Guilty Crown – 21

UN launches a massive assault on GHQ, but Gai emerges and destroys the force with a single devastating attack. The Undertakers take advantage of the distraction to infiltrate the building, led by Shu using everyone’s voids as he goes. When they reach Central Command they are blocked by Yuu of Naath, who isolates Shu and duels him. Shu wins, but is a moment too late to save Inori, who Gai has had enclosed in crystal to be reborn as Mana, his Eve.

That was a mighty fine penultimate episode. It employed an enthralling “infiltrating the final dungeon” setpiece, complete with a nasty-ass boss in Yuu, who sacrifices minions for void weapons like we usually eat popcorn chicken – rapidly and without mercy. Finally, it just about finished explaining what the heck is going on. Yuu is a member of Naath (he says he is Naath), an organization that apparently chooses the next stage of evolution for humans. Inori is their Eve, it’s clear, but Adam was pretty much a stalemate between Shu and Gai until Yuu asks him a simple question: Will you press the reset button on the world?

Shu is, as Inori observes, “heartbreakingly human”, so much so that heals guys who aren’t even on his side. Eliminating the entire human population, including his friends and family, simply isn’t in his character. Killing Gai to save them all is, though, as he states in perhaps the most touching scene with Ayase yet – part goodbye, part acknowledgement of mutual affection. The stirring score really makes its presence felt and adds gravity to the proceedings. We’re feeling good about a coherent ending taking place, though we can’t speak to how derivative and/or contrived said ending will be.


Rating: 3.5

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Chihayafuru – 23

Since Chihaya lost before Sudo, she’s obligated to shave her head, but Harada beats Sudo to negate the bet. His student Takemura moves on to win the Master Challenger match, while Yumin wins the right to a rematch with the Queen. Oe notices that Taichi is in love with Chihaya. Arata also loses, and regrets running from karuta. He tries to convince his elder Murao not to run, but isn’t successful. The Karuta club members attend various Christmas parties, and Chihaya decides to call Arata.

No club members had a match this week, and the episode didn’t focus on the matches, but the characters; a smart, well-timed move. Too many strictly “match episodes” can grow tiring, especially since it essentially sidelines most of the cast. Chihaya shuts herself in a closet, devastated by this loss like no loss before. Taichi waits for her to come out on the other side, seeing the same pain in her that he felt, but without the guts to make the very obvious and overt declaration to her that, well, he’s in love.

It may be true that Chihaya only has eyes for Arata, a guy she hardly ever sees, which explains why Taichi hesitates. Chihaya’s denseness is almost a comfort to him, which is bad. He’s used to her ignoring him like a karuta player gets so used to losing, he’s nothing but an empty, aimless husk. Deference to a guy Chihaya pays more attention to is not worth what Taichi’s doing to himself. An aside: we’re liking how the characters are using more karuta poems to describe their states of mind.


Rating: 3.5