POV XD. It doesn't stop me from cherishing such a piece of crap a lot XD, regardless of well reasoned and understandable opinions of the contrary :D.

    Soo… yep Enzo, just keep blogging the way you do :* . And thank you once more from saving me from watching this anime. Dropped it after 3 episodes and never regretted it. There's only so much space in my skeleton cherishing closet after all XD.


  30. A

    It never fails….be it anime, movie, music or whatever. Say something critical and someone will rush to its defense. After watching the first two episodes I put this on the back burner, but I intend to "try" and marathon it once its complete.

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