Shu is moments too late to save Inori, and the newly awakened Mana’s dance begins the fourth apocalypse, as countless people around the world become consumed by crystal. Using his friends’ voids, Shu duels with Gai, but is disarmed and struck down. Just when all hope is lost, Inori calls to him from a crystal flower, and he draws her back out. Her song dissolves the crystal all over the world.
As GHQ headquarters collapses around them, Shu stabs Gai, and the two cross over to the Naath Utopia, which lies beyond the apocalypse. Gai tells him the only way for Mana to be put to rest is by letting her finish her role. Shu returns to the real world, where Inori is almost totally encased with crystal, and eventually disintigrates. Together, theyabsorb the last remnants of the apocalypse virus. Years later, the world is back to normal, Shu survived, and he still pines for his lost love.
Well, it was quite a ride, but all things must end, and end Guilty Crown did. It wasn’t the best ending ever but at least we pretty much knew what was going on, and no last-minute twists or contrivances came out of left field. There was naturally the final boss battle, where Gai who claimed Mana while Shu dug down deep and called upon the power of Inori. Gai was redeemed, as he says in the end he did what he did hoping Shu would come stop him, and he did.
We really dug the new music saved for this finale, including a pretty badass remix of the first ending theme. But we do feel ourselves hard-pressed to offer more than faint praise for this last episode. To be perfectly honest, the trio of sci-fi shows that came around in January (Aquarion, Moretsu and Lagrange) have caused our interest in Guilty Crown to wane. In that sense, it’s a good thing the series is over.
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.
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.
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.
Plane Cameo: It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…yes, it’s a plane. a B-2 Spirit!
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.
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?
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.
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.