Guilty Crown – 02 Review
Well, you’d have ceased being a wimp… I know, unimaginable, right? Wimpishness is a character-trait one should cherish, I mean, it’s simply what you need to have a boring life – and that’s something desirable seemingly in this case.
Shuu’s dream of being a boy-scout continues this episode introducing him to the cruelties of a world he always suspected to be a fabrication of the game-industry. But the Real-Life-version was just as intoxicating he had to admit but really nothing he would like to experience every day since it’s just so tiring. In other corners of the story we’re introduced to (another) teenager with great importance who’s slightly crazy and evil in subtly ways demonstrating this at every point very convincingly, actually it’s so convincing that you won’t even notice how subtle the whole thing is. But naturally he’s completely powerless against the mastermind of the (very young) terrorist group who execute a plan so perfect that angels cried out of happiness in heaven when it started. But in the end it’s all for nothing because Shuu decides he really doesn’t like to be a hero and he leaves to continue his life of boringness… or that’s what he planned to do, at least.
Shuu, using Inori’s power, fights off the soldiers but due to the arrival of a new stronger mecha the terrorists have to retreat. Not only that but Gai, the terrorist-group’s leader, informs Shuu after the fight that he needs him and Inori for another mission. While the terrorists retreated one of their hideouts was discovered and the people there were taken hostage. But Gai already had a plan in mind as how to stop the soldiers. The plan succeeds perfectly with Shuu giving it its finishing touch by using Inori’s powers to kill the soldiers and neutralize the newly arrived mecha-pilot (whatever the maniac’s name is). After the final success Gai offers Shuu to be a part of his Terrorist group but Shuu decides to go back to his normal life. But at school the next day his class gets a transfer student – Inori.
Why has the first noteworthy villain of the series to be such a pretentious brat…?
It’s another disappointing episode that succeeds only slightly in doing a few things better than the first episode. The first episode ended with Shuu releasing Inori’s power by drawing a sword out of her chest. It ends with Shuu receiving a miraculous power despite him being just a wimpy little boy with nothing besides mediocrity as virtue. But deciding to change himself he stumbles into this battle between the terrorists and the soldiers.
Like expected he does kick some ass but it’s nice to see how the whole episode acknowledges his presence as something happening by chance. He isn’t a fighter or some sort of idealistic visionary, he’s really just the wimpy kid wanting to play ‘hero’ just this one time. The episode never wants to let you forget that fact and it does make for a consistent characterization giving the audience a better understanding about Shuu’s character.
That way it was an interesting move to let the wimpishness of the main-chara be so prevalent that he decided to not take the terrorist’s leader offer and instead to go back to his daily life. On one hand it is in accordance with his wimpishness but on the other hand made it clear that overall it wasn’t the best decision to characterize as such. It leads him away from the story and instead of keeping with the theme of letting Shuu stumble into this fight and remain in this new world, the plot shows him the exit-door and he goes through it naturally.
But his characterization isn’t the only one suffering because of some flaws existing because of decisions made while the concepts of the characters were worked out. Inori, the girl of Shuu’s dreams might as well just be an object for all the personality she shows. She’s just like Matrix’s Neo with her wooden acting of nonchalance and passiveness regarding the events. Besides her appearance there’s no reason for Shuu to have any interest in her. She’s just that bland! And the evil dude with his affection for hygiene is just boring. There’s no variation and subtlety to the way he shows off his insanity and he might as well wear a sign saying ‘Hi, I’m evil and crazy.’ And the troupe of terrorists is your typical wandering circus of shounen-stereotypes equipped with the competence to kick some asses as long as these asses belong to evil dudes.
The story progressed well, I think and I was tempted to call the episode good when the ending came around. The first thing was Shuu denying the terrorist-leader’s offer. There are a few things wrong with that: First, Shuu has now a special power that makes him a weapon and it’s only logical for the Terrorists to keep him with them since he’s a useful tool. Second, as far as wimpishness goes, Shuu’s decision was good characterization but this guy has seen how soldiers have killed innocents and he himself has killed the soldiers. That is NOT an experience he should be able to forget in a way that makes him say lighthearted ‘Oh, this was just this one time, let’s get back to my everyday-life.’. He should be traumatized by the experience!
Wait, it’s episode two and the main-chara already feels like he had experienced enough excitement to last a lifetime?! How the hell is he supposed to survive 22 episodes then!?
And then there’s the story’s brilliant idea of getting Shuu back to the action… Now that scene made me roll my eyes in disappointment and convinced me that this episode wasn’t really anything better than the first episode after all. Inori joins his class as a ‘transfer student’ and naturally Shuu has to stand up in surprise making an awkward remark and Inori… well, you know, how she never shows a reaction to anything. This is just the typical stupid excuse for this grating shounen-school-life-humour full of unnecessary fanservice and idiotic antics. If that’s the way the series wants to play Shuu’s wimpishness I’d rather see him convincing himself to be a hero for the rest of his life spontaneously and fight the good fight using Inori. What’s happening now is just the beginning of making this derivative plot even more derivative and making it more difficult to make it fun to watch.
The second episode didn’t change much about the overall impression of disappointment hovering over this series. The concentration on action in this episode showed what each episode should look like to make this at least a decent action-shounen-series. But the ending of the second episode instead made sure that the bad stereotypes not yet covered by this series also get mentioned in the next episode surely. One can only hope that all this leads to something exciting in the second half since it has 22 episodes to get somewhere.