Daily Archives: Thu, 20 Oct 2011

Guilty Crown – 02

Ouma Shu contracted with Inori with the Void Genome that was meant for Gai, the leader of the resistance group called Undertaker. He’s pressed into service to deliver the coup-de-grace in an intricately planned operation to save a hundred citizens from the Anti Bodies, among them the sadistic Lt. Daryl Yan, son of the Bureau’s leader. The operation is successful, but Shu turns down the offer to join Undertaker. He believes he’s put it behind him and returned to his normal life when Inori shows up at school, having transferred to his class.

This episode was another feast for eye and ear; home to some pretty fantastic action and combat sequences, with some nice gamble suspense mixed in for good measure. Ouma Shu may not like it, but he has the powers of a god now, and a girl who isn’t shy about calling herself his. He stuck his neck out for her last week, and the reward was being thrust into a world he probably hadn’t even known about. It’s a world where government-sanctioned genocide in the name of eradicating disease is commonplace, and where the weak have to be protected from jack-booted thugs.

It’s only a matter of time before Shu and that little germophobic bastard Yan square off. There’s a lot to like here: you have your etherially beautiful songstress/muse, you’ve got old-fashioned and newfangled mecha (called “endlaves” here), your diverse crew of freedom fighters who have a very serious mission, but trying to keep it nice and casual between one another (contrast that with the cold military style of the Anti Bodies), and the concrete jungle of Tokyo to play in (the vistas continue to impress). Ouma Shu may still be a little on the dull side, but so far he hasn’t shied away from his duty when called upon.


Rating: 3.5 

Un-Go – 02

Yokohama power player Hisako Osada’s corpse is found in a suitcase in front of her own mansion, and prosecutor Koyama enlists the aid of Kaishou. The intricate case is studded with false culprits apparently placed to confuddle the investigator, but Shinjurou and Inga eventually discover that Hisako’s daughter An is the murderer. Hisako forbade An to pursue her dream of singing, even after she contributed her voice to a popular idol group set up by Hisako to heighten morale during the war. An was the voice of Eri Anzai, the fourth member of the group believed to have been killed in a terrorist attack before their debut. Sinjurou has a computer-savvy acquaintence release the prohibited music out onto the web.

Whereas a series like Night Raid took place in an alternate version of the thirties when Japan occupied China, Un-Go takes literature from the period (by Sakaguchi Ango, hence the title Un-go) and sets it in the near future instead, after a similar war broke out. I like that choice, because history repeats itself, even when it comes to the type of wars countries tend to fight. There’s also an intense sense of decadence and uneasiness to this postwar Japan; it comes close to being dystopic, but very subtly so, since it sticks so close to reality. Unlike so many anime that are hastily produced from manga that aren’t even complete, there’s a sense of authenticity and richness to the cases, in addition to being well thought-out. It’s a flavor that comes from time-honored, finely-honed source material.

Whether Inga is an invention of the show’s producers, or an invention of Ango, we don’t know, but she’s definitely an interesting wild card. When her grown-up version is released, it’s just a matter of asking the right person the right question, and the case breaks open. But finding that person and having that question are the challenges Shinjurou faces. The series’ music is beyond reproach, particularly that of the idol group, which sounded almost throwback in its consturction yet more honest and robust because of that. The idea of the government using talented singers and then discarding them when their usefullness is at an end isn’t all that farfetched, either.


Rating: 4