Guilty Crown – 19

Haruka steals the last void genome ampule from the bowels of GHQ and heads to the Kuhouin manor, but her old friend Kurachi leads her to an office where remnants of Funeral Parlor are holed up. Segai infiltrates the office and Ogumo is killed protecting Haruka, who is swept away by Argo to another hideout. There, Ayase volunteers to inject herself with the genome, but Segai shows up before she can. The ampoule trades hands a couple times before rolling away and into the hands of Shu, who injects it, forms a new right hand, and defeats Segai, absorbing Tamadate’s cancer in the process. He vows to bear all of the virus, and all the bad will with it.

We now have ourselves two kings: “Unsightly Idol” Gai, and the re-crowned runt Shu. Gai’s goals remain somewhat hazy; but Shu’s job is clear: get Gai; end the suffering of his people. The manner in which he got that crown back is not without many moments of incredible luck and circumstance, and his ultimately victorious battle strained credulity at other moments, but we’ll cut the series some slack; it’s almost the endgame, and as Segai says, this isn’t the time to hold back (though he wasn’t talking about logic). But yeah, Segai’s dead now. We won’t miss him that much, he’d become another fairly bland military sadist.

It’s just as well Shu arrived on the scene when and where he did; Ayase was on the ground and about to be killed by Segai (who had plenty of time to do so but didn’t) and even if she’d retrieved the ampoule, there’s no guarantee her body wouldn’t instantly reject it and kill her anyway. Shu’s not-mother insists that if he takes it again he won’t survive, and she turns out to be right about whether he’ll die. She didn’t say when, though. Perhaps he’ll live long enough to save the world, sacrificing himself in the process, and at least in his mind, atoning for all the sins he feels guilty for.


Rating: 3

Advertisements

Guilty Crown – 18

After taking Shu’s power, a newly-crowned Gai uses Nanba and other students to form a combination void that blocks the UN bombing and destroys the bomber. After destroying a carrier strike group, he warns the world to cease all miilitary operations and essentially await further orders. Inori sneaks off and tends to Shu, and they squat in a half-destroyed planetarium. After multiple violent outbursts, Inori realizes the monster within her cannot be controlled. Remembering Shu’s words, she decides to “be herself” and take on Gai’s forces in her berzerk mode. However, Gai uses a void to capture her.

They took his normality, they took his girl, they took his arm, they took his powers and his kingdom…and now they take his other girl. But it looks like it’s going to stop there, because for one, Shu doesn’t have anything else, and for another, his last look was full of resolve. He’s going to go get her back. Right? Otherwise, this was an episode in which Arisa kills her grandfather (who came to kill her for her betrayal, but stayed his sword), Nanba and his minions are thankfully wiped out, Inori wastes a gang of would-be rapists, Daryl Yan disobeys orders, and a stealth bomber gets blowed up real good.

What have we got, four episodes left? That sounds about right. Shu, outta stuff to lose; Inori, losing what humanity she had, Gai, back and on the wrong side and threatening the entire world, the remnants of the Undertakers/Funeral Parlor lost and and seemingly aimless, and a totally wrecked Tokyo (remember how they knocked over the tower last week?). So we’re definitely getting near the end here. What end that will be we have no idea, but we’re enjoying the ride.


Rating: 3

Plane Cameo: It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…yes, it’s a plane. a B-2 Spirit! 

Guilty Crown – 17

As Shu prepares the school for “Exodus”, in which they’ll escape from quarantine, his oppressed subjects are starting to resent his rule. This is exacerbated by Arisa and Nanba spreading the rumor that you’ll die if your void is destroyed. After being attacked by Inori, Arisa is planning a coup d’etat. The operation begins and goes off without a hitch, but when it’s over and the students can escape, Arisa strikes, with many students on her side. A Gai resurrected by GHQ arrives and slices of Shu’s right arm with Inori’s void, taking his power. The UN approves a resolution to “eliminate Japan”.

Wow. Damn. That kingdom didn’t last long. With five whole episodes left, the story is moving alarmingly fast. Shu started the episode with everything and ended with nothing. Well, that first part isn’t quite right. At the start, Shu had become fairly comfortable with his role as reluctant tyrant in order to shape the school into a fighting force. But at great cost: Ayase and Tsugumi are alienated, he impulsively discards Yahiro, and even Arisa, who he once could have counted as a friend, is the leader of the successful revolt against him. Inori stays by his side, but she’s a loose cannon, acting alone when she assaulted Arisa, an act that only made matters worse.

What’s so distressing about all this is that Exodus was a success. Shu did what he set out to do and freed the people. Would they have performed as well had he exercised a gentler hand? Would they have (A)risen up against him regardless? We’ll never know, but that’s the least of Shu’s problems: he’s lost his arm, and with it his King’s power. He’s just a kid again. And just to pile on the peril, the entire country itself is about to be bombed by the UN – apparently to stop the spread of the apocalypse virus. Things are bad – and we can’t see how they’ll get better just now.


Rating: 3.5

Nitpick: Wouldn’t the Tokyo Tower falling create, an enormous shockwave/dust cloud that would envelop/consume Shu’s whole army, considering they’re all gathered around it’s base?

Guilty Crown – 12

Anti Bodies Chief Koudou captures Inori with the goal of reawakening Mana, the entity that caused the first Lost Christmas. Koudou wants to bring about a second, remaking the world for him to rule. But he has to ‘marry her’ in a strange ceremony. With Gai and Ayase’s help, Shu remembers what he had forgotten: Inori/Mana was his big sister, and together they found Gai washed up on a beach and became good friends. When Mana touched the purple rock, she became infected by Mana, eventually leading to the Lost Christmas. Shu draws out Gai’s void – a gun that itself draws out voids, then uses Inori’s sword void to stab Mana, sacroficing Gai as well. Apocalypse averted.

Well, now, that certainly took a few twists and turns we were not expecting. Seriously, a whole lot of stuff came out of left field this week; much of which, as far as we know, wasn’t ever foreshadowed or touched upon in the previous eleven episodes. We knew there was something odd about Inori, but never suspected she was some kind of clone of Shu’s big sister. Of course, with this revelation, there are a few uncomfortable Luke+Leia moments, but chalk that up to his sis being under the influence of what is essentially a horny demigoddess.

As for Gai, well, we hardly knew ye…until your last episode. Turns out the reason Shu has been such a bland, wishy-washy character is because he repressed much of who he was, who Gai will say he emulated. “You can be me, like I was once you,” he says in his last moments. Shu used to be a take-charge, assertive dude, and can be again. So he takes charge, and saves the frikkin’ world in the deal. This episode wasn’t without its oddities (crystal eyeball monsters? Digital nuptual veils?), but we still enjoyed it; it was a pretty nice wrap-up to the Undertakers vs. Anti Bodies arc. So…what’s next? Where does the show go from here?


Rating: 3

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 – 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