Guilty Crown – 7

Why can’t more episodes of Guilty Crown be like this one?  No, I’m not talking about how this episode steadily improved from start to finish nor that it had introductions to new characters, some respectable action sequences, and a decent amount of information on the setting making it a detailed episode.  Those were all great but that’s not what I want to bring up today.  No, what made this episode one of the best was that it didn’t take itself as seriously as any of the previous ones, and that’s a major plus for Guilty Crown.

What’s hindered Guilty Crown in the past, for me and for others, has been that the anime has taken itself way too seriously.  While that’s not bad in and of itself, with poor character logic and actions and generally mediocre execution, it comes across as not having the bite to back up its bark.  It felt off trying to have high tensions scenes against the GHQ when their officers were acting like comically cartoony villains and Gai was performing like a charismatic, Hollywood soldier.  The two ends couldn’t decide what they wanted to be and some scenes suffered as a result.  But this one bucked that trend and the two sides came together for a laidback, more enjoyable episode.

Now why did I come to that conclusion?  Probably because most of the characters in this episode didn’t really care on what was going on.  And those that did didn’t try to make things overly dramatic or try to play them out as bigger than they really were (except I can understand Tsugumi freaking out as a SAM was flying at the ship they were on, so that’s fine).  It started when Shu began panicking that his mom, Haurka, came home and Inori was folding her underwear on the couch.  But what seemed like another terrible anime cliché, complete with the inappropriate and misunderstood pose when Haruka showed up but it never progressed like that.  Sure, it could’ve gone the two predictable ways with Haruka furious at the ecchi mess Shu was in or completely accepting and interested in Inori (which Future Diary somehow pulled off last week) but rather Haruka didn’t give a shit.  She already stripped out of her work clothes, had a beer in one hand, and wanted a pizza in her other.  So what if her socially awkward son had a cute girl over, she wasn’t going to wear clothes for that!  How awesome is that?  And from that point forward, what looked to be another tedious school/harem episode turned out to be something fun and entertaining.

Had it stopped with Haruka, then the rest of the episode may have been merely decent but the GHQ scenes continued with that relaxed atmosphere and made for some pretty enjoyable scenes.  It started when Dan, the stereotypical American Anglo-Saxon of anime, was introducing himself to the GHQ officers and they just stood there bored as all hell.  Segai was busy on his cell phone, Daryl felt completely disrespected and displeased, and Rowan tried to be serious but failed miserably.  And when they showed the battalion of missiles on the harbor all for one cruise liner, you knew there wasn’t an ounce of seriousness with the villains in this episode.  It was great because the anime finally chose an attitude for the military in this episode that matched the profile of this episode.  They’ve already drilled into our head multiple times that they’re oppressive and evil and all that jazz but they realized anymore would be overkill and saved that job for the unnecessary amount of missiles they had at their disposal.  They finally decided to have some fun this episode and managed to accomplish that task.  What cemented it was when Dan said that he learned about the ship from some random citizen and decided to bomb the hell out of it without any further intelligence or advice.  And all with a teeth sparkle, too.  Golden.

Gai played an important role in the fun, too, but not in the same way as Haruka or the GHQ did.  Gai’s role in the episode was more to prevent the episode from becoming too serious or dramatic than what it wanted to be.  Shu began his normal reaction of being overly anxious and troubled when he saw his mother aboard the ship and again when he bumped into Arisa.  The mood of the episode began to shift with Shu worrying about the safety of his mom and his school friend but thankfully Gai, looking absolutely boss in that tux, came in to save the day.  His suave sexual harassment and his collected and calm demeanor when the ship was actively being bombed ran counter to what Shu and Tsugumi were expressing.  You don’t really feel tension and drama when a badass is calling a young maiden an armadillo or seducing her on the stern of a ship.  It just doesn’t allow the tension to manifest itself into anything important.  Sure, Gai was indeed serious in this episode, securing stable routes of funds for his organization and protecting the cruise liner from unfathomable annihilation but he never allowed the episode to try to become more than it should’ve been and end up ruining itself.

Oh, and those missiles choreographed to the Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers and exploding into fireworks thanks to Arisa’s Void was just so over-the-top that it completed the episode.  What more could it do?  And with Gai holding Arisa in his arms looking skyward as the glittering lights.  How perfect of an ending was that?

No, I’m not going to complain about an episode like that in Guilty Crown.  Sure, I want the anime to be serious, to deliberate complex themes, construct rich and stimulating characters, have sensational fight sequences, and make us think week after week but I also want the series to have some fun sometime.  The series hasn’t exactly been the former which has been a disappointment.  But this is the first time it has tried the latter and it came out somewhere between wonderful and fantastic.  And it introduced Arisa and Haruka plus detailed some new info on Funeral Parlor, too, so it wasn’t completely meaningless either.  Now I don’t hope every episode is like this in Guilty Crown; I hope next week the anime returns to a serious storyline and builds upon the Funeral Parlor and its war against the GHQ.  But an episode like this, to break up the monotony of unyielding seriousness from the first six episodes, is welcome every once in a while.  Hopefully the anime can take a hint from this episode and decide on a focus for each episode when the serious episodes return because this is the first one that felt appropriate and consistent throughout.

One of my fears for this anime is that it would eventually turn into a harem of sorts.  You have Inori already following Shu around and Hare is the typical childhood friend who’s doomed for failure right from the start.  Then you introduce Arisa in this episode who defends Shu for no apparent reason and Haruka who frequently walks around home in her panties and enjoys snuggling Shu and you’re beginning to leave ‘love triangle’ and head for ‘harem’ territory.  Oh, and when you add in the girl he groped in the third episode and Ayase and Tsugumi, and yeah, you have the potential for a healthy-sized harem.  And while I would hate it if a harem did develop, it doesn’t appear that it will.

So far no one has fallen for Shu for no logical reason beside Hare and maybe Inori, so that’s a positive sign.  Another is that Gai seems to be getting all the chicks without Shu knowing.  Actually, if a harem develops around Gai, I’d probably like that, especially if Shu is all resentful and depressed about it.  Yeah, Gai looking after Arisa at the end like that was a nice scene and I wouldn’t be surprise if she falls for him like Inori or Ayase have, even after being sexually harassed the entire episode by him.  But knowing Gai, he’s probably just doing all that for his own selfish purposes.  He’ll probably end up using her influence to extract money later in the series or something like that and end up breaking her heart in the process.  So even if a harem developed around Gai, it wouldn’t be a cliché anime one where it’s one guy running from all the girls in an endless cycle of comedy and ecchi.  Nah, it would end up being Gai using all the girls for his own benefit and then discarding them once they prove useless for his goals.  Yeah, that’d actually be pretty interesting to watch.

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  1. #1 by AceRailgun on November 24, 2011 - 4:33 PM

    I get the impression that Gai would totally discard a girl when he is done and that’s where Shu comes in. He can take the discarded girl and befriend them.

    I have to say this is one of my favorite episodes so far and its probably because as yo said its not taking itself to seriously. Plus I think it has something to do with the fact Shu and Gai are best friends now.

    • #2 by avvesione on November 25, 2011 - 11:42 PM

      lol I can imagine that happening between Gai and Shu, but I’m not sure the girls would even hang out with Shu after being dumped by Gai. It’s quite a big step down.

      I think many people found this episode enjoyable because it didn’t take itself as seriously as any of the previous. Having the episode mock itself with the characters and GHQ and all that came out well. But then again, I’ve seen some negative reviews since this was pretty much a filler episode and we still haven’t begun the a good storyline. Like all anime, it’s up to each individual viewer to decide for themselves if they like it or not.

  2. #3 by zammael on November 24, 2011 - 10:50 PM

    Can it be? Guilty Crown is recovering from the wreckage of its initial launch? Indeed, this was a solid episode, tho pretty close to filler-land, almost a formula: build crisis to critical point, make sure Shu is at the right place, and Void away the problem.

    There’s so much potential but somehow the creators are settling for cliched tropes rather than experimentation.

    Ambivalent main character? check.
    Evil government conspiracy? check.
    Childhood friend? check.
    Mysterious girl? check.
    High School hijinks? (mysterious girl mysteriously transfers)
    We all know the rest.

    I’d imagine a totally different scenario: have the main character actually join the rebellion, fight his ambivalent nature throughout.

    • #4 by avvesione on November 25, 2011 - 11:49 PM

      No maids yet! That’s an accomplishment, right?

      I understand what you’re saying about the whole filler/formula style of this episode being more negatives on the storytelling and central plot but I thought this had more entertainment value than any episode in the series beside the first one. I just hope this break will allow the series to reevaluate where the story is going and put more time and energy in directing a better, enjoyable story. I think we’ll see Shu more active in the rebellion coming up soon since that’s where the biggest holes in the story are so far. We don’t know where Funeral Parlor is in its war against the GHQ (beginning, middle, end game?) or what their true objectives are (liberating Japan is fine and dandy but what is Gai really after?). And the characters of Funeral Parlor are grossly underdeveloped beside Gai and Inori, so there’s amble time that needs to be spent there soon. Just need to see it executed well to make some acceptable progress in the story and the anime can really recover.

      Glad to see you’re enjoying the anime more and liked this past episode.

  3. #5 by tomphile on November 25, 2011 - 9:38 AM

    I always planned to go through with Guilty Crown no matter how stupid the story got. Why? Ayase, I love her to bits and she deserves a chance to shine over the oh-so-typical Inori. Anyways, is it just me or does Gai have eyeliner?

    • #6 by avvesione on November 25, 2011 - 11:57 PM

      Ah, Tom! It’s great to see you again, welcome back!

      Ayase is one of the better characters in the series and her disability creates a unique distinction to build a memorable character around. I do like that her wheelchair isn’t the only ‘thing’ about her and that they focused on other aspects about her during her brief time on screen, so that provides hope that she’ll grow properly as a character in this anime. She might be my favorite female in the anime, too, but there’s just something about Tsugumi that I like…

  4. #7 by tomphile on November 25, 2011 - 9:39 AM

    Does Gai have eyeliner?

    • #8 by avvesione on November 26, 2011 - 12:00 AM

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he did when he dressed up as a butler. He probably puts on make-up every time he puts on a disguise, like that lawyer outfit he wore in the fourth episode or that tux he wore in the second episode. Come to think of it, he likes to dress up a lot, doesn’t he? Probably has a bigger make-up kit than anyone else in Funeral Parlor, you think?

  5. #9 by feal87 on November 29, 2011 - 1:09 AM

    Dan is so damn win! While a bit offensive maybe to Americans, he’s so damn funny as a parody…:P

    • #10 by avvesione on November 30, 2011 - 12:41 AM

      I think everyone loved “typical American” Dan Eagleman. He was great with how he acted in front of our villains so far and I hope we see more of him (and some other stereotypical Americans) again soon since he really made that episode.

  6. #11 by Soji on November 29, 2011 - 3:10 PM

    Good episode but I hope that after the beach episode they become more serious and give us more story and answers.I mean I like the show , but now we approach the middle of this season they need to do better from now on.Moreover I keep wondering why they started to develop some kind of relationship/friendship between Shu and Ayase and then just thrown aside.Moreover I want an episode were Shu is thought dead to see the reaction from Gai, Ayase the other and especially Inori.But maybe I ask too much .

    • #12 by avvesione on November 30, 2011 - 12:45 AM

      I think everyone is itching for a story in Guilty Crown now. It’s been long overdue and the stuff we’ve seen has only really served as an intro (we don’t know very many details yet about Funeral Parlor, GHQ, the whole voids, Apoc Virus, etc.) so we should be starting the story now. I think this episode served as a filler between the last of the intro episodes (6) and the start of the main story (8). Of course, we might get a grab-bag of character episodes sometime soon (like another one with Shu and Ayase) but the main story needs to start immediately.

      It’d be interesting to see how everyone would react if they thought Shu was dead but I think the characters need more time with him to develop stronger bonds. Of course, that doesn’t always equal stronger emotions, especially when Gai doesn’t really care who dies during some of his missions. I don’t think they’ll do anything like that soon and the closest we’ll get will be the whole prison episode.

  1. Notes of Guilty Crown Episodes 6-8 « Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

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