Guilty Crown – 09

Shu is on a train with Hare when Yahiro leaps aboard, spilling drugs as he goes. Shu tells Hare he needs to talk to him. He learns that Yachiro and his terminally ill brother Jun had to flee the very facility he sold Shu out to get into. Shu vows to harbor them with Undertaker help, but he’s being surveilled by Major Segai, who corners them with snipers and endlaves. Shu promises to save Jun if Yahiro lets him draw out his void, but he fails and he himself is the one who kills him. Hare, meanwhile, had been following Shu all along.

When Shu sees Jun in the void world, in the setting of the day of Lost Christmas, he has a tough choice to make. Jun wants to die, and the void Shu has appropriated from Yahiro – the shears, are the means to do it. It isn’t just that Jun is tired; it’s that he wants to go out on his terms. His illness lets him see everyone’s dark side – including his bro’s. If he has to continue to see that, he’ll grow to hate him, and he doesn’t want to die hating his only brother. Jun forces a decision here: he makes use of his apocalypse cancer to possess an endlave, so it’s basically ‘kill me before I go mad and kill everyone’.

In the heat of the moment, Shu cuts Jun’s lifeline as requested. Shu, the kid who’s growing more and more confident and assertive (and educated in basic tactics), has killed his first human being. It was under highly supernatural circumstances, but he killed someone all the same. This is going to weigh on him, and perhaps eliminate all the progress he’s made with Undertaker. We’re really interested in seeing where this goes, along with how much Hare saw, and what she thinks of it all. What’s her void?


Rating: 3

Guilty Crown – 08

Gai’s next mission requires that Shu go to Oshima with his school friends Souta, Hare, and Kanon under the guise of a school vacation trip. In reality, Oshima’s shrine is a secret GHQ facility that can be unlocked with Souta’s void, and the core of the Undertakers are hiding out until Shu can draw it out. Doing this requires him to get Souta alone, which means arranging for him to meet Inori alone. When Souta’s about to confess to her, Shu interrupts by drawing his void out, and they proceed with the mission. They infiltrate the facilty easily, but Shu’s dad, Korosu – who he believes is dead and buried in Oshima, has already been there and taken the strange crystal that Gai was after.

Beach episode! It wasn’t that bad though. GC tried its best to justify Shu’s presence on Oshima. The actual fanservice bits are quite abbreviated and don’t detract from the mission, which turns out to be a bust prefaced by lots of bluster (the design of the various locks in the facilty were cool though). Combining Ouma’s regular school friends with his “job” was inevitable, but only Souta was directly involved. One thing we can say for sure is that Haruka is a really annoying mom. Seriously, put some clothes on when there’s company. We get it, you’re very attractive for your age, but that’s your damn son. Gross!

While Shu’s mom is a creepy cocktease, Shu’s dad is apparently the type to make others believe he’s dead, while he’s actually alive and well – and chief of the GHQ, no less. We were waiting for Haruka to drop her act and confront Shu, but here we get an entirely different shoe: Shu’s got a living dad, and where things stand now, he’s one of the bad guys. Like many of the things in this series, the hero with the parents he has to stand against is nothing new. But we get the feeling Korosu Ouma has plans for his clueless son with the magic right arm.


Rating: 3

Guilty Crown – 07

Shu returns to school, where nasty rumors about his encounter with GHQ are snuffed out by Class Prez Kuhouin Arisa, heiress to the powerful, anti-GHQ Kuhouin Group. Shu’s mom Haruka surprises him by coming home while Inori is there, forcing them to meet. Haruka is off to a party held offshore on a cruise ship, which is the same party Gai and Shu crash. Gai alerted the GHQ about the party, and a gung-ho Colonel targets the ship with missiles. Shu draws out Arisa’s void – a shield – which saves the ship and provides a live demonstration of the Untertakers’ power to her grampa, the Kuhouin boss, who agrees to provide transport services.

Segai’s superior, Colonel Eagleman – a fairly stereotyped American – is constantly talking about “guts”, and having the adequate amount to triumph. Well, Gai essentially called in a GHQ missle attack on a civilian cruise ship he’d be on at the time in order to impress his potential business parter. How’s that for gutsy? As for Shu, he more confident and looks like he’s having a lot more fun in this episode. He’d probably have freaked out if he knew what Gai did, but he didn’t, and did exactly what Gai needed for him to do: draw out Arisa’s void. Saving the ship and Arisa double as a thank-you for her sticking up for him when assholish classmates get on his case, but most of all, she and Shu’s mother were people he was determined to protect.

While the military action was limited to running around, missile launches, and holding a big void umbrella, this episode was more about infiltration, charm, and theater. Gai was funny playing the lovable rogue for a flustered Arisa, and the ballroom scene with Tchaikovsky playing over the light show was pretty sharp. Oh yeah, it looks like Shu’s mom is aware of his powers – probably always has (she is a scientist). Her drunk exhibitionist act may fool Shu, but not us. Her idea of “protecting” could mean getting separating him from the Undertakers in the future.


Rating: 3.5

Guilty Crown – 06

A surprise attack from GHQ’s Leucocyte jeopardizes the mission, killing Kyo and all of Undertaker’s reinforcements and supplies, but Gai is determined to continue the mission, using Kenji and Shu to knock out the satellite cores. Shu initially refuses to participate, but Inori arranges for him to eavesdrop on a vulnerable Gai who thinks he’s talking to her. Knowing the weight he carries, he agrees to help. Daryl Yan’s interference interrupts the delicate shutdown procedure, and the satellite beings hurtling toward Tokyo. Gai volunteers to destroy it at the cost of his life, but Inori lends her strength to Shu once more, giving him a void weapon that eliminates the threat.

Ah, it’s good that Gai got a chance to show us somebody other than the fearless leader – and good for Shu to see, too. He’s afraid of getting blood on his hands, and thinks it’s stupid for people to keep laying down their lives just because they love Gai. But he’s got it backwards. Gai loves them, and would die for them. He also happens to know that Shu has the pen Segai gave him. That Shu’s one trump card turns out to be something that would’ve killed him along with whoever was around him when he pressed the buttons is a nice piece of treachery on Segai’s part.

Inori proves quite the perceptive ‘lil minx in sensing Shu’s main objections stemmed from his misinterpretation of Gai’s personality – and the use of computer signage to fool Gai was clever. Shu may never be the cool, collected killing machines Inori or Gai are (Gai taking out Yan’s endlave on foot? Pretty awesome), but killing anyone at all is still tough proposition for him, which isn’t good considering in the business he’s in, reading people wrong and hesitating will get you dead. At the end of the day, though, he’s still standing,  this was another rousing, action-packed feast for the eyes, and we look forward to more.


Rating: 3.5

Guilty Crown – 05

Before Shu can become a member of Funeral Parlor, he must undergo basic training in order to keep up with everyone. Gai puts Ayase in charge of training him. Despite being wheelchair-bound, Ayase is tough and strong, and initially finds Shu hopeless, like everyone else. He proves himself to them in a mock battle in which he gets past Ayase’s endlave Steiner by drawing a void from Argo, one of the members in the audience. She gives him back his pen, and he becomes a full-fledged member. But Gai’s next big operation hasn’t started well.

This week, Shu meets more of the gang, as do we. We see a lot more of Ayase in particular and we have to say we like her proud, spunky character (voiced by Kana Hanazawa). Shu, meanwhile, is still pretty wimpy and unconfident – when he’s not drawing out voids, that is. Inori, so lovey-dovey up to this point, is much chillier to him, telling him not to get too close, then dropping a bomb on him: Gai told her to act like that, no doubt hoping the pretty girl would be successful in recruiting him. Part of us doubts this is how Inori really feels, but it’s what she’s told Shu, so that’s what he believes.

The twist of the knife comes when he sees Inori go into a bedroom with Gai, then hearing from Ayase that they do it two to three times a month. He gets the idea they’re a couple, when…it’s actually more complicated than that (perhaps she just has to sit by the bed and protect him from vamps or something?). His heartbreak aside, this episode efficiently dealt with Shu’s training and initiation. His void genome powers are crucial to Gai’s plans, and next week, Shu will likely need to put them to use in a life-or-death situation. And then there’s that dang pen he still has…


Rating: 3

Guilty Crown – 04

Shu is arrested and interviewed by Major Segai, who shows him why Yahiro betrayed him: his brother is at GHQ’s Isolation Ward, being treated for the Apocalypse virus. He wasn’t an addict; he was a dealer, to make money to pay the hospital bills. Segai tries to convince Shu to betray Gai when he and Undertaker storm the facility to rescue a dangerous criminal named Kenji Kido. Gai arrives disguised as his lawyer, and the operation begins shortly thereafter. With Inori infiltrating the facility on her own to rescue Shu, he decides to go along with Gai’s plan, drawing out Kido’s void, immobilizing the enemies and cushioning Inori’s fall. He uses her sword to mop up as Segai watches. Shu finally agrees to join Gai and Undertaker.

Order. All societies worth their salt have it. Japan has it in spades, as does America. But that order comes at a cost. In Guilty Crown, that cost is perhaps higher than in the real world, but it’s no less necessary. And those groups that have a problem with how that order is achieved and maintained – they’ll always be terrorists in the eyes of the order-keepers. We noticed how Major Segai didn’t call it “peace”, just “order”. Peace isn’t all that possible when bombs are going off and the government slaughters innocent people who refuse inoculation. Blood must be spilt for this society to survive, according to those in power. Blood is also inevitble if anyone is to oppose them. The no-omelettes-without-broken-eggs analogy.

This was a phenomenal episode in many ways; perhaps GC’s best. it showed a waffling Shu finally make a choice (though he holds on to Segai’s transmitter, just in case), and it also showed a GHQ facility getting totally wasted by an extremely coordinated, multi-vector attack by Undertaker. We like how mechas are only one facet of the operation and of this series in general; not the end-all-be-all of the show. Only Ayase is regularly even in one. Everyone has their role to play. Nobody’s all that deep yet, but we have a long way to go yet. We will say that Segai got some more dimension this week, and he genuinely feels his cause is righteous. We were also impressed with the lighting this week, and the soundtrack rocked, too.


Rating: 3.5 

Guilty Crown – 03

Inori not only transfers to Shu’s class, but moves in with him as well, so that she can teach him about drawing out peoples’ voids. Everyone’s void takes a different form based on the “shape of their heart”. Gai instructs him to find a witness to their operations in Roppongi before the GHQ does. The witness Yahiro, a student at his school with a reputation for kindness and caring. In reality, he’s addicted to a drug called Norma Gene. When Shu confronts him, he wigs out, but after returning his void, they agree to keep each others’ secrets, rather than let Inori kill him. Yahiro then immediately rats Shu out to the GHQ, and Major Segai arrests him.

Last week was about helping The Little People. This episode was about cleaning up the mess, while Shu learned what voids were all about. We kinda knew as soon as Shu got home that he’d find Inori there. We also found out pretty darn fast that Yahiro was “Sugar” the witness. But that didn’t make the confrontation any less tense. Shu’s experimentation with classmates (including accidentally groping Kanon, his rep) and all the strange, random voids he drew out, provided some levity to the proceedings. But once he had his man, things got real stern and serious real fast.

Shu’s fatal mistake this week was believing in Yahiro’s nice guy persona, when he really didn’t know the whole picture. Meanwhile, Inori’s instinct to shoot him, while cold, was spot-on. There’s also a kind of ironic cruelty that Shu’s own mom, a researcher at Sephirah Genomics, is involved in the operations to wipe out Undertaker. The early foreshadowing about Major Segai’s success in investigation the Norma Gene industry was nicely connected to Yahiro’s addiction. Segai uses whatever methods are necessary to achieve his goals. We’d like to hate Yahiro for his sudden but inevitable betrayal, but it was certainly Segai pulling the strings behind him. And now Shu is seriously in the shit.


Rating: 3.5 

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 

Guilty Crown – 01

Shu is an introverted student who makes films, and suddenly gets caught up in the war between “terrorist” groups and the government, in a post-semiapocalyptic Tokyo recovering from a viral war. He happens upon Inori, an idol who is also a member of the resistance led by Gai and on the run. He misses his first chance to save her, but doesn’t waste his second, making a pact with her to take the guilty crown and fight beside her.

Sweet Cambridge, this is the fourth series debut that we’ve had no choice but to score a four. Who knows if the season can keep up this momentum, but if it can it will go down as one of the best we’ve had the pleasure to watch. This Guilty Crown will be a big part of it, and its sleek, sexy debut is just about as close to perfection as you can get. Not a moment was wasted and no detail left out. It kicked ass on pretty much all levels.

From its quiet, beautiful opening that layered Inori’s music video with her guerilla activities, to the shounenesque climax and payoff. it exhibited perhaps the best animation, art direction, and character design of the season so far, and had a rich, involving soundtrack to match all the eye candy. Shu is well thought-out too, he’s a wimp, but his growth of cajones is rapid and believable. He’s just stepped into a new and very dangerous world, but he seems well-equipped to deal with it. The next episode can’t come soon enough.


Rating: 4