Oh my, Guilty Crown.
Announced to be airing as a 2-cour series in the noitaminA timeslot, directed by Death Note director Tetsurō Araki and with the screenwriters for Code Geass, Hiroyuki Yoshino and Ichirō Ōkouchi, all of this being handled by the studio Production I.G. – a studio with a track record for excellent series – Guilty Crown was understandably being hyped to hell and back. The general description for it included talk of a mysterious virus, strange powers, and an anti-government resistance group. Aside from the virus stuff, it sounded awfully lot like the good part of Code Geass, and with the staff to back that up. Exciting stuff! Everybody was eager, anxious in their anticipation, predicting it would be the best show of the fall season. What could go wrong?
Well, it all started when it began airing…
We open with a night-time shot of Tokyo, all yellows, purples and greens. A mysterious prism/tower looms in the background. There is the promise of cyberpunk, although it doesn’t really get fulfilled and I only thought that because this scene reminded me of Ghost in the Shell. Well, can’t hold that against them, can I?
We cut to our protagonist (who else is he going to be?) alone on top of a building watching an ‘Egoist’ music video, the singer basically naked. Interspersed are scenes of the singer also stealing a vial from somewhere. In a stripperific outfit. She’s getting chased and a load of mecha tanks called endlaves catch her and kinda blast her around a bit, although another endlave comes and defends her. She falls off a bridge.
Next morning, we’re in high-school. Of course. We learn that our protagonist is called Ouma Shu (aka Oh Ma Shoe). He is an antisocial jerk. Interestingly enough, he basically outright states he’s autistic. Either way, he whines about not understanding people and feeling like an outcast and just generally being beta and shit. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.
As Shu goes to have lunch in an abandoned building for some reason (it represents what an outcast he is and is symbolic and deep and shit) he gives us some backstory about the so-called Apocalypse Virus and how it fucked Japan. He enters the abandoned building and SURPRISE he meets the girl who was running away in there. Oh, and she’s topless. Of course. And of course he fumbles around being all awkward and beta and of course she’s all absent-minded and not paying attention and of course she accidentally turns the terminal on and of course it plays his video and of course she calls it pretty.
Whilst he awkwardly talks at her, she doesn’t pay him any attention and makes a cat’s cradle. This happens for no reason other than to be referenced at their final moment together in the final episode and bookend their development as a couple or something. If it actually meant or did anything else in the entire story, fine, but NOPE. Literally only exists to bookend things. Symbolism!
But yeah, he doesn’t take it. There’s all this DEEP stuff she says about him not trying to take it and being a coward, blah blah blah. The building gets raided and she gets captured, Shu is threated with death, blah blah blah, it’s all very predictable. Shinji Shu whines a whole bunch more, like a whole bunch, is hella beta and also really rather creepy.
But Shu mans up, if only a little bit, and takes the robot with the vial where it needed to go. And then he gets pushed around a lot and kinda stands up for himself by curling into a ball and whining. And then we get some blonde Gai coming along and beating the shit out of the thugs in corny ways all set to some cheesy nu metal riffage. Then their group elsewhere gets attacked by the big bad government, Shu is tasked with running the fuck away from the endlaves, but sees Inori again and tries to save her this time! He’s still insufferably whiny about it though, I mean really. The vial gets conveniently shot and Shu gains super powers!
And then we get this creepy, unnecessarily sexual, bit…
And then we have this shot of some strange girl who looks like Inori and is also doing a cat’s cradle! And an admittedly cool sequence where some strange memories seem to resurface.
Shu also pulls a fuck off massive sword out of her chest also in a sexualised manner (symbolism!) and instead of being awesome gets confused and whines. And then kicks all kinds of ass, but he himself is not exactly kick ass about it.
So that was the first episode. This review won’t be going into this kind of detail for each episode, but it’s worth doing here because a lot of trends are started here. Firstly, Shu is really quite unlikeable – whiny, jerky, beta as fuck – and that’s how they introduce our protagonist. Secondly, Inori… really isn’t given any personality or any defining features other than looking kinda cute, singing and being half naked. Thirdly, and related, is that most if not all the females in Guilty Crown have a lot of fanservicey moments, sometimes pretty much existing for the sake of TnA. Fourthly, the predictability of it all! Nothing from this episode, aside from what the vial does, comes as much of a surprise, at times bordering on straight up clichéd. This is all very much early symptoms of the frankly atrocious writing this show has, but more on that as and when it comes.
Not to say there aren’t good things to say about this – there’s a lot of foreshadowing and forward-referencing, the style and presentation are excellent with some fantastic framing shots, and it has stellar production values (if some questionable choices in music). The last two points – the technical, if you like – do also remain fairly consistent throughout.
On the whole, it was not a bad first episode when taken on its own – I know I enjoyed it first time round – but the ridiculousness of the fanservice and the massive fucking sword out of Inori’s chest just put me in mind of Gainax’s craziness. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t last.
But for now, let’s just plow on ahead.
Episode 2 carries on where the first one left off, in the middle of battle, and it proves to be fairly exciting to watch – however, Shu just continues to whine and be angsty about it all. We learn a bit more about what would later be described as the ‘voids’ (the thing Shu pulled out of her chest), in that Inori won’t regain consciousness without hers in her. Shu gets told to do things by Gai, and it all progresses in a fairly standard fashion.
And then we get one of the most egregious pieces of fanservice the show has to offer, one which many would say signals the show’s demise early on:
I shouldn’t need to say why that’s so bad. The thing is though, that character – Tsugumi – spends nearly her entire time in the skin tight plugsuit that also apparently offers nothing in the way of ‘firmness’, and she’s the token loli. She basically exists for the sake of fanservice. And is like 14 or something. Oh, and she’s the fairly archetypical tomboy-esque loli at that. Creativeness, thy name is not Guilty Crown.
But of course, she’s not the only one whose character design is based around ‘look pornographic’. Meet Asuka Ayase:
We also get Daryl, an enemy endlave pilot, who’s a stereotypical bloodthirsty psychopath.
He’s also a psycho and kind of a dick to the people he works with, but whatever, he’s really not interesting. Not that any of the other characters are either, but whatever.
Ayase is shown to basically be in love with Gai, shock horror what a twist, Gai helpfully fills Shu in on what the vial contained and did and what the power he’s got does and stuff, then he decides to make his underground rebel group go out and rescue a bunch of people, and he asks Shu whether he’ll be a pussy for life or not. Not that they wait to actually get an answer from him before adding him to the operation though, no, making plans for if he decides to not help would just be too logical!
Inori contributes more of her personality to the proceedings:
The writers make the big bad government into a nuanced and well characterised evil:
And then Gai’s plan succeeds despite resting entirely on Shu being able to get to Daryl, take his void, know what it does, and then successfully use it. Also slow moving lasers:
The day is won through crappy writing, Gai says some encouraging things to Shu, and proffers his hand towards him. Of course, Shu recognises the opportunity to better himself and man right the hell up, fulfilling his wishes of being able to do something meaningful for a change, and the two go off on a whirlwind adventure of kicking ass and saving the fuck out of Japan.
OUR HERO, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
And just when you didn’t think this episode could be more badly written:
Let’s not let this bog us down too much and press forwards.
Episode 3 begins with Gai announcing the presence of the Undertakers to Japan and their mission statement, and then basically never really feature in this episode. Instead, we get whacky high-school antics! The guys all go on about how hot she is! And then she moves in with Shu and whacky ecchi comedy happens! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah
Some more stuff involving the bad guys, Scarface gets introduced and is shown interrogating the man in a manner which further depicts the ‘bad’ guys in a multi-dimensional manner, with complex motives and a sense of morality.
Whatever. One of Shu’s classmates finds out Inori’s living with him, Shu and Inori meet up with Gai. Gai asks them to find a drug buyer from their school who saw the operation. Shu needs to do this by pulling out their void (for some reason) so goes and practices. Apparently he has to look them in the eyes whilst he shoves his hand in their chest, otherwise it won’t work! What with him being a social failure and all, you can see where this is going
Well, Shu learns that if he looks inbetween their eyebrows it also works, so doesn’t actually have to make eye contact. Because he’s just so beta. Cue montage of him pulling random voids out of random people and this is all basically a very rapey scene.
At any rate, Shu finds out his ‘friend’ Yahiro was the one he was looking for! And he was actually a drug dealer! And then they have a fight and then become friends again or something fuck I don’t know.
Doesn’t matter anyway, because when the train stops in front of a bunch of armed police looking for Shu, Yahiro shoves him off in what was the best/funniest part of the episode:
You know there’s a problem when the most enjoyable part of the episode wasn’t actually intended to be funny, and the rest of the episode was just an excuse to shoe-horn some really shitty and clichéd attempts at comedy and fanservice. From this point on, feel free to just simply expect this.
Anyway, the next episode. Shu is interrogated unsuccessfully, Gai announces his plans to break another prisoner out, Shu gets moved around a bunch, and THIS TIME they actually do make the bad guys seem not so bad, and paint the Undertakers as questionable in their actions. This grey-and-grey morality setup certainly makes things more interesting, but naturally it doesn’t really last beyond this episode. Further to that, Yahiro’s drug-dealing activities are then explained to Shu – Yahiro’s brother has some sort of cancer-like thing possibly caused by the Apocalypse Virus, and Yahiro is trying to pay for the expensive treatment.
So far, so good this episode. Even the prisoner Gai is freeing is shown to be a mass-murderer, making Gai’s motives and actions actually questionable!
And on top of all that, Scarface gives Shu a transmitter, so Shu can call in the government next time he’s around Gai – if he so chooses to, of course. And Shu takes it! Man, crossed motives and conspiring all up in this episode.
But of course the surprisingly good writing so far is kinda ruined when Rei Inori declares that she’s apparently got feelings for Shu now or something, which is totally believable considering all that character development she’s had and all that time she’s spent with Shu.
Gai sneaks in in a disguise worthy of Clark Kent to talk to Shu as Shu’s ‘laywer’, and then magically helps Tsugumi to hack the security in the building. That’s successful… somehow, Shu whines at Gai and Gai just assumes Shu will help out. Shu of course agrees when he hears Inori’s voice because he has the hots for and that’s about his entire motive at the moment. They have a very believable relationship.
Anyway, the operation happens, stuff happens, Yahiro tries to take his cancer-riddled brother out of the facility, the prisoner they’re breaking out falls into a fountain, Shu voids him seemingly knowing that his void will be useful and then also knowing exactly what it does (gravity gun but not in the cool Half-Life 2 way) and how it’ll be useful despite having never met this guy before… yeah.
Inori, noting that Shu is on the ground floor, jumps off the top of the building to get to him.
No that doesn’t make any sense to me either. And then Shu uses the gravity gun to jump from globule of water to globule of water to get up to Inori as she falls and it looks exactly as stupid as that sounds:
He gets Inori, takes her sword out, saves the day, blah blah blah.
Gai confronts him after the fight, and asks him again if he’ll join, or at least just trust him and listen to his order. Shu relents (finally) but is shown to still be holding onto the transmitter – just in case!
All in all, this one was a good episode, goofy and stupid as it was. There are barely a handful of such episodes throughout, and unfortunately with this one being so early I hoped that this would mark an improvement in the series as a whole. As you can probably tell, no, no it didn’t. Aside from the unbelievability of Inori given a shit about Shu (expecting anyone to is kinda pushing it, to be fair) to the extent that she’ll basically kill herself (she couldn’t have known that she’d be gravitationally slowed down) by jumping off a very tall building, this episode was actually rather well written – especially in regards to the motives of the GHQ and the Undertakers and Shu’s potential betrayal. I mean, it obviously doesn’t happen, but the possibility still exists.
Episode 5 is basically one long training montage and induction of Shu into the Undertakers. Ayase is tasked with training him and because Shu is a fucking terrible person…
…Ayase beats the shit out of him also because she’s Asuka but in a wheelchair:
Compounding this, there’s a scene where Ayase rolls in and Shu’s towel falls off in the most hilarious, fitting for the context, and original piece of shit joke. And of course Ayase overreacts and slaps him. And of course I want to do the same to the writers, except mine is no overreaction.
Well, anyway, Ayase ends up with Shu’s transmitter and thinks it’s a pen. She won’t give it back when he asks because doing something like that would be what a normal person does and not a shittily written tsundere archetype. But I digress. She’ll give it back if he passes the test in a week to see if he’s fit to join the undertakers. The rest of the episode basically is just a training montage, except with a couple of scenes to make it clear to Shu that Gai is not his friend, and Shu failing to hit on Inori. But c’mon, he was asking her to join him and leave the Undertakers, despite the fact that a) he isn’t even a member yet, b) has no idea about Inori’s relationship to them, and c) has only known Inori for like 2 weeks if that, so is being rather presumptuous about how much he means to her.
But mostly because he’s fucking beta and whiny as shit.
He runs off whining about how everyone likes the charismatic, courageous, visionary leader Gai more than him, and then he bumps into Ayase and has a tender moment of character development with her.
He whines some more and makes even more assumptions based on no knowledge about Gai and how people perceive him, and then he says this. He actually fucking says this:
OUR FUCKING HERO, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
And then there’s some mysterious medical thing between Gai and Inori. How boring.
Shu finally gets to do the test, just runs away from the endlave he’s got to get past because he fucking sucks. And then he whines and complains and just continues to be really unlikeable. And then he bumps into Argo (the one with the yellow and brown hair whose name I never remember) and decides to cheat and grab his void while crappy j-rock plays in the background. I have no idea what the fuck it’s meant to be or do, but it seems to cause the endlave to be unable to see or really do anything.
And Shu wins. He gets his pen back, Kenji comes downstairs to be vague and dickish, and then Tsugumi is all “Gai got blasted by the orbital satellite laser cannon!”
Not a terrible episode per se, but it just didn’t really add anything. Shitty training montage, any excuse for crappy fanservice and risqué ‘humor’, and Shu whining. A lot. Ok, scratch that, it was a crap episode because it somehow failed to advance anything in the overall plot in any integral way to the episode’s plot and the characters became even more unlikeable and unpleasant. These writers, man, damn. Accomplishing nothing except making us hate the show even more.
Now, you see that fuck off massive crater in the previous image, one which the firers said caused 110% damage (whatever the fuck that means)? The one that was fired squarely on Gai? The one that threatened to send the Undertakers into a leaderless mess, possibly raising the opportunity for the GHQ to raid them and in the ensuing chaos the Undertakers turn to someone, anyone, to be a leader and sensing this opportunity, Shu takes Gai’s place and gets all kinds of meaningful character development and interesting plot points?
Can you see where this is going?
Can you guess what happens?
OF FUCKING COURSE GAI SURVIVES.
I mean… just…
FUCK’S SAKE GUILTY CROWN WRITERS.
YOU GOT HIT BY A LASER THAT CARVED A CHUNK OUT OF THE EARTH
EVERYONE FUCKING DIED
WHO ONLY GOT MILD SCRATCHES
DESPITE BEING FUCKING NUKED FROM SPACE
But on top of all that, this all happens within the first fucking minute of the episode! That, you awful, awful writers, that is known as ‘cheap tension’. I have no idea if that’s the correct time and actually known as that, but that’s what it is. When the end of the episode is set up in such a dramatic and important way, and then you basically resolve it in the first fucking minute of the next episode, all tension is lost. It’s a shitty attempt at linking the episodes with a cliffhanger. Well, at least the laser actually had some impact vis-à-vis annihilating everyone but Gai, at least it had some lasting impression. But holy shit is that awful, awful writing.
So for this episode they’re launching a raid on some facility to disable one of the orbiting laser satellites (which, by the way, has an orbit that makes no fucking sense in one way or another). Lots of technobabble including this line:
Basically, they have to disable it without touching it. Enter Shu. Who just fucking whines in the debriefing and complains about Gai as a leader. Shu’s a fucking moron. And, frankly, a coward. What else is new. Fortunately everybody hates him and instead of letting Shu have the shit kicked out of him, Kenji interjects and tells it like it is.
Also, this guy right here:
Trying so hard not to laugh at Shu. I feel you man, I feel you.
In between Shu whining endlessly, GHQ plot their counter-attack and defences, and Shu sneaks into Gai’s containment area or whatever using Inori’s credentials (somehow) and basically just silently listens to Gai pouring his heart out to whom he thinks is Inori. And apparently Gai is weaker than he appears, but because he’s not a beta pussy he’s actually able to hide his weaknesses and be strong for the sake of his men. And they get into a fight that is rather satisfying.
Of course, Gai fights efficiently and silently, and of course Shu cries out in anger in the whiniest way possible.
Anyway, mission proceeds, Inori fights in her standard stipper-ware whilst dual-wielding pistols, winning against many trained, professional armed guards in body armour.
Seriously, it’s like she’s from fucking Devil May Cry. Except for the bit where they’re taking themselves seriously here. I like how the writers are doing every stupid, generic, clichéd, dull, trite, unimaginative thing they can to make the audience like Inori except give her a personality so that we can have something to like about her.
Kaworu Kenji is awesome.
Whatever, they reach the core, bullets fly, they fail, one of the satellites inexplicably starts falling, now they have to MacGuyver a fix together. Which basically involves getting the other satellite to shoot down the falling one, for whatever little logic or sense that makes.
Turns out (shock) the transmitter pen Shu was given was actually a signal to shoot him with the laser cannon! And Gai knew about it all along! And so Gai decides to make himself the target because he manly as fuck and Shu isn’t, but doesn’t matter because Shu uses Inori’s magical chest sword (at Inori’s prompting because Shu fucking sucks) which is also now apparently a laser cannon to blast both of satellites from earth!
This secondary power is never used again.
Gai and Shu have a moment, whatever. I guess that was a character development episode, but all it did was tell us a bit more about Gai, because fuck if any of the development Shu gets actually sticks.
Back in school again! Why did this have to be set so much in school? At least Code Geass had Lelouch deceiving everyone to lead a double life and was, on the whole, generally interesting in its school shit. This, this is just crap. Whatever.
School council president, Arisa, gets introduced as being someone on Shu’s side, although only out of a sense of duty for her position. Stupid school shit happens. Back to Shu’s house.
Although at least it doesn’t have an over-the-top reaction afterwards? No, no this scene does not deserve any kind of defense, the writers are lazy, unoriginal hacks.
Introducing Misato Haruka, Shu’s mother!
Because what this show so sorely needed was another character whose role basically comes down to ‘provide fanservice’. She’s basically half-naked at home nearly all the time. For no fucking reason. Well, I mean a reason other than providing eye-candy for the lonely male subset of the audience. I’d claim that the writers are probably misogynistic and so terrible that they are unable to write a female in any believable fashion, instead opting to objectify them endlessly, but that would be unfair, because they are unable to write period.
We get a brief scene where we learn Gai needs to accrue funds somehow, so will be meeting Arisa’s wealthy father, sympathetic to their plight, as a business partner during a boat party. We are, for no goddamn reason, treated to this shot of Arisa in the shower (for no goddamn reason):
I take back what I said about the writers not being misogynists. The ONLY named female character so far who has NOT been sexualised like this is Hare, who crushes on Shu for no goddamn reason and has basically outright said that she would be sexually submissive to Shu if he asks! So yes, EVERYONE FUCKING FEMALE CHARACTER EXISTS TO SEXUALLY AROUSE MALES EITHER IN SHOW OR OUT. And no, these aren’t cases of females being allowed to have an interest in sex, because do you really think that the writers are actually capable of writing a character that interesting and realistic?!
So basically, this is a boring, tedious episode where nothing is happeni- STOP FUCKING EVERYTHING
WHO IS THIS GUY??
His name is Dan! Look at those medals! That build! That stereotypical image of Americans! But also that self-confidence, that alphaness, that sheer badassery…
This guy is fucking awesome.
HIS NAME IS DAN EAGLEMAN
Spoiler alert: he is actually the best character in this entire series. And I don’t even mean that in a backhanded way, although it is a really trivial accomplishment.
So why is he just so fucking awesome? Well, let’s take the current situation: Dan has been tasked with destroying the cruiseliner Gai will be meeting Arisa’s father on. But they only have surface-to-air missiles! What are they going to do?
Dan you are the actual best and I’m not even being ironic or sarcastic.
Anyway, boat party. Gai and Shu sneak aboard/knock out random staff members and steal their uniforms.
As is predictable, Arisa sees Shu, he runs off, Gai comes in and is a completely smooth motherfucker.
The boat gets fired upon…
…but Tsugumi is able to get the info to Shu, who then asks Gai for orders (character development!) who then basically gets Shu to use Arisa’s void to protect the ship. You could make the case that it’s awfully convenient that Arisa had the right void to protect the ship, but given that Gai can see other’s voids, and given his comment earlier that Arisa reminds him of an Armadillo… yeah, that was pretty clever. Oh wait, surely he must have known the ship would get attacked?!? And no, he has not met Arisa before, nor knew she would be there. He had no other countermeasures in place. Goddamn it, Guilty Crown writers.
The missiles hit her shield and explode in bright sparkly explosions. AA missiles are officially fireworks, what the fuck.
The rest of the episode is entirely predictable: missile spam when Dan realises the missiles didn’t work, Gai thanks Shu, blah blah blah, whatever.
So in lieu of more tedium, have some Dan Eagleman:
SOUTA HAS FEELINGS FOR INORI
SHU REALISES HE HAS FEELINGS FOR INORI
SOME CRAPPY ACTION
I’m gonna come straight out and say it:
This is an excellent episode. Not just by Guilty Crown standards. This episode, honestly, was great. So what exactly did this one do right?
Well, it opens with Yahiro hiding out in an attic with his cancerous brother, Jun. That is, until GHQ forces raid the house (it’s apparently a nunnery) and under threats of violence from Segai (AKA Scarface) discover their hiding place. But of course, they’ve just escaped.
Yes, the parallels this evokes with the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany is obvious, intentional, and well done. It doesn’t feel hamfisted. It doesn’t feel contrived. And it makes the event that much more horrifying. It actually paints the GHQ as bad guys, and doesn’t do it in hilariously over-the-top ways.
There is the threat of high-school antics early on, but these are mercifully dropped quite quickly. A bit more development happens between Shu and Hare, and it’s certainly not unwelcome. Just as she’s about to confess, the train stops and a guy in a hoodie rushes on, knocking them aside, as he’s pursued by thugs. Pills scatter out of his pocket. It’s Yahiro. He and Shu go off to have a conversation. He explains things. Despite being told to leave, Hare tracks them in secret, and eavesdrops.
This episode even manages to have some genuinely funny, witty dialog:
After Yahiro explains and justifies his actions, stating he’s the only one who can help Jun, Shu does something actually awesome and kinda manly and calls the Undertakers, and basically orders that they take Jun in. They move out to the rendezvous point.
But of course it’s not that easy.
Cue a fairly exciting battle scene where Shu actually takes the lead and does manly things. Jun’s crystals have an abnormal reaction to Yahiro’s void, which Shu is using, causing the… void seaking harpoons… or whatever they are… to home in on Jun instead, basically killing him. Except that another strange reaction occurs, and Jun’s crystals spread over the endlave, leaving Jun. Jun can now control it or, more accurately, the crystals seem to harbour his consciousness and with them spread over the endlave, he has control. His body is essentially lifeless. The Jundlave wipes the others out and picks up Yahiro, which Shu mistakes as an action to kill him. He rushes and stabs Jundlave with Yahiro’s void. Cue a strange scene where Jun’s spirit talks with Shu, and we learn a little more about Lost Christmas, and what has happened to Jun – he can see other’s voids because of the crystals (essentially confirmed Gai to be infected) and as such now sees two versions of his brother: the one that faces Jun, and the hidden one who does what he must to save Jun. Jun, naturally, does not like that Yahiro. He asks Shu to use Yahiro’s void (which seems to be its main purpose) to ‘cut’ his lifeforce, so that he can die remembering the good Yahiro. And also because he can’t control his endlave body, and so will likely crush Yahiro. Shu does so.
It honestly makes for a dramatic and poignant scene. It’s a moment where Shu’s angst honestly feels justified. He’s somewhat broken by what he had to do. And of course, he has to tell Yahiro this after he regains consciousness.
And Hare sees all this.
So yes. This episode is good. The characters are portrayed more realistically. The drama is more nuanced and more powerful. The decisions are complex. The development is meaningful. The writing was actually good.
Could this be the watershed moment for this series? Having found its legs and a sense of maturity?
He’s back to being annoyingly angsty again. Whereas it was justified and well portrayed last episode, here… it’s business as usual. Yes I’m sure he was terrible affected by what he had to do, but here? It’s melodramatic and stupid. It does NOT feel like a natural progression from what he felt last episode. He fucking screams and runs away in the middle of the goddamn battle. But that was to be expected, really.
I mean, he has fucking nightmarish hallucinations in the middle of fucking school!
And then Hare takes him off somewhere and he whines to Ayase about not being Gai and just being Shu and we are EXACTLY WHERE WE WERE 6 EPISODES AGO WITH HIM. That is just straight up ignoring all character development. He’s just giving up AGAIN and saying he wants to quit and just generally being an awful, unlikable character. He literally doesn’t care about anyone but himself. And this isn’t like Shinji, who had a ton of psychological hangups, emotionally unfulfilling acquaintanceships, was being pressured with saving the entire human race right from the start, and underwent MASSIVE PHYSICAL HARM whilst piloting his Eva. AND he’s only 14. No, Shu has a power that doesn’t hurt him, is just socially awkward, has a circle of friends and acquaintances that (inexplicably) want to help him and (even more inexplicably) like him, is only mission support, and is 17. SHU IS A FUCKING TERRIBLE, WHOLLY UNLIKABLE, HORRENDOUSLY WRITTEN CHARACTER.
PULL THAT FUCKING TRIGGER.
But of course Gai doesn’t kill him, just tells him to stay the fuck away from the Undertakers. Basically everyone hates him. Hare sees all this, too. He returns home, hallucinates again, and scares off Inori. Things are now back to normal so he goes back to wallowing in self-pity.
More stuff about the GHQ, some stuff about Gai having medical treatment (what he has to get done, why it’s effective, and why Inori has to be there are never actually explained. Good going, writers), Inori thinks she’s in love with Shu (I have no idea why either) but of course she doesn’t have the personality to know, whatever.
There’s some stuff about the old guy who did some stuff at the beach episode, and Haruka learning that Shu has the King’s Power now, and that Inori looking like the girl from the photographs is no coincidence. Gee, ya think?
Undertakers launch an assault on an airport to capture a general, get on a plane that’s on autopilot, fail spectacularly.
Hare tries to comfort Shu, Shu hits on her knowing she likes him whilst having no interest himself to make himself feel good because he’s a disgusting individual. Naturally he fails.
Anyway, some weird sound plays and a ton of people get crystalized.
Oh hey, eyebrows was introduced this episode. Don’t expect any explanation about him, you’ll never get one.
Episode 11 continues this bizarre apocalyptic sound thing! Loads of people dying, Gai crystalising, even Dan suffers!
Daryl goes crazy and murders a couple for having kissed in an elevator previously. Murders them with an endlave. How ~dark~ and ~edgy~ he is.
Things are going well for Souichiro, who is that old guy who’s talked with Haruka a few times. But then the best thing ever happens when Segai threatens Haruka with death:
FUCK YEAH DAN EAGLEMAN
FUCK YOOOOOOU SEGAI
At least… at least Dan died a hero.
A true American patriot.
Haruka escapes thanks to Dan Eagleman’s courageous, heroic, manly, chivalrous… basically un-Shu like actions.
Shu gets yelled at by Tsugumi for indirectly causing loads of deaths because he’s such a massive fucking coward, and he decides to actually fucking do something. He conscripts some friends from school to help him launch a raid on the GHQ base. He has to demonstrate his power to them blah blah blah. There’s a lot of whining and eventually he convinces them. Some stuff with Gai and Inori happens that hints towards things that are going to happen next episode but they’re honestly barely important.
And then Inori gets on top of the air control tower.
And starts singing the ED.
Oh for fuck’s sake.
I had enough of this shit in Macross Frontier. The ~magical~ power of song to make everything better… so fucking stupid. It’s just an excuse to market more singles and make the moments seem ~deep~ and ~meaningful~ when in reality it’s either ridiculous or pretentious, possibly both. It’s a fucking magical song, why did it take the form of a fucking j-pop ballad?! But of course this explains why she’s an idol! O wait no it doesn’t, that’s just to increase her esteem in the eyes of the audience because FUCK GIVING HER A PERSONALITY INSTEAD. Her being an idol played no part in the plot except for having the high-schoolers be shocked that she’s an idol and standing right there. So yes, it was a worthless decision that brought nothing to the character or the story.
But I digress.
Stupid action happens and Shu manages to get to the top of the tower with Inori whilst defying any sense of having any sort of realistic physics.
And then they apparently have a Moment.
And then suddenly!
DEUS EX MACHINA.
No he was not ‘introduced’ he was seen. His void powers are inexplicable. His presence is unexplained. He’s conveniently able to prevent Shu from rescuing Inori right at the last minute for reasons of artificially furthering this plotline. And just as he’s about to kill Shu, Gai steps in and takes the blow! Gai liked Shu all along instead of being disgusted by his spinelessness causing the deaths of others! Wow this is stupid! Gai is dying in Shu’s arms and Inori has been ~magically~ kidnapped! All by a fucking deus ex machina!
Seriously, fuck this show.
But seriously, this shit gets hilarious.
Apparently the giant phallus is a void of the entire town FOR SOME REASON.
It’s apparently something given form by a girl’s heart FOR SOME REASON.
Segai and Shuichiro have a discussion but it’s in this weird place FOR SOME REASON.
Oh lawdy AND THEN
A FUCKING FLASHBACK
THE MYSTERIOUS MANA IS SHU’S SISTER
THIS FUCKING KID
THIS FUCKING HAPPENS
Oh no you fucking don’t Guilty Crown…
Oh you fucking did.
You fucking went there.
YOU FUCKING MADE SHU
OH MY FUCKING GOD
MY FUCKING SIDES
THIS SHIT IS FUCKING HILARIOUS
Just when you thought this show couldn’t get ANY SHITTIER, it fucking does THAT.
There is NO fucking reason for that. That is SO fucking clichéd, and SO FUCKING STUPID.
WHY ARE THEY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS
I THOUGHT GAI WAS LIKE 25
WHY THE FUCK
And, fuck, it gets even more hilarious:
Gai was a pussy
Shu was the brave and courageous one
Shu inspired Gai…
HOLY FUCKING SHIT
ARE YOU ACTUALLY FUCKING SERIOUS
OH MY FUCKING GOD
OH MY FUCKING GOD
THIS FUCKING SHOW
THIS FUCKING SHOW
BECAUSE THE WORST WRITERS
WHY IS SHE IN A FUCKING WEDDING GOWN OH WAIT LOL SYMBOLISM
Or because of some absurd and contrived plot device LIKE I GIVE A FUCK RIGHT NOW
BECAUSE WHAT THIS SHOW NEEDED WAS INCEST
AND THEN SUDDENLY THIS MANA AWAKENS FOR WHATEVER REASON
HOW THE FUCK DID THEY GET HERE
WHY THE FUCK IS HE STILL ALIVE HE LOST ALL OF HIS BLOOD
HOW FUCKING CONVENIENT
SHITTY FIGHT SCENE
ANOTHER FUCKING FLASHBACK
SHE GOT GAI A GUN FOR CHRISTMAS
NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY GODDAMN SENSE
The gun backfires intentionally. WHY IS SHE EVIL. Oh wait she touched the first crystal.
THAT IS LITERALLY THE REASON
AND THEN SHE CAUSES LOST CHRISTMAS
INSIDE A CHURCH
I DON’T EVEN FUCKING KNOW
Now Shu remembers all this, OF COURSE that makes up for all the times he’s proven to be thoroughly shitty in every fucking regard.
Gai’s void is a gun.
Also Gai tells Shu a way to keep him conscious while pulling out the void, so that Gai can wield it.
STUPID SHITTY DRAMATIC RAP ROCK
STUPID SHITTY DEEEEEP WEDDING
STUPID SHITTY BETRAYAL BY EYEBROWS
STUPID SHITTY GAI GETTING IMPALED
STUPID SHITTY ‘HEROIC’ SACRIFICE FROM GAI
STUPID SHITTY SHU
STUPID SHITTY SHU HAVING TO KILL MANA AND GAI AT THE SAME TIME
I LIKE THE BIT WHERE HE NEVER DOES
I DON’T GIVE A SHIT YOU TWO FUCKING SUCK NONE OF THESE RELATIONSHIPS ARE BELIEVABLE YOUR PERSONALITIES ARE AWFUL THE CHILDHOOD FRIEND BIT WAS PULLED STRAIGHT OUT OF YOUR ARSE THERE IS NO CHEMISTRY THERE IS NO CONNECTION THERE IS NO GOOD WRITING
HOLY FUCK THIS EPISODE WAS HILARIOUS
So where can this show go from here?
Besides downhill even faster.
So the next episode reveals a massive blockade around the affected zone, one huge quarantine. So naturally all the high school kids decide to hang out in high school because this show fucking hates you.
Surprisingly, this show didn’t have any actual threats of rape yet! Well, that’s been fixed thank god. I was worried that I would be able to go through this entire series without being disgusted with that shitty plot device. Fortunately, it’s not the last time it happens!
Just what we needed after near-attempted rape and everything that happened last episode. Light hearted loli slapstick! Gosh this series sure has a great sense of tone.
The student council is now basically an actual government within the school and then most of the rest of the episode is spent setting up a school-fucking-festival because this show just had to work one in there and the highlight of it is Inori giving a performance because HURR SHE’S AN IDOL.
And then the school gets assaulted by mercenaries hired by Segai or something and Ayase’s void is a pair of magical boots that let her fly and then we get some Ayase angst for a change because Gai’s dead lol and finally a shitty fight scene that’s capped with this:
Aside from being a horribly clichéd action-movie pose, there was no goddamn reason for it. They had just defeated all the enemies, quite clearly. They weren’t even close enough to fall into it naturally, Ayase slid backwards really quite far to do it. And because they’ve defeated everybody they just kinda… stand there for a bit. It is an utterly awful attempt at trying to make the characters seem ‘cool’, and my lord did it fail miserably.
And then we find out at the end that the barricades are being pushed forwards and everybody in the quarantined zone will slowly be wiped out.
So we learn at the start of the episode there is discontent amongst the student body about the school council president! She’s saying they should wait! I don’t give a fuck!
Tsugumi gives Shu a “Genomic Resonance Gauge”.
If you expect an explanation to how it works or how she made it fuck off.
And then we get this little scene:
Yes the implication here is rape.
Yes it is being played for laughs.
I fucking hate these writers so fucking hard.
Loads of people die, more seeds of discontent and paranoia are sown amongst the school, they’re told if the Undertakers are taken in, they’ll be allowed free, and so forth.
Even more fucking implied rape…
At least it’s not being played for laughs, but that’s small consolation.
Inori has a fiercely violent side! Does this become a major plot point? Does the show do anything with it more than twice? WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK.
And now the sexual assault is being done on stage and being played for titillation.
Shu finally mans the fuck up FOR ONCE in an actually meaningful fashion, and tries something with the GHQ: namely by presenting holograms of the Undertakers instead of the real things. Naturally it turns out the GHQ were lying and they shot them all dead! So Shu wins everybody’s trust and Shu becomes the leader of the high school rebellion.
Yes that is as stupid as it sounds. But wait, the episode ain’t over yet…
GUILTY CROWN JUST WENT WWII ON OUR ASSES
SHU IS NOW HITLER
THE HIGH SCHOOL IS NOW NAZI
THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED
And how does the next episode follow on from that?
Crappily, of course! Just about everything you’d expect really. High ranks encouraging lower ranks, Shu angsting about the scheme, a pointless fanservice girl’s bath scene, drama about how the limited number of vaccines they have will be distributed, etc.
Hare basically confesses to Shu, but gets interrupted by learning a bunch of the lowest grades are out trying to hunt down more vaccines and prove their usefulness. Naturally they fail miserably.
Naturally Hare gets caught up in all this.
Naturally she gets killed.
If you were honestly shocked by that then holy fuck how. Shit was obviously about to go down somehow. She just basically confessed to Shu. She’s not the half-naked marketable girl on all the merchandise. She was covered in death flags. It was fucking inevitable. Did you really think the writers WOULDN’T do the most goddamn predictable thing ever?
Well ok, she didn’t right away. Shu kinda rescued her a bit and got more severely wounded, so she used the last moments of her healing void to heal him. And then she dies.
I’ll be fair now – her death scene was rather well done. I felt a pang of sadness during it, mostly because Hare – whilst bland and forgettable – was still a fairly likeable character, and they presented her death rather well.
Her crystalizing and shattering in his arms was actually fairly powerful, and Shu’s normal insufferable whininess actually sounded pained here. So props for this scene, at least.
And then he goes fucking psycho, cold as fuck, forcefully taking Inori’s void and decimating the enemies. His anguish after, his rage, his beating of Souta… it works. It really does work.
Somehow the last half of that episode got good.
Could this be the watershed mome- no
So basically, there’s now a load of chaos. Shu is essentially a warlord, and the highschoolers attack random people they find and try and make them join his legion. Well, some of the remains of the Undertakers also make their way in and express their understandable incredulity of Shu running the operation.
Most of what could have been, given the end of last episode, is lost as Shu basically just acts all emo.
The highschoolers are also now scavenging sunken ships for ammo and vaccines.
How the hell can they do that?!?
Where did they get the equipment from?
Why do they know how to use it?
Why am I asking these when the obvious answer is “the writers aren’t even trying”?
So basically, a load of completely generic stuff happens to establish Shu’s fascist dictatorship. Over a freaking high school. This scenario is fucking absurd and is being played totally seriously
Was this actually planned?
Did people really sit down and say “yes this scenario sounds enjoyable and realistic”?
I swear this is just 1000 monkeys at 1000 typewriters, fed on only sushi and J-pop.
Oh hey eyebrows again I sure do like all that nothing they do with him.
Wait, where the fuck are they?
Why are they down there?
Well, here we have possibly a prime example of one of this series many, many problems. Its pretentions to depth, merely reach DEEP. There is no fucking point for that setting. It exists for that moment alone. To make Shu seem more ~trouble~ and ~mysterious~ and ~deep~. That’s what all the lighting is for! It’s symbolic! IT’S FUCKING TERRIBLE.
Argo (the Undertaker with yellow and brown hair) escapes, gets chased down, confronts Shu, tells him he isn’t like Gai, beats the shit out of him.
And then Shu learns that destroying the void causes the person to crystalize, killing them.
What the fuck did he think would happen?
Well either way, Shu goes crazy again, Inori saw Arisa as she saw what happened, Shu confronts Yahiro, Argo tries to talk sense into Shu, Shu takes his void and laughs maniacally.
And then Inori goes Yandere on us.
For some fucking reason.
They brought Gai back to life.
THEY FUCKING BROUGHT GAI BACK TO FUCKING LIFE
Shu, now knowing that a) they’re all fucked and b) can kill any of them easily, goes on a bit of a power trip.
And he claims he’s doing it because that’s what Gai would do. Yup, despite all that shit he’s been through, he still hasn’t actually manned the fuck up. And he basically makes the argument that it’s ‘tough love’ so basically this is all really boring. Oh, and nobody suspects that Inori attacked Arisa.
But seriously, when did Inori get this power?
It comes up like a couple more times and… just never gets explained. Maybe something about Mana inside her? There’s nothing there, barely even a handwave explanation. Inori having this psycho other self barely even becomes a plot point, so why is it even fucking there?
Some guy who’s pro-Shu or something barges into Arisa’s room accusing her of stuff and then she basically sleeps with him to keep him quiet or get some information or something and did I mention that they are all highschoolers?!?
What the fuck is with all this sexual-favour-giving, spy-versus-spy deception bullshit? THEY ARE LIKE 17. THIS IS STUPID. It works in WWII stories when you have the 20-something female double agent sleeping with the 40-something General, getting valuable mission sensitive information out of them (or for an actual example Eva and Snake in MGS3) because they are ADULTS and it is fucking ESPIONAGE between entire fucking COUNTRIES.
THIS IS IN HIGHSCHOOL.
THEY ARE HIGHSCHOOLERS.
THIS IS NOTHING BUT SHITTY TITTILATION.
But yeah basically the fact that voids breaking causes the people to die gets leaked out and people get pissed.
Shu whines at Inori that he should face a penalty for hurting everyone and Inori confesses that she probably hurt Arisa and that she’s scared of herself and there’s a wonderful moment of character develop-pffffffHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
NOPE. SHITTY CONTRIVED SENTIMENTALITY AND ~DEEP~ AND THEY BOTH STILL FUCKING SUCK.
So basically there’s a big plan to launch an attack and get everybody out of the restricted area and there’s also some groups within the school that intend to betray Shu and Shu’s kinda aware of the fact?
Either way, operation goes ahead, Shu does some stuff that’s actually kinda badass for a change, it’s a success but with casualties. Shu gets betrayed and shoved into a crater:
Inori runs down to him because they have such a believable and deep relationship already, but then:
Gai! Gai is on the bad guy’s side! He is Shu’s enemy! And then this happens!
That was SO satisfying.
Shu lost everything. His supporters, his friends, his arm, his power, his belief in Gai as being good and on his side… fucking everything. Even Inori is kinda fucked here. This is the lowest point for Shu in the entire story. He is in deep emotional and physical pain. His cries are absolutely anguished, choked from the shock.
‘Schadenfreude’ doesn’t begin to cover it.
The episode as a whole wasn’t particularly awful, but this one moment elevated the enjoyment to new heights.
They had created a character as fundamentally unlikeable as Shu. If I didn’t know that the writers were incompetent fecal stains I would say that this was intentional fanservice.
At any rate:
Oh fuck yes.
The next episode starts with the UN (I think) deciding to just nuke Tokyo, annihilate everyone and deal with the crystals that way. This show just keeps getting better!
But Gai saves the day by merging 3 people’s voids into a single one-use missile to take down the bombers, causing those people to turn to crystal and shatter.
The remaining Undertakers run up to Gai, he basically makes it clear that he’s their enemy now and threatens them, some endlaves come along to kill Ayase and Tsugumi, but then Daryl comes along and stops the endlaves from protecting Gai because Daryl hates Gai for some poorly explained reason. Everyone escapes including Inori with Shu.
Gai then gives an ultimatum to the world, basically saying “fuck you I RULE THE WORLD” and so is now a textbook supervillain because lol @ original writing
Kenji makes a brief appearance for the first time since episode 10 and basically contributes nothing, and we get a bit of an explanation on the previously barely mentioned Da’at:
Well, for a given value of ‘explanation’.
Arisa has joined Gai’s army because she’s in love with him or something I’m honestly really not sure why, and dares to not blindly follow orders and be naught but an automaton.
Inori gets Shu into some semi-destroyed building, he whines a bit, Arisa and co. see them because they were hiding in front of a goddamn window, on the way there Arisa’s father blocks them with a limo (how he did he get there?) and kills a bunch of GHQ with swords despite them being highly trained with guns, until the totally inexperienced Arisa shoots him dead. Yes, it’s as silly as it sounds.
Inori goes out for supplies or something and finds out she is the GHQ’s target, yanderes some thugs, and returns vaguely Mana-esque to Do Things with Shu.
They have another Moment, she once again describes how she inexplicably loves Shu, knocks him out, and confronts the GHQ and goes all Princess Mononoke on them. And then Gai captures her whilst implying she’s not human or something. Gai wakes up and resolves to rescue her.
Blah blah blah boring episode where nothing really important happens except for a lot of things that don’t make sense.
Next episode, we learn that Haruka is actually the brother of Shuichiro! But it’s only briefly mentioned as a seemingly tacked on twist! It gets an explanation later, but here it just feels completely pointless. Well, she escapes and Shu manages to very sneakily in broad daylight stick Arisa up and get her to drive him to Inori.
On the way there we learn that Haruka isn’t actually Shu’s real mother.
…wait, this was meant to be a twist? It was pretty damn obvious from the start, was it not? Christ, usually the problem with the writers is that the twists come from nowhere and make no goddamn sense, but here they just failed to make it surprising in any way at all.
Anyway, GHQ raid the Undertaker’s temporary hideout where Haruka had fled to, characters die.
Haruka escapes of course. Turns out she stole a void genome! A bunch of Undertakers checked on that hideout and found them all dead, and we get some awful attempts at making us care about insignificant characters.
And then a raid lead by Segai attacks the main Undertaker hideout.
Shu is driven most of the way there, jumps out the car and then leaps off some bridges to get there faster ignoring all semblance of realistic bone toughness, but that’s nothing new here. Ayase wants to use the void genome on herself to save everyone, in the chaos it gets knocked out of her hand, Segai tries to get it, a ridiculous farce occurs as Ayase throws herself around without her wheelchair, and then Shu comes along and picks it up. He calls Haruka ‘mother’ instead of just Haruka, everyone gets all upset that this horrible person is about to possibly kill himself by implanting himself with a void genome again (although the first one was stolen by Gai) and it’s all rather silly really.
I mean, he pulls out his own void and gives himself a new crystal arm:
Tenderly takes Ayase’s void:
Turns into a freaking dolphin:
Segai tries to run Ayase over:
Shu cuts Segai’s life force whilst Segai is all “Another person’s heart is inside meeee!”
And of course crisis averted, Shu saved Ayase.
But then this happens:
He heals the illnesses of others.
He takes on the crystals – the metaphorical guilt and sin of man.
He will suffer for everyone’s sake.
He will wear that ‘guilty crown’.
Shu became Jesus.
I have no words.
So Inori is slowly being taken over entirely by Mana and therefore developing a personality, and then we cut to Shu’s high-schoolers, the Undertakers, and the world milita-
Wait. Why are they on a boat?
Where did they get a boat?
Why a cruiseliner of all things?
How did they get there?
WHY ARE THEY ON A BOAT??
It doesn’t matter, it’s not like any explanation AT ALL is given. Seriously, none whatsoever. They just happen to have warped to a boat.
We learn that Gai is going to cause the fourth apocalypse, and some smart Undertaker who was captured by the GHQ but then was let… free to go I guess? ends up on the boat without anybody noticing him SOMEHOW and explains things. And then we get an extended flashback revealing some history on Shuichiro, Shu’s father, Haruka, and the birth of Shu and Mana. It’s all rather dull to be honest, the highlight being Shuichiro murdering the fuck out of Shu’s father for little reason, but whatever.
Shu then absorbs some friend’s voids so that he can then battle Gai, but he’s hesitant until everyone’s all “we’ll die if you fail anyway so might as well take them”, some shitty bromance between Shu and Souta, whatever, next episode.
Episode 21. We have reached the penultimate episode, the first part of the finale, the climax of this show.
Brace yourself; this is going to be good.
We open with some crap trying to make Gai seem like a sympathetic villain and, naturally, it fails miserably. It gets more ridiculous when Inori comments that she felt some sadness in him.
Shu and co. get all ready for combat, loading up and all that, a few contrived moments of ‘how sad, how epic, final battle, blah blah blah’ happen.
We have ‘character development’ from Ayase as she asks Shu for a hand getting her into her endlave pod, the implication now being that she wants to ride his dick. I have no idea why, really.
And then he creeps on her.
Her being ‘pure’, tsundere, and having painted on clothing? Her whole character is nothing but otaku fanservice, same as every other female in this series.
Gai then combines three people’s voids into a super-bow of some kind and basically destroys the world’s armies right there, conveniently leaving it up to the Undertakers to save the day:
The Undertakers mobilize for combat:
SHU IS ACTUALLY RIDING A GLORIFIED SEGWAY INTO BATTLE
YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS SHIT UP
Tsugumi has more fanservice-meets- ‘kawaii’ moments that completely hack the entire enemy network, and it completely goes against the tone of an epic final battle to save humanity but WHATEVER.
Gai prepares Inori for Mana’s awakening:
And then we get Inori’s backstory:
Yup, that’s it. That is entirely it.
SHE HAS NO CHARACTER.
But Inori doesn’t hate Gai, because without Gai she wouldn’t have met Shu! She describes how she loves him because he’s a cowardly, unpleasant, whiny little brat but phrases it in really crappy and pretentious ways.
Shu takes on more cancer and makes Ayase cry because he’s slowly killing himself and obviously she loves and oh god the emotion this makes me feel is oh wait it’s fucking stupid never mind.
Inori starts singing because this ending just isn’t getting awful fast enough and Shu can ~magically~ hear it so they head in that direction and then they get kinda trapped and we meet eyebrows again and he takes Shu up an elevator by himself and the others stop having any relevance to any of the proceedings ever again, instead existing to be shot at.
Eyebrows explains that he’s from (or is or something) the Daath (or Da’at or whatever) and that they are deciding the direction of humanity’s evolution taking it to the next stage and he asks whether Shu wants to be the Adam to Mana’s Eve and of course Shu says no whilst apparently Gai said yes without hesitating and that is the explanation.
THAT IS LITERALLY HIS ENTIRE EXPLANATION.
THAT EXPLAINED NOTHING.
HE IS NOTHING BUT DEUS EX MACHINA.
You could remove the ‘Daath’ from the entire fucking show and you would honestly not have noticed any fucking difference at all. It was completely fucking pointless, he brought fucking nothing to the series and existed to conveniently move the plot forward when needed.
What follows is an admittedly stylish fight scene, with both using a variety of voids to fight. It’s pretty cool.
At the same time the Undertakers are wandering around and they bump into an ambush with Daryl in a giant enemy endlave crab.
More fightan, Shu saying shitty stuff about why Inori’s great (the reasons are all crappy writing) and by channelling his love for her he’s able to beat the mysterious/cosmic/extradimensional Eyebrows.
But not before she cries and when her tear lands on the crystals, TURNS INTO A FUCKING MAGICAL CRYSTAL FLOWER
THERE IS NO PRECEDENT FOR THIS
IT IS THE STUPIDEST FUCKING THING
FUCK THE WRITERS
Shu wins, goes up to the top, encounters Gai, Mana ‘hatches’ from the crystal.
And now, the final episode.
The culmination of everything about this series.
Here it is.
We start with the unnecessarily fanservicey awakening of Mana. The crystals somehow give her EGL clothing. These crystals sure are versatile. What an excellent start to this, Inori’s more-naked-than-usual body.
A pillar of pink light reaches into the sky and spreads across the entire world as it snows. Why does it need to snow? Because that’s how you know it’s meaningful! Also fuck you.
The Undertakers fight Daryl and co. and the entire time Tsugumi and Ayase are basically there for fanservice, surprisingly.
I have no idea what this means but apparently he powers his big crab using his void energy or something, how that’s supposed to work and any precedent for that isn’t given so basically fuck you.
Tsugumi’s having trouble as her 1337 haxx0r skillz are being thwarted by someone else! Who could it be?
Wait… what? Kenji? He had a role in like 3 episodes and hasn’t been seen since episode 10 – and I forgot he even existed. When the fuck did he join the GHQ? And since when was he so good with computers? He doesn’t even get any fucking lines this episode, it’s fucking pointless.
This is the first thing she does when she wakes up. Why? To make her seem cute or more human or something? Fuck, it’s so against the tone of the scene, but since when did the writers pay attention to that ever? Honestly, when she wakes up it’s basically “’Sup Gai. ‘Sup Shu.”
After that she runs up to Shu and is all incesty towards him. Why did she have to have this incestuous streak to her? What did it bring to the story or the characters? And that’s another thing, why the fuck did they bother making them brother and sister in the first place? It’s not like them being family was ever actually fucking important, they could have just been childhood friends or something. I mean really. You could have removed the fact they were siblings and it would have made no fucking difference! Fairly sure it was just to check off ‘incest fetish’ for the fanservice crowd.
Bwahahahahaha! That line is amazingly bad, so cheesy, so awful – how the fuck were they even able to write it?
And with her handful of lines done, she doesn’t speak another word. The character whose power is ushering the apocalypse, who the plot has revolved around, doesn’t say anything after this. GOOD GOING THERE WRITERS.
Gai draws a big-ass sword out of her, changes the floor to a Risk grid, elevates it way above Shu and Gai, and sends her on her merry way to usher in the apocalypse.
BALLET DANCE OF DEATH
WHAT THE ACTUAL FLYING FUCK
HOLY FUCKING CHRIST
And it has fucking opera music to boot! Holy shit it’s a good thing that this was left until the end because nothing would have been able to top it! It is just so goddamn stupid, another league above ‘singing saving the world’ or any bullshit like that. Nothing, nothing I write here will do justice to just how absurd and stupid that goddamn ballet dance is. Bravo writers. Bravo.
Oh, and it also stops all the Undertaker’s machines for working LIKE FUCK THAT’S GOING TO BE EXPLAINED
The world then gets orbital crystal lasered to death. The animals survive though, so that’s all ok.
And then Shu and Gai fight! And it’s fucking terrible. It’s worthy of fucking Dragonball Z or something.
SLASHES THAT TAKE FOR FUCKING EVER SO THEY CAN CAREFULLY DICTATE THEIR DEEEEEEP MOTIVES
JUMPING ATTACKS THAT TAKE 20 FUCKING SECONDS (I FUCKING CHECKED)
100 FOOT STANDING JUMPS
FUCKING IMPACT CRATERS FROM THEIR IMPOSSIBLY LONG SWORDS
FLYING MELEE COMBAT
DID I MENTION IT’S FUCKING STUPID?
I LIKE HOW I CAN TAKE THIS CLIMACTIC FIGHT THAT WILL DICTATE THE COURSE OF HUMANITY SO SERIOUSLY
So Gai is winning (yay!)
Shu is dying/whining.
When this happens.
When fucking this happens:
FUCK EVERY LAST OUNCE OF YOU
INORI’S MAGICAL FUCKING CRYSTAL FLOWER INEXPLICABLY MADE FROM HER MAGICAL FUCKING TEARS FUCKING STARTS TO GLOW JUST AS SHU IS ABOUT TO FUCKING DIE
INORI FUCKING APPEARS IN FRONT OF SHU FOR NO GODDAMN REASON
NEVER BEFORE SEEN MAGICAL FUCKING RED STRANDS EMERGE FROM SHU’S HAND AND CONNECTS WITH THE FUCKING FLOWER
INORI GIVES HIM HER VOID IN YET ANOTHER GODDAMN SEX SCENE
THIS STOPS THE APOCALYPSE
THIS MAKES THE BAD GUY’S ELECTRICITY STOP WORKING
AND THEN HE’S STANDING FAR AWAY FROM GAI WITH INROI’S FUCKING VOID
NONE OF THAT MAKES THE LEAST GODDAMN FUCKING BIT OF SENSE
I mean fucking seriously. That is asspull after asspull after asspull all following on from completely fucking nonsensical deus ex fucking machina! Gai could have just stabbed Shu at ANY FUCKING POINT IN THAT. HE HAD THE SWORD LIFTED READY TO BRING DOWN ON HIM. WHY. WHY DIDN’T HE KILL SHU.
THAT FUCKING HAPPENED
Amidst all that stupidity Kenji gets shot by that one Undertaker whose role is I’m not actually sure. He didn’t get a single goddamn line this episode. And Haruka’s brother tries to inject himself with a void genome or something instead of being killed by Haruka but has a bad reaction and crystallises.
And then Gai and Shu are back to fighting! Sparks flying and leaving the result suspended for now! Man this exciting final battle I bet they pull it off well and don’t fuck it u-PFFFAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA
Daryl crushes on Tsugumi. Or Ayase. I have no idea which, probably both. But then because he’s so ~dark~ and ~edgy~ he wants to kill them so he’ll be himself (hahahah, like anything’s meant to make sense anymore) and can then be called ‘Daryl the Butcher’. So dark, so edgy.
AND BACK TO GAI AND SHU OH MAN
Gai… just kinda falls off the ledge
And then Shu jumps after him holding on to some kind of spirit Inori
And Shu slashes Gai
And Shu wins. He saves the day.
That is fucking it?!?
Are you for real, Guilty Crown?
ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS??
The final fucking episode. The final fight. Between the leader and follower, the comrades, the childhood friends, the bitter enemies, between the main character and the traitor antagonist, between fucking Shu and fucking Gai, and THAT is you resolve that fight?
HOLY FUCKING SHIT
HOW THE FUCK DO YOU FUCK UP SOMETHING THAT IMPORTANT, THAT FUCKING EPIC, THAT FUCKING CLIMACTIC – THE GODDAMN FUCKING CLIMAX OF THE ENTIRE FUCKING SHOW – THAT FUCKING HARD??
THE GODDAMN FINALE
AND YOU MAKE IT THAT FUCKING AWFUL
And on top of all that it makes no fucking sense! Why was killing Gai the key to destroying Mana – turn her into a goddamn crystal at that! There’s no fucking explanation! And it’s not like she even had an important goddamn role in the episode besides being the goddamn plot coupon! The entire series has revolved around awakening her and making her usher in the apocalypse, and they just do fucking nothing with her! A handful of lines then a crappy death!
I’m going to take an aside here, and describe how this could have been improved immeasurably:
Firstly, every character that wasn’t Shu/Gai/Inori/Mana: they weren’t contributing anything to the episode besides padding. Remove their scenes and it’ll play out exactly the same. How to fix that? Have it so that somewhere in the tower are some sorts of energy concentration things or power plants or fucking something that if taken over/disabled/destroyed would give Shu an upper hand in the fight. This means they are desperately scrambling from skirmish to skirmish, trying their hardest to help out, doing whatever they can to help save humanity. And then you can have the bad guys ambushing and intercepting them to prevent them from winning, to keep Gai in the lead. It even gives opportunities for heroic last stands – “I’ll hold them, Ayase you go on ahead to the main reactor room!” or something like that. Sure, it’s clichéd as fuck but it’s not like this show is a bastion of originality and at least it’s better than the nothing they’re currently doing.
Secondly, Shu/Gai/Inori/Mana. The fight scene as it stands is so goddamn bland when it isn’t being outright terrible. So how do we make it interesting? One very simple change: make it so that Mana was never moved to a separate floor. She is trying to do her goddamn stupid dance and usher in the apocalypse whilst Shu and Gai fight around her. Do you realise how much of an awesome dynamic we’ve got now? Shu is now trying to interrupt Mana’s dance – possibly even kill her – to prevent what she’s doing. So naturally Gai is doing everything in his power to stop him doing that! Already this fight has gotten more tactical, more interesting, and less straightforward. But it gets better – Mana is in Inori’s body, isn’t she? So of course Shu is going to have difficulty directly attacking Mana, because he still sees Inori! He’s reluctant, and he has to find an alternative or get over it quickly in the heat of battle! Oh man, this is sounding so good – but wait, there’s more: what if Mana had a direct effect on the battle? What if she tried to play into Shu’s mind – distracting him, teasing and demoralising him, using magic to try and make him hallucinate, and what if she was able to divert some of her power into either trying to blast Shu or buff Gai? I think I just made the final fight actually interesting and exciting and dramatic. And all it really took was moving one character somewhere else and letting things play out with all the differing motives naturally. But of course, the choice they made resulted in an easier to write scenario, and we all know the writers are all about being lazy and terrible.
Speaking of, let’s get back into the episode proper.
SOMEHOW Shu ignores gravity and gets back up to Gai’s level despite absolutely blasting past him, and manages to end up tenderly embracing him while Gai’s chest glows and they slowly drift down to the ground and FUCK I DUNNO. They have a moment and Gai seems to be back to his old self and inspirational and friendly and shit because lolcliché.
MAGICAL CRYSTAL WORLD
Gai talks a load of crap about how the crystals are the memories of humanity and that this is the Da’at (remember them? The transdimensional ~secret organization~?) utopia and some stuff about evolution and the apocalypse and hearts and crap.
And now the writers try and make Gai a sympathetic character and give him a sympathetic motive and just general flail around in pretentiousness and awful, confusing writing.
Gai hugs ~dream Mana~ as they bleed out but she reacts and fuck I dunno this is stupid.
And then Gai and Mana crystallise and that’s all over.
Seriously, none of that makes any fucking sense, it comes completely out of nowhere, and just shows that the writers don’t know the first fucking thing about interesting and intelligent writing – you can’t just fucking throw a load of weird pretentious imagery at the viewer while having a character give a weird pretentious monologue to explain what the fuck’s been going on – not that it fucking explains anything! I still have no idea who the Da’at were and what were there motives – they are still as fucking useless to the plot as ever! And they spend ages on this as well.
Well Shu now has the King’s power in both arms now, so that’s something I guess.
FOR SOME FUCKING REASON Inori is back to life, and she’s dying/can’t see/turning to crystals and then they have a moment and she’s all like “you made me feel things” and they embrace and then JeShoes decides to save mankind.
He absorbs everybody’s cancers, all the crystals, and everybody’s voids, and in the process slowly crystallises himself and Inori.
The tower starts collapsing and Green Beret Guy saves Daryl for no good fucking reason.
Honestly, it makes no sense! Are they a Thing? Green Beret Guy says that Daryl is a nice guy deep down, despite the fact that he is a legitimate murderous fucking psychopath and wanting to be called the goddamn BUTCHER, and so chucks him in an elevator and then apparently because elevators in this tower only have controls outside Green Beret Guy has to sacrifice himself to save Daryl. WHY. WE NEVER EVEN SEEN DARYL AGAIN. WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THIS. WHAT THE FUCK.
Back to Shu and more DEEP.
And that’s not even the least of it.
After crystallising fully…
Oh for fuck’s sake…
We’re in that goddamn weird genomic white cylinder magic room or whatever and we’ve got fucking Inori offering Shu a cat’s cradle because LOL ~DEEP~ ~RICH~ ~COMPLEX~ ~SYMBOLIC~ ~SENTIMENTAL~ NARRATIVE BOOKENDING GUYS HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA I FUCKING HATE THIS SHOW. The cat’s cradles BARELY appear EVER, have nothing to do with the plot, and basically exist only for this. I could understand if the original use of it was done better, but that first time it was just kinda there. It’s fucking awful. I get that it’s meant to represent Shu’s character arc, going from a fucking awful wussy beta coward to just plain fucking awful, but it’s just hardly handled well at all. It’s just there, not integrated into anything at all really. Even if I’d enjoy the exact same thing in another show, right here, in Guilty Crown, with its atrocious writing, I can’t see it as anything other than a lazy attempt to have sort of symbolic overarching thing.
You guys Inori sacrificed herself so that Shu would inexplicably not die and now she’s dead you guys I’m feeling so sad that girl with all the characterization she went through and all that backstory she was given and all that personality she had she’s dead and gone now guys boohoohoo blub blub sob sob sob so sad I miss her so much
Argo sacrifices himself to save Ayase and she doesn’t even acknowledge that, instead opting to cry out for Shu. LIKEABLE CHARACTERS SO MUCH IN THIS.
So the tower collapses with Shu still inside, and everyone mills around, upset, distraught, in shock, but finally relieved that it’s all over, that the world has been saved.
SHITTY HALF-ASSED EPILOGUE TIME
I FUCKING HATE THIS SHOW
“A few years later”? Really? Was it that hard to give an explicit number? Fuck, it couldn’t be fewer than 5, probably 7. What do you gain from not specifying, you just make it look like you’ve barely thought this through ooooooh, that’s because you haven’t, oh ok, sorry, my bad.
Apparently an idol popular on the internet was so culturally important that even >5 years later her videos are still being played on the big screens in a public and very busy pedestrian area instead of adverts or, y’know, something actually recent.
WHY DO THE ROBOTS HAVE CHILDREN
WHAT THE FUCK
HOW DOES THAT EVEN FUCKING WORK
So the highscoolers are having a little get together and not looking like they’ve aged one bit despite it being goddamn YEARS
Of course they’re celebrating Hare’s birthday. Of course.
But someone is late to this get together! I wonder who it possibly could be!
*gasp* It’s Shu! Try to contain your shock, I found it hard to believe that a turn of events that predictable could actually occur.
WHY THE FUCK IS SHU BLIND
WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN
PLEASE GIVE US AN EXPLANATION, ANY EXPLANATION, BECAUSE THAT MAKES NO GODDAMN SENSE
Wait, no, never mind, disregard that.
WHY THE FUCK IS SHU STILL ALIVE
HOW THE FLYING FUCK
HE WAS IN THE TOWER. WHEN IT FELL ON TOP OF HIM.
HOW IN THE ACTUAL FUCK DID HE SURVIVE THAT
But of fucking COURSE THAT DOESN’T GET AN EXPLANATION, SOMETHING AS IMPORTANT AND NEEDED AS THAT IS FAR TOO FUCKING BEYOND THESE WORTHLESS SEWAGE SCRAPINGS GUILTY CROWN CALLS WRITERS
And then Shu goes to the park and listens to Inori’s music.
And he has ~emotional~ and ~poignant~ and ~so sad~ memories about the girl that anyone only ever gave a fuck about because she was a goddamn singing moe stripper. PROVE ME WRONG.
THE FUCKING END
Holy fucking shit Guilty Crown is awful. The writing is absolutely atrocious. Every last aspect of the writing is terrible – from the plot to the events to the characterization to FUCKING EVERYTHING.
The story. I just spent 13000 words expounding on how fucking awful the story is, if you haven’t figured it out already than holy fuck. A quick little point that I probably haven’t made entirely clear – the second half isn’t as bad (or at least not outstandingly so) as the first for the most part, but it’s all still absolutely hilariously awful. Especially the finale.
The characters. They deserve more discussion, because my criticisms have been fairly spread out so far:
Shu: How the hell do you make a character this goddamn unlikeable? He spends like 14 episodes, whining and complaining all the time, AND he’s just an unpleasant person too. How are we meant to sympathise when we want to beat his fucking face in? And then he goes all Hitler on us and it’s fucking hilarious.
Inori: She had NO personality. None. No character development. No backstory. Nothing. Her defining feature was dressing like a stripper all the time and whatever ‘cool’ thing the writers wanted her to do. Was I meant to care about her? I honestly can’t tell, because the writers never gave me anything to care about aside from the fact she was there. Her falling in love with Shu never felt really believable – she just kinda ends up having feelings and never explained why. And nothing even happens really in their relationship, so I couldn’t care about them as a couple either.
Gai: I can’t say I really have anything bad to say about him as a character. His role in the plot was fucking stupid – being revived, really? I like how how he was revived was never actually fucking explained. And being Shu’s childhood friend, yeah that was quite terrible. And don’t forget that I never really got his motivations for doing anything like ever – something something Mana? But yeah, he’s your standard charismatic leader turned cold-blooded antagonist, kinda bland but not awful.
Mana: She caused the apocalypse or something, I dunno. Her evilness was hardly explained beyond ‘because she touched the first crystal’ and was on the whole completely inexplicable. Her link to Inori was never fucking explained, so I’ll assume it was an awfully convenient coincidence. Or maybe, like Gai, she was being raised to be Eve. Actually, that might be it. Either way, Mana. WHAT was the deal with all the incest/shotacon stuff? There was just no call for it, and all it did was creep me out.
Ayase: Asuka in a wheelchair without character development. Also fanservice.
Tsugumi: Tomboy loli computer whiz. Also fanservice.
Segai: Kinda enjoyable to watch, even if his evilness was awfully forced and over the top. Definitely had some great moments.
Daryl: I don’t think he existed for any reason other than to get thwarted and be murderously psychopathic. So basically Team Rocket.
Shuichiro: Apparently he was super important to the instigating the first half of the plot but he was barely a secondary character, so WELL DONE WRITERS.
Dan Eagleman: DAN FUCKING EAGLEMAN FUCK YEAH. The only truly likeable character. He’s fun to watch, he’s memorable, he’s sincere, he believes in the GHQ’s stated mission but unaware of their true goals, he has no ulterior motives, and the way he saves Haruka out of principle makes him the manliest, most chivalrous, most badass character out of the entire show. He’s not just likeable because his presence is totally ridiculous – he’s an actually likeable person!
Hare: Another actually likeable character, albeit fairly bland. She actually has reasons and backs them up for liking Shu, and her personality is generally quite nice too. Her death scene was actually quite sad, so I must have cared for her somewhat.
Eyebrows: What the fuck was the point of him? I mean aside from Deus ex Machina and an atrocious attempt at making the plot ‘bigger’.
Arisa: An interesting character if not actually likeable. I don’t have to like a character to enjoy them. Her role was interesting, her motives and plans varied even if the cause for them wasn’t really established all that well… she wasn’t a bad character.
Everyone else: Boring/bland/forgettable.
General statements: Holy FUCK this show can’t write in female characters. I remember one, ONE named female character that wasn’t turned into a sex object in some fashion at some point. Haruka’s friend who helped her after she escaped and I can’t even remember her name! Other than that most characters just aren’t portrayed in any interesting or realistic fashion, and they’re all just so bland. Most of them seem to rely on just their character designs to get people into them.
Ok, so basically everything that’s important about this show is absolutely terrible, but what’s good?
The concept of the voids is really quite good, and one of the few imaginative things about it all. It’s just a shame they mishandled it (Really, a fridge?) but at least they always kept it integral to the story. Put it in a Persona-like RPG and you have got a fantastic game mechanic though.
The music for a start is generally great, especially the BGM. I wasn’t a fan of the endings, but ED2 is certainly better than ED1, whose integration into the story I fucking hated. OP1 wasn’t all that popular but I quite enjoyed it, and OP2 was fucking awesome. I mean, how can you not likOONTZOONTZOONTZOONTZOONTZOONTZOONTZ
Production values were stellar. The art and animation are absolutely fantastic, and it was easily the best animated series airing during its run. You really can’t flaw it – it can be dynamic or nuanced or over the top or quiet or anything you like, the animation handled it. Stylistically too, it was excellent. The colour pallet, the presentation, it all worked so well.
The enjoyment factor of this show… it may not have been obvious throughout the review, but I fucking loved watching this show. It is easily the best ‘so bad it’s good’ thing I’ve watched in a long, long while. The trainwreck attraction of this was absolutely glorious, you just don’t get one on this scale like ever. The awful characters, the nonsensical plot, the contrived twists, all of it combined to make Guilty Crown outstandingly hilarious. Adding to the big joke that is this series is just how high profile it was – the staff lineup, the budget, the studio, the fact that it’s a noitaminA series airing over two seasons, which so rarely happens with noitaminA, it looked so set to be a massive, massive thing and seeing it fail this fucking hard was absolutely hilarious. I’m glad I got to watch it as it aired, and I’m sad to see it go because I’ll never get to see something as bad as Guilty Crown in this way for a long, long time.
So, all things considered, what are my opinions on this show?
What are my thoughts?
What should you take away from this review?
Here, in short, are my feelings about Guilty Crown:
OH MY FUCKING GOD
MY FUCKING SIDES
THIS FUCKING SHOW YOU GUYS
THIS FUCKING SHOW